Deleuze and Guattari: New Earth, New People


Deleuze and Guattari not only describe refrains a small rhythms that one carries within themselves while moving through chaos – they littered their joint works with small refrains that return again and again, also bundled up with certain key concepts and acting as points of reference for particular thinkers and artists. One such refrain the intertwined notions of the “new earth”/”cosmic earth” and “new people”/”people to come”. I have not seen much commentary on these elements in their thought, despite the overt political nature of their rendering. In-depth probing of Deleuze and Guattari’s works by accelerationists have by and large passed them by , which is truly remarkable as these sets of concepts are linked directly to the question of accelerationism (as it was initially formulated in Anti-Oedipus) by way the relationship between each and the forces of absolute deterritorialization.

What follows are all the references to the new earth and the people to come to be found in Anti-OedipusA Thousand Plateaus, and What is Philosophy. If I have missed any, or if there are additional references to be found in Deleuze and Guattari’s solo works, do let me know and I’ll put them up!


Between neurosis and psychosis there is no difference in nature, species, or group. Neurosis can no more be explained oedipally than can psychosis. It is rather the contrary; neurosis explains Oedipus. Then how do we conceive of the relationship between psychosis and neurosis? Everything changes depending on whether we call psychosis the process itself, or on the contrary, an interruption of the process (and what type of interruption?). Schizophrenia as a process is desiring production, but it is this production as it functions at the end, as the limit of social production determined by the conditions of capitalism. It is our very own “malady,” modern man’s sickness. The end of history has no other meaning. In it the two meanings of process meet, as the movement of social production that goes to the very extremes of its deterritorialization, and as the movement of metaphysical production that carries desire along with it and reproduces it in a new Earth. ”The desert grows … the sign is near.” The schizo carries along the decoded flows, makes them traverse the desert of the body without organs, where he installs his desiring-machines and produces a perpetual outflow of acting forces. He has crossed over the limit, the schiz, which maintained the production of desire always at the margins of social production, tangential and always repelled. The schizo knows how to leave: he has made departure into something as simple as being born or dying. But at the same time his journey is strangely stationary, in place. He does not speak of another world, he is not from another world: even when he is displacing himself in space, his is a journey in intensity, around the desiring-machine that is erected here and remains here. For here is the desert propagated by our world, and also the new earth, and the machine that hums, around which the schizos revolve, planets for a new sun. These men of desire-or do they not yet exist?-are like Zarathustra. They know incredible sufferings, vertigos, and sicknesses. They have their specters. They must reinvent each gesture. But such a man produces himself as a free man, irresponsible, solitary, and joyous, finally able to say and do something simple in his own name, without asking permission; a desire lacking nothing, a flux that overcomes barriers and codes, a name that no longer designates any ego whatever. He has simply ceased being afraid of becoming mad. He experiences and lives himself as the sublime sickness that will no longer affect him. Here, what is, what would a psychiatrist be worth? (pgs. 130-131)

Everything is said in these pages from Miller: Oedipus (or Hamlet) led to the point of autocritique; the expressive forms-myth and tragedy-denounced as conscious beliefs or illusions , nothing more than ideas; the necessity of a scouring of the unconscious, schizoanalysis as a curettage of the unconscious; the matrical fissure in opposition to the line of castration; the splendid affirmation of the orphan- and producer unconscious; the exaltation of the process as a schizophrenic process of deterritorialization that must produce a new earth; and even the functioning of the desiring-machines against tragedy, against “the fatal drama of the personality,” against “the inevitable confusion between mask and actor.” It is obvious that Miller’s correspondent, Michael Fraenkel, does not understand. He talks like a psychoanalyst, or like a nineteenth-century Hellenist: yes, myth, tragedy, Oedipus, and Hamlet are good expressions, pregnant forms; they express the true permanent drama of desire and knowledge. Fraenkel calls to his aid all the commonplaces, Schopenhauer, and the Nietzsche of The Birth of Tragedy. He thinks Miller is unaware of these things, and never wonders for a second why Nietzsche himself broke with The Birth of Tragedy, why he stopped believing in tragic representation. (pg. 299)

