Will to Power (decimalisation)

Suddenly I recall discourse from my childhood, one I wish to spare The Will to Power:

When I was a girl, said my mum, we had to learn to count in twelves, because in those days there were twelve pennies in a shilling and then we moved to the decimal system about the time we joined the EU and so that is much easier for children now than it was for us.

Languages are assemblages of enunciation.  Order-words are one of the variables – in this instance 10 and 12. The political authority, here ‘Europe’. ‘Easier’: how much harder our parents had it. The collective assemblage is called a regime of signs. Decimalisation, the EU, my bloody parents’ achievements.

Dear Wills to Power, my achievement has been to overthrow that regime of signs, that it would be easier for you, ‘that you might be spared it’….

We have gone from explicit commands (do it!) to order-words as implicit presuppositions (tens not twelves); from order-words to the imminent (powers here and now: the EU) acts or incorporeal transformations (digitalisation) they express; and from there to the assemblages of enunciation they are. To the extent these variables enter at a given moment into determinable relations, the assemblages combine in a regime of signs or a semiotic machine.

(Deleuze/Guattari, November 20, 1923: Postulates of Linguistics in “A Thousand Plateaus” (Continuum 2004), p.92) – my comments in brackets



The Will to Power at 5 (count in tens!)

Mrs Johnson had been doing counting in tens in class. The Will to Power was nearly the best at it.

“Can you count in tens?”


“Go on, do it!”

“Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety.”

She paid eager attention, like Mrs Johnson on the lookout for mistakes.

“Well done!”

“Can you?”

“Yes”, and she did.

While she was performing this I asked myself what knowledge she was demonstrating. She had learnt to recite numbers in “tens”. Numbers with a “ty” ending and two syllables (the second syllable in “seventy” had to be squashed). She was demonstrating more a poetic skill than a mathematical one I thought. Did she know the concept, I asked myself?

“Very good! Do you know four times ten?”


“Excellent! And six times ten?”

She became thoughtful, brooded over the question, smiled at me appealingly:


“No! Sixty!”

“Oh yeah, ‘sixty’!”

First, she had learnt, ‘ten’, ‘twenty’, ‘thirty’, ‘forty’, ‘fifty’, ‘sixty’, ‘seventy’, ‘eighty’, ‘ninety’; by the end of our conversation though – I instructed her I thought in the concept behind the numbers – she knew the numbers ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety.

Or did she?*

Had she not just learnt – as opposed to learnt that – ‘six times ten is sixty’? And later she learns to say ‘multiplied by’ in the line in place of ‘times’? And ‘times table’ for ‘count in tens’…

“Language in its entirety is indirect discourse.”

(Deleuze/Guattari, November 20, 1923: Postulates of Linguistics in “A Thousand Plateaus” (Continuum 2004), p.93)

*When she answered ‘fifty’, that smile, was the Will to Power perhaps testing me back?







Make God Great Again (in tweed)

Our Father

Who art in Oxfordshire

Hallowed be thy Title

Thy rural parish come

Thy will be done

On Earth as it is in the Church Times.

Give us this day ye olde good old dayse,

And forgive us our guacamole

As we forgive those who avocado against us.

And lead us not into automation,

But deliver us from globalisation

For yours is the past, the nostalgia and the wellies,

Yesterday and forever before,



May 2017


XXXIV – “The way is broad”

The way is broad, reaching left as well as right.

The myriad creatures depend upon it for life yet it claims no authority.

It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.

It clothes and feeds the myriad creatures yet lays no claim to being their master.

For ever free of desire, it can be called small; yet, as it lays no claim to being master when the myriad creatures turn to it, it can be called great.

It is because it never attempts itself to be great that it succeeds in becoming great.


Do I put great words into God’s mouth, as if to Make God Great Again?

On guard angels

The next day, that is, after the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what the imposter said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore, command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. (Matt 27:62-66)

They are, ironically, the first ones who have a sense that the Christ is not dead – despite the crushing public humiliation and crucifixion they had arranged. So an armed guard is needed to ensure he stays dead.

This is the beginning of the resurrection and the first image of the life beyond death: the laughable impotence and stupidity of those men solemnly commanding that a tomb be guarded… and the sound of suppressed laughter (the laughter-of-trying-not-to-laugh, like at the incidence of a hated teacher ripping the seat of his trousers): Before nodding off, the guards must have had a good laugh at the ridiculous nature of the command to keep the dead dead, and at the commanders who gave it. By morning the guards had turned into angels.


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22)

How can it be that God

Has forsaken the world

To be ruled over by dogs?


How can it be that the world

Has forsaken God

To be ruled over by dogs?


How can it be that God

Calls to God

Why have you forsaken me?



And I call to God,

Or to myself

Why have you been forsaken me?


And God calls to myself

Or I to myself

Why have you forsaken me?




Future generations will proclaim


To a people yet unborn.



XXXIII – “He who overcomes himself…”

He who knows others is clever;

He who knows himself has discernment.

He who overcomes others has force;

He who overcomes himself is strong.

He who knows contentment is rich;

He who perseveres is a man of purpose;

He who does not lose his station will endure;

He who lives out his days has had a long life.


A quick wit can judge another and a prize fighter can knock another out.

And you can retire, rich and content, holding yourself above the others – but then you are no longer living. Your life will have no longevity – nor will it have breadth, nor depth.

Instead, think about the strength to carry weights with good posture. Persevere in the long task. Train endurance, and do not hold yourself above the others.

You know yourself by way of observation; you overcome yourself by way of pliability. Such is your practise: there is no knock-out punch.