Why Anti-Oedipus is Worth Reading even if you do not reach “Total” Understanding (of it)

Because of awesome quotes like these. All but one come from the fourth section “Introducing Schizoanalysis;” if it was not the most elucidating section, I certainly thought it was the most fun. All quotes are from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998).

All the cynical tactics of bad conscience…arrive at a definition of civilized European man: the hypnosis and the reign of images, the torpor they spread; the hatred of life and of all that is free, of all that passes and flows; the universal effusion of the death instinct; depression and guilt used as a means of contagion, the kiss of the Vampire: aren’t you ashamed to be happy? follow my eample, I won’t let go before you say, “It’s my fault,” O ignoble contagion of the depressives, neurosis as the only illness consisting in making others ill; the permissive structure: let me deceive, rob, slaughter kill! but in the name of the social order, and so daddy-mommy will be proud of me; the double direction given to ressentiment, the turning back against oneself, and the projection against the Other: the father is dead, it’s my fault, who killed him? it’s your fault, it’s the Jews, the Arabs, the Chinese, all the resources of racism and segregation; the abject desire to be loved, the whimpering at not being loved enough, at not being “understood,” concurrent with the reduction of sexuality to the “dirty little secret,” this whole priest’s psychology – there is not a single one of these that does not find in Oedipus its land of milk ad honey, its good provider. – p. 268-269

We have seen in this context that there were two major types of social investment, segregative and nomadic, just as there were two poles of delirium: first, a paranoiac fascisizing type or pole that invests the formation of central sovereignty; overinvests it by making it the final eternal cause for all other social forms of history; counterinvests the enclaves or the periphery; and deinvests every free “figure” of desire – yes, I am your kind and I belong to the superior race and class. And second, a schizorevolutionary type or pole that follows the lines of escape of desire; breaches the wall and causes flows to move; assembles its machines and its groups-in-fusion in the enclaves or at the periphery – proceeding in an inverse fashion from that of the other pole: I am not your kind, I belong eternally to the inferior race, I am a beast, a black. Good people say that we must not flee, that to escape is not good, that it isn’t effective, and that one must work for reforms. But the revolutionary knows that escape is revolutionary – withdrawal, freaks – provided one sweeps away the social cover on leaving, or causes, or causes a piece of the system to get lost in the shuffle. -p. 277

The prime evidence points to the fact that desire does not take as its object persons or things, but the entire surroundings that it traverses, the vibrations and flows of every sort to which it is joined, introducing therein breaks and captures -an always nomadic and migrant desire, characterized first of all by its gigantism….In a word, the social as well as biological surroundings are the object of unconscious investments that are necessarily desiring or libidinal, in contrast with the preconscious investments of need or of interest….The truth is that sexuality is everywhere: the way a bureaucrat fondles his records, a judge administers justice, a businessman causes money to circulate; the way the bourgeoisie fucks the proletariat….Hitler got the fascists sexually aroused. Flags, nations, armies, banks get a lot of people aroused. A revolutionary machine is nothing if it does not acquire at least as much force as these coercive machines have for producing breaks and flows. -p. 292-293

What is founded here is rather the statistical aggregate of intersexual loves. For if the woman is defined as a lack in relation to the man, the man in his turn lacks what is lacking in the woman, simply in another fashion: the idea of a single sex necessarily leads to the erection of a phallus as an object on high, which distributes lack as two nonsuperimposable sides and makes the two sexes communicate in a communicate in a common absence – castration….Whence the irresistibly comical nature of the formulas according to which one gains access to desire through castration….We maintain therefore that castration is the basis for anthropomorphic and molar representation of sexuality.…Long live castration so that desire may be strong? Only fantasies are truly desired? What a perverse, human, all-too-human idea!…Anthropomorphic molar representation culminates in the very thing that founds it, the ideology of lack. The molecular unconscious, on the contrary, knows nothing of castration, because partial objects lack nothing and form free multiplicities as such…: everywhere a microscopic transsexuality, resulting in the woman containing as many men as the man, and the man as many women, all capable of entering – men with women, women with men – into relations of production of desire that overturn the statistical order of the sexes. Making love is not just becoming as one, or even two, but becoming as a hundred thousand….The schizoanalytic slogan of the desiring-revolution will be first of all: to each its own sexes. -p. 295-296

We see the most disadvantaged, the most excluded members of society invest with passion the system that oppresses them, and where they always find an interest, since it is here that they search for and measure it. Interest always comes after. Antiproduction effuses in the system: antiproduction is loved for itself, as is the way in which desire represses itself in the great capitalist aggregate. Repressing desire, not only for others but in oneself, being the cop for other and for oneself – that is what arouses, and it is not ideology, it is economy. Capitalism garners and possesses the force of the aim and the interest (power), but it feels a disinterested love for the absurd and nonpossessed force of the machine. Oh, to be sure, it is not for himself or his children that the capitalist works, but for the immortality of the system. A violence without purpose, a joy, a pure joy in feeling oneself a wheel in the machine, traversed by flows, broken by schizzes. Placing oneself in a position where one is thus traversed, broken, fucked by the socius, looking for the right place where, according to the aims and the interests assigned to us, one feels something moving that has neither an interest nor a purpose. A sort of art for art’s sake in the libido, a taste for a job well done, each one in his own place, the banker, the cop, the soldier, the technocrat, the bureaucrat, and why not the worker, the trade-unionist. Desire is agape. -p. 347

The capitalist machine does not run the risk of becoming mad, it is mad from one end to the other and from the beginning, and this is the source of its rationality. Marx’s black humor…is his fascination with such a machine: how it came to be assembled, on what foundation of decoding and deterritorialization; how it works, always more decoded, always more deterritorialized…; how it produces the terrible single class of gray gentlemen who keep up the machine; how it does not run the risk of dying all alone, but rather of making us die, by provoking investments of desire that do not even go by way of a deceptive and subjective ideology, and that lead us to cry out to the very end, Long live capital in all its reality, in all its objective dissimulation! Except in ideology, there has never been a humane, liberal, paternal, etc., capitalism. Capitalism is defined by…cruelty….Wage increases and improvements in the standard of living are realities, but realities that derive from a given supplementary axiom that capitalism is always capable of adding to its axiomatic in terms of an enlargement of its limits: let’s create the New Deal; let’s cultivate and recognize strong unions; let’s promote participation, the single class; let’s take a step toward Russia, which is taking so many toward us; etc. But within the enlarged reality that conditions these islands, exploitation grows constantly harsher, lack is arranged in the most scientific of ways, final solutions of the “Jewish problem” variety are prepared down to the last detail, and the Third World is organized as an integral part of capitalism. –p. 373


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