Thursday, October 28, 2010

Market Acceleration; Anti-Oedipus, Part 8

Purchasing power at the speed of schizophrenia

Chapter three of Anti-Oedipus is difficult to say the least; not simply because D&G are at first conceptually difficult to understand (like most philosophy), but because they play it loose with their terminology. That don't take great pains in describing exactly what a decoded flow is nor do they take pains in describing exactly what deterritorialization is even though one can infer what they're talking about. They will use these words in many different contexts making it difficult to stabilize the word for the reader, which of course is always the point when reading someone like D&G. On top of this, they throw the word axiomatic at the reader in distinction from decoded flows and deterritorialization in regards to describing the way capitalism functions. If the reader doesn't pay super close attention to the contexts in which these concepts are being used, they will easily get lost. This post will have it's theme, and that is the further schizophrenization of capitalism insisted by D&G, but much of this post will be an attempt at gaining clarity on these aforesaid concepts. They are crucial to understand because they form the crux of the book, but once the reader understands how they're using the concepts, they will witness small conceptual shifts which make them go back to the original usage. In the end, the concepts will have different senses, and different senses that will be understood only by laborious close readings. It would have helped if D&G were more clear by giving specific examples. As the readers of this text, we will have to be more clear about what they are referring to in different contexts with these concepts. It's important to understand because once the reader gains clarity on the conceptual foundation of Anti-Oedipus, it is very profound. You just gotta work at it. Chapter three in Anti-Oedipus traces primitive formation to barbaric formations to capitalistic formation. It's an ethnological trace that finds desire in each field of social-formation, and it's completion in capitalism. Each state-of-being has it's own mode of statehood whereby a primitive formation is coded, the barbaric formation is despotically overcoded in order to fulfill the nexus between familial alliances and the despot, and capitalism that's defined specifically by D&G as "the conjunction of all decoded and deterritorialized flows." This post will focus specifically on how they see capitalism as not have a territory and not having a code, and this is easy to understand by simply understanding a competitive market economy that creates needs at will that owe no allegiance to anything other than it's own process, it's own production. The profound analysis by D&G will come in what D&G see as after-capitalism, which we will see is the turning of capitalism from it's current nature of relative schizophrenia, to a nature that is absolute schizophrenia. Along the way we hope to gain clarity on their conceptual lexicon aforementioned.

