Brian MassuMi Prelude
“A thousand smiles, a thousand getting- out- of- chairs, a thousand varia-
tions of performance of any and all behaviours.” With these words, tinged
with wonder at the richness of the everyday, Daniel Stern underscores the
multiplicity of every single act composing our lives (Stern 1985, 56; cited in
chapter 1 below). Always More Than One, as the title conveys, is dedicated to
that wonder: of the ever- varying manyness of all that comes as one.
Any sense of contradiction this wording may be taken to imply is quickly
sidelined by observing with A. N. Whitehead, another key theoretical re-
source for the book, that as an “ultimate notion” for process oriented phi-
losophy “the term ‘one’ does not stand for the ‘integral number one.’”
It stands for the general idea underlying alike the indefinite article “a” or
“an,” and the definite article “the,” and the demonstratives “this” or “that,”
and the relatives “which or what or how.” It stands for the singularity of an
event. The term “many” presupposes the term “one,” and the term “one”
presupposes the term “many.” (1978, 21)
In Always More Than One, Erin Manning starts from the reciprocal pre-
supposition of the one and the many. This is what she means when she
says, echoing Gilles Deleuze, that she begins in the middle. She does not
pause to worry over contradiction. She takes this reciprocal presupposi-
tion as a launching pad and dives right in. She does this by approaching the
problem from the outset as a question of composition. That what comes as
one comes a many loses any sense of a sterile conundrum when it is taken
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