To Lose Yourself: Making Yourself a Body Without Organs

August 28, 2009

When you will have made him a body without organs, then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom.

When you will have made him a body without organs, then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom. - Artaud

Imagine someone as a human body composed of various organs. Eyes to see things, heart to pump out blood, lungs to breathe and pancreas to digest. Various organs organised in a way that it controls us. He is an organism.

Now dismantle his body. Dismantle the organs and unorganise them. Tear apart his lungs, rip away his pancreas, intestines and heart. Is it really so sad and dangerous to be fed with seeing with your eyes, breathing with your lungs and swallowing with your mouth? Dismantle the organs to give him a new body, where he can see through his skins, sing with his sinuses and breathe with his belly. A body no longer controlled by organs, and now with new modes of air, sights, blood to circulate through him. He’s no longer an organism, he has become a Body without Organs (BwO).

souleater

The rhetoric is classic: "don’t let yourself be controlled by madness". But this is contradictory because, well, madness is really all about being 'out of control' or more positively, "letting it all hang out". -animekritik on the madness of Soul Eater

Dismantling the organism has never meant killing yourself, but rather freeing yourself from our habit of always having to articulate, judge and explain everything, and simply opening your body to be connected. Becoming a BwO means becoming a living event, to immerse oneself, to lose oneself in desire. More immersed you are, the more you forget about yourself and things around you. Only thinking and feeling nothing except that very thing you are immersed in. Most of us watch anime as a light entertainment, but many would argue that to be completely immersed is the penultimate experience of watching anime.

Carry me away - Kaiba ED theme

Carry me away

BwO is a plane of desire. Desire takes you away from yourself; it carries you away, into unfamiliar territory of the soul. One loses oneself in desire. And the key is to obliterate subjectivity, to make oneself a plane of colourful emotions rather than a person that is trying to judge and interpret. When immersed, you are free of trying to organise everything into articulation, interpretation and judgement. You can interpret something, but only once you’ve found yourself again as an organism.

No longer are there acts to explain, dreams or phantasies to interpret, childhood memories to recall, words to make signify; instead, there are colours and sounds, becomings and intensities. There is no longer a Self that feels, acts, and recalls; there is “a glowing fog, a dark yellow mist” that has affects and experiences movements, speeds.

ttgl

"Drunkenness and madness are Dionysian because they break down a man's individual character; all forms of enthusiasm and ecstasy are Dionysian, for in such states man gives up his individuality and submerges himself in a greater whole: music is the most Dionysian of the arts, since it appeals directly to man's instinctive, chaotic emotions and not to his formally reasoning mind."

While music is the most Dionysian of the arts, sculpture is the most Apollonian of the arts, since it relies entirely on form for its effect. I’ve always had more appreciation for appreciations closer to Dionysian than Apollonian. Perhaps this is why the experience of looking at Michelangelo’s Medici tombs were far more poignant than looking at his masterpiece, Pieta. Although technically superior as a sculpture, Pieta is positioned like a tourist material behind the glass wall. In comparison, the sculptures of Medici tombs are in just perfectly sublime harmony with its surrounding architectural elements. I suppose the difference between the two experience is that one is sculptural and the other architectural (also helps that there are far less noise and tourists). One of the reasons I love anime as a medium could be that it is closer to Dionysian than Apollonian.

You can't afford to slow down, even if you were to miss the subtitles. To lose yourself in madness and flow is everything.

You can't afford to slow down, even if you were to miss the subtitles. To lose yourself in madness and flow is everything.

 

What comes to pass on the BwO is not exactly the same as how you make yourself one. Hence the two phrases. One phase is for the fabrication of the Bwo. The other to make something circulate on it. Take a masochist for example. His suffering is the price he must pay, not to achieve pleasure, but to disorgniase himself to make himself a BwO, and bringing forth a plane of consistency of desire. Masochism is the creation of a BwO, as is anorexia nervosa; but so is Tao, so is Spinoza’s Amor Dei and Nietzsche’s amor fati. That there are other ways, other procedures than masochisms and certainly better ones, is beside the point; it is enough that some find this procedure suitable for them. Different anime for different souls. Likewise, there are ways other than emotional pain to completely immerse yourself in a cinematic experience (such as breath-taking action sequences), although it is enough that some find pain essential for more serious anime or films.

now and then here and there

BwO is an absolute. As such, we can never ever be 100%  immersed. But we can reach something close to it. Can you remember the last time you were so into it, you couldn’t care less about anything in the world except to be completely captured by those pretty colours, movements, and what those characters were going through? I suppose that’s the kind of experience I value the highest, and also one of, if not the biggest reason why I watch anime.

