“..Within my mental dynamics, affects play the role of an interface between what impinges me from the outside and the action I perform in response.
This function of interface, thwarting any simplistic opposition between passivity and activity, leads Spinza to value a seemingly paradoxical faculty: the power to be affected. While we tend to think of power as an ability to affect (actively) the rest of the world, Spinoza suggests that the more we can be affected, the better we can affect in return. This apparent paradox is the paradox of sensitivity: inasmuch as a human being is more sensitive than a pebble, her or she is exposed to a whole series of pains from which the mineral is immune (it is neither jealous nor sad nor surprised nor disgusted). At the same time, because they are sensitive to a tremendous number of factors in their environments, humans have developed amazing powers to act on a wide range of these factors. Sensitivity (exposure to being affected) is therefore constitutive to our power as human agents.
If the media , in the founding definition given by Marshall McLuhan, are extensions that extend our sensitivities, then they also constitute a essential part of our power – at the same time and by the very fact that they expose us to being affected by ever more phenomena which are ever more distant (in time as in space). To describe what circulates in these affects with greater tension, we can resort to a term that is found in Spinoza’s Ethics but very rarely used there: the term ‘affection’ (affectio) which coexists wit that of ‘affect’ (affectus).
Affection, shall we say, represents the sensible reality which, through the mediation of the media, affects our mental state. Affection is the moment of objectivity (the physical sensation) of a relationship to the world of which affect comprises the subjective moment (the felt emption).”
Our mediarchies, then, need to be understood as regimes of power within which the media are vectors of affections operating as catalysts of affects.
Yves Citton, Mediarchy, p. 68