Lets start off with an attempt at getting a closer understanding of three concepts aforementioned. What is the capitalist axiomatic? "How much flexibility there is in the axiomatic of capitalism, always read to widen its own limits so as to add a new axiom to a previously saturated system! You say you want an axiom for wage earners, for the working class and the unions? Well then, let's see what we can do-and thereafter profit will flow alongside wages, side by side, reflux and afflux." Traditionally speaking, an "axiom" belong to mathematics whereby random variables that require no proof of their own existence form an absolute truth-equation for themselves. Other statements are logically derived from an axiom. We see this in any geometrical proof. One is granted an axiom in which proofs are formed. The question comes up regarding the existence of these random variables that could possibly form an absolute solid proof. These are questions that Husserl would attempt to understand in Phenomenology and most specially in his Origins of Geometry that we went into prior posts regarding Derrida's involvement with that text. What we do know is that an axiom, mathematically speaking doesn't concern itself with its imaginary variables. In other words, mathematicians aren't ethnologists. We can infer from D&G's usage of "axiom" in terms of capitalism that it's an equation in which random variables are put into the equation to bring about other equations that work. An axiom for the "working class and the unions" would be a code itself, but not the code that would end up being decoded by capitalism, but a code with the flexibility to always change relative to profit increasing side by side with the axioms for the wage earner. In this sense, the axiom of capitalism isn't a code, it is it's constant movement for profit and surplus by whatever means necessary without any archaic code getting in the way of this schizophrenic axiom. The capital-axiom then is one where surplus-value is always added no matter what other axiom is included within it's own domain. Capital form will have to be flexible to respect wage earners while increasing it's own profit for itself. It will have to figure out ways for example to raise the earnings of a worker, while not losing the money it's raising from the worker (E.G. taxes). So "axiom" for D&G takes on a very different sense than the one classically understood in Euclidean Geometry. What they have in common is the fact that they're unaware of the genealogical origins of the variables they use for a specific cause; one for understanding for it's own sake and the other for the constant extension of surplus-capital. Surplus-value isn't exclusive to capital though. It's within desire itself and can be found easily in understanding for it's own sake (why we're all in graduate school). Deterritorialization is easier to understand. We can think of this literally as having no home. Literally, we can think of this as Native Americans being moved from their own home by English colonialism. We can think of this as the action of colonialism in general. What happens here is that what was once considered home to a certain group of people is no longer their home. Instead this group will have to adapt to colonization. This term gains a greater understanding through Marx when he expresses the relationship in Das Kapital between colonization and industry. In other words, a group of people are moved from their territory into an industrial place where the people aren't producing what they're used to producing, but are producing from and for the colonists. What takes precedence over home here is production for the sake of production. It doesn't matter who produces, as long as a surplus is being created for the sake of capitals axiom. Anyone from any place who at once was within a territorilzation in the body without organs (which was "originally" deterritorialized) will be moved into a deterritorialization for the sake of the captial-axiom. Now what is it to be decoded for D&G? This goes along with the process of deterritorialization. When something is decoded, it means to convert a code into a different one. What was at once coded and overcoded becomes decoded into the captial-axiom. What was once understood as a "primal relationship" between father and son now becomes a decoded relationship where the "traditional relationship" between the two no longer forms the meaning once understood traditionally. It becomes decoded into the work of the capital-axiom of production for the sake of production. An example of understanding this decoding is an example of understanding a "traditional relationship" between a father and son whereby the father instills certain codes and morals in the child. Under the capital-axiom, this gets converted into coding a sort of morality for surplus, meaning, the son must make money for the sake of money. He must produce for the sake of production. Morality becomes capital. In this example, the sons relationship to the father is to please him by showing him that he is fulfilling the captial-axiom without either of them knowing what they're fulfilling. Euphemisms will be put in place for this decoded axiom like "hard-work" for example. The son will want to be hardworking without knowing it's at the service of the capital-axiom of creating a seemingly infinite surplus. The capital-axiom is operating here, but so is the ostensible morality that is established between father-mother-son. This oedipal triangulation is simply no longer a matter of alliance or a purpose that would be the desire to be pedagogical (on the parental organisms part), but the lack of recognition that the pedagogy is of the service for the capital-desire. Deterritorialization and decoding happen together. One no longer has a home where they have codes in their home. They are constantly moved to different territories where the codes of the former territory are being changed for the capital-axiom (capital-surplus-value). With this being said, I hope there is a more clear understanding of these important concepts that D&G use and of course I would love to hear an expansion/modification of these terms from readers of the D&G corpus. Now, the topic of this post was called "Market Acceleration." As D&G saw transitions from savage-being to barbarian-being to capital-being, they are looking for what is after-capital. As they trace desire with its similarities (but different modalities) through different time-being periods they want to trace ahead past capitalism and psychoanalysis to a schizophrenic capitalism and schizophrenia in general. "So what is the solution? Which is the revolutionary path? Psychoanalysis is of little help, entertaining as it does the most intimate of relations with money, and recording - while refusing to recognize it - an entire system of monetary dependencies at the heart of the desire of every subject it treats...Is there a revolutionary path? Is there one? - To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advices Third World countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist 'economic solution'? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and a practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to 'accelerate the process,' as Nietzsche put it..." We understand from prior posts the dependency in psychoanalysis and the analysts turning a blind eye to the money it receives from the patient who demands a cure, creating an infinite cycle of "sickness" for the patient who demands a cure, and the monetary compensation the analyst receives for finding a cure that the patient demands. The analysts "intimate relation with money" obviously is of no help to D&G. In other words, what happens after-capital is not being-in-capital going to other people to cure them of sicknesses where capital is used as the exact transaction between the parties. Nor is it a withdrawal from the capital-axiom; the world market where by this "economic solution" is another version of the Italian Fascism of WW2 where the state operates a market independent of markets outside of itself (other countries). A market without imports and exports is not a solution (Where could one start stating how bad of an idea this is? Or is it simply just a fascist economy?). The possible movement into something called after-capitalism for now would be an accelerated capitalism where markets happen at such a speed that no one would be able to predict the what would happen. D&G ask if we aren't decoded and deterritorialized enough. For however much we don't have a code in terms of using capital to buy things we think we need but we really don't need, and don't belong to a home that would code us with something other than the capital-axiom, maybe we aren't far enough? Maybe the process needs to be more accelerated? What would this market acceleration that we could understand as schizophrenic look like? Lets go back to the distinction we made at first in this post between relative schizophrenia and absolute schizophrenia. We will understand this distinction in terms of the neurotic and schizophrenic respectively. What is relative schizophrenia? In the capital-axiom, the neurotic doesn't realize the things it thinks it needs. It's deterritorialized in the sense that there is not an exclusive code of needs, besides needing. To be more direct, I can think I need anything at any time. Now to further understand this we need to understand this in distinction to what Schizophrenic Capitalism would look like. What is Schizophrenic Capitalism? Schizophrenic Capitalism on the other hand does not have a structured unconscious (which Lacan describes. But as D&G tell us, no matter how much Lacan brings us to the despotism of our unconscious, he still gives it a privileged place by understanding it as a structural despotism) that thinks it needs to need. There is an accelerated movement to differences independent of the neurotic structure of conscious or unconscious needs. The schizophrenic is "absolutely deterritorilized" while the neurotic is in a "relative deterritorialization." The neurotic is "not at home" relative to where it's at (it's need to be at home). The ironic paradox of the neurotic is its search for pleasure (home) that is never-ending; it's home in never finding a home that makes it sick. For example, the neurotic affirmation that will fetishize always "being in different places" without recognizing the eternal sickness in thinking this difference serves as a "cure" to an imaginary "existential angst." The neurotic conscious here is absolutely sick, and because of it, it's obvious that it will seek out a "cure" for not understanding it's own need to need. The neurotic is sick because it doesn't realize that it's being forced to think it needs things it doesn't need, and is in anxiety from not knowing what it would be like to not need anything. The analyst will serve as the conductor of appropriating the time whereby the patient can move onto a new home (a new need) which will become exhausted (as happens to all needs) whereby the analyst will move the patient onto needing something else. The neurotic man in the capital-axiom is at home in not being at home. This neurotic-being is sickness. It never knows why its not where it wants to be, not knowing it will never be there. A Contrario, the schizophrenic capitalist doesn't have an unconsciousness that's structured like this. For the schizophrenic, it's not a structure, but the break-flows that D&G elude to throughout Anti-Oedipus. It moves onto one place where it may purchase things with capital, gets sick of it (without knowing that it is sick from not needing it anymore), breaks with this investment, and flows onto something else where it knows not where it will invest. There is no future advance for the schizophrenic. The schizophrenic flows independent of time at it's own rapid speed; rapid compared to the neurotic who takes time to be sick from the nostalgia of not being interested in what it once invested in, and owned, and unconsciously thought was it's identity. This should serve as a preliminary distinction between two different "capitalists," and on the way, it should serve as a further distinction between the neurotic and the schizophrenic in regards to the way the capital-axiom happens to them. The question would then be if you could say that the capital-axiom applies to the schizophrenic. Without it's attention to the axiom of surplus, it wouldn't. It would operate in some abstract "market place" where the unpredictability of the schizophrenic would operate independent of surplus-value because of the Market not "knowing" the break-flows of the schizophrenic. The capital-axiom state would combust to the spontaneous flow of the schizophrenic. It seems D&G are leading us into a state of entropy other than something that could be called a "schizophrenic economy," but we aren't sure yet until we finish the analysis of chapter three, and most importantly, concentrate on what Schizoanalysis would be as a "social field."

