Animal-Machine (Deleuze)

(view from the New Jersey Turnpike, heading south from NYC towards exit 14)

To become an animal, a machine, a molecule.

Like becoming image in sensation-art-aesthetics

Like becoming text or letter in textual study.

Like becoming an angel in liturgy performance (the kedushah –holiness– section of the amidah) or in Zohar.

Deleuzian philosophy can offer Jewish philosophy greater animality and machinic dynamism — models of complex levels of organization, supra human capacities and supra human speeds..

Against Deleuze, one might nonetheless push back. Maybe the point is not to become animal-machine-molecule. Henri Atlan warns, “My encounter with nature is not an encounter with the Self unless I perceive myself as neuter” (The Sparks of Randomness, vol.1, p.121).

Perhaps the point then is not to become animal or machine-like by performing an end-run around consciousness. Maybe the more simple point is to become (more) human by finding the right modalities in which to think inside, outside, alongside, through, and with machines and other animals.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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