In the recently published translation of Roberto Esposito’s The Third Person is this remarkable passage (148-149) found in the section on The Event (it is a large extract below that ends with the block quote from ATP):
The individuation of life, of a life, is not the same as the individuation of a personal subject. The category of ‘haecceity’ intervenes between the two. It, too, designates something – individuating it – that is very particular, but not necessarily a person, a thing, or a substance. A season or a time of day, for example, are haecceities that are just as determinate as individuals as such; but they are not coextensive with them – just like a shower of rain, a gust of wind, or a ray of moonlight. What these connote, besides their movement due to the combination of their molecules, is a capacity to be composed with other forces, due to which they undergo an effect (or an affect), thereby being transformed and transforming the others into more complex individualities, themselves subject to the possibility of further metamorphoses. A degree of temperature can be combined with a certain intensity of whiteness, just as this may combine with a surface to the point of being identified with it. What changes with respect to the plane of the subjects, besides a certain spatiality that is irreducible to predefined boundaries, is a temporality that does not have the stable form of presence, but rather the form of the event, extending between past and future. Haecceity never has an origin or an end – it is not a point: it is a line of slippage and assemblage [concatenamento]. It is made up not of people and things, but of speeds, affects, and transitions; just as semiotics is composed of proper nouns, verbs in the infinitive, and indefinite pronouns. Haecceity is composed of third persons, traversed and liberated by the power of the impersonal:
The HE does not represent a subject but rather makes a diagram of an assemblage. It does not overcode statements, it does not transcend them as do the first two persons; on the contrary, it prevents them from falling under the tyranny of subjective or signifying constellations, under the regime of empty redundancies. [ATP, 265]
Esposito isolates something very interesting here, regarding the category of ‘haecceity’ and its intervention between the individuation of life and the individuation of a personal subject.
In Empire, Negri and Hardt argue that the ‘possible’ resides in the passage from the virtual to the actual, and that the art of politics is to operate upon the possible to create and affirm a new politics and a different passage.
Esposito is capturing a different relation here, where ‘haecceity’ is a dimension of all assemblages. Properly I’d call ‘haecceity’ the being of event, and what Esposito is describing in the above passage is the part of Deleuze and Guattari’s work that conceptualised a sense of events that cannot be easily, if at all, reconciled to “a person, a thing, or a substance”.
Deleuze and Guattari’s ATP can be read as a masterful exploration of ‘scale’ in both extensive and intensive, and they basically furnish readers with a conceptual vocabulary to assist in this. Esposito is highlighting the importance of the concept of ‘haecceity’ for thinking about the concrescence (to borrow a term from Whitehead, but using it in a different way) of different impersonalities. The impersonal of the season or time of day is expressed (through assemblages, as elements of assemblages) with the impersonal dimension of a life, which in a normative sense belongs to a person.
The question of scale here is important, but very difficult to sufficiently discuss, as language conspires discussion to be locked into ‘objects’ and ‘things’. Esposito is indicating a certain combination across both intensive and extensive scales that does not belong to subjects or to objects, and it is not the pure fourth-person singular of the event of the chaosmos; it is somewhere in between. This is very important when trying to think events, as it is too easy to be trapped in a reduction (back-formed from language) that reduces events to things or objects, with the most recent form of this found in most variants of OOO. A more nuanced account of events is required for a number of reasons, least of which is for an adequate grasp of ontology. Haecceity as concrescence of different impersonalities is a move towards such an account.