On Subjectivity in Deleuze’s The Fold.



On Subjectivity in Deleuze’s The Fold

Catherine Ju-Yu Cheng

Lecturer, Department of English Language, Literature and Linguistics, Providence University


“What, or rather who, is the subject?” (Critchley 13). For Descartes, the thinking subject, which is “rectilinear” and “can be divided into discrete units”, stands at the center of the quincunx12 and conquers the world through its own rules. The Cartesian standpoint was further developed by Kant, whose transcendental subject is independent of the empirical world of causation and change, and imposes a priori logical categories upon incoming sense impressions in order to define experience.

For Kant, although we cannot directly “know” (experience) our own subjectivity (reason, mind), its unity is presupposed by the “unity of our experience.” Over against this “Enlightenment” subject, Deleuze incorporates different theories of subjectivity in terms of his geometrical model based on the plane, creating his rhizomatics. In Deleuze’s universe, different series (the Hume-series, the Bergson-series, the Leibniz-series, the Nietzsche-Foucault-series, and the Nietzsche- Klossowski-series) interact and interpenetrate one another. Once the nostalgia for a substantial, core self fades away, the choreography between the subject and the world dazzles us with its infinite enfolding and unfolding. In this paper, I explore the


* The first draft of this essay, bearing the same title, was presented during the 30th Comparative Literature Conference (May 13, 2006) in Taipei, Taiwan. I benefittd from the comments generously offered by Deleuzian scholars gathered on the panel. I am also deeply indebted to the two anonymous reviewers of my essay for their valuable comments.

2 A quincunx is the arrangement of five units in the pattern corresponding to the five-spot on dice, playing cards, or dominoes. Here are a couple of examples of what a Quincunx looks like:

Conic Section. 11 May 2007. Wikipedia. 12 May 2006.

< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conic_section>


concept of the subject in Deleuze’s The Fold. After briefly introducing the theories of subjectivity that have dominated the last thirty years of literary and cultural studies, I will discuss Deleuze’s use of Leibniz’s concept of the monad. Then, noting that the notion (model, picture) of the monad’s enfolding and unfolding seems congruent with that of light as wave/particle duality in quantum physics, and also with David Bohm’s physics-based thinking, I will employ the wave/particle duality model of light and Bohm’s concept of holomovement to illustrate the “becoming of the subject” in the third and fourth parts of my paper3.

Keywords : Subjectivity, Deleuze, Descartes, Leibniz, quantum physics, wave/particle Duality of light, David Bohm’s holomovement, nomadology, monadology

3 In David Bohm’s terminology, the holomovement is the total ground of that which is manifest.

That which is manifest is embedded in the holomovement, which exhibits a basic movement of unfolding and enfolding. See Norman Friedman, Bridging Science And Spirit: Common Elements in David Bohm’s Physics, The Perennial Philosophy and Seth. St. Louis: Living Lake Books, 1994, 317.



鄭如玉 靜宜大學英語系講師

摘 要




笛卡兒推導出的哲學基點──正在思惟的我存在──的「我思故我在」一 語,也成為舉世皆知的經典名言,並且從此開啟近代西方哲學對於主體性的種 種討論與思辨。雖然笛卡兒在哲學史上,佔有如此重要的一席之地,並備受關 注,但是他所推導出來的心物二元與主客對立的哲學體系,卻受到後來諸多哲 學家與思想家的質疑與批評,因而引發了對於主體性的全面檢視與討論,在十 八、十九世紀的哲學家思想中,諸如萊布尼茲、康德乃至存在主義之海德格、


而這種對於主體的討論,甚至一直延續到後現代的思潮中。在後現代思想 中,拉康認為,所謂主體乃是一種「空缺的主體」(the subject of lack),永遠飄 盪在「思」(thought)與「存有」(being)之間;李歐塔(Lyotard)則認為所謂 的主體是:在發言者、收話者與指示對象三者間的位移主體(addresser, addressee, and referent)。而德勒茲在此對主體性熱切討論的思潮下,在其著作中提出新的 主體性的意含,在The Fold《皺褶》一書中,其認為主體一如萊布尼茲的單子,

是循著兩個方向邁向無限的皺褶:一為物質的重褶,一為靈魂內的皺褶。單子 皺褶的捲藏、交疊或持展構成一幅心靈宇宙旋舞圖,主體與世界的置換化身為 宇宙幻舞,一如那濕婆神所跳之寓毀滅與再生於一體之舞。

