I’ve often found myself returning to these lines from Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus with wonder and admiration:
…we always make love with worlds. And our love addresses itself to this libidinal property of our lover, to either close himself off or open up to more spacious worlds, to masses and large aggregates. And isn’t it in this way that we must understand the famous formula of Marx?– the relationship between man and woman is “the direct, natural, and necessary relation of person to person.” That is, the relationship between the two sexes (man and woman) is only the measure of the relationship of sexuality in general, insofar as it invests large aggregates (man and man)? (AO, 294)
To fall in love is to fall in love with the world of another person. In earlier writings I have distinguished between World and Earth. World is the particular manner in which an object is open to its environment. It is that which the transcendental idealists and phenomenologists are analyzing when they speak of “reality”. Earth is the field of that which exists, regardless of whether it is available for any being’s world. Deleuze and Guattari introduce the notion of “disjunctive synthesis”. A disjunctive synthesis is a “relation of non-relation”. In Deleuze’s technical vocabulary, a disjunctive synthesis is a synthesis of divergent series that do not converge yet somehow manage to communicate by virtue of a difference that passes between them like a spark. Consider the relationship between me and my cat. My cat and I share entirely different worlds even though we inhabit one and the same earth or heteroverse. There is no point where our worlds converge, yet nonetheless certain differential events flash across our distinct and divergent worlds, creating a relation in this non-relation. Somehow our worlds come to be imbricated and entangled with one another, even though they don’t converge on any sort of sameness.
Perhaps there are two types of love. On the one hand, there is perhaps the sort of love that Aristophenes describes in Plato’s Symposium, where love is premised on the same. Here love is a conjunctive synthesis, where the two lovers converge on identity, as they strive for the same. It seems to me that this love is always doomed to death. It is a machine that can’t work or function precisely because, as a result of a sterile repetition, it lacks the differential energy to perpetuate itself or continue itself. It ceases to have anything to talk about, much less any reason to make love. On the other hand, there is disjunctive love. Disjunctive love is a love that somehow occurs in divergent worlds that nonetheless occupy the same earth.
Here, to fall in love is to fall in love with a world that one cannot assimilate, consume, or domesticate. This is queer love. In disjunctive love the lovers are withdrawn from one another as worlds, yet still somehow in relation. The spark that passes between their divergent series creates the sort of perpetual motion machine I described in my recent interview at New APPS precisely by opening the lovers on to that which is in-consumable by the lovers. This element of the “spirit is a bone” becomes perpetual stimulus for the invention of the respective worlds of the lovers without any termination point in identity. Here we encounter the ontic principle, in the form of a difference that continues to make a difference. This disjunctive synthesis becomes a perpetual stimulus for invention, negotiation, and creation between the two. It is this, no doubt, that Lacan has in mind when he says that “the sexual relationship is impossible, but it does not cease to be written“. Disjunctive love becomes a space of perpetual writing in the Derridean sense of “arche-writing”. We now know that the Milky Way and another galaxy are in a process of collision. This collision will generate an entirely new galaxy. Disjunctive love is like this. It is a collision with a non-consumable, “non-autopoieticizable” difference that generates the condition for endless creation.
In The Imperative Lingis writes,
We recognize our friends at great distances, before we can see the contours of their faces and the color of their complexions and hair, by the posture and gait. We recognize someone not by the outlines\, by running our eyes around the contours of his or her head and trunk, but by the inner lines of posture. To recognize a person is to recognize a typical way of addressing tasks, of envisioning landscapes, of advancing hesitantly and cautiously or ironically, of plunging exuberantly down the paths to us. Someone we know is someone we relate to posturally, someone we walk in step with, someone who maintains a certain style of positioning himself or herself and gesticulating in conversation with whom we take up a corresponding positions as we talk. (52 – 53)
For Lingis things are a particular style of being. To recognize our friends is to recognize that singular style. There is something familiar and recognizable in it, but something that is perpetually aleatory and open-ended. This is what it is like with disjunctive love. To love is to fall in love with a style, with a world, where an earth is shared yet the two of you diverge. That style and divergence becomes a perpetual stimulus for renewal and creation… An evolutionary spark across divergent series.