The era of absolute immanence has come: algorithmic governmentality has already taken every glimmer of unexpected, transforming potential human possibility into a programmed and programmatic code. The different fields of knowledge have grounds to fear that thought is imprisoned in circuits, locked in foreseeable paths: the principal reason for this dread is no doubt the rise of social and economic consequences of this process, which today are under our eyes. A political fight against this scenario, already described in Deleuze’s “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” is today a transdisciplinary request. To answer this necessity, I suggest restarting from one of the most powerful and fascinating tools offered by Deleuze and Guattari: the conceptual persona. This personage is related to literature, but thinking of it as a character does not provide us with its deepest sense.
In this presentation, I aim to show that the conceptual person is foremost an encroachment of virtuality (ideal, but nonetheless real), a special faculty of impersonal thinking that cannot be captured by Big Data. To show this, I will argue that its forefather could be found in another, sharper aspect of literature, usually described as a pact that the narrator asks his or her readers to accept. Through this agreement, the narrator is able to build a coherent plot that can, if wished, parenthesise minor elements of what we might think are necessary in our everyday life, such as moral conduct (i.e., The Man Without Qualities), the judicial system (i.e., The Merchant of Venice, Crime and Punishment), trust in technological progress (i.e., Brave New World, 1984), the everyday productive routine (i.e., La Coscienza di Zeno), and so on.
This strong mental experiment allows us to reconstruct the idea of transcendence in absolute immanence, through at least two fundamental strategies: (1) the third person’s logic; (2) the valorisation of affects and perceptions instead of concepts. After this trip somewhere else, to another time, to a different social and political order accomplished with an I that is at the same time an it, we come back with red eyes, able to look at the world from a different point of view—which, according to What is Philosophy?, is the becoming.
Conceptual personae are precisely the line of attack suggested by Deleuze and Guattari to figure out a way to introduce the becoming in the being. As we will explain in detail, the tactic used by the two philosophers is to cross the heterotopy literature–philosophy by experimenting with concepts as concepts of affect, and affects as affects of concepts, to keep on moving, as people and as a society: as people, because our desires, thoughts, and possibilities are more than a list of numeric data; as a society, because by crossing this way it is possible to conceive of a new form of a Spinozian multiplicity that is based on affects and is uncountable.
about the author(s)
Emilia Marra holds a master’s in Philosophies allemande et française dans l’espace européen from Europhilosophie Erasmus Mundus (UTM, UCL, BUW), and she is now a PhD student at the University of Trieste with a project on the concept of the actual infinite between Hegel and Spinoza and their contemporary French interpretations. Her research mainly investigates contemporary French Spinozism, with a special focus on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. She has published in journals such as Esercizi filosofici, Interpretationes, Philosophy Kitchen, and La Deleuziana, of which she is a member of the editorial board. She recently translated Pierre Macherey’s Hegel ou Spinoza.
info & contact
University of Trieste, IT
emiliamarra91 [AT] hotmail.it