De-founding AO

(excerpt from a forthcoming publication on the 50th anniversary of Anti-Oedipus)

Perhaps, this is the core of AO’s challenge to fascism. We can refer to this challenge in its most potent sense: the microfascism of the reproduction of Oedipal desire beyond the confines of the family. AO’s task is to remand the custody of Oedipus to the machinic productivity of the celibate (Deleuze & Guattari, 2000, p. 17), all the more for its anti-reproductive instinct in the likeness of the horizontal, counter-intuitive generative direction of the schizoid (without invoking a transcendent principle of illness/anomaly) vis-à-vis the non-regenerative verticality of Oedipus by depth re/productivity that is prone to embrace a transcendent principle. In Nietzschean terms, the latter manifests a life-denying instinct.

But this already imputes Anti-Oedipus with objectives it apparently did not have, nor, at least, explicitly projected: 1) it promotes normative politics, and 2) its overarching logic of immanence betrays a telos (Bourg, 2007). These putative aims are prefigured negatively by Nietzsche’s patent resistance, one of AO’s undeniable intellectual influences, against normative claims in the shape of transcendent principles. The crux of the matter is that, on the surface, this imputation is correct. Still, it would not succeed as much as a spot-on implication without going into the intricate concept of desire around which these objectives could bear a positive correlation to AO’s true intents. For one thing, they do not lend themselves to Hegelian sublation. As programmatic of its employment of immanence, AO displays an informed, biased commitment to Spinozist immanence that explains the internal resolutions of its many paradoxes (Holland, 1999; Voss, 2021). But also, these objectives, if they contain some truths relative to AO’s political motivations, do not necessarily mean that it must own them. The paradox is that even as they sound true to purpose, AO also complicates them.

On the one hand, the inevitability of the schizoid embracing the BwO … reflects a functional normativity that informs AO’s political motivations against the psychoanalytic concept of desire encountering a double impasse. This impasse results in the schizophrenic withdrawing into a ‘bedipalizing’ delirium, not neurotic enough, but also, not yet bordering in the schizoid, thus, forced to enfold back into the internal dimension of desire ‘so as,’ ultimately, ‘to better rediscover [Oedipus] on the outside, its social authority’ (Deleuze & Guattari, 2000, p. 78). This is the so-called psychoanalytic cure. The return to the inner dimension of conflict where desire refunds itself with the libidinal investments of Oedipus via the return to the family presupposes that the internal disjunction (between the neurotic and the schizo, for instance) is not immanently inclusive (p. 76). The conflict is forced from the outside, the ‘undifferentiated that Oedipus creates as the reverse of the differentiation that it creates’ (p. 79). This ‘outside’ is Oedipus, ‘the double impasse.’

On the other hand, AO’s immanent concept of destination serves an analytic target, its ‘analysis of destiny’ (p. 290). Deleuze and Guattari describe this form of analysis as ‘[n]othing more than a bit of a relation to the outside, a little real reality,’ which in their words, invokes ‘the right to … a radical incompetence – the right to enter the analyst’s office and say it smells bad there’ (p. 334). The purpose of the psychoanalytic circle of ‘daddy-mummy-and-me’ is to triangulate a psychic destiny that supersedes the sociality of libidinal investments: ‘We are all little colonies, and it is Oedipus that colonizes us’ (p. 265). AO’s analysis of destiny (the internal trajectory of its criticism of psychoanalysis) is its functional relation to the psychoanalytic concept of desire whose outcome is a peculiar social articulation of desire ‘[reconstituting] itself on its own ruins’: ‘[I]t is in order to function that a social machine must not function well’ (p. 151). Psychoanalysis is symptomatic of the perversion of the social order apropos of its capability to demonstrate its ‘impotence,’ but a politically viable one. This impotence has power to sustain democracies. Democracies are impotent; they simply regenerate the dysfunctions of Oedipus.

In this light, we can trouble ourselves with a number of questions from here to there: 1) Will AO lose its rhizomatic commitment the sooner it steps into the analysis of the destiny of passive syntheses in the hands of psychoanalysis and Marxism?, 2) Should these syntheses remain passive in the sense of their non-porosity to conscious representation?, 3) Or, is the passive relation to representation the normative commitment of AO? In both instances, 4) is AO toying with a kind of ontological commitment to negativity, hence, a suspicious overlap with the dialectic?

If AO is not all of these, 5) how does AO take back the normative implications of its approaches to psychoanalysis and Marxism in the likelihood of these approaches being eclectically utilized? Arguably, AO is an eclecticism of these approaches. What is the 6) implication of this eclecticism? And what are 7) the symptoms that AO might take them back in relation to contemporary desiring-machines that it anticipated in many ways? The following sections will address these questions to complement AO’s ‘analysis of destiny’, a venturing into symptomatology. In hindsight, AO tried to rescue the indecisiveness of symptomatology from the sovereign hold of Oedipus normalizing the impasse between drives and symptoms, between desiring-machines and social machines (p. 54).



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