Dangerous Philosophy: Threat, Risk, and Security

Articles

Dangerous Philosophy: Threat, Risk, and Security

“We have seen [the State war machine] set its sights on a new type of enemy, no longer another State, nor even another regime, but the ‘unspecified enemy’; we have seen it put its counter-guerilla elements into place, so that it can be caught by surprise once, but not twice… Yet the conditions that make the State or World war machine possible, in other words constant capital (resources and equipment) and human variable capital, constantly recreate unexpected possibilities for counterattack, unforeseen initiatives determining revolutionary, popular, minority, mutant machines. The definition of the Unspecified Enemy testifies to this… ‘multiform, maneuvering and omnipresent… of the moral, political, subversive or economic order, etc.,’ the unassignable material Saboteur or human Deserter assuming the most diverse forms.”

— Deleuze and Guattari[1]

“We plan a comprehensive assault on terrorism. This will be a different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy. This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible.”

— George W. Bush[2]

“Words can be turned against me.”

— Jean Baudrillard[3]

Questions of Philosophy

If Deleuze and Guattari were to write and publish their philosophy of the nomadological war machine today, in the still dark light of the omnipresent retaliatory and aggressive political discourse that has emerged from the ruins of September 11, would their philosophy have a chance? And given that there is always the risk of an irresponsible reading, i.e., a reading that chooses to omit, conceal, ignore, forget, gloss over, critical premises of an argument or concept, would not the “unspecified enemy,” which is also the very real and somewhat invisible (“real and nonactual” [4]) nomadological war machine in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy, be terribly and terrifyingly misread as terrorist material? In that viral vein of misreading, would the text or philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari be also charged as advocating terrorism and hence a threat to the security of humanity? And consequently, would it also not risk its survivability, its possible public dissemination to a time of reading in the world, since the “comprehensive assault” by the Bush Administration is also committed to inflicting military force on “anybody who houses a terrorist, encourages terrorism”? [5] Is it still able to hold space within all social and/ or academic discourses? Or will it have to burrow space, move only in subterranean fashion by creating holey spaces? And even so, will it still risk itself being flushed out by “smart” thermobaric bombs — “They run to the hills; they find holes to get in. And we will do whatever it takes to smoke them out and get them running, and we’ll get them”? [6] Taking away the innocent chronotropic distance between the present “time of terror” [7] and the time of Deleuze and Guattari’s writing, should the reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy be rejected today? Put in another way, would a contemporary philosophical counterpart of the nomadological war machine be possible today?

All these questions would not be limited only to Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy. A reactive or reactionary (mis)reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy would also incriminate other philosophies, if not generate a domino effect of witch-hunting of philosophies, which likewise construct counter-thoughts that refuse to adhere, accede, or surrender to the dominant thought of the State. For instance, Baudrillard would be treading on a thin red line in his recent writing on points of resistances — not unlike the “unspecified enemy” — that strike out against the State’s globalizing political, economic, and technological forces. [8] All these questions would be a question of the future possibility of philosophy, really. It would especially be a question of the future of philosophy as mapped out by post-structuralist thinkers like Deleuze and Guattari, Derrida, Baudrillard, Virilio, etc., who, after Nietzsche, would like thought to be actively combative, would like the invention of philosophical concepts and their heterogeneous interpretations from the outside to cross-swords, not allowing thought to uncritically accept any monolithic interpretation of the world, especially that of the State. [9]

