Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 4)
by Obsolete Capitalism
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 3)
The infinite money: desire, value and simulacrum
Truths are coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, On truth and lies in a non-moral sense
We need units in order to count, but it may not be assumed that such units [of measure] exist.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, fr. 14 
To subvert the braking effect of totality
If we examine the main works of Deleuze, Foucault and Klossowski published between 1968 and 1972, we can observe that the courses of these texts objectively bear enigmatic and common features that could allow us to regard them as «fragmentary research projects»; these are investigations that could hardly be conceived and envisaged if we evaluate them from a ‘revolutionary’ perspective with the aim of identifying on which common battleground and common agenda these three intellectuals act. They swing with remarkable aplomb from far-sighted and vibrant essays with an academic flavour, such as Difference and Repetition or The Archaeology of Knowledge, to hermeneutic works on Nietzsche – which include both anthologies of fragments like Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, and of first editions of his OEuvres Complètes published by Gallimard – continuing with literary criticism or tout-court literature works such as The Logic of Sense or The Women of Rome, and finishing with cryptic economical essays, La monnaie vivante, or aggressively political pamphlets, The Anti-OEdipus; not to mention, then, their academic lectures ranging from Freud to Marx, from Aristotle to Nietzsche, from Greek currency to the Medieval Inquisition or history of sexuality, without any interruption. Foucault himself, with a certain irony, in his first lecture on 7th January 1976 part of a course titled Society Must Be Defended, wanted to terminate a line of research that he himself defines incoherent and discontinuous. Foucault feels the need to end and systematise, in some way, the several lines of research, insight and analysis that he had been carrying on since he started his lectures at the Collège de France (1970). From a certain point of view, Foucault does not mention only his research, but alludes also to a common path of the French revolutionary Rhizosphere when he lists among the relevant, or at least interesting, elements of the previous fifteen years “I am thinking of the efficacy of a book such as L’Anti-OEdipe, which really has no other source of reference than its own prodigious theoretical inventiveness: a book, or rather a thing, an event, which has managed, even at the most mundane level of psychoanalytic practice, to introduce a note of shrillness into that murmured exchange that has for so long continued uninterrupted between couch and armchair” (PK, 80). This is an important indication to his students since the philosophical work of Deleuze has always been a crucial point of reference for Foucault, because it had openly established itself as an “ally” of his theories since the early sixties, or at least from the beginning of the Nietzsche Renaissance and, thus, from the publication of Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962) and the Royaumont conference (1964). What is most surprising is the importance that Foucault confers to the anti-oedipic text, because his analysis takes into account “the last ten, fifteen, twenty years at most”, hence the timeframe that goes, approximately, from 1956 and 1976: not only The Anti-OEdipus is the only book to be referenced, but its position in Foucault’s argument surprises us the most. The volume, indeed, is referred to in the context of “this amazing efficacy of discontinuous, particular and local criticism” and its efficacy is compared to that of entire movements such as anti-psychiatry, existential analysis, and attacks upon the legal and penal system. Foucault concludes: “I would say, then, that what has emerged in the course of the last ten or fifteen years is a sense of the increasing vulnerability to criticism of things, institutions, practices, discourses. A certain fragility has been discovered in the very bedrock of existence-even, and perhaps above all, in those aspects of it that are most familiar, most solid and most intimately related to our bodies and to our everyday behaviour. But together with this sense of instability and this amazing efficacy of discontinuous, particular and local criticism, one in fact also discovers something that perhaps was not initially foreseen, something one might describe as precisely the inhibiting effect of global, totalitarian theories. It is not that these global theories have not provided nor continue to provide in a fairly consistent fashion useful tools for local research: Marxism and psychoanalysis are proofs of this. […] In each case, the attempt to think in terms of a totality has in fact proved a hindrance to research.” (PK, 80-81)
By following Foucault’s outline, we can identify two opposite fronts: on the one hand, the «accelerationist» front, irregular, peculiar and local; on the other hand, a front more “restraining”, “braking”, continuous, global, total, and openly totalitarian. Marxism and psychoanalysis can still be useful instruments at a local level, but, according to Foucault, when confronted with facts, they have had a «braking» thus negative function for the insurrectionary front. The Anti-OEdipus, in Foucault’s opinion, fits perfectly in the domain of those critical entities capable of causing landslides and provided with some peculiar characteristics that could be summarised as follows: 1) autonomous – instead of centralized – technical production 2) wisdom returns to scale which descend from the insurrection of subjugated wisdoms.
