Plane of Immanence ----- Progressivism to New Deal: Bildung

"The plane of immanence is not a concept that is or can be thought but
rather the image of thought, the image thought gives itself of what it means to think, to make use of thought, to find one's bearings in thought."- Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, What is Philosophy  (Verso, 1994), p. 37

The plane of immanence (or consistency) to the right has been labeled by the title Progresivism to New Deal: Bildung.  The assemblage represented by the graphic emerged out of the "empirical" stuff as an effect of perceived consistencies in two domains.  The first part of the title is the conventional periodization of American History.  The second part--Bildung--to the fundamental process, the inner logic, the eigenvector, of the making of modernity.  It is Bildung that is the plane of immanence.

First, the cognitive-discursive practices emergent out of the flux of the historical field of "Progressivism."  These more complex common cognitive-discursive practices of what is sometimes called Progressivism (and other times socialism) are what ties these different texts together.  Given that it is a certain kind of historicized, socialized "individual" that speaks, writes, and acts, the Wellman interview, with its insight into the self-formative process--Bildung--is relevant to understanding these processes among the technocratic, entrepreneurial, managerial, and legal intelligentisia, as well as among white collar employees and the "workng class."  In the letter of McElwain to Frankfurter, 1919, one sees the same process in action: an enthusiasm for complex thought, and, implicitly, for the self-discipline that is a key element in self-development that it takes to resist and overcome the business provincialism still powerful today in America.  One senses in the McElwain letter great pride in this achievement.  In the Murray Body minutes one sees this same process, more clearly in the actual discussion of the UAW representatives, but also in Reuther's comments about Peterson--that is, we get a glimpse into the psychological dynamic of Bildung in the boss of Precision Spring, and note the cultural-linguistic link between the ontological modalities of Peterson and McElwain.

Second, these historicized and socialized individuals refered to above were enmeshed in specific organizational, cultural and political contexts.  Some of these contexts are indicated in the lower half of the graphic to the right.  Referring to the charts in
Progressivism to New Deal: Charts, the three elements in the lower half delineate the mass consumption sector immanently--that is internally, from within the field of its own activity.  One form of activity is discursive (see Progressivism to New Deal: Documents); another form of activity is given by the input-output matrix of the business activity of the mass consumption sector.  From the Eastern Rate Case of 1910 (Chicago subset and New England Witnesses), to the Taylor Society's membership list of 1927, to the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal state (1936), one sees this sector in action defining itself.

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Plane of Immanence ----- Progressivism to New Deal: Bildung

1.  discursive flows/networks
                   TS: mfg members                                 TS × FF (KE in New Deal)                               TS: non-mfg
ts             ke               333  
2.  institutional flows/networks
larger image
The plane of immanence (although I like the alternative, plane of consistency, better, I am sticking with Deleuze's usage), once established by this assemblage of primary sources, exerts a gravitational pull on other texts.  When reading Lewin's Lenin's Last Struggle and Russia/USSR/Russia: the drive and drift of a superstate; and Hatch's "Labor Conflict in Moscow, 1921-1925," I could not help but notice* the striking overlap of segments of these secondary sources with the essence of these primary texts. There was a cognitive-linguistic similarity or isomorphism between primary and secondary texts.

Other secondary sources get drawn in at well.  Gal's biography of Brandies, because of its thorough and detailed account of Brandeis' business contacts, among the most important of whom was McElwain, is ineluctably drawn into the plane of immanence/consistency under discussion.  (Other accounts of LDB, however, are not so affected.)  

But so is Alcorn's Narcissism and the Literary Libido. and Moretti's The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture.  Once the problematic of the development of the self is opened (in Wellman explicitly, but also in ERC, McElwain, Reuther and Peterson), any text that illuminates this process is drawn into the plane of immanence/consistency.

It is this assemblage of texts into a plane of immanence/consistency that is the flux of becoming that gets labeled (as Progressivism, the New Deal, Socalism, or what have you).  But I want to avoid the crippling effect of starting with an ontological assumption that there is something (Progressivism, etc.) that has to be elucidated.  I do not want to substitute Being for becoming.  This is what I construe as transcendental empiricism.

