If one does not read Deleuze exclusively in the context of a position critical of reason, which is commonly paraphrased as transcendental empiricism (cf. Rölli 2003), nor as a proponent of an ontological realism (cf. De Landa 2006), then Deleuze (and Guattari) could also be used to describe socio-economic, synthetic structureur François Zourabichvili, in turn, has pointed out that Deleuze’s philosophical conception is by no means about a thinking of being, which might even be in the tradition of fundamental ontology. In contrast, according to Zourabichvili, the Deleuzian object is located somewhere else entirely, namely in real and lived experience, which can be understood as signs of the body, whereby they are forces that affect the body, which ultimately requires the synthesis of forces by a thinking that responds with a conceptual symptomatology (of the real) and precisely not with a new ontology. (Cf. Zourabichvili 2003) Zourabichvili’s position situates a Spinozist Deleuze between critique of reason and ontology. We target a fourth level in Deleuze, who in coexistence with Guattari in the joint texts prepared in approach the conception of a non-philosophy or non-economy of the (real) social machines of capital.
The questions to reality (of the economy) and its symptoms, which Marx also poses with his critique and exposition of the system of political economy, should be able to be explicated as „objective“ problems according to the concept of a non-philosophy described so far and the concept of a non-economy yet to be presented, insofar as concepts such as structure, system, multiplicity, and process (of the capitalist economy) may themselves be taken as extremely problematic constellations, all of which are written in Deleuze’s terms from the concept of virtuality. Deleuze’s concept of the virtual does not favor eternally static ideas, but directs the entire focus to the generic mode of existence of ideas beyond a strict separation of the ideational and the material. The concept of virtuality goes back to the Middle Latin virtualis, which in turn derives from the word virtus, which stands for power, potential, capability. Since the scholastic philosophy it designates that what exists according to the ability, but not in actualized form. One could now immediately place the concept of virtuality in the neighborhood of the concept of possibility, but this remains clearly delimited from the concept of virtuality in Deleuze. (Cf. Deleuze 1992a: 206f.) The virtual, which possesses full reality, must be shown to be already indeterminate and open beyond a probabilistic fixation, insofar as it divides itself into itself and permanently changes qualitatively in this non-simultaneity. While the possible, which is always already determined by the real, realizes itself as the probable, the process character of the virtual indicates an actualization which is always already different from it. Thereby, the virtual dominates the actual, but without encompassing it, precisely because the virtual has to realize itself in and with the actualization. And because the virtual and the actual are immanently determined without coinciding with each other, the specific relation of virtual structure and actualization cannot be undermined in such a way that one reduces the concept of structure to the possibility form of actual states or specifications; on the contrary, any relation of analogy or similarity between (virtual) structure, actualization and actual empirical cases should be excluded, among other things because the actualizations and their actualizations are not only the same but also the same thing. inter alia, because actualizations and their arrests remain potentially unpredictable, while the virtual has a reality all of its own, which, according to Deleuze, always conveys once and for all any process of actualization according to a time and space, that is, in the sense that the virtual can play out its potential for determination only once, whereby, in turn, the actual precisely does not degenerate into an image of a universal possible. (Ibid.: 268)
The virtual/actual interconnections coexist by oscillating, in other words, a game of differences unwinds here. To the concept of differentiation Deleuze inscribes the difference between differentiation – difference as determination of the idea or the virtual – and differentiation – actualization of an idea, whereby this is by no means a mere procedure of copying, but rather the scattering of virtual singularities in their differential. (Cf. Nancy/Scherer 2008: 44) Inherent in differentiation, then, is the distinction between virtuality (as an idea) and the actual, which, as formed qualities, relations, and things, incessantly continues to modulate and transform, precisely by acting back on the virtual. (Ibid.: 44) Every activity that tries to achieve the new relies as a capacity on difference and this happens as heterogeneous temporality beyond chronological time, happens as a caesura in the ever already displaced moment that holds the so-called inflection point of differentiation, which is difference itself. Finally, difference has no basis as itself and is thus in and with its processes of division ever already endangered, i.e., there are productions of infinite series of differences, of differences „en bloc“ that differ in themselves; they are differences that repeat themselves and consequently recur in all differences, but at least always a little bit differently. (Ibid.: 31) Everything that happens happens only once, some things remain the same, but never in all their features. For Deleuze, virtuality is thus not everything possible, but that which is possible, was possible, or will be possible in a specific time-space. (Cf. Zechner 2003: 103) The virtual has enormous effects in the real, and at the same time, precisely because of its connection to empirical causal mechanisms, the virtual always proves to be the effect of an effect and thus functions as an incorporeal quasi-causality, although the virtual can of course also remain inactive and thus assume the status of a reserve. With the concept of structure, Deleuze captures per se problematic (symbolic) relations that can find „solutions“ both through the conceptual constellation of the relations and places belonging to them (their differentiations in a topological space) and through their actualizations in time and space, but even when solutions are inscribed in specific relations, the problems continue to insist and persist in the solutions. (Deleuze 1992a: 203f) This indicates, among other things, that there is no universal mode of discourse that can, for instance, avoid or even resolve unexpected encounters, dispersions, and struggles within a system. And it remains to be noted that Deleuze does not ground structure in language at all, but rather in time.1 All processes inherent in structure that proceed in time are arrested or sutured to the problems of time as temporization, the virtual aspect of time, so that Deleuze speaks here of a static genesis. And (virtual) structures, according to Deleuze, can be described as complex, i.e., problematic, even as heterogeneous and polycontextural systems that integrate the „ideational“ factor of time or highly temporalized units, or, to say it slightly shifted with the terms of system theory, time is understood here as necessary for systems in that it allows operations (distinction of differences) that form order relations, so that only structural couplings of coevolutionary systems can emerge. If these operations (exchange of information) take place in the context of a coupling of systems operating with other systems in their respective environments, then we are at the level of structure. From the point of view of the spatial, structures are topological, and from the point of view of the temporal, they are infinite. In the course of the differentiation of operations, which bring something into the light and something else not, potentials can be opened up and productive differences can be set in motion – even Luhmann sees this, who, however, primarily insists on the connectivity of the systems within the framework of the time constraint – the effects of which cannot be determined at all in advance, however, (social) systems are subject to the primacy of complexity reduction in systems theory and accordingly lead to the dynamic stabilization of structurally coupled systems.
Deleuze connects with the sui generis problematic concept of structure a differential-virtual multiplicity of the idea, which takes place in a quasi-transcendental field (of ideational events) and whose virtual and at the same time real differential is realized in the process of actualization, and this in the midst of an intrinsic temporality, i.e., with every possible actualization, which always has inherent the moment of differentiation, the differential relations of the structure itself also shift. (Cf. Rölli 2003: 307) Structures span a transcendental realm that cannot be caught up at all by the finite achievements of the understanding or by the transcendental subject. Deleuze’s version of transcendental empiricism is concerned, among other things, with recasting the relationship between the abstract and the concrete, whereby abstraction cannot be grasped from the outset with a kind of logic of mapping. Rather, for Deleuze, a vertical movement in the mathem of the „differential“ is indicated here, the use of which leads to an integration of the elements placed in relation on an even more abstract level. For Deleuze, his model of thought of the differential, which he proposes as an alternative to dialectics, represents something like the condition for the formulation of a problem, insofar as he insists that in every thing we find an infinity of differential relations about which the differential provides information by referring to the technique of a non-quantitative calculus. Subsequently, with the determination of the pure differential, relations of the universal are conceivable in which none of their terms are fixable as independent variables. Deleuze writes: „Dx is completely indeterminate in relation to x, dy in relation to y, but in relation to each other they are completely determinable. Therefore, a principle of determinability corresponds to the indeterminate as such. „2 With the mathematical figure of the differential, a principle of the alternating determination of dx and dy is indicated, turned as a (Platonic) idea of a reciprocal synthesis, whereby, however, we do not have to assume any reflection-logical meaning; instead, Deleuze always asks at this point for the genesis of the principle in the sense of a production of real objects, which finally have to be determinable. Under the dominance of the differential, however, it is not primarily the objects but the relations (and changes in time) that are thought about (dx/dt, where x stands for everything possible). What Deleuze himself calls the static genesis model of structure, which overcomes or twists the opposition of structure and genesis, is fully differentiated/differentiated with reference to the Kantian moments of indeterminacy, determinability, and determination-the question remains whether this will be carried through to the end (and whether a grammatical difference between the two terms can actually be generated). The (virtual) differentials, which always imply diverse structural series and singular points, correspond to a problematic field that indicates a virtual potential and enables communication between the heterogeneous series and singular points. (Cf. Krause 2011: 171f.) Structures thus contain completely indeterminate elements, they are determined as differentiated relations or reciprocal differential relations that are inseparable from a potential, and they actualize themselves in spatiotemporal relations. We will return to this later in Deleuze/Guattari’s discussion of the concept of capital.
