schizophrenia


schizophrenia
  ---- by Rosi Braidotti
  The touchstone of Deleuze and Guattari's conceptual critique of psychoanalysis is their emphasis on the positivity of schizophrenic language. Refusing to interpret desire as symptomatic of 'lack' or to use a linguistic paradigm that interprets desire through the system of metaphor and metonymy, they insist we understand desire in terms of affectivity, as a rhizomic mode of interconnection.
  Although Sigmund Freud recognises the structure of affectivity and the heterogeneous and complex pleasures of 'polymorphous perversity', he ends up policing desire when he captures it in a normative theory of the drives. The Freudian theory of drives codes and concentrates desiring affects into erotogeneous zones. Thus, psychoanalysis implements a functional vision of the body that simply turns schizoid language and expression into a disorder. This is in stark contrast to the schizoanalytic vision both Deleuze and Guattari offer us.
  Building on Georges Canguilhem and Michel Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari blur the distinction drawn between normal/pathological and all the negative connotations that this model of desire implies. Casting affectivity, the passions and sexuality along the axes of either normative or pathological behaviour, they say, is complicit with those selfsame political forces of biopower that discipline and control the expressive potentialities of a body. The double burden that comes from medicalising emotions and affects, in conjunction with reducing sexual expression to genitalia, leaves bodily affects and intensities in an impoverished state.Their theory of the Body without Organs (BwO) not only critiques psychoanalysis' complicity in repression but the functionalist approach to human affectivity as well. Instead, Deleuze and Guattari assert the positive nature of unruly desire in terms of schizoid flows.
  For Deleuze, the distinction between proper and abject objects of desire is implemented as a normative index to police and civilise behaviour. The more unmanageable aspects of affectivity have either to come under the disciplinary mechanism of representation or be swiftly discarded. Deviance, insanity and transgression are commonly regarded as unacceptable for they point to an uncontrollable force of wild intensity. These tend to be negatively represented: impersonal, uncaring and dangerous forces. Concomitantly, such forces are both criminalised and rendered pathological. The schizophrenic body is emblematic of this violent 'outside', one that is beyond propriety and normality.
  Deleuze's efforts to depathologise mental and somatic deviancy, unconventional sexual behaviour and clinical conditions - like anorexia, depression, suicide, and so forth - is not a celebration of transgression for its own sake. Instead, it is integral to his intensive reading of the subject as a structure of affectivity. That is, Deleuze maps out alternative modes of experimentation on the level of sensation, perception and affects. The intensity of these states and their criminalised and pathological social status often makes them implode into the black hole of ego-indexed negative forces. Deleuze is interested in experimenting with the positive potential of these practices. What is at stake in this reappraisal of schizophrenia is how other modes of assemblage and variations of intensity for non-unitary subjects are gestured to.
  A subject is a genealogical entity, possessing a minoritarian, or countermemory, which in turn is an expression of degrees of affectivity. Genealogical ties create a discontinuous sense of time, closer to Friedrich Nietzsche's Dionysiac mode. Hence, spatially, a subject may seem fragmented and disunited; temporally, however, a subject develops a certain amount of consistency that comes from the continuing power of recollection. Here Deleuze borrows the distinction between the molar sense of linear, recorded time (chronos) and the molecular sense of cyclical, discontinuous time (aion) that the Greeks once described. Simply put, the former is related to being/the molar/the masculine; the latter to becoming/the molecular/the feminine. The co-occurrence of past and future in a continuous present may appear schizophrenic to those who uphold a vision of the subject as rational and self-contained, however, we need to have some caution here as Deleuze's philosophy of immanence rests on the idea of a transformative and dynamic subject who inhabits the active present tense of continuous 'becoming'. Using Henri Bergson's concept of 'duration' to guide him, Deleuze proposes a subject as an enduring entity, one that changes as much as it is changed through the connections it forms with a collectivity.
  Also important to note is that Deleuze disengages the notion of 'endurance' from the metaphysical tradition that associates it with an essence or permanence. Hence, the potency of the Deleuzian subject comes from how it displaces the phallogocentric vision of consciousness, one that hinges on the sovereignty of the 'I'. It can no longer be safely assumed that consciousness coincides with subjectivity, or that either consciousness or subjectivity charges the course of events. Thus, the image of thought implied by liberal individualism and classical humanism is disrupted in favour of a multi-layered dynamic subject. On this level, schizophrenia acts as an alternative to how the art of thinking can be practised.
  Together with paranoia, schizoid loops and double-binds mark the political economy of affectivity in advanced capitalism. These enact the double imperative of consumer consumption and its inherent deferral of pleasure. With capitalism the deferral of pleasure concomitantly turned into a commodity. The saturation of social space, by fast-changing commodities, short-circuits the present inducing a disjunction in time.
  Like the insatiable appetite of the vampire, the capitalist theft of 'the present' expresses a system that not only immobilises in the process of commodity over-accumulation, but also suspends active desiringproduction in favour of an addictive pursuit of commodity goods. In response, Deleuze posits 'becoming' as an antidote: flows of empowering desire that introduce mobility and thus destabilise the sedentary gravitational pull of molar formations. This involves experimenting with nonunitary or schizoid modes of becoming.
  Connectives
   § becoming
   § black hole
   § body
   § duration
   § molar

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

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