Felix Guattari - Machine and Structure

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Machine and Structure'The distinction I am proposing betweenmachine and structure is based solely on the way we use the words; we may considerthat we are merely dealingwith a 'written device'of the kind one has to invent for dealingwith a mathematical problem.or with an axiom that ma1'have be reconsidered to at a particular stageof development, againwith the kind of machinewe shall or be talking about here. I want therefore make it clearthat I am putting into parentheses lact to the from its structuralarticulations and, that, in realitv,a machineis inseparable conversely, that each contingentslructure is dorninated(and this is what I want to demonstrate) a systemof machines, at the very leastby one logic by or machine.It seems me vital to start by establishing distinctionin order to the of to make it easierto identif,v peculiarpositions subjectivityin relationto the events and to history.2 We may say of structurethat it positions elements way of a systemof its by references rel.tes eachone to the others,in such a wav that it can itselfbe that relatedas an elementto other structures. The agent of action, whose definition here does not extend beyond this principle of reciprocal determination, is included in the structure. The structuralprocessofde-totalized totalizationencloses subject,and will ther . l n i t i a l l y i n t e n d e dl o r t h e F r e u d i a n S c h o o li n P a r i s i n r 9 6 9 , a n d p u b l s h e d i n C h a n g en o . t e , ( S e u i l )r, 9 7r . r. To adopt the categories suggested Gilles Deleuze,structure, in the sensein which I am using by it here, would relate to the generality characterized by a posirion oiexchange or substitution of p a r t i c u l a r i t i c sw h e r e a st h e m a c h i n e w o u l d r e l a t e t o t h e o r d e r o f r e p e t i t i o n ' a s b e h a v i o u ra n d , '1D viewpoint rel a t ive to a singul ari ty tha t can not be changedor replaccd' fJ,ire.nu ripitition,Presses et Universitaires de France, I 969, p. 7). Of Deleuze's three minimum conditions determining strucrurein general, I shall retain only the first two: (r)Theremustbeatleasttwohetcrogeneousseries,oneofwhichisdefinedasthesignifierandrhe orheras the signi6ed. (c) Each of these series is made up of terms that exist oni1, through their relationship with one another. His third condition, 'tx,o heterogeneous seriesconvergingupon a paradoxical element that actsso as to di{lerentiare them', relates,on thc contrary, exclusivelyto the order of the machine (Logique du s a r oM i n u i t , t 9 6 9 , p . 6 3 ) . ,I 12 f'owards a Nerv Vocabularv n o t l e rs o a s l o n ga si t i s i n a p o s r t i o no r e c u p e r a t ie w i t h i n a n o t h e r t r u c t u r a l t t s determinatior.r. 'fhe e { n r a c h i n eo n t h eo l h e r h a n d ,r e m a i n s s s e n t i a l lrv m o t e i o m t h e a g e n t , e 'fhe -fe o{ action. somer,r,here sLrbject alrval,s is else. mporaiizationpenetrates the machineon all sidesand can be related to it onl,vzrfter the lashionof an n a fr e v e n r T h e e m e r g c n c o l ' t h ci n a c h i n e r a r k s d a t e ,a c h a n g ec l i f l e r e n t o m a , e , structLlral representatiolr. 'fhe history of technologvr.sdated bv the existence each srageol a ar o t s t a i ) a r t i c u i a r 1 ' p e f ' n i a c h i n e ih e h i s t o r \o f t h e s c j e n c eis n o w r e a c h i n g p o i n t , i n a l l i t s b r a n c h e sw h e r e e v c r vs c i e n t i 6 c h e o r ) ' c a nb e t a k e na s a m a c h i n e , t rzrthel than a strlicture, rl'hich relates it to the order of ideoiogr'.Everv (almostto the point by machineis the negation.the destro;-er ir-rcorporation o f e x c r e t i o n ) o f ' t h e r n a c h i n e t r e p l a c e sA n d i t i s p o t e n t i a l l ,iv a s i m i l a r i . n , r e l a t i o n s h i po t h e m a c h i n et h a t w i l l t a k ei t s p l a c e . t Yesterdav'smachine, today's and tomorrow's, are not reiated in their structur?11 determinations: by onlv by a process historicalanal;-srs, referof r:ncetr) a signifling chain extrinsic to the machine, bv what u,e mrght call historical structur;rlism, can we gain anv overail grasp of the ei}'ects of c o n t i n u i t v . e l r o - a c t i o n n d i n t e l l i n k i n st h a t i t i s c a p a b l e f ' r e p r e s e n t i n g . r a o For the rnachrne, the subjectof history is elsewhere, the structure. In in I z r c tt,h e s u b j e c o f t h e s t r u c t u r ec o n s i d e r eid i t s r e l a t i o n s h i o f a l i e n a t i o no t . n p t trf ;1s,vstem cle-totalized totalizarion.shouid rather be seenin relation ro a of-'being ego'- the egoherebeingin contrastwrth the sub.ject an ;;'henorrrcnon o i ' t h e t r n c o n s c i o ua s i t c o r r e s p o n d so t h e p r i n c i p l es t a t e d b y L a c a n : a t s s i q n i 6 e r - r e n r e s e n t sb r a n o t h e rs i g n i f i e rT h e u n c o n s c i o us u b j e c t s s u c h i l . s a will bc on