[D-G] Re: "Rousseauistic"?

Chris Chapman chapman0603 at rogers.com
Wed Feb 23 14:18:27 PST 2005

I think Harry Wenk might mean 'Rousseau' as in masturbation, 'There is only
desire and the social, and nothing else.'


-----Original Message-----
From: deleuze-guattari-driftline.org-bounces at lists.driftline.org
[mailto:deleuze-guattari-driftline.org-bounces at lists.driftline.org] On
Behalf Of Jeremy Livingston
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 2:07 PM
To: deleuze-guattari-driftline.org at lists.driftline.org
Subject: [D-G] Re: "Rousseauistic"?

Aaron has very nicely said what had to be said about Nietzsche. (What
he hated were "the anarchists", nihilistic bomb-heaving utopian
socialists. Did he hate democracy? What he hated was herd
collectivism, and the idea of inherent human entitlement -- is that
our only idea of what democracy can be?)

But I still want to remark about the unconscious in Anti-Oedipus. Yes,
Deleuze and Guattari are anarchists, after their own fashion. Yes,
they believe that everything would still get done, and better, in the
absence of a state. This has nothing to do with their conception of
the unconscious. Yes, they believe that the unconscious is not
inherently destructive of all social bonds -- nobody ever believed it

If you invoke Rousseau, you are suggesting a view of human nature that
is gentle, kind, naturally giving and altruistic, moderate, temperate,
given to gambolling through the fields holding hands, etc. I'm not
exaggerating by much here, am I? But what is "human nature" in A-O &
MP? The unconscious is not a humanist; the unconscious is a machine, a
factory, a beast (actually many beasts, whole packs of wolves, whole
nests of rats); it is animal, cybernetic, sidereal. They talk about
drugs, mania, perverse sexuality.... No one who positively cites HP
Lovecraft in the course of developing their understanding of human
nature could possibly deserve the filthy label of "Rousseauistic".

Throughout the works of Deleuze, the figure of the demon or devil pops
up from time to time. Usually very innocuously, with deceptive lack of
ostentation; but always positively. I consider that telling. The
politics of desire is about unleashing the unconscious: D&G knew
perfectly well why so many people are afraid of that idea, and
revelled in their discomfort.

If you want to make 18th century comparisons, D&G have much, much more
in common with William Blake (whom I don't think either of them ever
read, more's the pity; especially "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell")
than they ever did with Rousseau.

Heck, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm not going to
persist in a back-and-forth. Just wanted to offer something to think

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