orphans, atheists, and nomads

Beginning D&G's Anti-Oedipus, I was struck by the invocation of orphans, atheists, and nomads as categories that gesture towards rhizomatic thinking and living, because it reminded me very much of Harraway's similar use of the language of seemingly 'disenfranchised', 'fringe' groups to open the discussion about the cyborg rupture. I-and judging by the last twelve hours on the blog I'm not alone in this- see strong parallels between rhizomatic thinking/being and cyborg epistemology/ontology. I see some differences, however, in the ways the becoming-processes for either. Harraway's cyborg is acutely conscious of its origins, and equally as apathetic about them. But its path of becoming is an explosion to the complete outside, not a growth from within. The Cyborg jettisons the baggage of both the teleology of the Garden and the Man in Space by playing them against each other in such a way as to open up a third space. The Cyborg is both an ontological and epistemological shift: one must not only realize one's relationship to the two most grand narratives of our time in the Western world, but also begin to live and take advantage of this relationship, to facilitate rupture and not a forceful re-inscription into the deadliest of old ideas. D&G seem to see things a little bit differently. Instead of seeing repressive teleologies as the source of all evil in current civilization, they point instead much deeper and closer to home: thought itself, and the absorption of desire into existing machines of power. While both stress thinking less in terms of heirarchies and differences and more in terms of multipilicities, the suggestion seems to run much deeper in the work of D&G. They seem concerned with a transformation of thought itself, with the process of reasoning, and of writing. They also seem to see the possibility for a rupture of what one might call ellision instead of explosion, in which rhizomic thought structures grow out of and incorporate 'arboreal' ones as well. Harraway seems to describe a break that is at least as explosive as it is silent, a total negation of the power of the traditional grand narratives of western society.

Finally, a note on politics. Guattari Hero offered Behabib's own work on the impact of postmodern thought on feminist projects. It's certainly worth acknowledging that theories of postmodernism destroy the grounds on which these projects stand: the annihilation of the category of 'woman' or 'woman of color' renders the cause of enfranchisement and emancipation moot. One should keep this in mind when considering such theories: is this a new and correct path to progress or a reductio ad absurdum of these views? I for one am optimistic about the possibilities of third paths, and think that they bear consideration in light of the painful struggle within existing institutions to right the wrongs that might, at this point, be centered much deeper than one could ever address in these ways.