Interview Kuniichi Uno with Féllx Guattari


The Antioedipus

K. My first question will be how you wrote your books, I’m thinking of Raymond Roussel’s book: How I wrote some of my books...

G. Perhaps the reference to Raymond Roussel is valuable. Because, basically, there is an element of heterogeneity as a factor in the production of meaning that was sought in Roussel through artificial processes that you know well. And perhaps something of this nature played out between Gilles Deleuze and me. In the sense that we are, I think, so different from each other in every respect that there has certainly been a whole series of phenomena of meaning that have arisen from the mere fact of this difference. So much so that we have invented a certain number of words, expressions, etc. And sometimes, after two or three years of using one of these words in common usage, we discovered that the other one didn’t have exactly the same meaning. It was something that made us laugh and that we always assumed, because in the end it wasn’t a question of agreeing. That was never our problem, but rather to share our conceptual tools. I proposed this formula a long time ago, which was taken up by many people, including Michel Foucault, this notion of tool, of conceptual tool, namely that it was legitimate to take a part, or even a word, an expression, a conceptual turn in someone’s work to try to do a certain type of montage. And we find the Roussellian techniques, the “cut up” in American writing. That is to say, it seems to me to be quite legitimate to have a constructivist attitude towards concepts, to try things out, to engage in a kind of policy which may be superficial collage, and at that point which does not lead to anything, but which can sometimes trigger a real process of knowledge and creation. So I don’t separate this perspective of knowledge and this perspective of creation.

We work a lot on our own, we work intensely from time to time, but within a limited time frame, together. And there is obviously a certain division of labour, namely that Gilles’ type of culture, his considerable knowledge of the history of philosophy, and more generally of the history of ideas, frequently puts him in a position to position a problem. Which doesn’t mean arbitrating a position, because arbitration, I think, is really like… Perhaps sometimes it’s been up to me, on the contrary, to have a much more exploratory attitude, much more dangerous, in short. Sometimes I said to myself, in a rather ridiculous military comparison, that he had all the troops somewhere installed to occupy a whole field, and that I had certain commando actions.

K. Avant-garde too. So, after the meeting that took place like that, it took a while, until you decided to write together.

G. No. It was love at first sight! It was immediately after ’68, it must have been in ’69, through a mutual friend I had met Gilles. And I was very critical of everything that was being played out around Lacan, by Lacan himself, as an attempt to interpret, let’s say more frankly to recuperate, the ’68 movement within the Lacanian movement. And I found this ridiculous because I had been very interested in Lacanism for a long time, but I always considered this type of anhistorical structuralism to be fundamentally reactionary, which obviously didn’t prevent me from being interested in it. And as I saw this junction that was cutting me off a bit, I was frankly furious to see the Maoists recuperate the ’68 movement, to see the Lacanians flirting with the Maoists etc. etc. Even Cohn-Bendit had been received by Lacan, all that. That sharpened my criticisms of Lacanism a bit. That is to say, until then, my criticisms had been about the relationship between psychoanalysis and psychosis, between psychoanalysis and the social field, but in a general way. This time, it took them directly into the political arena and was therefore much more potentially polemical. So when I exposed these things to Gilles Deleuze, he was very interested. I think he saw in me a sort of left wing of Lacanism. He wanted to settle his own accounts with Lacanism, he wanted to try to advance on his own behalf in a theoretical clarification of the events that had just taken place in ’68. And there was immediately a desire on his part that the theme I was developing be made explicit. So he started by telling me: “but you have to write all that down”. I was not at all prepared to do a substantial work at that time on this theme, and he insisted a lot, I was surprised because I did not feel I was carrying such an essential message. And until I said to him…, and he said to me: “but you just have to write what you say, what you say is quite good”. I was still doubtful. And he said: “well, let’s do it together”. And I said, “OK then”. And it started like that, it started but I don’t know, I think, the first time I saw him, the second time… practically. So then there was a set of practical modalities to be worked out and that’s what gives you a little bit of the somewhat pedantic style, the breath of the first pages of the Anti-Œdipus, it was on this very verbal momentum.

In my opinion, this played a role in the listening and in the subsequent misunderstandings, let’s say that made the Anti-Œdipus a success, because the Anti-Œdipus appeared as an event, as a rupture that put in resonance other potential contestations, other ruptures, other questionings, from another angle of psychoanalysis, I’m thinking of the texts of Robert Castel or things like that. There was a certain, potential, fed upness among many people with this attitude of an unheard-of pretentiousness on the part of the Lacanians to want to cover all the fields and, above all, to interpret the political field. And this was immediately noticeable, I mean that even before the Anti-Œdipus was published, Lacan, whom I was still seeing a lot at that time, was very worried, he wanted to have the manuscript, he wanted to know about it etc. because he sensed that there was something that would put into question, let’s say, a certain…He wanted to have the manuscript, he wanted to know about it, etc., because he sensed that there was something which would call into question, let’s say, a certain status of power of this Lacanian structuralist group which, at the time, you have to imagine, was a power, in the sense that it obviously concerned psychoanalytical circles, it concerned psychiatric circles, which were largely covered by all the Lacanians who entered into the training of psychiatry, it concerned the field of childhood very much through Maud Manonni, Françoise Dolto who have not much to do with Lacanism, but that doesn’t matter, it was found in religious circles, both Catholic and Talmudic studies, etc. It was found in the École Normale and in Maoist groups. In other words, it became a very important cultural force. So attacking that, we can no longer imagine it now because it’s completely over, fortunately in fact, and attacking it head-on, it was like I don’t know, I can’t give you a comparison, I don’t know, I don’t even know what we could do as a comparison today to make people understand that.

It was structuralism. That is to say, there was the old structuralism, of Lévi-Strauss, the old…Jakobson etc., which appeared as pillars, respected in a certain way by Lacan, and the end of the line of structuralism which did not want, which was furious if one called it a structuralist, it was Freudian etc., well, to the letter, so to speak, in short, obviously not Freudian. So it was Lacanism.

K. So Lacanism has succeeded in recovering certain revolutionary wills? And how did this mechanism come about?

G. It was done through a very classic elitist aggregation mechanism, a phenomenon of, let’s say, worldly aggregation. In this movement of ’68, which had set millions of people in motion, the intellectuals felt a bit lost and they had to find a notoriety, a reason for being, etc. Well… And for that they had to have a label that was a bit fashionable, a bit new, I think it’s something like that. They had to “be” in a certain way.

K. So there was this meeting. You’ll have to ask Deleuze that too, perhaps, but how the problems were constituted, more or less, to enter into this collaborative work.

