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parallax, 2001, vol. 7, no.

4, 928

Passive Synthesis and Life

Claire Colebrook

Body and Sense

Post-structuralism in its many forms has, more than any other movement in thought,
interrogated the inherent problem of passive synthesis. For Deleuze, the task of
philosophy properly speaking does not lie in accepting an already diVerentiated world
of subjects and objects, but in thinking the powers, forces or desires that synthesize
worlds prior to any act or agent. For Derrida, the transcendental legacy which
deconstruction both inherits and problematizes must also move beyond activity and
passivity to the di erance which borders any such distinct terms. In addition to this
shared problem of passive synthesis, Derrida and Deleuze also explore the corporeal
imaginary through which the border between active and passive has been thought.
Whatever his objections to psychoanalysis Deleuze is faithful to the problem of
thinking the opening of the metaphysical syntheses from the connection of body
parts. The value of psychoanalysis, in its anti-Oedipal form, is its power to explain
the construction or production of the self from desiring relations of body parts: the
physical and immanent opening of the metaphysical and transcendent. There is a
subject who perceives an outside or transcendent world only after the production of
certain desiring connections, connections that extend the eyes apprehension of aVect
into a synthesized and external world. According to Freud, the very projection that
leads to the formation of symptoms in paranoia is also at the heart of normal vision:
For when we refer the causes of certain sensations to the external world, instead of
looking for them (as we do in the case of others) inside ourselves, this normal
proceeding, too, deserves to be called projection.1 How, then, does the eye take
what it sees to be the perception of what is not itself, and why is this associated with
paranoia or the projection of a persecuting voice from outside? In Anti-Oedipus Deleuze
and Guattari accept the paranoid nature of the late social machine, but they also
insist on writing a pre-history or gnosology of how the subject is produced as subjected
to a logic or Symbolic order. How is it that the given, the in ux of sensible aVect, is
taken as the sign of some ordered, shared and lawful world?
For Lacan, answering this question installs the logic of the signi er into the very eld
of vision. First, it is the eye-hand axis that localizes point of view. The infant, looking
at another body that works and is uni ed, establishes an ego as a thing, spatially
located and related to other things. It is the mastery of motor capacity that orients
ISSN 1353-464 5 print/ISSN 1460-700 X online 2001 Taylor & Francis Ltd
DOI: 10.108 0/13534640110089221


the eye as a point in space. But this is not yet a eld of vision, an I that sees set
over against a world that is there to be seen (an I that recognizes itself as a point
within a general space of which its own vision is a truncated part). This eld or
register can only be opened through the mouth that speaks, through the third term
of the signi er. What I see must be there to be seen, also, in my absence. There
must be a projection such that the seen is caused by what is beyond vision. What
I see must be located within a eld beyond my located point of view. I must be
placed within the scene, viewable by an Other.
For Lacan, the structure of this look is only possible through the logic of the signi er.
If our perceptions are taken as perceptions of some world, of some object above and
beyond appearances, then there must be a presence in general from which the eye is
separated (and sees itself as separated). What the eye sees is a sign of the world that
is other than the eye. This Thing or presence from which the eye is constitutively
separated can only be given through the signi ers logic of lack and the phallic fantasy
that underpins that lack. If what I see is the sign of some presence beyond my gaze,
then I must be other than, or separated from, presence. That lost eld of presence is
that which is there to be viewed by the gaze of the Other. This gaze is therefore the
objet petit a, or that which separates my nite castrated being from full presence:
the interest the subject takes in his own split is bound up with that
which determines it namely, a privileged object, which has emerged
from some primal separation, from some self-mutilation induced by
the very approach of the real, whose name, in our algebra, is the
objet a.2
If full being is prohibited, lost and lacking, then there must be an Other who holds
the law that separates me from the Thing. It is the separation from presence that
both requires and presupposes the Other who has robbed me of that original presence.
That presence or being towards which the eye is directed the object 5 x is, for
Lacan, the body of the mother as Das Ding. 3 I must imagine that I renounced that
presence, and submitted to the Other for the sake of what the Other promises and
the origin, or mother, lacks: the phallus. What is Other than the Thing must possess
what is lacking in the origin, what is other than maternal, and so the phallus begins as
that which was not present (minus phi). The phallus is the value that is other than
the original Thing, and which structures our relation to the Thing as lost and lacking.
If there is a presence that lies behind what we see and say, and which structures the
eld of speech and vision, then this is because the system of speech and vision is a
supplement to presence, the signi cation of the present. The signier is what the present,
in itself, lacks. And the phallus is the image or fantasy of that which is originally lacking;
we can only think or synthesize the logic of presence from the corporeal imaginary.
The relation to a world or presence in general is opened in the fantasy of lack, in the
imaginary of a world that is constitutively separated from my gaze. The mouth that
speaks and the eye that sees are rendered possible only by the phallus: that which is
other than the present, that which is not given. The phallus functions as the bodypart or virtual object that underpins the logic of signi cation and the synthesis of
the real. The investment in this organ establishes the interiority of the I in separation
from the transcendence of the exterior.

The Despotic Signier

Deleuze and Guattari begin their genealogy of sense by tracing the emergence of
the despotic signi er from within history. To begin with, they argue, this is a logic
of privatized body parts the lacking body of the mother, the phallic body of the
father, the eye of the uncoordinated infant and speechless child. We need to
understand both the event of privatization and the political, passive and pre-personal
syntheses that transpose that privatization from the hand-eye-voice to the phallus.
The phallus and its absence structures a point of view located in an eye/I set over
against a world that is lawfully organized through a shared perspective. The historical
emergence of perspective in art resonates with the recognition of the function of the
subject. The convergence of the eld of vision towards that which is there to be seen
depends on point of view, but it is also structured by a world that can be discerned
as real only through illusion. It is the distorting structure of perspectival viewpoint
that also produces a world as the end-point or shared space of vision. The distortions
or curves of perspective restore a space beyond the eye, with perspective producing
the law of an eye in general. Like Foucault in The Order of Things, who locates classical
man within an in nite eld of representation beyond the human point of view, Lacan
also describes the historical emergence of the subject as a nite point within a eld
perceivable by the Other. Holbeins Ambassadors presents the death that lies beyond
the subjects actual eye. Geometral space is nothing more than the eld of points,
while optical space inserts the subject as nite perceiver:
All this shows that at the very heart of the period in which the subject
emerged and geometral optics was an object of research, Holbein
makes visible for us here something that is simply the subject as
annihilated annihilated in the form that is, strictly speaking, the
imaged embodiment of the minus-phi [ w] of castration, which for us,
centres the whole organization of the desires through the framework
of the fundamental drives.4
Vision is phallic, then, insofar as it separates itself from the seen, structured by a law
and system that is other than the seen. Perspective is the idealization of space, the
production of a gaze directed to space in general beyond the eye. Without the Idea
of a deterritorialized space freed from any speci c region or eye perspective
and the subject would not be possible.
Deleuze and Guattari write a history of the syntheses that lead up to the subject as
a point located within an idealized space. Like Lacan, they regard the elevated eye
of the subject in general as the outcome of a history of body parts. Unlike Lacan,
however, they seek to explain the emergence of the phallus as an elevated and virtual
object and its connection with the logic of the signi er. The function of the signi er
is at one with the subjective function of speech; in order for you and I to speak there
must be some system in general which mediates what we say and allows for
signi cation. This system in general begins, Deleuze and Guattari argue, with the
elevation of the despots body that is capable of terrorizing those bodies it oversees.
The body of the despot is literally phallic, not just operating by what Lacan will later

