like a box

December 10, 2019

There are, you see, two ways of reading a book: you either see it as a box with something inside and start looking for what it signifies, and then if you’re even more perverse or depraved you set off after signifiers. And you treat the next book like a box contained in the first or containing it. And you annotate and interpret and question, and write a book about the book, and so on and on.

Or there’s the other way: you see the book as a little non-signifying machine, and the only question is “Does it work, and how does it work?” How does it work for you? If it doesn’t work, if nothing comes through, you try another book. This second way of reading’s intensive: something comes through or it doesn’t. There’s nothing to explain, nothing to understand, nothing to interpret.  It’s like plugging in to an electric circuit. I know people who’ve read nothing who immediately saw what bodies without organs were given their own “habits,” their own way of being one. This second way of reading’s quite different from the first, because it relates a book directly to what’s Outside.  A book is a little cog in much more complicated external machinery. Writing is one flow among others, with no special place in relation to the others, that comes into relations of current, countercurrent, and eddy with other flows – flows of shit, sperm, words, action, eroticism, money, politics, and so on.

Gilles Deleuze
Negotiations

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