Notes  on: Guattari, F. (2014) The Three Ecologies (I.Pindar and P Sutton, Trans.) London: Bloomsbury.  [Also has an essay by Genosko on the life of Guattari, focusing on transversality]

Dave Harris

Translators' introduction

In the third plateau of ATP, there is a character professor Challenger, who first appeared in Conan Doyle as the stereotyped rational scientific man with superior intelligence, out to dominate nature.  In one of the Challenger stories, the earth is an organism, with humans as a fungal growth.  Challenger decides to stimulate the earth by driving a shaft into it, in order to claim the earth's attention.  It goes badly, but makes Challenger into some super scientist.

Here, Guattari thinks we've challenged the earth enough, and there is now feedback in the form of unpredictable fluctuations over which we have no control.  We have damaged the natural environment as we know.  The damage is a result of our activity, and the motor is capitalism.  Globalization has followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Natural resources and people have been exploited regardless of sustainability.  Technology and science have been harnessed to the drive to profitability and there is massive social inequality.  It is not a matter of individuals or even nations, but the whole system of Integrated World Capitalism (IWC).
The mass media is complicit creating demand and shaping individuals through a mass media subjectivity. Thus there is a need for mental ecology as well, since the singularities of human subjectivity are also under threat and we must think of new ways to resingularize.

The refrain is useful here, and those in our lives include advertising jingles, as examples of how we are captured by her cultural environment.  What might be seen as individual refrains are drowned out.  Television is particularly culpable, as in Chaosmosis, where TV is hypnotic, contains compelling narratives, creates a world of phantasms which populate even daydreams, and showers us with diverse components of subjectification.  Other existential refrains are controlled and neutralized.  We are becoming more homogeneous, and we need to become heterogeneous and therefore more consistent, which will include 'affirming our legitimate difference' (7).  The refrain in Proust is discussed here, and how the rediscovery of the little tune recreates Swann as a result of something '"spontaneous and unaccountable"' (8). Liberating practice will require recapturing singularities and exploring new constellations of universes of reference as a response to events.  Singular events can activate these or reactivate them.  The example of the patient liberated by learning to drive in Chaosmosis gives an example.  Apparently, Guattari himself was liberated by learning to drive later in life.  This is in contrast to the repetitive reactions to television. 

Singularity is a concept 'borrowed from modern physics' (8).  Maxwell was one of the first to realize that singular events might have political applications [quoted page 8].  It has a non human aspect.  It is not human individuality.  It operates 'at a pre-personal, a pre-individual level'.  It is located at a crossroads where several components of subjectification intersect .  Work is required to do it.  The aesthetic paradigm is more profitable than a scientific one, leading to Guattari's remark that life is a performance to be constructed and singularized, quoting Joyce.  Many artists are quoted here.  The best art is never a repeat but always a new attempt, something experimental which can turn into something else, a movement exceeding the individual.  Life itself is a work in process, with no fixed end, the only the need to always explore new possibilities and respond to the chance event.

It is clear that ecology now includes human subjectivity, but he also includes social relations and the relation between the different sorts of ecology.  The political issue here is whether this can support any move towards a mass movement to take on IWC.  Some forms of consumerism are being rejected, in a form of 'alienation from the capitalist consensus' (10), but we must avoid anything to stupefy and infantilize: instead we need to cultivate dissensus, dissident subjectivities rather than a mass movement.  Liberation must be multivalent and articulated with the real.  Alliances with others will be temporary.  We must resist having a leader.  Although the book was written before the net and the web, Guattari was aware of some of its implications to develop and coordinate social groups [apparently he saw the potential in Mintel].  One of the main functions will be to explain to majorities why minorities are protesting.  There is a tension between solidarity and dissensus, and the need for something more like 'pragmatic solidarity without solidity, what one might call..."fluidarity"'(11).  Ecology is an appropriate radical force because IWC dominates the environment everywhere.

A non exploitative capitalism is unthinkable at the moment.  We will have to attempt to survive together with our environments.  We have to rethink the mass media's notion of 'environmental problems'as something separate from the rest of us, and reject the usual solutions that corporations can reduce it for example by trading carbon quotas.

We need to develop 'the positive disbelief in God', focus on terrestrial life only, develop 'an immanent, materialist ethics' (12), become aware of her own mortality, rejecting phantasies of immortality 'which is only a misplaced contempt for life'.  We have to open our horizons to consider new ways of life.  We have to resist normalisation and celebrates heterogeneity.  Thus ecology is also about the struggle for good ideas. [Ends with a pious bit about natural selection working to save us via ecology].

[Their notes at the end are useful in explaining and contexting some of the terminology, and I quote them now and then]

The Three Ecologies

[Good simple summary of the process of subjectifiation about pp20]

Bateson is cited on the idea of an ecology of bad ideas.  Ecological disequilibrium will increase to such an extent that life itself is threatened.  At the same time, human life is also deteriorating [with the decline of the traditional social bonds and the emergence of what is in effect the culture industry] . Relations between subjectivity and anything exterior are being infantilized.  Otherness has lost its 'asperity', as when tourism becomes 'a journey on the spot'(17).  Political groups seem unable to understand the implications, focusing, for example, only on industrial pollution and the technocratic implications.  What is needed is a whole articulation between ethics and politics -- 'ecosophy' (18) -- covering the 'three ecological registers (the environment, social relations and human subjectivity)'.  The growth of technology has not led to the liberation of time and potential.  Instead, collective subjectivity flounders or revives archaisms, as with fundamentalism.

We need a global response, covering more than just material assets.  It needs to take into account not just the economy and technology but other 'molecular domains of sensibility, intelligence and desire'. Extensive regulation by the profit economy only leads to massive global inequalities and threatening technology as in nuclear power or nuclear weapons.  In each case, human activities are valorized in a particular way: a global market develops an equivalence of all values, putting everything on the same plane as an asset; police and the military dominate all social and international relations.  The nation state declines and is increasingly placed under the control of the global marketplace. 

Even the old phony antagonisms have disappeared, for example the clash between east and west which was always 'a largely imaginary projection of working class/middle class oppositions within capitalist countries' (19). Class antagonisms used to produce bi-polarized subjective fields, but consumer society and the welfare state weaken these.  That is not to say that segregation and hierarchy are not 'intensively experienced', but they are covered by a smokescreen, including a vague sense of social belonging.  Even the communist world is experiencing 'mass media serialism' and cultural similarities.  It is unlikely that the old tensions between north and south will improve matters.  We may be able to tackle world hunger with new agribusiness and international aid, but problems will remain and take the form of persistent zones of misery and hunger: this might even be necessary for the development of new industrial nations, as a perverse form of '"stimulation"' (20). All this is evidence of a tension between productive technological forces and inadequate social forces.

