We would like begin to explore here certain affinities between what Gilles Deleuze refers to as Superfold and what Sri Aurobindo earlier in the 20th century called Supermind, while being especially mindful of their differences in epistemic and cultural setting. This introductory post includes definitions of fold and superfold from the Deleuze Dictionary by Simon Sullivan - with links to other interesting articles- as well as an excerpt from the appendix of his book on Foucault by Gilles Deleuze in which he elucidates the disappearance of man in the emergence of a new form of that is neither God nor man that emerges from the superfold. We begin with an excerpt from Debashish's new forthcoming book on Sri Aurobindo's The Record of Yoga.
An "unlimited finite" is a capacity characteristic of the fulfilled potency of what Deleuze calls transcendental empiricism, which could also be nominated as a divine materialism. It implies that every fine point in space and "moment" of time is a creative actualization of infinity. Superfold is the cosmic medium potent with such a possibility and superman is the individualized subjectivity which can express this capacity as its native mode of existence. Superfold contains the triple folds of genetic handling (life capacity), silicon and nanotechnological handling (material capacity) and language handling (mental capacity). Superman for Deleuze, then, is the master of the triple folds of gene, silicon and language, the creative consciousness which can manipulate these forms of nature at its most basic level, manifesting infinity through their finite conditions of space-time expression. There is no habitual fixity to such a form of creative consciousness, or even if there is persistence of forms or logical development of forms, the ontology is one of pure freedom and the deployed will of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience at play in the finite conditions of the cosmos.
Though expressed in material terms and related to contemporary technologies of unprecedented fundamental ubiquity, Deleuze's superfold can well be thought of as close or analogous to Sri Aurobindo's supermind, the medium which holds unity and infinity as its conscious properties everywhere and is the nexus between the infinite and the finite in its absolute immanence. So too, the relation between superfold and superman in Deleuze is analogous to the relation between supermind and superman in Sri Aurobindo, in that the latter term in each doublet represents the subject with interiority proper to the being and full creative expression of the capacities of the first term (Banerji)
The forces within man enter into a relation with forces from outside, those of silicon which supersedes carbon, or genetic compnents which supersede the organism, or agrammaticalities which supersede the signifier. In each case we must study the operations of the superfold, of which the “double helix” is the best known example. What is the superman? It is the formal compound of the forces within man and these new forces. It is the form that results from a new relation between forces. Man tends to free life, labour and language within himself. The superman, in accordance with Rimbaud’s formula, is the man who is even in charge of the animals ( a code that can capture fragments from other codes, as in the new schemata of lateral or retrograde) It is man in charge of the very rocks, or inorganic matter ( the domain of silicon). It is man in charge of the being of language ( that formless, mute, unsignifying region where language can find its freedom even from whatever it has to say). As Foucault would say, the superman is much less than the disappearance of living men, and much more than a charge of concept: it is the advent of a new form that is neither God nor man and which, it is hoped, will not prove worse than its previous two forms.(Deleuze)