refer to as the phallic metaphor determined through its absence, but a phallus in its
visual intensity. The phallus is privatized onto the despots body, owned by a speci c
identity. From the shared collective rituals of castration and tattooing that marked
the primitive socius, the despots body separates itself from the tribe and becomes
an elevated intensity. It is deterritorialized: no longer a position within the eld of
bodies and sensations, it governs from on high. This phallus, as elevated and
privatized, opens the function of the signi er in general. All exchange, circulation
and inscription are governed by some point or presence beyond exchange. The
privatization of the phallus takes the body-part away from collective spectacle and
locates it on the body of law: there is now a body that overlooks the scene of all
bodies, creating a viewpoint of the whole. Desire does not just ow from body-part
to body-part, from eye to esh. One body leaps out of the chain. Originally, this
body is literally that of the despot whose body becomes the site of law. There are,
therefore, two contemporaneous movements. First, privatization: once a body-part
can be abstracted from the ow of social energy and located on a distinct body a
virtual object can be eVected. It is the despot or father who holds the phallus, thus
creating a point above the multiplicity of connections. Second, overcoding: all body
parts and exchanges now refer back to an absent value which governs the eld,
allowing the eld to signify some overarching or transcendent ground.
In order to challenge the Lacanian and Oedipal history of sense (which is an accurate
enough description of modernity), Deleuze and Guattari trace a genealogy of the
syntheses that generate the subject, his transcendent world and the constitutive lack
that structures this relation. The rst organ to be privatized, Deleuze and Guattari
insist, is the anus. This is an entirely diVerent corporeal imaginary from the modern
and phallic law. The phallus emerges in, and produces, the relation of not having; the
phallus is that which the origin lacked, it is through this desire for what is other than
present that we submit to the law. But the anus is originally excessive and destructive.
Before the oedipal law of the presence/absence opposition organized around the
family and the phallus, the anus must be coded from its collective ow to private
investment. Imagine a pre-primitive moment in which life is ow without
interruption. This positing of a collective anality would mark a point of pre-history:
life would not be the ow of forces among separated and related terms. There would
be pure ow. The location of this ow on private bodies would be the rst event of
coding and inscription, producing terms and relations by cutting into bodily ows.
Synthesis begins, not with the eye that orders the eld of vision from without, but
with the production of points or surfaces from intense and aggressive ows. It is in
connecting with another body that a body becomes what it is; the mouth and breast
become zones of pleasure through their reciprocal attachment. The anus is a
privileged gure for this rst productive synthesis precisely because it is the very
other of lack: productive of waste and expenditure, regardless of any other term or
function. The collective investment of this synthesis would produce bodies as zones
of production and expenditure, not yet subordinated to the organization of that
Anality produces distinct points from ows; its syntheses are positive and aggressive,
or forceful. Only after anality can the penis as a detached object present itself as that
which was lacking and as the (transcendent) cause of all syntheses:

The rst organ to suVer privatization, removal from the social eld,
was the anus. It was the anus that oVered itself as a model for
privatization, at the same time as money came to express the ows
new state of abstraction. Hence the relative truth of psychoanalytic
remarks concerning the anal nature of monetary economy. But the
logical order is the following: the substitution of abstract quantity for
the coded ows; the resulting collective disinvestment of the organs,
on the model of the anus; the constitution of private persons as
individual centers of organs and functions derived from the abstract
quantity. One is even compelled to say that, while in our societies the
penis has occupied the the position of a detached object distributing
lack to the persons of both sexes and organizing the Oedipal triangle,
it is the anus that in this manner detached it, it is the anus that removes
and sublimates the penis in a kind of Auf hebung that will constitute
the phallus.5
Sublimation or the elevation of a transcendent object that explains and orders the
eld of ows is an eVect of primitive, productive, collective, cruel and aggressive
synthesis: order and persons derive from ow and force. These divergent ows are
rst related to each other through anality, the primitive regulation of attraction and
repulsion that begins collectively and then produces distinct persons. The
privatization of the anus therefore ties in with the history of political syntheses. Before
there can be the disjunction between the bodies of the earth and the body of the despot
(second transcendent synthesis), and before there can be the conjunction of all ows
around a single and absent phallus which stands as the presence behind all
substitutions (third transcendent synthesis), there must be the construction of bodily
surfaces from the abstract ow (connection, or the rst synthesis).
What does it mean to say that the coding and repression of the anus is the very
beginning of the social, the rst social machine? We are given two claims: rst, about
the nature of the passive syntheses and, second, about the nature of the
transcendental. The mouth, as we know from Freud and Lacan, is the organ of
speech and judgment, but also the organ of nourishment a nourishment that for
human beings, initially, must be demanded of an other. For Freud and Lacan,
synthesis, or the very opening of the world as distinction between inside and outside,
would begin from the mouth: I take this in/I spit this out, Fort/Da. The border
between active and passive, presence and absence, is inscribed on the mouth, and it
is only this border that enables the further syntheses of signi cation. The food that
ful ls my demand comes to me as a gift and a message from the Other or, in Jean
Laplanches terms, as an enigmatic signi er. Food is not just passed from body to
body but becomes the signi er of a gift and desire. In this relation of oVer and
demand I am submitted to the desire of the Other. What does the other want from
me?6 Only with an Other to whom my demands must be addressed is the mouth of
need submitted to the system of speech. The human being begins with the
implantation or invasion of the signi er, an original and pre-personal masochism or
subjection to the Other.
To argue that there is a more radical passivity, a coding of the anus that is prior to
the relation between mouth and other is to place the political prior to persons, lack

