The fact that schizoanalysis is a materialistic practice is not always so evident as it should. No few critics have spoken about Deleuze -as well as about Deleuze & Guattari (D&G in advance)- as postmodernist theorists. They highlighted the fact that their philosophy makes too emphasis on correlative processes (Harman 2018, Meillassoux 2009). Others, have pointed out how their philosophy plays no attention to the difference, exposing an excessive proclamation of connections, leading to an extremely open and positive world (Han, 2017). I won’t say that any of those philosophies are totally wrong; they provide new and interesting arguments and approaches. However, they are not totally fair with D&G philosophy -maybe, just Bryant (2014) has recognized more deeply this heritage-. They tend to simplify and forget very important points, which I will try to defend -briefly- here.
In addition, and to not transform this post in a too academic one, I will relate the exposition with my own experience, putting into practice D&G philosophy in a technological applied project. This project was herm3TIC: cameras, sensors and telepresence, where I managed a team of artists and programmers exploring new uses of technology. We explicitly tried to implement a version of schizoanalysis. Let’s resume some of the features of this project which attend the debate I presented at the beginning.
The importance of schizoanalysis itself
Actually, schizoanalysis is a quite interesting proposal. Is timely today, because it develops a subjective study but without assume any origin or identity. On the contrary, it tries to study subjectivity in its social group dimension. And it is truly suitable to the circumstances we live today: an interconnected world where people spend more time in their social networks sharing likes and concerns than militating in a political party.
The natural link between schizoanalysis and technology
Since D&G understand nature as a production process, any resemblance of schizoanalysis with mystics or reactive movements against technology has to be discarded. Schizoanalysis is a proposal which embraces technology, overall in its capacity to transform processes generating difference and heterogeneity. They follow, in this sense, Simondon (2017) thought: technology has to imply individuation processes, far away of the mainstream use of a consumer technology. In herm3TIC project, for example, technologies were developed for specific tasks. The same happens with many other free software & hardware projects, as Lanier (2011) have already pointed out.
The relevance of the body
However, playing attention to technology doesn’t imply to forget the body. On the contrary, schizoanalysis achieves a deep understanding of the body. With the concept of body without organs, D&G are able to speak about a materiality which is not just individual, nor social, neither natural; but exists in all this strata in a transversal way. Also, with this concept, D&G run away of the semiotics imperative which domains schools as psychoanalysis. It is not a question of interpretation, but of production! -D&G always remind us-.
Schizoanalysis subjectivities production is materialistic on this transversal way: taking in account the body, but also the social body or even nature. In this sense, we reach the concept of ecology which Guattari (2014) developed in his works alone. Also Byant (2014) has proposed a cartographic ontology method very allied with D&G and those ideas. With those basis, we can suggest the necessity of overcome the semiotic view combining materialistic approaches.
The importance of inorganic strata
Related with last idea of transversal methods, D&G have defended the interconnection of all the reality without hierarchies. Particularly, schizoanalysis has to be the place to practice all kind of decentralizations. According with that, many authors has developed the idea of a flat ontology, where no strata is more important than other. However, this idea was already present in D&G -as Delanda (2011) has explained-. The idea should let us to think the power we have to stay away or even feel different. Even, all the analytical implementations that data mining and Big Data provide, which allow us to interconnect all dimensions of reality, could be understood very well from D&G point of view. I tried to demonstrate this fact in Cebral (2019).
The importance of arts and creativity
Actually, Deleuze has thought in his latest works about sensation (2004); and with Guattari has exposed the capacity of artworks to transform our conception of reality (2014). Art is an example of how we can become matter. Creating blocks of sensation, art allows us to transform the conception we have about reality. Connected with the importance of body, as well as with operations of decentralization, art should be in the center of a technology development. Even more if this technology want to interact and transform human subjectivity.
So, here I exposed some reasons I think could give us an idea of the relevance schizoanalysis could reach nowadays. The technological becoming of our society has to be understood in a subjective and creative way. We need to reply to psychological disorders but, at the same time, we need to give an answer which does not idealize life, human being, nor history. Schizoanalysis was conceived to do such a things, probably its biggest problem is just one: it has hardly been implemented.
You can also consult more projects I developed here.
Bryant, L. R. (2014). Onto-cartography: An ontology of machines and media. Edinburgh University Press.
Cebral Loureda, M. (2019). La revoluciòn cibernética desde la filosofía de Gilles Deleuze: Una revisión crítica de las herramientas de minería de datos y Big Data [Universidade de Santiago de Compostela]. http://hdl.handle.net/10347/20263
De Landa, M. (2011). Intensive science and virtual philosophy (Reprint). Continuum.
Deleuze, G. (2004). Francis Bacon: The logic of sensation. University of Minnesota Press.
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., Tomlinson, J., & Burchell III, G. (2014). What Is Philosophy? Columbia University Press. http://public.ebookcentral.proquest.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1922350
Guattari, F. (2014). The three ecologies. Bloomsbury Academic.
Han, B.-C., & DeMarco, A. (2017). Topology of violence. MIT Press.
Harman, G. (2018). Object-oriented ontology: A new theory of everything. Pelican Books.
Lanier, J. (2011). You are not a gadget: A manifesto (publ. in Penguin books with updated material). Penguin Books.
Meillassoux, Q. (2009). After finitude: An essay on the necessity of contingency (Pbk. ed). Continuum.
Simondon, G., Malaspina, C., & Rogove, J. (2017). On the mode of existence of technical objects.