The insurrection of subjugated knowledges
1) In the lecture he gave on 7th January 1976, Foucault focused his attention on the returns of forgotten knowledges that descend from what he calls “insurrection of subjugated knowledges”. With this expression he refers to two specific factors: 1) the ‘knowledges’ that derive from historical contents, which he deems buried, and thus adequate to be subjected to a rediscovery attributable, to a ‘sumptuous’ research linked, in a way, to “typical secret societies of the West” since ancient times and emerged at the time of early Christianity: the “great warm and tender Freemasonry of useless erudition” – here, with his peculiar and subtle humour, Foucault introduces his own analysis and the one of his rhizospheric fellows just like modern variations of the struggle and insurrection of Alexandrine gnosis related to the idea of salvation through knowledge. The French Rhizosphere is, according to the malicious Foucaultian antichristian-Nietzschean-accelerationist interpretation, a sort of secular and revolutionary neo-gnosis which hands its wisdom and research over from one generation to the next, following the Hellenic-Alexandrine tradition.
2) those ‘knowledges’ that are assumed to lay on the opposite side of “dusty and useless” erudition, that is, those disqualified and inadequate knowledges – here, once again, presented in an extraordinary way. In this category of “naïve knowledges located low down on the hierarchy” beneath the required academic and scientific levels, Foucault includes popular knowledge (“le savoir des gens”) – which must not be confused with “general common sense” – like those of criminals, crazy people, ill persons, psychiatric patients, detainees. The direct knowledge of these subjects, merged with the specific knowledges of specialised workers, like nurses, doctors and soldiers, will not result in a “general common-sense knowledge”, but in a “a differential knowledge incapable of unanimity and which owes its force only to the harshness with which it is opposed by everything surrounding it.” (PK, 82)
Foucault does not miss the paradox of enclosing in the same rhizomatic framework of subjugated knowledges both «the academia and the street»: nonetheless he finds in this well-marked disparity the essential leverage of the critique promoted with those discontinuous discourses. According to Foucault this is “historical knowledge of struggles”: “In the specialised areas of erudition as in the disqualified, popular knowledge there lay the memory of hostile encounters which even up to this day have been confined to the margins of knowledge. What emerges out of this is something one might call a genealogy, or rather a multiplicity of genealogical researches, a painstaking rediscovery of struggles together with the rude memory of their conflicts. And these genealogies, that are the combined product of an erudite knowledge and a popular knowledge, were not possible and could not even have been attempted except on one condition, namely that the tyranny of globalising discourses with their hierarchy and all their privileges of a theoretical avant-garde was eliminated.” (PK, 83) In this passage, Foucault attempts an early outline of his overall plan, where he generously includes and aligns the French components of the rhizosphere and, above all, the authors of The Anti-OEdipus, although the detailed description of the “returns of knowledge” fits perfectly his research style. That style which he adopted at the beginning of his lectures at the Collège de France (1970) and carried on until the end of that period, 1975-1976, the year before the crucial 1977 when he entered a period of crisis and suspended his course. It was Foucault’s annus horribilis, during which he received attacks from multiple fronts – such as Baudrillard’s Forget Foucault – and started a profound reformulation of his thought, his analysis and his political approach, which in turn would end his friendship with Deleuze and destroy the underground empathy within the French Nietzschean revolutionary community. What seems extraordinary is the way in which Foucault linked his research to the fight and critique of his rhizospheric fellows, attributing the essential leverage of the critique and of the “success” of those years precisely to the discontinuity and de-centralisation of practices and discourse advocated by Klossowski, Deleuze and Guattari, Blanchot and Lyotard, among others. In 1976, Foucault is able to advance this critique: “Let us give the term genealogy to the union of erudite knowledge and local memories which allows us to establish a historical knowledge of struggles and to make use of this knowledge tactically today.” (PK, 