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Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Paperback – December 15, 1983
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Anti Oedipus is really a book of anthropology. It shows how "primitive," "despotic," and finally "capitalist" regimes differ in their organization of production, recording (inscription, representation), and consumption. It's also a history insofar as it covers the process by which capitalism ultimately commands all the flows and chains of production, submitting them to a form of organization that is abstract (money is abstract) rather than local and physical.
The oedipal part of it is a critique of the Oedipal complex insofar as the complex articulates a model of society based on the family triangle. They want to show that the family is a kind of organization that must colonize its members, repress their desires, and give them complexes if it is to function as an organizing principle of contemporary society.
Their alternative, to be taken literally, is schizoid: subvertive, resistance, and always escaping capture by slipping in between the categories that organize capitalist society and its way of thinking.
Whereas A Thousand Plateaus ranges through the disciplines, Anti-Oedipus is more narrowly focused upon psychoanalysis and its relationship to capitalism. Provocatively, they argue that schizophrenia is embedded in capitalism, a sort of by-product of its axiomatic political metabolism. The schizophrenic out for a walk, they point out, is a better model for their 'schizoanalysis' than the neurotic stretched out on the psychoanalytic couch. The schizophrenic is immune to neurosis, they insist, because he has already transcended it: the desiring machines within him link him to the outer world in a series of assemblages and flows that it is normally the job of psychoanalysis to repress.
Deleuze and Guattari substitute polyvocality and multiplicity for unity: not the Id or the ego, but machines and many of them. Their model for the unconscious is that of a factory of production, as opposed to the Freudian theater enacting the tragic dramas of Oedipus.Read more ›
It certainly is a torture to read this work. Not because I can't understand hard-core philosophy - I have read, understood and liked Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre and Derrida, considered amongst the most abstruse stylists - but because it is difficult to empathize with writers who characterize themselves and their readers as 'desiring machines' rather than as subjects with consciousness and will.
Is desire the only thing that defines human beings - what about will, thinking, compassion, judgment? And further why am I supposed to be a machine and in what sense? These are the questions that came to my mind. The authors never explain. The question of the subject is dismissed in one sentence.
It is also difficult to agree with writers who dismiss all seeking of power and all active resistance by implication as fascism and preach escape/flight as the most radical ideology of resistance and hope.
And it is difficult to find hope in the vain jargon of molecular vs. molar, in the lines of escape or flight, or in a schizoid approach to life (a schizophrenic has no control over himself - is a machine and hence is the authors' favorite).
The authors fail in their synthesis of Marx and Freud although they come close and fail to understand Nietzsche, one of their favorite philosophers. Marx, Freud and Nietzsche would turn violently in their graves, if they ever know what Deleuze/Guattari did to their philosophies. They speculations on incest, kinship etc., are just too weak, sketchy and merely assertoric to be taken seriously.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You can tell from the title, can't you? This is a series of arguments about human behavior and the structure of society based on then-current (already-baked) ideas about... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joshua Leeger
The book is immensely compressed with ideas, making it a difficult read. The book is ambitious it tries to rid Western Societies dogma of the Oedipus Triangle (Father, Son, Mother)... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Abraham Gomez
As far as the order, it came in a timely fashion - although their are some minor typos in the press. Read morePublished 12 months ago by somewhere in time
An interesting waste of time. I do like having it around to read to other people, but only as a joke. Simply not worth the investment (of time, comprehension and energy).Published 14 months ago by Trigger
I am only half way through this book, and it has been superb.
Here is the quote that began to shift my conception of what psychoanalysis is:
"The real is... Read more