As DeLanda explains it, an entity is never fully defined by its relations; it is always possible to detach an entity from one particular set of relations, and insert it instead in a different set of relations, with different other entities. For every entity has certain ‘properties’ that are not defined by the set of relations it finds itself in at a given moment; rather than being merely an empty signifier, the entity can take these properties with it, as it were, when it moves from one context (or one set of relations) to another. At the same time, an entity is never devoid of (some sort of) relations: the world is a plenum, indeed it is over-full, and solipsism or atomistic isolation is impossible.
Put differently, no entity can be absolutely isolated, because it is always involved in multiple relations of one sort or another, and these relations affect the entity, cause it to change. But this is not to say that the entity is entirely determined by these relations.
I actually thought I’d posted these before, but I can’t find them in the archives anywhere. They are older interviews, but they’re a good introduction to DeLanda.
From the Zero News Datapool:
Don’t call me Gaia. The Gaia hypothesis is a very interesting point. […] Philosophically, it is a terrible mistake. It is a terrible mistake precisely in the neo-materialist sense because it takes the metaphor of the organism, it sees life, living flesh as the most magical thing that happened on this planet. This is of course a chauvinism, a kind of organic chauvinism on our part. It takes the metaphor of the organism and applies it to the whole planet. Now the whole planet is alive, that what Gaia is. Not only do you call it an organism, you also give it a goddess name just to make sure you are ridiculous enough. The way out of this is to think that the planet is indeed something special, but it what Deleuze and Guttari called a body without organs, which is the exact opposite of an organism. It is a cauldron or receptacle of non-organic life, a body without organs. Because it can be alive in the sense of being creative and generating order without having genes or having organs or being an organism. In my view, the very fact that the atmosphere connected with the hydrosphere can generate things like hurricanes and cyclones and all kinds of self-organizing entities means that indeed the planet, even before living creatures appeared, was already a body without organs, a cauldron of creativity, a receptacle of spontaneously emerging order.
I have my shaman there, since I was like 19, this woman called Julietta. She is a direct heir of a long, long line of Mazatec knowledge.
I hate mysticism. I’ve always hated the whole idea of taking psychedelics and then going, “Western science is bullshit, let’s turn to Eastern philosophy.” I always strive to have a materialist explanation for what’s going on. I always thought that matter had much more to it than just this inert stuff that sits here. And now I’m being proved right.
Think about the Game of Life [computer-based cellular automata developed by mathematician John Conway]. At first the rules of interaction of the little cells in an abstract space were so simple that everybody thought it was a game. Then they found ladders and glider-generating guns spontaneously forming. So this tiny, abstract, stupid space all of a sudden began exploding with possibilities.
For those unfamiliar with him, this interview serves as a good introduction.
Markets, Antimarkets and Network Economics.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 1.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 2.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 3.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 4.
Markets and Anti-markets in the World Economy.
Markets, Antimarkets and the Fate of the Nutrient Cycles.
Via the Manuel DeLanda Annotated Bibliography.
Manual DeLanda in conversation with DJ Spooky:
Today I see art students trained by guilt-driven semioticians or post-modern theorists, afraid of the materiality of their medium, whether painting, music, poetry or virtual reality (since, given the framework dogma, every culture creates its own reality). The key to break away from this is to cut language down to size, to give it the importance it deserves as a communications medium, but to stop worshipping it as the ultimate reality. Equally important is to adopt a hacker attitude towards all forms of knowledge: not only to learn UNIX or Windows NT to hack this or that computer system, but to learn economics, sociology, physics, biology to hack reality itself. It is precisely the “can do” mentality of the hacker, naive as it may sometimes be, that we need to nurture everywhere.
Now I know why Abe’s always talking about this guy:
“Instead of the peasant that shows up to the market to sell a certain amount of corn, here you have a wholesaler with a huge warehouse where he stores all the corn he can. If the prices are too low, he can always with drawn certain amounts from the market, put them in the warehouse, and artificially make the prices go up. When the prices go up, he then sells the rest of the corn at these high prices and he makes a lot of money. But, of course, he is manipulating demand and supply. He is not being governed by these anonymous forces. He is not being subject to self-organization; he is organizing everything in a planned cunning way. And so, because economists use the word “market” to describe both, that is one of the main confusions I see in contemporary thought.
We need another word to describe these organizations that are large enough to manipulate markets. A word has been suggested by historian Fernand Braudel and it is a very simple one: “anti-market.” Why? Because they manipulate markets. And so today, in the United States, there is a very strong political movement, mostly by the right wing, and Newt Gingrich is perhaps the most well known politician in this regards, who are trying, as they say, shrink the size of the government, let market forces have more room to operate. But, of course, translated into the terms we?ve just introduced, what they really want to do is let anti-market forces run wild. They don?t really want small producers and small manufacturers and bakers and printers and mom-and-pop shops to have more room to manoeuver and make money. They want national and international corporations to have more room to manoeuver. They want to shrink government so that there are less regulations to keep international and national corporations from doing what they want.