G. Wait, I’m thinking a bit about your question, because it’s interesting… I think that Gilles, from a philosophical point of view, with Difference and Repetition and Logic of Meaning had in his hands a completely new and original instrument for reading, allowing us to approach what I would call the register of historical and social singularities. Well, he had this instrument, but let’s say that his concrete enunciation, his arrangement of enunciations (to me, he always said: “but I’m only a little teacher”), didn’t allow him to test this theoretical machine in different fields. I believe that I helped him, and I trained him, (Oh, did I help him by training him?), there are many people who think that since Gilles worked with me, that it’s no longer worth anything, that he was lost, people who said like this: “Ah, at the time, he was good! Since he met Guattari, it’s over”. Well, I believe that we helped each other and that I somewhat precipitated him to leave his traditional field, that is to say, we worked intensely in psychiatry, on psychoanalysis, on ethnography, on economic problems etc. (on aesthetic problems, he had been there for a long time). So we did successive workshops, quite intense, to cover Anti-Œdipe and Mille Plateaux, and then we worked on Kafka, I worked again on Proust and then he continued on the cinema. But on cinema, as we had never agreed on a single film, there was no risk of us working together! How many times did I see a film and say: “Oh, I’ve seen a wonderful film” and I saw Gilles’ face break down: “Oh yes? Do you think so? Ah well… ” It’s very, very curious, it was one of the really insurmountable differences. I don’t think we could write about one film.

K. What’s fundamental is that there are differences between the two of you, because it’s a really sympathetic work, really orchestrated, with sympathy in the fundamental sense. It’s not just a collaborative work, there’s something that flows and that, how can I say… that merges and sounds together. And at the same time there is a real collaborative work… it’s a job of thinking together and with a certain sharing. I think we can talk about a kind of fantastic writing machine, because there is a heterogeneous style, but which is very coherent in the end.

G. Sympathy goes without saying, especially when you write about desire, I mean that if it hadn’t worked in this register, there would have been nothing at all in this sense. From that point of view, we’re completely the same, that is to say we’ve never done anything that bored us, which doesn’t mean that we haven’t done boring things as work, but in relation to each other there’s never been any problem. At least, I think so. On the other hand, what there was was because of these differences, which are the essential things I said at the beginning. And there was, I think, a sharing of skills. A sharing of competences… Not domain skills, because I happened to work on philosophical questions and Gilles, on the other hand, had a very important knowledge of the psychoanalytical literature. That’s not how it happened at all. But it’s more at the level of, let’s say, the arrangements of enunciation. There were whole sectors for me, whole sectors that I worked on, where I forged a field of competence, for example in anthropology. And then there was a work of assessment, a work of rewriting, a work of recovery. With Gilles it was the same thing, except that his skill involves the whole of culture, for decades and decades, so it’s a skill which is perhaps less sectorial, I think. I don’t want to say that I only had a sectorial competence either, because I also introduced general dimensions into the order of political concerns and also a certain number of themes which were very important for me, such as the phylum of machines, deterritorialisation, abstract machines, etc. But that was much more important than the sectorial competence. But that was much more at the level of tools, instruments. This means that we had to experiment with a certain number of instruments until we adopted them. To experiment with them is like in a new language, it’s the usage, you could very well take a new word and then forget about it, not talk about it anymore. You could take a new word and then change its meaning along the way and keep a different meaning from the one it had at the start. It’s the use of a language, or at least what Gilles and I have forged is a language. It’s a language and a group of people started to speak it with us and brought us… This language was not only around him and me, it was also a whole group of friends who spoke it with us, who brought us new words, I remember people bringing me texts, things like that, and I said “well, that fits well into that language” and then it’s a language fed, I tell you, by the plundering, by the linguistic plundering of authors, everywhere. It’s a language. With the sometimes unpleasant sides of the existence of a language, namely that people start to speak it repetitively, like a fashion, that also existed at a certain time. People who spoke Deleuzian. There was a fashion. I’ve always been in groups that perhaps spoke Guattarian. But the dominant language at one point around Gilles was necessarily Deleuzism. I remember being questioned by people, students of Gilles Deleuze, who were astonished by the fact that I used certain words or still spoke of such and such an author…

K. And concretely, how did you write, how did you progress? I heard that you didn’t see each other much and that you worked in correspondence with writings. At what pace did you work, did you write?

G. At the same time, you work on one subject and at the same time, for my part, I was writing about all the subjects at the same time. There were both elements. It wasn’t entirely sectoral work. That is to say, when I was writing on one subject, I was developing all the implications at a synchronic level. And Gilles would take things back, reclassify things, he was the one who made, who regulated the economy of the work, who said: “oh no, that’s not for now”, “we’ll have to take it up again later etc.”, “it’s interesting but there’s no point in developing it”. He was the one who did the ‘dispatching’. You could say that from the start we worked, we started discussing everything that would be in Anti-Oedipus, Kafka, because Kafka was a part of Mille Plateaux. And Rhizome too, of course. We began to discuss this, always, the whole of this theme, and it was Gilles who organised the work, part by part. All the time there was a back and forth. So that means that afterwards you can’t say: this is the text of one or the other because if you absolutely wanted to find sentences, but that’s hardly interesting. There were changes, there were changes, constant coming and going.

K. Anyway, in this work of two people, there is something really, how can I put it, everyone thinks like this, that it is something completely miraculous.

G. Does everyone think like that? Not really! Not in France anyway! No, I tell you. There are people who think that it was disastrous, that young philosophy professor who was so promising, that’s what he became… In philosophical circles, you just have to do an investigation on what people think of the influence, the bad influence of Guattari on Deleuze… Yes, it’s true that I experienced it as something miraculous in the sense that I always had the double feeling of being supported, of being led, teleguided and at the same time of being totally free. Supported because there was a project, there was the excitement of the work, supported because there was the back-up, there was this immense culture of Gilles Deleuze, this unheard of capacity for work, and at the same time free because from then on there was no constraint at all, no ideological or epistemological framework, and so on. So that’s something quite precious.

K. I also believe that there is something musical in this work and, for example, I often hear Deleuze singing, singing a little, and you also sing in life, you also sing… It’s not to say that you write like you sing, but there is something musical, completely. And if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think it would be possible, because… you need a lot of things to achieve this kind of thing, you need a kind of music. You said you had done a kind of orchestration…

G. If I were to extend your image, I would come back once again to the first thing I said to you during this interview. There’s something musical about it because there are extremely heterogeneous musics, musical segments that have come together. It would be a bit like Bartok’s music, I don’t know, where at the same time you have popular melodic lines, ritornellos like that, very short, which are associated, with harmonic constructions, with orchestration etc. I think that’s what it’s all about. I think that’s what new music is all about, it’s born from the meeting of different melodic, harmonic, contrapuntal, orchestral and other segments, which we didn’t think could be associated before. And it’s obvious that a certain way of speaking, a certain brutality on my part, a certain ease in short-circuiting problems, in talking about political, psychoanalytical, philosophical and other things at the same time, is something that created a rupture effect in the style, in the way Gilles wrote and perhaps even thought. So I think that’s what makes the music. I think we never sang in chorus, if we had sung in chorus, it would have been funny because well…. But it’s a differential music, it’s a music associated with another music which creates a new one. It’s not the idea of “we are in the same…”, it’s not Beethoven’s Ninth.

