by Mark Seem
"We must die as egos and be born
again in the swarm, not separate
and self-hypnotized, but individual
- Henry Miller, Sexus
In order to carry out this ambitious undertaking, Anti-Oedipus makes joyously unorthodox use of many writers and thinkers, whose concepts flow together with all the other elements in the book in what might well be described as a carefully constructed and executed experiment in delirium.
While Deleuze and Guattari quote frequently from Marx and Freud, it would be an error to view Anti-Oedipus as yet another attempt at a Freud/Marx synthesis. For such an attempt always treats political economy (the flows of capital and interest) and the economy of the libido (the flows of desire) as two separate economies, even in the work of Reich, who went as far as possible in this direction. Deleuze and Guattari, on the other hand, postulate one and the same economy, the economy of flows. The flows and productions of desire will simply be viewed as the unconscious of the social productions. Behind every investment of time and interest and capital, an investment of desire, and vice versa.
In order to reach this conclusion a new confrontation was required. Not the standard confrontation between a bourgeois Freud and a revolutionary Marx, where Freud ends up the loser, but a more radical confrontation, between Marx the revolutionary and Nietzsche the madman. The result of this confrontation, as the authors demonstrate convincingly, is that Freud and psychoanalysis (and perhaps even Lacan, although they remain ambiguous on this point) become "impossible."
"Why Marx and Nietzsche? Now that's really mixing things up!" one might protest at this point. But there is really no cause for alarm. Readers of Marx will be happy to learn that Marx fares quite well in this confrontation. One might even say he is trimmed down to bare essentials and improved upon from the point of view of use. Given Deleuze and Guattari's perspective, this confrontation was inevitable. If one wants to do an analysis of the flows of money and capital that circulate in society, nothing is more useful than Marx and the Marxist theory of money. But if one wishes also to analyze the flows of desire, the fears and the anxieties, the loves and the despairs that traverse the social field as intensive notes from the underground (i.e., libidinal economy), one must look elsewhere. Since psychoanalysis is of no help, reducing as it does every social manifestation of desire to the familial complex, where is one to turn? To Nietzsche, and the Nietzschean theory of affects and intensity, Anti-Oedipus suggests. For here, and especially in On the Genealogy of Morals, is a theory of desire and will, of the conscious and the unconscious forces, that relates desire directly to the social field and to a monetary system based on profit. What Nietzsche teaches, as a complement to Marx's theory of alienation, is how the history of mankind is the history of a becoming-reactive. And it is Nietzsche, Deleuze and Guattari stress, whose thought already pointed a way out for humanity, whereas Marx and Freud were too ingrained in the culture that they were working against.
One could not really view Anti-Oedipus as a purely Nietzschean undertaking, however, for the book would be nothing without the tension between Nietzsche and Marx, between philosophy and politics between thought and revolution; the tension, in short, between Deleuze the philosopher and Guattari the militant. This tension is quite novel, and leads to a combination of the artistic "machine," the revolutionary "machine," and the analytical "machine"; a combination of three modes of knowledge—the intuitive, the practical, and the reflective, which all become joined as bits and pieces of one and the same strategical machine whose target is the ego and the fascist in each of us. Extending thought to the point of madness and action to the point of revolution, theirs is indeed a politics of experience. The experience, however, is no longer that of man, but of what is nonhuman in man, his desires and his forces: a politics of desire directed against all that is egoic—and heroic—in man.
In addition to Nietzsche they also found it necessary to listen to others: to Miller and Lawrence and Kafka and Beckett, to Proust and Reich and Foucault, to Burroughs and Ginsberg, each of whom had different insights concerning madness and dissension, politics and desire. They needed everything they could get their hands on and they took whatever they could find, in an eclectic fashion closer to Henry Miller than it is to Marx or Freud. More poetic, undoubtedly, but also more fun.
