Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anti-Oedipus belongs at the heart of the psychoanalytic tradition

Deleuze and Guattari identify a psychoanalytic implementation that can only tolerate a “this and that” (mummy and daddy), a “this or that” (masculine or feminine), and a permanent “it’s me” ego. Deleuze and Guattari advance a schizoanalytic implementation where the connections and the disjunctions operate ad-infinitum and the subjectivities to which conjunctions give rise are partial and transitory.
The anti-Oedipal criticism can be reformulated in the following terms: psychoanalysis has erected unnecessary and institutionally self-serving limits; it has betrayed its own first principle of a dynamic unconscious. It has not gone as far as it can actually go. Guattari stated as much in his notes while preparing the text. In the recently published Ecrits pour l’Anti-Oedipe, he repeatedly admonished Freud and Lacan for reintroducing the subject into the very realm from which they had previously evicted it, for subordinating the unconscious to the logic of unity and coherence, if not in fact then in therapeutic ideal. For Guattari, psychoanalysis has proven itself incapable of tolerating its own discovery of the unconscious as a primary process; it has become little more than an ossified and ossifying secondary revision.
I want to suggest that, in adopting the notions of slip and dynamic primary process, Anti-Oedipus belongs at the heart of the psychoanalytic tradition. That it rejects the Oedipal schema in which Freud encapsulated his findings makes it less Freudian but not any the less psychoanalytic. Before and since Deleuze and Guattari, many in the Kleinian and relational camps have rejected the Oedipal drama as a major hermeneutic key. This did not make them any the less psychoanalytic; it confirmed their commitment to the study of the psyche and to the intervention in its workings. Deleuze and Guattari’s failure to separate the discipline from some of its practitioners may be due to the fact that, sadly, the discipline itself has been governed by doctrinaire allegiances to those prominent amongst the practitioners. One often hears certain Freudians, Kleinians, or Lacanians declaring only members of their schools as the “true” bearers of the psychoanalytic torch; outsiders are dismissed as lost souls or impostors.
PS: see also Anti. This entry was posted on 3 March 2008 at 10:38 am and is filed under Anti-Oedipus, Conjunctive Synthesis, Connective Synthesis, Disjunctive Synthesis, Freud, Machines, MetaTherapeutics, Productions, Speaking Desire, Subjects . leave a response, or trackback 2 Responses to “Anti- … … …”

mistersquid Says: 3 March 2008 at 12:47 pm
This post puts forward a few very provocative theses, especially the attempt to make Anti-Oedipus foundational to psychoanalytic thinking. (I think your position is absolutely correct.) I also think it puts forward, perhaps unintentionally, another idea which doesn’t sit so well with me.
In particular, the word “Trinitarian” communicates a strong religious bias which is not characteristic of the D & G I know. There are other words to describe tripartite structures, namely “tripartite.” Even “triumvirate” seems less biased but accurate.

Fadi Abou-Rihan Says: 3 March 2008 at 9:08 pm
Well, mistersquid, I have to disagree with you on this one. Of course, the most frequent association to “trinity” is christian but the word does not belong exclusively to the domain of religion. I could have used any of the terms you suggest; I could have even tried “triangular,” triadic,” and, hell, even “Oedipal!”
Terminological quibbles aside, I do think there is something quasi “religious” to the flow of the text. Take, for instance, the bifurcations either production or representation, either flow or stagnation, either schizoanalysis or psychoanalysis. There’s been a fair bit written and said about the unsettling ways in which D & G deploy these polarities; but, try as we might, the line in the sand is presumably drawn and with it we are confronted with an exclusionary choice: either with Anti-Oedipus or against it. That’s the logic that most readers have followed and that’s the (religious) trap I have been trying to avoid.

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