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12 Responses to “To Lose Yourself: Making Yourself a Body Without Organs”

  1. gaguri Says:

    These are mostly passages taken from a chapter from Deleuze’s ‘A Thousand Plateaus: How Do You Make Yourself A Body Without Organs?’. royall botchered Paraphrased for the sake of easier reading and my convenience x_x. Apologies if it still doesn’t make any sense, I just wanted to write a post on this concept of his.

  2. 2DT Says:

    Good call on the Dionysian in relation to the Body Without Organs. But the comparison also suggests a kind of dangerous tightrope walk: the Dionysian mode of existence is borderless and free, but it’s also just one breath away from death and total oblivion of the self. While I can’t say that any anime has ever brought me close to death, it does bring to mind the modern Internet otaku gestalt of Futaba channel and 4chan, and how pathetic some of the individuals are behind the anonymous hive-mind. Invest yourself too much in anime’s reality and you enter a kind of mental oubliette, a social forsaken-ness.


  3. I lol’d when I read the claim on shedding away subjectivity.

    I’m not sure if the idea of masochistic viewing got clearer, but I get the part how an immersive experience of a work can allow us to suspend value judgments (i.e. pain and suffering, moral depictions, etc.) while viewing/reading a creative work.

  4. gaguri Says:

    @2DT

    Yea, although that is a different kind of immersion we’re talking about, let’s try to avoid that kind of immersion, the kind that is definitely not desirable :/

    @ghostlightning

    Yea the part of shedding away subjectivity may sound like a blasphemy. I think about it this way. Maybe Deleuze meant when you are in a state of BwO, you are incapable of being subjective in a sense that you’re being more open minded and minimising your subjective opinions’ influence on you. Which isn’t to say our feelings aren’t subjective and it’s universal, but just that at that moment, we’re free from trying to bring our subjective opinion into affecting these flows of desire. Did I just make less sense x_X. O well, I was kinda hoping animekritik would chime in the discussion because he seemed to know more about Deleuze than I.

  5. frk Says:

    Thank you so much for making this blog. I’ve gone through about 30 anime blogs looking for new ones to follow this past week. Yours and cruel angel’s thesis are two of the most insightful and intelligent blogs I’ve come across so far.

    May I ask what your field of study or line of work is?

  6. gaguri Says:

    Not sure why your comment got eaten up by my spam filter x_X

    Anyway, thank you for such kind words! I’m sad to say that I might not be able to post for a while, but you are more than free to have a look at my previous posts. If you are looking for more intelligent blogs to follow, have a look at some of the ones listed in my blogroll, I think it may prove helpful.

    As for your question, my field of study is architecture, although my current employment is managing a small store x_X. Let’s hope that changes soon? haha…

  7. animekritik Says:

    oh ho Deleuze again! Actually, the way you’ve set out the concept makes more sense than the way D & G portrayed it in, say, Plateaus.

    I hadn’t realized that Soul Eater does have loads to do with BwO!! In that case, because two people (weapon and technician) are supposed to kinda merge together the goal is tougher but grander, a multiple BwO.

    BTW,if I ever get to Italy I’ll go see them Medici tombs, and Julius II’s…

  8. gaguri Says:

    Yep Deleuze again, it’s like what, 4th time I’m writing about him? And yea, I tried to make more sense than Deleuze (although I might have changed the meaning by doing that, but I think I got the basic gist of it), which I still may not make sense for many x_x. Ah well, such are philosophy notes…just so incomprehensible, unless you really want to figure out what the text is saying.

    And yes, do make the tombs your first choice of visit when you go to Florence, definitely the most sublime sculptural (although I guess it’s unfair to say it’s just sculptural) experience I’ve ever had.

  9. shumbapumba Says:

    I’m so glad someone is applying D&G to anime! I used their ‘concepts’ for my honours thesis on rave culture. I can see how connecting with an anime is a process of intensities. It is also a somewhat immanent experience, because does your relation with the show ever really, completely end? I mean, the series itself ‘finishes’, but that doesn’t mean you cease to connect with it emotionally, intellectually, etc – and you can always reconnect with it by re-watching, re-live the affective capacities of the text. Even blogging about it is continuation, only the form mutates. And yes, watching anime is, in a way, pushing off the strata, disconnecting (to a degree) from reality, but caution must be exercised unless you are to end up as 4chan otaku like 2DT warned XD. The great thing about the BwO is that, as D&G say, ‘anything is possible.’ Look forward to reading more of your blog!

  10. nomad Says:

    ecstasy makes you a bwo

  11. shumbapumba Says:

    ^ It definitely helps.

  12. gaguri Says:

    Thanks shumba.

    and yes, ecstasy helps


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