Gross power of the false: On Crisis in Borneo

Spate of killings in North Borneo has reached a proportion when a supposed nationalist-minded Filipino is expected to take sides, invoking the spirit of a nation that has had a long history of being suppressed by colonial powers and continues to endure a new form of global colonialism courtesy of finance capital whose chief benefactor is the West. Killings that no matter how you look at the extra-genealogies that lead to this crisis (in the sense that the origins of the crisis are far from enabling our sense of historical awareness and sensitivity), or regardless of the moral infamy of invading a sovereign territory, are enough to arouse the noble passion of defending the ideals for which this country is created whose people belong to the Malay race, and yes, by the blood of her martyrs, the wisdom of her intelligentsia, the resilience of her commoners, above all, the collective imagination of ‘a people to come’ with full machinic ‘power of the false’ that once, and for all eternity, as it is incumbent upon this race to glorify the first blood it drew from the invaders, humbled the imperial truth of the Spanish Crown.

Unfortunately, at the risk of being perceived as a traitor to the ideals of this country, I must say I am one with the Malaysian people for consistently urging their government to carry out the laws of its land provided restraint is strictly observed, or to put it rather obliquely, consistent with how enemies, especially, those who do not know what they are fighting for, the kind of enemies that no sovereign country deserves, that no war machine deserves to defeat, should be treated in a time of war. The conspirators who plotted the invasion of a sovereign territory in North Borneo are not only risking a full-scale regional war but more crucially the integrity of the collective imagination of our people who have long been used to being colonized rather than the reverse. The gross miseducated act of the few, literally very few but whose nomadic power of the false is equally capable of deterritorializing the dogma of our official racial power to falsify colonialism and its war machines (as written in our history books peopled by celebrity revolutionaries most of whom belonged to the elite), now threatens to belie this collective imagination by exposing its utter confectionary nature, its invented-ness, its fabrication, the lie of all lies.

An isolated ruler in Mindanao, south of the Philippines, who declared his persona, this time we can give the affordance he needs, the true ruler of the Sulu Sultanate at a point when practically no one is contesting his position, ordered his royal army to settle in Sabah.  This part of North Borneo has since then become the center of a historical crisis, a Deleuzean case of a vital assemblage, a geographical congregation of the molecular borne of deep geological time, becoming-other than itself in the sense that it has, more than ever, since the invasion broke out, actualized a line of flight, an exit into creation. Meanwhile, the nomadic machine of this anti-oedipal modern-day penurious monarch, or more precisely, a humiliated Oedipus who has an axe to grind (he was excluded from the peace treaty between the Philippine government and Muslim insurgents in the south, and mind you, brokered by the Malaysian government!) has by the way managed to enjoy the accolades courtesy of the din of the anemic multiple, the mediatized multiple, those without blood, “those emptied and dreary bodies,”1 those of pure organism, a carelessly recombinant BwO, a body without organs, those who do not “reach the BwO and its plane of consistency by wildly destratifying” (Ibid.).

If, granting the truth of the argument courtesy of Delanda, “our bodies act upon strata through our subjectivity for an empirically objective duration, and while we can deterritorialize/destratify while we are upon them by all kinds of means, these means do not occur solely devoid of subjectivity”2, then the invaders of Sabah can destratify a part of North Borneo only by completely taking subjectivity out of the picture. If, ideally speaking, subjectivity means empirically objectified by historical duration, in this case, greatly knowledgeable of the empirical history of the sovereignty of the people of Sabah who long ago decided that they are the people of Malaysia, then the invaders can be judged to be acting “devoid of subjectivity” if not extravagantly poor in ideals.

If it is the people who decided, right or wrong but certainly informed by the power of the false, it is then when geography is decided, period. Conversely, the nomadic machine of a humiliated Oedipus wishes to radicalize the plane of consistency by invoking its absolute right to be false. But as D&G put it, the problem of desire (in this case, the Oedipal desire of a ruler for absolute obtainment of the object of desire itself, namely, the land of Sabah) is strictly correlated to “peopling, population.”3 Peter Canning identifies in the body of Deleuze and Guattari’s collaborative writings several important homologous series that describe this notion of peopling, that is, to a decisional affirmation of subjectivity, collective at best, as against the individualism of a subject that is properly devoid of subjectivity, to wit: multiple-cities swarming with “social Ideas,” of crowds and gangs, the mob, riots and assemblies, packs or bundles of intensities, emotional turning points, the variable moods of neighborhoods.”4

Interestingly, in Freudian terms, solipsism is dangerous. In strict psychoanalytic language, a voided subjectivity needs a professional advice. 



1. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 160.

2. Charles Stivale, Two-Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari, 93.

3. A Thousand Plateaus, 30.

4. “Crack of Time and the Ideal Game,” in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, 97. 

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