the same side as the machrne,or better perhaps.alongside the T r n a c h r r r c .h e r ei s n o b r e a ki n t h em a c h i n e t s e l f : h e b r e a c h s o n e i t h e r s i d e f i t i olt.The indir.'idual's relationto the machinehas beendescribed sociologists bv Friedn-rann one of lundamentalalienatjon, fi>llowing as This is undoubtedl,v true ii one considersthe individual as a structure for totalization of the irnasirarl'. But the dialecticof the mastercraftsmanand the apprenticeJ rhe r.,ld picrurcsof the clillelenttradesflourishingin dillerenrpartsof the countrv, in ail this has becomemeaningl.ess the faceof modern mechanized industry ics tlrat rcqLlires skilled rvorkersto start lrom scratchagain ru'irh evel'\'new technoltrgical advance But doesnot this startingliom scratchmark precisely . that essentiai breakthroughthat characterizes unconscious the subject? Initiation into a trade and becomingaccepted a skilledrvorkerno longer as takes piace by wav of institutions,or at least not those envisaged such in s t a t e m e n t s s ' t h e s k i . l lh a s p r e c e d e n co v e r t h e m a c h i n e ' ,W i t h i n d u s t r i a l a e capitalism. the spasrnodic evolution of machirrerykeepscr-rtting acrossthe h c x i s t i n q i e r a r ,l r v o f s k i l l s .Machine and Structure I l3 In this sense, worker'salienationto the machineexclude him lrom any the s kind of structuralequilibrium, and puts him in a positionwhere he is as close as possibleto a radical svstemof realignment,rve might sav of castrarion, wherehe losesall tranquillity, all 'sellconfirming'security,all thejustificarionofa'senseofbelonging'to a skilledtrade.Suchprolessional bodiesasstill like doctors,pharmacists, lawyers,aresirnplysurvivals exist, or from the days of pre-capitalist productionrelations. This changeis ofcourseintolerable; instirutionalproductiontherefore sets out to concealwhat is happening by setting up systemsof equivalents, of imitations.Their ideologicalbasis is to be lound not solely in fascist-type, paternalistic slogansabout work, the lamily and patriotism,but alsowithin thevariousversionsofsocialism (evenincluding the most apparentlyliberal like the Cuban), w,ith their oppressive ones, myth of the model worker, and theirexaltationof the machinewhosecult has much the samefunctionas that o l t h e h e r oi n a n t i q u i t y . As cornpared with the work done by machines, work of human beingsis the nothrng. This working at 'nothing', in the specialsense w,hichpeopledo it in todav,r,vhich tends more and more to be merely a response a machineto pressing red or black button to producean effectprogrammedsomewhere a else human work, in other words, is only the residuethat has not yet been integrated into the w'orkof the machine. Operations performed by workers, techniciansand scientistswill be absorbed, incorporated into the workings of tomorrow's machine; to do something over and over no longeroffersthe securityofritual. It is no longer possible identif. the repetition human actior.Is ('the noble task of the to of with the repetitionof the natural cycleas the loundationolthe moral sower') order.Repetitionno longer estabiishes man as someonewho can do that a particularjob.Human work today is merelya residualsub-whole the work of of the machine. Tfris residual human activity is no more than a partial procedure that accompanies central procedureproducedby the order of the The machinehasnow cometo theheartofdesire, and thisresidual the machine. humanwork represents more than the point of the machine's imprint no 'a'3). onthe imaginary world of the individual (cf. Lacan's functionof the Everv new discovery- in the sphereof scientificresearch, examplelor moves acrossthe structuralfieid oftheorv like a w,armachine,upsettingand rearranging everythingso as to changeit radically.Even the researcher at is themercyof this process. His discoveries extendlar beyondhimself,bringing in their train u,holenew branches ofresearchers, and totally redesigning the treeof scientificand technological implications.Even when a discoveryis called its author's name, the result,far lrom 'personalizing' by him, tends toOhjelpetil 3. SeeGlossar.v, 'a'.r 14 Towards a New Vocabularybe to turn his proper name into a cornmonnoun! The questionis whetherthis eflacing of the individual is something that will spread to other forms of productionas weli. Though it is true that this unconscious subjectivity,as a split which is overcome in a signifying chain, is being transferred away lrom individuals and human groups towards the world of machines,it still remainsjust as un-representable the specifically at machinic level. It is a signilierdetached from the unconsciousstructural chain that will acI as representallue to represen t the machine. The essence the machine is preciselythis lunction ofdetaching a signi6er of as a reprsentative.as a'di{Ierentiator', as a causal break, di{ferent in kind lrom the structurally established order of things. It is this operation that binds the macirineboth to the desiringsubjectand