本文乃欲以運用量子力學中光的波粒二象性,與物理學家波恩的全動像式 理論(holomovement),來闡釋萊布尼茲與德勒茲的單子主體論。量子力學中的


光的波粒二象性解釋了主體與世界的關係,光的移動是以波的形式前進,然而 在一極微點中,光是以粒子狀態呈顯,流轉中的單子主體(粒子)所形成的軌 跡(波),正如世界的諸序列(series of the world),而世界是藉由主體不停地捲


性,這是獨特的變異曲線,是所有系列的收斂系列。」(The Fold 24)整個世界 內存於單子全體,雖然每個單子只能清晰地表達世界的某個角落,但世界的諸 序列卻彼此混通(compossible),共構成一個最美好的世界。

此外,物理學家波恩將宇宙視為全動像式的(holomovement),他認為宇 宙萬物被全像的隱含秩序層(implicate order)捲藏在內,此隱含秩序層就像龐 大的能量之海蘊生出萬物──原子,海洋及宇宙中閃亮的星晨,綻放出的萬物 則稱作顯明秩序層(explicate order)。德勒茲認為事件蘊生於渾沌(chaos)之 中,必須透過某種濾篩(主體)才得以顯現。而單子主體將在觀點的無限性中 擷取其所需並表達出世界的某個區域,此區域稱為靈魂內的振輻 (amplitude)。

本文即將從德勒茲的著作,特別是The Fold《皺褶》一書,來釐清與說明 德勒茲的主體性意含。本文分為五部份,第一部份首先將歸納整理從笛卡兒以 降幾位具代表性的理論家對主體性概念之陳述,並標示出其差異性與獨特性,

第二部份我將試圖詮釋萊布尼茲與德勒茲的單子主體論。第三部份與第四部份 乃運用量子力學中光的波粒二象性,與波恩的全動像式理論(holomovement),


關鍵詞: 主體性、德勒茲、笛卡爾、萊布尼茲、量子力學、光的波粒二象性、



On Subjectivity in Deleuze’s The Fold

Catherine Ju-Yu Cheng

I. Problematizing the Cartesian Transcendental Subject

Constantin V. Boundas argues that Deleuze enlists Henri Bergson “in the cause of radical empiricism” and subverts the relationship between consciousness and objects. Bergson attempts to transcend the trap of phenomenology which “assigned light to the mind and conceived of consciousness as a searchlight summoning things up from their essential darkness.” According to Bergson, consciousness, unlike light in the old image of thought in phenomenology, turns out to be an opaque blade

“without which light would go on diffusing itself forever, never reflected and never revealed” (Boundas 5). For David Hume, the mind becomes a believing, anticipating, and inventing subject “as the result of the combined effects upon it of the principles of human nature,” principles of association and principles of passion (Boundas 5). In his Translator’s introduction to Empiricism and Subjectivity, Boundas claims

In the case of cognition, the principles of association—contiguity, resemblance, and causality—designate impressions and organize the given into a system, bringing thereby constancy to the mind and naturalizing it. They form habit, they establish belief, and they constitute the subject as an entity that anticipates. (15)

In Deleuze’s framework, the anticipating and inventing subject is called by other names: anticipation is conceived as “repetition” and “absolute memory,” and invention “acquire[s] its own synonyms” (“assemblage,”

“becoming on a line of flight,” “becoming-other,” etc.) (Boundas 14).

In The Lacanian Subject, Bruce Fink proposes that Descartes employs the graph of two overlapping circles to illustrate his idea of the subject in the midst of the cogito. Being and thinking coincide temporarily as the


Cartesian subject asserts, “I am thinking” (Figure 14).

Figure 1

Lacan, on the other hand, turns “Descartes’s subject inside out, employing everything the cogito is not” (Fink 45). Figure 25 shows the possible schema of the Lacanian subject.

Figure 2

The left side is the ego, the false self, the right side the unconscious.

The splitting of the I into ego (false self) and unconscious gives us the “split subject,” ”divided subject,” or “barred subject,” all represented by the same symbol, (S for “subject,” / for “barred”: the subject as barred by language, as alienated within the other).6 In Lacanian psychoanalysis, the unconscious is the ground of all being, while the ego is constructed like an onion: “peeling off layer after layer of identification in search of the substantial kernel of one’s personality, one ends up with a void, with the original lack” (Key Concepts 175). Instead of identifying with the ego, the subject learns to desire as the Other and hence identifies with the Other.