83) During the same lecture, Foucault links the genealogy to the struggle against the alleged “scientificity” of the new sciences, namely Marxism and Psychoanalysis, guilty of bearing “power ambitions”, not even concealed, and thus of pursuing those “effects of power” that usually institutions assign to enthroned sciences. According to Foucault, “By comparison, then, and in contrast to the various projects which aim to inscribe knowledges in the hierarchical order of power associated with science, a genealogy should be seen as a kind of attempt to emancipate historical knowledges from that subjection, to render them, that is, capable of opposition and of struggle against the coercion of a theoretical, unitary, formal and scientific discourse. It is based on a reactivation of local knowledges – of minor knowledges, as Deleuze might call them – in opposition to the scientific hierarchisation of knowledges and the effects intrinsic to their power: this, then, is the project of these disordered and fragmentary genealogies. If we were to characterise it in two terms, then ‘archaeology’ would be the appropriate methodology of this analysis of local discursivities, and ‘genealogy’ would be the tactics whereby, on the basis of the descriptions of these local discursivities, the subjected knowledges which were thus released would be brought into play.” In Foucault’s works, within the genealogy/archive relation mentioned above, special attention is reserved to money, ever since the first lectures of his inaugural course in 1970-71, directly after the re-emergence in Klossowski and Deleuze of Nietzschean topics such as will to power, formations of sovereignty, impulse and value. Indeed, an early taste of the strong and innovative critical capacity on this front – which includes aspirations, will to power, universal rhizomatic economy, physical and noologic subconscious – comes from the debut of Deleuze and Guattari as authors, under the sign of Klossowski. La synthèse disjunctive is the title of their first essay dedicated to Klossowski and published in the 43rd issue of the journal «L’Arc», precisely in the third term of 1970. The text is presented already as an essay of a book titled Capitalism and schizophrenia. The writing style is already the imaginary, transverse, aggressive, humoristic and “genealogic” one of the Anti-OEdipus. La synthèse disjunctive is an incisive prelude to an announced explosion: Foucault immediately grasps the collateral effects that it would have on the style and content of his own research.
The xeno-dollar and money as an instrument of hegemonic power
At the beginning of the 70’s, the topic of money became a primary concern in the rhizosphere. Thanks to differential-money, namely the main instrument used by liberal democratic systems to assault, restructure and regularise national and international economic crises, the French Nietzschean revolutionary community wanted to build a new analytic grid that could overcome the «ideological morass» which still clutches a significant portion of the traditional Left as well as of the new antagonistic Left. Klossowski produced, as his farewell to publishing and writing, a brief text, dense and enigmatic, titled La monnaie vivante (Living Currency, 1970), which presented his peers with more than one critical interrogative on the industrial and commercial world, and on money as an instrument and simulacrum of the vital agent soothing human impulses. In a handwritten letter sent in autumn 1970, Foucault greeted Klossowski’s volume as “the greatest book of our times”. That was the same period in which, at the beginning of 1971, Deleuze and Guattari attended Foucault’s lectures at the Collège, having just finished the in itinere draft of the Anti-OEdipus. The role of the «imperial» currency – the US dollar as hegemonic currency – within the Western economic system, as well as the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rates regime, were at the centre of the tense international political debate. In December 1969 inflation in the United States reached 6%. Nixon, as soon as he was elected president, was struck by the prediction made by his own staff that the dollar had to be rescued in maximum two years. The world was jammed by xeno-dollars and the US reserves could not compensate anymore the increase in the global amount of dollars with the corresponding amount of gold as contemplated in the agreement. In a few months, in 1971, violence in the Vietnam war reached its peak, and so did military expenses and the related budget deficit. The United States had entered a recession in 1970 and unemployment was at 6% and growing. The issues presented by domestic economic circumstances