The dog teaches us that all is meat, prey to decomposition and decay. It teaches us that we can go for the bare bones of the situation, cutting away the flesh to get to that which assembles it: skeleton, framework, house, diagram. We have seen that for Deleuze there is no wrong animal, no wrong cry. Even the bark detects a force and makes a sign. The question is one of sensitivity and awareness, of being on the alert for forces and signs. The dog is just as capable of alerting us to the diabolic forces knocking at the door as any other animal. « Even the most closed house opens onto a universe » (WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY, 180, my translation). So the house is ambiguous, between domesticity and cosmicity. The key element is « not the flesh but the compound of nonhuman forces of the cosmos, of man’s nonhuman becomings, and of the ambiguous house that exchanges and adjusts them » (WIP, 183). So not just the dog, but the house itself is « ambiguous », and cannot fulfil its apotropaic function of warding off nature and demons, multiplicities and becomings, death and depression.
This cosmic dimension comes from the great chain of becomings, as animal-becomings link into molecular-becomings and into a universe of signs and forces, a « universe of micro-perceptions » as it is called in A THOUSAND PLATEAUS. Once again Castaneda’s dog shows us the way: « the affects of a dog-becoming, for example, are relayed by those of a molecular-becoming, micro-perceptions of water, air, etc. » Does the relation with the dog close us up in a tiny egotistic territory or does it open us up to other becomings? Does it limit us to negativity and lack or is there the passage to positivity and abundance?
I often wonder if its like a magnet… that staying with the negative we begin to know the effects or the allurements of the positive. Just like the ancient Daoists who started with that binary movment of night and day, shadow and light and spun a cosmos of philosophical and practical religious practices, we too might be bounded by appearances, yet affected by those unseen powers of the noumenal that we never have direct access too. I sometimes think we want more than our physical bodies will allow for, and like children that are not satisfied with our limitations we rage in the night for more than is offered to natural creatures like us. Why else do we invent machines (microscopes, telescopes) to enhance and surmount those limitations?
But I do agree that there must be a ‘passage to positivity and abundance’ otherwise what’s the point of our pursuit… good thoughts, thanks!
Thanks for the comment. I struggle to restore the positive context for Deleuze’s few remarks, but I think Feyerabend gives a far simpler and easier to relate to example of positivity and of dissolving at least some of our limitations, as the next post shows.
Reblogged this on horstbellmer.