Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rhizome, a wonderful concept for the Internet

The rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system without a General and without an organizing memory or central automation, defined solely by a circulation of states” (ATPC 23). The model of thought for rhizomatics, schizoanalysis, stratoanalysis, pragmatics, and micropolitics.

The rhizome is characterized by six principles ("approximate characteristics" (ATPC 7)) – all active simultaneously – described in the introduction chapter of A Thousand Plateaus:


  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#

   Hypertext is rhizomorphic in all its characteristics.
Its power derives from its flexibility and variability; from
its ability to incorporate, transmute and transcend any
traditional tool or structure. Like the rhizome, it is
frightening because it is amorphous. The hierarchical
systems we are accustomed to are definitional--they are
centers of power. Knowledge of the hierarchy engenders
authority; corrupted authority breeds despotism. Knowledge
of the rhizome as a totality is impossible, precisely
because "totality" and other absolutes have no meaning in a
rhizome. The rhizome is as individual as the individual in
contact with it. It is that individual's perception, that
individual's map, that individual's understanding. It is
also, and at the same time, a completely different
something--another individual's perception, another
individual's map, another individual's understanding. It
provides no structure for common understanding. It is a
state of being, reflective always of the present, a plateau
in a region made up entirely of plateaus--"a continuous,
self-vibrating region of intensities whose development
avoids any orientation toward a culmination point or

external end" (Deleuze & Guattari 22).

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