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A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia Deviations From Deleuze and Guattari

A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia Deviations From Deleuze and Guattari

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Massumi's guide to Deleuze-Guattari
Massumi's guide to Deleuze-Guattari

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Published by: api-3857490 on Oct 19, 2008
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 Pleasures of Philosophy Two nouns, two books, two authors: Capitalism andSchizophrenia is the shared subtitle of Gilles Deleuze andFélix Guattari's Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A ThousandPlateaus (1980). The volumes differ so markedly in tone,content, and composition that they seem a prime illustrationof their subtitle's second noun. It is hoped that the present book will be as much.The "schizophrenia" Deleuze and Guattari embrace is not apathological condition. For them, the clinical schizophrenic'sdebilitating detachment from the world is a quelled attemptto engage it in unimagined ways. Schizophrenia as a positiveprocess is inventive connection, expansion rather than withdrawal. Its twoness is a relay to a multiplicity. From oneto another (and another . . . ). From one noun or book orauthor to another (and another . . . ). Not aimlessly.Experimentally. The relay in ideas is only effectively expansive if at every step it is also a relay away from ideasinto action. Schizophrenia is the enlargement of life's limitsthrough the pragmatic proliferation of concepts.Schizophrenia, like those "suffering" from it, goes by many names. "Philosophy" is one. Not just any philosophy. A  bastard kind. Legitimate philosophy is the handiwork of "bureaucrats" of pure reason who speak in "the shadow of the despot" 1 and are in historical complicity with the state.They invent ''a properly spiritual . . . absolute State that . . .effectively functions in the mind." Theirs is the discourse of sovereign judgment, of stable subjectivity legislated by "good" sense, of rocklike identity, "universal" truth, and(white male) justice. "Thus the exercise of their thought is inconformity with the aims of the real State, with the dominant
 
significations, and with the requirements of the establishedorder."2Gilles Deleuze was schooled in that philosophy. The titles of his earliest books read like a who's who of philosophicalgiants. "What got me through that period was conceiving of the history of philosophy as a kind of ass-fuck, or, whatamounts to the same thing, an immaculate conception. Iimagined myself approaching an author from behind andgiving him a child that would indeed be his but wouldnonetheless be monstrous." 3 Hegel is absent, being toodespicable even to merit a mutant offspring. To Kant hededicated an affectionate study of "an enemy."4 Yet much of  value came of Deleuze's flirtation with the greats. Hediscovered an orphan line of thinkers affiliated only in theiropposition to the State philosophy that would neverthelessaccord them minor positions in its canon. From Lucretius,Hume, Spinoza, Nietzsche, and Bergson there runs a ''secretlink constituted by the critique of negativity, the cultivationof joy, the hatred of interiority, the exteriority of forces andrelations, the denunciation of power."5 Deleuze's first majorstatements written in his own voice, Différence et répétition(1968) and The Logic of Sense (1969), cross-fertilized thatline of "nomad" thought with contemporary theory. Theferment of the student — worker revolt of May 1968 and thereassessment it prompted of the intellectual's role in society6led him to disclaim the "ponderous academic apparatus"7still in evidence in those works. However, many elements of the "philosophy of difference" he had elaborated in them were transfused into a continuing collaboration, of which A Thousand Plateaus is the most recent product.Félix Guattari is a practicing psychoanalyst and lifelongpolitical activist. He has worked since the mid-fifties at LaBorde, an experimental psychiatric clinic founded by Lacanian analyst Jean Oury. Guattari himself was among
 
Lacan's earliest trainees and, although he never formally severed his ties with Lacan's Ecole Freudienne, the grouptherapy practiced at La Borde took him in a very differentdirection. The aim at La Borde was to abolish the doctor-patient hierarchy in favor of an interactive group dynamicthat would bring the experiences of all to full expression insuch a way as to produce a collective critique of the powerrelations in society as a whole. "The central perspective is . . .to promote human relations that do not automatically fallinto roles or stereotypes but open onto fundamentalrelations of a metaphysical kind that bring out the mostradical and basic alienations of madness or neurosis"8 andchannel them into revolution-ary practice. From 1960, Guattari collaborated on groupprojects dedicated to developing this radical "institutionalpsychotherapy," 9 and later he entered an uneasy alliance with the international antipsychiatry movement spearheaded by R. D. Laing in England and Franco Basaglia in Italy.10 AsLacanian schools of psychoanalysis gained ground againstpsychiatry, the contractual Oedipal relationship between theanalyst and the transference-bound analysand became asmuch Guattari's target as the legal bondage of theinstitutionalized patient in conventional state hospitals. Headopted the same stance toward psychoanalysis as he hadearlier toward the parties of the left: an ultraopposition within the opposition. His anti-hierarchical attitudesanticipated the events of May 1968 and made him an early partisan of the social movements that grew from them,including feminism and the gay-rights movement.11 Anti-Oedipus, his first book with Deleuze, gave philosophical weight to his convictions, and created one of the intellectualsensations of postwar France with its spirited polemicsagainst State-happy or pro-party versions of Marxism andschool-building strains of psychoanalysis, which separately 

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