How to be insulted – Deleuze and Bataille series

How do you craft the perfect insult? What we are really asking is how can we make someone hurt themselves? It’s self-defeating to insist that someone caused another to feel insulted. The best insult merely exists as a way to be present when one’s enemy stand underneath their will. Their will-to-power or will-to-truth crushes them. Better yet, it’s to have him or her “trip up” using his own words. It’s is a question concerning space.

Extracting the insult

One must first remove all political motivations behind an insult. One must also remove the productive elements that exists in the general economy. Those productive codes that are maintained through labor. One must also remove the relational components of an insult. The familial or alliance drama are external extensions that stretches out into the social field. These 3 categories do not exist in isolated nor are they hierarchies of each other. They do have tremendous influence on how we all live collectively as a social species. But to craft a perfect insult, one must depart from the superficial motivations behind them.

Insults are the purest form of offer

To understand the making of a perfect insult, one must take it out of context for a moment. It’s the jouissance or that joy of witnessing someone in pure mental pain. This mental torture has its genealogies rooted to the festivals done in medieval times where a creditor would torture his debtor into a torturing device. Nietzsche can remind us of his 3 polemics in his Genealogy of Morals, ressentiment, bad-consciousness, and the ascetic ideal. Souls are indebted to weakness and their will-to-power. Slaves were held not against their masters, but by their own weaknesses. There wasn’t any revenge, retributive justice, nor resentment present in the Master race. It is the slaves that welcomes his own torture. Indebtedness weighs too much on their consciousness and want forgiveness. Ressentiment then, is precisely the inability to attain revenge. From a spiritual level, evil isn’t created through will, but it is created through weakness. A weakness that would rather will to nothingness than to will at all. For the slaves, working in the dark, crafted the ultimate revenge, not a psyciall revenge, but a spiritual one.

These keen watchers developed an analytical eye. This eye holds its gaze onto signs – a reaction. ‘A tremble of the lips, a clench of the fist, a squint of the eye, a blush in the cheeks, a chatter of the teeth, a mean mug’… anything that would confirm a transaction which has seeped through the cracks behind the fa├žade of a good man.

The Modus Operandi

Contrary to popular belief, the weak man is the most creative. The weak man creates intelegencia for his enemies. For what would an insult be if it merely flys over the heads of the imbecile. The social field that maintains all productive elements and elevates them above their peers is a gold-standard that keeps keeps everyone socially literate. The social games played on this level has real consequences on “the soul” (or as Earnest Becker would put it – the inner symbolic self), but only if one measure their worthiness against the extensions that souls cohabitates along with commodities. This horizontal plane is the productive homogenous axis where productive codes maintains it’s extension through comparison and, to a certain extent, competition. “Flows-of growth,” in other words, are enjoyed by the same people we offer and insult. To their enemies by the grace of god.

The death of Public Freakouts

To begin with the public freakout is adequate because it represents the simple yet, distasteful realities of living side by side with strangers. These conflicted individuals are left to rely on their day-to-day expectations and their tired mind. These limitations are what gives the public freakouts their warmth and ironically their compassion.

The year 2020 marks the end of the classic public freakout. This is extremely worrying. When we think about a stranger-to-stranger confrontation, we think about the altercations that many service workers experience when deal with their and the customer. What makes a public freakout legitimate is that the thing they are arguing about has to be a trivial matter. This situation gives us the greatest insight into our existential despair and answers to any life’s mysteries than any religion could offer. Political insults dwarf at this simple yet powerful common occurrence. Family feuds or gossip can’t even do justice to these kinds of situation. Workplace conflicts are interesting, but when compared side-by-side with a public freakout, the productive elements that maintain developed codes comes back around as it normalizes the world through work and labor. Work is the only place were we can enjoy a brutal yet faithful analysis of our character. And as citizens, we might feel a welcoming and appreciative to these kinds of insights. But the offering of a learning opportunity can happen in a very specific kind of space. The election of Trump began a faithful transition to a new kind or work. This work is not the same work that history likes to paint it as progressively utopian. The Trump era placed every single soul to work while bodies are traversing through comparative and non-comparative spaces. Work is becoming less and less of a requirement and more of an attitude of manners. How is this possible? How can work mean anything other than being physically present at a location? How is work anything but doing something that one is least inclined to do? We will see how an anti-hierarchy (anti-dialectical form of class-consciousness is disguised to be subordination, not the power-grab that Foucault would say, but a brokerage created so as to pull the external chains of signifiers. Soon, the participants of “flows-of-growth would no longer need to be present to insult. As long as subjects never to find the master signifier of these chains is the key to the extrapolation of productive codes onto the developed surface.


