1.4 Conclusion

Michael P. Ford
Mar 11 · 3 min read

The song goes, “Here’s a truck stop instead of Saint Peter’s…yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” and K sings along.¹⁸⁷ Is it really so surprising that “the soul of business” should find such a clear and distinct expression in the ordinary workings and the succession plan of a family-owned commercial transportation dealership in the middle of the Arizona desert? The source of our amazement now appears to be four-fold: first, “that capitalism is industrial in its essence or mode of production,”¹⁸⁸ we treat sales and service activities as marked and downstream from the firm’s primary operations understood as the assembly line; second, that the organization of “relations of production and property relations” alone is enough to account for “the economic instance,” we treat the reproduction and development of producers and agents of capital as incidental instead of integral to commercial practice;¹⁸⁹ third, that “in the capitalist code and its trinitary expression, money as detachable chain is converted into capital as detached object, which exists only in the fetishist view of stocks and lacks,” we treat as inevitable the triangulation that forms and promotes “global persons” at the expense of “polyvocal writing and detachable fragments”;¹⁹⁰ and, finally, that talk of the soul, or souls, is no longer in fashion and left to the faithful, we treat as inconceivable any “science of the soul”.¹⁹¹

The modern attempt to salvage or prop up the soul inaugurated by Descartes in the seventeenth-century (with his cogito, “I think, therefore I am”) inadvertently led to its annihilation.¹⁹² This being the case, we understand why the philosopher made his way back to the fourteenth-century and to the Islamic scholar, Ibn Khaldun, to find an alternative tradition and a possible basis for such a science: “A body (corps) is not reducible to an organism, any more than esprit de corps is reducible to the soul of an organism. Spirit is not better, but it is volatile, whereas the soul is weighted, a center of gravity. Must we invoke a military origin of the collective body and esprit de corps? ‘Military’ is not the part that counts, but rather the distant nomadic origin. Ibn Khaldun defines the nomad war machine by: families or lineages PLUS esprit de corps. The war machine entertains a relation to families that is very different from its relation to the State. In the war machine, the family is a band vector instead of a fundamental cell; a genealogy is transferred from one family to another according to the aptitude of a given family at a given time to realize the maximum of ‘agnatic solidarity.’ Here, it is not the public eminence of a family that determines its place in a State organism but the reverse; it is the secret power (puissance), or strength of solidarity, and the corresponding genealogical mobility that determine its eminence in a war body.”¹⁹³

Fig. 1.32

In this chapter, we began to make the case that the real conditions of experience constituting the everyday world of work have both the need and the potential to produce a certain kind of person. In the next chapter, we continue to set the stage for K’s experience learning the family business by telling the story of how the Mucros family worked together and pooled resources to help K’s uncle purchase the dealership in 1981. In doing so, we continue to build the case that the production of whole persons is not only demonstratively operative within commercial practice, but attests to an ongoing appreciation for and investment in that “band vector” and “agnatic solidarity” that characterize certain families, lineages or collective bodies. A “secret coherence which establishes itself only by excluding my own coherence, my own identity, the identity of the self, the world and God.”¹⁹⁴ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[187] From “Man on the Moon,” on the album Automatic for the People by R.E.M. (1992)

[188] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p.229.

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

[190] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p.73.

[191] “Science of the Soul? ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’ Is Losing Force,” Cornilia Dean, New York Times (2007)

[192] Ibid.

[193] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.366.

[194] Gilles Deleuze, Difference & Repetition, pp.90–91.


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


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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