yo capitalism i have sunbeams coming out of my ass. like deloser and guafarty “Fools rush inWhere Angels fear to tread!”The late, great philosopher Gilles Deleuze recorded a vast collection of acute personal insights in his lifetime But one particular observation just won’t wash! You’ll see he was no fool, but he was EXTREME in his ways He lived life totally ON THE EDGE.And if you do that you’re apt to act precipitously And illadvisedly?I think so!Following a close reading of Nietzsche’s oeuvre in his early years, he founded his own remarkable work on LIVING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FOLD That was to be his Final Answer.I guess you might term it life in the ULTRAFast Lane What does it MEAN to us, exactly?Well, if one of us makes a publicly embarrassing gaffe, we try to gloss it over as best we can That’s a public FOLD.If we commit a private misstep, like reading nihilistic or spooky writing and then encountering an inner feeling of stark terror, we FOLD that over too That’s an inner fold.We turn on all the lights or a favourite TV program Or if we’re a believer, we say a fast prayer Either may work.Both are quite normal.But Deleuze, after reading Nietzsche, renounced ALL folds in his life, personal and public Like Jim Carrey.Talk about life on the edge FOR THE SAKE OF THE EDGE!I wouldn’t do it Would you?It all seems like sheer folly for those of us who are older and wiser We’ve gotta face the fact of life that ALL of us are sometimes SOMEONE’S RUBE We’re ALL only human.And AntiOedipus, being an early work, is innocently edgy and is full of jumping non sequiturs, like the early stages of mania It’s novel and jarring, and hip too, I guess.And Deleuze is right in a way if life nowadays is just sales jive, good people gotta suffer It is and they do: but they call the suffering mental illness So all good people have psychological tics, big or small.And the media sends them to Coventry for it, and calls them weird Deleuze, at least in that sense, was right.But then, Deleuze chose a godless world over any form of consolation And that’s just not our way.For through all his screaming nightmares Deleuze refused to learn from his mistakes, and I guess like Mick Jagger, living life totally in the Open, he believed he never really MADE any in the first place He had trashed all his yardsticks.Back in the old days, folks would tell you to give your head a good shake if you said that! They’d just snicker at you.You know, a pop song a few years ago called our Western “upwardly mobile highway” the “road to hell.” That’s Deleuze’s song, isn’t it?But that same world of money and power with its huge gulf between the have and havenots gave birth to a postmodern theology of Love out of the thought of a simple Nazarene, who lived two millennia ago.And that theology has shown so many of us the necessity of sticking to the Main Street of Life, and not veering obliquely off the beaten path in pursuit of countercultural creeds.Otherwise it’s all hopeless.Folks like Nietzsche and Deleuze can scream about the Death of God from the rooftopsBut we won’t hear them, cause we’re listening to His own very real voice speaking in our hearts!Sure, this is an endlessly absorbing book.But it doesn’t solve anything It’s just a soapbox for a ‘liberated’ young French philosopher.Who, would, as he aged, admittedly became a wellconsidered and common voice for a muchneeded liberalism amid the primary force of domineering fiscal conservatism in the world powers A voice of caution and reason in an absurdly hormoneenriched, morally incautious world. When I was in England I joined an informal discussion group about this book The group included my advisor and his wife We read the first paragraph and his wife said, That paragraph is sexist My advisor swore at his wife, and then the discussion group was done. A major work in the development of critical theory in the late th century, ANTIOEDIPUS is an essential text for feminists, literary theorists, social scientists, philosophers, and other interested in the problems of contemporary Western culture An important text in the rethinking of sexuality and sexual politics spurred by the feminist and gay liberation movementsMargaret Cerullo, Hampshire College I think people FEEL like they should give this book five stars but, unlike machines, they are not honest with themselves and feel compelled to rate it higher than it deserves 1968 drivel. I loved this the first time I read it Hated it the second time On the third I realize that, at least, it is worth reading three times I’m caught in a love triangle between Deleuze (and his deformed #accelerationism brood) and their antagonists in the socialist tradition of dialectical / psychoanalytic geistmongering I’ve learned so much from books by FreudoMarxists, like Adorno, Althusser and Zizek, which