and signi cation. Passive synthesis begins, not with the need of the mouth, but with
ow and excess: the expulsion/retention machine of the anus. And the rst social
machine, before the celibate machine that prohibits sexual desire in the narrow
sense, is the paranoid machine. Paranoia, of course, is the projection and the
production of external and aggressive forces from an immanent aggression and
destruction, the creation of a persecuting outside from an excess of immanent
cruelty.7 The coding of the anus is not one of seen/not seen, present/absent, father/
mother, Law/desire: its coding is delay of ows, operating around mastery and
aggression. 8
The references to a pre-phallic anality in the political history of Anti-Oedipus parallel
the references to a positive but hidden repetition in Di erence and Repetition.9 Before
there are distinct terms from which we can discern relations of diVerence and repetition,
there are non-relational repetitions: a force that projects itself over and over again,
each time with renewed and diVerent force. The anality of expulsion/retention
produces a quantity of force and ow, rather than a relational di erence between terms.
Far from being driven by need, Freud describes anal eroticism through a desire for
control, mastery, aggression and sadism. The mouth begins as submitted to an other;
always already passive, such that need and demand must be traversed by a system
or order that comes from outside. The anus, as a coded body part, begins from ow,
attraction and repulsion, producing the very possibility of activity and passivity.
We know that Deleuze follows Artaud and Nietzsche in arguing that the social/
political begins with cruelty and quantities of force, well before consciousness and its
relations.1 0 Anal vision or an optics of cruelty, we might say, does not subordinate
action and reaction to any of the terms, bodies or points across which it passes. The
eye is not a separated point of view of judgment, but itself forms part of the ow of
force. 1 1 The world, as a separate object to be viewed, follows from the creation of
a surface and the inhibition of ow.1 2 Radical passivity allows us to think radical
activity: a force of pure positivity not subordinated to any of the transcendent terms
which are formed as its eVects. The privatization of the anus would produce bodies
as surfaces, or points of ow/delay, aggression/expulsion and mastery.
Both Bataille and Artaud referred to the excremental and the anal as a way of
thinking force separated from all relation and judgement.1 3 The surrealist aesthetic
of anality was one in which the eye was ush with the real, not so much looking
as being viscerally aVected by the intensity of life; the eye was not a spectator but a
body-part violently attacked by art. And the eld of vision was explosive rather than
perspectival. Derrida explicitly,1 4 and Deleuze and Guattari implicitly, have pointed
out the exorbitant, but tempting, impossibility of such a project. But both also locate
the possibility of an aesthetic and synthesis that lies between the explosive and
absolute deterritorialization of the pure force of uncoded anality and the elevated
point of view of the phallic law. For Deleuze and Guattari the primitive visual eld
consists of looks from point to point or body to body, where eye and esh operate
in intense relations that are social, and therefore coded, without being referred to
some higher point of law: not yet overcoded. The eye follows the tattooing or scarring
of the others body; feeling the pain, inching with the cut. Becoming one of the
tribe, or the function of territorialization, is nothing other than this intense ow from

eye to esh and esh to the others eye: being looked at not by the elevated law
but by the contiguous eyes of other marked bodies:
The magic triangle with its three sides voice-audition, graphismbody, eye-pain thus seems to us to be an order of connotation, a
system of cruelty where the word has an essentially designating
function, but where the graphism itself constitutes a sign in conjunction
with the thing designated, and where the eye goes from one to the
other, extracting and measuring the visibility of the one against the
pain of the other. Everything in the system is active, enacted (agi ), or
reacting [...] connoting voices, graphic traces, and eyes, always in a
polyvocal usage a way of jumping that cannot be contained within an
order of meaning, still less within a signi er.15
Eye and Affect
A great deal of political possibility lies in thinking an aesthetic of pre-phallic or
passive syntheses, syntheses not ordered by a point of view outside the eld. Here,
the eye is part of the ow of desire. Bodies engage their power, or become, through
a look that feels the intensity of the other body. (This is not, as in surrealism, a
destruction of the eye so much as a location of the eye within the ow of desire.)
Now, it is at this point that we need to be most careful. It would be far too easy to
see this historical analysis of some epoch prior to the detachment of the eye from
the visual eld as a normative prescription for political art. There would be two
dangers. First, we would appeal to art as deterritorialization as such, and then imagine
that deterritorialization amounted to liberation. We would prescribe a form of art
that was non-semantic, confronted the eye with visceral intensity and thereby
returned us to that moment prior to an evil modernity that organizes vision through
law, syntax and signi cation. The problem with this, of course, would be that it
would take a return to pre-modernity as some sort of ethical telos. Deleuze and
Guattari warn against a simple appeal to absolute deterritorialization, and Deleuze
also suggests that art and literature are not so much normative models as ways of
activating vision, aVect and thinking. The second, and related problem, is not just
that a form of art say, the violence of surrealism or the experimentalism of high
modernism would be prescribed as politically liberatory, but that the politicalhistorical axis would be directly equated with an aesthetic axis. The ethical-political
dimension of Anti-Oedipus is related to, but not equivalent to, the aesthetic distinction.
The value of art is not its mode of immediacy in contrast to a supposedly pernicious
conceptual mediation. Its not that the connective synthesis (direct relations among
bodies) is good and the conjunctive synthesis (the ordering of those relations from
an abstracted term) is evil. Its the way we think about these syntheses, immanently
or transcendentally, that determines the form of politics as active or reactive. The
whole point of the history of Anti-Oedipus is its genealogical or untimely motivation;
if we think the forces or diVerences that have produced our current axiology we can
move forward. If we look at the intensities that produce terms and relations, if we
look at the history of the syntheses, then we create some room for thought. Its not
a question of returning to a primitive visual regime or advocating an aesthetic, but

once we pull the present apart by looking at the forces that have tamed the eye we
can reactivate looking.
How does the eye move from being an intense site within a ow of desire, to a
transcendent point the eye of the subject that synthesizes desire from without?
This gives us a political problem rather than a prescription. Political terms the law,
the father, humanist man are the outcome of aesthetic syntheses: the investment
in all sorts of intensities, from bodily organs such as the phallus and anus, to whiteness,
aggression and faciality. The political analysis of Anti-Oedipus begins with anality in
order to trace the illusion of transcendence. How do intense relations between bodyparts, ows and aVects, produce images of the good, the law, the State or man?
The aesthetic problem is not one of returning to primitivism but one of looking at
the intensive engagements of the eye and their tendency to immanence and
Like Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari follow Nietzsches Genealogy of Morals in narrating
a history of power through the domestication and privatization of vision. But whereas
Foucaults Discipline and Punish begins with the pre-modern axis of spectacle and public
terror something like the despotic regime where the elevated look of the law codes
the visual eld by producing a space and observed body as the focal point of power
Anti-Oedipus narrates a pre-history of the eye. Like Nietzsche, Deleuze and Guattari
begin with cruelty before terror. The cruel eye looks on and enjoys the pure force
in icted on bodies. The relation between eye and esh only becomes one of terror
when force is interpreted as a punishment; a body outside or above the territory imposes
a moral gaze and the voice of the law:
Punishment has ceased to be a festive occasion, from which the eye
extracts a surplus value in the magic triangle of alliance and liations.
Punishment becomes a vengeance, the vengeance of the voice, the hand,
and the eye now joined together on the despot [...] As vengeance, and
a vengeance exercised in advance, the imperial barbarian law crushes
the whole primitive interplay of action, the en-acted ( lagi ), and
reaction. Passivity must now become the virtue of the subjects attached
to the despotic body.16
Deleuze and Guattari directly state that the social machine begins with anality, a
savage and positive cruelty not yet subordinated to the despotism of the phallic
signi er. The signi er the token that refers to a sense beyond itself is only possible
when relations and exchange are supplemented by, and systematized according to,
some presence which is there to be re-presented. It is the signi er that establishes
transcendence. The eye that looks is directed towards a world in general that is there
to be seen, not just from this eye, but from a point of view located in a general eld.
Before the eye is installed in this synthesis of system and subject, eye and real pulsate
in attraction and repulsion, force and production. The primitive eye sees the knife
that tattoos, scars and circumcizes the others body as a force that cuts into us all.
Eye and body connect in an immanent and transitive synthesis. The force of the eye
and the force of the body are placed in relation and exchange only through inscription
of body to body; no single law governs the cruel theatre. All this changes when the

