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July 17, 2006


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hmm, that is very interesting! I think D&G talk about 'lack' in this way in _AO_. I try to find a reference for you.

Besides the early connection, Guattari was described as a Lacanian in various blurbs for later books. Also see _Molecular Revolution_ for a chapter (if I remember correctly) on 'object a' and the 'machinic'.


yes, i have it in my notes! (first time for everything). Here is a scan of the whole section. the // is page break (what a place for a break!!!). the * is D&G's footnote. pages 26-27.:

"If desire produces, its product is real. If desire is productive, it can be productive only in the real world and can produce only reality. Desire is the set of passive syntheses that engineer partial objects, flows, and bodies, and that function as units of production. The real is the end product, the result of the passive syntheses of desire as autoproduction of the unconscious. Desire does not lack anything; it does not lack its object. It is, rather, the subject that is missing in desire, or desire that lacks a fixed subject; there is no fixed subject unless there is repression. Desire and its object are one and the same thing: the machine, as a machine of a machine. Desire is a machine, and the object of desire is another machine connected to it. Hence the product is something removed or deducted from the process of producing: between the act of producing and the product, something becomes detached, thus giving the vagabond, nomad subject a residuum. The objective being of desire // is the Real in and of itself.* There is no particular form of existence that can be labeled "psychic reality." As Marx notes, what exists in fact is not lack, but passion, as a "natural and sensuous object." Desire is not bolstered by needs, but rather the contrary; needs are derived from desire: they are counterproducts within the real that desire produces. Lack is a countereffect of desire; it is deposited, distributed, vacuolized within a real that is natural and social. Desire always remains in close touch with the conditions of objective existence; it embraces them and follows them, shifts when they shift, and does not outlive them. For that reason it so often becomes the desire to die, whereas need is a measure of the withdrawal of a subject that has lost its desire at the same time that it loses the passive syntheses of these conditions. This is precisely the significance of need as a search in a void: hunting about, trying to capture or become a parasite of passive syntheses in whatever vague world they may happen to exist in. It is no use saying: We are not green plants; we have long since been unable to synthesize chlorophyll, so it's necessary to eat.... Desire then becomes this abject fear of lacking something. But it should be noted that this is not a phrase uttered by the poor or the dispossessed. On the contrary, such people know that they are close to grass, almost akin to it, and that desire "needs" very few things-not those leftovers that chance to come their way, but the very things that are continually taken from them-and that what is missing is not things a subject feels the lack of somewhere deep down inside himself, but rather the objectivity of man, the objective being of man, for whom to desire is to produce, to produce within the realm of the real.
*Lacan's admirable theory of desire appears to us to have two poles: one related to "the object small a" as a desiring-machine, which defines desire in terms of a real production, thus going beyond both any idea of need and any idea of fantasy; and the other related to the "great Other" as a signifier, which reintroduces a certain notion of lack. In Serge Leclaire's article "La realite du desir" (Ch. 4, reference note 26), the oscillation between these two poles can be seen quite clearly."

D&G then go on to say that 'the real is not impossible' and that: "Desire does not express a molar lack within a subject [ie Zizek's version of lack]; rather, the molar organization deprives desires desire of its objective being." (27)

I am pretty sure that in _Molecular Revolution_ Guattari lays out his argument against 'homology' (relations of morphological equivalence). A lot of this is peripheral to my interests, but I remember that because it made me think of the homological function of 'style' in the classic BCCCS arguments and how would it be possible to think of 'style' instead of in terms of class homologies.


excess of desire! in the page 27 quote below the main block quote, the plural 'desires' should be deleted.

Levi a.k.a. Sinthome


Thanks for the kind comments about my blog. It's nice to be read, especially by someone whom I admire. As I mentioned a month or so ago, I'm still figuring out the world of blogging. I've had trouble figuring out how to link to other blogs. I hope to rectify this problem in the near future when I get the time and patience to sit down and figure out these obscure, techno details.

