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van gogh

Beyond Being
- A Remark on Subjectification or Becoming-Other -

By Dr. Martin Fuglsang


This text is the third piece in a Quartet of remarks, where the first two and the forth have the following titles: 'Beyond Discourse - A Remark on the Enoncé out in GRUS nr. 59, 'Beyond Aesthetics - A Remark on the Vitalism of Organising' forthcoming in the journal Consumption, Market and Culture and 'Beyond the fetishism of the Mother - A Remark on the Event as Folded Affects' forthcoming in the book Interpreting the Maternal Organisation, Routledge, 2002. All four texts are working on the same plane of consistency, trying to produce a rhizomatic Omnitudo.


Philosophy is always meanwhile: Mallarmè, who counter-effectuated the event, called it Mime because it side-steps the state of affairs and 'confines itself to perpetual allusion without breaking the ice'. Such a mime neither reproduces the state of affairs nor imitates the lived; it does not give an image but constructs the concept. It does not look for the function of what happens but extracts the event from it, or that part that does not let itself be actualized, the reality of the concept. Not willing what happens, with that false will that complains, defends itself and loses itself in gesticulations, but taking the complaint and rage to the point that they are turned against what happens so as to set up the event, to isolate it, to extract it in the living concept. Philosophy's sole aim it to become worthy of the event...

Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari


vincent van gogh

'Simulacra' was the first notion to emerge from the reminiscence, even though it rather should have been 'imitation', as simulacra always and only actualises itself deep inside the sphere of the double as reiteration of the already repeated and therefore beyond the imitations and their infinite repetition of Same, as the immense lightness of reproduction, where the copies and their world have all too long mobilised recognition, even though the sight was resting on a line of pictures, bearing the signature of the master with their colours of corn-yellow, violet-blue and orange-red which brought to light the objects of representation in the depth of shimmering backgrounds and frames. Then, in the centre of the room, the eye was entrapped by the reflecting lights from a showcase almost shaped as a sarcophagus, yet so very far from death as its interior revealed five pictures, on the backside of which appeared romantic peasant-portraits, catapulting the thought along lines of unredeemed Heimat-longing through the green, brown and golden passages, maybe the colors of the Schwarzwald and yet, it was the pictures' front that faced the room to be inscribed in the prison of the eye, five self-portraits where the picture farthest out to the left in one stroke destroyed the thought of imitation, a 'self-portrait with straw hat'. However, not as a Portray where we always must surrender to the substantive's endless series of interpretations between unity and possibility ruling out real difference, where the astonishing is already the well known, as that which the reminiscence can establish from recognised resemblance, when we behold the reflection of the painter, which can never be a doubling, only a representation, and we surrender to the description, 'a face with a hat', where we always, as the concrete other in the relative horizon of the gaze, can follow the eyes' movement towards the point inside the realm of finiteness, the realm of imminent objectification, a sphere, where the subject is presumed in the anticipation of the painting's compounded composition, the violet-blue background, the corn-yellow shine of the straw hat, the withdrawal of the face's half-profile and the decline of shoulders and chest from left to right in the lower part of the painting, which ensures a stabilising centring of the portrait's motion, but seeing it as a portrait we remain under the violence of the substantive and the linearity of art-history, the landscape of imitation and representation as it is expanded as a thought between the 'real' and 'the copy' and thereby so very far from the vitalism and the expressivity, which seems to be the becoming-painting between the virtual and the actual.