While Deleuze and Guattari use many authors and concepts, this is never done in an academic fashion aimed at persuading the reader. Rather, they use these names and ideas as effects that traverse their analyses, generating ever new effects, as points of reference indeed, but also as points of intensity and signs pointing a way out: points-signs that offer a multiplicity of solutions and a variety of directions for a new style of politics. Such an approach carries much along with it, in the course of its flow, but it also leaves much behind. Chunks of Marx and Freud that cannot keep up with the fast current will be left behind, buried or forgotten, while everything in Marx and Freud that has to do with how things and people and desires actually flow will be kept, and added to the infernal machine evoked above. This political analysis of desire, this schizoanalysis, becomes a mighty tool where schizophrenia as a process—the schiz—serves as a point of departure as well as a point of destination. Like Laing, they encourage mankind to take a journey, the journey through ego-loss. They go much further than Laing on this point, however. They urge mankind to strip itself of all anthropomorphic and anthropological armoring, all myth and tragedy, and all existentialism, in order to perceive what is nonhuman in man, his will and his forces, his transformations and mutations. The human and social sciences have accustomed us to see the figure of Man behind every social event, just as Christianity taught us to see the Eye of the Lord looking down upon us. Such forms of knowledge project an image of reality, at the expense of reality itself. They talk figures and icons and signs, but fail to perceive forces and flows. They blind us to other realities, and especially the reality of power as it subjugates us. Their function is to tame, and the result is the fabrication of docile and obedient subjects.
excerpt from the Introduction of the book: Anti-Oedipus (CAPITALISM AND SCHIZOPHRENIA) by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
Achim Szepanski - BAUDRILLARD: WHEN HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY BEGAN TO CIRCULATE LIKE OIL AND CAPITAL
Speculating Freedom: Addiction, Control and Rescriptive Subjectivity in the Work of William S. Burroughs
Joshua Carswell - EVALUATING DELEUZE’S “THE IMAGE OF THOUGHT” (1968) AS A PRECURSOR OF HYPERSTITION // PART 1
Joshua Carswell - Evaluating Deleuze’s “The Image of Thought” (1968) as a Precursor of Hyperstition // Part 2
Jose Rosales - ON THE END OF HISTORY & THE DEATH OF DESIRE (NOTES ON TIME AND NEGATIVITY IN BATAILLE’S ‘LETTRE Á X.’)
Jose Rosales - BERGSONIAN SCIENCE-FICTION: KODWO ESHUN, GILLES DELEUZE, & THINKING THE REALITY OF TIME
GILLES DELEUZE - Capitalism, flows, the decoding of flows, capitalism and schizophrenia, psychoanalysis, Spinoza.
Obsolete Capitalism - THE STRONG OF THE FUTURE. NIETZSCHE’S ACCELERATIONIST FRAGMENT IN DELEUZE AND GUATTARI’S ANTI-OEDIPUS
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 1)
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 2)
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 3)
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 4)
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 5)
Stephen Zepke - “THIS WORLD OF WILD PRODUCTION AND EXPLOSIVE DESIRE” – THE UNCONSCIOUS AND THE FUTURE IN FELIX GUATTARI
Steven Craig Hickman - David Roden and the Posthuman Dilemma: Anti-Essentialism and the Question of Humanity
Steven Craig Hickman - The Intelligence of Capital: The Collapse of Politics in Contemporary Society
Steven Craig Hickman - The Carnival of Globalisation: Hyperstition, Surveillance, and the Empire of Reason
Steven Craig Hickman - Shaviro On The Neoliberal Strategy: Transgression and Accelerationist Aesthetics
Steven Craig Hickman - Hyperstition: Technorevisionism – Influencing, Modifying and Updating Reality
Terence Blake - CONCEPTS OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Notes on Deleuze and Guattari’s “What is Philosophy?” (2)
Terence Blake - GUATTARI’S LINES OF FLIGHT (2): transversal vs transferential approaches to the reading contract
Himanshu Damle - Games and Virtual Environments: Playing in the Dark. Could These be Havens for Criminal Networks?
Himanshu Damle - Hegelian Marxism of Lukács: Philosophy as Systematization of Ideology and Politics as Manipulation of Ideology.