K. It looks as if you worked in pairs like this, but the power of this collaborative work is not simply realized as a double. It’s a kind of multiplicity multiplied not by two, but by a somewhat indefinable number. It’s not two, it’s… it’s ten, it’s a bit infinite. We hear many voices.

G. I’m glad you said that. But it only really makes sense if there are other people like you and others who use it. Because that’s the process, it turns between two people, and then well it closes. It already closes with their own death. And if indeed it serves to catalyse a direction of research, a work, as has happened a number of times, perhaps that’s the interest of this kind of work.

K. And if we talk about the effect, the listening, the result of your work on people, the result of your work received by readers. I’m very interested, for example, in this text in Mille Plateaux, “Comment se faire un corps sans organes?”, I think it was first published in the magazine Minuit. And when I read it, I found it very curious because it’s in a way, how can I put it, a text for people who have read L’Anti-Œdipe and who can possibly misunderstand L’Anti-Œdipe, it’s above all the problem of drugs, or the problem of alcoholism. As if L’Anti-Œdipe had been read as a kind of apology for many things, for drugs… and even for a slightly suicidal life, etc. This text, I found it very funny at the same time because I really had the impression that The Anti-Oedipus was so alive. It’s a book that can be read in various ways, very varied, and that sometimes there can be a dangerous reading, lived in danger.

G. For whom?

K. For some people, for some time in their lives. But that’s why this text is fantastic. What happened with this book, with this publication. This book has been talked about a lot but…

G. At first we didn’t talk about it much for six months and it was even a slogan put out by Lacan to say “don’t talk about it, let it pass”. And then it was talked about a bit… and then there were two pages in Le Monde, which was important. And then it actually became a fashionable object… It was interesting for me to see how the psychoanalytical, psychiatric and other circles proceeded by successive approaches to neutralise the effect. Because you were talking about the effect. We spoke of the Kafka effect, we can speak of a Deleuze effect or a Deleuze Guattari effect. So: “Ah yes, it’s interesting but, etc.”, and then from “but” to “but” there were attacks of another kind, on another level, against me, supposedly my practice, I don’t know what, they started to attack me about La Borde too. Afterwards they said “yes, but at La Borde they practise electroshock”, well things which really had nothing to do with the book and especially with me because I never gave anyone electroshock. And then what else was there… there were hard attacks against the CERFI, and the journal Recherches, we were accused of working for the government or for the CIA too. I remember in the United States I was denounced as working for the CIA in a meeting at Columbia University. And then it went on like that. On the other hand, it was where we didn’t expect this type of response that we got some really exciting feedback. First of all, among young people who read this, who read everything or at least part of it. I remember in Canada, a student who came with a page of The Anti-Oedipus, “ah I tore out that page because it’s really a passage… I always want to have it with me”. Things that were a bit childish but funny. And then there were a lot of artists. The ethnologists were very interested. It’s only now that there are certain attacks, certain disputes, which I think are in bad faith. And it must be said that I really liked working with Pierre Clastres, who was my friend, and at the time when I put forward this idea of the Urstaat, that is to say a certain type of state which potentially inhabits all archaic societies, he too was working on his theme of Society against the State, etc. I had worked with really all of them, and they were very different. I had worked with a whole group of ethnologists that I had been in contact with for a long time. In different circles, there was this sympathetic and constructive audience, on the other hand, in circles directly linked to the psychoanalytical and psychiatric problematic, it was dreadful, it must be said… I broke up with dozens and dozens of people who were my friends because it was rather foul, foul…

K. Because of this book?

G. Oh yes, completely. So now it’s fashionable to say that all that is very outdated, that “oh lala, but what weren’t we going to write at that time! It must be said that there were unheard-of caricatures saying that for us the economy of desire was everything and anything, it was… there were comic strips made… and so on. There were… we spoke of L’Anti-Œdipe without knowing at all what was in it.

The production of subjectivity

K. What is also remarkable is that you say that artists were very interested in this book… There is a very interesting relationship, in this philosophical book, with literature, with art, with politics. The relationship of The Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus with politics, history, literature, music, the arts, and especially politics, poses another problem. How would you describe this new relationship between The Anti-Oedipus and all the fields it deals with?

G. It would be interesting to ask Gilles this question too, because I’m not sure we would say the same things… My perspective remains purely analytical. That is to say, it aims at circumscribing, implementing a certain type of collective agency of enunciation which allows us to bring to light formations of the unconscious, let’s say productions of subjectivity, with all that this implies in terms of effects in all the domains you’ve just listed. So, for me, when we work on a text on Kafka, on Proust, I’ve done that independently, but… when we reflect on a musician or a painter, etc., it’s not at all a domain of application of a theoretical-conceptual scaffolding. It is an offshoot of enunciation which is productive as such, whose by-products, whose secondary benefits are conceptual. It is, for example, by working on Kafka that we elaborated and developed the notion of “becoming animal”. It’s by working, I wouldn’t even say “by working on”… it’s “by working on” Artaud that we’ve developed this perspective of the “body without organs” and it’s not finished, because I mean that on the one hand it’s been found elsewhere, among sadomasos etc., and then, for my part, it’s still something that continues to function. For Bacon, we find this same type of problematic. It’s not like the psychoanalysts who take President Schreber to apply concepts on psychosis, on the contrary, we ask: “Mr. President Schreber, do you want to… not only tell us how your subjectivity functions but make ours function? This seems to me an essential reversal. Who are the great inventors, the great creators of subjectivity today? There is a reversal. The phylum of stated objects, of produced objects, engenders the different figures of the agencies of expression. If I take Kafka’s different figures of enunciation agency, simplifying, schematising, it was much more complicated. I started reading Kafka when I was sixteen and it was very important for me. I read The Castle. I had a kind of identification phenomenon, it marked me a lot. Then, when I was twenty-one, the first schizophrenic I took care of was completely identified with Kafka, and he was a very serious, catatonic patient, and I made him work on Kafka. He was writing a diary, moreover, he was getting together with Kafka… he was a young Jew who has now gone to Israel and so we did a whole Kafkaesque work and it went very well. Then there was this work with Gilles which was to be integrated into the continuation of The Anti-Oedipus. There, the Kafkaesque arrangement changed again and it allowed us to move forward on all the themes of bureaucracy, the war machine, animal-becoming, schizo incest and a whole series of notions about Christianity. And now I find myself involved in this affair because, with the Transcultural Foundation that I’m in charge of, we find ourselves bringing together all the people who have thought about Kafka, who have worked on him, but on an international scale. It’s as if we were starting from a totally personal and intimate relationship with Kafka and arriving at this meeting, which may even go to Japan.

K. Artaud’s presence is remarkable and impressive in L’Anti-Œdipe, especially through the notion of the “body without organs”. The “body without organs” is something that is beginning to be talked about in Japan. There are, for example, avant-garde dancers who work with this word. I haven’t seen the piece but someone is creating a piece that refers to the CSO. What happened with Artaud? The reading of Artaud for L’Anti-Œdipe, how can you describe it?

