A Thousand Faces, a Thousand Screens.
In his last book The Three Ecologies, Felix Guattari proposed that it is an ecosophical society that can counter the machine of integrated capitalism, but this requires a different way of thinking. It requires that we understand ourselves, our society, and the ecosystem we inhabit as differing yet linked scales of ecology. “Now more than ever, nature cannot be separated from culture; in order to comprehend the interactions between ecosystems, the mecanosphere and the social and individual Universes of reference, we must learn to think ‘transversally’” (Guattari, 2008: 43). The schizophrenic machine that is late capitalism splits, divides, excludes, assigns use values to faces. Faces that it needs to survive; making some faces useful and others use-less.
Through a thousand screens we see a thousand faces, the black face the white face, the happy, poor, hungry, sad, faces that disappear into oblivion as quickly as they appear. A carefully choreographed, gallery of acceptable, literal and metaphorical faces — what Deleuze and Guattari call year zero faciality (D&G, 1987: 195-223). In an age of a thousand faces, a thousand eyes, and a thousand tiny shifting gazes, the Self/Other binary is unable to account for the always shifting, schizo-splitting, multiplicitous becomings of integrated capitalism. In fact I would argue that to talk in terms of Self/Other serves to perpetuate the splitting, which is itself the fuel for the difference engine of late capitalism.
If you are other to me then you are not me, if you are not me, you are strange to me, if you are strange to me, other to me, then I am presented with a choice; to include you or exclude you, to assign you a value of useful or use-less. This is not in order to reduce difference to sameness, but to elevate difference to multiplicity. To account for the immanent becoming of the one who is Other to me. I do not think that there is a simple answer to the question posed by the knock at the door, but it is an ecosophy of affirmative ethics and transversal thinking that is the best way to account for the shadow that crosses the threshold. For before me stands not an Other, but someone who I am closer to than I might think, or would maybe care to admit. For “the global dimension of capitalism increasingly entangles everyone with everything” (Connolly, 2008: 144).