Guattari’s Oedipus


I don’t really agree with Steven as to assert with him [here] that Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus is somehow a book of ‘riddles’ or a kind of ‘dreamwork’ of sorts, because this is like reproducing the idea that the book’s stylistic aim is mysterious, that it has ‘secrets’ to discover, that there is a lot to ‘reveal’ about its content, that it is just revolting and provocative, just as if what Deleuze and Guattari wrote would not really be speaking by itself and with enough clarity and loudness. Of course, it is not but in reason of what I do understand about the book that I certainly don’t take it in this superfluous way, so there is no excuse for me to fill this lack by creating any asylum for my word to make it playfully resonate with it. While it is difficult to read what they say with the same degree of literalness that they apply to the text, which precisely is what the reader is invited to do through it, another thing is to give the text some obscure properties that it does not have, just as to read only whatever our own intimate word wants to get from it. Anyhow, I would admit that the book contains a good lot of conceptual syncretisms that are not quite meant to please any poetic science fiction of a world-after-death, but all the contrary: for those who can track them right from Deleuze’s previous philosophical work, these syncretisms really mean the reader to think desire as a full intensive experience of life in a reborn-materialized-world. However, as Deleuze and Guattari say in their book: a bad reading is better than not reading anything at all, and to my mind, the word of who might be behind Deterritorial Investigations seems to have a clearer idea of the book despite of being also agreeable with Steven’s:

“Its celebration of the schizophrenic experience is certainly controversial, but people overlook the fact that at the bottom of schizophrenia is a rejection of any system that promotes a master signifier… Schiz, as in schizophrenia, schizo-analysis, means to “break,” “separate,” or divide; the schizo-analytic practice is to locate find these breaks, wherein the potential for bifurcation resides, and use them to jump in a new production of subjectivity, a new place full of beings and becomings.”

So I find this entry at Deterritorial investigations worth to repost because it brings the question of how Guattari finally broke with Lacan and got rid of his very own attached lacanian subjections.

“Guattari’s contributions to Anti-Oedipus, his conjoining with Deleuze on the level of desiring-machines, then would be, as he puts it, a procedural disengagement leading to the final schiz, the break from Lacan – the exiting of this mini Oedipal triangle and becoming-schizophrenic.”

Originally posted on Deterritorial Investigations Unit:

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Noir Realism has put up a thought-provoking post on Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, describing the work as a “Black Book of Riddles,” a “dreamwork” that doesn’t so much offer a strict revolutionary praxis, but opts instead for an extended poetic science-fiction of a world existing only moments away where death’s pale figure hovers, a chilled wind in the air. And it is a book of riddles indeed! So many interpretations and opinions move around it: Lyotard used it as a platform for his leap from doctrinaire Marxism, Zizek sees it as a corrosion of Deleuze’s abilities as a philosopher, and Manuel DeLanda calls it the duo’s “worst book.” Nick Land finds a how-to guide in hacking into capitalism’s artificial intelligence, Bifo rereads it as a book of warnings. Baudrillard assaults it as a justification for capitalism’s destructive tendencies, but Foucault applauds it as a guide to living a…

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Bill Vallicella’s Existential Desert: On the Question Concerned to the Meaning of Life

A couple of weeks ago Bill Vallicella, the ‘Maverick Philosopher’, posted a very interesting entry about the question concerned to the meaning of life [here] which I wanted to comment as it alluded to one very specific schizosophical concern: the fact that life is in itself meaningless. On that occasion I posted there my comment, and as I usually do with many of them, I published it at my Nwp comments-blog [here] despite it was still awaiting for moderation. The next day, as I usually do: I checked out if the comment was published but it was not, so I decided to wait another couple of days so to see if Bill would moderate it. As this neither happened, I posted it there again exactly with the same content and with no changes. But the next day I found again that the comment was not yet published, so I started to wonder what was wrong with it and wanted to contact Bill to ask him what was happening. I went to his about page [here] in order to get his email and speak more directly to him. There I learned that Bill allows comments only in some of his posts, just in the ‘technical’ ones, and that if one wants to have any kind of exchange and share any thoughts about the matters of his blog, one needs to email him the comment. According to Bill’s comments policy, the comments received will be pasted in the section of the respective post, or even considered in a separated one, but only if they merit any discussion. Despite all these filtering restrictions, I did want to communicate him my viewpoint on the question in a way to receive a retroactive response on his part. So I did follow the instructions and email him my comment, though this time including some references of my person as well, given the epistolary fashion of the exchange. This is what I commented:

“That what we ask when we are asking about the meaning of life is in fact that life’s matter, the matter of life which is life itself, is meaningless. Life itself has no existential meaning. This lack of meaning is the line from which to departure any philosophical thinking of life itself and its absoluteness. The ‘ultimate and objective point, purpose, end, or goal of human willing and striving’ is to experience this absolute meaninglessness of life, so to embody it as an absolute difference. Indeed, life itself can be experienced empirically as such through an existential meaningful event that would imply in a hit an absolute epistemological rupture of the self, its total death, leaving no room for any existential first persons any more, and thus, leaving to experience nothing to mean. This is the ‘ultimate and objective point’ that philosophers should be aimed to seek: a total break with their own always-meaningful-self, with their own individual existential meaning. And after experiencing this intensive event what comes as the very ‘dominating non-trivial purpose’ of our existential meaning, what drives this meaning of our existence, is not but life’s lack of meaning, is not but life itself as a full existential excess: a plan where to compose and recompose such existential meaning ethically (a plane of immanence, as Deleuze and Guattari puts it). While there is no transcendent meaning to mean this plane, being it immanent and thus full of meaningless, it permits us to mean and fill our existence through it. It is precisely because this purpose is non-trivial that the experience, while it is hard to achieve, it still is ‘achievable’. But this achievement is not on purpose, it has nothing to do with the process of achieving it: it happens in existence, no previous call, no sense of why, no relation with what we tended to think about our own life so to achieve it: it comes as a strike that breaks actively with all what we are habituated to mean about life and existence. So, it is true that ‘the question about the meaning of life is restricted to human life’ but this should not impede us to see that life itself is meaningless to human life, this does not impede us to conceptualize it objectively as such, in order to take this conceptualization as a point of departure to mean our existential life subjectively. The more subjectively meaningful is our existence, the more it will tend to induce objectively the event of life as an empirical experience.”

The readers of this blog would immediately recognize the same schizosophical argument about life wielded several times here and there in many of my posts. But I would not say that my comment had no fortune and that was not worth for Bill to merit any discussion –though he never published it and never got in contact with me at all–, because he did react and responded on this regard through a more interpellating modality, by posting two related entries concerned to the subjective aspects of the question [here and here] and a third one related to its aporetics [here]. It is clear for me that my comment resulted a nice stimuli for Bill to object it through and dig further into his own deductive disquisitions, and though it is a shame that such a comment would remain unreferenced despite he used it as a sort of raw malformed material to be pragmatically sterilized, I feel satisfied to have fed a bit of his view with it, suggesting him how such a question can be affirmatively responded beyond any dualistic scholastic remnant, and far from reproducing any bad non-recursive epistemology. While it is true that Bill has been writing on the subject for quite a time [here], it is also true that I can also apply the same interpellating modality, though with a bit more of courage and frankness of speech, in a way to use Bill’s disquisitions as a sort of prude objectivistic textualization to be critically revitalized.

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A philosopher’s guide to Pierre Bourdieu

Originally posted on Recollecting Philosophy:

Some would perhaps call Pierre Bourdieu more of an anti-philosopher than a philosopher. I want to claim that Bourdieu was a philosopher, and stress Bourdieu’s role within philosophy. It is true that Bourdieu strongly criticized academic philosophy, but Bourdieu also associated himself with and found inspiration from canonized philosophers of both older and newer times, such as Pascal, Leibniz, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Foucault. And as pointed out by Staf Callewaert, “Bourdieu insists he has nothing against philosophy as a discipline”. I think, that instead of being regarded as an outsider and enemy of philosophy, Bourdieu could be regarded as an insider, as a bridge-builder between different branches of philosophy, and as someone who can help bring philosophy to a better reputation.