Lacan further proposes that “the subject is nothing here but a split between two forms of otherness—the ego as other and the unconscious as the Other’s

4 See Bruce Fink, The Lacanian Subject : Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton:

Princeton UP, c1995,43.

5 Ibid, 44.

6 Ibid, 41.


discourse” (Fink 46). The advent of the split subject marks a corresponding division of the Other into a lacking Other ( ) and object a. In this way, one realizes that there is no longer an idea of a whole subject or Other but only that of a lacking and barred one.

Jean-François Lyotard critiques the transcendental subject via the unsurpassable quality of the narrative since every statement, and every

“subject” is only one move in a language game. In The Postmodern Explained, Lyotard appropriates the case of the Cashinahua (Native American) to illustrate the process of positioning within the maze of language games.

The narrator has always already been narrated elsewhere both as an addressee (“each narrator declares that he is telling the story as he has

‘always heard’ it”) and as a referent (the hero of the narrative)” (Postmodern Explained 44). The permutations of named individuals across the three narrative instances (referent, addressor, addressee) breaks up the pretensions of a single and original speaker. The watertight structure of subjectivity is questioned and reconstituted through the oscillations between referent, addressor, and addressee. It is no longer a fixed triangular structure, but a kaleidoscope allowing tiny “moves” to enrich its metamorphic contour.

Thus, concepts of the performative, of “small” narrative, of the multiplicity and heterogeneity of language games drastically destabilize the anchor of the autonomous subject.

Michel Foucault appropriated from Nietzsche the idea that subjectivity is constructed by dominant systems in order to bring us under control, and made it his project to problematize modern forms of knowledge, rationality, social institutions, and subjectivity, and to recognize them as the contingent sociohistorical constructs of power and domination.

What powers must we confront, and what is our capacity for resistance, today when we can no longer be content to say that the old struggles are no longer worth anything? And do we not perhaps above all bear witness to and even participate in the ‘production of a new subjectivity’ (Foucault 115) ?

Foucault theorizes the nature of modern power in a “non-totalizing, non- representational, and anti-humanist scheme” (Foucault 48). His project is to subvert the pre-given, unified, and efficacious subject.


Thus we would need to set Deleuze’s theory of subjectivity, influenced by Leibniz and Bergson, in the wider context of other poststructuralist and postmodernist theories, including those of Lacan, Lyotard and Foucault, to see more clearly the respect in which Deleuze’s model is radically different.

II. Deleuze-Leibniz’s View of the Monad

Constantin V. Boundas wrote, “the only way, I think, to assess correctly Deleuze’s contributions toward a theory of subjectivity is to read him the way he reads others” (Boundas 13). In Deleuze’s universe, different series (the Hume-series, the Bergson-series, the Leibniz-series, the Nietzsche- Foucault-series, and the Nietzsche-Klossowski-series) are interactive and interpenetrating, and thus Deleuze deals in each case with different questions (an inter-related series of questions) on subjectivity. In the Hume-series, the question posed is “How does the mind become a subject?”; in the Bergson- series, “How can a static ontological genesis of the subject be worked out beginning with pre-personal and pre-individual singularities and events?”; in the Leibniz-series, “How can there be a notion of individuality which is neither a mere deduction from the concept ‘Subject’….nor a mere figure of an individuality deprived of concept…?” (Boundas 13). For Deleuze, a subject is not the Greek hupokeimenon, that which is passively

“placed beneath,” but a "cryptographer” actively delving into the crannies of matter and reading into the folds of the soul.

Furthermore, in response to the problem of the apparent interiority of the subject, Deleuze asks another question in the Nietzsche-Foucault-series:

“How can a dynamic genesis of subjectivity be constructed, in which the subject would be the folding and internalization of Outside forces, without succumbing to a philosophy of interiority?” (Boundas13) Deleuze further questions the relationship between the subject and the world in the Nietzsche-Klossowski-series, asking: “How is it possible to think the subject in terms of inclusive disjunctions and simultaneously affirmed incompossible worlds?” (Boundas14) Different series interact and interpenetrate; this is a rhizomatic dance that traces out lines of flight and maps out a

“deterritorialized” cartography. Deleuze’s concepts of “chaosmos” (chaos + cosmos) and “cracked I” serve as portmanteau words; they circulate


“through the series and make possible the inclusive, disjunctive affirmation of all series” (Boundas 13).