vincent van gogh

Thus the world of the portrait is the territory of passive passions and insists on a praxis between visibility and utterance, the machinery of discourse and the pastoral humanisation of institutions, of which Heidegger's silence and hesitant 'setting-into-work' (Ins-Werk-Setzen) as the work-being of the work of art (Werksein des Werkes) is not the fundamental contrast, as every 'setting-into-work' calls for a re-territorialisation between Dasein and being, with the longing for authenticity as its organising form of existence, Edward Munk's endless 'scream' towards the dark and the Geistesgeschichte's decay, a portrait way too ripe with form. Likewise the concept of praxis which surges through the self-understanding of organisational theory seems to be threshed full of form, the abundance of which can only be thought of via the intention and extension of the concept and thereby through a classical dialectical negation, a Hegelian wolf, the great thought of negativity, the dominant notions of which seem to oscillate between 'the structural' and 'the processual', in truth a banal and detrimental configuration of cognition, not ameliorated by replacing these notions with 'stagnant' versus 'moving', as if new synonyms have ever solved a problem, as they all situate both space and time in the domain of function and substance and never as the relation of velocity and slowness, as an intensity, that which stands as a singularised Between, without any sides and the stratum of which is a kind of Omnitudo, a One-All, whose absolute motion determines praxis which is no more or exactly so much as that effect to which it is susceptible, wherefore praxis always stands as an affect, as contraction or expansion of intensity. This is the mode both of thought and action, inseparable and indistinguishable in their actualisation. But this shall not give rise to or be mistaken for the idea that praxis does not belong to space or time, it is rather that we have to rethink and recreate these categories in a radical way, we have to extend them diagonally and transversally, not so much as to what they are, but more in the line of what they do, which exactly, through the Stoics Causa Sui, as an internal cause in conformity with Spinoza's 'affect', immanently disclose what they are through their reality, as the remnant in the actualised form they create, which becomes an ontology of the fold1, and of which its exclusive concept seems to be the Event (événement), as the event is "a philosophical concept, the only one capable of ousting the verb 'to be' and attribute".2 So when we think, which is the affect of the folds inner, on that inner-side, which always is the outer's inner,3 we have to contemplate, whether it is the event that is the Other and us that is the Same, or the reverse, or rather, and much more precise, the doubling of Other in us, then that which is outside this relations is no other then the event itself, to sneak around this would be like an attempt to run from one's own shadow and that is only possible when the sun stands in zenith and then we speak of geography, but here the shadow also has become a pure surface, of which depth is not in opposition, but interpretation, it is a 'Haecceity'. We are, so to speak, captured in the event's play with us, where the event, with what can only be approximation, throws us into the expressivity of form, which as existence always already is in the stout form of meaning, but it is simultaneous and indistinguishable, as the untimely, a deferral of any form's completion, handing us, ourselves, as us, but only to let us know that we are its affect, never its cause and thereby the event runs across both sense and meaning and is a Be-coming in all what happens, the hyper-concrete, exactly in the same manner as the thought that will never long to find itself in what is thought, which is a thought that does not belong to the philosophy of consciousness' fetishism of reduction, but is a thought which is a thinking thought, and likewise is praxis in relation to organising, which does not give form, but is an increase and decrease of intensity, where praxis no longer is a question of what we are, but what we are becoming, Becoming-Other, as a permanence of becoming-imperceptible. The desire of the virtual.


vincent van gogh

It appears however, that there is no easy way into the world inhabited by the event, although it is always right among us, or rather, we are always in the midst of it, so to speak possessed by it, whereas we never really possess it, even if Science proclaims that it slowly and laboriously encircles it in laws, ordinances and protocols, later to become a normativity of exhortation and injunction in the view of the so-called experts. But the event is never to be confined to the 'prison' of science, as the event disappears when it is reduced to the function and the enunciation in the terror of communication, where subjectification no longer emerges to the event, but is staged in the territory of the passive passions, the form of which is the I, the Self or the Subject and not the freeing breeze of the event, wherefore the event as both Martin Heidegger and later Gilles Deleuze have shown us, liberates philosophy from the extensional logic of science, as the event remains enigmatic or rather infinite. In this sense the event places man in front of something, which always already has anticipated man, man's possibility as becoming-man, that which we might call the fold of self, where the event throws sense against the surf of thought, as the recurrent world-blaze, an amor fati, and hereby philosophy maintains its independence, as it is no longer enough and even naïve to believe, as science, understandably enough, and analytical philosophy have done habitually that we can step back from thought by a thought that we by noesis noeseos, the thoughts thought, can solve the enigma of the event, the enigma, which in the first instance confers philosophy with its own field of experience and its own reminiscence embedded in the process of delineation which is inherent in every appearance-of-being.4 The opus of appearance is the event, wherefore the event, as it is introduced and elegantly formulated by Deleuze and Guattari, penetrates every sense, as the event is a becoming and a occurrence in the very difference of Being,5 which creates that delineation, which draws sense into the form of existence, the moment inevitably encircled by the battery of meaning. This means that the event first and foremost is a force without form and without substance, a permanent immanence in every thinkable transcendence, a 'before' that exist simultaneous with its 'after', a virtuality which is just as real as that actualised form wherein it finds residence. Thus the event is a deferment of the completion of any form, just as it is the insertion of any potential individuation, but as a pure event the event remains a remnant, the very dureé of the moment (Augenblick), as a Never, that-which-is-not at Any time for All time.6 But we never reside in the remnant, when we are as an I and a Thou, or rather, we are always there, but without access, neither through thought nor by any other means, because as an I and a Thou we are encircled by meaning, the mode of existence per excellence, marked and described as the 'world-of-flesh' embraced by temporality. Thus is the form of the I, that something which says 'I' folded into an interiority, the extension of which is the interior of the meaning-domain, in relation to which meaninglessness is not an exteriority, but just the other side of the phenomenon of meaning, wherefore all meaning is contingent, whereas meaning itself, the meaning of meaning is granted by sense, which Heimat is the event as a dureé without any duration. Thereby the meaning of meaning can not reside inside the horizon of the meaning-domain, as meaning exists in and through time, whereas sense, erupting from the fissures of events, not only ties the body to a timely simultaneity, i.e. to the arbitrary self-evidence of every meaning, but also to that 'selfcessity',7 which trough sense places the very existence in an already saturated world-of-meaning, or if one prefers, in Foucault's 'dispositif' and Deleuze's 'agencement', a realisation by virtue of the fact that there is sense-being and thus meaning.


