JOFF. "The Possibility of an Antihumanist EcoAnarchism" (7) Transhuman(t)ism

DELEUZE, GillesEcologyCapitalism and anti-capitalismNature. DesireHEGEL, G. W. M. (1770-1831). PhilosopheGUATTARI, FélixJOFF
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Transhuman(t)ism

In thinking the ‘outside’ of Hegel’s confinement of reason, Deleuze avoids the necessity of firmly establishing identities and concluding the resolution of opposites. Resistance to the ‘infernal machine’ [1] can thus entertain practices which are not subsumed under the banners of grand ‘Ideals’ and class antagonisms crying out for supersession. Nodal points of opposition in the form of desires, experiences and events thus assume an autonomy that is not easily recuperable in terms of the System. Temporary autonomous zones (TAZ) of experimentation are thus perceived as troublesome for they as such go uncoded. Dialectical reason in a sense therefore sacrifices difference for the sake of unity and codification. PS political philosophy, as enunciated by Deleuze and Guattari, moves away from conventional political strategies and thinks instead that revolution is possible when particular configurations of desires are allowed to freely congregate. A nomadic politics is thus tactical, experimental and exploratory. New aesthetic, moral, political and ecological codes are engendered by such tactical praxes. However, one must guard against the unthinking acceptance that a nomadic politics is a universal panacea for the maladies of what one is opposing. Plant rightly notes that codification and stability are valuable in countering the movements of the State apparatus, though generally, tactical politics shuns the urge to make dogmatic universal judgements.

Tactical manoeuvres thus protect themselves against impulses that congeal a fluid tactical alliance into a prescriptive strategy applicable to every social, political, and ecological situation. [2] Molecular revolutions are best considered as local, heterogenous and ephemeral phenomena capable of reflecting global issues, even though they function by subterranean (transversal) connections. In fact, it could be argued that local actions are effective if they thought about on a global level. Rosi Braidotti in her book Nomadic Subjects has noted that a different kind of nonparty eco-politics is possible if we think coalitions in terms of the temporary and mobile (nomadic). Ecological and feminist affinity groups, for example, synchronise and congregate for the purposes of limited and local upsurges. This point again affirms the possible coalitions or ‘mutant machines’ [3] to be made between anarchism and politically informed PS philosophy.

The issues are rendered even more complex by Perez. [4] Perez sets out to demonstrate the conjunction between desiring-production, schizoanalysis and an an(archical) and nonhier(archical) way of life (a Nietzschean innocence of becoming). Brackets are employed by Perez to make a distinction between a specific and new kind of micro-politics and a relapse into old models of the party-vanguard. Central to Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of desire is the perception that desire is both active and reactive. Desire offers the double possibility of desiring its own repression (fascism and Reich) and liberation (futural possibilities). What is of importance for ecopolitics is the claim by Deleuze and Guattari that Capital is itself propelled towards its own limit of collapse and exhaustion by an immanent logic of deterritorialisation-reterritorialisation. According to this form of analysis, the unconscious of the employer/employee alike are both bound up with Capital’s schizophrenic desire to channel (recode) and experiment with the flows of the universe (capital, desire). It could be argued then that the wreaking of ecological destruction is desired by desiring-machines desiring-production given that hierarchical structures (the collusion between Oedipus and Capital) disseminate schizophrenic desire deep into the heart of the socius. ‘The schizophrenic deliberately sets out the very limit of capitalism: he is its inherent tendency brought to its fulfilment; its surplus product, its proletariat, and its exterminating angel. He scrambles all the codes and is the transmitter of the decoded flows of desire’. [5]

An(archical) machines are precisely those machines that experiment in confounding the codes and liberating the flux of revolutionary desire. [6] The point to be made is that PS anarchism is constructed here by rethinking an(archism) as no longer definable as the abolition of the State. An(archism) and non(hierarchical) modes of organisation are then experimental ways of living, feeling and thinking. An(archy) is thus an ethics of nonfascist living. [7] One of the problems of Perez’s reading of PS and anarchism is that he reads an(archism) with rose coloured spectacles. Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of lines of flight and experimentation as emitting a danger of their own is underexplored by Perez. Too-rapid deterritorialisation engenders its own kind of despair. [8] The outcome from lines of experimental flight are not necessarily positive. ‘You don’t reach the BwO, and its plane of consistency, by wildly destratifying’. [9] Yet, Deleuze and Guattari are ambivalent on the matter of an(archic) deterritorialisation for they also claim that ‘one can never go too far enough in the direction of deterritorialisation: you haven’t seen anything yet’. [10]

Hegel was the arch-enemy of Deleuze. In this respect, the PS of Deleuze clearly objects to the absolute demand for inclusiveness by Hegel. [11] For Deleuze, there are forces and dynamics which are alien to the smooth functioning of the Hegelian totality. The other qua otherness disrupts the ‘closure’ of systems. The other is not necessarily ‘external’ to the system for it is conceivable that alien becomings reside in the interstices. A discordant otherness is not necessarily negative. Deleuze is not content to formulate a ‘negative’ philosophy like the dissonant ‘atonal’ thought of Adorno. The other does not oppose itself to the Same in order to affirm itself. It does not contradict contradiction in order to derive a positive moment. Above all, discordant otherness is potentially a creative and essentially positive enterprise.. Singularities or one off events are precisely those flashes which disrupt the smooth incorporation and workings of the system. Deleuze describes the flashes of intensity as singularities or lines of flight which have a ‘nomadic’ trajectory. What is celebrated by Deleuze is a process of creativity which exists in its own right and is thus not under the sway of the unfolding of negativity. The schizophrenic process is the model for the scrambling of the codes and the utterance of an alien language which confounds the system of Freudian psychoanalysis (a stuttering within one’s own language). Desire on this account is positive, it does not ‘lack’ fulfilment for it is essentially productive.

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[1Marcuse’s description of Capitalism

[2Plant, Sadie, «Nomads and Revolutionaries», Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Vol. 24, no.1, 1993, p.99-100.

[3Deleuze and Guattari, On the Line, trans. Johnson, Semiotext(e), 1983. ‘Instead of betting on the eternal impossibility of the revolution and on the fascist return of the war machine in general, why not think that a new type of revolution is becoming possible, and that all kinds of mutant machines are alive, engaged in warfare, joining one another, and tracing a plane of consistency that undermines the organizational plan of the World State’, p.113. The last part of the sentence in particular ought to demonstrate that an emphasis upon molecular revolutions and opposition toward the State are not mutually incompatible.

[4Perez, R, On An(archy) and Schizoanalysis, New York: Autonomedia, 1990.

[5Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, trans. Lane, Hurley and Seem, London: Athlone Press, 1983, p.35.

[6Perez, R, On An(archy) and Schizoanalysis, p.58.

[7This is of course an allusion to Foucault’s reading of Anti-Oedipus as an introduction to a nonfascist way of life.

[8Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, ‘[B]ut it would be oversimplifying to believe that the only risk they fear and confront is allowing themselves to be recaptured in the end, letting themselves be sealed in, tied up, reknotted, reterritorialised. They themselves emanate a strange despair, like an odor of death and immolation, a state of war from which one returns broken: they have their own dangers’, p.229.

[9Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.160.

[10Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p.321.

[11Deleuze, ‘I Have Nothing to Admit’, trans. by Janis Forman, New York: Semiotext(e) 2.3, Anti-Oedipus (1977): ‘I find among Lucretius, Hume, Spinoza, and Nietzsche a secret link that resides in the critique of negation, the cultivation of joy, the hatred of interiority, the exteriority of forces and relations, the denunciation of power, etc’.