If we interpret Deleuz’s theory of subjectivity from the perspective of periodization:

[a]n arc would then run through Deleuze’s writings, leading from an early historico-philosophical interest in the structure-Subject and its actualization (essay on Hume), through a middle period marked by the arrogant and suicidal pulverization of subjectivity (May 1968? Felix?), to a belated, timid retrieval of the Subject as folded interiority (Foucault, Le Pli). (Boundas 12)

In this third stage, Deleuze delves into the interiority of the subject and explores its hidden folds to discover what lies deepest within. According to Tom Conley, “Deleuze’s work may be the first and most daring venture to take the Baroque, in its specific figure of the fold, through the history of art, science, costume, mathematics, lyric, and philosophy” (The Fold xi).

Boundas proposes that Deleuze’s life-long search for a “theory of subjectivity” begins with the essay on Hume and reaches “impressive depth and precision with his essay on Leibniz” (Boundas 11). I now turn to the discussions of subjectivity in The Fold.

In Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, James Williams proposes that “according to Deleuze, Hegel and Leibniz differ in the nature of the infinite limit” (69). For Hegel, “a well-ordered understanding of the world,”

synthesized by the great entity, is always problematized by a “contradictory but also subsuming entity”(69). On the other hand, for Leibniz, “whenever we arrive at a final identity, it is undone by tiny but significant variations”

(Williams 69). One fold always leads us to another fold no matter how tiny.

In his “Translator’s Foreword” to The Fold, Tom Conley discusses Deleuze’s comparison of Descartes’s and Leibniz’s views on extension.

If Descartes did not know how to get through the labyrinth, it was because he sought its secret of continuity in rectilinear tracks, and the secret of liberty in a rectitude of the soul. He knew the inclension of the soul as little as he did the curvature of matter. A "cryptographer"

is needed, someone who can at once account for nature and decipher


the soul, who can peer into the crannies of matter and read into the folds of soul. (The Fold 3)

Descartes is the first thinker to propose the priority of the subject through his famous formula “Cogito ergo sum” (‘I think, therefore I am’). For Decartes, the thinking subject mapped out the material world on an axis in rectilinear fashion and the ego (at the intersection of the diagonals of a surrounding square) conquers the world through the order and process of the Quincunx (Conley xvii). For Leibniz, on the other hand, “the subject lives and reenacts its own embryonic development as a play of folds (endo-, meso-, and ectoderm) rather than as a battleground pitting the self against the world”

(Conley xvii). Deleuze, aiming to problematize the Cartesian idea of subjectivity, incorporates Leibniz’s concept of the enfolding and unfolding of the monad into his own notion of subjectivity. For him, there is no pre-given subject but only a “subject” (literally something “thrown beneath”) as folding, unfolding, and refolding. Deleuze treats Leibniz as the philosopher of the Baroque and appropriates his concept of the monad in order to delineate his own concept of subjectivity, beginning from Leibniz’s “Baroque montage”

with two floors (the upper belongs to the soul and the lower to matter), itself a model of the monad. Most importantly, there is “a correspondence between … the pleats of matter and the folds in the soul” (The Fold 4).

Since Deleuze develops his own theory of the subject from Leibniz’s concept of the monad in The Fold, I would like to adumbrate the concept of the monad to see how it “virtualizes” Deleuze’s thinking. First, Leibniz

“ascribes to the soul or to the subject as a metaphysical point: the monad”

(The Fold 23). Monads are substances rather than compounds, for as Garrett Thomson asserts, “reality consists solely of an infinity of extensionless monads and their mental states” because monads, unlike Descartes’s matter, are not material objects and thus lack spatial extension (51). Second, Deleuze tries to reconcile Leibniz and Locke by means of incorporating Baroque art, especially architecture, into his picture of the monad. He claims that the “Baroque house” can be taken as an allegory of the monad. “The Baroque differentiates its folds in two ways, by moving along two infinities, as if infinity were composed of two stages or floors: the pleats of matter, and the folds in the soul” (The Fold 3). On the upper floor is the soul, while on the lower floor is matter. The graph of the Baroque House proposed by Deleuze looks like this:


Figure 37

The interrelationship between the soul and matter is portrayed as a musical harmony: “Leibniz constructs a great Baroque montage that moves between the lower floor, pierced with windows, and the upper floor, blind and closed, but on the other hand resonating as if it were a musical salon translating the visible movements below into sounds up above” (The Fold 4).

On the one hand, matter triggers the vibrations of the soul through several small openings (the five senses) and turns the innate knowledge of the soul into action. On the other hand, “the soul is a projection from the top of matter to the bottom, a pressing ‘focalization’ which directs the matter” (The Empiricism of Subjectivity 93). Therefore, the relationship between the soul and matter is one of “intertwinement” (or again “folding”), since matter propels the soul towards its own expression of thought(s) while the soul focalizes the swirling matter below. “Both aspects….seem to blend and indicate how there is communication between the two levels of the monadological construction through a process of reverberation” (Lambert 51).

Third, “each monad includes the whole series” (The Fold 25) and thus conveys the whole world. Nevertheless, since two souls never have the same order, each monad can only express clearly “a small region of the

7 See Tom Conley, The Fold, 5.


world, a ‘subdivision,’ a borough of the city, a finite sequence” according to its state of confusion (The Fold 25). According to Leibniz: “each monad reflects the universe from its own point of view… However, in a way, the perceptions of each monad are the same as those of any other monad, because the perception of each monad is simply a reflection of the whole universe, that is, of all the monads” (Thomson 53-54).

However, I would like to suggest that the notion that each monad reflects the entire universe can be illustrated through the principle of holographic projection.8 According to Michael Talbot, when the first laser beam is reflected off the photographed object, the image on the film looks like “the concentric rings that form when a handful of pebbles is tossed into a pond”; however, when another laser beam is passed through the film, “a three-dimensional image of the original object reappears” (Talbot 15).

Each monad enfolds the whole universe just as each piece of holographic film contains an encoded image because “unlike normal photographs, every small fragment of a piece of holographic film contains all the information recorded in the whole” (16-17). The holographic nature of contemporary physics can vividly illustrate the nature of the monad: within each monad is

8 A hologram is produced when a single laser beam is split into two separate beams. The first beam is bounced off the object to be photographed, in this case an apple. Then the second beam is allowed to collide with the reflected light of the first, and the resulting interference pattern is recorded on film. See Michael Talbot. The Holographic Universe. Caledonian Int. Book Man.

Ltd, Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1991, 15.

See Talbot, 15.


enfolded (encoded) the whole universe. Most importantly, the film can be divided infinitely. No matter how small each piece is, it will never lose its power to reveal the whole message, the only difference is that the smaller it is, the more opaque it is. This attribute corresponds to the property of the infinite division of the monad: no matter how tiny the monad is, it is capable of conveying the whole universe. Nevertheless, the monad can only reveal one of the zones clearly, “expressing more clearly a small region of the world, a ‘subdivision,’ a borough of the city, a finite sequence” (The Fold 25).

Figure 4

Fourth, Leibniz further claims that “God determines the nature of each monad so that its state will be coordinated in a pre-established harmony without the need for interference” (Thomson 54). I would like to employ the example of a dancer to explain this pre-established harmony. Before a dance materializes, the choreographer creates and organizes the dance through arranging the movement, and from the perspective of the audience, the dancers move as if spontaneously without environmental interference.

The pre-established harmony created by the choreographer doesn’t then appear to influence the aesthetic activity we experience: we take the dance as an “aesthetic whole” even though we are aware that the dancers themselves never interact.

Fifth, Leibniz establishes the monad as “absolute interiority” and treats

“the outside as an exact reversion, or ‘membrane,’ of the inside” (Badiou 61).

Borrowing ideas from Leibniz, Deleuze considers a subject (monad) a figure of interiority which escapes from the snare of transcendence and the dichotomy of inside and outside. The inside is merely the fold of the outside. For Deleuze, the subject is “neither reflection (or the cogito), nor the relation-to, the focus (or intentionality), nor the pure empty point (or eclipse).

Neither Decartes, nor Husserl, nor Lacan” (Badiou 61). Deleuze proposes rather that the soul or subject is represented as a “metaphysical point”, whereas, in fact, Leibniz’s monad is derived from the Neoplatonists, who


designated it as a state of One: “a unity that envelops a multiplicity, this multiplicity developing the One in the manner of a ‘series’” (The Fold 23).

The monadic subject then folds, unfolds, and refolds in order to “finitely represent infinity”; the world is crystalized and transformed by “placing” (or inclining, pointing) the subject as the “point of view.” Deleuze adopts Leibniz’s notion of the relationship between world and subject: a reciprocal relationship of “interweaving” or “mutual enfolding”. The subject (soul)

“expresses” the world (actuality) while the world is what the subject expresses (virtuality); the multiple transformations (folds) of the world enrich the subject (soul, monad) while the world, “sifted” as it is through the subject, becomes “the best of all possible worlds.”

Furthermore, we can detect the coexistence of, and cross-fertilization between, the world and the subject through the overlapping of point-folds.

“For [the painter] Klee, however, the point as a ‘nonconceptual concept of noncontradiction’ moves along an inflection; the point of inflection is the point where the tangent crosses the curve. That is the point-fold” (The Fold 14). And according to Deleuze, the point-fold is simultaneously the inflection, the position, and the subject. Deleuze distinguishes between three kinds of points: the physical point, the mathematical point, and the metaphysical point. The physical point (the point of inflection) is “what runs along an inflection or is the point of inflection itself: it is neither an atom nor a Cartesian point, but an elastic or plastic point-fold”; the mathematical point (the point of position) is both pure conventional extremity of the line and “a position, a site, a focus, a place, a point of conjunction of vectors of curvature or, in short, point of view” (The Fold 23);

the metaphysical point (the point of inclusion) represents the soul or the subject which occupies this point of view.

Deleuze is thus saying, on the one hand, that we must distinguish between (among) the point of inflection, point of position and point of inclusion. On the other hand he also admits that it’s impossible to really distinguish or separate these three inasmuch as each presupposes the determination of the other two (Badiou 51). Without the subject (the point of inclusion), the amplitude of the world represented through the point of inflection and the omniscient point of view (point of position) will be meaningless. Without the point of view, the subject can no longer perceive and actualize the world: the world will be entirely chaotic unless it is


“screened” by a point of view. And without the world, the subject loses its predicates, and thus falls flat because a subject or soul “always includes what it apprehends from its point of view, in other words, its inflection.”

Inflection is an ideal condition or a virtuality that currently exists only within the soul that envelops it (The Fold 22). Thus, the world needs the subject for actualizing it and the subject depends on the world for enrichment. Their mutual interactions form a kind of interweaving or interbreeding, an incessant movement of folding and unfolding.

God’s simultaneous creation of the world and Adam suggests such a relationship between the soul (subject) and the world (object): “God creates not only Adam the sinner but also the world in which Adam has committed sin” (The Fold 25). Both Adam and the world are at the same time incubators and that who/which is incubated. The subject as a monad enfolds and unfolds the world, yet also results from the world that God has chosen.

Adam is the point-fold on the curve, simultaneously the position and subject.

Thomson claims that Leibniz’s concept of the monad is, in a way, similar to contemporary physics—which might be expected since Leibniz independently invented calculus (the basic form of mathematics used by physics) around the same time as Newton. Thomson draws an analogy between the unfolding and enfolding of Leibniz’s monad and the

“holomovement,” defined by Bohm. In Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Bohm claims that “in the implicate order the totality of existence is enfolded within each region of space and time. So whatever part, element, or aspect we may abstract in thought, this still enfolds the whole (Bohm 172). With this idea in mind, I would now like to suggest an analogy between the

“mythical” representation of the subject and world and the particle-like and wave-like behavior of light in quantum physics.9

9 In 1900, Max Planck introduced the idea that energy is quantized, in order to derive a formula for the observed frequency dependence of the energy emitted by a black body. In 1905, Einstein explained the photoelectric effect by postulating that light energy comes in quanta called photons.

In 1913, Bohr explained the spectral lines of the hydrogen atom, again by using quantization. In 1924, Louis de Broglie put forward his theory of matter waves. Under certain experimental conditions, microscopic objects like atoms and electrons exhibit wave-like behavior, such as interference. Under other conditions, the same species of objects exhibit particle-like behavior ("particle" meaning an object that can be localized to a particular region of space), such as scattedring. This phenomenon is known as wave-particle duality.

Quantum Mechanics. January 12 2006. March 15 2006.



III. The Subject and the World, and the Particle-like and Wave-like Behavior of Light in Quantum Physics

The concept of the particle/wave duality of light in quantum physics functions as a useful frame through which to examine the imbrication between the subject and the world since the particle-like property of light is similar to the subject, while the wave-like property of light can be represented as the world. First, the concept of the wave/particle duality of light must be explained. It is an essential assumption of Quantum physics that physical entities (such as light and electrons) possess both wavelike and particle-like characteristics. The graph below shows the twofold relationship between the particle and wave-like behavior of light, how I envision this as being congruent with the interpenetration or mutual enfolding of the subject, and what Deleuze calls “the series of the world.”

Figure 5

First, the monad can be represented as a fixed particle while the series of the world is illustrated as a wave. Each monad oscillates and draws out its own trajectory, expressed as the series of the world; convergence around a point will be “continued in all directions in other series converging around other points” (Williams 73). The series of the world interpenetrates and reverberates, converging into a dynamic world. “The world is the infinite curve that touches at an infinity of points an infinity of curves, the curve with a unique variable, the convergent series of all series” (The Fold 24).

The monad folds and refolds and its folds map out the trajectory of “the convergent series of all series”, thus encompassing and expressing a compossible world. The enfolding and unfolding choreography of the series of the world weaves out a dynamic worldly matrix. The mutual


imbrication of the world and the subject (monad) finds its succinct expression in Leibniz’s statement: “the world is in the monad, and the monad is in the world” (Boundas 106). Similarly Deleuze proposes that

“the individual explicates and unfolds the world, which is implicated, included, and folded in it” (Boundas 106). The subject unfolds what is enfolded within in a unique way. The world incubates and shapes the subject while the subject fertilizes and instills new life into the world. The world provides the potential tensor of the virtual, which the subject actualizes.

They are intertwined rather than opposed, fertilizing each other infinitely.

The world itself is an event and, as an incorporeal (= virtual) predicate, the world must be included in every subject as a basis from which each one extracts the manners that correspond to its point of view (aspects).

The world is predication itself, manners being the particular predicates, and the subject is as if from one aspect of the world to another”(The Fold 26).

According to Leibniz-Deleuze, the world is included in every monad (subject) as a series of predicates instead of attributes. Attributes express qualities and essences, whereas predicates represent incorporeal events and a relation. Therefore, the subject expresses the potential series of predicates (virtuality), waiting for the subject to actualize and explicate it. Furthermore, In Understanding Deleuze, Colebrook proposes that “Deleuze uses the idea of the fold to express a becoming that is not grounded on being” (54).

Without sticking to the pre-given, essentialist concept of the subject and the world, we find that the infinite folds transform in a kaleidoscopic way.

Therefore, the state of the subject, or world is never eternal but always temporary—a state of becoming rather than a state of being. The reciprocal interplay between the subject and the world dazzles us through its virtual and phantasmagoric choreography. The coexistence of, and cross-fertilization between the wave-like and the particle-like properties of light portrays the relationship between the subject and world.


IV. Bohm’s Concept of the Holomovement

Furthermore, I would like to suggest here that this Leibnizian-Deleuzinan picture of the mutual enfolding/unfolding of the subject-world may be congruent, not only with the wave-particle duality of light but also with Bohm’s concept of the holomovement. Keeping in mind the earlier discussion of the apparent congruence between the hologram (or the function of the holographic film) discussed by Talbot and the Liebnizian monad’s function of enfolding the world, here I would like to employ Bohm’s theory to further illuminate the interrelations between the monad (subject) and world.

When the implicate order unfolds, the explicate order displays. The explicate order is the ordinary world of experience. It is the unfolded portion of the holomovement, which displays to us an aspect of the implicate order. The implicate order, on the other hand, provides the commonality for matter, life, and consciousness. It is in the implicate order that matter and consciousness are basically identical, differing only in subtlety (Bridging Science and Spirit 64).

The holomovement is an infinite spectrum of implicate order, an undivided and interpenetrating matrix. Its movements are more akin to a wave-like flux rather than transposition from place to place. This flux is a ceaseless sea of enfolding and unfolding, in contrast to the idea of an essentially static entity crossing space in time. Bohm further proposes an infinite number of levels—implicate orders, superimplicate orders, super- superimplicate orders, etc. “All these implicate orders merge into an infinite-dimensional ground, or holomovement” (Friedman 69).

To put it in the frame of Leibniz-Deleuze, “the individual explicates and unfolds the world, which is implicated, included, and folded inside it.

The entire world series is “in” the individual…” (Badiou 106). Nevertheless, the world also incubates the subject. Therefore, the cross-fertilization between the subject and the world implies that there is no difference between the subject and the world, and/or between the inside and the outside, since

“the macroscopic (or the molar)” is treated as “a torsion of the microscopic (or the molecular)” (Badiou 61).

Deleuze, then, brilliantly displays the holomovement in considering the world as a pool of chaotic energy, a potential virtuality, waiting for the


subject to actualize and explicate it. In his view, “events are produced in a chaos, in a chaotic multiplicity, but only under the condition that a sort of screen intervenes” (The Fold 76). What is an event? According to Deleuze, an event can be the Great Pyramid, the duration of a period, a “passage” of Nature or of God. Only when the chaotic multiplicity is sifted through the screen can the events be “displayed” or rather display themselves. Actually, the screen is (like) the subject who “translates” the world through its/her/his own point of view. Without the screen to focalize the material of the chaosmos, the world couldn’t be revealed. With the actualization (via the subject) of the potential series of the world, events “bloom” into a worldly flower. And

in such a chaotic and bifurcating world, the status of the individual changes as well…. Rather than being closed upon the compossible and convergent world they express from within (the monadic subject), beings are now torn open and kept open through the divergent series and incompossible ensembles that continually pull them outside themselves (the nomadic subject)” (Essays critical and clinical xxvii-xxix).

In this way, then, the monadic subject becomes (“turns into”) the nomadic subject. This is a nomadology of (the) monadology. The subject is no longer the fixed center of the Quincunx, but the infinitely varying point(s) of view on the conic section, “where the point of the cone is the point of view to which the circle, the ellipse, the parabola, and the hyperbola are related as so many variants that follow the incline of the section that is planed (‘scenographies’)”(The Fold 21).

V. Conclusion

Thus the subject and world are mutually enfolded and unfolded in an ongoing process. With Leibniz’s view of the monad, “expanded” by Deleuze, the map recording the complex relationship between the Cartesian thinking subject (ego) and its world of pure extension in space is redrawn.

Without ego-grounded assumptions, a subject achieves reciprocity with the world by operating within a rhizomatic system of heterogeneous


“becoming(s)” which breed(s) cross-fertilization. The subject, as the incubator of matter, gives birth to the kaleidoscopic metamorphosis of the world while the world enriches the subject through an (its) infinite series of predicates. This interpenetration between the subject and world is also the impossibility of their being compartmentalized. The intertwined, interwoven structure cannot be framed as a static picture; it cannot be frozen in this way;

it is an ongoing psychocosmic dance, a choreography, a living and self- transforming, cross-fertilizing web. Here there can be, as Colebrook says in Understanding Deleuze, no “distinction between perceiver and perceived, virtual and actual, inside and outside, or subject and object” (54).


Works Cited

Badiou, Alain. “Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque.” Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy. Ed. Boundas, V. Constantin and Dorothea Olkowski. New York: Routledge, 1994. 51-69.

Bohm, D., Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Ark, 1983.

Boundas, V. Constantin. “Deleuze: Serialization and Subject Formation.”

Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy. Ed. Boundas, V.

Constantin and Dorothea Olkowski. New York: Routledge, 1994.


Colebrook, Claire. Gilles Deleuze. New York: Routledge, 2002.

---. Understanding Deleuze. Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2002.

Critchley, Simon and Peter Dews, eds. Deconstructive Subjectivities. New York: State U of New York Press, 1996.

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Quattari. Anti-Oedipus. Minneapolis: U of Minneapolis Press, 1992.

---.Foreword. The Fold. By Boundas, V. Constantin. Trans. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota Press, 1993.

---.Foucault. Foreword by Paul Bove. Trans and Ed. Sean Hand.

Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press,1988.

---.Trans., Boundas, V. Constantin. Empiricism and Subjectivity. New York : Columbia U P, 1991

---.Trans., Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco. Essays: Critical and Clinical. London: Verso, 1998.

---.Trans., Tom Conley. The Fold. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject : Between Language and Jouissance.

Princeton, N.J.: Princeton U P, c1995

Friedman, Norman. Bridging Science and Spirit. St. Louis, MO: The Woodbridge Group, 1997.

Hall, Donald E. (Donald Eugene). Subjectivity. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Lambert, Gregg. Non-Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. New York:

Continuum, 2002.

M. R. M Parrott. The Empiricism of Subjectivity. South Carolina: rimric Press, 2002.

Nobus, Dany. Key Concepts of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. New York:


Other Press, 1999.

Pearson, Ansell Keith. Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe. Caledonian International Book Manufacturing Ltd, Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1991.

Thomson, Garrett. On Leibniz. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2001.

Williams, James. Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition: a Critical Introduction and Guide. Edinburgh : Edinburgh U P, c2003

[Received 3 August, 2006;

accepted 26 November, 2006]





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