However, there might be hope because 'the demands of singularity are rising up almost everywhere', seen in increasing nationality claims [and what a disaster they were].  Political conflicts do not revolve around the usual oppositions, for example the opposition between the third world and the developed world, with the rise of the new industrial powers: this has produced third world type conditions inside developed countries, connected to issues about immigration.  The European Community will not be able to prevent this.  Another traditional opposition 'transversal to that of class struggles' (21) is that between men and women: the exploitation of women is as bad as it ever was, but some long-term transformations might be on the way in terms of increased female opportunities.  There is an increasing attempt by the young to distance themselves from normal subjectivity.  Here, the mass media still tends towards collective identities but rock music helps provide the young with 'a sort of initiatory cult which confers a cultural pseudo identity'.  Within all these, ecological problematics seemed to offer the best chance of a problematic involving transversality.  Ecosophy might indicate a new way to reconstruct human praxis in different domains.

We might be able to identify the same project running through questions of racism, phallocentralism, modernist town planning, the domination of arts by the market, or the domination of the education system.  We will be able to invent new ways to live, at micro levels as well as macro.  We could not return to the old days, but we could discover new ways of living as groups, not just through communication but through 'existential mutations' (22), driven by subjectivity.  We would be experimenting.  We would be able to rethink the relation of the subject of the body, to phantasm, and to the whole issues of life and death.  We could resist standardization.  We would be following an artistic rather than psychoanalytic approach.  None of this is necessary historically, and 'barbaric implosion cannot be entirely ruled out' (23).

The implications for subjectivity suggests that 'the subject is not a straightforward matter'.  It is not enough to say that we think as in Descartes, since there are other ways of existing outside of consciousness.  Any thought that tries just to get a hold on itself will not be able to grasp the role of existential territories and their relations.  We have to think of 'components of subjectification, each working more or less on its own'.  The individual would not be the same concept as subjectivity.  'Vectors of subjectification do not necessarily pass through the individual', who is better understood as a terminal for various processes, some of which involve human groups, some 'socio economic ensembles' and some data processing machines. Interiority locates itself 'at the crossroads of multiple components, each relatively autonomous...and [sometimes] in open conflict'[a much simpler summary than in Schizoanalytic Cartographies!]. This argument is also directed at  any kind of structural or systemic determinsm , or scientism.  Underlying processes can also produce 'creative and auto positioning dimensions' (24). This is why we find better understandings in great literature [usual suspects][  rather than psychoanalysis.

This is not phenomenological analysis, which is also reductionist, reducing objects to 'a pure intentional transparency'. The assemblage of enunciation is inseparable from the apprehension of a psychical fact.  Not only that, the apprehension of an object is not the same as  the apprehension of a subject, and narratives,  often mythological ones, are required to join the two, or scientific accounts and descriptions. [Both of these relate to Freud?]. All this effort is needed to set the scene in terms of dispositions [ie provide a set of general, eternal personal and cultural motives and intentions?], which will then lead to a secondary intelligibility We need not agree with Pascal that the mathematical mind is separate from the artistic one. The narrative efforts, full of refrains support views of existence [I thought this was good and arty above?]. Such discourse then makes it impossible to grasp 'distinctive oppositions' (25) in both content and expression: we get repetitions instead, leading to whole incorporeal universes of reference [with singular events that 'puctuate' progress] [So again, I repeat -- is this 'bad'? Does it depend on the narrative?]

Once, Greek theatre or chivalric romance modelled subjectivity as subjectification. Today it is Freudianism. We need to reorient the key concepts and practices to free them from their context and open up new 'fields of virtuality'(25). If there is no investment in the future, the unconscious will be dominated by archaism. The new communication technology will help if it becomes 'a computer aided subjectivity' (25). Then it will assist the unfolding of many kinds of becoming. Of course, control by institutions and social classes will have to be dealt with [!]. Psychoanalysis today is far too dominated by structuralism, theory and dogmatism. It tends to produce stereotypes rather than addressing the singularity of patients.

There are ethical dimensions in that there is a need to actively intervene with clients, not shelter behind some supposedly scientific neutrality or an abstract scientific grasp of the unconscious. There is also an aesthetic dimension, encouraging us to constantly reinvent and experiment to avoid 'deathly repetition' (26). We have to accept that even schizophrenics are capable of extensive subjective development. An analytic cartography will help us go beyond existential territories and their limits, without relying on some prior guaranteed theoretical principles or the authority of some group. Psychoanalysts should abandon 'their white coats'. Painters never repeat the same painting indefinitely and similarly, every organization, including educational ones should continuously develop their practices as well as 'theoretical scaffolding' (27).

Strangely, natural science has gone far in this direction of understanding subjectification too. Prigogine and Stengers talk about the need for a narrative element in physics in order to understand evolution as something irreversible. But it will be the development of machine communication and artificial intelligence that will produce breakthroughs and reconstruct social practices, forcing attention on social ecology, mental ecology and environmental ecology.

The poverty of human relations with the social, the psyche and nature is not just a matter of objective pollution but also down to 'incomprehension and fatalistic passivity'. Structuralism and post-modernism has reduced the importance of human interventions and the politics and micropolitics involved. We hear slogans like the end of ideology. Instead we need to rethink the Real as a whole, so that action affects the psyche the social and the environment. We have to avoid 'sedative discourse', like that produced by television, and grasp the world through different points of view of the three ecologies.

We know from nuclear accidents and ecological disasters that our powers are limited, and need to be directed more collectively rather than by a profit economy. Of course we cannot return to the past, especially given technical progress and globalisation. We have to rethink our politics in today's conditions.

Nature can no longer be separated from culture and so we need to explore complex interactions by thinking transversely. We have to see the connections, for example between the invasion of the seas by mutant algae and the actions of people like Donald Trump [sic, p.28] devastating areas of American cities, or the moves to destroy the Third World, develop child labour. Action by international organizations is not enough. We need a change in attitudes and international solidarity. Marxist discourse is no longer as valuable so we need new theoretical references as well. The very words and gestures of human solidarity are becoming extinct, so that we find emancipatory struggles, by women or by the marginal, silenced.

The complexity of the situation is underpinned by the different logic at work, going beyond ordinary communication and scientific discourse. It is 'the logic of intensities' (29), where existential assemblages reflect on their own activities and produce 'irreversible durations'. It is also a logic of transitional or part objects, including faces and landscapes [note 41, page 102 reminds us that the transitional object in Winnicott is something between the subjective and the objective, something given significance from the point of view of the baby, but not an hallucination]. It is not a matter of closing sets definitively, but rather 'the movement and intensity of evolutive processes' (29). It is a focus on process rather than system or structure, the very way in which existence is constituted, defined and deterritorialized. This in turn only happens when expression breaks out of its framework and is put to subjective use, becoming an existential index, 'processual lines of flight'.