We often receive insults that will help us develop a thicker skin. This is what we mean when we participate in “flows-of-growth.” Which is why it’s important to remove the productive, horizontal social field where we attach our desiring-machines with production. With desiring-machines, we mean the desire to attain revenge imposed upon us… almost… not quite What is revenge if not the inability to attain it. Using Deleuze and Guattari, we can give revenge the same treatment of desire. Desire is attained by not having object-of-desire in the first place, making it precisely the desire to obtain it. Without the desire to obtain the object, we can not desire something that isn’t there. At least for Plato, he had the luxury of the Forms where the perfect idea of an object exists. So what is the ideal form of revenge? Or the desire to commit revenge? Desire defines itself and opposes itself at the same instance. When we extrapolate the productive field, we can look at the parodies that comes with insulting someone. For example, the classic scenario of the public freakout. It will just make the service worker develop a deeper skin. The question we must ask is what comes after the insult? Once we answer it it becomes obvious why thinkers like Deleuze became anti-Hegelian, anti-dialectic. Dialectic proceeds only after we negate (or use labour) to negate the situation. But if the situation already contained it’s own opposition, of what use was using “the labour of the negative” to proceed? What comes after the dialectic model is justifying insulting someone for the sake of “a learning experience.” “I will teach you a lesson,” is a very common phrase we hear of something that intends to insult or dismiss someone’s rhetoric. In fact, this very same justification to insult become the precise reason to primarily insult. This is the downfall of a decent public freakout that has gone bad. “I don’t want to insult you, but I will do it anyway. In fact, I will insult you and not enjoy it for the sake of making the insult BURN.” Or worse yet “I’ll be the bigger man.” George Bataille is credited for discovering the solar anus, but he has not seen a sun-crossed solar anus. Two anuses that attempt to show to the world that they have one and it works.

The justification to insult by participating on the same social field that will grant both assailant and victim has the opportunity to obtain the same productive codes that will invariably detach and force the quarrel to be degrees away from the issue at hand. The worst kind of insult is the one where both “don’t give a fuck” to put it nicely. First, we have the main (trivial) issue degrees away from the situation at hand. This is because the assailant is the carrier of the message. The message is intended to arrive to the receiver, of which must agree to it being arrive. But agree to what precisely. From what I understand, Deleuze rejects Hegelian dialectics because of reciprocal recognition. It gives no chance for partial objects to detach but rather extrapolate into detachable, complete objects. Meaning object can never immanate into miraculation but they transcend out externally. Transcending is an illegitimate form of the disjunctive synthesis of recording. Think about one’s enemy attempting to get his subject to think about him. Now think about one’s enemy attempting to get his subject to think about him as the winner of an argument. Now think about one attempting to get his enemy to do the same thing (get him to think about him as the winner instead). What makes it worse is that these images begin to stack upon images like mirrors reflecting off of eachother. The winner must agree that he will think of his loser think of him in return and vice versa. It goes on and on. Now we see how the situation begins to move degrees away from the issue at hand. The fetishization of success is less about money as a complete object but the activity of purchasing. Purchasing power ripples throughout the extensions of the economy as a partial object. Transcending life then, is the fetishization of success through money. Money loses its ambiguous status as it leans towards equilibrium. How many times do we hear that success is the best revenge? It’s all about the jouissance of it or the moment of the limited experience. The only vice acceptable in the productive, homogenous economy is revenge. This presents another paradox and a serious problem to insulters (all of us). How do we make sure that the image remains imprinted onto the mind of the stranger. This is precisely the reason why the requirement of a public freakout to be stranger-to-stranger is because it mirrors the force that distributes codes fromt the horizontal connective synthesis onto the vertical emotional one.

