Perception, Creation, and Change…

A couple of months ago I was listening to a radio program where a genealogist (?) was discussing consciousness and evolution. To paraphrase what was said, “the first organisms to exist, existed in a one-dimensional world, that was their experience. However, sometime down the road, more advanced multi-cellular organisms developed, and their reality (perception) was two-dimensional. Then … slowly three-dimensional perceiving beings, us, humans came to be.” The essence of this discussion was that assuming that three-dimensional human perception is the pinnacle of evolution is mis-informed. Historically speaking, if there has been a slow evolution and expansion of perception, then that evolution will continue. Organisms, animals, humans, thus, all share the same common denominator that their perception is always limited. Limited to what they can sense, touch, interpret in their dimension. To perceive in this sense is to have a point of access.

Perception as a concept is something that I have been in an attempted process of deconstructing. It is a term that catches me every time I see it. This is, in part, because it is at the heart of my own interests (both conscious and otherwise) in theory, practice, relations, understandings. However, as a term in and of itself (just as with most language) its complexities seem particularly veiled. Pursuing its meaning for myself has led me to see it as a good example of where Nietzsche ‘s distrust in language may lay. Nietzsche viewed language as a producer of truth. Words get in the way, so to speak. Like a box full of many different objects, but the box is closed, and so we can simply call it a box. Content here is irrelevant to quality or quantity. Or the idea shrouds itself in a veil of complexity, but as a disguise.  For Nietzsche, all of the choices that we make are an accumulation of who we are. They are choices that we have learned through our access to the world. By extension, our perception becomes an accumulation of those same “choices” or what Hume calls habits. These habits repeated enough times become facts or laws, and systems of control are built up around them. The world, then, that we come to know is a complex construction, built up from the habits of those who sought and seek control, and our perception of it mediated. Further examples of this can be found in Foucault on control societies or Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle.”

Perception has everything to do with who, what, where the individual is, because the interpretation of perception to action or thought are habits and reflexes learned over time. Breaking away from this mode of being must be an active intention, because it is a conscious movement away from traditional societal practices. This conscious movement is what Deleuze sees as true thought and creation. Of which tend to occur through art making, philosophizing, or other modes of creation. Deleuze sees pockets of possibilities for new relations here, when relations arise from areas where true thought or creativity has taken place.

However, something I find interesting in Deleuze’s philosophy is his rejection of the metaphysical. Perhaps this is my own mis-reading of his ideas, but it seems that he limits the realm of creative thinking to the categories of art, philosophy, and science. It seems strange that he would flat-out reject other modes of intentional exploration of the mind, self, and universe. This seems especially peculiar since Deleuze’s ideas of (to name just a few) becoming, the rhizome, and striated space, strike me as rather metaphysical ideas. Perhaps his rejection of these more abstract or experimental ideas is a strategy for keeping within his own notion of the “real.”

The point that I am making, or perhaps it is more of a question is: I agree that to create it to express autonomy, and that to create is also to express thought. These expressions when read by others then may have the ability to trigger a similar affect in those individuals in a way that normal perception can be undermined as it is caught off guard by a true thought as opposed to something it can have a reflex to. However, since we live in a fast paced hyper-real saturated world, it seems that even affect may not be enough to produce any long-lasting residue. Perhaps real change then cannot come simply from the experience of true creation, maybe it comes from someplace beyond that? Where exactly, I’m not sure, but limiting ourselves to strict categories for exploration seem to be just that, limiting.

– Stephanie

One Response to “Perception, Creation, and Change…”

  1. immanentterrainsp11 Says:

    Nice post. I don’t know though that it is accurate to say that Deleuze limits creation to art, philosophy and science. (I see nowhere in his texts an insistence that creativity is limited to these fields.) He is simply interested in demonstrating how the three intersect in their attempt to lay out a field of immanence. I’m also not clear how Deleuze’s concepts are attempts to delimit or demarcate what can be considered creative and what cannot. To say that the world is in process, or that the goal is immanence, or that the ontology of being is difference, is precisely to leave radically open how one approaches these questions, or how one attempts to answer them. Precisely what they don’t provide is a predetermined (or fixed) methodology.


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