ourselves as a point of view detached from life. We become free from the human, open to the event of becoming. There is a freedom in no longer seeing the world from our partial and moralizing perspectives. In perceiving the force and power of life that is also ourselves we become with life, affirming its creative power: no longer reacting against life from a position of illusory human judgment.
In Essays Critical and Clinical, Deleuze argues that Beckettian characters usually strive towards becoming imperceptible and he states that becoming imperceptible is life. The literal and self-evident meaning of life seems somehow incompatible with the image of dissolving and decaying characters in Beckett’s works. Contrary to this self-evidence, the notion of life in Beckett should be represented as pure potentiality which opens both the potential to be (or do) and the potential not to be (or do). The life of the individual gives way to impersonal and singular life: a life of pure immanence. Such a life can be immanent to a woman who no longer has a name. Beckett deals with that which cannot be uttered, known or represented, but whose image the works (and its figures) have become, a thinking through of negativity, becoming, and multiplicity, of being as becoming, where every movement brings something new into the world.
It is a matter of relationships of intensities through which the subject passes on the body without organs, a process that engages her in becomings, rises and falls, migrations and displacements. In fact the body without organs is nonproductive; nonetheless it is produced, at a certain place and a certain time in the connective synthesis, as the identity of producing and the product: the schizophrenic table is a body without organs. The body without organs is not the proof of an original nothingness, nor is it what remains of a lost totality. Above all, it is not a projection; it has nothing whatsoever to do with the body itself, or with an image of the body. It is the body without an image. This imageless, organless body, the nonproductive, exists right there where it is produced, in the third stage of the binary-linear series. It is perpetually reinserted into the process of production. We pass from one field to another by crossing thresholds: we never stop migrating, we become other individuals as well as other sexes, and departing becomes as easy as being born or dying. Along the way we struggle against other races, we destroy civilizations, in the manner of the great migrants in whose wake nothing is left standing once they have passed through— although these destructions can be brought about, as we shall see, in very different ways. The mouth is entirely right in defining the schizophrenic process as a voyage of initiation, a transcendental experience of the loss of the Ego, which causes a subject to remark:
–– . . . what? . . who? . . no! . . she! . . [Pause and movement 1.] . . . found herself in the dark . . . and if not exactly . . . insentient . . . insentient . . . for she could still hear the buzzing . . . so-called . . . in the ears . . . and a ray of light came and went . . . came and went . . . (678)
When we speak here of a voyage, it is a voyage from ego to nothingness, it is a process of becoming. The ego is like daddy mommy: the schizo has long since ceased to believe in it. He is somewhere else, beyond or behind or below these problems, rather than immersed in them. And wherever he is, there are problems, insurmountable sufferings, unbearable needs. But why try to bring him back to what he has escaped from, why set him back down amid problems that are no longer problems to him, why mock his truth by believing that we have paid it its due by merely figuratively taking our hats off to it? There are those who will maintain that the schizo is incapable of uttering the word I, and that we must restore his ability to pronounce this hallowed word. All of which the schizo sums up by saying: they’re fucking me over again. “I won’t say / anymore, I’ll never utter the word again; it’s just too damn stupid. Every time I hear it, I’ll use the third person instead, if I happen to remember to. If it amuses them. And it won’t make one bit of difference.” And if he does chance to utter the word I again, that won’t make any difference either. He is too far removed from these problems, too far past them (Anti-Oedipus 356).
