I will use the term machinic phylum to refer both to the processes of self-organization in general and to the particular assemblages in which the power of these processes may be integrated. In one sense the term refers to any population of atoms, molecules, cells, insects whose global dynamics are governed by singularities bifurcations and attractors : in another sense it refers to the integration of a collection of elements into an assemblage that is more than the sum of its parts, that is, one that displays global properties not possessed by its individual components. The application of these concepts to human history is controversial. The classic problem surely is the role of human consciousness again, a version of the blockage identified by Zizek. Is the second sense of integration dependent on humans? Here, the machinic phylum also has a role in the development of armies — is the book just polemically stressing that role? Or are the two senses actually combined in some way — consciousness is itself a singularity and nothing else?
Skip to content. Skip to navigation. Essay by Manuel de Landa for "TechnoMorphica," TechnoMorphica A key issue in philosophical analyses of technology concerns the most appropriate way of conceptualizing innovation. One may ask, for instance, whether human beings can truly create something novel, or if humanity is simply realizing previously defined technological possibilities. Indeed, the question of the emergence of novelty is central not only when thinking about human-developed physical and conceptual machinery, but more generally, the machinery of living beings as developed through evolutionary processes. Can anything truly different emerge in the course of evolution or are evolutionary processes just the playing out of possible outcomes determined in advance?
War in the Age of Intelligent Machines is a book by Manuel DeLanda , in which he traces the history of warfare and the history of technology. Deleuze and Guattari appreciated Foucault's definition of philosophy as a "tool box" that was to encourage thinking about new ideas. They prepared the field for a re-appropriation of their concepts, for use in another context of the "same" concept, which they called " actualization ". DeLanda drew on the concepts these authors put forth, to investigate the history of warfare and technology. DeLanda describes how social and economic formations influence war machines, i. He draws on chaos theory to show how the biosphere reaches singularities or bifurcations which mark self-organization thresholds where emergent properties are displayed and claims that the "mecanosphere", constituted by the machinic phylum, possesses similar qualities.
Describing the development of weapons such as the saber or the sword, Deleuze and Guattari relate how metallurgy follows variations in materials and their qualities spatio-temporal haecceities and transforms them into features traits of expression such as hardness, sharpness and finish. The assemblages cut the phylum up into distinct, differentiated lineages, at the same time as the machinic phylum cuts accross them all. This matter flow can only be followed. The artisan is one who is determined to follow a flow of matter as pure productivity. The artisan is the itinerant, the ambulant. His work is a legwork. To follow the flow of matter The machinic phylum is metallurgical, or at least has a metallic head, as its itinerant probe-head or guidance device.