eye is overcoded with voice. The eye that had enjoyed the cruel inscription or scarring
of the others body now looks at a body that is being punished. (Cruelty becomes
punishment only with the interpreting or coding eye of moral judgment.) The marks
on the body are read as signi ers of some law: The mouth no longer speaks, it drinks
the letter. The eye no longer sees, it reads. The body no longer allows itself to be
engraved like the earth, but prostrates itself before the engravings of the despot, the
region beyond the earth, the new full body.1 7 It is because the despotic body looks
on that enjoyment becomes terror. This body being marked is paying the price for a
law transgressed; it becomes a signi er of a law that could punish us all in the future.
The inscription produces memory and debt only through the elevation of the
eye/voice of the despot. The despotic eye that looks on and surveys the eld creates
a point outside the eld, which then allows for an interpretation of the esh:
From this moment on it appears indeed that the two dimensions of
representation its surface organization with the elements voicegraphy-eye, and its in-depth organization with the representing
instances of desire-repressing representation/displaced represented
share the same fate, like a system of correspondences in the heart of
a given social machine [...] the voice no longer sings but dictates,
decrees; the graphy no longer dances, it ceases to animate bodies, but
is set into writing on tablets, stones amid books; the eye sets itself to
reading.1 8
There is, then, a moral illusion of transcendence tied to the elevation of the phallus.
The privatization of the anus is a synthesis of connection: creating distinct surfaces
across a territory. The privatization of the phallus allows for disjunction and conjunction :
the creation of an elevated point outside immanence, and then the explanation of
immanence from that point. There must have been a law and presence from which
the diVerence of life emerges.
It would be a mistake, though, to read this history of transcendence the passage
from immanent ows and syntheses to the production of a view of the whole as a
fall or error in thinking. The political problem traced in Anti-Oedipus directs itself
against the transcendent use of the syntheses. Far from returning to the pure ows prior
to all synthesis, political critique needs to aYrm the power of the syntheses. The
mistake comes in, not in the production and syntheses themselves, but when the
synthesized eVects man, the phallus, the State act as grounds for the syntheses.
If the phallus is the gure of a point of law outside the eld, the anus is the gure
of force and ow from which the surfaces of any eld are synthesized.
Philosophy, What is Philosophy? will remind us, must produce concepts that ascend
and survey the whole. So, we should not see the production of an elevated point of
view as evil, as though a return to a theatre of cruelty would save us. Philosophy
will be an immanent extension of vision: a way of thinking a view of the world from
any point whatever, from created or fabricated concepts and not from some pregiven Gods-eye view of the world. The despotism lies in transcendence: the way in
which the produced or synthesized look of the law presents itself as the origin, ground
or cause. The task of politics and micro-political analysis is to show the historical

production of the mediating law of the phallus from the chaotic cruelty that privatizes
bodies. This means separating sense from the sensible. This is the task of micropolitics:
how have certain body-parts come to signify the law? We need to ask just how visual
and aVective intensities, the ows from bodies to eye, become subordinated to
signi cation. How is it that what the eye sees is taken as the signi er of some lost or
mediating law? The point, then, is not to see Deleuze and Guattaris history as
prescribing a return to a vision of cruelty and anality, freed from all mediation and
judgment. Rather, their genealogy separates the force of the eye from the force of
the voice. It becomes possible to think the power of the sensible its force, politics
and aVect beyond what it means. So we can begin to look at the forces of fascination,
captivation and investment in politics. This is not just the way in which political
advertising or display engages the viewer. It is the very production of viewers and
subjects through intensity.
The historical analysis of anality in Anti-Oedipus insists upon the production of separate
bodies or subjects from intensities. There can only be a political subject of speech
and reason with the notion of a body in general, a body in which voice/reason and
eye/sensibility are harmonized through the ground of common sense. First, there
needs to be the production of body surfaces (the privatization of anality). Second,
such bodies need to be subordinated to a subjectivity in general. Alongside the
intensi cation of perspective in modern art, or the production of a shared space of
vision, there is also the focus of the eye on the body of man in general. The
production of a point of view in general, which produces the universal man of capitalism,
relies upon investments in bodies, body-parts and eye-body relations. Not only is the
subject in philosophy described using gures of the eye as camera, mirror or screen,
with the voice of reason as the doubling of the eye, there is also the gure of political
man. In A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari describe the investment in the face
as accompanying the function of the subject who speaks, with the face, in turn, being
white and dominated by the black holes of the eyes that signify depth. The condition
for an active logos, or reason in general, is the historical production of speci c bodily
investments. The face and eye unify looking and speaking through the function of
the subject. Eye and voice refer back to or signify a grounding sense. We need to
see the syntheses as passive: the terms within which politics and communication take
place are the eVect of micropolitical histories. The voice of man becomes the very
gure of political reason, but this is only so when the bodys forces are privatized
onto speci c bodies and then overcoded such that the body becomes the sign of man
in general, the voice of reason.19
Before there is the subject in general of speech and good reason, there is a primitive
separation and connection of bodies through the privatization of anality. And before
the law is internalized as the rational man or superego within us all, the eye and
body of the despot must constitute a disjunction between the cruel forces of bodies
and the terror of a punishing spectacle. Thinking the totality immanently means
confronting the passive syntheses, the contemplations and contractions from which
points of connection are eVected. Anti-Oedipus is a history of the eye, from its primitive
connections in a theatre of cruelty to its modern con ation with the voice of good