to its statusas the basisof the various structurai orders correspondingto it. The machine,as a reperition of the particuiar, is a mode - perhapsindeed the onlv possiblemode - of univocal repfesentation the various forms of subjectivitvin the order ofi of generalityon the individual or the collective plane. In trying to see things the other wav round, startinglrom the general, one would be deluding oneselfwith the idea that it is possibl"to baseoneself on sonlestructural spacethat existedbeforethe breakthroughby the machine. This'pure', 'basic'signifving chain,a kind oflost Eden ofdesire, the'goodold days' before mechanization,rnight then be seen as a meta-language, an absolute relerence point that one could alwaysproducein placeofany chance eventor specific indication. 'Ihis would lead to wronglv locating the truth of the break, the truth of the subject,on the level of representation, information, communication,social codesand ever)'otherlorm ofstructural determination. T'hevoice asspeech machine,is the basisand determinantolthe structural , order oi language,and not the other way round. The individual, in his bodiliness,acceptsthe consequences ofthe interaction ofsignifying chains of all kincis which cut across and tear him apart. Th human being is caught where the machine and the structure meet. Human groups have no such projection screen available to them. The rnodes of interpretation and indication open to them are successiveand contradictory, approximative and meraphorical, and are based upon di{Iererit structural orders, for instance on myths or exchanges. Every change produced by the inrusion of a machine phenomenon will thus be accom. panied in them with the estabiishment of what one may call a system of anti-production, the representativemode specificto structure. I need hardly say that anti-production belongs to the order of the machine:the keynotehere is its characteristic change, ofbeing a subjective which is the distinctive trait of ever),order of production. What w'e needlr,rtr)A^a/J2_J.?^tn"tMachine and Structure I I5 moving as though by magic thereloreis a meansof finding our way r.r,ithout relateto the same systemof from one plane to another.We must, lor instance, productionboth what goeson in the worid ofindustry, on the shopfloor or in research, and indeed the manager's ofFce,and what is happeningin scientihc in the world of literatureand evenof dreams, Anti-production rvill be, among other things, what has been described 'production relations'.Anti-production will tend to e{Iecta under the term in kind ofre-tilting of the balance ofphantasy,not necessarily the directionof within a given inertia and conservatism, sinceit can alsolead to generalizing socialarea a new dominant mode of production,accumulation,circulation and distribution rela!ions,or ofany other superstructural manifestation ofa is nervt,vpe economicmachine.Its mode of imaginarvexpression then that of of the transitionalphantasv. Let us then look at the other end ofthe chain,the levelofdream production. We may identify anti-productionwith working out the manifestcontentof a dream,in contrastto the latent productionslinked with the impulsemachine petit'a', described Lacan as the root The objet that constitutepart objects. by of desire,the umbilicus of the dream, also breaksinto the structural equilibrium of the individual like someinfernalmachine.The subjectfinds it is being petit rejectedbv itself. In proportion with the changewrought by objet-maehine 'a'in the structural field ofrepresentation, successive formsofotherness take their places for it, each fashioned to fit a particular stage of the process. Individual phantasizingcorresponds this mode ofstructural signposting to by meansofa specificlanguagelinked with the ever-repeated urgingsofthe 'machinations' desire. of petit 'a', irreducible, unable to be The existence of this objet-machine into the relerences to absorbed ofthe structure,this 'selfforitself' that relates theelements the structureonly by meansof splittingand metonymy,means of leads that the representation oneself meansof the'stencils'of language of by 'otherness'. The to a deadend, to a breakingpoint, and the needfor a renewed objectofdesire de-centresthe individual outside himself,on the boundariesof the other; it represents the impossibility of any complete refuge of the self inside to oneself, but equally the impossibilityof a radicalpassage the other. Indi','idual this it phantasvrepresents impossiblemergingof di{Ierentlevels; is thisthat makesit diflerentlrom group phantasizing, a group has no such for 'hitchingposts' no of desire on its surfiace, such remindersof the order ol specific zones,and their capacitvlor touching truths as the body's erogenous andbeingtouchedby other people. Group phantasy superimposes dillerent levels,changesthem round, the substitutes for another.It can onlv turn round and round upon itself.This one circular movementleadsit to mark out certainareasasdeadends,as banned, asimpassable vacuoles, whole no-man'sland of