Naturally, there is a tension here.  We do speak of things--our secondary literature is generally (but not entirely) about things, not processes.  This tension is evident in Lewin's Russia/USSR/Russia: the drive and drift of a superstate.  On the one hand the tremendous ontological instability of the times: as Lewin says, the Bolshevik Party was remade several time over in a period  of a few years; but Lewin, in an exercise of the fallacy of misplace concreteness, speaks of the Soviet System as an entity even as he points to the flow of destabilizing forces that render its existence, on the level of ontology, merely nominal.  A stable system only emerged after the death of Stalin.   This book is important reading, not simply because of its intellectual power, but also because it will force you to think about these things.
There is an inner logic to this plane of immanence.  First, the input-output matrix out of which New Deal Progressivism emerged was that of modern capitalism first, in that it was dominated by modern firms that emerged as a result of the growth of the national market under corporatist (infrastructure/securities bloc), not competitive capitalist, auspices.  Second, in that it was the socio-technical-cognitive expression of emergent advanced capitalism (complexity theory); and third, in that the new institutional structures emergent from that expressed the essence of advanced capitalism.

Today, advanced capitaism involves an increasing investment in the long-term development of human capital, as in Finland.  While the human capital-cognitive-developmental aspect of advanced capitalism is only now coming into view as its chief charcteristic and problematic, it was alreadly inplicit in the Taylor Society.

Just as  the obsession with Stalinism obscured the complex early history of Russia in the NEP period, so the combination of an ideolgical worship of small busness togther with subservience to "Big Business" in the usa obscured and indeed demonized advanced capitalism in the united states, esecially after wwii and the rise of mccarthyism.

Rember, the palne of immance is not a thing, but a certail kind of disciplining and elaborting of thought, not about a thing, but about cpgnitive lingusitic processes.  The plane of immancece actually disolves the thinginess of things (such as the commuist party or the New Deal).  Instead, emergent out of the plane of imancence are new concepts, or new applications of old concepts, or the invigoration, expansion of old concepts.  One of these is the concept f Bildung.  Bildung can be many things, but in the 21st century it must include a post-Vygotskian process of state-based cognitive develomental strageties, as in Finland.A massive develomental process within modernizing socities. Another is the input-ooutput approch, which should plese trditional marxists at least to sme degree, since it deepens and renders more profund something that could be mistaken for economic determinism--but it's not.

Left out of the plane of imm. is the bugabear of marxism, its antithesis, that proved stronger than the naive assumptons of ratioanity at the heart of marixsm--ressentiment.  Ressentiment is a key process in an entirely differnt plane.

The plane above does not merely consist of but draws into itself whatever is consistent with its emerging self.  Thus, elements associated with the various nouns--New Deal, Progressivism, Communist Party--and with various processes--Bildung, complexification, input-output flows--are liberated from their nouns to become knowable as the forces, processes and structures that make history.

Even so objective a concept as input-output matrix is drawn into the field of Bildung.  After all, what is happening (see Galambos) is humans, situated in critical institutional locations and contexts, grapple with problems that are new, that challenge existing modes of thought.  This is the impetus not simply for problem-solving, but for a cognitive-developmental self-transcendence--bidlung.  Thus, McElwain's letter, or Person to Cooke, etc.
Between Mazur and Alcorn

Between Fareed Zakaria and Hall et al + Novels

The German Bildung Tradition,  

The German Tradition of Self-Cultivation
'Bildung' from Humboldt to Thomas Mann (Paperback)♥ Add to Wishlist
by W. H. Bruford

Bildung enters through Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994)

Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroan in European Culture (Verso, 2000)

Terry Pickard's Hegel: A Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

and Shlomo Avineri's Hegel's Theory of the Modern State(Cambridge University Press, 1972).

Mary Stanton's Journey Toward Justice: Juliet Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (University of Georgia Press, 2006)

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, What Is To Be Done? (1902)

Vivian Gornick, The romance of American Communism (Basic Books, 1977.)

Friederich Nietzsche, Geneology of Morals, II, 12

Saul Wellman, Interview

Bildung, Wiki

These two book are drawn into the plane of immanence that contains the Keynesian elite.  An Encore for Reform is based on a sample of reformers (N=400) whose careers spanned the period covered by the figure to the right.  The author constructed a career matrix, dividing his sample into those old progressives who supported the New Deal and those who opposed it.  "One can then say of the New Deal  progressive that he or she was likely to be a person who lived in one of the larger cities and whose work was of the social work, social settlement, religious, or voluntary association variety."  (p. 169)  Academics were also a significant sector among the progressives that supported the New Deal (p. 168, 170)

These were the very people found as correspondents in the Letters of Louis D. Brandeis and in the Morris L. Cooke papers.  Many of these old progressives were members of the Taylor Society.  Thus, they properly belong in the plane of immanence.  

