a l a m u t

///// Two decades ago we began the project of becoming Rootless Cosmopolitans, determined to sift the detritus of all tribes, cultures & civilizations (including our own) for viable fragments--& to synthesize from this mess of potsherds a living system of our own--lest (as Blake warned) we become slaves to someone else's. ///// If some Javanese sorcerer or Native American shaman possesses some precious fragment I need for my own "medicine pouch," should I sneer & quote Bakunin's line about stringing up priests with bankers' guts? or should I remember that anarchy knows no dogma, that Chaos cannot be mapped--& help myself to anything not nailed down?

--Bey, TAZ

In smooth space, the line is therefore a vector, a direction and not a dimension or metric determination. It is a space constructed by local operations involving changes in direction. These changes in direction may be due to the nature of the journey itself, as with the nomads of the archipelagoes (a case of "directed" smooth space); but it is more likely to be due to the variability of the goal or point to be attained, as with the nomads of the desert who head toward local, temporary vegetation (a "nondirected" smooth space). Directed or not, and especially in the latter case, smooth space is directional rather than dimensional or metric. Smooth space is filled by events or haeccities, far more than by formed and perceived things.

--Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 478 (quoted in Rhizomes)

the rootless wanderer

Stuart Molthrop says that Bey "invokes nomadology to justify his 'temporary autonomous zone'" in an "homage" to the work of Deleuze & Guattari (Molthrop 300). Is this really the case? Bob Black, for one, has made much more explicit use of the notion of nomads and hunter-gatherers. The people and situations that Bey takes as his inspiration are generally physically rooted; the pirates and Tongs are mobile in that their social structure, not their physical location is variable and temporary. The members of a Tong may be perfectly respectable poets or businessmen to the outside world, salt-of-the-earth citizens of their community. Pirates, while less secret about their activities, had cities and communities of their own.

However, just as the nomads link their movement and behavior to the "local, temporary vegetation," the pirate/Tong/TAZ links its behavior to temporary, local goals--disturb the peace, rob a ship, have an orgy (or possibly just dinner)--and can vanish literarally overnight. That is the reason the TAZ is not a PAZ; within the social arena, they can pull up their roots and vanish, re-entering the world as "normal" citizens. Captain Morgan, lest we forget, betrayed his friends and returned to polite English-colonial as royal governor of Jamaica. While hopefully most TAZs can avoid the superimposition of the State and will not come to such and end, the stain of the TAZ is obviously an impermanent thing; many of the pirates just took the royal pardon and moved on.

Further, as the above quote illustrates, Bey envisions the philosophy of the TAZ to be an impermanent thing, a bricolage, a catch-as-you-can medley of beliefs. The spiritual landscape of the TAZ can be a collage of belief systems--the TAZ-dweller as spiritual nomad?