domenica 27 marzo 2016

4.1. To subvert the braking effect of totality - Pt. XXII - Excerpt from the essay «Money, Revolution and Acceleration in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus», Obsolete Capitalism Free Press/Rizosphere, 2016

chapteR iv

The infinite money: desire, value and simulacrum

Truths are coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, On truth and lies in a non-moral sense
We need units in order to count, but it may not be assumed that such units [of measure] exist.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, fr. 14[79]

To subvert the braking effect of totality

If we examine the main works of Deleuze, Foucault and Klossowski published between 1968 and 1972, we can observe that the courses of these texts objectively bear enigmatic and common features that could allow us to regard them as ‘fragmentary research projects’; these are investigations that could hardly be conceived and envisaged if we evaluate them from a ‘revolutionary’ perspective with the aim of identifying on which common battleground and common agenda these three intellectuals act. They swing with remarkable aplomb from far-sighted and vibrant essays with an academic flavour, such as Difference and Repetition or The Archaeology of Knowledge, to hermeneutic works on Nietzsche – which include both anthologies of fragments like Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, and of first editions of his Œuvres Complètes published by Gallimard – continuing with literary criticism or tout-court literature works such as The Logic of Sense or The Women of Rome, and finishing with cryptic economical essays, La Monnaie Vivante, or aggressively political pamphlets, The Anti-Œdipus; not to mention, then, their academic lectures ranging from Freud to Marx, from Aristotle to Nietzsche, from Greek currency to the Medieval Inquisition or history of sexuality, without any interruption. Foucault himself, with a certain irony, in his first lecture on 7 January 1976 part of a course titled Society Must Be Defended, wants to terminate a line of research that he himself defines incoherent and discontinuous. Foucault feels the need to end and systematise, in some way, the several lines of research, insight and analysis that he had been carrying on since he started his lectures at the Collège de France (1970). From a certain point of view, Foucault does not mention only his research, but alludes also to a common path of the French revolutionary rhizosphere when he lists among the relevant, or at least interesting, elements of the previous fifteen years “I am thinking of the efficacy of a book such as L 'Anti-Œdipe, which really has no other source of reference than its own prodigious theoretical inventiveness: a book, or rather a thing, an event, which has managed, even at the most mundane level of psychoanalytic practice, to introduce a note of shrillness into that murmured exchange that has for so long continued uninterrupted between couch and armchair” (PK, 80) . This is an important indication to his students since
the philosophical work of Deleuze has always been a crucial point of reference for Foucault, because it had openly established itself as an “ally” of his theories since the early sixties, or at least from the beginning of the “Nietzsche Renaissance” and, thus, from the publication of Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962) and the Royaumont conference (1964). What is most surprising is the importance that Foucault confers to the anti-œdipic text, because his analysis takes into account “the last ten, fifteen, twenty years at most”, hence the timeframe that goes, approximately, from 1956 and 1976: not only the Anti-Œdipus is the only book to be referenced, but its position in Foucault’s argument surprises us the most. The volume, indeed, is referred to in the context of “this amazing efficacy of discontinuous,particularandlocalcriticism” and its efficacy is compared to that of entire movements such as anti-psychiatry, existential analysis, and attacks upon the legal and penal system. Foucault concludes: “I would say, then, that what has emerged in the course of the last ten or fifteen years is a sense of the increasing vulnerability to criticism of things, institutions, practices, discourses. A certain fragility has been discovered in the very bedrock of existence- even, and perhaps above all, in those aspects of it that are most familiar, most solid and most intimately related to our bodies and to our everyday behaviour. But together with this sense of instability and this amazing efficacy of discontinuous, particular and local criticism, one in fact also discovers something that perhaps was not initially foreseen, something one might describe as precisely the inhibiting effect of global, totalitarian theories. It is not that these global theories have not provided nor continue to provide in a fairly consistent fashion useful tools for local research: Marxism and psychoanalysis are proofs of this. [...] In each case, the attempt to think in terms of a totality has in fact proved a hindrance to research” (PK, 80-81) By following Foucault’s outline, we can identify two opposite fronts: on the one hand, the «accelerationist» front, irregular, peculiar and local; on the other hand, a front more “restraining”, “braking”, continuous, global, total, and openly totalitarian. Marxism and psychoanalysis can still be useful instruments at a local level, but, according to Foucault, when confronted with facts, they have had a “braking” thus negative function for the insurrectionary front. L 'Anti-Œdipe, in Foucault’s opinion, fits perfectly in the domain of those critical entities capable of causing landslides and provided with some peculiar characteristics that could be summarised as follows: 1) autonomous – instead of centralized – technical production 2) wisdom returns to scale which descend from the insurrection of subjugated wisdoms.


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