G. It can be qualified at the level of content, but I also believe that it must be qualified from the point of view of its effects at the level of the agency of enunciation considered. Artaud is one of the most significant authors from this point of view, since he can be inscribed at the same time in the prolongation of a highly elaborate literary writing, and this same writing can be seen to receive charges that literally schizophrenicise it from beginning to end in a perhaps unique way. If we take Joyce’s writing, for example, we also see this desire for schizophrenia in his writing, but it’s a desire, it’s a work, it’s a literary research, and Finnegans Wake is, in the end, something extremely sophisticated, whereas the charge of Artaud’s writing, the fact that, in one fell swoop, we’ve crossed the reference coordinates of literature, of the normal world, etc., it’s something that totally concerns the process of enunciation itself. So I believe that Artaud will remain for a very long time not a model, because it can’t be a model, it’s something that escapes all modelling, but an absolutely fascinating horizon. There are few phenomena in the history of writing that reach this intensity.

In the field of writing, there have been cuts, there was Dadaism, there were a lot of things, but always with this permanent reintroduction of the coordinates of literary and philosophical references…whereas Artaud, it’s the very root of his existence, of his subjectivity that enters there. That is to say, because of this it becomes a real experiment, it is no longer simply representation. And because of this, it becomes a true and great philosophical author because it directly forges a science of existence. I believe that in all the great philosophers there has been something, a segment of authenticity. When you read Pascal, when you read even Descartes, Spinoza, you can see that they had an existential event that they then fit in one way or another in all their discursivities, in all the logos that they manage. But it’s relative, there are also those who have nothing at all, there are those who manage the university, there are those who continue to knit the dominant discourse. It’s rare to see an experience like this, absolutely stunning, of an individual who struggles with the cosmos, who struggles with relations with the other, who struggles with language and who is thus able to forge means of knowledge. It is like a journey, an odyssey.

K. What also struck me a lot in Artaud is a very singular figure of thought, the special status of thought… It’s something completely original, and it’s not literature anymore. Everything he described in the letters concerns thought and he describes the crisis of thought, not anything else, and the problem of how to produce thought and that’s a question that really obsesses him all the time, how to produce his own being and the constant impossibility that he encounters. And so it’s a kind of philosophy, but a strange philosophy which is practised only with the impossibility of thought. We always think of Artaud as an exceptional man of the theatre, as someone who inaugurated an experimental theatre, etc. But I believe that Artaud’s theatre is not the same as the theatre of the past. But I think that Artaud’s theatre is interesting because he lived through this fundamental crisis, and the theatre was always with this problem, open to these singular dimensions of thought.

G. And Artaud never betrayed. When you take, for example, a guy like Lautréamont… you have The Songs of Maldoror on the one hand, which are a marvellous thing but… you see the kind of betrayal that is carried in the poems. So you think: “What kind of game was he playing?”, you know… There are few, there are few authors. There is Rimbaud, there are a certain number of authors who can be said not to have betrayed, that is to say that they didn’t negotiate, they didn’t sell on the market the elements they had brought back from this existential dive.

The difficulty of using force

K. Is it possible to situate what you did with Mille Plateaux and L’Anti-Œdipe, in the filiation of a kind of philosophy of force… Philosophy of force and above all philosophy of the body. It’s that we read your books from this point of view… me too, for that matter… a philosophy… a philosophy of thought about the body which is completely new compared to the thought about the body of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, for example. In short, thinking about the “body without organs”, based on forces that go beyond the organic dimension. Do you have anything to say from this point of view?

G. That is to say, I think that there is a terminological difficulty because it is obviously not a thought about force, that is to say that I even believe that it is the opposite and that it is the refusal of any dynamic vision which poses, which determines subjectivity in a relation of conflict and which implies topically distinct instances through these conflicts and which applies a general economy of an equivalent such as the libido etc. So everything that refers to the notion of force, to the notion of dynamics, to the notion of energy and energy economy seems to me to fall under traditional psychology and certain philosophical visions of subjectivity, let’s say the philosophy of the individuated subject, which is absolutely the antithesis of our concern. So I think that when you talk about force, I imagine that you want to talk about something else, because that’s really not what we’re talking about at all, because precisely…

K. Or power, or intensity.

G. There’s this term of power that I’m wary of. There’s this term that Gilles introduced, which is worth what it’s worth, which is that of intensities. Intensity is already a different notion from that of force. But it’s true that all physical comparisons in this field betray us. And if you wanted to expunge from psychoanalysis all the physical-biological comparisons, well, there would be nothing left. So we come back a little bit to things that were very important, this idea of a logic of meaning. And today I would speak of a logic, or rather a mechanics of the “body without organs”. It’s something that doesn’t unfold in energetic-spatial-temporal coordinates. So why talk about force? In the world of Alice in Wonderland, there is no force! Everything is flat! Everything falls… There are no antagonisms at all… In the dream world, there is no force. Something comes, fades away, goes somewhere else

What’s great is to have taken this notion of the “body without organs” which is something of an aporia since it’s as if we were saying a whole without parts, a totality but which is not a totality of parts, but which therefore exists alongside the parts. We’ve had a whole series of expressions like that. It’s simply to indicate that we are in a type of logic. I wrote a text on semiotic energetics to show that, after all, energetic concepts as developed in modern science are concepts among others… We can imagine building other energetics. On that basis, we could indeed reintroduce a certain number of notions, but on the condition that we first clear away all this abuse, which is ultimately to square off all the phenomena of meaning, all the phenomena of subjectivity, to clean them up, to empty them out in favour of a vision rigorously of sets in one-to-one relationship, of relationships of tensions, of dynamic vectors, of forces, of antagonistic systems, etc. You see, vectorised systems. That’s not how the subject works! When you position yourself in the world, there is no you and then Felix opposite and the world. There’s you everywhere, I’m in your world, because, as Husserl saw perfectly, there’s a hegemonic vision of subjectivity. But you can see that there is no force there! You don’t force the limits of the cosmos to make room for me. I’m either there or I’m not, it’s all or nothing. That’s Lewis Carroll’s logic, that’s another thing…

K. When we say that there is only force, or forces before forms, subjects, we are not talking about force in the sense of modern science, in energetic-spatial terms either……

G. I have a kind of deep hostility to Nietzsche. I simply don’t like him. You can say that the term “force” is used like that, but… The term “force” is difficult to divert from its meaning. There are philosophies of force everywhere, there is so much power in force. There are words that you can try to break, to change their use, but there are others that are very difficult. It’s like saying: “I use the term leader or führer in a different sense”. Maybe… but it’s not easy. “I’m for the leaders, I’m for the führer”, “I’m for the superman”, “I’m for the force”. It’s not easy, it creates ambiguities.

K. I entitled my thesis on Artaud The Space of Forces. Because in Artaud, thinking about force is inseparable from cruelty and the “body without organs”. I always had trouble with the words intensity, energy, power, because Artaud talks about an energy too. Cruelty is a bit difficult, the “body without organs” is more enigmatic, it’s different again. But with the “body without organs”, I was able to move into another dimension, and it’s almost the last concept of Artaud.