Thus, one can realize three major becomings in the play. First, becoming silence comes into consideration. As you can see pauses and silences abound in the play:
-– . . . what? . . who? . . no! . . she! . . [Pause and movement 1.] . . . found herself in the dark . . . and if not exactly . . . insentient . . . insentient . . . for she could still hear the buzzing . . . so-called . . . in the ears . . . and a ray of light came and went . . . came and went . . . such as the moon might cast . . . drifting . . . in and out of cloud . . . but so dulled . . . feeling . . . feeling so dulled . . . she did not know . . . what position she was in . . . imagine! . . what position she was in! . . whether standing . . . or sitting . . . but the brain– . . . what?. . kneeling? . . yes . . . whether standing . . . or sitting . . . or kneeling . . . but the brain– . . . what? . . lying? . . yes . .(678)
The textual evidence can convincingly associate the woman’s loneliness and depression. Through these pauses, the reader cannot get any meaning but the process of becoming that can represent the negation of ego in order to be other. Self-alienation, physical reduction is something that informs the minimalist form of the play. As the title implies, there is an impossible gulf between the speaking subject and the real self. Not I points towards that kind of alterity. The schizo may also be seen as a problematic of the decentring of the speaking subject through speech.
Another type of becoming is becoming word in this play. Although she attempts to give a speech through words, she is totally trying to abandon this world through the process of becoming. In fact, the play is played by an actress whose mouth alone is illuminated and the rest of the stage is completely dark. This mouth relates a tale of woe in somewhat fragmented and disjointed sentences. While reading Not I, one immediately notes the repeated images that Beckett uses to illustrate an elderly woman’s recollection of her first, delayed speech. The images include a flicker of light, the dull buzzing and roaring in her skull, a moving mouth, and a field in April, which are at first light but then turn entirely dark. When the woman’s younger self, the girl, first unleashes her torrent of words upon the world, she states that it was:
all dead still but for the buzzing … when suddenly she realized … words were — what ? … who? … no! … she! … realized … words were coming … imagine! Words were coming … a voice she did not recognize … at first … so long since it had sounded…, then finally had to admit … could be none other … than her own (219),
And therefore in the moment it’s clear to see that the buzzing, the ray of light culminated in her first words. This is the process of becoming words in order to negate herself and her life. It seems that she is trying to negate her own identity through giving a fake identity to words.
The third and the last kind of becoming is the process of becoming sound in which she screams over and over throughout the play. Read in Deleuzean standpoint it is capable to suggest the procedure of becoming voice:
so disconnected . . . never got the message . . . or powerless to respond . . . like numbed . . . couldn’t make the sound . . . not any sound . . . no sound of any kind . . . no screaming for help for example . . . should she feel so inclined . . . scream . . . [Screams.] . . . then listen . . . [Silence.] . . . scream again . . . [Screams again.] . . . then listen again . . . [Silence.] . . . no . . . spared that . . . all silent as the grave . . . no part–. . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . ..(678).
If one wishes to explain this section in the vein of feminist scholarship of feminism, she is trying to represent herself through voice in order to be heard in her silent years. Besides, she tries to show how miserable she was when she couldn’t say even one word to defend:
writhe she could not . . . as if in actual agony . . . but could not . . . could not bring herself . . . some flaw in her make-up . . . incapable of deceit . . . or the machine . . . more likely the machine . . . so disconnected . . . never got the message . . . or powerless to respond . . . like numbed . . . couldn’t make the sound . . . not any sound . . . no sound of any kind . . . no screaming for help for example . . . should she feel so inclined . . .(356).
Her scream grows higher and tougher in order to associate her alienated world and the gloomy atmosphere to pave the way for becoming voice rather than being a human.
3.2.1 Not I and Body without Organ (B.W.O)
Nomos seems to be the place where one is free to roam about, to travel. This space is a space in which nothing belongs to anyone. The great nomad hunter follows the flows, exhausts them in place, and moves on with them to another place. He reproduces in an accelerated fashion his entire filiation, and contracts it into a point that keeps him in a direct relationship with the ancestor or the god. The necessary process for nomadism is represented in various conditions that one of these conditions is body without organ (BWO). The body without organs is nonproductive; nonetheless it is produced, at a certain place and a certain time in the connective synthesis, as the identity of producing and the product: the schizophrenic table is a body without organs. The body without organs is not the proof of an original nothingness, nor is it what remains of a lost totality. Above all, it is not a projection; it has nothing whatsoever