If, as Deleuze and Guattari rightly argue, desire is productive, affirmative, and perpetually mobile, how does it come to occur that desiring-machines come to experience themselves as subjects, experience themselves as lacking, experience themselves as castrated, and yearn for a master? I’ve read Anti-Oedipus up and down and I simply can’t, for the life of me, find an answer to this question. The closest we get is something that sounds as if it is blaming theorists that discuss lack, castration, and the self-identical subject for these things. However, if
1) we can theorize Oedipal assemblages, and
2) we can give an account of how lack is manufactured or produced within affirmative and connective desire,
then we can begin to build such an account and develop strategies for undermining this structure. The mistake, which is all too common among Deleuzians, lies in thinking that the illusions of lack and negation do not nonetheless have real effects and consequences. No doubt this mistake arises from a failure to read Kant on the topic of transcendental illusions.
Jodi Dean weighs in on The New Republic discussion:
First, I don’t think the best way to read Zizek is as an ironist (contra Sinthome). I think it’s important to read him as literally as possible, recognizing the breadth of his examples and illustrations. Another way to put it: when Zizek uses an obscene illustration, he means the obscenity as an obscenity. Part of the challenge of current conditions is the difficulty in finding something really obscene and having it be recognized. [Read the rest here.]