By Hilan Bensusan
I was talking with my student working on Deleuze's empiricism (and moving fast towards believing that Whitehead via Jean Wahl had a huge influence on Deleuze from the beginning) about the remarkable presence of Artaud, and of the idea of a body without organs, in Deleuze. Then I found myself rehearsing a way to understand transcendental empiricism in terms of a body without organs. I started mentioning the contrast between organized experience and corporeal experience in Deleuze - the latter being akin to the non-figurative dimension of desire (what appears often as imperceptible), to contagion, to unnoticed becomings. The contrast can be found in a space of external relations understood as place that provides movement, speed, slowliness on the one side and the organized structures that give specific paces to movements, the projects and their agencements, the transcendent principles and rules on the other. This was present at least from Difference and Repetition, although in different forms. It is sometimes a contrast between the plane of immanence and the created concepts in a philosophy (in What is Philosophy), sometimes a friction by means of which difference makes repetition possible (in D&R), sometimes the schizo - and the intensity zero of the body without organs itself - in the background of territorial machines that make use of devices like the Oedipus operation (in Anti-Oedipus) and sometimes explicitly as in the distinction between the plane of immanence and the plan of organization (in 10th plateau of Mille Plateaux). It is as if there is experience making any plan, organization, agencement, concept possible - while those things populate, to be sure, experience. The transcendental empiricist thesis is that there is not much transcedental below experience - in any case, to ask for the conditions of possibility of anything one needs to engage with experience.
These two dimensions of experience could be understood through the words "body" and "organs". The judgement of God in the latter because there is always an external norm or a transcendent function to be fulfilled as long as an organ is an organ - because it is always a body as well. This dichotomy that would usher in transcendental empiricism - bodies make organs possible - dissolves the dichotomy between experience and a fixed structure underneath it (or beyond it, or parallel to it). This last dichotomy is a variation of the bifurcation that Whitehead endeavored to reject: that between experience and the ultimate constitution of things (matters of fact, substances). There is nothing beyond (transcendent) and nothing underneath (transcedental) experience - and yet experience is a complex board that enables many sorts of construction. It is not flat, but it enjoys valleys and mountains of its own.