three things on the event

So sleep is impossible. I’ll write up some of my furtive thoughts to help maybe clear my mind. I have a number of other posts (some huge!) in the works.

I have come up with a working model for understanding what I call the three axes or dimensions of an event.

1) Extension, from Whitehead and Levy

2) Conceptual prehensions and appetition, from Whitehead and Lazzarato (example, Foucault’s “security”)

3) Passage from the virtual to the actual, from Deleuze (and Bergson)

1) Extension is quite simple really and it involves the extent to which events overlap each other so events are always a multiplicity of events (Whitehead) and the repetition through representation of particular elements of events so their duration is extended (Levy). This is the most intuitive dimension of events and I think I have always mostly understood it. In Process and Reality Whitehead introduces the notion of ‘societies’ to talk about the ways extension is structured into durable relations. A durable relation is merely one that exists as a different temporality to that of other elements; it functions as permanent, but is not permanent in any absolute sense. Extension is the serial temporalization and spatialilsation of the passage of nature that is an event. This got me thinking about Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of ‘assemblage’ which similarly is a tool for understanding the extensive relations and machinations of events. That is, I want to suggest that ‘assemblage’ is a generic term to refer to the different configurations of durable relations created as events are serialised and spatialised. Within such spatialities and serialities are rendered possibilities and these are stratified as expectations (as Massumi writes: “The superposition of one moment upon the next…”). When I have talked about the problem of scale I have meant the problem of differentiating the different extensive relations between events.

2) This is what has just kept me awake, and I’ll just write a note to myself to remember. The crux is a tiny quote from Whitehead’s Process and Reality that connects his notion of conceptual prehensions with some of Lazzarato’s arguments in his essay available online event, struggle, media. From Whitehead: “Appetition is at once the conceptual valuation of an immediate physical feeling combined with the urge towards realization of the datum conceptually prehended. For example, ‘thirst’ is an immediate physical feeling integrated with the conceptual prehension of its quenching.” This relation of futurity should be recognisable to Foucault scholars or those reading Massumi’s recent work as similar to that of ‘security’ in the special sense that it has in their work. From Lazzarato: “The corporation does not generate the object (the commodity), but rather the world in which the object exists. Nor does it generate the subject (worker and consumer), but rather the world in which the subject exists.” The currency of the corporation is therefore in the relations of concrescence between the conceptual prehensions and the physical feelings (affects). I hadn’t been thinking properly about the conceptual prehension component of events, so extension into the mind as well as the world.

3) Lastly, is the passage from the virtual to the actual or ‘the fold’ in Deleuze’s terminology. The virtual is Deleuze’s primary modification to Whitehead’s philosophy of nature. I need to think more about the difference between the incorporeal dimension of events (is this just the conceptual prehension?), pure events (or eternal objects), potentiality, and virtual multiplicities.

2 replies on “three things on the event”

  1. errrr, are you referring to me as a car mechanic?



    well to understand something you don’t understand first requires an assessment on the limit of your understanding to discover where the known unknown end and the unknown unknowns begin.

    Second I suggest once this limit has been reached (which will involve various appraisals and appreciations of one’s affective disposition and to a certain extent one’s belief structure, too) you begin reading and never stop.

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