Deleuze 1993

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The Pleats of Matter

labyrinth -- continuous labyrinth -- "multiple because it contains many folds" (3)

"matter tends to spill over in space, to be reconciled with fluidity at the same time fluids themselves are divided into masses" (4)

fundamental notions of the curvature of the universe:

  • fluidity of matter
  • elasticity of bodies
  • motivating spirit as a mechanism

"matter thus offers an infinitely porous, spongy, or cavernous texture without emptiness, caverns endlessly contained in other caverns" (5)

body essentially esastic -- hardness as well as fluidity

"That is what Leibniz explains in an extraordinary piece of writing: a flexible or an elastic body still has cohering parts that form a fold, such that they are not separated into parts of parts but are rather divided to infinity in smaller and smaller folds that always retain a certain cohesion. Thus a continuous labyrinth is not a line dissolving into independent points, as flowing sand might dissolve into grains, but resembles a sheet of paper divided into infinite folds or separated into bending movements, each one determined by the consistent or conspiring surroundings." (6)

folds always folded in folds --= always caverns in caverns

unfolding not the opposite of folding, but "follows the fold up to the following fold" (6)

world is infinitely cavernous because "everywhere there can be found 'a spirit in matter'" -- worlds existing in tiny bodies (7)

whether organic or inorganic, matter is all one (7)

plastic forces: impossible to go from matter to organism; plastic forces preform them -- organs born from other organs (7)

  • living matter doesn't exceed mechanical processes, but rather "mechanisms are not sufficient to be machines"
  • in our mechanisms, each part is not its own machine, but simply a part; for the organism, each mechanism is infinitely machined, each part its own mechanism
"A mechanism is faulty not for being too artificial to account for living matter, but for not being mechanical enough, for not being adequately machined." (8)
"the organic body thus confers an interior on matter, by which the principle of individuation is applied to it: whence the figure of the leaves of a tree, two never being exactly alike because of their veins or folds." (8)

folding-unfolding enveloping-developing involution-evolution

"The organism is defined by its ability to fold its own parts and to unfold them, not to infinity, but to a degree of development assigned to each species." (8)

every animal is double -- heterogeneous, heteromorphic creature butterfly folded into caterpillar that unfolds into the butterfly (9)

"For Leibniz, as for the Baroque, the principles of reason are veritable cries: Not everything is fish, but fish are teeming everywhere. . . . Universality does not exist, but living things are ubiquitous." (9)

epigenesis: from general to specialized; preformation: from smaller to bigger (10)

  • in both theories, the fold holds a special place
  • difference: can the foldings get to a point of irreducibility (preformism), or are they modifications/growth to the organism itself?
"Preformism is the form in which this truth of the c17 is perceived through the first microscopes. It is hardly surprising that from then on the same problems are found in the sense of epigenesis and preformation." (10)

for Leibniz, preexistence of souls in fertile seeds; "thus, when an organism is called to unfold its own parts, its animal or sensitive soul is opened onto an entire theater in which it perceives or feels according to its unity, independently of its organism, yet inseparable from it" (11)

movement to rational animal soul ensconced in body: "in every event this becoming is an elevation, an exaltation ... the teater of matter gives way to that of spirits or of God. In the Baroque the soul entertains a complex relation with the body. Forever indissociable from the body, it discovers a vertiginous animality that gets it tangled in the pleats of matter, but also an organic or cerebral humanity ... that allows it to rise up, and that will make it ascend over all other folds." (11)

The Folds in the Soul

inflection: "the pure Event of the line or of the point, the Virtual, ideality par excellence"; weightless; ambiguous sign; not yet in the word, but "is the World itself, or rather its beginning" -- cosmogenesis (15)

curve -- more than a line, less than a surface; "envelops an infinitely cavernous or porous world" (16)