It seems to me that Zizek's Hegelianism is perhaps not as big a problem as one might initially think. As I see it, everything revolves around the question of precisely how Zizek is appropriating Hegel. One reading of Hegel would have it that negativity is ontologically primitive or irreducible. As Hegel remarks in the opening move of the Science of Logic, "Pure being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same. WHat is the truth is neither being nor nothing, but that being-- does not pass over but *has passed over* --into nothing and nothing into being" (SL, 82-3). It could thus be said that for *Hegel* the dialectical movement doesn't begin with being (the first paragraph), but with becoming or the unity of being and nothing, insofar as being has always already passed over into nothing and nothing into being. As such, negativity is ontologically primitive, belonging to an a priori dimension of the past, and irreducible. It's clear that Deleuze's ontology can brook no compromise with this point of beginning, as for Deleuze being is pure creative affirmation, without lack or negativity.

The question, then, is whether Zizek follows Hegel in this move. I'm not so sure. As you no doubt know, Zizek proposes to read Hegel's Logic not as a general ontology, but as a Logic of the signifier in _For They Know Not What They Do_. Here Hegel would be read through the prism of J.A. Miller's articles "Suture" and "Matrix", where, with regard to the latter, Miller argues that every signifier implies its negation. However, none of this undermines the Lacanian thesis that the order of the signifier is a sort of emergent effect that can only be understood apres coup or nachtraglich. Indeed, all of Hegel could be read as a logic of the nachtraglich, which sometimes seems to be what Zizek is proposing in his earlier work. I'm still trying to get my mind around seeing Hegel as a thinker of the "parallax" as Zizek proposes in his later work and whether or not this marks a substantial departure from his earlier works, or is simply a "positing of presuppositions" or what was implicitly there all along as put in Hegelese.

As I've tried to think through the relation between Deleuze and Lacan more thoroughly, I've increasingly become skeptical and have come to suspect that this assertion results more from my desire to think two thinkers together who have influenced me deeply than anything really reflected in Deleuze's work itself. Peter Hallward's _Out of This World_ has been especially illuminating in this regard. Above Glen cites the passage where D&G speak about the unmediated production of the real without lack or fissure. It is precisely here that difficulties emerge. Hallward expresses this point well when he writes that, "Just as creative desire lacks nothing and is indistinguishable from the object it creates, so too does real perception participate directly in the creation of what it perceives. Like any adequate knowledge, suitably immediate 'perception puts us at once into matter; is impersonal and coincides with the perceived object'. For example, whereas a traditional realism supposes the relative independence of its object, Deleuze affirms with Robbe-Grillet an immanent description which '*replaces* its own object'" (70).

For Lacan, the fact that we are subjected to language entails that an irreducible absence and lack is introduced into our relation with ourselves, the world, and others (in much the way described by Derrida in "Signature, Event, Context"). My relation to everything here comes to involve mediation and absence. Moreover, reality itself (as opposed to the real) is to be understood as a relation between the imaginary and the symbolic, that only touches the real as a "grimace" (Television: Reality is the grimace of the real).

For Deleuze, by contrast, perception, language, the image, etc., *are* the object and immediately produce the object, without mediation. This is quite a difference. Here, I think, ontological questions become genuinely relevant. The idea that our relationship to the world is mediated seems to imply a world independent of this mediation that is as it is. By contrast, if, as I've argued in some of my posts on Badiou and Deleuze, all identities are *effects* or *products* of difference as such, then we can no longer talk of a representation *of* something or a perception *of* something, as there are no fundamental realities that would pre-exist the constitution of these identities. Rather, we would have differences grasping differences grasping differences. Nonetheless, I find it very difficult to go all the way in this Deleuzian direction. Even if identities aren't constituted, isn't there nonetheless a real difference between *you* and my apprehension, description, or perception of *you*? I'm not at all sure where to go with all of this.


Glen and Levi--thanks so much. I wish I had something interesting to add, but I don't. I need to keep pondering this stuff.

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