Deleuze and Guatarri discussion of the Rhizome in "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia"

Essay by CHAOSMANCollege, UndergraduateB, November 2006

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In the introductory essay of their book "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia", Deleuze and Guatarri introduce a new conceptual model they call "The Rhizome." An idea which at first is difficult to grasp yet is very descriptive of many real-life systems. A rhizome is a network of interconnected points that "can be connected to anything other, and must be" as such, it varies "from ramified surface extension in all directions to concentration into bulbs and tubers" (Deleuze and Guatarri 7). Many aspects of modern society, including the most popular and challenging of our computer and video games such as GTA and Halo, express a rhizomatic structure through the gameplay and the emotional structure that is produced by playing these games.

In defining the rhizome, the authors use dichotomous arguments which they call it, "the binary." In typical Computer Science terminology, a binary is considered a 0 or 1. However in "The Rhizome" Binary is the concept of the branching root, which may split infinitely but which can nonetheless be traced back to an originating point.

Each branch attaches to one other "active neighbor" (16), in a hierarchical fashion that regulates and limits that. The resulting pattern, which they call the "arborescent" model, "plots a point, fixes an order" (7). They claim it as limiting, and in human society; artificial. On the other hand, the rhizome liberates individuals through its countless connections, reopening the flow of ideas that were previously blocked. "Strange new uses" (15) are found when rhizomatic filaments reconnect with the trunk. The structure is weakened, allowing freedom along a variety of "lines of flight" (11). Ultimately Deleuze and Guatarri encourage us to form our own rhizomes. Few of our modern rhizomes are more obvious than video games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Doom, and Halo.

Because the Rhizome...