If structures are to be understood as autoreferential systems, in that they integrate the ideational factor of time, they are at the same time determined by Deleuze as virtuality, whereby one must avoid „ascribing to the elements and relations that constitute a structure an actuality that they do not possess, and denying the reality that they do possess.“ (Deleuze 1992a: 264) Virtual structures, according to Deleuze, insist as parts of any object, not only the cognitive object but also the real object, and indeed as if „the object had one of its parts in the virtual and was embedded in it as in an objective dimension.“ (Ibid.: 264) And they are capable of actualization as virtual relations (what was possible, is possible, or will be possible at a given time in a given place), and thus every historical formation also represents a spatiotemporally curved actualization or an infinite number of actual arrests of the virtual structure. Translated into Marxian terms, this would mean – as, incidentally, Adorno also recognized – that there is a kind of self-movement and autonomy of the (virtual-philosophical) concept, which processes specific economic categories as „objective thought-forms“ (Marx), which in turn express „forms of existence, determinations of existence“ (Marx) of the open whole of economy in a very specifically different way. (MEW 23: 90)
Deleuze develops a concept of the problem in which the solutions are always already immanent. To put it succinctly: If a problem is well formulated or constellated, it is, according to Deleuze, in tendency already solved. (Cf. Deleuze 1992a: 203f.) And it is solved by concepts and terms whose arrangements, rhythmologies, and positions correspond to those of the problem at hand, but terms can also traverse different problems, while certain problems entail the formation of dispersive terms. Concepts react to insistent problems, and this not so much with answers, but rather already with a conceptual dispersal of the problems, whereby concepts with their components, among which fragments of other concepts can also be found, themselves undergo a development or becoming. And on a level of consistency, the turnover point of problems, which offers the possibility for the formation of concepts, concepts meet other concepts, overlap each other or adapt to each other, border with their finite number of components on other compound concepts, which in turn refer to certain problems. (Cf. Deleuze/Guattari 1996: 24) The concept, bound together by intensive ordinates as a fragmentary whole, stands in an exo-relation to other concepts, realized through bridges and zones of adjacency, and this not so much through succession and correspondence, but through resonances that point to infinite referents and relations between concepts. In any case, Deleuze’s philosophy of virtuality simply places a non-creationist construction of problems, concepts, and their relations ahead of the interpretation of them. (Ibid: 42)
Althusser formulated this similarly in several passages in Das Kapital Lesen 1 when he writes that the production of a problem constellation and the concepts that unfold it should be understood as the effect of a new theory. This new theory first of all develops a field of theoretical knowledge within which the problem is constructed, which in turn requires the invention of very specific terms. (Cf. Althusser/Balibar 1972a: 102) Althusser concludes that it is only through the establishment of an articulated order within a problematic that concepts acquire their position in a field, their meaning, and their consistency in order to vary with the particular problematic. The problematic is the „center of gravity from which the order and the various parts of this text (object, language, terminology, method, problems and their solutions) emanate.“ (Karsz 1975: 27) For Althusser, the very attempt to start from the solutions presents itself as ideological insofar as one then poses the problem precisely in such a way that the solution one wants to give it actually coincides with the alleged real solution, i.e., one constructs the problematic entirely in terms of the solution that is currently demanded by the socio-economic conditions at the moment. (Cf. Althusser/Balibar 1972a: 68) For Althusser, as for Deleuze, on the other hand, the „solutions“ result from the constellation of concepts, relations, and topologies outlining the problem, and precisely not vice versa. The solution is immanently produced with the configuration of the components, parameters, and relations of terms articulating the problem, but it is also distinct from the problem. And just as problems do not readily reveal themselves in solutions, so conversely solutions can also disguise problems, which at this level already points to the complex translation procedures of problems and solutions. And the productions of orders, constellations and translation procedures as problematics, respectively the theoretical means of production for the production of cognitions are each already organized linguistically/written. Also with regard to the problematics of representation of economic structures, one is constantly dealing with new theoretical productions, so that „outdated“ productions eventually no longer find a place, whereby it must be kept in mind that one is fundamentally only able to interpret the relations and elements of the structures in their interplay in a fractured or crisis-like manner, i. e. the work as a „construction site“ (Balibar 2013: 176). In this context, Althusser’s procedure of a „recurrence in the history of science“ (Brühmann 1980: 230), also called „symptomal reading,“ points out that no text should be subjected to a teleological way of thinking that directs it toward a goal. On the contrary, the respective inadequacy is to be sought in an internal comparison of the text with itself, which, after all, is always already permeated by heterogeneous discourse structures. Therefore, Althusser can write of the problematic as a „conceptual working instrument of theoretical practice“ (ibid.: 231) that keeps both the objects (data, information, concepts, ideas, etc.) and the production of them constantly in tension and open-endedness. And he finally makes a differentiation between problematics and scientific object with regard to the respective epistemological effect in theory: While the problematic with its respective structure marks out the field of possible objects, the strictly scientific theory possesses a structured and hierarchized whole, which only completely detaches it from all ideologies or outdated conceptions. And the task of philosophy consists precisely in describing this division, but without itself intervening in the theoretical practice of the individual sciences. With its operations, philosophy investigates, at least as Althusser of the middle phase sees it, the interplay of problematics, objects and discourses in the sciences, and this precisely without direct intervention. Thus, for Althusser, the epistemological structure of a science is revealed only against the background of a philosophy that succeeds in problematizing the history of epistemological structures insofar as the sciences actually produce new theoretical objects. This had happened with Marx, so that at the same time a new type of philosophy could emerge, which would have broken with the mediation of mind and matter or the subject-object problem. However, Marx did not succeed in formulating and unfolding the scientific concepts that were already subliminally effective in his theory production, and it is precisely this that proves to be the task of a Marxist philosophy today. (Ibid.: 244f. ) In doing so, philosophy should by no means act as the ultimate judge in the sense of a science of the sciences, but should, in addition to the construction of the history of the sciences, investigate the internal discourse structure of singular theories and thus show how, under certain conditions, scientific epistemic effects that are immanently regulated and to be regulated in the theory itself come about, without philosophy, on the one hand, providing transcendental guarantees for this, and, on the other hand, delivering mere collections of historical theories with which the respective stringent object of the theory cannot be grasped. Accordingly, the epistemological effect of philosophical analysis would consist in the description of the specific epistemological effect of a regional science with its axioms, hypotheses, conclusive lines of argumentation, categorial concisenesses, methods, experimental apparatuses, empirical operationalizabilities, political relevancies, and problematics, i.e., all the discursivities of a theory that indicate „how a word becomes a concept, a conceptual system becomes a problematic, and a theoretical montage becomes an insight.“ (Ibid.: 251) Theory has to face the criteria of justification to be determined pragmatically, without initiating an ultimate justification. At the same time, philosophy should consider its relation to non-philosophy insofar as it is itself inseparable from the economic, political, and social conditions that affect and are affected by it. Therefore, three things have to be considered here: a) the structure of a singular science would have to be examined, the opening of new problematics, conceptual fields, method, instruments, and objects; b) the scientific environment would have to be delineated that has influenced and is influenced by a theoretical break; c) the historical socio-economic conditions themselves in which the respective sciences and their institutions operate would have to be taken into account. Although philosophy constantly draws new concepts and theories from the sciences, absorbs them in specific ways, and constructs ever new „objects“ in consequence, it does not itself possess the same objects as the sciences. And as a philosophy that rejects the gesture of traditional philosophy of recourse in the last instance to the dualisms of mind and matter and/or subject and object, it can only be a „non-philosophical theory of philosophy,“ as Althusser himself writes, and thus he actually lays a fuse to Laruelle’s conception of non-philosophy.
