A non-linear thread from Derrida to Deleuze

As we saw earlier, Derrida’s development of the concept differánce prevents any system from ever being completed or closed. His point is that any identity is always constituted by its opposite. In other words, meaning only arises in extension to how any given representation differs from another. In this sense, differánce always subverts and deconstructs whatever it is a part of. And, given that this a universal feature of all meaning, it is immediately and automatically active everywhere.

By contrast, Deleuze develops the “notion of a fundamental both / and or difference that is inseparable from dynamic systems that are at the ‘edge of chaos’” (Jeffrey Bell, Philosophy at the Edge of Chaos, p. 4). For Deleuze, a dynamic system is one that presupposes both the stable and the unstable, structured and unstructured. Living organisms, for exampled, maintain a fixed continuity simultaneously with a fluctuating lifeblood, neither conflating one nor the other. In A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari extend this concept to the abstract machine, what they describe as “a double articulation” or  “a double bind.” This both / and referred to in such terms refers to the inseparability of stability and instability as the precondition for dynamic systems themselves. As Bell puts it, “The abstract machine is precisely this double articulation, the fundamental both / and (ordered and chaotic, or chaos-mos), that is inseparable from identities and from transformations and becomings of these identities” (p.4). Otherwise put, and bearing a semblance to Derrida, difference is presupposed and a precondition for dynamic systems to exist at all.


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