In this short thought-piece I wish to frame the islands’ disputes in the South East Asia (my place in the planet) by invoking Deleuze’s concept of Desert Island (part of my otherwise moratorious approach to the Deleuzean century, I should say) within the context of producing myths of vital materialities as an alternative arena of conflict. An island is a geographic force that has the power to push a desert around it, its desert being the ocean around it. Yet Deleuze is quick to clarify that such power is imaginary and mythological rather than actual and geographical.
In dispute is a scattered group of islands in the China Sea which threatens to escalate into a regional war. Not without historical merits concerning the mythological status of these islands, most nation claimants resort to local myths fleshed out by cultural and economic linkages among the people of the South East, to ancient people’s literature as indisputable records of early settlements to prove cultural birthright to their soil, their flora and fauna, their river streams and lakes, etc.
Though myths are bound to cultures what is rather crucial that can arise out of the saturation of fields of rhetorical enunciation of ownership is a kind of metaculture–no longer human, but rather ecological–that weaves their local formations, and ultimately, frames the contingency of the ocean that surrounds them, a metanarrative as a myth of the formation of continents. Continents are where people live. Rightly so, literary cultures surround the islands. By radicalizing the contingency of the oceans in terms of saturating the ecological limits of literature, we can hope that the islands will stay in their vital assemblages free of hallucinations of state ownership. It is better that way than the molar machines of war.
(As always molar aggregations have the power to reterritorialize molecular assemblages that have freely structured themselves into virtual democracy between and among vital materialities, such as islands, in the case of a war to decide sovereignty).