From the mouth of Timaeus of Locri (in the Platonic dialogue bearing his name) we learn that the Earth was created as a globe which, because it contained all things, had no need of sense organs or, indeed, of organs of any kind. As Timaeus explains, there would not have been "any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing that went from him or came into him, for there was nothing besides him."1 This description of Earth as an immortal, self-sufficient "body without organs," has echoed through the ages into our own (though not, as the concept named in Deleuze and Guattari's phrase reveals, without acquiring new meanings). Novalis, for example, invokes the description at the beginning of the modern period: "If every organic part had the life-duration of eternity, it would need no nourishment in the stricter sense of the word, no renovation, no elimination."2 The status of this immortal body is for us moderns not in doubt: it cannot and does not exist, except as a quaint and rather absurd notion. For us the idea of an original plenum, of an All-a container or chora-that would contain everything, has been barred-whether one thinks of this barring as the execution of the monarch by democratic revolutionaries or the revolution in philosophical thinking that made the Totality an impossibility for speaking beings. As modern subjects we are born into historical time with no promise of an eternal resting place outside time, no promise of everlastingness, and it is precisely our bodies that confront us with this truth. Embodied, we are time-bound, condemned to finitude.
1. Plato, Timaeus, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, 1986, 33b-d.
2. Quoted in David Krell, Contagion: Sexuality, Disease, and Death in German Idealism and Romanticism, Bloomington: Indiana University, 1998, in relation to Timaeus.
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