meaning.Caught up within adr I i i ii.ell, dr r6Towards a New Vocabularycurrency,but a the group, one phantasyreflects anotheriike interchangeable wherebyit currencyrvith no recognizable standard.no ground ofconsistencv can be related.even partiallv, to anything other than a topologyofthe most purely generalkind. The group-as astructure-phantasizes events means by of a perpetual and non-responsiblecoming and going between the general a and the particular. A leader,a scapegoat, schism,a threateningphantasy from another group - anv of theseis equatedwith the group subjectivity. Each e'rentor crisiscan be replaced anothereventor crisis,inauguratinga by further sequence that bears,in turn, the imprint of equivalence and identity. Today's truth can be related to yesterday's,for it is always possibleto re-write history. The experienceof psychoanal,vsis, starting up of the psychoanathe lvtic machine.makesit clear that it is impossiblelor the desiringsubjectto preservi such a s-vstem homologt,and re-writing: the only function of the of translerencein this case is to reveal the repetition that is taking place, to operatelike a machine- that is in a u'av that is the precise opposite a group of eflect. The group's instinctualsystem,because is unableto be linked up to the it petit 'a' returning to the surfaceof the phantasy body desiring rnachine - objets - is doomed to multiply its phantasy identifications.Each of these is structuredin itself,but is still equivocalin its relationshipto the others,The fact that they lack the diflerentiating factor Gilles Deleuze talks of dooms thenr to a perpetuai process of merging into one another. Any change is precluded, and can be seen only between structural levels. Essentially, no break is any iongeraccepted. That the structures haveno specific identifying rnarksmeansthat the;' become'translatable' into one another,thus developing a kind of indefinite logical continuum that is peculiarly satisfvingto obsessionals. The identification of the similar and the discoveryof diflerence at group level function according to a second-degree phantasy logic. It is, for example, the phantasy representationof the otlter group that will act as the locatingmachine.In a sense, is an excess logicthat leadsit to an impasse. it of This relationship setsgoing a mad machine,madder than olthe structures the maddestoflunatics, the tangentialrepresentation ofa sado-masochistic logic in which everythingis equivalentto everythingelse,in which truth is always somethingapart" Political responsibility king, and the order of the is generalis radically cut offfrom the order of the ethical.The ultimate end of group phantasy is death - ultimate death, destruction in its own right, the radical abolition of any real identifving marks, a state of things in which not merely has the probiem oftruth disappeared forever but has never existed evenas a problem. This group structure represents the subject for another structure as the basis of a subjectivitv that is clogged up, opaque, turned into the ego. Whereas,for the individual, it was the object of unconscious desire thatMachine and Structure I r7 functioned as a system of change or machine, in a group it is either the sub-wholesthat happen to come into being temporarilvwithin the group or anothergroup that will assumethat function.This areaolstructural equivalencewill thus have the lundamentalfunction of concealing abolishingthe or entry ofany particular object represented either the screenofthe human on subjectby unconscious desire,or on the more generalscreenofunconscious signifying chains bv the change eflectedby the closeds),srem machines. of The structuralorder olthe group, olconsciousness, ofcommunication, thus is surroundedon all sidesby rhesesystems machineswhjch it will never be of able to control, either by grasping the objets petit'a'as rhe unconscious desire machine, or the phenomena of breaking apart related to other types of machines.The essence the machine,as a factor lor breakingapart, as the of a-topicalfoundationolthat order ofthe general,is that one cannotultimately distinguishthe unconscious subjectofdesire from rhe order ofthe machine itself. on one side or other of all structural determi*ations.the subiect of economics,of history and of scienceall encounter that sameobjet petit ,a;as the lour.rdation desire. of An exampleofa structurefunctioningassubjectlor anotherstructureis the lact that the black community in the United Sratesrepresents identificaan tion imposed by rhe white order. To rhe modernistconsciousness is a this confused, absurd, meaningless stateof things. Art unconscious problematic challenges rejection a more radical 'otherness' the of that would be combined with. say, a rejectionof economic'otherness'. The assassination Kennedy of was an event that 'represented' impossibilityof registering economic the the and socialotherness the Third World, as wirnessedby the failure of the of Alliancefor Progress, endeavourto destroyVietnam and so on. One can the only note here the points of