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1 Ritika Kaushik 22/04/13 Gilles Deleuze, Rhizome versus Trees from Constantin V. Boundas ed.

The Deleuze Reader, New York: Columbia University press pp. 27-36. Deleuze in this piece forwards a philosophy of rhizomatic formations and assemblage as a different image of thought rejecting earlier existing models. His model is the opposite of a tree-model that follows genealogy, goes against representation (as that requires something to pre-exist in a readymade fashion that can be traced), looks at multiplicities with n dimensions out of which the One is always subtracted (n - 1)and allows for different cartographic entryways. Right at the beginning, Deleuze critiques the basis of thought which sees the book as the image of the world. The book imitates the world, as art imitates nature and this law of reflection being the law of the book allows Deleuze to rhetorically argue how can the law of the book reside in nature if it is that very law which dictates those divisions between world and book, or nature and art? He forwards the claim that thought lags behind nature as natures root systems are governed by multiple, radical and circular forms of ramification; whereas classical thought is seen to be governed by the Binary logic of dichotomy where the One becomes two. Two figures of book are delineated in terms of root systems, one being the root book that follows the abovementioned classical system, and the other the radical system of fascicular root. This second image of the world, even though it aborts/thwarts natural unity in the object; does not break with dualism but rather a new unity is seen in it, in adherence with the subject. For Deleuze, the idea of the book as the image of the world, whether the earlier root-cosmos or the modernitys radical-cosmos; is an insipid idea. Therefore he declares subtract the unique from the multiplicity to be constituted; write at n-1 dimension as for him, the multiple must not be made by adding a higher dimension (n+1) but rather with the number of dimensions already available. This system is called as a rhizome, a subterranean stem different from roots and radicles, rather akin to bulbs and tubers. In order to put this forward, he elaborates certain characteristics of the rhizome. 1, 2. Principles of connection and heterogeneity: Deleuze accuses the linguistic models of not being abstract enough to reach the abstract machine that connects a language to the semantic and pragmatic contents of statements, to collective assemblages of enunciation, to a whole micropolitcs of a social field. (For instance, Chomskys grammatical model , with the symbol of S dominating every sentence is seen as a marker of power which demands the construction of a sentence through a dichotomy of noun phrase and verb phrase.). A rhizome continuously forms connections between semiotic chains, organisations of power, and arts/science/social struggle related circumstances. A rhizomatic method would analyse language by decentering it onto other dimensions. Language is seen as a heterogeneous reality that stabilizes in certain situations, forming a rhizomatic bulb. Thus, unlike a genealogical tree model which fixes an order from a plotted point; the rhizome links any point to any other point and brings into play different regimes of signs. 3. Principle of multiplicity: Here Deleuze uses the concept of multiplicities to elaborate on the assemblage mentioned earlier. Multiplicity is different from Multiple in the sense that it bears no relation the One, is rhizomatic, has no subject/object; but only determinations, magnitudes, and dimensions which can change in number only with the changing nature of multiplicity. An assemblage then, is that increase in the dimensions of multiplicity which changes its nature as connections expand. A rhizome thus, has only lines, and no points/positions like in a tree or root. Multiplicity or rhizome does not have any supplementary dimension that can make space for an overcoding where unity operates. They are seen to be defined by the line of flight/ deterritorialization through which their nature changes and they connect to other multiplicities. The line of flight is what defines the finite dimensions that multiplicity occupies, indicates the

2 Ritika Kaushik 22/04/13 impossibility of a supplementary dimension, and marks the necessity of flattening of multiplicities on a single plane of consistency/exteriority irrespective of number of dimensions. The line of flight is thus, the maximum dimension, after which the multiplicity changes its nature. 4. Principle of asignifying rupture: Rhizomes can be broken at any point, from which they can start up again on any old line or even a new line, thus it can be seen to contain not just stratifying or territorializing lines, but also lines of deterritorialization down which it constantly flees. Thus, whenever there is a rupture in a rhizome, the abovementioned segmentary lines explode into a line of flight. But, this line of flight is a part of the rhizome, and this why rhizomes, even after ruptures, resurface and restratify. Deleuze then elaborates on how deterritorialization is always linked with reterritorialization as can be seen from the rhizome formed by the orchid and the wasp. The orchid is deterritorialized as it becomes an image of the wasp, but the wasp reterritorializes it by transporting its pollen. The wasp also gets deterritorialized as it becomes a mere piece in the orchids reproductive apparatus, but it reterritorializes on the image created by the orchid. For Deleuze, it is not the process of imitation at work here, but rather an exploding of two heterogenous series on the line of flight made by the common rhizome that cannot be linked to anything signifying. This aparallel evolution of two beings is asignifying and can be seen to have absolutely nothing to do with each other, like the cat and the baboon or humans and a certain virus. It is in this sense, Deleuze urges one away from the line of descent but towards polymorphous and rhizomatic flux formations; and declares that rhizome is antigenealogy. Thus, going back to the deep-seated beliefs about the book as an image of the world, Deleuze argues against that saying that the book forms a rhizome with the world in terms of an aparallel evolution. He further elaborates on his methodology of studying rhizomes by following the rupture, write, form a rhizome, increase your territory by deterritorialization, extend the line of flight to the point where it becomes an abstract machine covering the entire plane of consistency. 5. Principle of cartography and decalcomania: Rhizome is different from a tree in terms of the former being more like a map, and the latter being a tracing. Older thoughts generally follow principles of tracing, as in fields like linguistics or psychoanalysis; their object is an unconscious that is itself representative. Their purpose of study then is to describe a de-facto state or explore an already existing unconscious; thus a tracing of something that comes ready-made. A rhizome pertains to a map which constructs the unconscious, allows for experimentation in contact with the real, is detachable, connectable, reversible, and modifiable, has multiple entryways, has to do with the performance; as opposed to tracing which always comes back to the same, and has to do with competence. The rhizome has neither beginning nor end, but always a middle out of which it grows and overspills. It anti memory and operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture, offshoots. It is an acentered, non-hierarchical, non signifying system defined solely by a circulation of states. The rhizome thus, is completely opposed to the centered systems with hierarchical modes of communications and pre-determined paths and is opposed to the tree image. To conclude, it is a relation to sexuality then that is completely different from arborescent system of descent, which is at question in a rhizome.