---- by Tom Conley
  In the histories of cartography and of the cognition of terrestrial space, 'singularity' is a term that replaces that of the mirror. It is first seen in the early modern period. In the Middle Ages the 'mirror of human salvation' (speculum humane salvationis) charted a typology of events in human and divine time that made clear the order of the world on the basis of events in the Old Testament that also have analogues in the New Testament. The mirror was that which assured a reflection of a totality and the presence of God, a reflective surface, resembling perhaps the pupil of an eye on which were gathered and assembled the variety and wealth of divine creation. When, in the later fifteenth century, oceanic travellers ventured south and east from Europe to the Indies by way of Africa or west to the Caribbean or eastern coast of South America, most representations of the world could no long conform to the figure of the speculum mundi. Discovery and encounter prompted cosmographers to register new, often conflicting, and sometimes unthinkable things into works of open form. As singularities these works were subject to change and revision - indeed what Deleuze often calls 'open totalities'. For a brief time, the world itself was taken to be a mass of islands and continents, of insular shapes that contained a possibly infinite measure of singularities. Thus are born works such as Les singularités de la France antarctique (by André Thevet) or isolarii ('islandbooks', by Benedetto Bordone, Tomasso Porcacchi and others). They are conceived to account for, record and cope with new shapes of alterity and difference coming from distant spaces.
  Wherever Deleuze invokes singularity, it can be understood against this historical background. As a philosopher he embraces the idea of virtual travel, along infinite trajectories or lines of flight that lead the thinker anywhere about the world, but first and foremost among and between conceptual islands or points of singularity. As islands, they are also points that can be seen in series, as inflexions or emissions of events. A singularity, also insularity, is a decisive point and a place where perception is felt in movement. In Leibniz's concept of the monad, Deleuze notes how a 'singularity' is frequently associated with condensed events. Singularities are the 'zone of clear expression' of the monad. Less abstractly, in terms of civic geography, a singularity would be a county, a regional department, or even a topography.
  The singularities of the monad are what assure the presence of a body in or through which they vibrate. They are the events that make it both unique and common, both an entity of its own perceptual data and a ground for the relation that the monad holds with its environs. They are the places where the 'singularities belonging to each . . . are extended up to the singularities of others' (D 1993a: 86). The world as a whole is perceived infinitesimally in microperceptions and gigantically, in macroperceptions. Singularity allows the subject to perceive the world in both ways, infinitesimally and infinitely, in hearing the whir of a familiar watermill, in being aware of waves of water striking the hull of a boat, or even in sensing music that accompanies a 'dance of dust' (D 1993a: 86).
  These formulations about singularity inflect Deleuze's work on style and the creative imagination. With the same vocabulary he notes that great writers possess 'singular conditions of perception' (D 1997b: 116). Indeed singularities allow great writers to turn aesthetic percepts into veritable visions; in other words, to move from a unique site of consciousness to an oceanic one. Such is what makes the writer change the world at large through microperceptions that become translated into a style, a series of singularities and differences that estrange common usages of language and make the world of both the writer and those in which the reader lives vibrate in unforeseen and compelling ways.
  Were singularity associated with the 'Causes and Reasons of the Desert Island', (one of Deleuze's first pieces of philosophical writing) it would be connected with difference and repetition, one of the bases of his work on duration, identity and ideation in Difference and Repetition. A singularity is a unique point but it is also a point of perpetual recommencement and of variation. Like other keywords in his personal dictionary, singularity shifts and bears different inflections in different contexts but is always related to perception, subjectivity, affectivity and creation.
   § event

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Singularity — may refer to any of a variety of concepts.Mathematics:* Mathematical singularity, a point at which a given mathematical object is not definedIn complex analysis:* Essential singularity, a singularity near which a function exhibits extreme… …   Wikipedia

  • Singularity — Projekt Bildschirmfoto Singularity nach dem Startvorgang Basisdaten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Singularity — Sin gu*lar i*ty (s[i^][ng] g[ u]*l[a^]r [i^]*t[y^]), n.; pl. {Singularities} (s[i^][ng] g[ u]*l[a^]r [i^]*t[i^]z). [L. singularitas: cf. F. singularit[ e].] 1. The quality or state of being singular; some character or quality of a thing by which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Singularity — может означать: Singularity  компьютерная игра, разработанная Raven Software Microsoft Singularity  операционная система от Microsoft Singularity тест сервер игры EVE Online См. также Сингулярность …   Википедия

  • singularity — index differential, feature (characteristic), identity (individuality), irregularity, nonconformity, particularity …   Law dictionary

  • singularity — mid 14c., “singleness of aim or purpose,” from O.Fr. singularité (12c.) or directly from L.L. singularitas, from singularis (see SINGULAR (Cf. singular)). Meaning “fact of being different from others” is c.1500. Mathematical sense of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • singularity — ► NOUN (pl. singularities) 1) the state or quality of being singular. 2) Physics a point of infinite density at the centre of a black hole …   English terms dictionary

  • singularity — [siŋ΄gyə ler′ə tē] n. pl. singularities [ME singularite < OFr < LL singularitas] 1. the condition or quality of being singular 2. a unique, distinct, or peculiar feature or thing 3. Physics a point or region at the center of a black hole,… …   English World dictionary

  • singularity —    by Jon Baldwin   In astrophysics a gravitational or space time singularity refers to a point of infinite density and absolute uncertainty in which all laws collapse and from which anything can emerge. At the beginning of the Big Bang the… …   The Baudrillard dictionary

  • Singularity 7 — Infobox comic book title title= Singularity 7 imagesize= caption=A variant cover for Issue 1 schedule= format=Mini series limited =Y publisher=IDW Publishing date= July 2004 January 2005 issues=4 main char team= writers=Ben Templesmith… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”