ANTI-OEDIPUS PARAGRAPH 1: perspectives

The first paragraph has three examples, or perhaps four if we include « it », let’s call it example zero. The progression is from abstract and generic to concrete and specific:

0) « it » – a pluralisation and concretisation of the Freudian id (« What an error to have said the it »). As used here « it » is ambiguous between the partial object and what will later be called the body without organs. Subsequently, not much use is made of this acception of the term « it ». The first word of the book is « it », but the enunciative impact is to introduce us into a new conceptual universe where the logical grammar of « it » is different.

This new conceptual universe is still very much in the vicinity of psychoanalysis. « It » serves as a point of bifurcation. This confrms Deleuze’s Nietzschean idea that the new mode of thought is introduced under the mask of the old. The bifurcation begins with a minor modification, but the divergence between the new and the old becomes ever more pronounced.

The evolution of D&G’s thought, begun in the vicinity of psychoanalysis, leaves it far behind. Here is the beginning of paragraph 2 of RHIZOME in its original version as a separate book published in 1976 (this passage is unfortunately omitted in the version published four years later MILLE PLATEAUX):

« We no longer speak much about psychoanalysis, even though we still speak of it, too much. Nothing is happening there anymore. We were profoundly fed up with it, but unable to stop straight away. Psychoanalysts and above all psychoanalysed bore us too much. This matter slowed us down, we had to speed it up for our own goals – without having any illusion about the objective import of such an operation – we had to impart to it an artificial speed capable of bringing it to the point of rupture or breaking point for us. It’s over, after this book we will speak of psychoanalysis no more » (RHIZOME, page 8, my translation).

There is a line of de-psychoanalysation in D&G’s theoretical development.

1) « the breast » and « the mouth »: introduced as generic examples of machines and of their functional specification into source-machine and an organ-machine. These are partial objects considered outside any personnological determination. Their complementarity (« An organ-machine for every energy-machine ») is a specific case of the complementarity of cuts and fluxes that underly machines. Later D&G will tell us that in concrete cases of machines there is no mono-flux, and organs are not limited to cutting just one flux, there is no mono-function. Fluxes will be discussed not just in terms of being cut, but of their combination or « conjugation ».

2) « the anorexic’s mouth »: this is still very generic, but « the mouth » has become a little more specific as it is associated with « the anorexic », and its function is seen as in practice more diverse:

« The anorexic’s mouth wavers between an eating-machine , an anal machine, a talking machine, a breathing machine »

In line with D&G’s de-psychoanalysation, the anorexic will later be discussed without this fixation on partial objects. In DIALOGUES the example of the anorexic is Fanny, Deleuze’s wife. There is no more talk about the mouth as wavering between eating-machine and anal-machine. The important point is not partial objects (« organic regime ») but politics of intensities (« sign regime »):

« In short, anorexia is a matter of politics…There is politics as soon as there is a continuum of intensities (anorexic void and fullness) , emission and capture of food particles (constitution of a body without organs, in opposition to a dietary or organic regime) , and above all conjugation of fluxes (the food flux enters into relation with a clothes flux, a flux of language, a flux of sexuality: a whole, molecular woman-becoming in the anorexic, whether man or woman) . This is what we call a regime of signs. Above all, it is not a matter of partial objects. It is true that psychiatry and psychoanalysis do not understand, because they reduce everything to a neuro-organic or symbolic code (DIALOGUES II, page 111, my translation).

3) « President Schreber »: this last example is even more concrete as we have a proper name first, and only then a reference to partial objects: « divine rays in his ass ». This is a new reversal of Freudianism, as Schreber is put forward as capable of theorising his own experience, of potentially speaking machinically in terms of the « effects » produced.As to what exactly speaking machinically could mean, the text has begun both to define it and to exemplify it performatively.

The psychoanalytic « mistake » is to treat these theoretical productions as metaphors of Oedipus. The converse error would be to speak of them in fixed and familiar terms, to speak or to interpret literally, in the sense of unimaginatively.

« We have to counter people who think « I’m this, I’m that, » and who do so, moreover, in psychoanalytic terms (referring to their childhood or their destiny), by thinking in uncertain, improbable terms… What does your « reality » have to do with it? Yours is a flat realism…The argument from privileged experience is a bad, reactionary argument » (NEGOTIATIONS, page 22, my translation).

The aim is to no longer think in psychoanalytical terms, but in « uncertain, improbable » terms. This uncertain, improbable, or imaginative language is what D&G are searching for in ANTI-OEDIPUS.

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