reading notes

Many people have a tree growing in their heads: A Thousand Plateaus, by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

I liked the first “chapter” (or “plateau”, they call it) of the book, but decided to give up on it after that, so I only have notes from the chapter known as Introduction: Rhizome, which is (as I read it) mostly a comparison of tree structures vs. rhizome structures (like the ginger plant). (Or in engineering terms, trees vs. graphs.)

Whenever desire climbs a tree, internal repercussions trip it up and it falls to its death; the rhizome, on the other hand, acts on desire by external, productive outgrowths.

I don’t remember why I wrote this down, but it does sound cool.

Many people have a tree growing in their heads, but the brain itself is much more a grass than a tree.

Note to self, see Walt Whitman. And: to what extent can we say the nervous system, including the brain, is decentralized?

…short-term memory is of the rhizome or diagram type, and long-term memory is arborescent and centralized (imprint, engram, tracing, or photograph). Short-term memory is in no way subject to a law of contiguity or immediacy to its object; it can act at a distance, come or return a long time after, but always under conditions of discontinuity, rupture, and multiplicity.

“…In a hierarchical system, an individual has only one active neighbor, his or her hierarchical superior…” –Pierre Rosenstiehl and Jean Petitot

I’m thinking of the inherent loneliness of the conventional organizational tree-hierarchy, in companies.

We are writing this book as a rhizome. It is composed of plateaus. We have given it a circular form, but only for laughs. Each morning we would wake up, and each of us would ask himself what plateau he was going to tackle, writing five lines here, ten there.

The middle is by no means an average; on the contrary, it is where things pick up speed.