9/27/2011

production __ expression

1. Expression vs Production At the end of the very first paragraph of the book D&G warn us against metaphors. "Something is produced: effects of a machine, and not of metaphors" (p. 2).


Why are they so worried about metaphors, and why are metaphors the alternative to machinic production? I think these questions refer to a general problematic

that is
     
                     elaborated throughout the second part of the book in terms of the alternative between production and expression.



Schizoanalysis declares itself for production and against expression -- but what exactly is expression? In his book Spinoza and the Problem of Expression written a few

years earlier, Deleuze posed the concept of expression as the key to his entire reading of Spinoza. It was an unconventional concept to choose because Spinoza never uses the terms and it had never played an important role in the long history of Spinoza interpretation. In that work Deleuze gave "expression" a very precise definition. Spinoza's being, he said, which is one and universal, is expressed through the attributes of thought and extension. What is important in this expression is that being and the world have the same essence, being is not something outside of or separate from the world. Deleuze highlights the fact here that there is an immanent notion of causality at work in this expression, in which the cause is immanent to (rather than separate from) its effect. To say then in this framework that being is expressed in the modalities of the world means that being causes or creates these modalities but not in any exterior way; being remains always within these modes, as immanent cause.


Expression is thus used to mark a certain kind of production--specifically, a production in which the producer remains immanent to what is produced, in which producer and produced share a common essence. (It is interesting to note that in that book


Deleuze used this notion of expression in opposition to and as a critique of semiology, in the sense that signs and sign systems are external to what they represent or signify.)


Now in Anti-Oedipus D&G use the term "expression" very differently, in fact almost in the opposite sense. (I don't have any good explanation to this change of usage nor do I attach any great significance to it. In fact this later usage might be closer to our everyday usage of "expression." In any case I only want to clarify how the term is used.) I
In Anti-Oedipus, expression is related to representation and signification, and thus it designates precisely what 


is not immanent to the term or thing. 



Expression poses a meaning outside of and detached from the real 

process and hence blocks the process. As such expression is the primary enemy of production.



This is what Oedipus and psychoanalysis do: substitute representation or expression for process or production. "... the reproduction of desire gives way to a simple representation, in the process as well as 

theory of the cure. The productive unconscious makes way for an unconscious that knows only how to express itself--express itself in myth, in tragedy, in dream" (p. 54).


the expressive unconscious is what destroys the productive unconscious: "The unconscious ceases to be what it is--a factory, a workshop--to become a theater, a scene and its staging" (p. 55). (And I should probably add, only to be obstinate, that factory, workshop, theater are not metaphors here but real forms or functions of the unconscious.) 

 Expression destroys production, or displaces it, or takes away its power. D&G's preference for production over expression is posed not even in ethical terms (production is good, expression is bad) but in properly ontological terms: the being of the unconscious is production; expression is an alienation or falsification of that essence -- "the unconscious ceases to be what it is ...." This is not just a question of the unconscious or the being of the unconscious. 



for more of Michael Hardt's invaluable comments and remarks



 See


from Michael Hardt's notes on Antioedipus 2