Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Repression of Father and Mother; Anti-Oedipus, Part 9

Power Combo

The final chapter of Anti-Oedipus is D&G's introduction to Schizoanalysis. This is where we will throw off the shackles of psychoanalysis and move into another form of analysis. We will come to see that this form of analysis isn't meant to be seen as some development from psychoanalysis, mainly because how different it is in its purpose (Schizoanalysis doesn't give itself the purpose of "the cure"). It's a vastly different field. It's not a field actually, but a way of thinking that's at a large distance from psychoanalysis. In the first pages of this chapter, D&G continue to elaborate their theory based on repudiating psychoanalysis though, so Schizoanalysis is still the negation of Psychoanalysis, and as we come to the final pages of the book, we may find that this is precisely the purpose of Schizoanalysis; the negation of Psychoanalysis. As their analysis becomes more detailed, more insights will manifest. In this post, we will discuss how the first act of the child is the repression of the father and mothers unconscious. But as we learned before through this entire book and what we will discuss now, the flow of ones "life" isn't defined by familial structures. Instead, these familial structures serve as a derivative to desire investing itself into a social field. In other words, Mother and Father become manifest from a social field that desire has "found." As we learned before, Mother and Father are certainly relations in the flow of a "developing period" of a child, but doesn't come close to enveloping all the intensities that happen to the body experiencing these intensities. Classical Psychoanalysis which grounds ones relationship relative to ones family in the familial triangulation (Oedipus) is missing the grounds of the spontaneity of desire (Schizophrenia) which forms what is classically understood as a "person." D&G make sure to point this out, not only to deprivilege the throne of Oedipus in it's mythologizing of the paternal and familial complex, but to ground any analysis in general on the abstraction of a "social field." Analysis understandably becomes so general and large after this that it becomes impossible to ground analysis in a "cure" because of the relativity of the schizophrenic desire in the social field. Rather, by becoming aware of the social field in general as the grounds for desire's investment, the cure is negated by the general abstraction. (general enough to the point where there is no specific "cure.") The "cure" in there being no cure is the realization of the social field as the grounds for one's desire instead of a final step towards an acquiescence with the family. It remains to be seen if D&G will call the social field a relative "aggregate" of desires investment. In other words, did the world as we know it have to happen, or could something else, something wholly other, happen in the flow of desire. This we will find in the conclusion of the book, and if we don't we will discuss it in the final post on this book. For now, we will find neurotic repression in something grounding Father and Mother, not grounded in Father and Mother.

