Sexual Desire, Associated Milieus and Appetition

In my previous post I outlined the paper I had just submitted on gender and garages. My final point in the paper is thinking Whitehead’s concept of ‘appetition’ with Simondon’s concept of ‘associated milieus’. Thinking about it some more (while on my exercise bike doing my daily morning ride) I remembered this post Powered by Daydreams from just under six years ago. I was engaging with something Levi had written (prior to his turn to OOO) about the relation between fantasy and the immediate visceral responses of the body:

[Levi] posits the event of an emotional outburst at an immediate visceral level, but then the retroactive coding of this event by the sense making apparatus of our minds places this event within the orbit of certain narrativised causal chains (‘immigrants’, ‘D&G’, ‘homosexuals’, etc). Why overcode the outburst as causally linked to a transcendentally displaced social antagonism? Why can’t the event of the outburst be an immanent acceleration within the body of a sensation that has more in common with evolutionary psychology (ie an instinctual response to one’s hunger) than the aporias at the heart of social antagonisms? Brian Massumi has explored some of the dynamics between affect and the retroactive coding of affect (as a potential movement between two intensities). That is, at that precise moment, one’s hunger seeks out the ‘social antagonism’ to express itself and prepare the body for acquiring food. Would a fully satiated body seek out social antagonism? Just look at the Australian middle-class…

I go on in the post to provide an autoethnographical example of thinking about a pretty girl (‘girl’ yes, I was in my late 20s) that used to go to the same gym:

A friend of mine dubbed her “checkout chick” after she discovered that she works at a supermarket as a checkout operator (and as a subtle dig against me because of my romantic predilictions for bourgies). I would never approach or even talk to someone with romantic intentions in mind when at the gym as it is not an ethically appropriate act for the space. However, I also quickly realised that by not even speaking to her and being able to daydream about a particular fantasy — even if it involves merely focusing on say, for example, her extremely beautiful eyes — then my body is flooded with adrenaline or whatever other chemicals the body has to make itself feel good, and I feel good, and I can go full tilt on the cardio machines for another five minutes and then again and again for different fantasies for over an hour.

I don’t think I’d read Whitehead properly at this stage, which is surprising considering I invoke something very close to his concept of appetition to describe fantasy-like structure of thinking that encourages the ‘activation contour’ of affect (Stern) accelerating in the body as something akin to “an instinctual response to one’s hunger”.

Associated milieus for those living beings with the capacity to create imaginary conceptual prehensions would have to include ‘fantasy’ or something close to ‘fantasy’. Channeling Tomkins it explains how the coassemblies of affect and sexual desire (and other ‘drives’) can operate in the domain of what Foucault described in Deleuze’s work as ‘incorporeal materialism’, which is Foucault’s interpretation of the ‘virtual’. I think I need to read The Logic of Sense again. I was approaching the conceptual fabrication work of thinking ‘associated milieus’ and appetition’ together from a non-normative functionalist and ultra realist position. A point I don’t get to make in the paper is that these ‘appetitive mileus’ are a useful way to resolve the problem of scale in Deleuze theory of events. How to think scale of events when there is a baroque nested structure, what is the relation between the ‘wound’ and the ‘battle’? The excess of one event in another event of a different scale, when the first event is individuated as an element in the larger enveloping event, is the ‘associated mileu’ of the first event. There is an infinite number of such milieus from the perspective of the fourth person singular (or individuation of entire chaosmos). Delineating ‘appetitive milieus’ serving as ‘that’ event (of a larger scale, enveloping, or transversally linked, displaced in the past or future) for ‘this’ event will depend on the capacity of the living being.

Also, it was about the eyes, the relation between the eyes and eyebrows, as a gestural signature of her grace, a way of being in the world.

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