try to account for socialism’s dismal popularity with the very masses it seeks to emancipate, doing so through a model of the unconscious internalizing a deceitful ideological superstructure How the malicious fantasies of the Big Other can smokescreen duplicitous regimes of violence and abuse But I’ve felt for awhile that there is something missing from this structure of deception, and have finally returned to the seismic alterity of Deleuze and Guattari’s objection; “No, the masses were not deceived They wanted fascism and that is what must be explained.” What can we extract from this volatile embryo of positivist desire? Armies, flags, authority and racism were not vanishing objects miraging the hole in subjectivity; for Deleuze Guattari, they were (and are) points of libidinal investure The domination and bloodletting of fascism, communism and capitalism hasn’t deceived peopleit has excited them Marxian ideology, even inflected by Freud, can’t really reckon with the enjoyment people receive from sadomasochistic totalitarianism, how it inflames and enchants us, how it ravishes us with intensive states Chalking this up to ‘ideology’ is to some extent letting people off the hook As Michel Foucault observes in the introduction, AntiOedipus is not content to confront fascism as a political order, but ‘the fascism that lives within all of us’ The register of historical materialism and psychoanalysis wheezes dust trying to liberate us from the cozy delirium of their enslavement, our ‘affection for servitude’ That said, I’m not claiming that DeleuzoGuattarian anticapitalist praxis has had better real world resultsas Alain Badiou and other communistconservatives will delight to tell you, there has yet to be a third world AntiOedipal revolution There’s no schizophrenic Che Guevara At least not yet But if you want to shine a dim light on the pitchblack labyrinth of our dilapidating hopeless circumstances, Deleuze and Guattari have a torch for you Just bring your own helmet “The fundamental problem of political philosophy is still precisely the one that Spinoza saw so clearly (and that Wilhelm Reich rediscovered): Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?” Desire is production It is creative; teeming, frenetic, wild and fecund with virtual infinities of possibility across an immanent network of movement and growth At the time of AntiOedipus’ publication this was a new unique conceptual model, not insofar as it breaks from FreudoLacanian theory of desire as an experience of lack, the pale quiver of incompleteness, but because it gives a full account of desire as a growing, proliferating nucleus through a rigorous philosophical elaboration Desire is the fifth element inscribing each discrete differentiated strata of life with its vitalizing processes Becoming and production The preontological flux of energy which modulates its flow through bodies / machines (which are ((sort of)) the same thing) and which sends an electrical current through materiality is desiring production I should say that there were Spinozan monisms and process ontologies in philosophy (going back at least to Heraclitus) before Deleuze Guattari, who are part of an ‘ulterior canon’ of philosophy rather than a break from it They aren't antiphilosophers But DG thumbed the nose of the faddish Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger and structuralism, claiming influence from Spinoza, Hume and Nietzsche Seems par for the course now, as biovitalists and specop realists hunt phenomenologists (sometimes in deconstructionist camouflage) to extinction like birds of prey But it was heresy in the midcentury Parisian milieu The first couple chapters locking horns with Oedipus, burlesqued as the ‘mommydaddyme’ triangulationthe unconscious as a classical theatreare better than I remembered, and pay their dues to Freud and his most gifted students (Melanie Klein’s object relations receives an amusing reading) but demand that we contextualize the representational melodrama of Oedipus as one dynamic vector among many in an exuberantly creative factory They read Oedipus as the paradynamic structuralist handicap on desiringproduction, the coding of the unconscious Coding here is the articulation of desire, its capture in a thumbnail, where it is given shape and summarily limited Desiringproduction is not articulable in a structuralist blueprint and Deleuze Guattari’s hatred for representation identity (with Oedipus as the persona non grata of these static cartographies) seems to arise from the tendency of these dynamics to be repressed and coded as ‘nature’ Representation sinks beneath the level of awareness and is fossilized into a regime of knowledge; the way things are The territory of natural truth But socialcollectivist commitments to these hierarchies, binaries and otherwise provisional