Deleuze/Guattari: The Four Schizoanalytical Thesis

[W]hy do many of those who have or should have an objective revolutionary interest maintain a preconscious investment of a reactionary type? And more rarely, how do certain people whose interest is objectively reactionary come to effect a preconscious revolutionary investment?

-Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Deleuze and Guattari in their introduction to Schizoanalysis in Anti-Oedipus will offer us four thesis: (1) Every investment is social, and (2) within the social investments we will distinguish the unconscious libidinal investment of group or desire, and the preconscious investment of class or interest; (3) third, schizoanalysis posits the primacy of the libidinal investments of the social field over the familial investment, both in point of fact and by statute: an indifferent stimulus at the beginning, an extrinsic result at the point of arrival; and, (4) finally, the distinction between two poles of social libidinal investment: the paranoiac, reactionary, and fascisizing pole, and the schizoid revolutionary pole. (see AO: pp. 361, 362, 375, 385)

Those who have read us this far will perhaps find many reasons for reproaching us: for believing too much in the pure potentialities of art and even of science; for denying or minimizing the role of classes and class struggle; for militating in favor of an irrationalism of desire; for identifying the revolutionary with the schizo; for falling into familiar, all-too-familiar traps. This would be a bad reading, and we don’t know which is better, a bad reading or no reading at all. (AO, p. 398)

Have we ever read Anti-Oedipus? Reading the scholars one gets an image of many things, but what one misses is the schizo in the crevices of desire and investment. Investment or “to clothe (with attributes)” both in the Latin sense of investiture (i.e., to clothe with the attributes of office, rank, etc.), and in the capitalistic sense of investing for profit, as well as the military or strategic sense of surrounding oneself with armor as defensive measure. Which feeds into this double sense of libidinal economy of investment into group (desire), and the hidden or unrevealed pre-conscious investment of class or interest (irrational or automatic?). Telling is the priority of the larger molar aggregate over the familial romance (Freud), and the splitting of this social investment into binary or dyadic poles of paranoiac and schizoid.

Under the Oedipal (Freudian) regime of Big Daddy paranoia of castration or lack we discover the ways and means of capital investment as it enslaves desiring-production. Describing this reactionary formation Deleuze and Guattari remark:

“It is very important for it that the limit of this production be displaced, and that it pass to the interior of the socius, as a limit between two molar aggregates, the social aggregate of departure and the familial subaggregate of arrival that supposedly corresponds to it, in such a way that desire is caught in the trap of a familial psychic repression that comes to double the weight of social repression. The paranoiac applies his delirium to the family—and to his own family—but it is first of all a delirium of races, ranks, classes, and universal history. In short, Oedipus implies within the unconscious itself an entire reactionary and paranoiac investment of the social field that acts as an oedipalizing factor, and that can fuel as well as counteract the preconscious investments. From the standpoint of schizoanalysis, the analysis of Oedipus therefore consists in tracing back from the son’s confused feelings to the delirious ideas or the lines of investment of the parents, of their internalized representatives and their substitutes: not in order to attain the whole of a family, which is never more than a locus of application and reproduction, but in order to attain the social and political units of libidinal investment. (AO. p. 384)

We see the mechanics of this played out in recent history of the Trump/BREXIT consolidation of Oedipal power and withdrawal, paranoiac formations of populist investments in traditional to fascist modes and strategies. The disinvestment in larger global collective projects (Paris accord, NATO, etc.). The heating up of military and nationalist isolation and might. Shoring up the ruins of past glory in economic and mythic pride of homeland and its patriotic gore. But at the same time we see a paranoiac element in the Left as well: the accusations of Russian hackers leading to wider conspiracies; the methodical fear mongering and strategies in the DNC and Hilary to displace blame onto the Other; the digital spin games and circuits of selective propaganda feeding the masses, etc. This familial romance of the two paranoiac structures of reactionary vs. progressive revolutionary feeding into what D&G will call the Oedipal unconscious itself: “an entire reactionary and paranoiac investment of the social field that acts as an oedipalizing factor, and that can fuel as well as counteract the preconscious investments” (AO, p. 384).