G. But “body without organs” is a new word. If you were to say “force without energy”, if you were to say “detotalised whole” you could forge something. But the term force, the term energy, whether you like it or not, has a monstrous semantic heredity. The idea of force also implies the relations of force, therefore the mapping of the relations of force, the representation of these relations, therefore the opposition between representation and intensity.

The arrangement of statements

K. You talk about the agency of enunciations. It seems that this is a new concept, that we haven’t heard much about and that there is a kind of very strong criticism of structuralist linguistics and Chomskyan linguistics. And the agency of enunciation is also, for me and for those who are more or less interested in it, linked to a new figure of poetics. And at the same time it’s something I can’t easily grasp. Your Kafka is a book that I like a lot, and in it the agency of enunciation seems to me to be quite clear. Is this notion, the agency of enunciation, something that can be… that can be found in different forms in all authors, in all levels of literature, and something that can be constituted as a fundamental concept for interpreting the literary work from a new point of view?

G. It’s not Gilles Deleuze and myself who invented the question of enunciation in linguistics. It is a question that is now becoming quite predominant and that is already old because Benveniste and Austin introduced this problem of enunciation. Culioli has worked a lot on enunciation… We can see that, in the end, linguists have a curious attitude, since they are led to give more and more space to enunciation, but they consider that it contaminates more and more statements, but that it is a sphere that is both dominant and marginal. For me, it is obviously the pragmatics of language, it is enunciation which is the constituent of the factors of production of meaning. In other words, there is no production of meaning or subjectivity that is specific, intrinsic to the concatenation of signifiers. Point. No more structural linguistics. And this is the complete reversal. It’s not a question of making a little room for enunciation to say: “ah, the process of enunciation intervenes there, in… as the emergence of discourse in language. No, it is a question of saying that discourse is the generation of meaning, that language is only one component of discourse among many other components which are the components of the “body without organs”, which are the socio-economic, ecological, cosmic components, etc. It is all of this that speaks, that makes sense and it is not some system or structure of signifying chains.

G. It’s the input of components that can have a number of different kinds of effects. In the field of music it’s much more obvious. What produces the break that constitutes, say, Debussyism? The pentatonic scale? Yes, among other things! But of course not! It is also a certain type of ritornello, a certain type of organisation of the musical text, a new type of orchestration. But it is literally a new way of listening to the world. And it is something that is not in the music, it is an entrance. Debussy’s poetry enters the text and takes over the pentatonic scale, takes over this type of ritornello from oriental music or things like that… In all areas, it’s the same thing. The meaning is collected in totally heterogeneous components. Enunciation is in this type of expressive material and in another. It is in the process of being elaborated in socio-economic relations, in ethological relations, etc. This is what contributes to what is ultimately, in inverted commas, a mutant enunciation in the poetic or musical domain.

K. Can we establish, for example, a kind of typology of the arrangements of enunciations?

G. The agency of enunciation, I would define it fundamentally as an activity of metamodelling. It is the capacity to associate, to make a “body without organs”, to make new types of coordinates through different types of modelling. If we were to take the pentatonic scale, if we were to take a new type of timbre, if we were to take a new type of ritornello… this is the metamodelling of Debussysm, which is existential production. That is to say that metamodelling is not a simple metalanguage, of transcription. The narrative is something that is constitutive of subjectivity in archaic societies because it introduces a memory, it introduces a filiation. The fundamental narrative, the basic narrative is to say: “Tell me the list of your ancestors”. That’s it, it’s a narrative made up of proper names. Then, in this type of narrative, arrangements come into play which are no longer only those of filiation but which are elements of proliferation, namely mythic proliferation and then literary proliferation. I’ve created a myth of a perverted scribe in Egypt who… in the early days when these writing machines were only used to count the sacks of wheat, or to mark funerary inscriptions, started writing to his girlfriend or his boyfriend, that’s it. He brought in an erotic component, another dimension, he budded an arrangement of enunciation on a machine of enunciations, of narratives which was not at all intended for that. And then this sort of budding, which gave rise to the Song of Songs, among other things, began to become autonomous. There was then a politics of narrative to define a certain type of arrangement which would, in other periods, give protocols for reorganising the libido which would give courtly love, which would give chivalric narratives and things of that nature. At that point this narrative became self-producing of subjectivity. That is to say, previously the notion of writing was adjacent to arrangements of subjectivity that were territorialized, and now the narrative begins to function as itself producing subjectivity. There has been a scriptural reversal.

This new production of subjectivity, which I call capitalist subjectivity, since it capitalises in a certain type of narrative and metanarrative all the other subjectivities. The subjectivity of the Arandas and the Walpiris was totally specific, but I can take it as a metanarrative in the discourse of the ethnologist, and I can take the ritornellos and discourses of black Africans in North American jazz music. So the metanarrative becomes metamodelling. That is to say, I’m going to redo the subjectivation and I’m even going to have the luxury of sending back to the Aborigines of Australia and to the blacks of Africa the revised and corrected subjectivity as it has been treated by the North American and European media. So we see that we start from the narrative, the metanarrative, the metamodelling and then we return to the terrain of the private narrative. Psychoanalysis is a return to the narrative, that is to say, we reinvent a family novel where we had completely transformed subjectivity into capitalistic subjectivity, of insertion into the collective formation of labour power, we bring you back, we give you back at the end: “Here, take this, bring it home”, here is a family novel narrative that you can tell at home, or in your head, when you fall asleep, when you make love or at your psychoanalyst’s. So we can see, if we follow this line, that the narrative as such does not help in any way, cannot be circumscribed as a literary phenomenon, since it capitalises on all the modes of subjectivation. Now that it is important, that there are singers, representatives, a literary corporation… Yes, just as it’s important that there are corporations of bankers to manage money, which doesn’t mean that the phenomenon of money only concerns bankers, of course. It concerns all of society, including those who are not part of the monetary economy. So, literature, people who work with letters, they work on subjectivity on behalf of everyone, in the same way that the banker works on the whole of the monetary action…

Now it comes down to the fact that the… the networks, the networks, the collective, mass-media, mass-mediated, telematized etc. facilities produce the dynamic, mobile reference narrative, which changes from day to day, updates itself; the planetary subjective reference narrative. This narrative, of course, overcodes all the local elements and is the constitutive part, the major part of the whole system of production. That is to say, all production itself becomes adjacent to this subjectivation of integrated global capitalism. Whereas we started from a local narrative, where it was only a question of individual filiation, we arrive at this situation where not only has the narrative capitalised all the domains of subjectivity, but it capitalises production itself, in the sense that it is on the basis of this narrative that we are going to determine such and such a zone of development, what is the assignment of such and such a person who will be qualified as an elite, what is the assignment of the one who will be qualified as a guarantee, the one who will be non-guaranteed, marginalised, and so on. It is this narrative that is the infra-structural material of production. Whereas the narrative used to appear as a structure, as a superstructure completely above language. In fact, today the narrative is the instrument of infra-structural metamodelling par excellence.