vinvent van gogh

First, and last, the event is a pure 'Here', as a monument of 'That-ness', where the I who speaks receives identity by disappearing in the multiplicity of metamorphoses, as every identity, that windowless interiority who says 'I', Leibniz's very 'monad', is always stretched between what we are about to become, the actual, and that virtuality, which as a line of singularities placed this monad in being. Praxis is thus never a realisation between the actual and potential, as the potential always already is encapsulated in the actual, since the actual always already expresses what we seize to be and what we are becoming as a singularisation out from the virtual and therefore an idea of praxis as a play between the actual and the potential is only able to express the thinking action as a change in the imprisonment of identity and confinement of the multiple to the unity of One, never in the domicile of multiplicity and difference, the domicile where praxis never begins nor ends, but rests as a Between in the affective force by which the real becomes reality so very far form that individuation, which is actualised in the interiority of consciousness, but on the contrary a praxis of which the incarnation is the pronoun's pure 'Haec'.8 To think in the assemblage of the pronoun is to think a praxis, which by an approximation could resemble the brushstroke's conquest of the pure motion of the portrait, that which destroys imitation and the essentialism of the substantive by a deferral, or rather by materialising, the non-setting-into-work of that motion,9 which made the picture's compounded composition possible, a praxis, where the brushstroke no longer is a representation, not even a relation, as the brushstroke has detached itself from the places on the canvas, where the beholder desires to find already given resting-places for the view's relative horizon, in exactly the same manner as the organisation is thought of as a form, the content of which is the relational mode of organising, but no more then organising is unfolding as relations between different expressions of stasis, no more are the brushstrokes relations in the actualisation of the portrait, but singularities in the portrait's compounded composition. This praxis, which we could call the reality of organising, is thus a praxis, which is surrendered to the gesture of the event, a breeze, a current, an hour and in the last instance to the neutral 'He', it is the event of 'not-setting-into-work' and thereby the non-illuminated voice who speaks by being silent, as virtuality like a line of singularities actualises every form, this is the neuter, which do not take up the place of the subject, who wears the noun's cloak and out of pure habit says 'I'. On the contrary 'He' speaks in an 'Outside', wherefore 'He' not only organises the place and form of the subject, but also as the neuter transforms what we may understand by 'place' through designating the space from where 'He' will always be absent, leaving a remnant that will bring the subjects and the objects into the timely anthropocentric or more precisely the anthropomorphic embrace of the world, so very far from 'Him'. This is the act of the event as subjectification, where the personal life has surrendered to that which happens, as this subjectless subjectification creates a specific individuation, as singularity moving through intensities, of which the only modus vivendi is the forces of desire and the only 'form' is that of multiplicity, the sphere where the 'I' disappears, since 'to be' has moved (in)to the space of Between, the stratum of the 'And', where nothing happens and everything becomes, stretched out as a permanent difference, as forever becoming-other, the untimely place we might call:




