Henry Miller’s “superinfantility”


Reading from Tropic of Capricorn this morning, I came across a line that speaks to Agamben’s account of ‘whatever’, especially as Mark described it in his post on stem cells: “I want to go exactly contrary to the normal line of development, pass into a superinfantile realm of being which will be absolutely crazy and chaotic but not crazy and chaotic as the world about me…I want to break through this enlarged world and stand again on the frontier of an unknown world which will throw this pale, unilateral world into shadow” (145). Part of our last discussion addressed this state of overflowing potentiality, and we asked ourselves whether or not this was in fact a ‘return’ to a previous state or, rather, a mad embrace of the impulse/capacity to become something new. I’m inclined to say that, for Miller at least, time is decidely scattered and anything but linear, so this movement toward superinfantility should be understood as outside linear time, as occuring purely in the realm of becoming, or duration for the good Deleuze-readers. There is no going back, no returning, only a constant involution. For Miller later writes that “the first glimpse, the first realization, of the bright new world came through my meeting…the first mystic I had ever encountered who also knew how to keep his feet on the ground” (146-148).