Percepts, affects and desire
Pietro Barbetta
Annual Review of Critical Psychology 14 – 2018


In this essay I explore some thoughts concerning stability (percepts and affects) and modification (desire). The two works written by Deleuze and Guattari that I consider in this exploration are What is Philosophy? and the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia – Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus . I make reference to Joyce’s literature, despite Joyce being rarely mentioned by Deleuze and Guattari. The reason for using Joyce is that the Irish writer seems to have more than one affinity with the texts produced in the intersecting lives (Dosse, 2011) of the two French writers.

At the same time, Spinoza, among the philosophers who influenced Deleuze, is the benchmark of my essay for understanding the distinction between stability, concerning the work of art, and the work of the unconscious. The distinction between the philosophical mainstream (particularly Aquinas) in regard to “desire” and the importance of body in Spinoza’s philosophy is the path I follow for demonstrating that Schizoanalysis is a breaking point for philosophy, for psychology and for psychoanalysis.

In continuing the line traced out by Spinoza, and followed by Nietzsche and Bergson among others, Deleuze and Guattari break with the psychoanalytical vision of desire as a negative instance (the missing of something, a lack to be endlessly fulfilled) and foster the positive instance of desire as a production of the unconscious. Finally, I note that the distinction between the stability of the work of art and the modification of desire – in connection with the distinction made by Spinoza – permits Deleuze to entirely regain the issue concerning: “what a body can do”.

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