Let us now return to Deleuze. We had seen that, according to Deleuze, the genesis of solutions should be conceived as a differential process of actualization of (virtual) problems. (Cf. Deleuze 1992a: 228f.) Deleuze advocates here an element of the ideational, which he calls the „problematic,“ whereby specific solutions cannot be looked at or deduced, but precisely only actualized, in such a way that the problem insists in the solutions, which are concepts or terms. Thereby the problem always stands in difference to the solutions; it is at the same time immanent in the solutions and transcendent in relation to the solutions. In no case, however, the problematic may turn out to be a missing solution, e.g. a lack of knowledge, which a solution could possibly eliminate. To orientate the problem on its solvability as a criterion for its correctness would mean to deprive it of its productive power, which fully unfolds only when a well posed problem (there are also badly posed problems) has reached its most abstract „version“, so to speak, when the real itself (here distinguished from the real of a laruelle) is seen as a continuous scattering or dissemination of (impersonal) knowledge. dissemination of (impersonal, non-representational) singularities appears, namely as inflexion, which finally makes even the distinction between element and relation superfluous, insofar as the produced object is above all the relations themselves, which traverse it as fluctuation, disparity, and divergent repetition. (Cf. Deleuze 1995: 30) Finally, Deleuze summarizes, „An object outside experience can be represented only in problematic form; which does not mean that the idea has no real object, but that the problem as problem is the real object of the idea.“ (Deleuze 1992a: 218) The faculty inherent in thought should always relate to real/objective problems by simultaneously examining and transcending experience for its real rather than possible conditions. Properly posed problems owe themselves to a specific constellation of concepts with their respective components, concepts which in their becoming in turn refer to other concepts, whereby all concepts are distributed on a (pre-philosophical) level, which Deleuze/Guattari call the level of consistency or immanence, which, besides the concepts, contains the diagram correlating to them with its respective forces, be they centrifugal or centripetal forces. We are thus dealing with the problematic of the idea, whose formalizations are, for Deleuze, initially nothing more than applicants seeking to inscribe themselves in an evolutionary genealogy. More precisely, applicants as simulacra, which for the time being remain in a pure status and thus without any originality, whereby specification results from the evaluation of possibilities for the integration of a simulacrum, an applicant, into one of the many series from which, in many cases, the heterogeneous assemblages are produced. (Cf. Deleuze 1993a: 311f.) This inversion of Platonism aims at the description of a simulacrum that can be calculated by means of the mathematical differential. The question Laruelle poses to Deleuze at this point is precisely how to develop an a priori and transcendental concept of difference that is at once genetic and real without inscribing itself in the topos of the idea. (Cf. Laruelle 2013c: 200) The virtuality of structure would thus have to relinquish its ideality. For Laruelle, Deleuze’s philosophical concept is still about the problem of a continuous becoming ideal of the real, while conversely, nevertheless, a dispersive becoming real of ideality would have to be thought, and this in the course of the production of material expressions. (Ibid.: 203)
Now, how are the relations between Deleuze’s supporting concepts such as structure, contingency, potency, multiplicity, virtuality, and actualization to be understood? For Deleuze, contingency shows up as being in potency, which is the being of the problematic itself, serving as an indispensable weapon for all that ever currently happens. Thereby, contingency as „meaninglessness in itself“ produces, on the one hand, too much of meaning in the real in the form of surplus signifiers and, on the other hand, too little of meaning, insofar as breaks, gaps, and pores constantly appear in the chains of signifiers, which in turn suggest too much of the imaginary. As a result, contingency points to a point of chance that characterizes the symbolic structures, which allows the real and the imaginary to collide, and it is precisely in this quality that contingency suggests the virtual (symbolic) object. (Cf. Deleuze 1992b: 37ff.).
Here Deleuze distinguishes exactly three registers of reality: 1) actuality – a register of extension = 1; marked by an infinite comprehension. 2) Potentiality – a register of extension = ∞; marked by finite comprehension (the discrete entities are the subject for probabilistic distributions or contingency). 3) Virtuality: a register of in-extension; marked by indefinite comprehension. To illustrate, one might cite here the problem of instantaneity, a paradoxical becoming as the overlap of a real virtuality with an actuality, as happens, for example, when two objects meet at the boundary or in the instantaneous. e.g., when wood is ignited by a burning match, the fire can be understood as virtual and the wood as actual. If one may now not assume a simultaneity of the virtual and the actual, but also not a temporal transition from the virtual to the actual, because, among other things, every transition can only be actual (so that it leaves nothing of the virtuality), while Deleuze nevertheless assumes an object in which one part is virtual and the other part actual, then we can finally only deal with the object as symbol: the object X, which is missing in its place and thus is ever already displaced. (Cf. Deleuze 1992a: 138) This symbol, borrowed from Lacan’s theory, bears faintly significant names that, according to Deleuze, document (virtual) time in its pure state; and it contains potentialities, possible worlds that at least hint at perfect contingency. Contingency in its structural form is therefore bound to the virtual object, i. e. symbol, which never finds an identity or can only ever be different. Contingency in this structural logic also „conditions“ the virtual structure insofar as it indicates the empty field, a virtual potential that allows the heterogeneous series of signifier and signified to incessantly communicate with each other. It is always a matter of at least two series, which do not explain themselves by themselves, but are determined for each other by the paradoxical object X, which is already displaced in each case, and which circulates between both series by being missing in one series and surplus in the other – a floating siginificant displaced in itself, which is not a real sign after all. (Cf. Deleuze 1992b: 41f.) Here the question would have to be addressed to Deleuze whether one can really put the terms object X and „empty field“ synonymously. In any case, structures form an ideational reservoir in which everything exists in virtual simultaneity. And to expose structure, for Deleuze, in the context of structuralism, is to „determine a coexistence of virtuality“ that exists prior to the qualities and terms of the particular actualized field. And if every structure is a „multiplicity of virtual coexistence“ (ibid.: 27), virtuality would be understood as the non-mode of the structure, which has to actualize itself in mutually exclusive directions, and only temporary fixations always take place when the virtual elements organize themselves into at least two series, and this as an arbitrary concatenation of the flows of signifiers and signifieds. And crucial to this version of structural theory remains an instance that ensures a temporary concatenation of the series and at the same time prevents the collapse of the series, i. e. the meaning-generating paradoxical object X that is missing in its place, it symbolizes a non-place, an empty space or a symbolic zero value that releases virtualizations, orders in potenzialis, by resonating the two series with each other through its own displacement. To be absent from its place is to be abundant in one series (as an empty field) and at the same time absent from the other series (as supernumerary) in the displacement to itself, whereby the paradoxical object X belongs to both series as well as to neither series.