We need a praxis that will find 'potential vectors of subjectification and singularization' at every location. These will run counter to the normal order. They will act as 'an intensive given' which will invoke other intensities forming an entirely new existential configurations. Vectors have to become detached from their normal denotations and functions. We must beware of violent deterritorialization, however which will destroy subjectivities and collectivities [he claims this is what happened in Italy in the early 1980s]. An 'a-signifying rupture' is always involved, so expressive support from the normal assemblages of enunciation is not available: passivity and the loss of consistency can result, together with psychological consequences such as anxiety and guilt, or pathological repetition. What we should do instead is a creative repetition to produce new 'incorporeal objects, abstract machines, and Universities of value'. These will come to seem as if they were always there, although they are a response to a singular event.

There can still be conventional denotation and significations as well, in an ambiguity like a poetic text, or a refrain in Proust [the example is the little phrase again, or the flavour of the madelein]. Literature and the arts can help us locate these refrains, but they are also working everyday life in social life and wherever an existential territory becomes questioned. Such territories may have already become deterritorialized in the form of abstract notions of good and evil: these too can produce singular or re-singularised ensembles. However, the proliferation of goods threatens a social void and inconsistency of existential territories. The traditional social bonds are being eroded irreversibly, bringing about a strange return to the past: that includes reverence for hierarchy, segregation of various kinds, and overall 'subjective conservatism' (31). This is exacerbated by the tendency for post-industrial capitalism to turn towards producing signs and subjectivity itself. This was not realised as so important with earlier forms, especially with the workers movement.

There are now four main semiotic regimes on which IWC is founded. They are: economic semiotics, including accounting and decision-making; juridical semiotics, legislations and regulations; techno-scientific semiotics, diagrams, research and programmes; semiotics of subjectification, including those above but also things that relate to architecture, town planning and public activities. There is no cultural hierarchy between them. IWC is a whole, with 'material, formal, efficient and final causes' (32).

A particular problem is why the oppressed introject repression. Even those organizations that attempt to defend the interests of the oppressed still reproduce the same models that stifle freedom of expression and innovation. They have to realize that IWC works as a whole, and that surplus value is no longer produced just in the production of material goods. Theoreticians that advocate workerism or corporatism have not helped. We need three types of ecological praxis, and in particular to critique the production of subjectivity, 'knowledge, culture, sensibility and sociability' (33), the whole 'incorporeal value system'.

Social ecology needs to rebuild human relations to undo the extension of capitalist power, which infiltrates 'even the most unconscious subjective strata'. The same goes for mental ecology in everyday life [including personal ethics]. To aim at consensus would be 'stupefying and infantilising': we need dissensus and singularity. Capitalistic subjectivity works through a number of operators and is aimed at preserving public opinion. It crushes all singularity and attempts to manage everything — childhood, art, anxiety, feeling lost. Its subjective aggregates are connected to ideas like race, nation, competitive sports, dominating masculinity, celebrity. Existential refrains are controlled or neutralized in favour of 'collective feeling of pseudo-eternity' (34).

The first focus should be on singularity. An example would be the principles of the Freinet School [note 48, page 104 explains. It was a popular school movement in the 1920s to the 1960s. It focused on three teaching techniques: the learning walk, exploratory walks around the town gathering information and impressions and leading to a collective free text, often linked to local direct action to improve conditions; a classroom printing press for the pupils' writings and a newspaper; interschool networks where pupils might exchange packages, texts and so on, first as twin schools and then as clusters and global learning networks. The schools were a response to the centralized French pedagogic system. Freinet preferred techniques to methodologies, something more socially integrated and critical, exploring relationships. The work came from the children themselves {maybe} and there were no immutable frameworks. For example, literacy came from issues that had a direct impact locally such as unemployment, poverty, and nationally such as African famine. The scheme was so successful, apparently, that the French government still allows teachers to use the postal system for nothing to swap educational materials]

New micropolitical processes will regenerate solidarity and gentleness, and this should extend to psychoanalysis. The alternative is to endlessly rebalance the 'capitalist semiotic universe'. No level of practice should be prioritized, nothing imposed as a transcendental priority. Heterogenesis should be the aim, so that feminists can pursue their goals, immigrants theirs and so on. The hope is that contracts of citizenship will emerge, preserving the singular as well as a non-burdensome state structure.

There is no longer any hope that opposites will be resolved. There might be times of common struggle, but often a focus on individual subjectivities and the need to express them. This logic resembles the way in which artists alter their work, or develop it as a result of an event, making it drift [the French term is dériver].

Current environmental ecology is far from this generalized approach. It is still dominated by 'archaizers and folklorists' (35). Ecology needs a wider audience, especially if there is to be substantial economic and technological growth. It would be crazy to let these develop in the 'dead ended directions' (36) of IWC.

In each of the three ecologies, we have to start by seeing the existential territories that they embody as 'precarious, finite, finitized, singular, singularised', that can either be stratified or opened up for liberating praxis, as in eco-art. It is the most general way of thinking about existential territories and their relations to the body the environment and even the whole of humanity. There are no universal rules to guide praxis. We might begin by looking at the differences between the three levels or visions.

Mental ecology involves a pre-objectal and pre-personal logic, as in the Freudian primary process. Here, there are no logically developed binaries. The ecology of each phantasm necessarily involves a singular expressive framework. This will exceed the psychology of the individual. However, concepts like context, as in Bateson, have to be rethought: praxis is required to take on a context or aspects of it, and this in turn requires a break with systematic pretexts. Enunciation does not split into hierarchical components [as in foreground, and background context?] but are always heterogeneous. Praxis provides consistency which will 'cross the thresholds that constitute one world at the expense of another' (37). Fragments of chains crystallize as a result, becoming a-signifying ones like a particular work of art that must be detached from the surrounding world.

The issues can arise at any time as fragments, tending to catalyse bifurcations. This has been dealt with in the classic Freudian processes of free association or dream interpretation, but modern family therapy creates different scenes. However the issue of the production of primary subjectivity is not addressed, and they risk missing 'creative proliferation'(37). The real test is whether the point can be detected at which discursive chains break with conventional meaning, and the extent to which a new auto construction can be encouraged. Freudian approaches are okay for the first one but not the second, while family therapy is good for the second but underestimates the first. Both tend to ignore the general issue of mental ecology.

