Sunday, February 26, 2006

Embracing the rhizome

As is hopefully clear, while I have a great interest and respect for the Talmud and do study it daily, I am also open to a wide range of other influences and ideas as well. Some of these I hope to share over time.

Today, I would like to share some quotes from the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. They come from his work with Felix Guattari entitled A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

The life and energy and possibilities that they create in this book are a marvelous antidote for the closed-minded, fundamentalist thinking (Right or Left; Jewish or Catholic or Muslim or Buddhist; American or Canadian or European or Asian; etc.) that is engulfing our planet.

Deleuze and Guattari try to paint a path out of this thinking -- creating what they call "lines of flight" and giving us the wonderful image of the "rhizome" as compared to the "tree." I will let them speak for themselves now:

A rhizome as subterranean stem is absolutely different from roots and radicles. Bulbs and tubers are rhizomes. . . . Rats are rhizomes. p6-7

The rhizome includes the best and the worst: potatoe and couchgrass or the weed. p7

Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be. This is very different from the tree or root, which plots a point, fixes an order. p7

A rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines. . . . p9

When we become too attached to our "tree," we restrict movement, growth and life for ourselves and others. Our challenge is to recognize the rhizomatic nature of our lives and embrace it. If we do, we will make and see connections that before we would never dream possible. And NOTHING will be outside us, NOTHING will be excluded because as the D & G state "the rhizome includes the best and worst." Only by embracing it ALL can we create this world anew.

A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes the verb “to be,” but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, “and . . . and . . . and . . .” p25

No comments: