“If it is a question of showing that rhizomes also have their own, even more rigid, despotism and hierarchy, then fine and good: for there is no dualism, no ontological dualism between here and there, no axiological dualism between good and bad, no blend or American synthesis. There are knots of arborescence in rhizomes and rhizomatic offhoots in roots. Moreover, there are despotic formations of immanence and channelization specific to rhizomes, just as there are anarchic deformations in the transcendent system of trees, aerial roots, and subterranean stems. The important point is that the root-tree and canal-rhizome are not two opposed models: the first operates as a transcendent model and tracing, even if it engenders its own escapes; the second operates as an immanent process that overtuns the model and outlines a map, even if it constiutes its own heirarchies, even if it gives rise to a despotic channel. It is not a question of this or that place on earth, or of a given moment in history, still less of this or that category of thought. It is a question of a model that is perpetually prolonging itself, breaking off and starting up again. No, this is not a new or different dualism. The problem of writing: in order to designate something exactly, anexact expressions are utterly unavoidable… We invoke one dualism only in order to challenge another. employ a dualism of models only in order to arrive at a process that challenges all models. Each time, mental correctives are necessary to undo the dualisms we had no wish to construct but through which we pass. Arrive at the magic formula we all seek-PLURALISM=MONISM-via all the dualisms that are the enemy, an entirely necessary enemy, the furniture we are forever rearranging.” (A THOUSAND PLATEAUS (20-1)


  1. Ummm…what?

  2. Words words words… I’d rather listen to birds.

    Is it pedantic-shamanic or just lexical-mastabation? I see no images, I hear no sounds, no perception is evoked – just piles of nonsense stacked sky high as babel.

    Ah… the French. If you can’t beat ’em, bore ’em.

  3. Hmmm..seems like a wordy discription of Giordano Bruno’s philosophy. There is no “center” of the universe, and everthing is connected. There…how’s that translation?

  4. My attempt at an interpretation:

    First, regarding hierarchy, this sounds like something Manuel DeLanda said:

    “Of course, this dichotomy between command hierarchies and meshworks should not be taken too rigidly: in reality, once a market grows beyond a certain size, it spontaneously generates a hierarchy of exchange, with prestige goods at the top and elementary goods, like food, at the bottom. Command structures, in turn, generate meshworks, as when hierarchical organizations created the automobile and then a meshwork of services (repair shops, gas stations, motels and so on), grew around it. More importantly, one should not romantically identify meshworks with that which is ‘desirable’ or ‘revolutionary’, since there are situations when they increase the power of hierarchies.” (

    Next, they seem to assert that duality is difficult to critique because you create a duality when you do so (duality or non-duality). Thus everything ends up as this twisted mess of competing yet connected dualities that are constantly reconfigured, but are still composed of the same fundamental “stuff.”

    Tiamats – that is certainly part of it, I assume (without having actually read very much D&G at all yet). Tobias Van Veen gives this explanation of the rhizome:

    “basically it’s the idea that life, in reality, has no hierarchy. it’s just us humans that give things hierarchies and power. life is actually flow. in other words, the taoists and buddhists were right– but that doesn’t mean we need to become monks. thus the paradox of western philosophy at the turn of D&G: how to understand life / time as flow (and space, as an ’empty container,’ as a false idea — which is what quantum physics and modified general relativity teach us) while at the same time realising that we need to struggle for a better world.” (

    It seems there’s some debate as to whether hierarchy is human generated or not (in D&G’s view)… based soley on this passage, one would expect that they thought there is, but that’s such a small drop in the bucket that is A Thousand Plateaus.

  5. Thanks! Bruno stated similar ideas in “Cause,Principal and Unity,(and essays on Magic)”. Not everything that is a principle is a cause, and visa-versa. Everthing is interchangable (i.e. Van Veen’s flow).

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