were unprecedented: inflation was high in a phase of recession, as opposed to the usual combination of recession and deflation, as it had previously happened during the Great Depression in 1929. The situation was out of hand. There was no empirically tested academic theory which corresponded to such an economic situation; there was no plan. Any technical decision could equally mean the salvation of global commercial leadership or its collapse, precisely at a time when the international Communist movement was challenging Anglo-Saxon industrial capitalism the most. The sudden breakdown of the Bretton Woods system could cause a rapid downfall of the hegemony of American power, the winner of World War II. Power can switch sign. Nixon’s staff was divided between monetarists, namely the rising star Friedman and the Chicago School, and orthodox mainstream economists, such as Burns and the Federal Reserve. Friedman and those favouring the free floating of exchange rates unpegged from the gold standard prevailed. Timing was crucial. In May 1971 West Germany left the Bretton Woods system, instituted in 1944 on the ashes of the Axis Powers, letting the German Mark free to float. The situation deteriorated and Nixon’s economic staff had to hurry: it was time to take actions because the element of surprise and the promptness of intervention were crucial. In August 1971, Nixon suddenly announced to the nation and to the whole world that the US dollar was not convertible in gold anymore, leaving the American currency free to float too.
After about 3,000 years from its invention, money lost its tie to an objective and concrete value. It was the first time in Western history, without considering the periods of war and brief experiments, always ended in failure: money completed its final transformation, to which it was probably destined ever since its invention, becoming a pure simulacrum of value in all its forms, from the round-shaped metal piece to banknotes. The question that economists asked themselves are several: Will the “orphan money” be able to stand only based on its face value? Will the hegemonic currency, i.e. the dollar, be able to walk on an “empty space”? Has money grown enough to demonstrate its maturity? The monetary de-aurification is the temporary situation in which we are still today: a mixture of sovereign, post-sovereign, xeno- and headless currencies that float freely without any fixed exchange rate, victims of speculations and market imbalances. However, the monetary coordinates within which Foucault develops his analysis are not simply related to the contingency of events, but rather to the study of forces and their effects on the domain of sovereign formations associated to the research and analyses conducted within the Rhizosphere. The concept of money considered by Foucault in the lectures that he gave between 10th February and 10th March 1971 is, surprisingly for most people but not for the Rhizomatics, the Ancient Greek currency employed between the seventh and fifth century B.C.; that is the historical, social, economic and institutional period when money, conceived as Greek measurement, eventually becomes the core of an “immense social and polymorphous practice of assessment, quantification, establishing equivalences, and the search for appropriate proportions and distributions” (LWK, 134). According to Foucault, this analysis should approach the hypothesis according to which money constitutes a political instrument used to create and preserve new balances during profound social transformations: thus, money does not preserve relations of sovereignty but relations of dominance. It is fascinating how Foucault introduces the concept of money towards the end of the lecture he gave on 17th February 1971, as redistribution of relations between the discourse of justice and the discourse of knowledge, and of the relations between the just, measurement, order and truth: “The institution of money, which is not just a measure of exchange, but which was established mainly as an instrument of distribution, division, and social correction.” (LWK, 129)
The birth of money-simulacrum
