7/16/2005

the plane of immanence

"The plane of immanence is like a section of chaos and acts like a sieve. In fact, chaos is characterized less by the absence of determinations than by the infinite speed with which they take shape and vanish. This is not a movement from one determination to the other but, on the contrary, the impossibility of a connection between them, since one does not appear without the other having already disappeared, and one appears as disappearance when the other disappears as outline. Chaos is not an inert or stationary state, nor is it a chance mixture. Chaos makes chaotic and undoes every consistency in the infinite. The problem of philosophy is to acquire a consistency without losing the infinite into which thought plunges (in this respect chaos has as much a mental as a physical existence). To give consistency without losing anything of the infinite is very different from the problem of science, which seeks to provide chaos with reference points, on condition of renouncing infinite movements and speeds and of carrying out a limitation of speed first of all. Light, or the relative horizon, is primary in science. Philosophy, on the other hand, proceeds by presupposing or by instituting the plane of immanence: it is the plane's variable curves that retain the infinite movements that turn back on themselves in incessant exchange, but which also continually free other movements which are retained. The concepts can then mark out the intensive ordinates of these infinite movements, as movements which are themselves finite which form, at infinite speed, variable contours inscribed on the plane. By making a section of chaos, the plane of immanence requires a creation of concepts." (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, "What Is Philosophy?", Columbia University Press, New York, 1994; page 42).