K. In any case, the narrative was never an effect of language. For a very long time it was very much linked to the constitution of the state, to the constitution of myths, to the understanding of the world which is linked to all fields of production. Jean-Pierre Faye has worked a lot on the linking of narratives and the formation of the narrative in politics in molar, molecular terms. What is missing in his work is this dynamic side. And the narrative works on different social layers and this movement of crossing, of transformation, is not so much explained.

G. Whereas the idea is that narrative is the producer of subjectivity and this production of subjectivity is itself today the basis of all forms of production: production of societies, production of institutions and production… production of productive forces in the traditional sense. There is… Let’s take an example to make it clearer. If you want to send a rocket to Jupiter today, the essential prerequisite is to create the technological, techno-scientific, computer and other conditions, yes… but, above all, you have to produce the subjective narrative that will create the desire to produce this rocket. In other words, the Apollo project was based on Kennedy’s ability to create a certain type of narrative to send a man to the moon. But that kind of narrative, it’s an intrinsic part of the production process. It’s as essential as… to have identified the kind of materials, the kind of equations, the kind of capital that would allow, that would contribute to this project. And by the way, as soon as this subjectivity no longer existed, all of NASA’s projects were completely redesigned and fell into free fall.

K. In literature, among writers, there are movements that do against the narrative, to undo the narrative that capitalizes all subjectivities. Not all writers, and there are many writers who are committed to recreating molar narratives.

G. And then there’s another one, which is not to break the narrative in an artificial way, but that the narrative begins to function in new registers, in other directions. The caricature is the performances in the field of poetry, where you break the narrative with procedures… It’s touching, it’s moving, I like it, as I like Jean-Jacques Lebel a lot, I go and see these things. And then there’s the other real way of making other poetry. It’s that a certain type of language is forged with other dimensions, with other components, and then it will give rise to rock culture, rap culture, etc., where there are indeed segments of life, plastic relationships that are arranged differently and that in fact invent another poetry. If the free radio stations hadn’t been completely sabotaged by the socialist government, in France, well… we could see that there was another mode of producing literature and narratives that was beginning because there were other possible arrangements of enunciation. But immediately all the most traditional forms of expression fell on the free radios to put them back into the models, into the pre-normed moulds, and now it’s advertising.

K. In Japan between poetry and the structures of advertising language… There is a kind of infinite rapprochement, therefore, of poetry and advertising languages. Advertising languages are in a way completely recovering poetic discourse and poets are having a really hard time writing poems. This poetisation completely hijacked the poetic language mobilises aesthetic and rhythmic capitalisation very effectively. And so there is a kind of formation and deformation of languages, very flexible, perverse . Those who are called copy writers, writers of advertising language, of advertising texts, pay a lot of attention to the poly- semiotic side of kanji, Chinese letters, alphabets and foreign language words. This work in a way frees people’s sensibility and at the same time completely capitalises on the signs.

G. And it is possible to consider that TV commercials are perhaps a new form of poetry, and perhaps in a few decades they will be considered as such? In France, I really like cinema advertising. There are some quite amazing things. Sometimes the advertising sessions are much more interesting than the films. Don’t you think so?


K. Let’s talk about Japan as a philosophical object .

G. You see, as a philosophical object, I had a big row in a seminar with an eminent painter who was always talking to me about the specificity of Japan and so on. I was so annoyed that I shouted: “But I wanted to ask you, sir, are you sure that Japan exists? He looked at me, he was very surprised: “What? What do you mean? I said: “Yes, because what is Japan? What is it? Is it China? Is it Korea? Is it the United States? Is it… Where does it start? Where does it end?”. He was not happy!

To keep things polite, I said: “But no, there is a ‘becoming Japanese’ that does not belong to Japan alone, to people who live in Japan. It exists. There is a Japanese becoming in California, in industry, in art, etc., but I don’t know what Japan is, I don’t know.

Everyone is talking about Japan! What is this, Japan…? I said that to Mr Yamamoto, who was a former ambassador, or whatever, and who has now gone to Senegal. He was very interested in this. I said: “Be careful not to believe that Japan exists because it will cause you trouble”. It’s just that it doesn’t exist. That’s what’s great. And what did you say to me as a question?

K. But what about Japan as a philosophical object?

G. Precisely, Japan is an arrangement of enunciation. That’s why it doesn’t exist. It can’t be qualified as an enunciation, but it’s a process of enunciation that works on the whole planet. I have Fernand Braudel’s formulations on world cities in mind. Japan is a bit of a world capital today, because it’s where the reworking of enunciation is taking place. That is to say, Japan is one of the points of reconciliation where a certain number of relationships are rethought and redone. In this respect, Japan does not belong to the Japanese, just as Amsterdam did not belong to the United Provinces, it belongs to a planetary mechanical process. So what’s very interesting in the Japanese formula is that there is this use of residues of old structures, this use of archaisms, but in the service of a completely mutant process of enunciation. It’s obvious that the forces of labour have been so deterritorialised elsewhere that there’s nothing left, there are no family, personal or corporate structures left, etc. And to reconstitute a social subjectivity, a productive subjectivity, is terrible. You have to do psycho-sociology or whatever. Whereas the Japanese have been able to use, by mythologising them, archaic structures to recreate something which is both oppressive and liberating, it’s a total ambiguity in the use of archaisms – until further notice, because it can happen that these things historically… it can happen that they explode overnight and that you have a Japanese May ’68 one fine day, which throws the whole thing over. That… I don’t know… It’s true that it’s still a small miracle that the Japanese feel Japanese, that they feel that they are part of their own filiation and yet are the operators of quite extraordinary technological and cultural mutations. In the United States, it was a different matter and there was no such filiation at all, but there were ethnic groups that had been reconstituted on the spot, the Irish, the people of the first stock, the Italians, the Jews and so on. And that must have played a big part in the recomposition of primary groups of subjectivation. It was a considerable factor in boosting creativity.

K. In Japan, there is first of all a war machine function, everywhere…. There is something very warlike about it, as you can feel in singular artists. At the same time, all the molecular organisations, so at the level of the family, at the level of the school, a kind of good… a system of molecular control and a kind of self…, not self-management, but self-control which is done more or less everywhere.

G. School, family etc. are molar structures most of the time, they are micro-social but molar. You must not make molecular coincide with micro-social. You have molecular structures, which concern very, very large ensembles, for example, mass-media ensembles which can undergo molecular mutations.

K. I believe that the family, the school also work, often at the molecular level, at the bodily level .

The formation of power or capitalisation takes place all over the place in these various circuits…

G. There must be a perverse paternalism, there must be perverse oedipus, that is to say that the molar structures are put to work by real eros, real passions. You were telling me that Japan is a perverse people, one of the greatest perverse people the planet has ever seen. It’s striking to see to what extent the Japanese can invest themselves like mad in certain types of objects. The other time, I was listening to the radio, by chance, I was in a car, and they were talking about people who go to the Himalayas. There are many of them. And many of them die. Half of them are Japanese! It’s unheard of!