At this point, we would like to briefly discuss the attempt to tie Deleuze’s concept to the account of a relational ontology, as exemplified by Manuel De Landa. (De Landa 2006, 2010) If one does not identify the presence of objects exclusively with their actual presence, and this also independently of whether they are perceived by subjects or not, then we are always dealing with singular objects that carry potencies and forces within them, whereby the objects must certainly be understood as machines that, with their potencies/forces, are capable of passing through all possible different phases and nuances of differentiation within the radius of their attractors and vectors that structure them. And if substances are understood as various possible nuances as well as differentiations of their own trajectors by the attractors of a system (attractors are real, but not actual; they each already possess a virtual dimension), then substantiality of objects or machines would not be understood as mere substratum, rather it is expressed in manifold systems, the modes and the organization of the (active and passive) forces, the objects and machines of the system. At the same time, Deleuze should by no means be classified as an emergent theorist, because all that we understand as the result of an emergence of the substratum can be conditioned by just as many other things and differential relations as by the substratum itself. In this context, powers include the potentiality of objects/machines that do what they can do, but those need not manifest themselves directly in the world, so they are ever already more complex (and complete) compared to the various (incomplete) actualizations. De Landa writes in his book Deleuze: History and Science the following: „In other words, unlike trajectories representing possible histories that may or may not be actualized, attractors can never be actualized since no point of a trajectory can ever reach them. Despite their lack of actuality attractors are nevertheless real since they have definite effects. In particular, they confer on trajectories a strong form of stability, called ‚asymptotic stability‘ … It is in this sense that singularities represent only the long term tendencies of a system but never a possible state. Thus, it seems, that we need a new form of physical modality, distinct from possibility and necessity, to account for this double status of singularities: real in their effects but incapable of ever being actual. This is what the notion of virtuality is supposed to achieve.“ (De Landa 2010: 150) We are dealing here with a determinism coupled to potency that refuses to equate virtuality with indeterminism, insofar as (virtual) singularities produce real effects without themselves acquiring the status of actuality, as is the case with attractors that stabilize the trajectories of a system. De Landa assumes that for his theory of virtuality Deleuze borrows a number of ideas from the theory of structures of dynamical systems, a tool used by the sciences to obtain information about the tendencies of an individual system starting from their current states. In doing so, one first focuses on a diagram of the current history of a system and collapses it in the time dimension. One now has at one’s disposal a series of complex mathematics to finally obtain relevant information on how the different variables representing the dimensions of the system tend to interact with each other, by gradually eliminating, in different processes, the irrelevant information concerning the current interactions with their individual cases. This can be briefly explained by the example of the pendulum. (Cf. De Landa 2005: 14) Here De Landa distinguishes between the periods and the forces of an object, where a period is a set of points that is filled up by a series of variations, but never all points occur at the same time (pendulum). At the same time, forces could be interpreted as those points that an object updates at a given time period. The pendulum now implies a surface that has one dimension less than a graph or function (wave function with location vector equal to amplitude, wave vector and angular frequency), and whose curvature nevertheless describes the tendencies of the system in terms of the differential relations between the different variables. The topologically significant features of the virtual surface are called attractors (real but inactual), which are very often plotted as trajectories, i.e. lines or points on the flattened version of the surface, in order to put the main tendencies of the system into a simplified format. Now, the crucial point is that the virtual surface is never equal to the actual surface traversing the virtual surface in real time. If one sets a universal idea as a set of qualitative and quantitative dimensions relevant to representations of the modal features of the type of a given system, and one has to conceive of these features as real, then the universal idea would indeed be equal to a virtual surface populated by points and lines corresponding to the individual instances on the flattened version of the surface of the particular type of the system. Deleuze calls those points nomads, as they traverse space in differential mode, guided by those tendencies encoded in the dimensions and undulations of the virtual surface (graph or function). If we now introduce the temporal dimension, then the lines and points are to be considered as records of the current trajectories of the graph from which we obtain the dynamic model of the virtual. This formalization constitutes the basis of the immanent actualization of virtuality. Thereby the ideas as abstract universals are incapable of individuating their specific instances. This becomes clear at the latest when one realizes that any number of nomads could populate the same position on the virtual surface at once. Although their position on the surface contains important information about their current stage, this information has to be continuously supplemented in order to finally individuate the nomads completely. And the information necessary to transform an abstract universal into a concrete universal capable of complete individuation can only be spatial information here. So, one has to add extensive dimensions to the idea in order to gain information about the spatial relations between the different instances and the movements of the nomads, i.e., it is necessary to move the disparate sets of points traversing the virtual surface into a current surface. The way the current surface curves with its traversal of the higher dimensional virtual surface encodes the relevant information about the spatial relations between the points that compose it. And this has the effect that each singular individual has its own idea that encodes its modal features, insofar as they are a region of the concrete universal. But the picture of the various disparate ideas is not sufficient to explain their interplay at a single immanence level that opens up an intense space. Therefore, a unitary time adequate to them must correspond to the different spaces, i.e., the real modal features can be thought only in the context of the collapse of the time dimension. Thereby time is spooled onto the virtual surface in continuous, but at the same time erratic movements of the actual surface. And what makes all spaces in dynamic systems parts of a single world or perspectives of the same immanent informational surface is simply that they share the same coil of time or the temporalization of time (simultaneity). This is what Deleuze calls the pure and empty form of time, i.e., eon or eternal recurrence. (Cf. Deleuze 1993a: 207) In the context of dynamic systems, Deleuze always makes reference to heteronomies. He mentions the production of the truly new, whereas systems theory at this point speaks of autopoiesis, where it is not only concerned with an identical structure in time, but with the same reproduction in each case in the relation of system and environment. Systems are time-based concatenations of specific events and their components, which are produced by the system itself, with which the system knows no event outside of itself, if it functions as an autopoietic system, completely gliding. (Cf. Fuchs 2001: 84) Peter Fuchs speaks here of tauto-poiesis (ibid.: 109).
With regard to Deleuze’s concept of structure, the moment of ideality of the structure and its pre-existence vis-à-vis any actualizations would have to be problematized, although these are also granted an effectiveness. Insofar as Deleuze thinks the problem of virtuality and actualization from the point of view of the object or image, he has already raised the questions at hand with the conception of the crystal image in his book The Time-Image itself. (Deleuze 1991: 95f.) For Deleuze, in the so-called crystal image, the difference between an actual and virtual image remains de jure, but de facto there is a continuous exchange between actual and virtual image, so that the difference between the categories of virtuality and actuality is kept open and falls into a phenomenological indistinguishability zone, which Deleuze interestingly calls „objective illusion.“ In this respect, the crystal image is a simultaneous image of front and back, an image that is reversible, whereby it depends on the respective observer’s perspective what appears to be an actual or a virtual image. With the crystal image, a gap is closed in the course of simultaneity, insofar as virtual and current image coexist, and this again can only be recorded according to spatial, but not according to temporal points of view. At the same time, according to Deleuze, the limitedness of the current image and the potency of the virtual image must always be considered. And finally, this duality is in turn trinity, because current and virtual image are each already torn or separated by an undepictable and invisible boundary, which, however, can also manifest itself physically. Thus, we must de facto assume simultaneity, which finds an adequate representation in the crystal image, but the question remains whether this conception of an image relation is finally sufficient to be able to really unfold the degree of complexity of the relation of virtuality and actualization. If Laruelle, with regard to his non-philosophical questions, has increasingly turned to quantum theory and consequently to the figure of superimposition, one could, with Mirjam Schaub, sharpen Deleuze’s concept of the virtual in analogy to superstring theory to the effect that the virtual forms something like a „vibrating sounding board of current events“ that possesses the power/potency to totalize without, however, having to establish identity or unity. (Cf. Schaub 2003: 170) And the perpetual splitting of time would have to be put into relation with the constant founding of time or the temporalization of time (virtuality). The question now is precisely whether we are dealing here with the virtual as a being or a mode (of being) and/or with time as a metaphysical principle (time as universal change) that has the potency to unify by splitting events. Or, to put it differently, everything that happens is ever already shifted in relation to itself and this as an effect of the temporalization of time (universal change), whereby at this point one can certainly also ascribe the context of determination to potency. Virtuality then includes, for instance, the potency or power to feasibility or distributability, whereby this happens as the inconsistent filling of an interval that remains stretched between what is possible under certain conditions and what is actually realized.
