1.333 Becoming-Equal

Michael P. Ford
Feb 28 · 5 min read

The anthropology of apprenticeship recommends that a theory of learning account for three fundamental elements or components: “Telos: that is, a direction of movement or change of learning (not the same as goal directed activity); Learning mechanisms: ways by which learning comes about; Subject-world relation: a general specification of relations between subjects and the social world (not necessarily to be construed as learners and things to be learned).” It has shown how this scheme can be profitably deployed to account for “salespeople’s learning at work.”¹⁷⁵ For our purposes, this same scheme does not represent the theoretical aim or objective, but only the beginning or point of departure for our construction. This is because the field has “two poles or vectors,” and it is the relatively rigid or stratified pole that gives direction a goal and isolates learning from other productive activities (precisely by identifying “learners and things to be learned”). Moreover, it is at this pole or along this vector that the field “differentiates a form of expression (from the standpoint of which it appears as a collective assemblage of enunciation) from a form of content (from the standpoint of which it appears as a machinic assemblage of bodies); it fits one form to the other, one manifestation to the other, placing them in reciprocal presupposition.”¹⁷⁶ From the standpoint of society’s working relations, the field appears as a collective assemblage of enunciation. This form of expression overcodes and fits tightly together with the learning curriculum, a form of content that appears as a machinic assemblage of bodies. At one extreme, this overcoding and this fitting together effectively bend the form of content or machinic assemblage of bodies. Here, the field is determined by a function of stifling organization and stratification (“mortuary axiomatic”).¹⁷⁷ At the other extreme, the same organization and stratification that captures and deforms cannot help but give way to and effectively sustain a form of content or arrangement of bodies that now appears to catch its breath and recover its strength. From this standpoint, the field is determined by a function of development and deterritorialization (“lines of escape”).¹⁷⁸ When allowed to or by resisting, bodies tend to unfold or straighten. It is true: in the everyday world of work, everything takes place on the plane of organization and development. However, the privileged examples of salespeople’s learning at work and the nephew who is groomed to be a dealer-principal and prepared to take over the dealership from his uncle also show that everything depends on how the forms of content and expression, learning and work, fit together at a given point in the field. Accordingly, by following K on his adventure we can effectively reach that point where the proliferation of his directions and goals results in a “complete absence of telos”;¹⁷⁹ the learning mechanisms making up his journey attest to a diversity of “spaces, with their routes, their detours, their barriers, their agents, form a dynamic cartography”¹⁸⁰ give way to a “space before action, overlapping of perspectives and fluctuation of the soul”;¹⁸¹ and the subject-world relation discerned with such precision that it seems to explode and we witness the “birth of a world which is a chaosmos, in these worlds of movements without subjects, roles without actors.”¹⁸² In short, we can reach that point where the plane of organization and development gives way to a “plane of faith” and K appears as both “the knight of faith” and “heir apparent to the finite”.¹⁸³

With these preliminaries in mind, we are now in a position to present the plan for Part II of our report (see Figure 1.31 below). We demonstrate with reference to the evidence how the dealership’s learning curriculum is made up of four moments or stages (the columns), which we distinguish from ten points of view (the rows): the first row tells us which chapter is dedicated to a given moment or stage; the second tells us in which training assignment K experienced the full force of a given stage; the third which department is the clearest expression of a given stage; the fourth the kind of evidence with which a given form has a privileged relation and is take up and treated in the chapter; the fifth the name of the form of content from the point of view of succession (that is, K’s apprenticeship); the sixth the name of the form of expression from the point of view of simultaneity (that is, the firm as an apparatus of control); the seventh a diagram showing the shape or posture that the machinic assemblage assumes at a given stage or phase of the learning curriculum (machinic phylum); the eighth the name of the specific learning mechanism that predominates at that point in the curriculum; the ninth the defining aspect of space corresponding to a given form; and the last the subject that inhabits such a space.

Fig. 1.31

By carefully mapping the extended commercial enterprise we are able to discern the hold or grip that striated space (apparatus of capture) has on holey space (matter-flow). And, thanks to K, we know how to pass from one extreme point in the field to the other, from the point at which the apparatus of capture enjoys a firm grip on the machinic phylum to that point at which even “the biggest fish pass through” (whole persons).¹⁸⁴ “The problem, from this standpoint, is to tip the most favorable assemblage from its side facing the strata to its side facing the plane of consistency or the body without organs.”¹⁸⁵ This is to say that we unexpectedly find ourselves in a position of show just how “holey space itself communicates with smooth space and striated space.”¹⁸⁶

[175] Carsten Østerlund, Learning Across Contexts: An ethnographic study of salespeople’s learning at work (1996).

[176] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.145

[177] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p.337.

[178] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p.339.

[179] Pierre Klossowski, “Circulus Vitiosus,” p.34.

[180] Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical & Clinical, p.62.

[181] Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, p.317.

[182] Gilles Deleuze, Difference & Repetition, p.219.

[183] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.282.

[184] Gilles Deleuze, Difference & Repetition, p.182.

[185]Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.134.

[186] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.415.

SALESMANISM

Using the representational strategy most congruent with its subject matter ― Plato’s “likely story” ― Salesmanism is the first of a two-volume publishing program that answers Albert Lautman’s call by attempting to “remake the Timaeus”.

Michael P. Ford

Written by

Public Servant, Independent Scholar & Social Entrepreneur

SALESMANISM

Using the representational strategy most congruent with its subject matter ― Plato’s “likely story” ― Salesmanism is the first of a two-volume publishing program that answers Albert Lautman’s call by attempting to “remake the Timaeus”.

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