However, the author misconstrues them as mere middle class humanitarians, rather than as a certain kind of historicized, socialized "individual" entangled in the input-output matrix of modern capitalism.

The second text, A Pretty Good Club, is actually less about the U.S. Foreign Service than it is about the very same thing: a network comprised of a certain kind of historicized, socialized individuals--or rather two networks (just as the old progressives were actually two distinct--two disjoint--sets of historicized, socialized individuals).  The personnel matrix of the Keynesian Elite appears in this text as the modern, cosmopolitan ethnically heterogeneous wing of the Foreign Service emergent out of the New Deal, deeply entangled with the Taylor Society, and opposed by the old guard who were both WASP and anti-semitic.

This is to suggest a certain way of reading that decomposes overblown nouns intohegel actual ontological-discursive praxiological networks.  An Encore for Reform does this to a degree, but stops short of making sense of the set of personnel that supported the New Deal.

It is one of the contentions of this site that the being of things historical is to be found in the generative matrix that produces their activity.  

Otis L. Graham, Jr., An Encore for Reform: the Old Progressives and the New Deal (Oxford Univesity Press, 1967)

Martin Weil, A Pretty Good Club: the Founding Fathers of the U.S. Foregn Service (W.W. Norton, 1978)

Brandeis Letters

Cooke Papers

There are three major planes of immanence corresponding to three major developmental trajectories

1.  At first the threefold division involved ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense; cognitive development; and appetite/desire.  Only in the course of constructing this site did I realize that cognitive development could--and should--be incorporated into Bildung.

2.  this threefold division was a critical moment in the development of a concrete practice of transcendental empiricism (concrete practice is what seem to be missing in the philosophical literature about concrete practice).  It arose out of an attempt to take the realm of the "empirical" or the "given" made available by the Internet, and out of the recognition that this required a thinking that was immanent--that arose from within the fields of stuff that popped up in google searches ("Tea Party racism" as search term gives rise to a page of thousands of images).

3.  the epigraph at the top of this page--

"The plane of immanence is not a concept that is or can be thought but rather the image of thought, the image thought gives itself of what it means to think, to make use of thought, to find one's bearings in thought."--

asserts that these empirical fields are not just givens, but are working stuff.  Concepts are to be invented, empirical materials to be reinterpreted and rearranged.  Because of the primacy of thought--rather than of an objective reality (the thing in itself)--the muck (which some call facts and Sellars refers to as the given) and the contents of the extended mind, the concepts, texts, controverseys, traditions, etc, coexist with the "empirically given".  They coexist, there is no inside (mind) and outside (facts).  In practice this gives rise to what could be construed (but really misconstrued) as a more powerful empiricism

3b.  Certainties.  Moshe Lewin's texts, and their status within the field of soviet studies.  It is within a plane of immanence that such certainty exists, or rather, becomes effective.  I do not make a claim of the truth of a state of affairs called Stalinism.  Objective reality and truth play no role in a plane of immanence.  But certainties do: Lewin's work and his place in the field of Soviet Studies.  When it comes to a question of the nature of a situation or issue, etc., the appropriate text (VMO) is appropriated, its place in a thought problem established.  Certaintly without truth or reality.  (Joseph Margolies would approve . . . I think)  And in practice a sense of the situation--what could be construed (but really misconstrued) as a more powerful empiricism, but only because seeing is intensified, made more complex.  One has a sense of being there (Jim Peters interview--"I don't know who you are mister . . . also Emergence and the problem of deference re 1st gen Poles ) (also Voletti re. piecework, guy across the line from him, discussion etc)