"It appears that, in the common social field, the first thing that son represses, or has to repress, or tries to repress, is the unconscious of the father and the mother. The failure of that repression is the basis of neuroses. But this communication of unconsciouses does not by any means take the family as its principle; it takes as its principle the commonality of the social field insofar as it is the object of the investment of desire. In all respects the family is never determining, but is always determined, first as a stimulus of departure, then as an aggregate of destination, and finally as an intermediary or an interception of communication." D&G does away at with the chicken and egg conundrum at the beginning of this chapter making the question of what comes first between the father and son a non-question (the argument for this on their behalf one will have to read for themselves). Instead, we have the social field where everything is already immanent. Father and son are already established (master-slave in another sense) in the social field. The son, as the formal slave, first represses the unconscious of the father and mother. The unconscious of the father and the mother we will see later on as the law and territoriality respectively. The son then is seen as a flow trying to repress the law and territorialization, and we can understand this easily. In a very concrete sense, the son as a newborn is schizophrenic. It moves where it wants to move and does what it wants to do without knowing its moving or doing. This flow becomes intercepted by the father and mother whereby the flow (the son) will try to repress it in order to do what it already does. When it fails to do this by continual insistence from a paternal-complex to form into a territorialized law, it will develop neuroses. In other words, it will develop fears with what to do with itself, feeling the weight of ambivalence towards it's first flow on one hand, and the law and territorilization on the other. This ambivalence, this indecisiveness will cause neuroses (which can be easily understood simply as fear in not knowing what to do.). The key for D&G though is that the paternal figures don't form neuroses by themselves. It's not as if paternal figures want their sons and daughters to become neurotic. The paternal figures don't know any better when they're acting dependent to a social field. They may think that "this is the right course of action for the son," but they don't ask how a "right course of action" is possible in the first place (possibly why children are born in the first place independent of "mistakes"). The family is not the principle of unconscious repression. Rather, the family is principled under the social field. One way to look at this directly is thinking about expecting parents who have an unconscious "knowledge" of how a child is going to be raised. They may even buy books on it and asks friends on upbringing. All of these characteristics belong to the unconscious of the paternal figures which is grounded in abstract social reality; the social field. In other words, before parents are parents, they were first in a social field. They were sons and daughters (schizophrenics) before becoming parents (neurotics). Desire is already invested into the social field. The "desire for children" for example is already invested in the social field. Even its negation in the form of "I don't want to have children," is an affirmation of the social fields desire to have children. The negation comes after the affirmation of the desire and supplements the reality by giving the substance another context (the negation), that nevertheless is affirmative (a "transcendental affirmation" that is both the affirmation and negation of a desire). Regardless of whether one "wants kids or not," this is dependent on the social field's first insistence that this is a desirable question to answer. This is what is common to the social field, in this case, a question. The family, mechanically speaking, is a "stimulus of departure." Desire is a stimulus. Desire are random stimuluses. Desire gets on its way with its investment in the social field through the mechanism of the family. The family is a mechanism of desire's investment (intention?) into the general and abstract social field. After the departure, it's finally an "intermediary or an interception of communication." The mechanics of the family mediates communication in general, and this mediation can be understood as an interception of the "communication" being done by the schizophrenic (child). The child is unaware of its "communication" with what is "outside itself." (It's important to put outside itself in quotations to signify a bracketing move that allows us as readers to try to understand what would be going on in itself, while at the same time understanding this impossibility of this ever being understood (gestures of Husserl and Derrida)). This child is the schizophrenic. The mediation of formal communication starts its path of neuroticism. The mediation is an interception. It's a difference. It's a change. "If the familial investment is only a dependence or an application of the unconscious investments of the social field - and if this is just as true of the child as of the adult; if it is true that the child, through the mommy-territoriality and the daddy-law, already aims for the schizzes and the encoded or axiomated flows of the social field - then we must transport the essential difference to the heart of this domain." The social field is the difference of mediation. Desire's investment into the social field manifests the family. The social field is not just the adult (acting as the mother and father) though, but the child. We talked about the child above as the schizophrenic, but here we now understand it as always and already on it's way towards a social field. It's born into a social field where the parents act out the social desire. Certainly there is a difference between the child potentially as parent and the child as parent (in other words, the parent). We are working in degrees here. The child is not "purely" schizophrenic. It works off degrees to where it's more schizophrenic from its inception towards its more-than-possible investment into the social field. Being between child and adult is being in-between schizophrenia and neurosis. The child plays its role in the social field without first knowing it in being under the auspices of the social field manifested in the social functions paternal mechanism. That the child is not culpable for its investment into the social field is the difference between it and the paternal mechanism of the social field. The domain of the social field in which desire "found" its way is the difference from the dependence and application of the familial mechanism within that very social field. The difference is between dependence and application. The application is dependent on the desire invested in the application. For clarity's sake, lets flesh out the "mommy-territoriality and the daddy-law" in hopes of making the above more understandable. The "daddy-law" is obvious enough. It's the male paternal figure (who can either be "organically" male or female) who establishes the law to the child or slave. It's the word and book that is followed for the function of the social field. "Mommy-territoriality," on the other hand is the place for the law. If law is time, territoriality is space. If the father is time, the mother is space. The female paternal figure (who can either be "organically" male or female) literally sits at home. It provides the stable place for teaching. It provides the home for the child. It unconsciously provides the sense-of-home to the child by providing a place for it to always be. The child is being invested in not moving from a place. The law needs space for its time. It finds it in the maternity of home. Being in a home is being in a territory. Being in a home (territorialization) is different from not being in a home and being deterritoralized constantly like gypsies (who we can obviously say does not operate in Oedipus, who provide an interesting case of desire investing in something different than the social field, than Oedipus). The child, father and mother are all invested in the social field. The schizophrenic on it's way towards the social field, the territorial-neurotic, and the neurotic-law are all in the social field. The social field as the domain of desires investment is the object of all dependencies, that no one consciously knows about, until the unconscious is opened.