Schizoanalysis will treat the social body in the same way Freud and psychoanalysis treated the patient on the couch, except that it will disinvest the Oedipal or family romance as the monomyth of this analytical endeavor. Or, as they tell it: “Once again, we see no objection to the use of terms inherited from psychiatry for characterizing social investments of the unconscious, insofar as these terms cease to have a familial connotation that would make them into simple projections, and from the moment delirium is recognized as having a primary social content that is immediately adequate.” (AO, p. 385)

What is difficult to except in our own moment that this dichotomy of reactionary/revolutionary is no longer viable to the extant that in our supposed neoliberal society there is a duopoly of paranoiac structures and investments from both Left and Right in the class investiture of the moneyed groups in power; both seek to enslave the gregarious (herd) aggregates (masses) under the technocratic paradigm of the Media-tainment regimes of propaganda and ideological institutions. The old separations in this in-between time of chaos no longer hold sway and the populist undergrid and shadow climes of both sides of the aisle take on the colors (tropes, figurations) of each other in a duplicitous masquerade of socio-cultural mutations and mutual enslavements of desire.

As Klossowski whom D&G remark took the two pole theory furthest comments:

“Every sovereign formation would thus have to foresee the destined moment of its disintegration. . . . No formation of sovereignty, in order to crystalize, will ever endure this prise de conscience: for as soon as this formation becomes conscious of its immanent disintegration in the individuals who compose it, these same individuals decompose it. . . . By way of the circuitous route of science and art, human beings have many times revolted against this fixity; this capacity notwithstanding, the gregarious [herd mentality] impulse in and by science caused this rupture to fail. The day humans are able to behave as intentionless phenomena—for every intention at the level of the human being always obeys the laws of its conservation, its continued existence—on that day a new creature will declare the integrity of existence. . .”(AO, p. 387).

This notion of an emerging “intentionless” mode of existence as the production of a new creature – a posthuman mode of existence outside either paranoiac reactionary pole or the schizorevolutionary pole is the underlying motion of schizoanalytic task, its telos. Klossowski’s appeal to a new countersociology in which art and the sciences replace politics in priority, a convergence that seeks to “establishing themselves as dominant powers, on the ruins of institutions.” (AO, p. 387) D&G will ask why art and sciences should take priority, when they are already bound to the sovereign power of capital? Answer: “Because art, as soon as it attains its own grandeur, its own genius, creates chains of decoding and deterritorialization that serve as the foundation for desiring-machines, and make them function.” (AO, p. 387) It’s this accelerationist strategy of endless decoding and deterritorialization that we discovered in the last post that leads to the irreversible process in which the “earth becomes so artificial that the movement of deterritorialization creates of necessity and by itself a new earth”. (AO, p. 340)

Of course this could be seen as a throw back to the Gnostic or Utopian (Marxian: Ernst Bloch, etc.) revolutionary break and rupture, but D&G throughout AO seek to dissuade such a reading. Instead for them this break, or break through is to be seen as in Nietzsche, Artaud, Burroughs as experiment, continuous experimental discovery of the processes within modernity that were always there hiding in the interstices and crevices below the stratified layers, churning and energetic awaiting their moment to emerge and transform, mutate, and metamorphosize the social body and its investments. As they’ll state it these schizz’s “not only flee across the social axiomatic, but pass beyond their own axiomatics, generating increasingly deterritorialized signs, figures-schizzes that are no longer either figurative or structured, and reproduce or produce an interplay of phenomena without aim or end: science as experimentation, as previously defined.” (AO, p. 390)

Do we not see in the experimental endeavors of art and sciences in NBIC convergence between optimizing intelligence and the mutant movement of enhancement therapies, as well as the investment in AI, Robotics, and the machinic learning and self-replication of intelligence and design of current experimental modes of art and the sciences this tendency? Even as Capital underwrites this new experimental socio-cultural transformation it is itself obsolesced into new investments and modes of economic change of which it itself is neither aware nor controls. As it under the mask of economic investment Capital has become itself an alien intelligence from the future retroactively investing in its own socio-cultural logics beyond the two poles of either reactionary paranoia or schizorevolutionary rupture and change. It’s this acknowledgement of the hidden convergence toward a singular point, a Singularity that is broadcast within the folds of this investment.