The approach described in Lectures of the Will to Know (1971) is very distant from the traditional interpretation of money imposed by mainstream economics, from which not even Marx in The Capital nor Foucault in The Order of Things (1966) could evade. On the one hand, mainstream nineteenth-century economists believed that the mature use of money as a means of exchange started with the birth and development of market economics. On the other hand, the Foucault of The Order of Things argues that the analysis of wealth and money theory can be traced back to the classical era, that is, the period between Cervantes’ Don Quixote and de Sade’s Justine. Alternatively, in 1971 Foucault traces a conception of money according to the eighteenth-century perspective of traditional political economy: “Commercial, international, market origin of money. Mercantilist interpretation of money restricting it from the start to function of representation and exposing it to that “fetishism” which consists in taking the sign for the thing itself, through a sort of primary and radical philosophical error. In fact, this interpretation may account for some early uses of money in Lydia and Phoenicia. But money was not adopted and used in Greece on the basis of this model.” (LWK, 135) To support his argument, Foucault examines two opposite examples of the employment of money in Ancient Greece in the seventh century B.C.: Corinth and Athens. What interests us is in which way the two cities and in particular the two political protagonists, respectively Cypselus and Solon, associate their politics to the introduction of a currency. In both cases, the two options would contribute to cause, and anticipate, relevant historical effects on Western governance vicissitudes. For Corinth, and its tyrant Cypselus, it was a political operation in which “the rich have been forced to make an economic sacrifice [and] money comes to the fore enabling the preservation of power through the intermediary of the tyrant” (LWK, 159); for Athens, and the legislator Solon, the political choice has the opposite course of that of Corinth because “the rich have been forced to a political sacrifice, [and] eumonia enables them to preserve economic privileges.” (LWK,159) It is clear that Foucault points at Solon’s way of managing the nomos as the agenda for Western democracies in the nineteenth and early twentieth century: faced with growing social demands, the wealthiest classes chose to allow substantial power distributions in order to preserve their economic privileges. The refined Corinthian economic choices, to which corresponds a brutal tyrannical one, show an excellent example of monetary measures – i.e. the systemic management of the nomisma – which would be adopted throughout the twentieth century and this first period of the twenty-first. In fact, contemporary money intervenes at the core of an institutional operation in which wealth is redistributed to an already wealthy minority without redistributing power to the majority of the social body. This is because the social sharing of power has reached its boundary – the maximum limit of feasibility for economic oligarchies – within which less wealthy classes participate to liberal democracies. Foucault seems to suggest that there has not been a time in Western history from the seventh century in Greece in which our societies have not struggled between the two poles of distribution, the economical and the political one, with money playing the role of functional membrane manageable between the two antipodes. Returning to the Greek cities: money became money-simulacrum and, at the same time, money-metron, i.e. money as measure. The Corinthian invented money as “the instrument of power which is being shifted, and which, through an interplay of new regulations, ensures the preservation of class domination. At this point, money is no longer a symbol which effectuates and is not yet a representative sign. It should be understood as a fixed series of superimposed substitutions.” (LWK, 141) Foucault, indeed, looks at Corinthian money as a series of substitutions: religious, economic, political and social. The game of substitutions and superimpositions between money and effectual reality generates fixation and not representation: “whereas the sign represents, the simulacrum replaces one substitution for another. It is its reality as simulacrum that has enabled money to remain for a long time not only an economic instrument but a thing issuing from and returning to power, by a sort of inner intensity or force: a religiously protected object it would be impious, sacrilegious to adulterate.” (LWK, 141)But, with even greater depth, Foucault argues that money is “as simulacrum that is sign: getting it to function as sign in a market economy is an avatar of its real history as simulacrum.” (LWK, 142) For money, being a regulatory simulacrum is primary, before entering history as a sign and then as fetish. Actually, the sign is only a moment within the duration of money-simulacrum: it is on such fine edge of strategy, power and substitution that Klossowski’s living currency intervenes, description of that triangle that dominates us: desire, value and simulacrum (Foucault, personal letter sent to Klossowski, autumn 1970).