With that being said, Schizoanalysis operates by telling people that they are grounded not in a reality of the family, but in an already invested social field. That the family is a mechanism of the social field shouldn't make the family into an aggrandized mythical signifier. The mechanism should certainly be observed like anything else, but not seeing it's grounds in something more abstract than law and territoriality is the work of psychoanalysts; not just the psychoanalysis of psychoanalysts, but of the western metaphysics of being. As D&G continually say, psychoanalysis is just the final destination of the signifier of Oedipus in the form of the analysts couch. Classical psychoanalysis opens up the idea of analysis which classically finds it's grounds in the family. The analysis does go deeper in psychoanalysis. It investigates the myths that it thinks constitutes the human being. Its problem for D&G and Schizoanalysis is in aggrandizing these myths to the meaning of a problem. Not only is the presupposition of a "problem" a relative insistence of people going to psychoanalysts, but the meaning itself supplements the problem making the problem more than a problem. In other words, "the cure" isn't something merely sought out, but something that's given a meaning (a transcendental meaning). Everyone's sick and they need to be healed. We need to find a cure. This platitude is dispersed to homes everywhere in the social field. This platitude is the law, our law. As D&G will ask us though, "Why Myths?" And when they ask this, they ask us why we believe in myths. It's one thing to read and understand myths (myths amongst many other myths), but it's another thing to privilege Myth to a way of being. The unconscious desire of the social field doesn't open itself up to the agents in this field, until certain agents explore it. Once it's explored thoroughly a process happens whereby you get Philosophy, Psychology, and in this text, Schizoanalysis (amongst thousands of other sciences). Each time that thought broaches the ostensible ground of an experience, it slices through the myth of a supposed "reality." No longer am I constituted first and foremost by my specific mother and father, but the general idea of mother and father everywhere. In other words, I'm constituted by a social field. As I move from the specific family to the generalized family, I move into the general social field. The psychoanalyst is now out of a job. With the ease of a cure, with the ease of the cure that shows that "the cure" is something no longer to be sought out, many people lose their jobs, their homes, and their Heideggerian circumspection (looking around for something to do). The next questions become one of ontology, or a materialist-theory, or in this text, Schizoanalysis. In these three forms of thought alone, parallels are easy to draw.


  1. hello Brian Adkins. I've enjoyed your discussion of Antioedipus, and especially the section devoted to schizoanalysis . I've reblogged some of what you wrote
    At Antioedipus

    Most sincerely

  2. Hi Clifford. I'm glad you're enjoying the discussion. Blog devoted to Anti-Oedipus alone? Sounds good. It deserves its own blog. This is definitely a text that will certainly take time to understand in a "faithful" way. The Schizoanalysis chapter is good because it's fairly clear what they're getting at, even if it's grounding its "method" in the repudiation of psychoanalysis. It's certainly a more "intuited" chapter than chapter 3 in Anti-Oedipus. Chapter 3 was sort of a messy materialist account of history with non-sequiturs between different modes of civilization. I don't doubt that the leaps that D&G made could be the case, but I think that analysis required more rigor.

  3. Ah! Brian the messier the better ~ as longas theres movement theres alive. As long as one works and produces there is thinking.