We will not forget to make clear that the questions posed in the beginning are still entirely hypothetical. Philosophy has not (yet) been interrogated of its risk or apparent threat to hinge toward or to appear to be in proximity with a discourse made to belong to terrorism by the State. Baudrillard’s essay has not been the target of counter-terrorism. What could a text of philosophy in-itself, a mere philosophical argument, do, in any actuality of action, anyway, really? The right of philosophy, or the right to philosophy, has not yet been questioned. The hypothetical scenario depicted hence — the confrontation of politics and philosophy — is a pre-emptive strike indeed. But what is pre-emptive is most often times instigated by an imminent circumstance (an understanding of the pre-emptive shared by political discourse as manifest in the Iraq war of 2003, but surely employed with different means and justifications). In other words, the questioning of the right of philosophy and the right to philosophy by politics remains nonetheless a possibility, an approaching eclipse, given the political climate of the present time. Furthermore, there is no longer any consolation or security in being a hypothesis today either. What is a hypothesis is now also a target. “9/11 showed that threats hitherto belittled as wild speculations or hypothetical dangers of the remotest possibility are realistic, indeed actual.” [10] Philosophy, in this wait for an imminent repression if not suppression, [11] would be experiencing something of a state of emergency — under siege in its own space, under curfew, movement (to the) outside prohibited. This surely would not be unlike the experience of some of us when compelled to make the decisive non-choice of “either you are with us [the State war machine of the US], or you are with the terrorists,” [12] when none can choose, really choose, to be in-between, not thinking in line with either. Would philosophy likewise be coerced to abdicate and make a decision from such a non-choice, in order to have a space in the real world for its present survivability and for its future?

The sense is that there is no security for philosophy, at the outside, that is. We cannot rely on an anachronistic Kantian belief in the political practitioner to think that “the theorist’s abstract ideas […] cannot endanger the state,” that it is “safe to let [the philosopher] fire off his whole broadside, and the worldly-wise statesman need not turn a hair.” [13] We cannot have stubborn faith in the “saving clause,” whereby the “practical politician” “must not claim […] to scent any danger to the state in the opinions which the theorist has randomly uttered in public.” [14] No matter how philosophy is written in “correct and proper style,” there is no fortress to safeguard “against all malicious interpretation.” [15] There will always be the real threat of philosophy, especially the philosophy of counter-thought, being misread, e.g. misread as a threat, on paper. That is the risk of philosophy, the risk of the dissemination of philosophy. It is a risk that philosophy must take, though. A philosophy like Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadological war-machine must continue to be written, even though it presents or it risks being mis-re-presented as a risk, a threat, to the security of global politics and its discourse. Only then will philosophy secure itself a future. Only by risking being a threat to a dominating and homogenizing political discourse, risking a war with the State, risking being a threat to itself henceforth, will philosophy think anew an armature of counter-thoughts to resist any monolithic dominant thought and its contemporary modifications that seek to veil its nonetheless fascistic determinations. That is what we will argue here, through a (re)reading Deleuze and Guattari’s Nomadology [16] today: that philosophy, as a thought-projectile such as the nomadological war machine, remains necessary, remains necessary to be read, re-read, and written, despite its imminent risk and threat of demise, so as to secure for itself and the world a future free space of heterogeneous thoughts, so as to secure a space within which every singular thought can be free to think whatever it desires.

Threat/ Risk

Let us say it again: the risk of Deleuze and Guattari’s Nomadology is that it makes itself very likely to be misread as a trajectory of terrorism because of its counter-State or anti-State posture, and hence a possible threat to its own survivability amidst today’s global or international anti-terrorism campaign. Saying it again, that sounds too apologetic. We might not even be hearing philosophy properly. In our apologia of philosophy like that of Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadological war machine, we will not hold back. We will not striate ourselves with an apology. That would still constitute much to be remaining in a state of emergency. With a projectile of absolute speed and decisive direction, and hearing nomadology fully in its articulated resonance, we will just say: the nomadological war machine is anti-State. Forget about the risk and threat of misreading to philosophy. An understanding of the life-death logic of dissemination, from Derrida, would have braced us for that risk, which is the letting fall of the text to the outside, at the outside, letting it fall also to misappropriation, to misreading. That risk is but part of philosophy’s “artifactuality,” such that it paradoxically guarantees its future outside its own spatio-temporal context. We have been prepared for that. What is at stake now is another preparation, another re-reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadological war machine today, untimely as it seems to “social responsibility,” in order to brace ourselves against another risk, another threat. So, we will just say it, for now: the nomadological war machine is a threat to the State.

