- ---- by Alison Ross'Desire' is one of the central terms in Deleuze's philosophical lexicon. In his work with Guattari, Deleuze develops a definition of desire as positive and productive that supports the conception of life as material ﬂows. In each of the features used to define this conception of desire, an alternative conception of desire as premised on 'lack' or regulated by 'law' is contested. The psychoanalytic conception of desire as an insatiable lack regulated by Oedipal law is one of the main inaccuracies of desire that Deleuze tries to correct. Instead of desire being externally organised in relation to prohibitions that give it a constitutive relation to 'lack', for Deleuze desire is defined as a process of experimentation on a plane of immanence. Added to this conception of desire as productive, is the conception of desire as positive. Whereas in psychoanalytic theory desire is located within the individual as an impotent force, the positive and productive dimension Deleuze ascribes to desire makes it a social force. Thus reinterpreted, desire is viewed not just as an experimental, productive force, but also as a force able to form connections and enhance the power of bodies in their connection. These two features are used to distinguish the experimentation of desire from any variant of naturalism; and Deleuze defines desire accordingly in his work with Guattari as assembled or machined. This conception of desire works across a number of themes in Deleuze's writing with Guattari. Productive and positive desire works in their writing as an operative vocabulary through which they explain fascism in politics as the desire for the repression of desire, and they advance a new ethics of 'schizoanalysis' whose task is the differentiation between active and reactive desires, all the while explaining simple activities such as sleeping, walking or writing as desires.Desire is also a crucial element in Deleuze's critique of philosophical dualism. Such dualism, whether in Immanuel Kant or psychoanalysis, is able to submit desire to a juridical system of regulation precisely because it first distinguishes the domain of existence from those transcendent values that arrange it in relation to ordering principles. In the case of psychoanalysis this exercise of transcendent regulation erroneously contains desire to the field of the subject's sexuality and turns it into a problem of interpretation. Against psychoanalysis, Deleuze tries to de-sexualise and de-individualise desire. Sexuality is one ﬂow that enters into conjunction with others in an assemblage. It is not a privileged infrastructure within desiring assemblages, nor an energy able to be transformed, or sublimated into other ﬂows (D 1993b: 140).Deleuze is particularly critical of the alliance between desire-pleasurelack in which desire is misunderstood as either an insatiable internal lack, or as a process whose goal is dissolution in pleasure. Whether desire is related to the law of lack or the norm of pleasure it is misunderstood as regulated by lack or discharge. Against this alliance Deleuze describes desire as the construction of a plane of immanence in which desire is continuous. Instead of a regulation of desire by pleasure or lack in which desire is extracted from its plane of immanence, desire is a process in which anything is permissible. Desire is accordingly distinguished from that which 'would come and break up the integral process of desire' (D 1993b: 140). This integral process is described in A Thousand Plateaus as the construction of assemblages. The term, which is developed in response to the subjectivist misinterpretation of the desiring machines of Anti-Oedipus, underlines the view that desire is experimental and related to an outside. It is this relation to an outside that underpins the social dimension given to desire in Deleuze's thought. Understood as an assemblage, desire in Deleuze's vocabulary is irreducible to a distinction between naturalism/ artifice, or spontaneity/law. For this reason when Deleuze argues against the dualism that prohibits or interrupts desire from the external points of lack or pleasure, he also makes ascesis an important condition for the processes that construct assemblages of desire.Connectives§ psychoanalysis
The Deleuze Dictionary. Revised Edition. Edited by Adrian Parr . 2015.