One more brief remark on Deleuze’s concept of continuous-divergent manifolds, which we will discuss in some detail in the section „Deleuze and the Synthetic Security“. These qualitative manifolds are endowed with (incorporeal) quasi-causality. Quasi because, despite their virtualizing potency, they remain at the same time dependent on some actual causal mechanisms when they enter into relation with each other and then influence and internally share each other already at the price of a change of essence. Thus, for Deleuze there is no relation of the multiple to the One, but always only the relation of the molecular multiple and the One-All. And with Laruelle, Deleuze’s continuous manifolds would have to be shifted further, namely in the direction of a conceptual concept that starts from transcendental-aprioric, but at the same time real, dispersive manifolds, and thus precisely not from ideal manifolds, as we still find this, for example, in Badiou.3 For Laruelle, the multiple is not itself multiple, does not assert itself, whereby the fact that there is no multiple of the multiple does not mean that the multiple itself forms a metaphysical entity, rather the One in the last instance determines the multiple as such or in its identity.
The questions that can now be asked regarding the concept of the virtual or the problem proposed by Deleuze include the following: Does the problem really possess an independent reality when it is recognized through solutions? And if solutions, which are always real, take place, has not the virtual problem long since passed into the actual? Now, if the virtual has full reality, with its constellations changing with each actualization, then the virtual cannot be imagined as an independent ontological realm that has a virtual preexistence with a surplus of meaning of concatenation potentials, because, by differentiating itself, it always endangers its own univocity. Here, the problem of time as an „instance“ of the virtual immediately emerges, in that time, which is itself pure asignificance, differentiates itself in dimensions according to that which differentiates the difference between being/actual and sign. In this context, the problematic of time should always be understood as the question of simultaneity, if one is willing to assume a single time, even if it is measured in the most diverse places and spaces. The problem with time is precisely that with the category of simultaneity, time is at the same time to be thought as succession, so that simultaneity, with which in the same breath time is set apart or its constant passing is thematized, apparently no longer has a place in any time, with which simultaneity is the impossibility of time itself, but also contains within itself the possibility for the conceptual grasp of time. (Cf. Nozsicska 2009: 291) Alfred Nozsicska, to whose writing The Signs, the Automaton, and the Freedom of the Subject the argument is now oriented, writes the following about the category of simultaneity: „Simultaneity as the unifying ‚place‘ in time that divides time ’simultaneously‘ apart.“ (Ibid.: 291) This, in turn, could be related to Heidegger’s ways of writing time: „What does time produce? Answer: that which is contemporaneous, i.e., that which is absorbed into it in the same certain way […] the contemporaneous of time are: the Gewesenheit, the Anwesenheit, and the Gegen-Wart, which awaits us and is otherwise called the Zukunft. Time raptures us, especially into its threefold simultaneousness, raptures us there, by bringing the unity of being, presence, counter-being and the thereby opening of the simultaneousness. By moving away, it moves what is granted to it by the same-time: the time-space. Time itself as a whole does not move, rests still.“ (Heidegger 1959: 213) This primarily subsumes the parametric or measured time proper to calculative thought, clock time, to simultaneity or zero time, to stasis.
Simultaneity would then probably be understood as the immobility of time itself, whereby the most diverse times can occur without simultaneity ever dissolving. And time as a universal form of change would be virtuality in its pure form, which would remain virtuality in all its actualizations, a paradox which indicates the problematic of virtuality itself. Namely, virtual and actual would have to be simultaneous, at least as part of a virtual object – symbol – without existing at the same time, because in time one cannot pass from the virtual to the actual, but only from the actual to the actual; on the other hand, this simultaneity would have to be regarded as problematic, because one would have to take an exterior position for this realization, and then actual and virtual would have to exist in the object at the same time. (Cf. Nozsicska 2009: 293) Badiou writes in his Deleuze book The Cry of Being that for Deleuze being of the virtual is actualization, while actualization is the consummation of the virtual, from which it would then again be concluded that being and actualization would coincide in some kind of simultaneity. At this point, Deleuze actually connects the whole problem of simultaneity to that of the virtual object or symbol, insofar as simultaneity has to represent itself in it. If time itself is to be understood paradoxically, insofar as being-as-being (virtuality) is problematized, then virtuality and actualization de jure cannot coincide. However, there is also no temporal transition to report, insofar as this (because every transition can only be actual) would also erase the virtual. Here we are faced with the problem that, on the one hand, in thinking of time one should not do without the concept of simultaneity as a temporalization of time (virtuality); on the other hand, simultaneity can only be grasped if one considers that one is ever already on the side of the actual. For Deleuze, the answer here actually lies in the virtual object, which he thinks from the image: there is the object with its virtual and actual part, but there is no transition from the virtual to the actual. And this can only be written from the symbol, which is missing in its place. As in Lacan’s interpretation of the purloined letter in Edgar Allen Poe, the virtual object X, as an always displaced fragment, represents a pure past that was never present (Deleuze 1992a: 138). If the object X guarantees the relationality of the (serial) structure, being present in the series of signifiers and signifcates by being both absent and supernumerary in the series, then it cannot itself be relational, and if it is, then only in relation to itself. For Deleuze, it is the non-relational place, which, however, always remains displaced towards itself; it is considered the absolute distributive instance of the objects and their relations, and it indicates the whole of the structure from its interior view.
The problematic of virtualization (present-absent) leads to the quintessence of time as temporalization of time (virtuality), which is ever already to be seen in relation to temporalization (actualization). There can be no identically held transition from the virtual to the actual, but only something like a leap in time. (Nozsicska 2009: 294) As time implies a simultaneity as a temporalization of time with itself, so so-called points of time are only identical in that they are divided points of time. The simultaneous is only simultaneous in that it temporalizes and spatializes itself in contexts, with which every simultaneity immediately opens up a space, namely as spatialization of time. And thus we are already faced with the singularity of relations that come about through signs and technologies. Thereby sign/technology does not repeat something given, but sign/technology repeats itself as repetition of simultaneity (virtualization), and this is inseparable from the incisions and from the divided of time. Virtualization qua sign/technique happens, as from incisions emerges what is actualized as division. At the same time, virtualization inheres repetition as iteration of open time spaces, whose incisions do not possess a final boundary, but which as a final boundary itself participates in the more of the open. If now the sign introduces a structure of temporalization into the object by virtualizing it, then the sign must be separated from the object, whereby the so-called virtual part, i.e., the virtualization capacity of the symbol/sign, brings about the temporalization of time or the leap, while at the same time we are ever merely dealing with the actual. Sign, then, is that which leaps out of the object by virtualizing the object. (Ibid.: 294f.) And virtualization marks the leap of the sign. In doing so, the sign remains exposed to open space. Actualization is in turn accompanied by sign, without time ever having anything sign-like about it. Time, with its virtualization capacity, is de jure asignificant, while signs cannot be virtual; rather, signs virtualize that from which they emerge, and that is ever already actual. And it is precisely through this that signs establish new actuality values. (Peirce defines the sign as an „object“ (representamen) that causes an Other to relate to a sign object (signified) as this „object“ itself relates to this sign object. The Other is an „interpretant“ in relation to this „object“. By inducement, the interpretant itself becomes a sign, and this takes place without end, which means that the triadic structure remains contingent: Representamen, sign object and interpretant show up as rules of the game in the fields of unfinalizable texts and techniques). The problem around the virtual symbol therefore shows the following: On the one hand, the symbol is to be understood as absolute actuality, i.e. virtuality; on the other hand, it is to virtualize everything, including its own actuality. One could translate this to the effect that the already problematic symbolic problematizes the problematic of the virtual, a problematic that consists in the temporalization of time. But only starting from the actual can virtualizations qua sign/symbol take place, with which precisely through virtualization new actuality values are generated, ergo there is no virtuality, but there are only virtualizations. (Ibid.: 295) The sign is always actual in the sense of an effect, which itself produces effects, and this in the course of the specific temporalization of time (virtualization), whereby starting from an actual via virtualization new actuality values become possible. (Ibid.: 297) Through virtualization, something else actual is created from something actual via differential repetition, which is connected to the first actual, but shows no similarity with it. Accordingly, virtualization in the course of differential repetition would have to be understood as an operative intervention (qua technologies, mathematics and signs) in current relations, which are already effected as givens, i.e., they are effects of (economic) structures. And these, in turn, are effected insofar as they remain embedded in diverse empirical causal mechanisms (structures as quasi-transcendentality of capital, which actualize themselves via the actions of individual capitals). Therefore, the potency for virtualization should always be thought in the context of the category of determination-in-the-last-instance, i.e. economics. Economic mathemes and their signs exist purely in the mode of actuality, virtualizing that from which they currently emerge, thereby generating new actualizations. „Virtuality“ is produced starting from the actual – in this respect the (virtual) manifold is, to say it with De Landa, always also a passive entity, which remains dependent on empiricism and its various causal mechanisms.4 We are always already dealing with an (un)problematic actual (reality), which appears by itself: it is what it is, but this only in the context of the relation of specific temporalization of time/virtualization and actualization. And virtualization is able to change that which is presupposed for its intervention, yes, the given, in the course of repetitions, with which a new current structuring is given, which now occurs at another place in time, at which, in turn, what could be an event ex post is what decides whether some event has taken place before or not. (Cf. Fuchs 2001: 137f.) And if being is forced to be by thought qua sign, then we are dealing with the virtualization of being by language/writing. As absolute virtualization, the proposition (the proposition is sign of a virtualization) would then already actualize its own reference apparatus, actualization and virtualization would thus be two sides of the same coin; and insofar as being could then be uttered completely by the proposition, being would encounter a real that would not be a „being-nothing“ (Brassier), but pure nothingness. If we cannot think this, then we are always dealing with different degrees of virtualization, which means, among other things, that precisely where virtualization is weakest, the difference between being and real approaches zero.
