the un-manageable | the manageable

In response to The Garbo, and picking up on his dyad / ideas:


So there's two ways of engaging in power.

Firstly: “the absurdity of comparison”. Very nice turn of phrase btw. (On the side of positive difference.)

Secondly: “control and manage”, which I think is also same as divide and conquer. (On the side of negative difference.)

I think there's heaps here we could work on more together -- that you are speaking at the level of government / social organisation / political / moral philosophy etc.


One thing I'm wondering here is whether sometimes we HAVE to treat things in terms of negative difference. Bergson says that's what science does. Saussure says that's what language does. Deleuze says positive difference is always together with negative difference, and he and esp Delanda want to show negative difference operating in the universe beyond human convention/insight/distinction-making. If negative difference is measurable difference, in your terms, or what Deleuze calls striated or what Delanda calls metric, then Delanda wants to show all the metric/striated stuff happening in the natural world. One clear example is DNA as code (switches turning things on and off). Another is the metrication of time in all the different oscillations and periodicities that are time in motion (heart beats, crystal vibrations, galactic orbits, walking strides, seasons, tides, etc etc). What this suggests is that whilst negative difference is measurable difference, there always already exists things that can be measured. Clearly there are many human conventions, in science, bureaucracy etc that does this measuring, but could be that there's something to measure in the first place (that something beyond always much more than any representation/measure but it does afford certain measures).

You say that "Negative differences are entirely artificial products, they are constructs, but real for all that. They have a conditional reality, they are conditional on the ideas that make them possible." So you are wanting negative difference to be real-for-and-through-humans rather than real beyond humans... jury is still out for me. I totally agree that at least much negative difference, and measurement etc is human construct. But not sure if it is ONLY human construct. Instead of idealist or realist I quite attracted to be what Delanda and others call materialist (or 'new materialism').

If negative difference is always somehow already there, along with but maybe emergent from positive difference, then it might suggest that human being is a being that must be a being of both positive and negative difference. It then would suggest an ethics that takes this on board. Another way to say this is, we always live with both side-by-side-ness and inside-outside-ness, so how are the to be combined, or played out in relation to one another.