Desire Production

Desiring machines and social production

Desiring machines refer to the idea that desire is not just a subjective experience but is actually a productive force that operates on a social and cultural level. According to Deleuze and Guattari, desire is not a lack or a deficiency that needs to be filled, but rather it is a creative force that drives individuals and societies to produce new forms of organization, expression, and experience. Desiring machines are not just limited to human beings but can also be found in animals, plants, and other forms of life.

Desiring machines can be understood as a complex assemblage of parts that work together to produce desire. These parts include the human body, social institutions, cultural artifacts, and even the natural environment. When these parts come together in a specific configuration, they create a desiring machine that produces desire and creativity.

Social production, on the other hand, refers to the way in which society produces and reproduces itself through the collective labor of individuals. According to Deleuze and Guattari, social production is not just limited to economic production but also includes cultural, artistic, and intellectual production.

Social production is closely linked to desiring machines because it is through the production of desire that individuals and societies create new forms of social organization and expression. Social production can be seen as the materialization of desire, as individuals work together to create new forms of social organization and expression that reflect their collective desires and aspirations.

Overall, desiring machines and social production are two key concepts in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy that emphasize the creative and productive nature of desire and the collective labor of individuals in shaping society. These concepts challenge traditional notions of desire as a lack or deficiency and provide a new framework for understanding the complex interplay between individuals, society, and culture.

The name desire production is pretty transparently just a mash up of “desire” from Freud and “production” from Marx but Deleuze and Guattari aren’t looking for some sort of synthesis. Anti-Œdipus was thus an attempt to think beyond Freudo-Marxism.

The traditional understanding of desire – which stretches from Plato to Freud and Lacan – assumes an exclusive distinction between “production” and “acquisition” insofar as desire seeks to acquire something that it lacks. Traditionally see how people have been thinking about attraction is that people always want something that’s missing in their lives. The lack of something is what produces the individual’s drive for growth. Consequently our usual understanding implies that desire is something that can be resolved through satisfaction.

In this model, desire describes an exterior relationship between two terms: the subject and the object of desire. That is, in our maternal satiation as child at the breast, we lack all desire, and lack a differentiated subjectivity. A psychoanalytic approach then posits our ongoing desire for this original state as the defining characteristic of differentiated human persons. We gain subjectivity only through our differentiation from an original blissful state.

“Psychoanalysts are bent on producing man abstractly, that is to say ideologically, for culture. It is Oedipus who produces man in this fashion and who gives a structure to the false movement of infinite progression and regression”

“The great discovery of psychoanalysis was that of the production of desire, of the production of the unconscious. But once Oedipus entered the picture, the discovery was soon buried beneath the new brand of idealism: a classical theater was substituted for the unconscious as a factory: representation was substituted for the units of production of the unconscious; and an unconscious that was capable of nothing but expressing itself — in myth, tragedy, dreams — was substituted for the productive unconscious”

Yet Deleuze and Guattari dispute this, they will say that in general desire and development are natural, basic properties of what it is to be a machine at all which involves what it is to be a human being echoing principally Nietzsche’s will to power and Spinoza’s conatus. They argue that desire is a positive process of production that produces reality.

Desire is not a relation between terms based on lack, but rather desire is evidence of life’s constant and “difference”production. There is a plane of desire and flows of experience, and this desire produces subjects.

Desire isn’t something dictated by some standard of living outside of yourself and what you need in relation to that standard, desire is a natural process of experimentation. What this implies is that desire is not something that is located deep inside the psyche of the individual.

We tend to see desire as grounded in a specific, “desiring subject.” In confrast, Deleuze would say that the positive production of desire anticipates our formation of the subject, and hence opens out onto the world. On the basis of three “passive syntheses” (partly modelled on Kant’s syntheses of apperception from his Critique of Pure Reason), desire engineers “partial objects, flows, and bodies” in the service of the autopoiesis of the unconscious. In this model, desire does not “lack” its object; instead, desire

“is a machine, and the object of desire is another machine connected to it.”

Consequently, organisms are formed through desiring machines, which connect various elements of flow, where each desiring machine is connected to others: that is, no one desiring- machine can describe an organism’s complete being.

“There are no desiring-machines that exist outside the social machines that they form on a large scale; and no social machines without the desiring machines that inhabit them on a small scale.”

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