I like to play go, but I’m not a great player, but I have a lot of fun with it, and in Japan, I wanted to play a game of go and there’s Jun Ji Itô who says : “ah yes yes… I know someone who plays go”. Yes, very good. “Then I’ll take you”, “Very well!”, “Tomorrow. So tomorrow I’ll pick you up at eight o’clock”. I said, “How? He’s going to take me for a game of go at eight in the morning! I was very surprised. I didn’t say anything. I said: “Well…”, and I got ready. And then we go by car…? He said: “Yes, yes, we’re going to meet two friends and so on”. We meet two friends. Then he takes me in front of a huge thing on two floors, a fantastic thing! And it was a golf place, he didn’t distinguish between go and golf at all. It was me who mispronounced it. And so I went to this place where I wouldn’t have been without it, of course, I wouldn’t have had any idea. It was amazing, it was early in the morning, there were these little Japanese guys, these little elegant Japanese girls, and they were doing their golf training with ultra-sophisticated equipment. I watched that, I was fascinated. You know, they send the balls 300 metres, I don’t know how many… 200 metres. I said: My God, that little gesture! They do it like that! It made me understand something. That’s what I call a kind of machine perversion, madness. Then everyone feels sorry for them: “oh those poor Japanese, they are slaves, they work all the time, at school, everywhere”. I read, we read an article in Le Monde, where in the southern provinces, in the decentralisation, there are advertisements where the employees don’t take their 15 days of holidays, the women live in dormitories up to twenty-five. So we say to ourselves that they are a slave people. And they are not! They are a people of perverts! They like it! They are exploited, of course, but they also like it, they work like crazy.

K. What is perverse, maniacal, works both as repression and pleasure. It is infernal. What functions as a liberator functions as a repressor. That’s why the molecular machine that often functions anarchi quement can function differently than in the West. Surely in Japan , there is this perversity of functioning…

G. Associated with the fact that probably guilt does not work in the same way. He

There are not two thousand years of constraining monotheism that has reshaped the whole society. There are coefficients of semiotic freedom that exist, which can be seen in people’s grace, in the importance of the body in their lives, in their taste for labels and rituals, in a certain elegance of relationships that is undeniable, and in the plastic relationships. Not in music, curiously enough, because that’s terrible: popular musical jingles in Japan are an abomination, they’re ugly! It has no name! Honey, sweetness, melodic sweetness. It’s appalling… And I think that comes from importing a lot. We import ritornellos like we import Coca-Cola. That’s why local culinary traditions have been completely forgotten and unfortunately you don’t hear Japanese music in lifts, in the street, everywhere, it doesn’t exist! It’s so beautiful though, it’s absurd! It’s been swept away by Coca-Cola!

K. There is a quasi-traditional Japanese form of folk song, a very special melody, which is called enka. T sadness, melodrama,. regret, nostalgia sung… these songs do not disappear.

G. Fortunately it is not exported…

K. About what you have read in Japanese literature. Kawabata , you told me a little about it. How do you situate in what you have said about Japan this literature you know? You were talking about masturbation.

G. I see it as a form of… literary masturbation which has the very paradoxical gift of bringing into play very, very poor, very delimited objects. Almost nothing happens in this novel, and at the same time it opens up dimensions of anguish, solitude, abandonment to the world that are very moving. There is a mystery here. Because at the same time it’s really an old man’s masturbation, well the things I’ve read and at the same time it’s beautiful. I don’t know how you, the new generations, judge it, you like it, you must hate it, I suppose?

K. Kawabata we don’t read that much anymore. I like it a lot.

K. It’s really something very special. Tanizaki, Kawabata, these are people who went all the way, like if there was no ideology, no system , there is a vision of the world, but which converges on sensation.

G. But it makes me think, if you like, of a Gide who has developed outside of any literary influence, outside of any context.

K. A kind of dryness of language, dryness of meaning too, a funny distance from the force majeure…

G. There was this wonderful thing in Ozu’s Journey to Tokyo. That’s… that’s a masterpiece. You saw that film.

K. That’s it. It’s an old man’s film.

G. An old man’s film, “I’m here, what am I doing here? What’s going on?” But this expression doesn’t only concern old people. It concerns everyone, eh? Yes, I hadn’t thought of that. I really like Abe Kōbō, but he’s more of a writer of urbanism, of the twenty-first century. I see him very much in the lineage of Kafka.

K. He photographs, he has a very interesting view of the city. He focuses on the empty, ruined and devoured aspect of the city. These e landscapes always inspire him.

To finish, I would like you to talk a little about the Borde clinic, about the activity you carry out there and this back and forth between the clinic and your book and your other activities , how does the clinic enter in your books, in your books…? And how do the books enter the clinic…?

La Borde Clinic

G. It happens every week. With a few weeks skipped from time to time, punctuated fortunately by trips, things like that. So this clinical arrangement, the psychiatric clinic at La Borde, in Cour-Cheverny, founded by Dr. Jean Oury, who by the way is going to Japan this week, I’ve written almost nothing about it. A few tiny little texts, but practically nothing. And yet obviously it has counted a lot in my life. It counted because it was initially a break with my university career. I had started studying pharmacy, I was doing small courses in philosophy and psychology, and then I got fed up with it, I started working directly at this clinic, it was very active, I was really working day and night in it, I was living there and, at the same time, you see, I was following this psychoanalysis course at Lacan in Paris.

I was in charge of setting up the institutions, the activities, I was doing the quick sides, there were not many divisions. But I very quickly worked as administrative director, I was very much involved in that. That’s a dimension… I’m very interested in the problems of the administration. Yes… I myself launched this research and all that. All the institutional, regulatory and other dimensions interest me a lot. And I’m interested in the libidinal sense, I have an interest in, it’s not just a speculative interest. It may have helped me to understand, I hope, what I call Kafka’s bureaucratic eros.

The power, the perversions of power around regulations, things, grids. That said, at La Borde, there are no files, you saw my office, it’s a total mess. And the organisation grids are very flexible and almost self-managing. But precisely, to see how difficult it is to institute a slightly intelligent system in this area. So La Borde was first of all a radical change in my life. Entering religion with psychotics, living with psychotics. That is to say, entering another planet, living with other people, loving other people. I did it for a very long time, I invested myself completely in this institution. I only really got out of it at the time of 1968, to tell the truth. So with a problematic that was completely decentred in relation to the one I would have had at the university, or in the political movements in which I was active, and with the risk of falling into a language, especially with the ambient Lacanism, of cutting myself off a little from the outside world. I hope to have more or less overcome these risks. Today I’m there much less, I go there three or four afternoons a week. I follow a certain number of things where I think I have a role to play. As for the rest, I’m completely free with the rest of the staff. There are emotional ties, an interest in the process which develops, there are also disagreements, disagreements with the doctors, with Oury in particular, but on a basis of friendship which means that we have always maintained a good compromise, with ups and downs, in order to be able to coexist.

K. You go there less because it works more or less, even if you are absent. And between the practice you did there, and the idea, the thoughts in The Anti-Oedipus, what’s going on?