Immanence and Sensibility

The task of philosophy is to re-create the totality as a virtual event, and not as a
pre-given ground. This means recognizing that philosophys survey of the whole is
the production and creation of concepts. What separates the concept of philosophy
from opinion is its disengagement of the eye. It is banal opinion that passes directly
from perceived to concept, or from aVect to voice: I dont like this; therefore this is
bad.20 Philosophy, by contrast, creates concepts that expand perception beyond any
actual aVects, enabling the thought of a virtual whole viewed by no-one. The whole
or totality is therefore at once immanent produced as a response to chaos and
transcendent other than any single perceived. Philosophical concepts survey a
whole that is not there to be viewed, and that is not produced by generalizing from
observed particulars. Concepts are not enunciated from a subject whose good sense
or point of view is exemplary; the creation of concepts produces speakers or personae.
The voice of philosophy is not the voice of man. It is the despotism of the signi er
that refers all diVerence back to the subject who speaks and a point of view in general,
whereas thinking disengages eye from voice, aVect from concept.21
If the task of philosophy is the liberation of concepts from observed states of aVairs,
the task of aesthetics will be an activation of the force of the eye aVects and percepts
that are not referred to a higher sense. For a long time theres been an attempt to
tie art to politics, and it might seem that Deleuze falls back on the avant-garde notion
that freedom from semantic determinacy is freedom from political determination
or that the eye freed from the voice would restore a theatre of cruelty. But the
sensible, singularities and visual intensities are not liberating per se. It is only in
recognizing the diVerence in kind between concept and aVect that philosophy and
art can work towards extending the passive syntheses beyond their enslavement to
transcendent terms. The lines of concept and aVect need to be disengaged. Eye and
voice, thing and word, need to be recognized as the eVects of syntheses with no
preceding ground or unity. It is the con ation of eye and voice, of aVect and law,
that closes politics. For as long as politics is understood as the communication and
exchange of concepts among subjects with subjects being subjects of judgment who
provide accurate statements about a world that is there to be seen by all then there
can be no challenge to the forces of concept formation. Even more importantly, we
remain within norms of reason, judgment, common sense and representation rather
than assessing how such norms are constituted.
Throughout his entire corpus Deleuze insists on this crucial feature of the passive
syntheses: there is not a subject who perceives; rather, there are perceptions from
which points of view are eVected. Before there is a subject who sees in order to
judge, there are distinct surfaces of bodies marked out by the attraction and repulsion
of forces. 2 2 Such forces can be understood as perceptions or contemplations insofar
as they distribute points across a eld or territory, ultimately rendering the point of
view of the perceiving subject possible. Perhaps Deleuzes most important book on
the passive syntheses is Di erence and Repetition where he describes the existence of
perceptions, souls and contemplations within and beyond organisms: We have seen
to what extent selves must be presupposed as a condition of passive organic syntheses,
already playing the role of mute witnesses.23 The organism, its surface and point of

view are the eVect of contemplations. This becomes politically resonant in the notion
of investment in Anti-Oedipus and the distinction between the visible and the
articulable in Foucault.2 4 Investment is a ow of desire that creates a relation. The
investment and privatization of the anus creates a point of retention and expulsion,
producing a surface allowing for the notion of a private body. The investment in the
phallus opens a relation to what is absent or not seen, producing a point beyond the
visual eld such that this virtual object now organizes relations of subordinate terms.
In Foucault Deleuze follows Foucaults history of the visual, power and incorporeality.
Cruelty becomes terror when the force from body to body is organized by the absent
viewpoint of law. The body of the condemned is only seen as a punished body if the
relation between the eye that sees and the force that in icts pain is overseen by a
law or despotic body. What is seen appears to have a sense or meaning. The eye is
now disciplined through a system of judgment. To see is to disclose a meaning that
is not present. To be seen even if the gaze is virtual, such as the central tower of
the panopticon is to become a subject. The virtual gaze is perceived by the
disciplined body; the soul and the body are nothing outside this event of perception.
The subject is the eVect of a perception: a relation between an absent point of view
and a body that responds.
Art and Sense
Jurgen Habermas describes the relation between art and politics as a relation between
world-disclosure (art) and rational re ection and communication ( politics).25 He
thereby de nes the classic voice-eye relation of modern man. Deleuzes micropolitics,
by contrast, shows how seeing/speaking man is the eVect of perceptions or the passive
syntheses. A politics of immanence can, therefore, have both a critical and a
transformative function. Anti-Oedipus oVers the critique: man is the contraction of a
history of perceptions, constituted from the eye that enjoys cruelty, through to the
eye overcoded by the look of the law, and nally to the regard of psychoanalysis
where the look of the law becomes the punishing father within us all and the
introspective gaze of sexuality. Man is the result of a series of investments in
whiteness, faciality, and a voice that repeats what is there to be seen; the good subject
of enunciation. A revolutionary transformation can only be achieved by destroying
the image of the subject of representation and common sense, only by disengaging
eye from voice, aVect from concept. If the force of concepts is extended beyond the
sensible ( philosophy) and the force of aVect is extended beyond the cognitive (art),
a line of divergence would be produced between eye and voice. Micropolitics is just
this art of the passive syntheses: analyzing the intensities that produce distinct terms.
The passive syntheses are the very forces of life, the given itself, capable of yielding
a history, politics and aesthetics. It is only if we think forces before needs and demands
that we will be able to think an art beyond the limits of representation and a politics
beyond ideological critique. Consider the way the eye of poetry traces or inscribes
the perceived. Marianne Moores poems typically observe animals in concrete
language: not through a voice of psychology and predicates, but as an assemblage
of objects and sensibles. Nearly all her poems strive to attain a poetry of the object
not the expression of a speaker but the adoption of the point of view of the thing

observed. The opening of The Fish is typical of this poetics, and seems to oVer a
literary version of Deleuzes Spinozism, whereby knowledge must strive to overcome
the observers detached viewpoint in order to become with the forces of the animals
own becoming. The poem begins with a verb without a subject, and then eventually
speaks of a one:
through black jade.
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash-heaps;
opening and shutting itself [...]26
At the same time, the voice of Moores poetry that typically follows the eye does not
spring from a single point of view. Her poems borrow from magazines, found
quotations, slogans and even gardening manuals. For Moore, the voice is neither at
one with the eye, nor at one with any single speaker; each voice comes from elsewhere
or is already a tribe. Her most famous poem, Poetry, presents itself as a manifesto
for this style, a style that explicitly aims beyond its own voice to what can be sensed
in distinct series of visibility and tactility:
I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put on them but because they are
This is not the anal vision of cruelty of Artaud or Bataille where sound and spectacle
explode in an absolute deterritorialization without sense, point of view or distance.
Eye and voice are not attened on to each other, as in the ideal of surrealism where
vision and language are immediate, non-relational and explosively de-formed.
Rather, something like territorialization and becoming-animal occur throughout
Moores poetry as the eye that follows the perceived draws from an already assembled
or collective voice that mutates in the act of perception. The subject who speaks is
not the subject of enunciation and prior judgment but a voice formed through what
it contemplates by drawing from a language that is always already spoken. But it is
only because of the passivity of this voice its repetition of received phrases and its
faithful tracing of the object that it is truly capable of becoming. For it is not a
subject, as prior ground, who then speaks and perceives: but a speaking-perceiving
or eye-voice. Neither eye nor voice can be reduced to each other nor grounded on
a prior plane.
Deleuze explicitly refers to Artauds aesthetics of cruelty and its connection with
anality as the original drive or force from which the social machine is elevated. Such