1. The concept of 'fold' might appear as a powerful post-modern metaphor, but it should rather be located in the Baroque era's pure outer and inner, without any access to each other as the severely divided, a façade without any inner, a mere scene and as a hermetic closed room, where nothing from the outside penetrates. This concept refers both to a gesture or a 'cut' drawing its force from the balanced principles of painting, and to the imaginary world of mathematics: geometry, topology and the recent theory of fractals. Seen in this light it anticipates an insight that does not have to coincide with personal experience. However, the concept of 'fold' refers etymologically to the Greek 'nemein', and from this point of departure to the concept of the nomad, but the inertia of the nomad should be detached from the conventional connotations of restless movement and be bound to a notion of a 'standstill', as this standstill can be seen as a perfect de-territorialisation of ground since any idea of enclosure-ing, and hence of form, is annihilated through this speed of the absolute standstill. However, the fold refers to two other cognitively powerful lines: It emphasises an anti-Hegelian conception in which the 'anti' should not be molded in the thought of opposition or as a negative gesture itself, but seen as the line of flight of difference, as a genuine antagonism which tries to invoke a pure difference that does not repeat the fixed positions of phenomenon and essence, but replaces this classical figure with a mere surface, a surface conceived of as poikilia, as plethora, i.e. as plenitude: as manifold. Hence, conjunction and disjunction are substituted for monolithic reduction. 'Scattered-ness' as the rhizome becomes the new, powerful line of thought, not the analytical and deductive gathering. Finally, the fold refers to a concept of force present in both the work of Spinoza and Nietzsche; a force manifesting itself as an indistinct, but very powerful, trace of movements as seen beneath a cloth. It is a movement that belongs to mimesis. It is a 'flow'; and as such all figures pouring through the opus of Gilles Deleuze. See also endnote one in the second piece of this quartet of remarks 'Beyond Aesthetics - a remark on the vitalism of organising' for a short elaboration of this 'anti'-Hegelian conception.

2. Gilles Deleuze 1995: Negotiations. p. 141.

3. This concept of the 'outer's inner', does not refer to the fold's 'inner' or 'outer', as we find in Gilles Deleuze Le pli, as inclusion and inflections, but to an 'Outside', Maurice Blanchot's world, where also Deleuze finds great inspiration, and we are therefore inclined, considering the concept of an 'Outside' and endnote 5, a long the line of the wishes of Giorgio Agamben, to suggest that the book connecting the thinking of Gilles Deleuze and Martin Heidegger, with Maurice Blanchot as middleman, has to be written.

4. It is important to emphasise that we do not want to criticise Science as such, but only the philosophical, and meta-scientific approaches intending to reduce philosophy to a shadow of the programmatic humility towards science peculiar to analytical philosophy. Tempting, but naive, this programmatic humility must not be legitimised by the fact that both philosophy and science are operating inside the same three great border-drawing gestures relating the project of thinking of 'Otherness': To the borderline of that Other, to things and objects, to the borderline of the Other, to speech, text and body, and to the borderline of self - the mind's 'I', that substance which thinks, means, interprets. But they have absolutely nothing in common, as they do indeed operate on fundamentally different conditions of creating. Science develops functions and propositions fit to be parts of discursive systems, the pragmatic necessity forced upon science by itself, which enables science to communicate and reflect, so convincingly demonstrated by Michel Foucault, but philosophy lets concepts come into being, which by itself is an event, as a 'Haecceity', a 'That-ness' and therefore philosophy is not discursive, as it rejects the existence of an immanent transcendental principle, that which enables propositions and statements to be discursively connected. It is therefore a misunderstanding to think, that the concept and the proposition is one and the same thing, as they fundamentally unfold very different modes of being real, as the proposition renounces the infinity to obtain a reference which actualises the virtual, so are philosophical concepts those that secure the virtual with its own consistency independent of any actualised form. Where science works on the plane of reference, philosophy works on the plane of immanence. Thereby this is not a priority of philosophy above science, it is just a simple ascertainment!

5. This thought of difference is still indebted to Heidegger and his masterpiece Sein und Zeit, where we find the understanding that consciousness, as the 'I's' place of enunciation always already is to be found on the side of being, in that stratum we could call the domain of the scientific 'functives' , where language is solely characterised by its descriptive and denotative functionality, as it has already established things or state of affairs without any sense, that being is given from that Being (Dasein) which separates itself through a 'Not'. But it is decisive, that this 'Not' isn't understood as the negative and negating motion inside Being, but contrary, as the difference of Being, as that difference, which is inside and 'between' Being and being (that which is), wherefore the 'ontological difference', in a radical sense, is this 'Not' as a fold in Being itself and which leads to a persistent questioning to all matters of being, as Heidegger adduce in the 'Postscript' to 'Was ist Metaphysik' (1986: 101-110), wherefore we, as Deleuze, will maintain that "difference is not 'between' in the ordinary sense of the word. It is the Fold, Zweifalt. It is constitutive of Being and of the manner in which Being constitutes being, in the double movement of 'clearing' and 'veiling'. Being is truly the differenciator of difference", as it is unfolded in Difference and Repetition (1994: 65).