The modes of expression of impulsive forces
There are only few pages, but they are dense and enigmatic perhaps more than any book ever published: Living Currency is the text through which Klossowski gives his farewell to writing – from then on (1970) he would be involved in different projects, such as translations, art exhibitions: paintings and movies – and at the same time it constitutes a powerful introduction to the Anti-OEdipus, an anoedipic incipit from a different author. Living Currency creates a philosophical space to decrypt, building an underground passage that connects all different publications and stations of thought constituting the French revolutionary Rhizosphere: Nietzsche’s Notebook (1887- 1888) by Nietzsche, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (1969), The Anti-OEdipus (1972), Nomad Thought (1972), Circulus Vitiosus (1972), Nietzsche, Genealogy, History (1971), Lectures on the Will to Knowledge (1970- 1971), Libidinal Economy (1974). The Klossowskian volume breaks, breaches, overflows and distributes with few incisive sentences large gashes of thought and possible research avenues that Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault and Lyotard will then walk wildly, rapidly and productively, as “young wolves of future revolutions”. The context within which the paradox of Living Currency is articulated is one where industrial civilisation – Klossowskian term which seems more accurate than the general “capitalism” – has diffused its negative effects by infecting the whole society through institutes of uprightness and conformity, which connotes the attribution to the means of production of a powerful contamination – and, thus, affective engraving – capacity on the individuals and the community. That is the same homogeneous, levelled, economized and nihilistic society that Nietzsche described in the fragment The Strong of the Future. The Nietzsche-Klossowski axis, then, assigns to the levelled industrial civilisation a dangerous production capacity that is both affective and infective. Foucault, on the same wavelength, would explain the «positivity» of power with a similar argumentative leverage: “What makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it doesn’t only weigh on us as a force that says no, but that it traverses and produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse. It needs to be considered as a productive network which runs through the whole social body, much more than as a negative instance whose function is repression.” (PK, 119) Deleuze and Guattari hold a similar position and raise the level of analysis bypassing ideological and psychoanalytical nuances: “[E]verything is objective or subjective, as one wishes. That is not the distinction: the distinction to be made passes into the economic infrastructure itself and into its investments. Libidinal economy is no less objective than political economy, and the political no less subjective than the libidinal, even though the two correspond to two modes of different investments of the same reality as social reality” (AE, 345). ). If Marx believes that the structure is the economic skeleton of society and the superstructure is everything that derives from it, Klossowski reverses the framework and sets as the «ultimate infrastructure» the “behavior of emotions and instincts.” (LC, 3) Consequently, it follows that “economic standards form in turn a substructure of affect, not the ultimate infrastructure” and that, more in depth, “economic norms are, like the arts or the moral or religious institutions, or like all the forms of knowledge, one mode of the expression and representation of instinctive forces.” (LC, 3) As Foucault had already realized in his letter to Klossowski, the triangle “desire, value, simulacrum” that dominates us and has been characterising us for millennia, already existed ever since the invention of money in Asia Minor in the VIII century B.C.; hence, the triangle must be treated as something forged in the depths of times, because the historical period of time in which reality gets «monetarized» is certainly the product of a slow centuries-long process of transformation, before reaching its own metal round form ). If Marx believes that the structure is the economic skeleton of society and the superstructure is everything that derives from it, Klossowski reverses the framework and sets as the «ultimate infrastructure» the “behavior of emotions and instincts.” (LC, 3) Consequently, it follows that “economic standards form in turn a substructure of affect, not the ultimate infrastructure” and that, more in depth, “economic norms are, like the arts or the moral or religious institutions, or like all the forms of knowledge, one mode of the expression and representation of instinctive forces.” (LC, 3) As Foucault had already realized in his letter to Klossowski, the triangle “desire, value, simulacrum” that