Selected quotes and commentary of Pierre Bourdieu

Bourdieu and (academical) philosophy
Bourdieu on language
Bourdieu on self-reflexivity
Bourdieu on contextual orientation
Presentation of some of Bourdieu’s key concepts


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Originally posted on Continental Drift:

The Articulation of Political Speech


Four_Fields-smClockwise from upper right: Anonymous; Occupy;
Global Revolution TV; Critical Art Ensemble


“Every way in is a way out.”
– Öyvind Fahlström


Let’s start by defining things very simply. An event is a break in a normalized flow of experience. When you have to ask what’s happening, and why, and whether it’s dangerous or exciting or if it means something to you, then your day has been eventful. Events can be collective, and they can occur at different scales: urban, national, global. Deliberately breaking the normalized flow of collective experience, with the intent to provoke political debate and action, is what I call eventwork.1

It’s clear this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The generation, communication, interpretation and historicization of events is a burning issue in control societies where our body rhythms and affective tones are increasingly impacted by so-called…

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[Speaking of Reterritorialization]: The Scheme of Significant Regime

Scheme of Significant Regime

Scheme of Significant Regime

This is the famous ‘scheme of significant regime’ that Deleuze and Guattari expose in A Thousand Plateaus specifically in the chapter On several regimes of signs. For them, the regime of signs of a ‘significant semiotic’ is characterized by the fact that a sign always remits to another sign, making a signifying chain which net is not only infinite and circular, but it also expands in a spiral which ensures the feedback of the significant centre, the Signifier in person, the despotic face, but always in relation to the circles of entropic attraction that constantly overcode it. The scheme shows this point of significance that generates a field of priestly interpretosis which circles form a radiating body reterritorialized through a blocked line of flight, cancelling every point of individuation and singularization. Any point ‘more significant’ than the centre is taken as a scapegoat to be immediately thrown by the tangent and expelled from the system. Continue reading

Lost in translation? A footnote to ‘The Zero Intensity’ quote previously posted…

…which is one of my favourites in Anti-Oedipus [here]. The thing is that, in the 1977 English translation of Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane, precisely in this very passage of the first chapter, there seems to be NOT an errata but a sort of misinterpretation somehow unexplainable. In the French original version this passage starts as follows:

french quote schizo

But in the English version, the same passage starts like this:

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‘Zero Intensity’ & The New Celibate Machine [quoted in Anti-Oedipus]


“There is an actual consumption of the new machine, a pleasure that can rightly be called autoerotic, or rather automatic: the nuptial celebration of a new alliance, a new birth, a radiant ecstasy, as though the eroticism of the machine liberated other unlimited forces. The question becomes: what does the celibate machine produce? what is produced by means of it? The answer would seem to be: intensive quantities. There is a schizophrenic experience of intensive quantities in their pure state, to a point that is almost unbearable –a celibate misery and glory experienced to the fullest, like a cry suspended between life and death, an intense feeling of transition, states of pure, naked intensity stripped of all shape and form. These are often described as hallucinations and delirium, but the basic phenomenon of hallucination (I see, I hear) and the basic phenomenon of delirium (I think…) presuppose an I feel at an even deeper level, which gives hallucinations their object and thought delirium its content –an “I feel that I am becoming a woman,” “that I am becoming a god,” and so on, which is neither delirious nor hallucinatory, but will project the hallucination or internalize the delirium. Delirium and hallucination are secondary in relation to the really primary emotion, which in the beginning only experiences intensities, becomings, transitions. Continue reading

‘Close though-still-misguided’: three schizosophical impressions about Joshua Ramey’s introduction to The Hermetic Deleuze

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Originally posted on Posthegemony:

Deleuze and Guattari, What is Philosophy?Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s What is Philosophy? is in many ways quite a departure from their previous joint-signed books. I say “joint-signed,” rather than “joint-authored” because François Dosse in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives (which I reviewed for H-Madness) makes it clear that the book “was manifestly written by Deleuze alone”; he included Guattari’s name “as a tribute to their exceptionally intense friendship” (456). But even considered within the lineage of Deleuze’s solo output, it is somewhat anomalous. If anything, it hearkens back to his seminal texts of the late 1960s, Difference and Repetition and Logic of Sense, not least because it is not dedicated to any particular individual (unlike his books on Foucault, Bacon, or Leibniz) or any particular genre (unlike his books on the cinema). It is, almost, pure philosophy.

I say that it is “almost” pure philosophy because, first, as the title…

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