It’s as if with the demise of industrial capitalism, the break up of the old Factory model, the disinvestment in the socio-cultural programs that tied capitalism to the familial romance of bosses and unions, the dismantling of the logics of imperial capital by this alien intelligence which has itself reformatted capital from the ground up over the past sixty years. All this as D&G will state it “a flow of financing and a flow of payment or incomes in the monetary inscription of capitalism, a market flow and a flow of innovation as machinic surplus value in the operation of capitalism (surplus value as the first aspect of its immanence), a ruling class that is all the more ruthless as it does not place the machine in its service, but is the servant of the capitalist machine: in this sense, a single class, content for its part with drawing incomes that, however enormous, differ only arithmetically from the workers’ wages-income, whereas this class functions on a more profound level as creator, regulator, and guardian of the great nonappropriated, nonpossessed flow, incommensurable with wages and profits, which marks at every step along the way the interior limits of capitalism, their perpetual displacement, and their reproduction on an always larger scale; the effusion of antiproduction within production, as the realization or the absorption of surplus value, in such a way that the military, bureaucratic, and police apparatus finds itself grounded in the economy itself, which directly produces libidinal investments for the repression of desire.” (AO, p. 392)

There is not one of these aspects—not the least operation, the least industrial or financial mechanism—that does not reveal the insanity of the capitalist machine and the pathological character of its rationality: not at all a false rationality, but a true rationality of this pathological state, this insanity, “the machine works too, believe me”. The capitalist machine does not run the risk of becoming mad, it is mad from one end to the other and from the beginning, and this is the source of its rationality. (AO, p. 392)

This sense of a mad logics, of an inhuman or alien, or non-human intelligence at the core of Capital using the elite and the workers toward its own ends, enslaving the desires of art and the science toward a mutant transformation and metamorphosis has yet to be explored except in the conspiratorial philosophies of Nick Land and a few others. Of course its mad to those on this side of the divide, of those whose mind’s are still bound within the two poles of reactionary paranoia or schizo-flows of rupturing revolutionary modes of thought and being. Such will not accept such strange and weird prognostications.

Marx’s black humor, the source of Capital, is his fascination with such a machine: how it came to be assembled, on what foundation of decoding and deterritorialization; how it works, always more decoded, always more deterritorialized; how its operation grows more relentless with the development of the axiomatic, the combination of the flows; how it produces the terrible single class of gray gentlemen who keep up the machine; how it does not run the risk of dying all alone, but rather of making us die, by provoking to the very end investments of desire that do not even go by way of a deceptive and subjective ideology, and that lead us to cry out to the very end, Long live capital in all its reality, in alt its objective dissimulation! (AO, p. 392)

Capital Terror and Cruelty

Capitalism is defined by a cruelty having no parallel in the primitive system of cruelty, and by a terror having no parallel in the despotic regime of terror.

-Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Capital never dies it only expands its terror and cruelty. “The reproduction of the interior limits of capitalism on an always wider scale has several consequences: it permits increases and improvements of standards at the center, it displaces the harshest forms of exploitation from the center to the periphery, but also multiplies enclaves of overpopulation in the center itself, and easily tolerates the so-called socialist formations.” (AO, p. 392) The densification of nomadic influx of migrant workers from the periphery to the center we see in Europe and America is part of this strategy. The truth is the center is a digital panopticon, a prison of surveillance capitalism that can decode the programmatic world of work and workers, stratifying society into ever denser hierarchies within the new supercity complexes, where the ranking systems of the near future will include/exclude access based on securitization with the wealthy and powerful ranking access to the luxury portals of higher commodity transactions. The favela cultural complexes of the South will in this new world become the Kafkan mole people forced into underground compounds and complexes hidden away from view as untouchables much like the hidden tunnels under the various Disney complexes that hide the machinery of support systems that allow servants and workers from the hive to enter and go without notice, sectioned and partitioned off from the wealthy classes. A new apartheid will arise as it has already in such enclaves as Dubai and other neoliberal imperial cities.

Desire is an exile, desire is a desert that traverses the body without organs and makes us pass from one of its faces to the other. Never an individual exile, never a personal desert, but a collective exile and a collective desert. It is only too obvious that the destiny of the revolution is linked solely to the interest of the dominated and exploited masses. But it is the nature of this link that poses the real problem, as either a determined causal link or a different sort of connection. It is a question of knowing how a revolutionary potential is realized, in its very relationship with the exploited masses or the “weakest links” of a given system. Do these masses or these links act in their own place, within the order of causes and aims that promote a new socius, or are they on the contrary the place and the agent of a sudden and unexpected irruption, an irruption of desire that breaks with causes and aims and overturns the socius, revealing its other side? (AO, p. 396).

