Thursday, May 9, 2013

More on virtuality

I’m also reminded of DeLanda’s book Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy (Continuum, 2002) introduced in this post from the complexity and pomo thread. From the ensuring discussion in this post:

About 10 pages from the end of chapter 3:

“This virtual form of time, involving the idea of absolute simultaneity, would seem to violate the laws of relativity. In relativistic physics two events cease to be simultaneous the moment they become separated in space, the dislocation in time becoming all the more evident the larger the separating distance....[but] in virtual space there are no metric distances, only ordinal distances that join rather than separate events.... Unlike a transcendent heaven inhabited by pure beings without becoming (unchanging essences or laws with a permanent identity) the virtual needs to be populated exclusively by pure becomings without being. Unlike actual becomings which have at most an intensive form of temporality (bundles of sequential processes occurring in parallel) a pure becoming must be characterized by a parallelism without any trace of sequentiality, or even directionality. Deleuze finds inspiration for this conception of time in phase transitions, or more exactly, in the critical events defining unactualized transitions. When seen as a pure becoming, a critical point of of temperature of 0 degrees C, for example, marks neither a melting nor a freezing of water, both of which are actual becomings...occurring as the critical threshold is crossed in a definite direction. A pure becoming, on the other hand, would involve both directions at once, a melting-freezing event which never actually occurs, but is 'always forthcoming and already past.'”

And from this post in the OOO thread introducing Bryant's earlier book Difference and Givenness: Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence (NW UP, 2008). In the following post:

The section "time out of joint" in chapter 7 (starting at 185) sounds similar to DeLanda above, but not quite.

"Rather than approaching  time cardinally in terms of succession, we instead seek to determine its ordinal the immutable form of change conditioning movement.... Put alternatively, conceived transcendentally, the past is that which was never present, the present is that which is only ever present, and the future is that which will never arrive" (186-7).

I'm reminded of Bryant's paper "Time of the object" introduced on p. 7. In the article he discusses this notion of ordinal time as the foundation for the withdrawn (virtual).

And this post:

Also see this section of the SEP entry on Derrida. Derrida follows Kant's transcendental approach in exploring the condition(s) that make experience possible, which requires that irreducible singularity and iterability are distinct yet inseparable. And of course this occurs in time. But what kind of time per above, successive or ordinal? This is where the critique of the metaphysics of presence come in, for there is no pure present, which is always conditioned by a relation to the past and future. As in Deleuze's notions above of the irreducible ordinal relations of past, present and future from Bryant's D&G. We see Derrida also use the phrase "time out of joint" to express this, as did Bryant. This kind of time replaces "a linear relation between foundational conditions and and founded experience," i.e., successive time.

Of course, as is my wont I picked apart the subtle differences in the above recent posts here:
From chapter 2 of BDD* Lorraine says:

“Deleuze takes the notion of the incorporeal realm of the event....the time of this realm of becomings is the time of Aion – an achronilogical time where everything has always has already happened and is yet to come....the 'pure event'” (32).

He goes on to describe the pure event in much the same terms as DeLanda, a a virtual that does not apparently ever actualize. Bryant notes that not all of the withdrawn virtual is ever actualized in toto, but that some of it is usually actualized via exo-relations. This seems quite different from Lorraine's (and apparently DeLanda's) version, which forever remain virtual in a separate realm. This is highlighted by Lorraine:
“In the achronilogical time of Aion all events can relate in a pure becoming freed from the restrictions of physical becoming” (34).

Obviously not so with Bryant's virtual realm. In TDOO Bryant uses Deleuze's virutal but admits it is his recontextualizatin and it differs from Deleuze's own use. For example:

“As such, the virtual...refers to powers and capacities belonging to an entity. And in order for an entity to have powers or capacities, it must actually exist. In this connection, while the virtual refers to potentiality, it would be a mistake to conflate this potentiality with the concept of a potential object. A potential object is an object that does not exist but which could come to exist. By contrast, the virtual is strictly a part of a real and existing object” (3.2).

This is not at all a pure event “freed from the restrictions of physical becoming.” He goes on:

“In evoking Deleuze's concept of the virtual, we must proceed with caution.... he is committed to the thesis that there is only one substance that is then broken up into discrete entities through a process of actualization.... The suggestion here is that the virtual seems to consist of a single continuum, such that there is only one virtual, one substance, that is then partitioned into apparently distinct entities” (3.2)

It is this single continuum of the pure event that allows for such readings of non-material virtuality that somehow underlies matter and gives it form, ideas Bryant repeatedly refutes. As does Derrida's an-archic khora and his sense of ordinal time, which Bryant lays out quite well. Lorraine is trying to make connections between Deleuze and Derrida based on the above but I don't see it.

Also note in chapter 3.2 Bryant goes into Protevi's reading of Deleuze on the virtual. But he thinks that Protevi, while also recontextualizing him, nonetheless attributes things to Deleuze not there to begin with.

* Between Deleuze and Derrida (Continuum, 2003).

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