I feel like I am watching everything from space
And in a minute I’ll hear my name and I’ll wait
I think the finish line’s a good place we could start
Take a deep breath, take in all that you could want
— “Finish Line” by Snow Patrol
What if one had read The Logic of Sense and decided to agree with Deleuze’s argument, but that his ethics was on the nose, all that “being worthy of the event” bollocks? We would necessarily have to turn away from contingency and the nomadic distribution of singularities for the flip-side: complexity as the pure passage of the cosmos. Both are in the service of a proximity to singularity. “Contingency or complexity?” Isn’t this the decision demanded of post-structural ‘incorporeal materialists’? It is not a simple choice but an ethical demand. Both are certainly more attractive than a refusal to engage with the burden of singularity by a perverse return to the programmatic projection of accepted expectation.
There seems to be a few forms of ‘complexity’. One which in a simple manner discursively reduces a complicated occurence to a statement of fact. These are deployments of the operators of domination that Foucault wrote about and the purpose of which is to condition and reduce multiplicity. The next traces the silouette of the moon not as agreed upon abstract shape but in the infinite and impossible detail of what exists. Maths is sometimes used here as a short-cut, but this reduces the power of impossibility and is for those who dream of being dreamers. The third is my favourite, and it is complexity as poetic. The project of representation is almost completely sacrificed for the resuscitation of intuition. The silouette of the moon is irrelevant unless a moonbeam captures the grace of a pretty girl as she frowns in concentration; thus, the struggle of life’s will against the expectations of a situation exists as the prehension of a moonbeam. However, even in this extreme case, representation remains and the poetic complexity works on the limit of representation.
The problem is that complexity can be utilised by static-state, state-like and State structures for the purposes of appraising (and not appreciating) a given state of affairs through codification. The difference between appraisal and appreciation is the status of intuition. In the appraisal of a given passage of duration intuition is warded off as something necessarily dirty. To appreciate something means to rely — sometimes too much — on intuition to locate the variation of variation within which we find ourselves.
Contingency is of the girl, of the event of frowning, of the distribution of interest and the capacity of will. There is a letting go of superposition (probability, expectation, sometimes anticipation, etc) for a deep — sometimes nauseous, paralysing or, especially, exhausting — existential soul-searching that forces an acceleration in the face of contingency, to embrace it, but only the ‘it’ of the 4th-person singular. The search is a pursuit of an extremely delicate care that is used like a tool to handle the state of affairs. Capacities are interwoven on a casual limit between phantasm and letting go. This moment is already several and actualised as a baroque architecture of time. To appreciate continginecy is to scale a mountain of virtuality like a chaulked-out children’s sidewalk game of unknown length. Complexity is a lonesome march in the company of everyone; contingency is a joyous dance with unknown partners.
There is a correspondence between the poetics of complexity and the dance of contingency. Within this correspondence, and after accounting for all the seductive intrigue of the poetic, I try my best to side with the unguarded moments of dance.