The nomadological war machine is a threat to the State because it refuses to abdicate the freedom of thought to the State. It refuses to submit thinking to a function of the State. With regards to thought, the State limits it, appropriates it. It regulates thought to a dominant or dominating interpretation. From the point of view of the State, it is best that no thought deviates from the dominant one issuing from the State. From the point of view of the State, it is even better that the political, economic, and techno-scientific “progress” of the State be left unthought by the subjects of the State, left archived only by the State as its grand narrative. [17] “Thought as such is already in conformity with a model that it borrows from the State apparatus, and which defines for it goals and paths, conduits, channels, organs, an entire organon.” [18] All thought would have to end with the State, or the ends of thought should find itself in service for the State. (We can read this in the case of the present Bush Administration’s relation with the think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC) as revealed by the BRussells Tribunal. [19]) In other words, the State would have had captured thought, first creating for itself a captivating image that reaches out to the masses, which then arrests all autonomous and heterogeneous thinking in place for that singular image-thought of and by the State. And it would be within thought that the State creates for itself, and for the spectacle for (the fixation of) its subjects, an image which grounds itself as the necessary foundation of the territory’s sovereignty — “operating by magical capture, seizure or binding, constituting the efficacity of a foundation” — and which binds peoples together — “a republic of free spirits proceeding by pact or contract, constituting a legislative and juridical organization, carrying the sanction of a ground.” [20] It is as such that it seduces the masses into a captivating thought — an easy thought, a thought without labor, whereby the security of the sovereignty of the (thoughts of) peoples within the sovereignty of their spaces are given to the State. The economy of such capture of thought gives the State as if a universal right, as if its thought, discourse, and action are a categorical universal law, carved in stone on an imperial obelisk at the center of State’s territory. “Indeed, by developing in thought in this way the State-form gains something essential: an entire consensus. Only thought is capable of inventing a fiction of a State that is universal by right, of elevating the State to the level of the universality of law.” [21] With the capture of thought, the State gains “to be sanctioned by it as the unique, universal form.” [22] And consequently, by an apparent appeal to the mass consensus, it is able to outlaw any form of counter-thought and fragment the community by separating those with deviant thought-trajectories: “the State becomes the sole principle separating rebel subjects […] from consenting subjects, who rally to its form of their own accord.” [23] All these are still rigorously evident today, whereby the State war machine of the US takes itself to be the de jure international force of law against terrorism, as if given all rights to categorize other states as either supporters of the anti-terrorism campaign or sympathizers of terrorists, and as if given all rights too to conduct military violence in its own terms against those it deems hospitable to terrorism.

It is critical to note that what the State claims to be its “consenting subjects” are not exactly “free spirits” however, even though some of them claim to be thinkers or innovators within the State’s territory. There is in fact no real freedom of thought for them: “The State does not give power (pouvoir) to the intellectuals or conceptual innovators; on the contrary, it makes them a strictly dependent organ with an autonomy that is only imagined.” [24] To not resist the dominant thought of the State, or to believe in the false autonomy of thought, would be close to stepping back into the shadows of Plato’s cave. The thought that comes from these supposed “free spirits” only disseminates, only repeats, only reproduces the thought of the State. What has happened is in fact only that the State has “deprive[d] them of their [autonomous] model, submits them to its own model, and only allow[ed] them to exist in the capacity of ‘technologies’ or ‘applied science’.” [25] This variation on a State thematic only reaffirms the delimitation of the freedom of thought, only reaffirms the gravity of the monolithic thought by the State: “Reproducing implies the permanence of a fixed point of view.” [26] It is the permanence of the State’s fixed point of view, the permanence of the State even, that is reiterated, in total disregard of other heterogeneous thoughts, other points of views.