6. It should be emphasised that the 'the event of sense' as it is created by the Danish philosopher Ole Fogh Kirkeby is a concept of boundary, as it expresses a gap which enters when the anticipation, as the installation of the pre-reflexive in language, is destroyed by a new meaning. In the event of sense the event conquers its own sense and comes in as a moment [Augenblick], wherefore we can say, as we also find it in Gilles Deleuze, that the Event is the Unique, a pure singularity, where the human endeavour, as an ethical demand, as a refulgence of Aion, is moving inside the world of the Stoics, a world, where this demand is beyond good and evil, as this dichotomy indeed is the sphere of the malevolent moral, the Every-Day of micro-fascism!

7. The concept 'Selfcessity' is a neologism by the Danish philosopher Ole Fogh Kirkeby, which consists in a contraction of the Danish words 'selvfølgelighed' (obviousness) and 'nødvendighed' (necessity), and it expresses the condition that all experience and all knowledge is always already constituted by a 'before', before-reflexive, before-personal, but not in the meaning of 'in-advance-of', but as an immanence in what every is dragged to the foresight of transcendence, wherefore the 'selfcessity' points towards the condition, that both the body and the thought bound to reflexivity is already situated in the form of meaning, as 'Body-Mind', and is thus 'present' 'before' any transcendence aims a subject which stands in front of an object. The so-called Empire of the Third!

8. Rather polemically we might argue that the Luhmannian studies of organising and management emerging now are not based in difference, but identity, due to the fact that systems theory is only open to the difference between actuality and potentiality, presupposing a constitutive identity, a One, as the relation between identity and difference, and we are therefore still left with a difference inside a Hegalian totality . These studies might grasp change, but they will never catch the genealogy of transformation, as the epistemic gaze falls short. Instead we have to approach an ontology for the becoming, the fourth, as a radical normativity drafted by pure immanence; see also Martin Fuglsang og Alexander Carnara Ljungstrøm: Det nøgne liv - en poetik for det sociale, 1999, for further elaboration.

9. For a short account of this Non-'Setting-into-work' (désœuvrement), Maurice Blanchot's crypto-grammatical comment to Heidegger's 'Setting-into-work' (Ins-Werk-Setzen), see endnote five in the second piece of this quartet of remarks 'Beyond Aesthetics - a remark on the vitalism of organising', forthcoming in the journal Consumption, Market & Culture.


References: Blanchot, Maurice. The Writing of the Disaster. Translated from the French by Ann Smock, Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.

Deleuze, Gilles: Difference & Repetition. Translated from the French by Poul Patton, London: The Athlone Press, 1994.

Deleuze, Gilles: The Logic of Sense. Translated from the French by Mark Lester, New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Deleuze, Gilles: The fold - Leibniz and the baroque. Translated from the French by Tom Conley, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992.

Deleuze, Gilles: L'immanence Une Vie, Paris: Philosophie no. 47, 1995.

Deleuze, Gilles & Felix Guattari: What is Philosophy? Translated from the French by Hugh Tomlinson & Graham Burchill, London and New York: Verso, 1994.

Fuglsang, Martin & Alexander Carnera Ljungstrøm: Det nøgne liv - en poetic for det social [The naked life - a poetic for the social], Copenhagen: Samfundslitteratur, 1999.

Fuglsang, Martin & Asmund Born: Beyond Aesthetics - a remark on the vitalism of organising. Forthcoming in the journal of "Consumption, Market and Culture".

Heidegger, Martin: Sein und Zeit [Being and Time], Tübingen : Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1967

Heidegger, Martin: Was ist Metaphysik [What is Metaphysics], Franfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1986.

Kirkeby, Ole Fogh: Om Betydning - Tetragrammatonske refleksioner [On Sense - Tetragrammatonical reflections], Copenhagen: Handelshøjskolens Forlag, 1998.


all images are details of Self-portrait, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

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Dr. Martin Fuglsang is an Associate Professor in the Organisational Philosophy Department of Management, Politics & Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School.

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