Nozsicska thus goes the opposite way as Deleuze: assuming that there is exhaustively only actuality, virtuality itself cannot be thought as being or as a realm of being, be it symbol, idea or principle, with which we are always only dealing with virtualizations qua signs, which, as they are, can be, but could also be otherwise. (Cf. Nozsicska 2009: 295) Every sign system/automaton contains a minimum of signs that are capable of virtualization, performances that could also not be or could be otherwise. If in capitalism the processes of decision, planning, and programming are carried out by a so-called soulless automaton, which, however, cannot be defined either as Hegel’s spirit or as an automatic subject, then we are dealing with the virtual of a non-quantitative value, which, however, is not to be understood as a realm of being, but rather as the indeterminable potency of value to symbolize and actualize. Thus, Deleuze’s understanding of the relation „virtuality and actualization“ can be looped in, modified, as a heuristic that assists the conceptual grasp of the capitalist automaton. And the automaton is always in the mode of actuality; recognizing this only allows virtualization or counteractualization, for example, of current economic quantities, which are virtualized by prices in order to arrive at the next current quantities (at least we can start from price as a factor of counteractualization in the study of synthetic derivatives). Ergo, capital is pushed forward in permanence by the processes of updating-virtualization-updating-interconnection (qua economic mathem). And virtualization qua economic mathem (expression of the differentiation of value) always remains related to the determinant capital in its total complexion (quasi-transcendentality), which ever already insists as the same reproduction. Conceived as a mode of being or as pure simultaneity, the virtuality of capital would mean its own death, as we will show later.
Let us now briefly discuss some aspects of the terms structure and process in the theories of Bichler/Nitzan, Niklas Luhmann and Dieter Wolf, in order to finally arrive at a first conclusion regarding the methodological (in)consistencies in the theoretical approaches addressed. At first glance, it seems that Deleuze’s concept of structure is a complex form of the so-called creorder, a term that appears at the forefront of the methodological findings of the economists Bichler/Nitzan. (Cf. Bichler/Nitzan 2009) If structure is actualized in processes in each of its moments (we will see later why the concept of the machine is more helpful and comprehensive than the concept of structure for the study of capital structure), Bichler/Nitzan substantiate this process with the term „creorder“ (ibid. 2009: 19f.). They consider this to be a highly artificial term, which is supposed to indicate that a structure/order must permanently construct and reconstruct itself in (historical) time, just as a form has to transform itself incessantly. According to Bichler/Nitzan, in the context of creorder, the meaning of the relationship between Heraclitean becoming and Parmenidean being lies precisely in the fact that the fusion of verb and noun yields the term „creorder“: „To have a history is to create order – a verb and a noun whose fusion yields the verb-noun creorder.“ (Ibid.: 305) On the one hand, the so-called creorder may be completely vertical or hierarchically ordered, as is the case in ultra-bureaucratic systems, for example; on the other hand, it may also run horizontally, as could be the case in radical democracies, or it may be in the in-between of order and disorder. The fluctuations within the so-called creorder can proceed almost imperceptibly slowly until one finally gets the impression of a perfect stability of the order, or, on the contrary, they can lead to rapid accelerations (increase of outputs per unit of time) and growth excesses which finally undermine the order, whereby the respective transformative temporal patterns process continuously or discretely or in the in-between, for instance in the sense of a Dedekind operation. In this context, it is important to note with Hartmut Rosa (Rosa 2005: 118) that in contemporary capitalism not only is production, distribution, and consumption ever faster, but also ever more, whereby a progressive compression or scarcity of social and individual time resources only occurs when the growth rates of the production of goods, services information, distances, etc. exceed the temporal acceleration rates of the processes corresponding to them, otherwise the technologically forced acceleration processes would rather lead to the release of social time resources. And finally, one may imagine the temporal accelerations as well as the fluctuations of the growth rates to be uniform or random, singular or multifactorial, but no matter which property finally characterizes this kind of processual structural order, the so-called creorder for Bichler/Nitzan always implies a paradoxical duality, namely that of a dynamic creation of an intrinsically static structure (the paradox of a system/set that has the ability to refer to itself). Now, most hierarchical systems indeed seem to possess an extraordinarily high stability, with which, for example, their accelerative potential seems to be at least restricted or limited, whereby, according to Bichler/Nitzan, this happens in the economy either through material limitations and/or symbolic limitations, in and with which the permanent effort of the system is expressed to regulate or even eliminate any kind of conflicts, of class struggles and resistances, or at least to prevent an open outbreak of the conflicts. According to Bichler/Nitzan, however, capitalism has decisively and essentially loosened and flexibilized this kind of restriction through two forms of self-perpetuating accelerating deterritorialization, which once again dynamize any principles of movement and rigidity (without ever being able to get rid of the fact of conflictuality; that is, Conflicts remain stored in the structure): a) by the permanent revolutionization of scientific and ideological ways of thinking and mentalities, in the course of acceleration and growth processes, and b) by processes of intensive monetary capitalization, which bring about the incessant translation of qualities into quantities with increasing speed of change (variable rhythms, sequences and metrics). And in this, capitalization proves to be the generative matrix of capitalism itself, enabling extreme acceleration and rapid quantity growth of economic entities, factors that in turn have to be related to each other if one wants to arrive at powerful statements regarding the compression of economic time. In this context, capitalization today appears as a purely monetarily oriented formation and calculation of (synthetic) capital, i.e., with the help of efficient mathematical calculations, power-oriented capitalists try to discount, calculate and realize the risky profits to be expected in the future. At first glance, it seems that this kind of conceptualization in Bichler/Nitzan corresponds to Deleuze’s attempt to ceaselessly shatter that objective illusion which forgets the process behind the structure; however, in Deleuze’s representations, the structure itself possesses a real differentiality whose actualization, in turn, can still be found in the microparticles of social reality and its semioses and mathemes.