G. When I found myself at La Borde. I was 23, 25 years old in ’53, ’55, I was already following Lacan’s seminars, I had a psychoanalytical training, but when I saw what was happening in the field, I saw that it had nothing to do, but nothing to do at all! That an obsessive neurosis, a hysteria, a schizophrenia, all that had nothing to do with what the psychiatrists I was seeing at Sainte-Anne and elsewhere thought they were. So, well, there was this phenomenon of double discourse, I was Lacanian on the one hand and then I had my own practice as a psychotherapist and in the institution. Oury continued like that, to have a double discourse. For example, defending Lacanian psychoanalysis, on the one hand, but at the same time, let’s say, but it’s bullshit, a temporary psychoanalysis, it’s a shame, it’s not possible, psychoanalysis can’t function like that. He had the two discourses, and I think he always held them separately. That’s original. For me, it continued like that until the event of 1968. I said to myself, no, this is not going to work at all, they have to stop… Because I’m a guy who is deeply motivated by political questions. You see, a purely theoretical disagreement, purely speculative, doesn’t bother me, but a political divergence can make me explode completely. And it’s this political divergence which led me to try to revise a little, to articulate a little bit all the incoherences that there were in my attitude, namely: I was an extreme left-wing militant on the one hand, I was really a Lacanian, a good student of Lacan, on the other hand, I had a psychiatric practice on the other. And none of this, there was, there was no inter-coherence in this representation. In this sense, La Borde was decisive, because it meant that I was never a psychoanalyst like the others and I was never a political activist like the others. Although I was doing a bit like the others, but basically, the existence of this life at La Borde, of this work at La Borde, made me different… It was very clear, I remember in the political movements, people looked at me with a strange eye because they knew that I had this psychiatric practice. At the same time, some people were interested, but to many others it was totally aberrant. At the Freudian School it was the same thing. Well, there was much more contempt, well…

K. So it’s with this practice that you found a kind of coherence, I don’t know, something more than coherence…

G. I didn’t find a coherence, perhaps I found it a little in the work with Deleuze. But I did find a requirement. A field requirement. It’s like an ethnologist, if you like. The ethnologists who were so dishonest at the time of culturalism. They only had to look at their field and they could see that it didn’t exist, all this oedipal triangulation, everything they were saying. But that’s because they didn’t really have any loyalty to the terrain, if they let themselves be led like that. But when you really have a real ethnological field, you can’t let yourself get caught up in the great theorisations, including the great theorisations like that of Lévi-Strauss on the structures of kinship. If I may say so, real ethnologists in the field, if they are faithful to the field, there is a moment when they say “well, up to a certain point, but that’s not how it works in the end, what…”.


K. So practice to clinical is essential to concretize thinking about schizes, for example…

G. I coined the term schizoanalysis because institutional psychotherapy seemed to me to be far too limiting. I had put forward this notion of institutional analysis because what was conveyed by institutional psychotherapy was something that refocused analysis on personological notions, on a certain inter-personological conception of analysis. And I thought that the analysis of the formations of the unconscious did not only concern the interpersonal relations of psychology, psychopathology etc., but also the whole of the individual. And that it concerned the whole of the systems of production. So, for me, institutional psychotherapy was a particular case of institutional analysis, and it concerned pedagogy as well as town planning, social life, the economy, art, etc. It… it worked very well until 1968 and there were all sorts of currents of institutional analysis, including Lourau, Lapassade, and so on. There are even still schools of institutional analysis in Latin America, things like that… And when I saw the use that was made of it, it was a psycho-sociological use, so I said: “We must stop that”. And we can’t use this expression of institutional analysis. That’s when I invented the notions of… analyser, to replace the notion of analyst. It was already the idea of the agency of analytic enunciation. And I had invented the notion of institutional transference and that of transversality as… showing what types of semiotic mechanisms were at play in these operations.

But with Gilles Deleuze, we preferred to give up these terminologies and use the expression schizoanalysis. In a sense, schizoanalysis is something which has to do with this practice of institutional therapy, institutional analysis. If you like, there was the opposition between psychoanalysis centred on neurosis, the psychopathology of neurosis and then schizoanalysis centred on psychosis. This means a radical decentring of the coordinates of enunciation in relation to those that Freud had privileged.

K. L People who have read The Anti-Oedipus can sometimes ask questions in a very naive way that in this book madness or schizophrenia is described basically as something very joyful. And yet for people who have crazy relatives it is sad . This sadness and this joy in spite of everything, you have experience like that very long and consistent of the clinic, this joy is something that you have confirmed in practice ?

G. We should take up what Spinoza says about joy. I don’t really know how we could articulate it, but it’s a fundamental notion. But it shouldn’t be taken as a given in itself, there is a politics of joy, a politics of humour, a politics of a-signifying ruptures that change the coordinates of reference. So, at the same time, we can be in a completely sad world, a world of segregation, a world of total despair, and then sometimes there can be these mutations of references which make it possible… For me, the funniest people in the world, the ones who make me die of laughter are friends, friendships I’ve had with schizophrenics, with crazy people, it’s sometimes something that upsets me, but I don’t know if I’ve had any influence on them, I know that they’ve had an influence on me. Because you understand, in this back and forth between La Borde and Paris, sometimes I saw people: “Oh la la, what a problem, what a drama, etc. and my wife, and my work” And then when you are completely impregnated by the vision, the world seen by a schizophrenic, you say to yourself “but that doesn’t go there”. It’s like a kind of lightning, you’ll understand it by the reference to zen, it’s like a kind of zen flash that: “Hey, that’s not right, so what are you doing on this planet? “. You see, a schizophrenic I love very much, who I used to talk to, fiercely when I was young, I was interested in him and all that, for all his problems, I remember, he looked at me for a long time like that in the eyes, he listened to what I was saying, he didn’t say anything, until he said to me: “And He’s still talking to me”. [laughs] That stuck with me for the rest of my life, I thought but yes, but of course, it’s as if all the language had fallen out of my hands. “And he’s still talking to me”. And yes… Well, that’s really Zen, in my opinion. So, yes, it’s a… It’s more than a school, it’s a kind of reduction… I don’t know if it’s an eidetic reduction, but it’s another kind of relationship. Which doesn’t mean, you understand, that schizophrenia as such is joy, of course not, or that it’s revolution, that’s all… They wanted to tell us that we had invented a new revolutionary path, that we had to become schizophrenic. Not at all! Psychosis is something horrible and psychiatric hospitals are monstrous, but the schizo process that can be conquered, the rupture of arrangements, the entry of the singularity which will make you laugh, which will make you see something differently… The Zen process, yes, it’s prodigiously extraordinary, life is something sinister, frightening, and then it’s very funny, at the same time it’s very curious, what are we doing here getting agitated, what’s going on? And how is it, how is it that we can invent things, produce things, invent new objects, what an extravagant adventure! And what a scandal that it’s so sinister most of the time…

Trad. Deepl

© Bruno, Emmanuelle Guattari  avec Kuniichi Uno