Psychiatric models have to be seen as similar to religious, neurotic or psychotic ones. They should be evaluated in terms of their effectiveness rather than their scientific validity. In particular we need to grasp the 'a-signifying points of rupture' (38), where conventional denotation, connotation and significations and the semiotic chains they lead to are broken. This will produce repetitive symptoms, prayers, ritualised psychoanalytic sessions, emblems, refrains and even the 'facialitary crystallisation of the celebrity'. These can be seen as partial subjectivities or proto-subjectivity, eluding the full mastery of the self. Freud noticed that this can happen when meaning clusters around objects, but this was seen as 'essentially adjacent' to instincts and to corporeal images, whereas they could be seen as the generators of a dissident subjectivity. All institutional objects can be seen like this.

The issue is whether we are generating a break and how it is represented — as phantastic origins, perhaps. Pure acts of 'creative auto reference' are not possible in ordinary existence, and so it is difficult to grasp except through masks, myths and other kinds of metamodels. At the same time, we can understand creative subjectification ourselves only in terms of 'a phantasmatic economy'[involving machines, production and all those other metaphors?].

We should understand mental ecology not in terms of borrowed concepts and practices from psychiatry, but focus on 'the logic of desiring ambivalence' wherever it occurs [examples include sport]. This logic will not be that of profit. It will not just focus on individuals. It will examine various phantasms, including those of aggression or racism affecting both children and adults, and we need to understand these phantasms in terms of ecology, how they transfer and translate into matters of expression. This implies that such phantasms need to acquire modes of expression in the first place in order that they can be reattached to existential territories. We understand violence transversally. This does not mean that we allow people to act out their phantasms nor that we ignore the constant dangers of the death drive that threatens to emerge whenever territories of the self are undermined. Overall, violence is also produced by complex subjective assemblages, not essential to humans, and maintained by various assemblages of enunciation. Sade and Celine offer examples of how to manage negative fantasies, turning them into literature. Anything that prevents this sort of process in the imagination threatens to produce violence in the real.

Thus for example comic books aimed at children are alarming, but much worse is the presence of the despot [rendered as the one eyed man, already described in ATP, 424. The translators also detect a reference to Le Pen]. Successful fascists also manage to harness a widespread 'montage of drives' (39).

There is of course no obvious reliable methodology that will be able to deal with all the fantasies that lead to the objectification of minorities and thus in the need for institutions. However a more general account of experiences of analysing people in these institutions [including schools] might help to change these conditions. It will still be an enormous task to reconstruct the damage caused by IWC. No central reform will succeed. We need the 'promotion of innovatory practices'(40), and the increase of experiences which do produce a respect for singularity and autonomous subjectivity. Violent fantasies and brutal deterritorialization will only bring about redeployed assemblages that will further limit bodies and individuals, but ordinary approaches [to education and socialisation] will not defeat punitive superegos and deadly guilt complexes. Religions have lost their hold, while totemism and animism seem to be on the increase. Human communities have become introspective and trade unions left behind by ever present crisis.

Social ecology involves affective and pragmatic activity by human groups of different sizes, in order to qualitatively reorganise primary subjectivity. The seem to be two options: (1) 'personological triangulation' [some sort of family triangle or relation between self and other]. This might begin with the usual identifications and imitations to produce primary groups, but these tend to produce hierarchical arrangements and passivity unless they are extended more broadly, even to the cosmos. (2) 'diagrammatic efficiency' to replace the usual systems of identification,a turn to processual semiotics [what would normally be called symbols except that is structuralist]. Diagrams tend to deterritorialization, to create new discursive chains attached to referents. It is the difference between a music student imitating his teacher and developing his own style that will tend towards singularity. We must also separate imaginary crowd aggregates and collective assemblages of enunciation which are better able to connect with social systems or machinic components as autopoiesis rather than repetition [note 74, page 113, gives an account of Varela's biology as a system of production of its own components. Guattari apparently identifies this sort of self positing in jazz music as well {in Chaosmosis apparently} and suggest that a number of different machines can also feature autopoiesis. Maturana's definition is also cited — apparently poiesis originally meant cultural production and when 'auto' was added the neologism  was used to refer to 'the dynamics of the autonomy proper to living systems"].However, the modalities might be difficult to separate when examining actual political systems. Further, capitalist societies produce 'serial subjectivity' (41) to the salaried classes, another kind [not specified, presumably the worst kind of passive conformity] to the huge mass, and an elitist subjectivity to the executive sectors [note the bourgeois categories]. Mass media increases these divergences. [Now a bit that sounds like Bourdieu...] The elite possess material wealth and cultural capital, but the subjugated masses have to remain within the status quo and have a 'hopeless and meaningless life'. We need to move to a post-media age where the media reflect a multitude of subject groups [hints of free radio?] so they can be re-singularised.

The alienation produced by the media is not necessary. Any fatalism here depends on certain misunderstandings: 'sudden mass consciousness-raising' (42) is always possible; the collapse of Stalinism has encouraged 'other transformative assemblages of social struggle'; the technological evolution of the media means it is now cheaper than ever and might be used for non-capitalist goals; labour now requires more '"creationist subjectivity"' and upskilling.

The subjectivity of the working classes was eroded and serialized [as in family, school, work etc] first, and this has now been exported to the Third World. However there is an acceleration [a straw here to clutch] of technology and information, providing for new forms of subjectification. It is contradictory, trying to subordinated intelligence and initiative to capitalist control, and even to domestic life. The key policy is to reterritorialize the family on a large scale.

Effects will be different depending on whether a collective subjectivity arises and whether this can resist archaic features — Japan and Italy seem to have managed to do so. In France by contrast, whole regions were able to withdraw from economic life [in an archaic way presumably, not as Autonomism]. In other Third World countries, we see a post industrial subjectivity imposed on a mediaeval one, and this may be extended to Africa. If technological progress results, Europe might be put under severe tension.

Archaism is always a danger. Some uprisings, say in Algeria, have managed to achieve a symbiosis between fundamentalism and Western ways of living. A spontaneous social ecology can arise to constitute new existential territories, but it needs  politically coherence to avoid being recaptured. Obviously we should move away from profit-based markets as regulators and consider 'a range of other value systems'(44). These might include notions of aesthetic profitability, and 'the values of desire'. At the moment, these are still regulated by the state for example in the notions of national heritage. New social associations might constitute a whole new  Third Sector, neither private nor public [New Labour did that as a phony Third Way], and this might be encouraged by increasing mechanization [Guattari thinks it 'will be forced to expand continuously' (44) — accelerationism again]. A universal basic income will need to be seen as a right.