structures, flashfrozen with artificial preservatives, are subject to the radical mutability of deterritorialization Even since the publication of AntiOedipus in 1972 this has occurred; after all, who believes in Oedipus today? It is in the third chapter, ‘Savages, Barbarians, Civilized men’ that we get a historicalanthropological account of coding and decoding, deterritorialization and reterritorialization; fluxes of desire pulsating through the socialpolitical field This is the most fascinating part of the book It is an account of how the strange nocturnal alterity of primitive peoples, huntergatherers and nomads, is captured and legislated by state formations, or how ‘Overcoding is what establishes the essence of the state’ There is an emphasis on the primacy of writing and reading over orality in early state formations that is faintly reminiscent of Derrida’s logocentrism By this logic, tyranny manifests as a debtstructure, enunciated as a form of inscription; Tattoos, excision, incision, cutting, sacrifice, and mutilation were among the many practices to mark possession and debt, ‘a founding act through which man stops being a biological organism and becomes a full body, an earth, to which organs grab hold, attracted, ironed, survivors of the exigencies of a socius’ This speaks to the arbitrariness of the sign, that law designates without signifying “What capitalism decodes with one hand, it turns into rules with the other” Money is the lynchpin for the violent eruption of mercantile capitalism from the despotic state There is a claim here that money is a flow which the state cannot code The hydraulic flow of capital is what makes this system unique, it is unlike its antecedent socialformations because it lacks symbolic commitments; primitive nomads and feudal despotisms had gods kings, thresholds filiations which could not be deterritorialized as internal conditions of the systems Capitalism has no such scruples, it’ll chew up digest anything sacred; and this innate tendency toward deterritorialization has augured the stygian nightmare chamber we live in today Compulsive decoding has not delivered a body without organs, a liberated machinic process without restrictive organizational masonry, but instead locked us into culture of guilt resentment nourished by the Oedial myth; Interiority rather than a new relationship with the outside” Oedipus is a paranoid polarization, not arising from an innate structure, but imposed, It is the paranoid father who Oedipalizes the son.” Capitalism is perched atop an overheating furnace of schizophrenic flux, a turbulent precarity which must be contained in a perilous balancing act of deandrecoding On the bright side; capitalism will deterritorialze any every overcoded flow to capture the surplus value ensconced by the coding, even to its own longterm detriment The structures of power and oppression which secure capitalism’s hegemony are temporarily deactivated to bingeeat the marketshare possessed by minoritarian flowsthink the current popularity of minoritarian art, mainstream films netflix shows expressing dissent through queer, black feminist stories This gets dangerously close to a Hegelian teleology; that capitalism’s instinctive relaxing of rigid social tensions to expand indexes for profit and growth may provide a fertile epicenter for these dissenting flows to converge The system’s collapse is to some degree prophesied by its own organizationthe smooth space of the body without organs, like full communism, the kingdom of ends or Absolute Spirit, the Idea in and for itself, is incipient What a relief If you’re getting impatient twiddling your thumbs as the land of milk honey sloughs behind schedule and want to do something productive, DG's anticapitalist praxis would push different molecular voices to speak simultaneously as a schizophrenized machinicbodyafter all, they're no good to anyone on their lonesome in a disaggregated schism, as is the current situation with ‘identity politics’ To have your voice ricochet through capitalist channels (and to let them make money off it) is obviously insufficient; minoritarian solidarity is the locus for emanicpatory politics To this end, Deleuze Guattari are optimistic that the tendency toward deterritorialization as a shortterm tactic to widen social fields to capture value bolster production is not sustainable longterm (however long the term maybe isambiguous) But you can only destratify these pockets of resistance for so long before they overtake the strata itself To this point, if you’ll humor me for a moment, I’d like to talk about acceleration AntiOedipus is the sacred text of accelerationism, the primordial soup it climbed from one clawed hand at a time You may know what I’m about to quote next; “But which is the revolutionary path? Is there one?