[D-G] Hello everyone!

shathley Q swordschool at gmail.com
Fri Jan 20 11:42:47 PST 2006

Hi Harald,

I think a graph may in some ways be antithetical to D's notion of a rhizome.

we know of course all of ATP is one giant in-joke. Freud, a tactical
engagement, was phobic about ferns, therefore a rhizome, the fern's stem,
becomes a central image of the theory. Leibniz's differential calculus and
his feud with Newton prompts a 'Treatise on Nomadology' rather than a
'Treatise on Monadology'. ATP's all about finding a way to have a laugh at
the expense of the formal edifice of Philosophy, the History of Philosophy,
or as D himself puts it, in his letter to Michel Cressole, 'the oedipus of

a mathematical graph is a two dimensional graphic representation of a rule,
called an equation or more technically accurately, a 'function'. the rule
predicts a certain path, connecting certain points, while excluding others.
this is kinda where I hit the rocks on the analogy your trying to make.

D+G suggest in ATP's introduction [p.6, I'm using the Athlone 1999 edition]:

'Take William Burroughs's cut-up method: the folding of one text onto
another, which constitutes multiple and even adventitious roots (like a
cutting), implies a supplementary dimension to that of the texts under

Those good old boys are thinking visually sure enough, but not in 2D space,
and not quite yet in three dimensions. one of the lasting images I take away
from ATP is the discussion around fractals in The Smooth and the Striated.
how can something exist in more than two dimensions but less than 3?

the key to a rhizome is that folding of space to create that interstitial
dimension that can, in the example of literature, allow for a practice like
criticism to manifest... Im struggling for a word here and might have to
settle for 'spontaneously'.

a 2D space, by its very nature cannot allow for such an interstitial
dimension to be produced, since it is in effect a straight line, vertical
or horizontal, unmodified by considerations of volume.

another point where I fall away is the notion of a rhizome as a rule. doesnt
that fly away from the notion of heterogeneity? a rule can never produce a
result outside of its limitations. the point (1;9) for example, would never
exist on the graph y=2x+3. and it seems reasonable that a rhizome would be
able to connect any point on a two dimensional system of axes, or even a
three dimensional, or four, or so on... Hell, it seems reasonable that a
rhizome would be able to connect very convincingly the writings of Cormac
McCarthy to the spatial point (1;9).

to take Eco's famous example of the writer writing across texts,
intertextually, because as they write, a plethora of books are opened to
various pages on their desk... the writer in such consideration would
themselves be the rhizome for the various opened books. or to put another
way, a good analogy for me, is the rhizome is a little like zero-point
energy (caltech's physics institute has some good material on ZPE at

on the rhizome as computer network.

it's a subtle distinction, and maybe I'm whining just a little too much, but
as far as infotech goes, the image of a rhizome for me can be seen more in a
mailing list than a computer network. network's just computers talking to
each other. a mailing list is people and machinery and people again. their
hopes and fears, their dreams and inhibitions, the wives they're cheating
on, the dinners they're making, the beer they accidentally spilled on the
DVDs they rented.

anyhow, I'm just grousing out loud.
-shathley Q

'The night can make a man more brave but not more sober... what are men but
chariots of rage, by demons driven?'  --- Alan Moore, Saga of the Swamp

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