There will be a problem in encouraging the organization of different ventures to produce re-singularisation. New territories will be necessary, but not like nationalist movements which tend to dominate over molecular reform. Deterritorialized nationalities might be possible through music and poetry. The general equivalences of capitalism must be resisted by producing existential territories which cannot be grasped in terms of labour time or profit. New information technology might help to create new 'stock exchanges of value' and collective debate [I think this has happened to some extent with the Web], and this can provide an opportunity for the most singular and dissensual activity. Companies that lead not to profit but to enrichment of the whole of humanity need to be encouraged in the collective interest. Challenges to fundamental research and artistic production must be resisted.

This can never take place globally, but will emerge from particular shifts in value systems and the emergence of new 'poles of valorization'. We can see the possibilities in various spectacular social changes, on a political level say in the Philippines or Chile, on a nationalist level in the USSR [oh dear]. In these cases 'value system revolutions'(45) are rising up from the base.

Environmental ecology suggests that anything is possible, that so-called natural equilibrium will be increasingly dependent upon humans, and that 'vast programmes' will be required to regulate things like atmospheric conditions. We can think of this better as 'machinic ecology', because both 'cosmic and human practice has only ever been a question of machines, even, dare I say it, of war machines'. Nature itself has always 'been at war with life'[in the same sense as in a war machine?]. We need to master the mechanosphere if we are to deal with 'the acceleration [sic] of techno-scientific progress' and population increase. We will need to not only preserve but repair nature, and deal with matters such as the creation of new living species by technology.

Benjamin was onto this, on the reduction of information, away from storytelling. We need to create worlds other than those of abstract information, universes of reference and existential territories which display singularity and finitude. A new mental ecology with 'multivalent logic', and a new 'group Eros principle' will be required (46) to make the cosmos inhabitable. We need the intertwined parts of the vision of three ecologies, a new 'ecosophy', applied and theoretical, ethical political and aesthetic, breaking with the old political and religious associations.

Politically, it should not be a form of defensive militancy, but have many facets, agencies and dispositions to analyse and produce subjectivity. This will be both collective and individual, extending beyond the usual limits of individualisation or 'identificatory closure'. It should also open itself to the machinic phylum, to technology and science and their universes of reference, helping to develop 'a new "pre-personal"' understanding of time as well as of the body and sexuality. A new singular subjectivity will be required to meet the encounter with finitude.

However, much is used to resist these developments, ranging from revived religion to new sedative drugs. However, what is at stake is the future of human history. The old notion of the subject as in economic competition is seductive but must be resisted. The old universes of value must not be allowed to resist singularisation. New social and aesthetic practices must be brought to bear on the relation between self and others.

We will need to articulate 'a nascent subjectivity, a constantly mutating socius' (47), and an environment which is being reinvented. The three ecologies might have a common ethico-aesthetic origin but they are also distinct in terms of their characteristic practices. They should feature heterogenesis, constant re-singularisation. Individuals should become both more united and increasingly different [organic solidarity], and this should also affect institutions including schools and town councils. These will be produced by transversal activity and tools. Only then can we install subjectivity in the environment, in social institutional assemblages, and even in the 'landscapes and fantasies of the most intimate spheres of the individual'. Extending creative autonomy in one domain encourages it in others and there is a catalytic effect: humanity must regain its confidence in itself, 'starting at the most minuscule level', countering the 'pervasive atmosphere of dullness and passively'.

Genosko, G. The life and work of Felix Guattari: from transversality to ecosophy

Transversality is a useful key to the work, also linked to the discussion between subject groups and subjugated groups. Massumi has apparently also used the term in connection with a particular literary text, basing it on Deleuze on Proust [the reference is to Massumi 1988 in Social Discourse 1/4: 423 – 40]. The concept may have originated with Althusser and Sartre.

The original context was the issue of objects and how they relate to the superego, and how the superego might come to move on from its 'police operations' (50). The superego classically was heavily influenced by parents, especially father, but is also open to later influences, and incorporates some archaic ones. These make it further from consciousness than the ego. There was some confusion in the early discussion. Gradually, the concept was clarified in a psychoanalytic context and then developed more in terms of politics. We should not see it as an abstract concept 'empty of history, reality and contingency' (51), floating in post-modernism.

There always was an immediate practical purpose in psychiatric institutions. It was always a political concept, linked to projects of change of institutions and wider social groups, beginning with an analytic method. This is why it is central to the life projects of Guattari.

In the first case, transversality helped to develop a suitable psychoanalytic analysis and therapy in an institution rather than in an individual setting. The old face-to-face relation tended to ignore the institutional backdrop, the setting in which analysis took place, the "institutional object" (52).

The critique centred on the notion of psychoanalytic transference, involving some 'libidinal tie' between patient and analyst, enabling psychoanalytic struggles to be rehearsed and made explicit. Initial strong relations like love should be encouraged at first, even though ultimately they can be dismantled. Guattari first came to see problems by thinking of the subjectivity of groups and institutions. The relation with Lacan also helped him focus worries about transference, and he came to see it as something mechanical, predetermined, territorialized on a role, akin to bourgeois repression, reproducing castes and group phantasms, helping to create guruism. Freud himself began to doubt the therapeutic effect of transference, and to see it more as a form of resistance, but Guattari thought the problem lay in the whole notion of a dual relation, which enabled Freud to become some absolute master, heroically founding psychoanalysis: his 'retreats into aestheticism not only spoke volumes of his contempt for the lives of his patients, but cultivated a legion of sycophantic followers and fascistic lieutenants'. Guattari saw this developing in Lacan's Freudian school as well.

Theoretical suspicions were also developing, for example challenging the notion of the dual relation anyway, and insisting that there was always a third party, some mediating object. Guattari in AO is sceptical of Oedipal triangulation, of course, but the third party here is institutional life, the group, the institutional object.

The institution itself needed to be criticized. Transversality foregrounds the institution. The institutional object shows a 'massive conjugation' (54) of a number of effects, other individuals, bureaucracies, other psychiatric workers. These could be thought of as transitional objects, borrowing from Winnicott.

The transitional object is really something ambiguous that generates transitional phenomena, originally in a space between infant and mother, later between patient and analyst, and also between all the other roles. Classically, the infant is able to separate themselves from their mother rather than thinking of themselves as being merged, and this opens 'a space of signification', requiring adjustment by both mother and infant, moving from complete dependency to autonomy. However, it is always a paradoxical relation, and paradox needs to be tolerated, since objects cannot be strictly assigned either to psychic or to normal reality [must be tricky with transitional objects like parts of the mother's body]. A particular potential space is required and both participants have to have confidence in its reliability — this is Winnacot's '"environmental factor"'. The point is to develop an institutional space which will be reliable and which will attract confidence, and this is clearly going to be difficult in a psychiatric hospital which has to develop quite different institutional objects which have nothing to do with therapy [which are 'radically detourned' (55)]. Sometimes they can produce illness as well as treat it.