dominates us and has been characterising us for millennia, already existed ever since the invention of money in Asia Minor in the VIII century B.C.; hence, the triangle must be treated as something forged in the depths of times, because the historical period of time in which reality gets «monetarized» is certainly the product of a slow centuries-long process of transformation, before reaching its own metal round form that has been bequeathed until today. In Phrygia, where Greek mythology locates the fundamental passage from pre-money to actual money, the coining of the nomisma bore the effigy of the goddess Money (Dea Moneta), the wife of King Midas, Demodice or Hermodice; according to Heraclides Lembus, on the money of Cumae coined by queen Hermodice the Genius of Money (Genio della moneta) holds the scale and the cornucopia in his hands. Greek mythology suggests us that, ever since its invention, the concept of money figures in popular wisdom as a concatenation of sovereignty, sacredness, fertility and equity; and already in ancient times there were people who used to rise against the improper use of the circulation of the “metal disks”: Julius Pollux, at the apex of Hellenism in the Roman Empire, critiqued the obolastates, i.e. those who used to lend and weight the oboli, and the obolastatein, the practice of lending oboli. The perverse intersection of simulacrum, value and desire, presented by Foucault as the explanatory structure of universal economy, is then absolutely coherent with the rhizospheric analysis of money. Klossowski of Living Currency suggests that monetary economics and theology are nothing but reciprocal disguises: money, from the beginning of Western civilisation, has been regarded as the universal representative instrument of a generalized economy which already has an innate abstract potential for sacredness and sovereignty, and, in turn, for desire-will to power at its highest level. According to Klossowski, money is the universal simulacrum; in industrial societies the domain of money, after centuries of adjustments, has completely substituted the real world and misrepresents its subjugated phantasm. Klossowski had already matured the concept of a universal economy through the scrutinizer of Chaos (Nietzsche) of the passages on energy in relation to world structure: “At a given moment of the accumulated force of the emotions, there is also the absolute condition of a new distribution, and hence a disruption of equilibrium. Nietzsche conceives of a universal economy whose effects he experiences in his own moods.” (NVC, 110) The line that links Nietzsche and the vicious circle (1969) and Living Currency (1970) is, thus, the analysis of impulsive simulacra that act upon a generalized universal economy. We have already entered the Anti-OEdipus, the Nietzsche of the 80’s of XIX century, and the Foucault of the 70’s of XX century. This represents the core of revolutionary Nietzscheism which influenced the street struggle of 1968 and further on, pure energy and dynamite ready for future struggles: Klossowski develops with great clarity the theoretical nucleus of impulse, body, simulacrum, value, production, consumption, arguing that “”The way they [instinctive forces] express themselves, both in the economy and finally in our industrial world, is subject to the way they have been handled by the economy of the reigning institutions.” That this preliminary and ultimate infrastructure is more and more determined by its own reactions to the previously existing substructures is unquestionably true, but the forces at play continue the struggle among infrastructures into the substructures. So, though these forces initially express themselves in a specific manner according to economic standards, they themselves create their own repression, as well as the means of smashing that repression, which they experience to different degrees: “and this goes on as long as does the battle among the instincts, which is waged within a given organism for and against the formation of the organism as their agent, for and against psychic and bodily unity. Indeed, that is where the first ‘production’ and ‘consumption’ schemes come into being, the first signs of compensation and haggling.” (LC, 4) Thus is the key passage for the whole Rhizomatic universe: Klossowski shows in this theoretical nucleus the hidden role of the sphere of instincts. Given its concealment, or its secluded core due to a lack of visible external outlets, the sphere of instincts gets «economized» inside the industrial world. What the industrial world consumes the most is the instinct to procreate, which is a product of the voluptuousness of the instinctual body, labelling it as a good but at the same time, and in the opposite direction, the body procures emotions, concealed and excessive, abstract substance for a «phantasm» – the ghostly entity which recurs obsessively in Klossowski’s thought – upon which instincts act again as backward-action. “Nothing exists apart from impulses that are essentially generative of phantasms. The simulacrum [i.e. the Nietzschean Trugbild] is not the product of a phantasm, but its skilful reproduction, by which humanity can produce itself, through forces that are thereby exorcized and dominated by the impulse.” (NCV, 133)