a problematic is, however, also at work in Derridas politicization of the aesthetic

and the relation between orality, anality and passivity. Whether the passive syntheses
are within life and history and might therefore be reintegrated into political analysis,
or whether passivity needs to be thought from a mourning that is other than life is
one of the problems that diVerentiates Derridas deconstruction from Deleuzes
In Economimesis Derrida deconstructs the active subject of political-aesthetic
mastery through the analogy of the mouth. For Derrida, Kants theory of aesthetic
judgment, a theory of taste, is only possible with a moral-political border inscribed
on and through the mouth.28 The very idea of human freedom and the moralpolitical economy of a subject emancipated from the animal needs of nature rely,
Derrida argues, on an analogy between nature and the mouth.29 In the Critique of
Judgment Kant describes the properly aesthetic view of nature: nature is viewed as if
it were the image or double of divine creativity, as a being that externalizes itself in
order to recognize and realize itself. The artists relation to nature is not a passive
copying but an analogy with natures quasi-divine creative freedom. Art, as opposed
to craft or the pleasures of sensible consumption, has no end outside itself. What is
disclosed in art as opposed to mere copying of a thing is nothing other than the
subjects own, active, spontaneous and transcendental aesthetic power. The man of
poetry is therefore analogous to a nature that is already viewed anthropomorphically
as if nature, too, were a moral being: giving a law from itself to itself. What is
important, for Derrida, is not this analogical series, nor the Auf klarung subject of
decision it supports,30 so much as the vicariousness or miming upon which analogy
as such depends. It is not just that an analogy is drawn between the self-aVecting mouth
that speaks poetry and a theologized nature. It is also that analogy is only possible,
only thinkable, through a guration of the mouth. Analogy is not a function used
by thought, or within thought. Thinking and the transcendental subject open with
analogy. Thought is only possible after the distance of analogy. The Idea of sense,
meaning or the said can only be thought as other than, or at a distance from, the
sensible. First, the mouth must be presented through a binary axiology: clearly
separating a sensible consumption enslaved to the needs of life from an intelligible
and free self-production. The mouth of poiesis must, like an imagined nature, be able
to produce from itself without any waste, corruption, negation, dependence or
enslaving debt to what is other than its own spontaneity. If the mouth of poetry is
likened to the self-production of an idealized nature, how is it that we think likeness
or analogy at all? This, Derrida argues, is only possible through an economimesis of
the mouth: it is only the speaking mouth that can repeat sensible nature as if it were
an intelligible freedom. We can think this logical function of the as seeing nature
as active production, rather than inert product only vicariously. The mouth of
poetry can represent using the gure of its natural and sensible other a logos
freed from the sensible determinacy of nature. The mouth of speech functions as the
very power of analogy, the very capacity for a mimesis that repeats nature, not as a
thing, but as another power.31
This mouth of speech and spontaneity that recognizes itself only in miming a nature
that is already viewed as analogous to the logos must be opposed to the mouth of
disgust and vomit. What must be expelled is the unwilled, explosive and digestive

mouth that has lost control of interiority and exteriority. Disgust reaches the mouth
involuntarily, while vomit is the prompted near-active expulsion of that which
disgusts. There is therefore a gured opposition upon which the idea of the logos is
vicariously poised. What would the idea of sense be without the gure of voice, and
how would we think voice as expression and production without a distance from the
corporeality and sensibility of the mouth? What must be spat out or repressed is a
mouth that merely ingests and explodes (disgust and vomit). Only with the image of
a mouth divided clearly between the sensible and intelligible can we have the idea
of sense or signi cation, the idea of analogy or distance. We think analogy because
we can think the diVerence between a mouth of poetry that freely projects and
receives from itself and to itself in relations of likeness and recognition, as opposed
to a mouth that receives (disgust) and expels (vomit) compulsively neither purely
active nor passive. Activity and passivity are organized vicariously on an analogy of
the mouth. Vomit and disgust are expelled from the self of art and representation in
order to form a clear opposition between inside and outside, sense and sensible,
gure and gured. In this expulsion or negation this projection of a part of the
self outside the self there is a certain work of mourning. The self emerges only
through the loss and negation of the mouth of disgust. But this mourning has its own
visual presuppositions; that which is lost or mourned needs to be projected, viewed
as other: Mourning presupposes sight.32 So, mourning and the series of analogies
of expulsion, consumption and expression all those analogies through which we think
analogy or sense are only possible through a not even negative movement that
distributes all these terms. Before the aesthetic syntheses can be analogously balanced
upon the gure of the mouth, before activity and passivity, before any possible
mourning, there is
an irreducible heterogeneity which cannot be eaten either sensibly
or ideally and which this is the tautology by never letting itself be
swallowed must therefore cause itself to be vomited.3 3
Mourning a negation or expulsion that can be worked through or digested and
interiorized is preceded by a more radical expenditure that cannot be consumed.
We are, then, always within tautology, having already been expelled from an origin
that exceeds all economies of assimilation a pure loss or death that gives the
possibility of mourning and labour.
The gure of the mouth speaks as if it too were a naturing nature. But nature is
already moralized as a spontaneous freedom, and this through a God who is
(analogously/tautologically) a gure of the artist as self-creating nature. Analogy
produces this series of as ifs; but it is also only possible to have analogy through all
these gures of resemblance and mimesis. We think of man/God/nature through
analogy, but analogy is also just this human/divine/natural order of resemblance.
The unassimilable and transcendental condition of this system of tautologies appears
to be despite its unrepresentability a corporeal substitution.3 4 Thought as mimesis
and resemblance is only possible when the active/passive border displaces the
dispersion of unbounded diVerence. The receptive/expressive border of the mouth
of taste and vomit substitutes itself for the anal, but for Derrida this could only be
another example and not the original expulsion itself :