In a completely different context, Luhmann has turned to the problem of the relation between structure and process under the aspects of reversibility and irreversibility and has, however, given a completely different weighting to the terms than, for example, Bichler/Nitzan. Bichler/Nitzan emphasize the interplay between static structure and dynamic process, while Luhmann, on the other hand, writes the following: „The difference between reversibility and irreversibility [is] part of the ordering service they [the action systems] perform. And precisely that which they remove from the transience of the moment through structure formation is thereby made reversible: it lasts, so it can be changed. Contrary to a simplified opposition of structure and process, it is precisely the formation of structure that serves to hold out the possibility of change, while the concatenation of events appears as process, insofar as it becomes irreversible. Structures serve the construction of reversibility, processes the generation of irreversibility. Just the reverse, as is usually assumed, structures are thus more dynamic than processes.“ (Luhmann 1998: 132) Structure formation appears here precisely inseparable from factors such as dynamics, emergence, and (relative) contingency, although contingency is not read in the context of virtuality or However, contingency is not read in the context of virtuality or virtualization, which could, for example, overtax the basal ability to distinguish (system-environment) or the system’s ability to connect at any time, which Luhmann formulates in terms of a creatio continua; rather, systems theory inscribes every kind of non-sense in sensible events, so that connectivity can be established in the course of a process that proves to be a work in progress, one way or another. At the same time, system theory cannot avoid granting a certain status to the concept of the problematic, namely with reference to calculations that serve the system to overcome its own improbability threshold in permanence. In this respect, the system times the incessant decision concerning the question of the belonging or the usability of certain components (elements, relations, operations) in order to guarantee the preservation of itself within the framework of a probability calculus, a (negentropic) calculus that allows to constantly reckon with the unreliability of the components and at the same time to establish with its own operations a reliability, however fragile, of the system. This is not only about the subject of problem solving, but above all about the description of the topics of the observation of the system in its relation to the environment, which must be constantly readjusted, with which it can then also be empirically determined how the system operates, what it must be able to operate. And so Dirk Baecker also writes logically: „Therefore, to say it again, the concept of system is not a concept of the solution of all problems, but a concept of the determination and sharpening of all problems that observers currently have to deal with in dealing with the complexity of self-organizing processes.“ (Baecker 2008b: 12) With this formulation, Dirk Baecker in a way approaches Deleuze, who separates conceptual problematics from all criteria of representation by solutions, by showing that solvability arises from a constellation and configuration of differentials that is inherent to the problem and can be grasped conceptually – after all, solutions are produced immanently and at the same time contingently according to the concepts, their relations and components that constitute the problematic constellation. It is true that contingency in systems theory can also take on the quality of a potential, but it always remains bound to solvable problems, whereby contingency occurs in the infinitum of the same reproduction of the system, so that, if system performances are mastered in time, the outside of the system always appears only as an environment and not at all as a potential for counter-realization of events. With the hypostasis of the observer dispositive, the already scarce time, which is controlled by a system of deadlines, is subordinated to the system and its performances, in order to ultimately escape the mechanisms of the actualization/virtualization of divergent events and their corresponding disparate repetitions, because the emphasis of the theory clearly lies on the performances of the system itself, which purely functionally produce connections in the medium of homogeneous time, whereby these should always be current and observable. Following Derrida’s figure of différance, Peter Fuchs has pointed out the factor of post-sustainability inherent in that demand, but without completely abandoning the ultra-stable horizon of systems theory, while the conceptual figure of diffférance as time without time nevertheless points to the virtual power of time, to radical contingency – a problematic that emerges in Deleuze above all as that permanent interconnection of virtuality and actualization that must always be subverted in the sense of the counter-realization of (unpredictable) events. Counter-realization of events takes place in front of that arch of simultaneity of incomposable presences that appear like a specter of the conceivable of what then really occurs as a future present. Deleuze thus gives enormous weight to the unrealized or virtuality in the event.
In his various contributions to Marxian theory, Dieter Wolf has repeatedly objected that the representation and critique of capitalist economy must take into account the explication of non-intentional or unconscious structures, and furthermore, the problem of explaining in what way the unconscious structures might define the strategically conscious or intentionally addressed actions of actants is incumbent upon him. Dieter Wolf is concerned with the representation of dynamic structures, namely under the aspect that intelligible structures are to be understood as problem-solving in theory, hence „Problem Solving Structures“ (Wolf 2013a: 14). Thus, Marx provides a comprehensive analysis of the commodity structure in the first three chapters of Capital vol.1, and this leads to the result that Marx not only develops the money form, but also shows how the „dialectical representation“ of the „contradiction“ between use-value and value can be used to solve the problem, fundamental to capitalism, in which form isolated, concrete-useful labor attains the social status of general, abstract labor. However, with this way of understanding the problem – as, by the way, many varieties of Marxism have already practiced – one threatens to reduce the problem once again to a shadow image of the negative, insofar as the problem indicates a lack of stability (as a social resource) or a contradiction in the reality of capitalism, which is cancelled or „solved“ by the capital-immanent establishment of forms of value to be understood structurally or of laws constitutive of society, such as the structural law of value. It is incumbent upon the Marxist theorist to analyze, describe and finally critique the law of value as a self-setting solution (of capital) behind the surface appearing as capital fetish. In contrast, we want to assume in this paper that the problem is to be grasped as a conceptual instrument specifically related to the symptoms of the reality of capital, with non-dialectical terms and their components and constellations. For example, the former GDR economist Peter Ruben writes that the definition of the commodity as an element of an intensional set of commodities involves a logico-formal operation that can be represented by a procedure of abstraction leading to the formation of equivalence classes with their features of symmetry, transitivity, and reflexivity. (Cf. Ruben 2008: 98) Now, if Marx’s value-form analysis, as part of a conceptual problematic, fulfilled this precondition, then it could at least be understood as the partial description of a socially constitutive system, whereby one should immediately add here that the logical and logistical problematic of capital consists quite generally in the demonstration of that, what constitutes a necessary process qua differential structuring, but not, as Nietzsche puts it, „because laws prevail in it (the world), but because absolutely the laws are absent, and every power draws its last consequence at every moment. “ (Nietzsche 1967: 31) With Nietzsche and beyond Nietzsche, a non-fundamentalist social theory, in addition to the fact of the power-oriented productions of laws, always echoes those productions that keep the structures divided and torn, insofar as they represent, on the one hand, productions within the structure, and, on the other hand, are ever already withdrawn from its reproduction, when they refer, for example, to concepts such as justice, cooperation, and community, which cannot be ontologized, but rather denote precisely the transgression of the laws (in theory) themselves. And it is important to keep in mind that regimes – the capital relation actualizes/virtualizes itself through a series of regimes – do not reproduce themselves solely through their constitutive economic and political systems, vectors, variables, and parameters, but must also reckon with the actions of the actants as well as all sorts of so-called non-human objects such as technologies, bacteria, texts, fiber optic cables, highways, etc. in a double sense.