intersection and continuity betrveen economy the ofdesireand that ofpolitics. At a particular poinr in histor,v desirebecomes focalizedin the totality of structures; suggest I that for this u'e usc the generalterm ,machine':it could bea new weapon,a new production technique, ne1!'set a ofreligiousdogmas, or such major new discoveries the Indies,relativity,or the moon. To cope as with this, a structural anri-production developsuntil it reachesits own saturation point, while the revolutionary breakthrough also develops,in counterpointto this, another discontirruous area of anti-production that tendsto re-absorb inrolerable the subjective breach,all ofwhich meansthat ir persists eludir.rg in the antecedentorder. We may say of revolution,of the revolutionary period, that this is rvhenthe machinerepresenrs socialsubjectivity lor the s!ructure - as opposedto the phaseofoppressionand stagnarion, when the superstructuresare imposed as impossible representations of machine efrects. The common denominatorof w,ritings this kind in history of wouldbe the openingup ola pure signifvingspacewhere the machinewouldI i8Towards a New Vocabularyl'epresentthe subject lor another machine. But one can no longer then continueto say ofhistory, as the site ofthe unconscious, that it is'structured like a ianguage'exceptin that there is no possiblewritten lorm ofsuch a language. It is, in fact, impossibletc systematize the real discourseof history, the circurnstance that causesa particular phase or a particular signifier to be represented a particular event or social group, by the emergence by ofan individual or a discovery,or whatever. in this sense'we must consider,d priori, that the primitive stagesolhistory are u'here trurh is primarily to be sought; historv does not advancein a continuousmovement:its structural phenomenadevelop accordingto their own peculiar sequences, expressing and indicating signifying rensionsrhar remain unconscious to the point up where they breakthrough.That point marksa recognizable breakin rhe rhree dimensions of exclusion, perseverance and threat. Historical archaisn-rs expressa reinlorcing rather than a weakening ofthe structural eflect. That And16Malraux could say that the twenriethcenturyis the centuryof nationalism,in contrast to the nineteenth, which was that of internationalism, was becauseinternationalism.lacking a structural expressionthat matched the economicand social machineries work within it, withdrew at into nationalism,and then further, into regionalismand the varioussortsof particularism that are developingroday, even within the supposedlyinternational communistmovement. The problem olrevolutionary organizationis the problem ofsetting up an institutional machine whose distinctive leatures would be a theory and practice that ensuredits not having to depend on the various socialstructures - above all the State strucrure, which appears to be the keystone of the dominant production relations, even though it no longer correspondsto the meansolproduction. What entrapsand deceives is thar it looks today as us though nothing can be articulated outside rhat structure. The revolutionary socialist intention to seizecontrol of political power in the State,which it sees as the instrumental basisof classdomination, and the institutional guarantee cf pri..rate ownership of the meansof production, has been caught injust that trap. It has itself becomea trap in its turn, for that intention, though meaning so much in terms ofsocial consciousness, longer correspondsto the reality no of economic or social forces.The institutionalization of 'world markets' and the prospect ofcreating super-Statesincreasesthe allure ofthe rap; so does the modern reformist programme of achieving an ever-greater 'popular' control ofthe economic and social sub-wholes.The subjectiveconsistencyof society,as it operatesat every level ofthe economy,society,culture and so on, is invisible today, and the institutions that express it are equivocal in the extreme. This was evident during the revolution of lvlay I 968 in France,when the nearest approximation to a proper organization of the struggle rvas theMachine and Structure r r 9 hesitant, late and violently opposed experiment of lorming actior) commlttees. The revolutionarv programme, as the machine for institutional subversion, should demonstrateproper subjectivepotential and, at every stageof the struggle, should make sure that it is lortified against any attempt to 'structuralize' that potential. But no such permanentgraspofmachine effects upon the structures could really'be achievedon the basisofonly one itheoreticalpractice'.It presupposes the development of a specific analytical praxis at every level of organization the sruggle. of Such a prospectwould in turn make it possible locatethe responsibility to of those who are in any waf in a position genuinely to utter theoretical discourse the point at which it imprints the classstruggleat the very centre at ofunconscious desire.

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