"the fold is Power ... Force itself is an act, an act of the fold." (18)

object, objectile; no longer "a spatial mold -- in other words, to a relatio nof form-matter -- but to a temporal modulation"; "fluctuation of the norm replaces the permanence of a law; where the object assumes a place in a continuum by variation; where industrial automation or serial machineries replace stamped forms"; object "is manneristic, not essentializing it becomes an event" (19)

subject, superject; variety of points of view; perspectivism is a relativism, but "it is not a variation of truth according to the subject, but the condition in which the truth of a variation appears to the subject. This is the very idea of Baroque perspective." (20)

conic sections

"Folds are in the soul and authentically exist only in the soul. That is already true for 'innate ideas': they are pure virtualities, pure powers whose act consists of an inner action of the soul (an internal deployment). But this is no less true for the world: the whole world is only a virtuality that currently exists only in the folds of the soul which convey it, the soul implementing inner pleats through which it endows itself with a representation of the enclosed world." (23)

physical point -- what runs along inflection, point of inflection itself; elastic or plastic pointfold

mathematical point -- exact point

metaphysical point -- the soul, the subject; the monad [Leibniz]

"Thus the soul is not a body in a point, but is itself a higher point and of another nature, which corresponds with the point of view.." (23)

individuals -- "there necessarily exists an infinity of souls and an infinity of points of view, although each included soul and each point of view may grasp the infinitely infinite seriality" (25)

What is Baroque?

pure inside -- black marble, light from unseen sources;

  • "The monad is a cell. It resembles a sacristy more than an atom: a room with neither doors nor windows, where all activity takes place on the inside." (28)
  • "The monad is the autonomy of the inside, an inside without an outside." (28)\

Baroque architecture; lower level belongs to the facade, to the outside; upper level is "closed, as a pure inside without an outside, a weightless, closed interiority, its walls hung with spontaneous folds that are now only those of a soul or a mind" (29)

universe as infinite stairwell -- Neoplatonic tradition; world with only two floors (sinking/rising; outside/inside) -- Baroque contribution (29)

Mallarme, Baroque poet (Hérodiade) (30)

"The fold is inseparable from wind. Ventilated by the fan, the fold is no longer made of matter through which we see, but of the soul in which we read "yellow folds of thought", the Book or the monad with multiple leaves. Now it contains every fold, since the combinations of its pages are infinite; but it includes them in tis closure, and all its actions are internal." (31)
"the total book is as much Leibniz's dream as it is Mallarme's, even though they never stop working in fragments. Our error is in believing that they did not succeed in their wishes: they made this unique Book perfectly, the book of monads, in letters and little circumstantial pieces that could sustain as many dispersions as combinations. The monad is the book or the reading room." (31)

light/shadows, 1/0; sealed in light, interior light, light of reason (32)

Leibniz as Baroque thinker (33)

traits of the Baroque:

  1. the fold
  2. the inside and the outside
  3. the high and the low -- manner/matter; "from matter to manner," from physical bodies to folds (35)
  4. the unfold -- no void, just infinite folds; "folds are always full" (36)
  5. textures -- "matter becomes a matter of expression" (37)
  6. the paradigm -- paper fold (Orient) or fabric fold (Occident)?

Sufficient Reason

"Leibniz loves principles, and he is probably the only philosopher who invents them endlessly. He invents them with pleasure and enthusiasm, and he brandishes them like swords." (43-4)

"principles appear to us as cries" (44)

the texture of a body, the sum of its inner qualities (47) -- matter has an inner life, not just an extension

compossibility: "reconstituting over and again one and the same, infinitely infinite, converging series, the World, made of all series, its curvature having a unique variable." (50)

"just as each monad conveys the entire world, so then a single notion can no longer pertain for one subject, and subject-monads will now be distinguished only by their inner manner of expressing the world: the principle of sufficient reason will become a principle of indiscernibles. Since there never exist two identical subjects, there can be no apparently identical individuals." (50)

"In this way the world is in he monad, but the monad lives for the world" (50)

Incompossibility, Individuality, Liberty

What is an event?

Perception in the Folds

The Two Floors

The New Harmony