This is the level at which the phantasm has been already created and instincts and passions are not available anymore to consume and cede the phantasm itself – that is, the producer of desire which reproduces itself. Additionally, this is the crucial point around which the emotional value, otherwise called libidinal value, is formed – as Nietzsche points out, “in place of moral values, purely naturalistic values” (Opere fr. 9  vol. VIII, section 2, p. 6, quoted in NVC, 106). The translation of impulsive forces, the instincts, in “economic representations” of the emotional value – according to Nietzsche, the only being that we know is a being that has representations (O, fr. 11  vol. V, section 2) – will then be a simulacrum: which simulacrum could be better than the merge of money, simulacrum itself of objective value, and a living body, simulacrum which incarnates the procreative phantasm? The synthesis of such double simulacrum in the economy of industrial civilisation is the living currency, a simulacrum reinforced by emotion that it procures, hence the «living currency» is the expression of the libidinal value carved in bodies. What industrial civilisation consumes through standardization – the various simulacra of the phantasm: prostitution, sexual slavery, eroticism, assorted industries of pleasure – the body produces through economization. Consumed good vs. libidinal value. This means that the body “manifests itself” attributing value to the instincts but, in order to defend it “impulsive phantasm” that is desire, opposes the «mechanical simulacrisation» of industrial economy. The body is the battlefield of the harsh clash between opposite forces: social production against desiring production. Such clash can yield two opposing outcomes: the first – and unfortunately the prevailing in both the industrial civilisation and in the rising digital one – is the hyper-gregariousness of the individual, who is reduced to a mere instrument to support tamed passions and desires captured by social standardization whose objective is the unity reproducible in the production line; the second is where instincts and affections prevail on the repression of impulses and the “support” acquires its own sovereignty by degregarizing itself. In the stage that follows such rediscovered sovereignty - through the evident self-organisation of behaviours - singularity itself gets desubjectivised overturning its own nature of stable subject, and opening itself to the industrious metamorphosis of desires, and, thus, to perpetual transformation and to the extreme idleness of the nomads of the future.
to be continued...
Speculating Freedom: Addiction, Control and Rescriptive Subjectivity in the Work of William S. Burroughs
Jose Rosales - ON THE END OF HISTORY & THE DEATH OF DESIRE (NOTES ON TIME AND NEGATIVITY IN BATAILLE’S ‘LETTRE Á X.’)
Jose Rosales - BERGSONIAN SCIENCE-FICTION: KODWO ESHUN, GILLES DELEUZE, & THINKING THE REALITY OF TIME
Obsolete Capitalism - THE STRONG OF THE FUTURE. NIETZSCHE’S ACCELERATIONIST FRAGMENT IN DELEUZE AND GUATTARI’S ANTI-OEDIPUS
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 1)
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 2)
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 3)
Obsolete Capitalism - Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 4)
Obsolete Capitalism: Acceleration, Revolution and Money in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-OEdipus (Part 5)
Steven Craig Hickman - David Roden and the Posthuman Dilemma: Anti-Essentialism and the Question of Humanity
Steven Craig Hickman - The Carnival of Globalisation: Hyperstition, Surveillance, and the Empire of Reason
Steven Craig Hickman - Shaviro On The Neoliberal Strategy: Transgression and Accelerationist Aesthetics
Steven Craig Hickman - Hyperstition: Technorevisionism – Influencing, Modifying and Updating Reality
Terence Blake - CONCEPTS OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Notes on Deleuze and Guattari’s “What is Philosophy?” (2)
Terence Blake - GUATTARI’S LINES OF FLIGHT (2): transversal vs transferential approaches to the reading contract
Himanshu Damle - Games and Virtual Environments: Playing in the Dark. Could These be Havens for Criminal Networks?
Himanshu Damle - Hegelian Marxism of Lukács: Philosophy as Systematization of Ideology and Politics as Manipulation of Ideology.
Nick Land - The unconscious is not an aspirational unity but an operative swarm, a population of 'preindividual and prepersonal singularities'