The nomadological war machine is that which necessarily resists, which escapes the capture of a fixed point of view. It “brings a furor to bear against sovereignty.” [27] It is for the re-opening of thought to a space of freedom, for the opening of a freedom of thought, for the maintenance of a free space of freedom of thought, that the nomadological war machine exposes and expresses itself as a threat to the State. It becomes anti-State. It “impedes the formation of the State.” [28] It carries out war against the State, only because the State has first incited it precisely by delimiting thought. It becomes combative against the State only because it wants to wrest the act, the activity, the activeness, of thought back from the stranglehold of the State. Physical combat has never been the primary imperative of the nomadological war machine. It “knows the uselessness of violence.” [29] But it acknowledges that it is what thought sometimes inevitably calls for as a necessary praxis. “War is neither the condition nor the object of the war machine, but necessarily accompanies it or completes it.” [30] It projects its full force of a war machine against the State only because the task of thinking has to be seriously brought back to a plurality and heterogeneity of thought, which is but the rights of a plural and heterogeneous people. “Because the less people take thought seriously, the more they think in conformity with what the State wants.” [31] It is as such that the nomadological war machine conducts war and consequently risks its rhetoric taking on the pose of terrorist material. It does not help, of course, that its modes of movement make easy parallels with those of terrorism. At times, the nomadological war machine moves in stealth, taking on a “social clandestinity.” [32] In war, it conducts unconventional warfare — “without battle lines,” “making violence durable, even unlimited” — in order to displace the sovereignty of the space of the State — “deterritorialize the enemy by shattering his territory from within; deterritorialize oneself by renouncing, by going elsewhere.” [33]

For the nomadological war machine, combat will be a question of the future of the freedom of movement of thought, of the space of heterogeneous thoughts, without needing the homogeneous totality of all thoughts, without needing the enclosed architecture of thoughts within an interior like the State-form. What it fights for is a “thought grappling with exterior forces instead of being gathered up in an interior form, operating by relays instead of forming an image; an event-thought, a haecceity, instead of a subject-thought, a problem-thought instead of an essence-thought or theorem.” [34] The nomadological war machine very well knows that its combat with the State is a risk of its having annihilated by the State. An absolute victory against the State is not guaranteed. It risks itself being captured by the State. But for the nomadological war machine, it is a necessary risk to take, so as to maintain the freedom of a space of thought, to insist on the right to the freedom of thought. The nomadological war machine takes this risk only “to raise or to sharpen the vigilance of the citizens of the world” as Derrida has only recently said, so as to secure the world against the State’s delimitation of the free space of heterogeneous thoughts. [35]

Security, and a New International Community?

The free space of a freedom of thought, of heterogeneities, as to be cleared by the nomadological war machine, is not a simple thought however — hence the notion of “problem-thought” to express its force. The problem with the “problem-thought” of the nomadological war machine is that it appears to indeed pose as a threat to the security of existing societal peace. This “problem-thought,” contra Habermas, seeks a space that is “anti-dialogue,” “affirming [but] a noncommunicating force.” [36] It seeks a space that interrupts or fragments speech communities, which commonly presuppose a peace predicated on an accommodation and/ or assimilation of speech acts. That is not to say that the nomadological war machine is anti-community though. Instead, it is always a clearing for an immanence of community whereby singularities come together through the sheer forces of desire, without the requisite of speech even, and hence without negotiating or compromising the full force of a singular thought or speech through accommodation or assimilation. And these singularities would have no dispute with neighboring singularities of differences. Difference, for the nomadological war machine, so long as it does not delimit the Other, never does constitute antagonism. Heterogeneous singularities would still share the same space, without needing any convenient resolution of differences. The maintenance of fragmentality by a “problem-thought” is the resonance of a dissonant community (or perhaps the non-antagonistic dissonance of a resonant community), of a space of “distribution of heterogeneities in a free space.” [37] The force of “problem-thought” is but the rhythmics of immanent differences of thought. To wit, the “problem-thought” of the nomadological war machine is “not harmonic.” [38] It is not harmonic in the homogenizing way as the State has educated us on the imperatives of communities, but another harmonics whereby rhythmic and dissonant differences remain without being reterritorialized into a totality. For the State, such “problem-thought” would be a block to its efforts of social engineering and peace constructions. But for the nomadological war machine, “the problem is not an ‘obstacle,’ it is the surpassing of the obstacle, a projection,” [39] a thought-projectile that smashes through any wall of any homogenizing totality. The fragmental “problematic” “involves all manner of deformations, transmutations, passages to the limit, operations in which each figure designates an ‘event'” such that the risk of making all thought homogeneous is averted, such that there is always the opening to “a heterogeneous smooth space.” [40]