Finally, it is important to point out that there is no relation of analogy between both validity and genesis and virtualization and actualization, but there is always a gap. Included in the first relation is the question of how contingency is translated into stability. We can note that geneses are always differential repetitions, feedback processes, and contagions, while the firmness or grasping of a relation (becoming firm) is more about validity. And the internal history of capital pushes forward qua virtualization/actualization-interconnection and this interconnection implies repetition. What repeats with it in capitalism is primarily the structure, i.e. ever the same reproduction. And finally, the capitalist economy as a whole is given or it does not exist. As given, it is a social fact and not a fact in the transcendental sense, ergo not a condition of the possibility of …, but always a material condition of existence. And thus, if you will, we are faced with a double abyss of fact, namely, its possibility of not being and its possibility of ceasing to be. In any case, capital is given as an (open) whole, whereby the economic structure in capitalism determines all areas and facets of the social and political in the last instance, and at the same time capital processes through the mechanism of virtualization/updating, i.e., as the temporalization of time in time. Now, what is really to be understood as the condition of capital? Consistently, in the analysis of capital, it is necessary to start from the undoubted „there is capital“ as the condition of capital, an „there is“ that even still drives a Luhmann who, as an introduction to system theory, gladly proclaims that there is undoubtedly the system. Quite casually, Luhmann makes use of an existential statement in the course of an auctorial performance, and this precisely with regard to the theory of a radically de-ontological system, which has to be permanently deconstructed and demented, but through which the figure of the system is only confirmed. Through the construction of such a theory, the initial decision, which consists in „there is,“ is virtually confirmed. (Cf. Fuchs 2001: 116) We negotiate here the historical a priori of a Marx, i.e. „There is capital“, more strongly as a result of the understanding of a historical a priori in Foucault, the condition of „There is“, which in Foucault is constantly actualized anew as primarily sayable and secondarily visible (each already actual) via virtualization in time. (Cf. Deleuze 1987: 80f.) The non-philosophical term „there is“ refers to Laruell’s „given-without-given,“ the real, which, as we have seen, stands at least in an underlying correspondence to Marx’s notion of the economic basis as determination-in-last-instance. This is a radically determinative relation (of the economic basis in relation to the superstructure), a unilateral causality that leads from the economic basis to the superstructure and not vice versa, indeed no reciprocal relation between the terms may be assumed at this point. So the terms „condition“ and „determination“ are to be thought in the context of „there is“ in the strict sense – i.e. irreversible, unidirectional and „in-the-last-instance“. And (historical) temporality now means that one may not assume any general or ideal structure, but that the economic structure is to be conceptually developed with all caution as a real, extremely variable and yet radically determining „quasi-transcendental“ that acts in time, therefore effecting time, just as the structure cannot shake off the fact that it is effected by time. It is necessary to understand that capitals are not „In time“, but are in time. The a priori is always historical, and reproduction would then not be called that of a subject or thing, but denoted above all the same reproduction, that of capital. Wealth appears in societies where the capitalist mode of production prevails as an immense collection of commodities. This is how Marx begins Capital. Thus, there are products that are potentially commodities when they appear on the surface of capital, although with the word „appear“ there are already doubts about the statement that there are commodities, insofar as it is indeed a problem to assume the existence of the commodity despite different desires, needs and valuations, i.e. the commodity is dynamei, potency, and this is also expressed by Marx with the word „appear“. However, there is no doubt that capital exists as a mode of production, and this is to be understood as the apriori of a total complexion (quasi-transcendentality), which in turn remains coupled to virtualization-updating procedures. One should therefore not, as generations of Marxists have done, read out of the first sentence in Capital an organizist, Hegelian beginning with the elementary form commodity, but rather quite succinctly assume that Marxian science begins with a (theoretically) given, which from the outset can only be inscribed in relations, as a theory-architectonics with connotations to other theories and specific theoretical practices. Now, in order to avoid any kind of spatialization of the social (see the famous talk about the embeddings of capital in the impossible object of society, or see the figure of society as a container for everything possible), we set value as the ineluctable un-ground for the social, which in capitalism is always virtualized/actualized via and through a structure (quasi-transcendentality of capital in the sense of the effect of effect). Value indicates the figure of the ultimate unfathomability of the social and helps it to an opaque presence. It is precisely capital as total complexion (stability) that indicates, via its virtualization/updating interconnection (contingency) in time, that value must remain (quantitatively) indeterminate. Stability and contingency are definitely conceived here as constitutive, indeed as (logically) necessary resources of an economic-structural context within which social synthesis is ceaselessly impermanently produced.
The statement „There is capital“ thus contains a historical a priori, whereby, following Foucault, it could be said that this refers to a total capital actualizing, branching and distributing itself into individual capitals as a given and open whole. Thus, Foucault writes, „The apriori of positivities is not merely the system of a temporal dispersion; it is itself a transformable whole.“ (Foucault 1981: 185) And with Althusser, perhaps then, regarding the important aspect of a possible interruption of the whole, one would have to connect to Heidegger’s originless and groundless „there is,“ the non-calculated „giving“ (emphasizing the passionate-passive aspect of the gift, that which one has not chosen to give, but which keeps one open, indeed keeps the given time open in a time-space), which always precedes the presence of the given in the sense of a transcendental contingency. (Cf. Althusser 2010: 24) Here, then, the primacy of absence over presence is indicated (Derrida), and this not as a return to an origin, but as a constant postponement of any ground, as an unavailable and contingent „law“ that paradoxically constantly recedes when one wants to grasp it, only to re-establish itself elsewhere. Such a „law“, if one nevertheless considers its determinant function, would then be to be understood with Marx as a „tendency“, insofar as a tendency does not assert the form or figure of a linear law, but always branches out through encounters with other tendencies, in order to possibly form averages or generalities. What Marx calls tendency definitely also has similarities with what Deleuze calls virtuality, insofar as both terms are perfectly real, but not actual. And at the same time, the determinant function has to be taken into account.
We should at this point briefly mention the question of the methodological in Foucault, insofar as it concerns our subject here. As is well known, in Foucault’s archaeology we are not dealing with „documents“ that prove states and events, for instance, but with „monuments“ that construct states and events, as it were. And terms such as frequency, current, or growth, to which we will return often, refer in this context directly to changes in time, to duration, tempi, sequences, and rhythms. (Cf. Foucault 1981: 15f.) In this context, monuments can always be described only from a perspective immanent to the theory, whereby decisive for the so-called adequacy of the description, which is to follow the movement of scientific experiments, is the criterion of the stability of the internal coherences and regularities of statements, which result from the initial axioms, the deductive series that follow, and the constellations of empirical objects that are to be elicited in this way, which in turn are those of a finite historical corpus. For Foucault, a field of the sayable is about the proposition that, beyond the referent, signifier, or proposition, constitutes the constitutive element for a respective finite corpus of texts whose propositional regularities are to be established in each case. Foucault writes, „The referential of the proposition constitutes the locus, the condition, the field of emergence, the differentiating instance of the individuals or objects, the states of things and relations brought into play by the proposition itself.“ (Ibid.: 133) Foucault’s conception of propositions does not primarily encompass scientific theories based on the analysis of empirically observable phenomena and structures, but rather points to a functional structurality to be constructed through the grasp of the referent. Man, „as soon as he thinks, shows himself to his own eyes only in the form of a being that is already, in a necessarily underlying layer, in an irreducible priority, a living being, an instrument of production, a vehicle for words pre-existent to him.“ (Foucault 1974: 379) For Foucault, the functionality of the proposition as a diagonal forming different units does not follow a representational logic, but rather contains a kind of productive analytics, with whose apriori – quasi-transcendental principle – the historical conditions of propositions and their generative rules are to be uncovered. The apriori is historical. Foucault goes on to write about the statement and its objects, „[…] it will be a domain of objects existing at the same moment and on the same time scale on which the statement is formulated, or it will be a domain of objects belonging to a quite different present – the one indicated and constituted by the statement itself, and not the one to which the statement also belongs.“ (Foucault 1981: 133) Statements, with their subtraction from reference, are associated with a so-called referential, which does not necessarily have to refer to existing things, facts, or realities, but also refers to conditions to be constructed and regularities (laws of possibility) of past or future objects, to rules of existence for objects described by those. Foucault’s definition of the referential, abstracting from reference, could perhaps be read analogously to Deleuze’s derivation of the non-quantitative differential as pure difference from difference. And Foucault defines propositions as functions analogous to analytic logic. But as such they are not connected with a correlate as for instance the truth value in the case of logical propositions or the sense in the case of propositions in pragmatics, rather one can definitely feel here a closeness to Althusser’s conception of the epistemic effect, which comes about through the fact, that in a scientific system terms occupy a specific place and thus certain functions in a network are produced, whereby a complex, systematic scientific object (according to Deleuze a musical network) is first produced, in which discourses are inscribed at each of its levels, which indicate the presence or absence of the system. Referentiality thus contains both minimum-transcendental and positivizable components of statements or concepts, which one should finally tie back to empiricism in translations, indeed construct according to the real.
translated by deepl.
Foto: Sylvia John