Hopefully, this has been the most difficult part of Anti-Oedipus and there won't be as much labor in trying to interpret important and constantly used phrases that are nevertheless not defined, but only used in contexts. Having a grasp of these three terms (deterritorilzation, decoding, the axiomatic) is the key to understanding not only chapter three but I think both chapters that came before. With any book, after you read it once, you get a better understanding of it the second time around. The final chapter on Schizoanalysis will be much easier to read understanding these concepts to a larger degree than initially understood, or basically not understood at all at first. Within our analysis of schizophrenia and Schizoanalysis so far, it's going to be interesting to see how D&G place the Schizophrenic into a "functioning" ontological space. Maybe it won't be functioning, classically understood. I really can't say what is to come in the final chapter of Anti-Oedipus, and this of course is exciting. We procured hints at what this space would look like from the post on the introduction to Schizoanalysis and the way in which a "schizophrenic capitalist" would operate; at it's own speed (not recognizing time), breaking from something that its desire is currently invested in, flowing into something else for desire to become invested in, not being neurotically sick about a memory of the past where a desire was invested in an object, functioning within a flow not ascribing a meaning to whatever is "currently" being invested; in general, a real-time theater where the unconscious functions not as a language, but as a process. We will have to distinguish between Schizoanalysis and schizophrenia. Schizoanalysis is just that, an analysis, and in that sense a structured explanation to a phenomena which may run into the same problems of Phenomenology (finding the limits of Phenomenology as a hypothetical explanation of what happens in something called "real-time"). If the analysis of schizo consciousness is understanding its functionality (which we learned it was from D&G in a past post on Schizoanalysis), then this is certainly at a distance from the experience of the schizophrenic. Here we will ask what exactly the "method" of Schizoanalysis is trying to accomplish then. To be a schizophrenic? To privilege the schizophrenic being? To watch it's functionality independent of meaning? All of these possibilities have problems that I'm sure we will end up going into at the closing of the text. We will defer and refer to the final chapter of Anti-Oedipus to let D&G answer these questions for us first.

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