Hell is other people looking at you, looking at them

How do we remain certain that the stranger we just had a quarrel with will create his own hell by reliving (remembering) the situation? This is why Nietzsche hinted to a Great Health – the ability to forget. When one loses their ability to forget, one can be imprinted with a thought or a doubt. Insults almost never end once the encounter is over. Heads cool, emotions die off, and memories begin to record onto the disjunctive synthesis.

The Consoomer

We’ve talked about is the upward movement into the developed, vertical position up to this point. The “drop” is the insult that takes place internally. What we mean by internal is the internal chains within the disjunctive synthesis. Productive codes matches commodities on one side to currency on the other side. In the middle sits the cashier register. The transfer is made because comparative spaces allow these codes to flow frictionless and effortlessly. Having these codes traverse through history, they get imbedded into the heterogeneous surface as inscriptions. But the same forces that matches these codes are not the same that disperses them. As with money, transcending partial objects will only represent them and not become. Another surface gets created instantaneously that runs parallel alongside the cashier register. It is at first horizontal as the transfer of money exchanges hands over-the-counter. But when the customer received his or her service subpar; this means that the service wasn’t up to his or her expectations. Living in a developed nation gets even trickier because the price that amounts to the product-service (starbucks Coffe) more than likely originated in developing countries. Developing countries exist in comparative spaces where most factories and assembling lines can create a frictionless surface by which raw material are put into the machine. What comes out is a final product without its fetished value added. The product that reaches the final consumer can only be priced as service-product where added value is purely fetishized. When the customer expects his or her coffee, the expect it in developed codes at the hands of a consumer who stands in productive spaces but enjoys it in developed spaces. If the coffee is given in less-than-expeted service, the codes immediately fall back to (se rebatte sur) productive codes. Which means that the customer must now accept the product-service in overcoded productive codes.

Deleuze and Guatarri

The question remains that of when bad customer service occurs, does the final product gets coded in overcoded productive codes or decoded developed codes? The answer is both. We can now move into “the drop” or the “double-bind” of an insult. A double-bind best work with the will entangled between voluntary and involuntary reactions. The fact that the service worker can not insult a customer despite the customer deserving one is an improperly defined usage of the connective, disjunctive and conjunctive synthesis. This is because the external chains must seek its master signifier for which there are none because commodities were extrapolated to transcend. Instead, the insult has internal chains with a despotic signifier.

The goal of the insult is to suspend the opponent in voluntary and involuntary reactions of the will. The customer didn’t only send an insult because of bad customer service, but he or she gave a gift. This gift is deterritorialized space. The opponent becomes conductive to it but the assailant must act quickly before capitalistic space reterritorailzes it for its own use. The attack is now against capitalism itself because the flows-of-growth exists in non-comparative spaces. In the highs of the heterogenous, vertical axis are emotions that have worth. It’s a means to purge. Rage, anger, and retributive justice can encode (then decode) in deterritorilaized space (that was given by the assailant). If the insulted becomes better off for being insulted (learning a lesson), then the assailant lost the gift. Capitalism doesn’t means that it’s subjects directs their drives to compete with one another. Capitalism is a kind of axiomatic that forces sovereign individuals to force productive codes into non-comparative spaces. Ironically, non-comparative spaces forces codes to compare with each other instead of matching the flows off of which these codes quantify. This means that involuntary reactions of the service worker would be beneficial to the assailant only if he or she enjoyed it in despotic deterritorialized spaces. The siphoning- in of life-force can happen because of an axiomatic crated by capitalism itself. What if the service worker acted in voluntary rage. This means that the service worker had pre-meditation and deliberately used will. Let me ask you… would you feel more offended or less offended if you know that the laughter was genuine of fake?

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