The word vomit arrests the vicariousness of disgust; it puts the thing
in the mouth; it substitutes, but only for example, oral for anal.35
Within a series of vicarious substitutions all of which allow a work of mourning
between self and other Derrida refers to an expenditure that cannot be cashed in,
returned, pro ted from or activated. It is the non-transcendentalizable and
What this logo-phonocentric system excludes is not even negative. The
negative is its business and its work. What it excludes, what this very
work excludes, is what does not allow itself to be digested, or
represented or stated does not allow itself to be transformed into
auto-aVection by exemplorality. It is an irreducible heterogeneity
which cannot be eaten either sensibly or ideally and which this is
the tautology by never letting itself be swallowed must therefore cause
itself to be vomited.37
We saw earlier that Marianne Moores poetry can be read as a disengagement of
eye from voice, a way of rethinking and retrieving the syntheses that produce the
subject of common sense. Derrida, however, suggests that the reference to an original
expulsion can only occur negatively, by way of an example or analogy that always
remains other than thought. There is a necessary death and mourning in all seeing.
The subjects capacity to see and speak is only possible, not just with a border
between self and other, but with a determination of the self as other, as already absent,
mourned. To posit oneself as a subject, over and against what is viewed, is to already
memorialize oneself vomited into a system never fully assimilable by life and
presence. We can see this self-production as mourning, memorializing and seeing/
saying in Thom Gunns poem The Missing. Like Moores poem, the voice follows
the eye. But what we have here is not an assemblage of found objects, received
phrases and connections, but a series of borders and monuments between life and
death. Each object of self-recognition and self-description that which allows the
eye of the poem to form an I is also a tomb and gure of death. The poem begins
with the mourning I following vision:
Now as I watch the progress of the plague
The friends surrounding me fall sick, grow thin3 8
The voice constantly marks a border between identi cation as recognition and
identi cation as distance. Those bodies that had once formed a family and
community of recognition are, with the progress of AIDS, becoming tombs that
threaten a more radical loss. The voice of the poem observes a living mass: Supple
entwinement through the living mass. The ambiguity of this term a sacred mass
as monument and a quantitative mass of living matter is the very ambiguity of
the mourning work of life itself. There can only be an I if there is a mass as memorial
or tomb, in which the self loses a part of itself in order to image and represent itself.
But the condition for this mass that ritualizes the self is a far more anarchic living
mass of life, which exceeds all mourning work, memorialization and all assimilation.
Similarly the marble of the faces signals, at one and the same time, a reference to

the living body as similar to a dead statue, and a marble that immortalizes the body.
This is not just a poem about death and mourning and its production of the very
borders of the self. The use of metaphors and analogies, the very style of the poem,
retraces the border in language between the function of speaking that both produces
the self and destroys the self s autonomy. The poems voice oscillates (or balances)
between a mourning of the eye, in which the body of the other as other allows for
the very life of the self, and a mourning of the I in which the literal death of the
others body destroys the monument, image, support or work of the self:
But death Their deaths have left me less de ned:
It was their pulsing presence made me clear
I borrowed from it, I was uncon ned,
Who tonight balance unsupported here,
Eyes glaring from raw marble, in a pose
Languorously part-buried in the block,
Shins perfect and no calves, as if I froze
Between potential and a nished work.39
We can draw several conclusions. First, there is the standard opposition between
Derrida and Deleuze by way of the negative. For Deleuze, the passage from anality
to orality is literal and within life. For Derrida, such explanations of the origin of
activity and passivity rely on an unrepresentable transgression of life, a death that is
not a zero intensity within existence4 0 but an irruption of existence by what is not.
That which is tamed by the mouth of speech can only be approached by way of an
example or analogy, with the function of analogy already reinscribing the sense of
the logos. Secondly, if, for Deleuze, we can turn back to the pre-history of the passive
syntheses, we can also look forward to an art and politics of aVect, intensity and
forces a disengagement of eye from voice, of aVect from concept, and of both from
the banality of opinion. For Derrida, however, it is this very notion of art as the
capacity to re-activate and re-present the syntheses from which life in its externality
emerges that is tied to an Auf klarung moralism.4 1 Any representation of the syntheses
will already have propped itself upon an already synthesized expelled, vomited,
projected term. If there is a politically redemptive value to art indeed, if there
is to be a politics freed from moralism then what is required is an art opening
towards, but not including, a radical heterogeneity or negativity. In any act of seeing
and copying there is always a lost, hidden and radically absent tracing which allows
for the path that opens the visible.4 2
The opposition drawn here isnt simple, for Deleuze is also implicitly and explicitly
critical of a high modernist aesthetic that would simply return us to the forces of
chaos from which synthesis emerges. (Philosophy, after all, only approaches chaos
through concepts that give it a certain consistency; chaos is always eVected from the
various approaches that it nevertheless makes possible.) Deleuze and Derrida often
refer to the same modernist authors Joyce, for example only to proceed in quite
diVerent directions. For Deleuze, Joyce is the author of the chaosmos but we

nevertheless need to be wary of the modernist notion of the great book that captures
chaos. 43 For Derrida, Joyce is the author of languages singular untranslatability, but
such a dimension of language is only possible alongside the dimension of sense and
translation. 44 Despite these connections and divergences we can see a signi cant
diVerence between Deleuze and Derrida in the relation between the passive syntheses,
art and sense. Both reject a notion of the relation between art and politics as one of
ideal consumption, expression and re-presentation. Both use a certain gure of
anality, expulsion, vomit or digestive stupidity4 5 to criticize an enlightenment
moralism that would tie the ethics of art to disengaged judgment.
How do we gure the outside of thought, the other of thought? How would we
decide between Derrida and Deleuze? Should art be read as the aYrmation of a
cruel force of sensibility that does violence to the borders of thought and the self ?
In such a case all writing would pass through becoming-woman in its festive
destruction of the image of the man of good sense. Or, should art be read as a
work of mourning, where the very monuments used to inscribe the self also testify
to the death of the self, its diVerence from any of its gures? On the one hand, we
could follow Deleuze and aYrm the positivity of the passive syntheses: the task of
thought is that of extending back from any of its given terms and oppositions to the
pre-active genesis that contracts what it contemplates from a multiplicity. This
would mean taking becoming-woman seriously. Woman is not the passive other of
thought. As the standard gure of thoughts other she provides the starting point for
an approach away from active/passive and male/female binaries. The very term
becoming-woman is a way of signalling that the other of the subject, point of view
and activity always begins from a point within life. The fragmentation of the sexual
opposition into a thousand tiny sexes is one way of thinking the multiplicity from
which ordered terms emerge. Art, in its production and the way we read it, would
have the function of going further still: approaching the sensible intensities, aVects
and percepts that are irreducible to sense.
On the other hand, we could follow Derrida and attend to the mourning or
monumental eVects of art all those framing eVects that divorce self from product,
sense from signature, subject from expression. The syntheses that give the diVerence
between self and absence or self and death always remain other than life. However,
we would need to follow both Deleuze and Derrida, against Deleuze and Derrida,
with a critique of the gures of cruelty, anality, passivity and consumption. This would
mean seeing the ways in which their own transcendental questions were dependent
upon the gures of a modernist aesthetic that are still resonant today: the artist
plunges back into chaos and anarchy, moving beyond the active (male) subject of
reason and the ( passive) female other of a passionate corporeality to a fertile ground
from which all sense emerges. For modernism, no less than Deleuze and Derrida,
relied on a transcendental corporeality. D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot,
Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound and Virginia Woolf all aYrmed a body of ows, which
was also a body of human life in general: a general becoming freed from the restrictive
borders of the mouth of speech and consumption. The excremental, anal and
scatological were also explicitly important for Joyce, but implicitly gured in Pound
and Lawrence, as well as being dominant gures in the French surrealist aesthetic.
The passive syntheses if thought as radically passive and therefore beyond any acting

