I have been thinking a lot about the idea of plateaus (From "Introduction: Rhizome"), and specifically about how we can grasp them in our minds that so very much latch onto structure (like you, Bumpkins, I feel need structure in my life in most things, and am quite lost without it, so the idea of plateaus is both tantalizing and infuriating at the same time). The way D&G write is in plateaus, as they claim, "each plateau can be read starting anywhere and can be related to any other plateau." (22) What a brilliant, non-linear way to write . . . albeit one that might render the reader completely inept at locating her/himself in the text, in much the way Jameson claims our bodies are utterly unable to map themselves in Postmodern "hyperspace."
So, I have been trying to visualize plateaus . . . three things keep coming up for me: (1) my initial envisioning of plateaus was a funny toy I had as a kid: check it out at http://www.baby-wise.com/images/images_big/10-2451-01.jpg except this is a finite example, but nonetheless, it was one that was initally useful for me; (2) then I started thinking about a book composed of plateaus as a work of hypertext writing; (3) and then I couldn't get the notion of the internet as an infinity of plateaus out of my brain (which, ironically, may be the site of most personal interaction with the concept of plateaus as D&G write about how the brain is flowing with memories, and short term memory is rhizomatic, and plateaus are made of rhizomes).
So how about the hypertext? Is it something that is approachable in our tree-loving/structure-craving frame of mind? I think for some theory, the hypertext encapsulates the perfect mode of communication. Just as D&G took issue with various linguistics models for not being abstract enough (p. 7)--indeed some ideas are far better off elaborated upon and explored in a hypertext scenario in which one can weave in and out and not follow any order of events in particular. But is it always the best way to get at the meat of things? I say no, but I also say a structure of plateaus allows for more reader freedom, personal choice, and depth.
Moving to the idea of the internet as a landscape of plateaus, nothing seems to explain the very structure of internet better. Once this comparison popped into my head, (even though D&G were NOT writing about the internet) I had immense difficulty departing from it. There is no beginning or end of the internet. It matters not whether the links of the internet are severed from one another (in the way D&G describe tearing apart of rhizomes) because they can be reestablished along old lines, or new ones can form. There is no natural order of events to explore the internet. (Interesting it would be, however, to have the capacity to map and chart one's journey from one plateau of the internet to the next, hmmmm.)
Basically, I like the idea of plateaus, but I wasn't really sure how they pertained to anything in "real life" until the very end of the reading . . .
I was really intrigued by the last paragraph of this piece, on page 25 . . . It struck my in a very strong "hell-yes!-this-is-how-I-want-to-live-my-life" type of way. Very unexpected, but very exciting! I absolutely loved the idea of continually viewing the matter at hand in the context of the middle. There is no need to see where one has been, where one is going, what one is heading for. It is about the "and . . . and . . . and," the relationships from one plateau to the next, and in this idea lies for me (or perhaps I am imagining it) the essence of meaning in life: celebrating the ties we all share with one another, and continually viewing our interactions as in the thick of it, in the middle, at the center of the plateau.
What do you guys think about plateaus??
Am I out on a tangent with my (for some reason) very excited reading of them??