With this “problem-thought” for “a heterogeneous smooth space,” we can see that the nomadological war machine is in fact a question also of the security of a future community to come, a community of differences without horizons, a community of a freedom of thought and of a freedom of movement, a new international cosmopolitics, perhaps even what Derrida at several places calls a “democracy to come,” a democracy without the requisite of citizenship. The question of a community-to-come lies at the horizon of the nomadological war machine. The nomadological war machine after all “is in its essence the constitutive element of smooth space, the occupation of this space, displacement within this space, and the corresponding composition of people: this is its sole and veritable positive object.” [41] It works in “social clandestinity,” and “attests to an absolute solitude,” [42] but the smooth space of heterogeneous discontinuities [43] it combats for looks towards “an extremely populous solitude, […] a solitude already interlaced with a people to come, one that invokes and awaits that people, existing only through it, though it is not yet here.” [44] It seeks to secure a future free space not only of thought but also the movement of people. “The nomadic trajectory […] distributes people (or animals) in an open space, one that is indefinite and noncommunicating. […] It is a very special kind of distribution, one without division into shares, in a space without borders or enclosure.” [45]

It is a distribution that is contra globalization therefore, something that we cannot avoid mentioning in any discussion that engages with political, economic, ideological, and even philosophical dissemination on an international spatio-temporal dimension. Globalization, as the politico-economic order of the State — very much the imperial order of the US too — allows only the borderless flow of information, capital, and goods, but not of the movement of people. Rules and regulations of citizenship still bind peoples within territorial limits. At the same time it striates certain people within spaces while it telematically directs transnational economics, State globalization actually delocalizes these spaces, these peoples. [46] Localities have no longer any significance. All thoughts of differences of localities have to be submitted to the technics of a homogenizing real-time of tele-technology. Subsequently, all localities are deterritorialized onto a controlled non-space of hyperspace. Baudrillard calls this “dislocation,” an annihilation of “all forms of differentiation and […] difference.” [47] Again, the nomadological war machine presents itself as a threat to such simulacrum of globalization [48] by opening a space for the freedom of movement of peoples, securing a space that sustains its points of heterogeneity with other spaces. The nomadological war machine is “the tracing of a creative line of flight, the composition of smooth space and of that movement of people in that space.” [49] It is always a question of a freedom of movement or “moving” for the nomadological war machine: “the movable […] in smooth space, as opposed to the geometry of the immovable […] in striated space.” [50] This seems very much like the operation of globalization we are resisting here already. But (the affects of) the deterritorialization movement of the nomadological war machine moves in special, paradoxical ways. It moves by maintaining the space. It moves but at the same time it “holds space.” [51] As such, the nomadological war machine is open to the sense of differences of the space. It movingly dwells, and grows, in the full intensity of locality. The nomadological war machine therefore “does not belong to the relative global, where one passes from one point to another, from one region to another. Rather, he is in a local absolute that is manifested locally, and engendered in a series of local operations of varying orientations.” [52] With it, “locality is not delimited […] but becomes a nonlimited locality.” [53]