The answer is to develop a particular kind of group subjectivity to grasp these characteristics, and transversality will be a suitable tool. The institutional object itself plays an important part, the equivalent of the object little a, central to the group's desire and fantasies.

We see that 'subjectivity is a group phenomenon. It is completely deindividuated and depersonalised and ecologized'. It takes different forms but it is always a group phenomenon. There are no other predetermined interrelations, no forms of evolution. As is consistent with their general stance, 'the whole cannot predetermine the future of the part'.

Winnicot is also the source of interest in the 'in between', the potential space, and transversality is found in this middle. Potential becomes linked to the concept of the virtual, not contained in or confined by the actual and not describable by the usual dualistic terms such as patient and therapist. Eventually this was to lead to a whole virtual ecology.

Guattari posited a coefficient of transversality, but described this [entirely irritatingly] in terms of animal behaviour: the blinkers worn by horses in a field for example. This shows that Guattari 'never carefully worked out its scientistic implications' (56). He even borrowed the term from thermodynamics and the notion of entropy.

The first example turned on a group of interns who had a potential for transversal relations, but one which had to remain latent in institutions. Instead of working out social lines of force, Guattari resorted to thermodynamics to talk about institutional entropy and how that defeated any attempt to reduce it. Instead, every vague tendency to disturb the status quo had to be amplified. In this process, some groups were central, even though they might look weak. Another parallel is with the collective paranoia in things like political or religious movements where it might be possible to examine 'a coefficient of collective paranoia' as an opposite to a coefficient of transversality.

There was a connection between interpreting institutional entropy and classic transference.  However, interpretation could be undertaken by anyone, no matter how lowly, and it follows that the institution must be constantly alert to it, wherever it is found, 'a peripatetic psychiatry' (57). Nevertheless, the implications of the interpreting analyst must be faced: people have to take responsibility for their actions and allow themselves to be displaced. The usual process of appearing as a superego with transference must be avoided. Apparently, Lacan was particularly critical of British analysts here who became superego models and eventually developing a cult following — although the same happened with Lacan. The point is to deliberately avoid possible exploitation of this kind by displacing the analyst as some kind of master occupying a place in the institutional hierarchy. Instead the analyser must become 'an empty locus'.

Transversality may be low or high, latent or manifest, working with different intensities. It is a property of groups and always present to some degree. The coefficient of transversality can be suggested by the [irritating] model of the horses with blinkers. It's worth noting that when blinkers are removed, the results may be frightening and will not guarantee transversality and harmony. Apparently, the analogy is a deliberate echo of an argument in Freud about the ego like a man on horseback trying to hold back the superior superego. What is not discussed in this model is who might be responsible for imposing or adjusting the blinkers in the first place — clearly management is involved.

Another irritating analogy is with porcupines who, according to a famous parable, had to adjust their distance from each other carefully in order to both huddle together for warmth and avoid each other's spines. Apparently the analogy shows that there must be a certain level of 'libidinal ties' (59) for transversality to work, and it cannot just be imposed either by hospital officials or patient activists. However, the parable still leaves implicit 'incipient mythmaking about group togetherness', which lay behind the criticisms Guattari made about the famous utopian communities in some psycho therapeutic groups, including those associated with RD Laing.

Guattari was still thinking in terms of manifest and latent levels of communication here. Transversality was unconscious, while real power in institutions was often exercised by groups in a latent rather than manifest way. Those operating real power effectively determined the possibility of transversality, albeit unconsciously. That was why it was necessary to look at de facto power. At one level, it was probably the responsibility of the caregivers to modify the atmosphere of the institution, but they were not the only ones, and militant agitators have their part to play too, especially as reformism tended to prevent fundamental change and echo institutional interests. Holding power is not a static matter, however, but has to be discovered [put in Freudian terms of discovering the subject of the institution, including the unconscious one which has to be flushed out].

Here, Guattari is still fairly explicitly Freudian, and this shadow affects even the later work where psychoanalytic categories were rendered as ontological ones. At this stage, transversality is seen as a new kind of psychical material, like latent dream thoughts, requiring analysis of manifest contents. At the most radical level, it was not enough to think in terms of horizontal or vertical dimensions of organisation, but to think of a new kind of orientation altogether.

In the second case, we discuss different sorts of groups, especially subjugated and subject groups. The difference turns on the ability to make a statement of one's own. However, both have dangers: subject groups face difficulties connecting with other groups which increases their members' insecurity and can lead to paranoia; subjugated groups are alienated from the outside and can respond by withdrawing into themselves offering a refuge and a kind of paranoid security for the members.

The trick again is to try to analyze the unconscious desires of the group, working back by interpreting various phenomenal forms of meaning. This is not the same as attempting to restore some underlying universal truth or functional form of adaptation. Transversality when developed can help participants recognize themselves as in a mirror and develop the collective mode of expression. Joining a subjugated group is different, tending to reinforce narcissism — although in some circumstances this can also lead to self exploration: 'let's not label one group good and the other bad' (62). The point is to make interpretation central to the singularity of a group and the way in which it makes sense. This can include interpreting the symptoms of individuals.

Subject groups are better able to enable patients to become signifiers in their own right and to develop sets of interdependencies which also preserve difference: they certainly overcome 'the individuated hell of isolation'. If those groups can act as mirrors, patients can perceive others like themselves and develop an intersubjective relation. This is a different mirror stage from the one described by Lacan which involves dualism and a fantasy of the imagination. The signifying chain that develops this is best understood as 'a series of layered, ever widening loops, linked with other such loops' (63). They feature 'the fundamental structures of association (metaphor and metonymy)', with both vertical and horizontal 'dependencies (value and signification)'.

The two kinds of groups are actually modelled on Sartre with his notion of serial [empty and repetitive] being and fused groups. Guattari acknowledges his debt in Chaosophy. Serial groups are coordinated without really being aware of their common projects or of each other. This became the subjugated group with a principle of unity outside, say the way in which patients are constituted as a group by the practices of an organization. This is a 'practical – inert structure', hard to resist because it appears so reasonable and effective and is widely supported.