4.  the first plane was of stuff that evoked the thought of ressentiment, and it happened by accident in the last semester of my teaching career.  I have not diagramed it on this page, but began with the Plane of Immanence of Progressivism to the New Deal--Bildung, as discussed above.  This plane orginated with the point--the wellman interview--which served to anchor any possible plane.  That this started with something that would normally be subsumed under the noun Communist Party and then become a point in a narrative of that entity (which I claim is an ontological fiction) should not distract a Deleuzian reader.  The page actually begins with myPOI own reminiscences of my Red Diaper beginnings, but the point, geometrically speaking, that defines the possible plane that might emerge, is that interview.  But the theme of that page (before I recoceptualized it as the plane of Bildung) began with the inclination to an exposition of the nature of the Commuist Party.  Only as I proceded in the spirit of the plane of immanence, gathering in materials consistent with that interview, did it emerge as the PoI called Bildung.  Thus, there may appear a certain confusion in figure A above. Above the plane are cognitive-discursive elements. Below the plane are institutional elements.  Such confusion, if there is any, is a natural part of development.

5.  American Exceptionalism: Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense, in the context of this page's discussion of planes of immanence, can be read as a plane.  That is, empirical, theoretical and historical materials are assembled on the basis only of their mutual consistency.  Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment is linked to psychoanalysis' concept of the mechanisms of defense, which provides a more empirically rich seeing than the standard assumptions animating public discussion (the individual, consciousness, and motive as the mindless presuppositions of public discourse).  I infuse Nietzsche's much pondered expression "eternal recurrence" with a meaning derived fronm this plane.  From the First Crusade to the 2012 political scene, the concept of eternal recurrence thus construed involves the suspension of time within the plane of immanence.  Jews and witches in the old days, you know who in the present--it's all the same; the same old shit.  That's why attempts to persuade right-wing hostiles that not all Muslims are terrorists are not only futile; they are symptomatic of the cognitive limitations of liberalism itself.  This constant repetition of a naive rationalist response to the recurring gestures of ressentiment is itself subsumable under the rubric eternal return of the same.  Even if what is the same is different (ressentiment vs. rationalism)  In its pujblic form the Enlightement has come down to that--that which recurs, eternally
Europe’s Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century
By Peter Watson

civic nationalism--see wiki on nationalism

Whether viewed by the historian as a farmer, worker, urban elitist, or businessman, the progressive was motivated primarily by his social position; and each scholar has painted a compelling picture of the insecurities and tensions felt by the group he placed in the vanguard of progressivism.  Pressures and threats from other social groups drove men to espouse reform.  In these class and status conflicts can be found the roots of progressivism.

This page reconceptualizes, as planes of immanence, the other pages of this site.

Progressivism to New Deal: Bildung assembles the discursive and institutional materials of what could be called the political unfolding of modernity.  This is still, in my own mind, in flux, and thus the reader should expect gaps, contradictions, and, not least of all, some over-reaching.

In the development of this project, the decoding of the KE in the ND came first (in the 1970s), as a result of my immersion in the papers of the Taylor Society.  But something big was missing from my thought at that time, and that was the concept of Bildung.  The decoding of the input-output flows that defined the KE was done within an economistic context, even if the KE ws seen as an example of an emergent phenomenon.  What was missing was an undestanding of--and here words are inadequate--the psychological dynamic, the emotional forces, that I have only recently been able to conceptualize adequately.

The concept of Bildung, so central to early ninetenth century German philosophy, and especially Hegel, which I had only run into about five years ago when I read Peter Watson's The German Genius, became critical to understanding Progressivism etc., but first, in understanding the Communist Party of the United States.

Throughout my life I have suffered a cognitive dissonance.  First, as I indicate in the CP page of this site, I had the good fortune of knowing many active Communists who played important roles in many unions in the 1930s and 1940s, and I knew them as serious, intelligent people with strong democratic convictions, and possessed of a nationalist vision of building a strong America.  (I will discuss the difference between nationalism and chauvinism later.)  This was at odds not only with the popular culture of the time, but with much of scholarship as well.  At the deepest level, however, was the more general explanatory schema that presupposed the existence of individual and motive as the primary ontology of historical being and praxis.

My first encounter with the problem ws in one of my first interviews.  Ziggy Mize was the vice-chairman of the Dodge Main (UAW Local 3) Flying Squadron.  I interviewed Mize in the basement of the Dave Miller Retirement Center.

deleuze speaks of TE as experimetal in its essence, perhaps more clearly in relation to the invention of new concepts, but implicitly--see Brandom-Sellars and Barad--in the invention of new facts.