The Schizorevolutionary Moment

…the rupture with causality that forces a rewriting of history on a level with the real, and produces this strangely polyvocal moment when everything is possible. (397)

Is the Singularity such a moment, a convergence point of socio-cultural and technological desire where anything is possible? The singularity like the schizorevolutionary prognosis is from elsewhere, an event uncharted, a movement or emergence out of the temporal command and control systems that would block its rupture and rechannel its desires into a territorialize flow. “It will be a decoded flow, a deterritorialized flow that runs too far and cuts too sharply, thereby escaping from the axiomatic of capitalism.” (AO, p. 397). D&G would foresee a moment when the scientist and the artist would “rejoin an objective revolutionary situation in reaction against authoritarian designs of a State that is incompetent and above all castrating by nature” (AO, p. 398).

Have we begun to see such a turn in the sciences as scientists suddenly have become revolutionary protestors? In this sense the scientists of this protest were greeted by shouts of “We love science!” Eager strangers asked the scientists to pose for photographs with the signs they carried, which bore slogans such as “Stand up 4 Science”… for many researchers at the event, the president’s positions on scientific issues are equally worrisome. Is the Oedipal authority of the new populist leader coming under fire from the very experts who have been financed by capital for so long? Is this a revolt from within the Cathedral of the Neoliberal State itself?

In their bid to explode the capitalist configuration into a decoded flow and ultra deterritorialization of this programmatic authoritarianism and recursion to the Great Leader as Oedipus mythos in present populist systems D&G tell us they “put forward desire as a revolutionary agency, it is because we believe that capitalist society can endure many manifestations of interest, but not one manifestation of desire, which would be enough to make its fundamental structures explode, even at the kindergarten level. We believe in desire as in the irrational of every form of rationality, and not because it is a lack, a thirst, or an aspiration, but because it is the production of desire: desire that produces—real-desire, or the real in itself.” (AO, p. 398) This sense of blowing away the mask of our present world system and its logics and inventing a new earth, a new real is an irrational project at the heart of the rational itself. Or, an inhuman revolt from the center of humanity?

This explains why we have only spoken of a schizoid pole in the libidinal investment of the social field, so as to avoid as much as possible the confusion of the schizophrenic process with the production of a schizophrenic. The schizophrenic process (the schizoid pole) is revolutionary, in the very sense that the paranoiac method is reactionary and fascist; and it is not these psychiatric categories, freed of all familialism, that will allow us to understand the politico-economic determinations, but exactly the opposite. (AO, p. 399).

Those who mistake schizoanalysis for a political program are mistaken: “Schizoanaiysis as such does not raise the problem of the nature of the socius to come out of the revolution; it does not claim to be identical with the revolution itself.” (AO, p. 399) Ultimately for schizoanalysis it is a question whether schizophrenics are the living machines of a dead labor, which are then contrasted to the dead machines of living labor as organized in capitalism. Or whether instead desiring, technical, and social machines join together in a process of schizophrenic production that thereafter has no more schizophrenics to produce. (AO, p. 400)

Let us face the truth schizoanalysis is not for the feint of heart, it is the negative task of schizoanalysis that it must be violent, brutal: defamiliarizing, de-oedipalizing, decastrating; undoing theater, dream, and fantasy; decoding, deterritorializing—a terrible curettage, a malevolent activity. (AO, p. 400) For the task of the mechanic who is a schizoanalyst we haven’t see nothing yet. The dismantling of the capture systems of capitalist investment that have enslaved the world in a system of intensifying death-machines is to be torn asunder. “Completing the process and not arresting it, not making it turn about in the void, not assigning it a goal. We’ll never go too far with the deterritorialization, the decoding of flows. For the new earth (“In truth, the earth will one day become a place of healing”) is not to be found in the neurotic or perverse reterritorializations that arrest the process or assign it goals; it is no more behind than ahead, it coincides with the completion of the process of desiring-production, this process that is always and already complete as it proceeds, and as long as it proceeds. It therefore remains for us to see how, effectively, simultaneously, these various tasks of schizoanalysis proceed.” (AO, p. 401)

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