It is not difficult to see, along with Baudrillard and Derrida, that delocalization by State globalization incites and gives place to terrorism as a violent response to the indifferent siege of globalization. With globalization, the State in fact makes itself a threat to itself. And when terrorism hits hard at the State, as in September 11, and when the State retaliates with an objective of total annihilation or total war against terrorism, the State fails yet again to take time to reconsider its politico-economic operations, to take time to give critical thought of the heterogeneous Other that it has left out at the margins through the speed of delocalization. It becomes a decisive imperative of the State to secure a peace at all cost without any more irruption to its status quo. For this peace, and through the contemporary rhetoric of a “homeland security,” it requires all to give up any thought that deviates from that of the State. It is a peace where all heterogeneity is homogenized into a totality of the thought of the State. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorist.” Deleuze and Guattari call such peace “a peace still more terrifying than fascist death.” [54] This is a peace that is a threat to a space of a freedom of thought, a freedom of movement, and a freedom of difference. It is a threat to the future of the task of thinking, a threat to the right to heterogeneous thoughts. It is for the security of such a space, a future, and a right, that the nomadological war machine risks itself being misread and hence maliciously misinterpreted, risks itself being captured and smoked out by the State, by presenting itself as a threat to the State, by conducting war against the State. That is, to reiterate, the nomadological war machine’s risk of philosophy.

In the opening of Kant’s essay on “perpetual peace,” Kant speaks of a signboard with the words “perpetual peace” inscribed alongside an image of a graveyard. For Kant, it is ambiguous as to “whether it applies to men in general, or particularly to heads of state (who can never have enough of war), or only to the philosophers who blissfully dream of perpetual peace.” [55] There is nothing blissful about the nomadological war machine, of course. But perhaps it necessarily has to risk a possible death by a misreading, a malicious interpretation, a State, so that a perpetual peace, whereby the right to a plural and heterogeneous public opinion or interpretation of the world is affirmed without reserve, can be secured. Only when there remains such a chance for a future free space of heterogeneous thoughts in the world then will philosophy be conducting its task as philosophy, the task that secures for philosophy and the world a horizonless possibility of thinking, and the possibility of thinking in difference, in security. For this perpetual peace, Kant insists that “the philosopher should be given a hearing.” [56] Perhaps, in this “time of terror,” Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the nomadological war machine, should be once again given an untimely hearing?

Notes

[1] Nomadology: The War Machine. Trans. Brian Massumi. New York: Semiotext(e), 1986. pp. 119-120.

[2] “Radio Address of the President to the Nation.” 15 September 2001. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010915.html

[3] Jean Baudrillard. “This is the Fourth World War: The Der Spiegel Interview With Jean Baudrillard.” Trans. Samir Gandesha. International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. Vol.1:1. January 2004. p. 5. www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/spiegel.htm

[4] Deleuze and Guattari. Nomadology: The War Machine. p. 117.

[5] Remarks by George W. Bush. “President Building Worldwide Campaign Against Terrorism.” 19 September 2001. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010919-1.html

[6] Remarks by George W. Bush. “President Urges Readiness and Patience.” 15 September 2001. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010915-4.html

[7] Cf. Giovanna Borradori. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with J¸rgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

[8] Cf. “The Violence of the Global” (CTheory. 20 May 2003. www.ctheory.net): “They do not abide by value judgments or political realities. […] They cannot be ‘regularized’ by means of a collective historical action. They defeat any uniquely dominant thought. Yet they do not present themselves as a unique counter-thought. Simply they create their own game and impose their own rules. Not all […] are violent. Some linguistic, artistic, corporeal, or cultural [ones] are quite subtle. But others, like terrorism, can be violent.” Like Derrida and many other philosophers, even thinkers of counter-thought against the dominant discourse of the State surely, Baudrillard in no place in his essay whatsoever condone the violent acts of the perpetrators of the events of September 11. But he does acknowledge, as Alain Badiou does, that there is no doubt the “support [terrorists] receive and the fascination they are able to exert.”

[9] We will not forget Derrida’s call for a heterogeneity of interpretations otherwise of dominant ones coming out of political and media discourse in The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe (Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael B. Naas. Intro. Michael B. Naas. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).