subject or term cannot have a privileged or exemplary (sexual) tropology. And this
means that its less a question of aYrming the gures of Deleuze and Derridas work,
such as becoming-woman, mourning, the gift of death or nomadology, than looking
at the genesis of borders and gures in philosophy and art. The question between
Derrida and Deleuze is death and the negative within life or radically anterior?
would be better formed by confronting the production of the very limits of the
syntheses that occur in each work of philosophy or art. I would suggest that
modernism (and Romanticism before that) represented the very borders of life and
becoming according to the sexual diVerence of bodies, with passivity often being
aYrmed through the gure of woman, corporeality, the oceanic or the deathly
expenditure of the non-productive and non-phallic. Deleuze and Derrida both use
these gures of the feminine, the passive, death and cruelty to think the genesis
of gurality as such. But they have also been critical of exemplarity and analogy:
mistaking the synthesized events of thought for the event of synthesis. Moores poem
is Deleuzian, not because it is about animals, rhizomes or simulacra, but because
it is a transcendental event, a disengagement and intensi cation of eye and voice.
We can read The Missing by Thom Gunn as Derridean, not because it con rms a
Derridean theory, but because it enables us to question, in a quite diVerent
problematic, the border of self, death, mourning and monument. If Derrida and
Deleuze have anything to say about passive synthesis it is this: passivity gives thought
an Idea of the unthought, an unthought to which no gure or aesthetic is adequate,
but which constitutes the restlessness of art, politics and philosophy and their always
diVerent limits.

Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalytic Notes on an

Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia
(Dementia Paranoides), in Angela Richards (ed.),
Case Histories II: Rat Man, Schreber, Wolf Man,
Female Homosexuality, trans. James Strachey
(Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979), p.204.
Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of
Psycho-Analysis, trans. Alan Sheridan, Jacques-Alain
Miller (ed.) (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979), p.83.
Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis:
19591960, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII,
trans. Dennis Porter, Jacques Alain Miller (ed.)
(London: Routledge, 1992), pp.7071.
Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts, pp.8889.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus:
Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley,
Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane (London: Athlone
Press, 1984), p.143.
Jean Laplanche, Essays on Otherness (London:
Routledge, 1998), p.212.
Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia,
Alphonso Lingis oVers a quite literal explanation
for Deleuze and Guattaris claim here. Alphonso

Lingis, The Society of Dismembered Body Parts,

in Constantin V. Boundas and Dorothea Olkowski
(eds), Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy (New
York: Routledge, 1994), pp.289303.
Gilles Deleuze, Di erence and Repetition, trans. Paul
Patton (New York: Columbia University Press,
1994), pp.1618.
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.145.
Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy or Morals;
Ecce Homo, trans. Walter Kaufmann and
R. J. Hollingdale, Walter Kaufmann (ed.) (New
York: Vintage, 1969), p.119.
Nietzsche, Genealogy, p.84.
Georges Bataille, The Solar Anus, in Allan
Stoekl (ed.), Visions of Excess: Selected Writings
1927 1939, trans. Allan Stoekl with Carl R. Lovitt
and Donald M. Leslie Jr. (Manchester: Manchester
University Press, 1985); Antonin Artaud,
Correspondence with Jacques Rivie`re, Collected
Works, vol. 1, trans. Victor Corti (London: John
Calder, 1968). See, also, the comprehensive
analysis of the aesthetic of anality and the eye in
Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision
in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1993).


Jacques Derrida, The Theater of Cruelty and

the Closure of Representation, in Writing and
Di erence, trans. Alan Bass (London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul, 1978), pp.232250; Gilles Deleuze
and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1987),
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.204.
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.213.
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.206.
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.205.
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.228.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is
Philosophy? , trans. Graham Burchill and Hugh
Tomlinson (London: Verso: 1994), p.145.
Deleuze and Guattari, What is Philosophy?,
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.238.
Deleuze, Di erence and Repetition, p.258.
Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, trans. Sean Hand
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
1988), pp.5759.
Ju rgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of
Modernity: Twelve Lectures, trans. Frederick Lawrence
(Cambridge: Polity, 1987).
Marianne Moore, The Fish, The Complete Poems
of Marianne Moore (London: Faber and Faber, 1984),
pp.3233; p.32. Compare this with a poem of the
same title by Elizabeth Bishop, also a poet of
concrete observation who uses an I that is
insistently impersonal: I admired his sullen face, /
the mechanism of his jaw, / and then I saw / that

from his lower lip / if you could call it a lip /

grim, wet, and weaponlike, / hung ve old pieces
of sh-line. Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish, The
Complete Poems: 19271979 (London: The Hogarth
Press, 1984), pp.4244.
Marianne Moore, Poetry, [longer version],
Complete Poems, pp.266267.
Jacques Derrida, Economimesis, trans.
R. Klein, Diacritics 11.2 (Summer 1981), pp.325;
Derrida, Economimesis, p.10.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.6.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.13.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.19.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.21.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.22.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.25.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.22.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.21.
Thom Gunn, The Missing, The Man with Night
Sweats (London: Faber and Faber, 1992), pp.8081.
Thom Gunn, The Missing, p.81.
Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus , p.330.
Derrida, Economimesis, p.6.
Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The SelfPortrait and Other Ruins, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault
and Michael Naas (University of Chicago Press,
1993), p.45.
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p.6.
Jacques Derrida, Introduction to Edmund Husserls
Origin of Geometry, trans. John P. Leavey (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1989) p.103.
Deleuze, Di erence and Repetition, p.152.

Claire Colebrook teaches English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. She

is the author of New Literary Histories (1997), Ethics and Representation (1999) and the
co-editor, with Ian Buchanan, of Deleuze and Feminist Theory (2000).