Frames /sing


Becoming Intense and Longitude: Deleuze and Guattari

Deleuze and Guattari define a body by the terms latitude and longitude, such that each “body” would have a reading in each register, as they put it:

D&G wrote:
Latitude is made up of intensive parts falling under a capacity, and longitude of extensive parts falling under a relation.

-a thousand plateaus, Becoming-Intense, Becoming Animal (257)

They credit this discovery to Spinoza. Latitude is read in degrees of power [or intensity]. In this way the traditional dualisms of Idea and Body are subsumed under the body itself, and expressed in both intensive and extensive states. What is interesting in this model is how it borrows from global positioning. A body, as it grows more intense, will, it seems, expand in its proporitionality to the globe. In reading this model of Spinozist thinking, can one imagine that one can increase in latitude without an isomophoric increase in longitude? This seems impossible in the Spinozist framework. Yet Deleuze and Guattari’s hypothesized lines of flight seem to elicit just such an intensification, a latitudnal line that expands in intensity without expanding extensively. A composition of music, the scribbles of black marks made by Bach perhaps, would seem like a line of flight without longitudnal expanse, until taken up in history. Yet is this a proper reading? Perhaps the composition itself marks out a bodily, that is extensional relation of parts the cut across our customary boundary lines, taking up the extensional intensities of influence (the clop of horses outside his window, the spatiality of notes played when he was a child, the distance between keys on a keyboard, [an infinite list] etc), into a single assemblage of which it is only the burg of vast ice. And how are inadequate ideas to be represented here, which would be intensifications which do not compose as powerful extensional relations, as are imagined? The globe itself presumably would be the Body without Organs of Substance and Nature.




[For a more elaborate approach to Deleuze and Guattari, see the entry “Orchids, Wasps, Beetle’s and Crickets: A Menagerie of Change in Transgender Identity”]

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