Guattari felt quite an emotional loyalty to Sartre and wanted to defend him, even when he became publicly criticized for various 'errors' [which apparently included writing Nausea]. The issue that divided Deleuze and Sartre was different — 'the structure of alterity' (64): Deleuze wanted to develop an idea that extended beyond subjectivity [I am not sure sure where. The notion of the other in Logic of Sense seems classically phenomenological, although perhaps it is the subject object dialectic strictly speaking that is the problem]. These were useful confusions in Sartre for Guattari, and helpful [in showing thelimits even of restoring a dialectic to the Freudian stuff?] if we considered emotional and political issues. Apparently, they can be traced in subsequent dialogue between Guattari and Negri, when analyzing their own confusions, mistakes and failures.

Subject groups can be united by a particular common praxis and by mutual reciprocity, still united in effect by a common external object. They can easily become subjugated, however — serial structures are the most basic type of sociality for Sartre. There must be a distinct source of unity in the form of a common objective, and specific material circumstances to develop collective praxis. Seriality always threatens and has to be met with constant renewal and interiorization.

There is also a distinction between internally produced anxiety and external danger, based on Freud. Freud used this in his developmental theory where there are specific anxieties, like castration in the phallic phase. Guattari saw castration as a much broader anxiety affecting social relations in general, an unending threat, always present in any Oedipal triangle, responsible for a constant unconscious need for punishment, ever-present in a capitalist social reality supported by an irrational morality. It regulates desire. It leads to the cult of great leaders even if their actual economic effectiveness is always limited. It produces the superego which is forever triggered by desire and a constant feature in repression. Freudian therapy can be criticized for maintaining these processes: the question is why parental threats should be constantly repeated, why life should be an 'interminable drama of the threat of persecution for our desires' (67). This interminability also makes psychoanalysis interminable, but Guattari thought there might be a way to limit forever the legacy of castration.

Castration clearly rests on the conventional heterosexual family and phallocentrism which makes even men unable to acknowledge that they might not always be in control, and women unable to accept that their lack of penis is a form of 'anatomical destiny'. These pathologies also make it difficult for people to accept a psychoanalytic cure, producing depression and resignation. All we can hope for is to become little daddies ourselves.

Psychoanalysis produces its own form of castration, requiring simple belief 'rather than production', and becomes a form of ideal capitalist drug.It is important instead to get the superego to open itself to something outside, lose its blinkers, consider a desire that no longer requires repression. Transversality is crucial, producing group erotics, group subjects which escapes from the activity of individual superegos, and breaks with the notion of the universal family. In subjugated groups, phantasies can arise as well, but usually while preserving the daddy. Transversality tries to ensure that no Oedipal objects are produced by routines or representatives, that 'the potential middle is opened' (69).

The third case concerns psycho therapeutic practice. It is asking a lot for head doctors to allow people to question their actions, and it is important to address this. Once transversality is working, everyone can assume a new role and new objects accepted by the superego [a process called 'initiatic']. It is not that the old anxieties like castration disappear, but rather they are articulated with different sorts of social demands, no longer those of the family or the profession. New forms of organization and access to new media offer new possibilities of singularization, as formerly 'unartistic persons' encounter new possibilities

At first, the head doctor might lose his social status and its accompanying alienation phantasies [presumably, loneliness of command stuff?]. Transversality will require lots of courage and trust, and it is always only local. However, it will go beyond the effects of experiments introduced just by staff. Nevertheless, castration and Oedipus are always significant.

The local experiment at La Borde involved the grid to rotate tasks and the formation of patients clubs which were given a certain autonomy, legally grounded in France, intended to develop the patients as a subject group. There was also a therapeutic purpose to allow repressed phantasies to emerge. Generally, routine and boredom were also challenged. The goal was not to produce the standard 'warm, fuzzy group togetherness' (71), and not everyone wanted to do other roles, requiring a great deal of compromise. However, the medical staff could adopt different points of view, and they seem to benefit best. Of course, not all defence mechanisms were dissolved.

Sometimes, tyrannical leaders [a particular chef] provided difficulties, a knot in the sense of RD Laing. In one case, familial traces and micropolitical manoeuvring were evident, but these did not explain everything. There was an attempt to place this knot in the context of institutional and social politics, and the general repressive phantasms associated with capitalist division of labour. The goal was then to turn this tyrannical leadership to more constructive ends, to pursue a kind of ergotherapy, but not at any cost.

In another case, things seem to go better, when a cook from the Ivory Coast returned home and a group at La Borde was formed to help him. Reciprocal visits then ensued, with patients going on holiday and the cook's family visiting back. Guattari saw this as institutional singularisation, and claimed that local subjectivity was profoundly modified, especially its latent racism. Guattari was to continue to develop the theoretical account of events like this by describing schizoanalysis and the effects of transformational pragmatics.

Guattari was to argue that the same kind of break with familiar and familial social processes was required in any radical political organization. Otherwise object or subjugated groups would emerge, replicating structures of the family or patterns of work in capitalism. Transversality was a key process here to to avoid bureaucracy. The analysis of Stalinism suggested that excessive repression was required to control the huge potential of social expression from 1917. He also noted that militants sometimes adopt the phantasms of subjugated groups, as in the form of infantile communism, which tends to drive them into dependence on the leadership and their significations to describe their own actions. This is anti-production too.

There is also the possibility of coming to believe totally in your own phantasies — the most useful ones are transitional only. Further discussion appears in AO on the interlinks between real transversality and symbolic structures of subjugation.

Once more, the notion of initiation drew upon practice at la Borde, a local and autobiographical element. Experiencing militant groups also helped him deal with institutions. His critique of Stalin was seen in terms of distance emerging between the organization and their project, replacing real politics with phantasms about the organization, disconnecting with signifiers of the discourse of the working class, and ignoring different forms of subjectivity. There is always this tendency to locate politics in the imaginary instead of exploring the real textures of organizations.

Guattari was to build on the notion of production in the Grundrisse,  to insist that production must always have a social body or social subject, which he extended to the notion of a subject group. This fully acknowledge the role of phantasies in creativity, and the role of various initiations into modern organizations [including the 'bourgeois phantasies of the University'(76)]. Indeed, there is no simple reality of organizations, since they always have imaginary mechanisms as well: these can never be reduced to simple determinations or to individuals.

The workers' movements of various kinds have always found it hard to grasp group phenomena like this, unsurprisingly because they are always accompanied with 'the wrong indicators'. That is one reason he uses animal examples to indicate group dynamics that are not just rational or individual, although the examples also 'overdetermine group coordination and togetherness' (77). Nevertheless they are useful to show how groups can suddenly coalesce, around what was originally a latent fantasy, 'an"imaginary territorialization"'.

Therapeutic examples were always connected to political ends, seen best in the gleeful essay on the misprints as Freudian slips in a particular production by a left-wing group, substituting 'sans' for 'dans' [see Psychoanalysis and Transversality].