—To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist “economic solution”? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and a practice of a highly schizophrenic character Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to accelerate the process” This passage is the most exciting in AntiOedipusthere are no other references to acceleration that I could find, it’s just this unitary utterancewhich has founded an entire school of thought For those slightlypessimistic than DG, for whom vitalism and the politics of joy seem a little cloying, this discloses the next step This is why a single mention of acceleration, which disappears like a phantom from AntiOedipus to A Thousand Plateaus, has transfixed so much attention There are now half a dozen (at least) splintered /ACC denominations spawning blasphemous exegesis of this passage, what ‘accelerating the process’ might or should mean in philosophical and political terms It’s been awhile since I read A Thousand Plateaus (and I’m overdue for a retread) but its erecting of finitudes and limits upon destratification seems a discontinuation if not a betrayal of acceleration’s seductive possibilities These days it’s hard to believe the old Marxist assurance that capitalism will collapse beneath its contradictionshow are we to administer a lethal dose ofcontradiction? And what has ever died of contradictions anyway?but, if we accept the model of capitalism from Deleuze Guattari, then we can imagine deterritorializing magmic intensive states for the combustion engine of capitalism to burn as fuel until it hits terminal velocity It’s the last game in town This is a very complex book I’ve barely scratched the surface here and I’m not even sure if my readings are adequate to the text But reading AntiOedipus, seeing capitalism psychoanalysis brought to the point of autocritique so that they are reengineered from the inside, was a tremendous intellectual high So am I a turncoat? Am I switching allegiances from the solar Apollonianism of dialecticalpsychoanalysis to the strange midnight perversity of SchizoDionysus? I dunno, TBD. The introduction by Foucault is certainly a healthy way to view this book As a guide to leading a nonfascist life, this work condenses a great number of ideas, and attempts to dismantle/discourse on the hangups of wouldbe revolutionary groups.I would describe the writing style as delirious At times it is very lucid, hitting hard at ideas standing in the way of the nonfascist life and free thought At others, the prose descends, or rather extends (explodes?) down lines of escape, off in a million directions At these times I felt a bit lost, however it is difficult to know whether it is the cause of the writing style, or my own inexperience in the finer points of Freud, Lacan, and the state of 1970s psychoanalysis It wasn't until about halfway through the book that the ideas about the body without organs, machines of desiringproduction, deterritorialization, the despot, neurosis/psychosis, and schizophrenia began to fit together on the internal limits, boundaries and axioms of capitalism.It seems that they are trying to say that schizophrenia is the limit that capitalism is always trying to approach, but can never attain The nature of capitalism is to axiomatize, subjugate, repress, decode and deterritorialize processes that exist outside or contra to the system in order to exploit and coopt These are processes that revolutionary movements fight against, overtly and covertly Seeds within the movement, itself, are also moving against the movement, flowing towards axiomatization and cooptation In this adhoc manner, it seems that capitalism tends toward this schiz limit, since contra/revolutionary flows are generated in a dynamic, random fashion; many small revolutionary acts become codified, and applied to the molecular, regardless of coherent applicability In this way schizophrenia is not necessarily revolutionary, and is even tolerated by capitalism until it can be subjugated and ascribed a use value.Contrary to many critics, I think that these ideas are quite relevant to modern revolutionary struggle to livefreely on both the collective/social and individual levels. I've actually had a copy of this book for several months, but, honestly, it keeps tossing me out around page 7 or so Like my mind shatters after about 7 pages of this I can't tell whether or not it is bullshit It seems like something is going on here that maybe I am not equipped to understand, almost like when I am trying to read a book in an antiquated form of French (because my modern French isn't even very good) This book is a little vortex, a little black hole that keeps pulling me back to it's place on the shelf, opening it up, and then utterly obliterating me before I can make it past the event horizon Don't know if I'll ever actually read this.