[10] Douglas J. Feith. “U.S Strategy for the War on Terrorism.” 14 April 2004. www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2004/sp20040414-0261.html

[11] We say “repression” because there is indeed a claim for “social responsibility” in such times, a responsibility to be sensitive to the persons, things, and institutions that were destroyed on September 11. There is a call to restrict all discourses such that they will not in any way recall or be in any way reminiscent of the specter of September 11.

[12] George W Bush. “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People.” 20 September 2001. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html

[13] Immanuel Kant. “Perpetual Peace.” Political Writings. Ed. H.S Reiss. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970. pp. 93.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] We will recognize, of course, that the Semiotext(e) publication of Nomadology is abstracted from a chapter or “plateau” of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. We will restrict our discussion in this paper to that “plateau” because that would surely be the most controversial chapter in this context. And hence we will make full use of the Semiotext(e) publication rather than A Thousand Plateaus.

[17] Cf. Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History” (in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Ed. and intro. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, 1969. pp. 253-264). Benjamin speaks of the conformist imperative of State-thought (which at the same is denigrative of the thought of the social body) that gives a “conception of the nature of labor [that] bypasses the question of how its products might benefit the workers while still not being at their disposal. It recognizes only the progress of the mastery of nature, not the retrogression of society” (259). In response to the State’s grand narrative of “progress,” Benjamin himself launches his war machine, calling for a “theoretical armature” (262) of a counter-state-of-emergency such that the homogenized time of that narrative will be “shot through” (263) with shards of heterogeneous, immanent, plural Jetztzeit.

[18] Nomadology. p. 40.

[19] See www.brusselstribunal.org 17 April 2004.

[20] Nomadology. p. 41.

[21] Ibid. pp. 41-42.

[22] Ibid. p. 42.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid. p. 30.

[25] Ibid. p. 37.

[26] Ibid. p. 36.

[27] Ibid. p.2.

[28] Ibid. p. 13.

[29] Ibid. p. 89.

[30] Ibid. p. 111.

[31] Ibid. p. 44.

[32] Ibid. p. 92.

[33] Ibid. pp. 4/ 77/ 4.

[34] Ibid. p. 47.

[35] Jacques Derrida. “For a Justice to Come: An Interview with Jacques Derrida.” Trans. Ortwin de Graef. 19 February 2004. www.brusselstribunal.org/pdf/Derrida_EN.rtf

[36] Nomadology. pp. 46/ 57.

[37] Ibid. p. 68.

[38] Ibid. p. 67.

[39] Ibid. p. 19.

[40] Ibid. pp. 19/ 34.

[41] Ibid. p. 111. My italics.

[42] Ibid. p. 44.

[43] Cf. Ibid. p. 95.

[44] Ibid. pp. 44-45.

[45] Ibid. p. 51.

[46] “Delocalization,” of course, is Virilio’s term for the damaging effect of the technics of tele-technology. See especially Open Sky (Trans. Julie Rose. London: Verso, 1997).

[47] “The Violence of the Global.”

[48] Cf. Derrida: “[Globalization] is not taking place. It is a simulacrum, a rhetorical artifice or weapon that dissimulates a growing imbalance, a new opacity, a garrulous and hypermediatized noncommunication, a tremendous accumulation of wealth, means of production, teletechnologies, and sophisticated military weapons, and the appropriation of all these powers by a small number of states or international corporations” (In Giovanna Borradori. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with J¸rgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. p. 123).

[49] Nomadology. p. 120. My italics.

[50] Ibid. p. 66.

[51] Ibid. p. 62.

[52] Ibid. p. 54.

[53] Ibid. pp. 54-55.

[54] Ibid. p. 119.

[55] “Perpetual Peace.” p. 93.

[56] Ibid. p. 115.

Irving Goh is a doctoral candidate with the European Graduate School (EGS). His current research interests include the intersection of philosophy and architecture, theories of communities, the question of friendship, and postcolonial theory. His paper on Deleuze and Guattari and postcolonial theory was published by the journal genre (California State University). Irving Goh lives in Singapore.