In the fourth case, we look at the later work, especially Chaosmosis. Guattari has already developed a notion of subjectivity as 'both collective and auto producing'(78) going beyond the distinction between individuals and the social. It is a-signifying, against both Freud and structuralism. There are no separate stages in development, but rather 'a polyphonic conception of subjectivity of coexisting levels'.

However, there would be some possible pragmatic applications of structuralism, such as the theory of partial objects, especially with Lacan and the little object a. Bakhtin was useful especially when it came to consider subjectivity in relation to aesthetic objects as '"partial enunciators"', helping subjectivity to enunciate itself, and forming an assemblage of both objects and enunciations.

Guattari saw the partial object as the object little a and this produced some implications for transversality especially in the critique of transference and dual analysis generally — the object was always a third element. This critique began in AO, but developed in schizoanalysis, where part objects are still related to subjects, but not the relation between the ego and the way it is reflected by objects and the other in a dependent way. This led to abandoning the Imaginary and the Symbolic orders since the schizo subject could connect directly with partial objects in the Real. However, the early work still saw relationships with the chief doctor as a matter of the symbolic, and the official roles of the participants as articulated like a language after all. However, Guattari insists on a process to inscribe these things in the symbolic, and an unconscious transversality that is also released, equally structured like a language but building on multiple semiotics. Overall, though, Guattari wants to evade all the traps involved in entry into the symbolic, things like mirror games and individuated social organizations.

Later work discusses whether such psychoanalytic techniques can contribute anything. The danger is to re-establish a superego on one side, in a person, and a social context which interacts with it on the other. Practice at la Borde also followed a rather mechanical notion of work relations implying that transversality was still connected to individuals. Guattari had to insist that experiments like the grid were part of a collective project and a collective assemblage, linked to a micropolitics of desire itself '"relative to a much greater social field"' (79).

Nevertheless, the partial object still helped develop an ethical or aesthetic notion of subjectification which would escape the usual individual and family constraints. Modifying institutional objects in order to achieve an initiation would produce a new kind of subjectivity.

Partial subjectification also linked eventually to Hjemslev and the connection between expression and content planes. Thinking of it in classic semiotic terms as a link between phonemes and semantic unities still involves 'linguistic imperialism' (80). The way in which matter was formed into semiotic substance had to be rethought, together with new relations between 'enunciated substances of linguistic nature and non-semiotically formed matter' (80), a link between linguistic and machinic orders leading to the notion of 'machinic assemblages of enunciation'. The way into this was to think about form and matter without deploying the usual category of substance as independent [but as tied to planes of expression and content?]. This would be a form of a-signifying semiotics and would expose the need to map creative subjectifications as they emerge and are embodied, as a way of producing complex forms from chaotic material.

New metamodels were required to locate the various earlier models and go beyond them. This was to be a pragmatic cartography rather than an attempt to domesticate topographies looking back and reducing it all to childhood or linguistics. There would be multiple strata of subjectifications, heterogeneity of development, a more schizo unconscious liberated from the family and hangups of the past and directed instead towards current praxis. '"An unconscious of flux and abstract machines more than an unconscious of structure and language"' [citing the Gonosko Guattari reader]. There was also a break with past events seen as latent material displaying symptoms of latency, and a pragmatic search for singularities and the construction of new universes of reference.

So transversality was finally stripped of psychoanalytic scaffolding except for partial objects, and it did develop an institutional framework. This provides it with the potential to be opened to a number of different domains. In general it still means 'militant, social, and disciplined creativity' (81), but it also risked an increasing abstractness ['deterritorialization from existing modelizations']. Transversality was not to be seen as a given but as something to be developed pragmatically: there was no acceptable norm in advance. It was an adjustable real coefficient, always in between, always a bridge across strata or different dimensions, acting as a line operating in the middle between 'relatively autonomous components of subjectification' (82). It was always subject to swift reaction and subjugation, professional domestication and conservative reterritorialization 'and diversionary phantasms'.

The whole emphasis turned towards ecology and ecosophy. This would involve an ego sensitive to a world and its impasses, and would include an ecology of the virtual. In particular, the domain of universities, with its notions of virtuality and incorporeality should be seen as offering potential space. It can only be understood ecologically, 'in terms of interrelations, interfaces, autonomous becomings'. There is no predetermined or preexistent whole or principle in these 'genuine becomings of subjectivity' — hence its creativity. The new media technologies will help actualize and make visible these territories and help subjectivities re-singularise. This will also help universes support finite territories. Guattari found links here with the little object a and also with Debussy providing 'transference as a kind of amorous transport beyond every day existential territories' (83).

Guattari did stand for office as a Green. This helped him realize that there are no extrinsic coordinates in universes and so no direct representation. This avoids reification and scientism, but are they still dependent on Guattari's own schema? He was led to suggest that there was 'a "pre-objectal entity"' transversal to all the domains, outside of space-time and representation, producing objects as its infinite velocity slows down and as subjectivity manages to deduce some qualities of them. This is '"being before being"', borrowed from the idea of some emergent subjectivity, some potential space between self and other, especially mother [this is surely Ettinger's matrix?], something in the middle which must be included before any subsequent dichotomies. There is a clear connection with the model of the primary process in Freud and how impulses are embodied, a Freudian connection after all, a deterritorialized version of the Freudian unconscious (84).


There is a clear rejection of Freudian dualist meta-psychology in the sense that it suggests that death triumphs over Eros. Guattari seeks a sociological basis for Eros which will triumph over death and the narcissistic individual. Despite these differences with Freud, and others with Lacan, Guattari remains 'thoroughly psychoanalytic'.

Transversality depends on group Eros. This must resist the death drive introjected by the superego. However, the death phantasies of individuals are not exactly removed, but rather re-experienced in the group, stopped from becoming narcissistic by the development of various experimental group practices and routines 'in which they may be actualized' (85). In Freud, Eros is able to counter individual phantasies [but here this is materialized in a group]. Individuals are actually groups themselves, social subjects, and it is group subjects that are supported by Eros while escaping individualized death drives.

In the struggle with psychoanalysis, Guattari wanted to reject both dualisms and even triangles in developing models with four dimensions converted transversally. [He still retains a three-level model with the three ecologies, but this was seen explicitly as reorienting Freud rather than going beyond him]. However, the domains can still be 'aligned with Freudian concepts': fluxes with the unconscious, phylums with drives, universes with complexes and territories with transference.

Overall, transversality remains useful for its praxic openings and its virtual potentials for subjectification. Relying on Eros as a principle for group formation risks 'the misunderstanding of a myth of group togetherness'. Transversality itself requires 'diverse modalities' and will involve crisis and banality as much as innovation and permanent reappraisal.

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