[Deleuze & Guattari] Anti Oedipus

  • Title: L’Anti-Oedipe, (Anti Oedipus, capitalism and schizophrenia)
  • Author: Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari
  • Published: 1972
  • Translated by: Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • ISBN: 978-0-8166-1225-3

The book is about Ethics and provides the guide against Fascist life.

Preface by Michel Foucault.

Authors start with what three basic ideas that mid-20th intellectuals needed to know:

  • Class struggles by Marx
  • Desire and subconscious by Freud
  • Symbols and text(Semiotics) by Ferdinand de Saussure

It is very important for 21st readers to grasp the meaning of mid-20th European political/philosophical writings. Marx’s ideas have not been materialized successfully (might be yet), Freud’s ideas might not be recognized as the standard psychological treatment, and Saussure’s ideas are only known in the circle of scholars. But 20th intellectuals are all based on these quite radical understanding of individuals and groups.

Anti Oedipus” by Deleuze & Guattari attacked these foundations and reorganized our reality again.

The first problem is Reductionism. Modern philosophy and science tend to reduce reality to general rules and ideas. But the reality is not based on stable rules. It erupts, explodes, and flows.

On the other hand, they questioned whether people do want to be led by ideologies? Why Fascism prevailed? The solution is from Nietzsche: Herd psychology/morality. But the unworldly superman is not an answer.

Individualism is not the opposite of Fascism. It is an extreme form of Fascism, based on Ego. American Individualism is only about what I have: properties and families.

Now we can go back to Marx and Freud.

  • Ego blocks the flow of desire.
  • Desire is not a lack or not from a lack.
  • Capitalism organizes needs (lack) as a function of the market economy.
  • Desire has been regarded as negative such as fantasy. It becomes a victim in the process.

The point is desire produces reality. Desire needs to be flowed and regarded positively.

Desire: Lacan said desires are chasing object petit a (object little a) in the Real order. When we desire, we want what we cannot attain. Desires have been considered negatively. Desire is a lack, a hole, and something you have by your greed and stupidity. But Deleuze and Guattari want to look at desires in a positive way. Desire is productive and is what makes all machines (everything) operate.

Body without Organs (BwO): D+G oppose organisms which are structured. Because BwO is not structured and can flow dynamically, it can become any structure (productive). “Body without Organs” is like an egg. It has potentials.

Need, Desire, and Capitalism: Lacan points out that desire refers to ‘object petite a’ (something you cannot symbolize). Therefore desire leads to fantasy. But G+D emphasizes that desire is real and produces a thing. Capitalism manipulates desire. It converts desire into needs so that you can spend. Capitalism itself blocks the flow, but by reorganizing the structure, it keeps surviving.

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