Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Rhizome: Connectivity

In Internet: Towards a Holistic Ontology, Chuen-Ferng Koh says that Deleuze and Guattari identify six characteristics of rhizomes and that these six characteristics should rightly be considered simultaneously so that "they can proliferate in the reader's mind" as a whole. Clearly, one should avoid the tendency to bifurcation in making these intrinsic characteristics of the rhizome distinct from one another and from the rhizome. I admit that I am not clever enough to do that yet. Anyway, the six characteristics in a list are (lifted from the web site Capitalism and Schizophrenia):
  1. Connectivity – the capacity to aggregate by making connections at any point on and within itself.
  2. Heterogeneity – the capacity to connect anything with anything other, the linking of unlike elements
  3. Multiplicity – consisting of multiple singularities synthesized into a “whole” by relations of exteriority
  4. Asignifying rupture – not becoming any less of a rhizome when being severely ruptured, the ability to allow a system to function and even flourish despite local “breakdowns”, thanks to deterritorialising and reterritorialising processes
  5. Cartography – described by the method of mapping for orientation from any point of entry within a "whole", rather than by the method of tracing that re-presents an a priori path, base structure or genetic axis
  6. Decalcomania – forming through continuous negotiation with its context, constantly adapting by experimentation, thus performing a non-symmetrical active resistance against rigid organization and restriction.
One of the first features of a rhizome that we find quite odd is that all nodes in the rhizome are in fact connected to all other nodes. As Koh puts it: "in a rhizomatic system each point can and must have connections to all others, unconstrained by any bifurcating order." Unlike hierarchical systems which assign a rank and file to each node, thus constraining relationships among them, rhizome structures do not constrain the relationships among any nodes. All nodes are related to all other nodes.

How is this possible?
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