picking the right midwife for the birth of the post-human

Lévi-Strauss’s structuralism was, therefore similar in motivation to psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and certain forms of Marxism and existentialism; all these movements depicted ‘man’ as the being who is _other than mere_ life, whose desire for what is not immediate and present separates him from all positive being and compels him to enter some structure of deferral of present desire for the sake of an anticipated and collectively recognized human end.
Against this privileging of exchange D&G draw upon Marcel Mauss and Nietzsche to argue for a disequlibibrium of theft and gift. In the case of theft, they draw upon Nietzsche, Georges Bataille and Jean Genet. […] Is human potentiality, Deleuze and Guattari ask, really disclosed in the system of negotiation that serve life and maintenance of sameness and equilibrium, where ‘we’ all recognize each other as equivalent? Or is desire not better revealed in a surpassing or excess of life?

At the heart of this question is Deleuze’s philosophical commitment to understanding what something is, not by looking at its common, repeatable or usual manifestation – the general – but by asking what something _might be_ if its tendencies were pushed to the extreme. Thus, we understand cinema [or whatever] not by looking at what films are usually like, but by asking what it is that cinema _can do_, the cinematic powers that are different form novels or scientific treatises. […] In the case of _Anti-Oedipus_ Deleuze and Guattari refuse to beign their explanation of desire from what ‘man’ currently appears to be; instead they ask what historical forces produced contemporary oedipal man, and how those forces might be extended _beyond man_.

–Claire Colebrook, “Politics and the Origin of Meaning”


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