But how can that be?  Aren't the facts given?  And as such, aren't they immutable?

to question racism is the same as to question gravity (or better, evolution). is itself a sign of the power of racism, and more generally, of the deformation of the cognosphere by power itself (see Moshe Lewin on the deformaton of the cognisphere within which discourse on the Soviet Union occur)  Making, pp. 4 - 6

planes (cog-disc elements; institutional elements) also draws into itself secndary literature, from Nietzsche to Moshe Lewin, Alcorn,AByss of Representation
Narcissism and the Literary Libido re. CLL: CLL experience is about CogDev, but latter is contained within Bildung.  Thus, these two disparate "texts" are drawn into the Plane of Immanence of Bildung (which is what I think I will call it--after all, Bildung is not a thing but a process--a central process of historical becoming more significant now than ever before

Narc and Lit Lib: vs. primatologists in context of question of what happened to biology.  The Primatologists are beating a dead horse--sure, pop culture is infused with Vicotiran modes of thought, but the whole german tradition (Jon Mills, George Makari, Matthew Bell) and modern lit crit (NYU Press's series, Literature and Psychoanalysis) has been acutely aware of biology's place in history) wherase the priamtioligists leave out hsitory altoghther (

Human networks: re KE Plane of Immanence
LDB Letter

Thelen, D. (1969). Social Tensions and the Origins of Progressivism. The Journal of American History, 56(2), 323 - 341

"Recent historians have explained the origins of the progressive movement in several ways.  They have represented progressivism, in turn, as a continuation of the western and southern farmers' revolt, as a desperate attempt by the urban gentry to regain status from the new robber barons, as a thrust from the depths of slum life, and as a campaign by businessmen to prevent workers from securing political power.  Behind such seemingly conflicting theories, however, rests a single assumption about the origins of progresivism: the class and status conficts of the late-nineteenth century formed the driving forces that made men become reformers.  Whether viewed by the historian as a farmer, worker, urban elitist, or businessman, the progressive was motivated primarily by his social position; and each scholar has painted a compelling picture of the insecurities and tensions felt by the group he placed in the vanguard of progressivism.  Pressures and threats from other social groups drove men to espouse reform.  In these class and status conflicts can be found the roots of progressivism."

The New Citizenship; Origins Of Progressivism In Wisconsin, 1885-1900
[Columbia] : University of Missouri Press, [1972]

"The so-called 'motive': another error.  Merely a surface phenomenon of consciousness, an accompaniment to an act, which conceals rather than exposes the antecedentia of the act."
Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (Penguin, 1968), p. 49

To this extent moral judgment is never to be taken literally: as such it never contains anything but nonsense.  But as semiotics it remains of incalculable value: it reveals, to the informed man at least the most precious realities of cultures and inner worlds which did no know enough to ‘understand’ themselves.. Morality is merely sign-language, merely symptomatology . . ..
Nietzsche, Twilight, p. 55  emph added

If the above plane of immanence contains stuff re. Bildung, and if Bildung, as one kind of cognitive-linguistic process is opposed by Ressentiment, then we have an interseting state of affairs.  For the time being, I am taking the web page Ressentiment and the Mehcanisms of Defense as a plane of immanence.  I have never seen any empirical attempt at implementing Deleuze's concepts of TE and Plane of Im.  What happens when one does so is the overflowing of boundaries.

Planes of immanence are always incomplete, always exerting their gravitational force.  

Examples: American Exceptionalism: the psychometric evidence.  At first, this contained only  test scores and commentries on those scores.  But American educatonal "reformers" (ie, counterreveolutionaries) are obcessed with test scores, are the most-test oriented educational leadership in the world.  this led to the "plane" titled:

American Exceptionalism: Education without Development (an assessment of the cognitive performativity of the rhetoric of reform)

In this page it is the cognitive-linguistic performativity of educ atonal leaderships, with a comparison of the PISA ed professionals with American reformers.  But the PISA reformers should be included uner Bildung--the whole modern perspective on ed reform gros out of Vygotsky's and similar sociou cultural pshcological appraoches to develoment.

Plane of Immanence: Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense

Plane of Immanence:

Plane of Emergence: Philosophy

September 4, 2011, 5:00 PM
April 5, 2012, 8:30 PM
Philosophy Is Not a Science  

November 6, 2011, 5:00 PM
Bodies in Motion: An Exchange

September 17, 2011, 3:00 PM
Why I Am a Naturalist
Plane of Immanence -- Ressentiment