“There is a second part of the Spinozan definition taken up by Deleuze that is not cited as often. It is that a power to affect and be affected governs a transition, where a body passes from one state of capacitation to a diminished or augmented state of capacitation. This comes with the corollary that the transition is felt. A distinction is asserted between two levels, one of which is feeling and the other capacitation or activation. But the distinction comes in the form of a connection. This separation-connection between feeling and activation situates the account between what we would normally think of as the self on the one hand and the body on the other, in the unrolling of an event that’s a becoming of the two together.
This already yields a number of terms that can be put to use and developed. First, the feeling of the transition as the body moves from one power of existence to another has a certain separability from the event it is bound up with, by virtue of its distinction from the capacitation activating the passage. What is felt is the quality of the experience. The account of affect will then have to directly address forms of experience, forms of life, on a qualitative register. Second, the felt transition leaves a trace, it constitutes a memory. Consequently, it can’t be restricted to that one occurrence. It will return. It has already returned, in some capacity. It was already part of a series of repetitions, to the extent that the body has a past.
That’s the third point: the capacitation of the body as it’s gearing up for a passage towards a diminished or augmented state is completely bound up with the lived past of the body. That past includes what we think of as subjective elements, such as habits, acquired skills, inclinations, desires, even willings, all of which come in patterns of repetition. This doesn’t make the event any less rooted in the body. The past that the body carries forward in serial fashion includes levels we think of as physical and biological, such as genetic inheritance and phylogenesis. So there’s a reactivation of the past in passage toward a changed future, cutting transversally across dimensions of time, between past and future, and between pasts of different orders. This in-between time or transversal time is the time of the event. This temporality enables, and requires you to rethink all of these terms – bodily capacitation, felt transition, quality of lived experience, memory, repetition, seriation, inclination—in dynamic relation to each other.
If there is one key term, that’s it: relation. When you start in-between, what you’re in the middle of is a region of relation. Occurrent relation, because it’s all about event. Putting the terms together, you realize straight away that the relational event will play out differently every time. In repeating, it takes up the past differently. In taking up the past differently, it creates new potentials for the future. The region of occurrent relation is a point of potentiation. It is where things begin anew. Where things begin anew is where they were already present in tendency.”
Of Microperception and Micropolitics - Brian Massumi and Joel McKim
Morning Massumi. There is so much more contained in the interview but this section really nails so many of my feelings and ideas about memory and repetition— how past experience plays out in the body as a state of merging or in-between. Talking about the qualitative aspects of an encounter—temperature, pressure, volume, sensations, etc.—draws attention to difference in repeated encounters/experiences/actions etc. differently than simply focusing on an essence or essential quality. These are my thoughts this morning.
pretty much my obsession, exactly.