Oh, the narrator does not homestead in the familial and neurotic lands of Oedipus, there where the global and personal connections are established ; he does not remain there, he crosses these lands, he desecrates them, he penetrates them, he liquidates even his grandmother with a machine for tying shoes. The perverse lands of homosexuality, where the exclusive disjunctions of women with women, and men with men, are established, likewise break apart in terms of the machinic indices that undermine them. The psychotic earths, with their conjunctions in place (Charlus is therefore surely mad, and Albertine too, perhaps!), are traversed in their turn to a point where the problem is no longer posed, no longer posed in this way. The narrator continues his own affair, until he reaches the unknown country, his own, the unknown land, which alone is created by his own work in progress, the Search of Lost Time “in progress,” functioning as a desiring-machine capable of collecting and dealing with all the indices. He goes toward these new regions where the connections are always partial and nonpersonal, the conjunctions nomadic and polyvocal, the disjunctions included, where homosexuality and heterosexuality cannot be distinguished any longer: the world of transverse communications, where the finally conquered nonhuman sex mingles with the flowers, a new earth where desire functions according to its molecular elements and flows. Such a voyage does not necessarily imply great movements in extension; it becomes immobile, in a room and on a body without organs-an intensive voyage that undoes all the lands for the benefit of the one it is creating. (pgs. 318-319)

Completing the process and not arresting it, not making it turn about in the void, not assigning it a goal. We’ll never go too far with the deterritorialization, the decoding of flows. For the new earth (“In truth, the earth will one day become a place of healing”) is not to be found in the neurotic or perverse reterritorializations that arrest the process or assign it goals; it is no more behind than ahead, it coincides with the completion of the process of desiring-production, this process that is always and already complete as it proceeds, and as long as it proceeds. It therefore remains for us to see how, effectively, simultaneously, these various tasks of schizoanalysis proceed. (pg. 382)

A Thousand Plateaus

As Virilio says in his very rigorous analysis of the depopulation of the people and the deterritorialization of the earth, the question has become: “To dwell as a poet or as an assassin?” The assassin is one who bombards the existing people with molecular populations that are forever closing all of the assemblages, hurling them into an ever wider and deeper black hole. The poet, on the other hand, is one who lets loose molecular populations in hopes that this will sow the seeds of, or even engender, the people to come, that these populations will pass into a people to come, open a cosmos. Once again, we must not make it seem as though the poet gorged on metaphors: it may be that the sound molecules of pop music are at this very moment implanting here and there a people of a new type, singularly indifferent to the orders of the radio, to computer safeguards, to the threat of the atomic bomb. In this respect, the relation of artists to the people has changed significantly: the artist has ceased to be the One-Alone withdrawn into him- or herself, but has also ceased to address the people, to invoke the people as a constituted force. N ever has the artist been more in need of a people, while stating most firmly that the people is lacking-the people is what is most lacking. We are not referring to popular or populist artists. Mallarme said that the Book needed a people. Kafka said that literature is the affair of the people. Klee said that the people is essential yet lacking. Thus the problem of the artist is that the modern depopulation of the people results in an open earth, and by means of art, or by means to which art contributes. Instead of being bombarded from all sides in a limiting cosmos, the people and the earth must be like the vectors of a cosmos that carries them off; then the cosmos itself will be art. From depopulation, make a cosmic people; from deterritorialization, a cosmic earth-that is the wish of the artisan-artist, here, there, locally. Our governments deal with the molecular and the cosmic, and our arts make them their affair also, with the same stakes, the people and the earth, and with unfortunately incomparable, but nevertheless competitive, means. Is it not of the nature of creations to operate in silence, locally, to seek consolidation everywhere, to go from the molecular to an uncertain cosmos, whereas the processes of destruction and conservation work in bulk, take center stage, occupy the entire cosmos in order to enslave the molecular and to stick it in a conservatory or a bomb? (pg. 345-346)

But noology is confronted by counterthoughts, which are violent in their acts and discontinuous in their appearances, and whose existence is mobile in history. These are the acts of a “private thinker,” as opposed to the public professor: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, or even Shestov. Wherever they dwell, it is the steppe or the desert. They destroy images. Nietzsche’s Schopenhauer as Educator is perhaps the greatest critique ever directed against the image of thought and its relation to the State. “Private thinker,” however, is not a satisfactory expression, because it exaggerates interiority, when it is a question of outside thought. To place thought in an immediate relation with the outside, with the forces of the outside, in short to make thought a war machine, is a strange undertaking whose precise procedures can be studied in Nietzsche (the aphorism, for example, is very different from the maxim, for a maxim, in the republic ofletters, is like an organic State act or sovereign judgment, whereas an aphorism always awaits its meaning from a new external force, a final force that must conquer or subjugate it, utilize it). There is another reason why “private thinker” is not a good expression. Although it is true that this counterthought attests to an absolute solitude, it is an extremely populous solitude, like the desert itself, a solitude already intertwined with a people to come, one that invokes and awaits that people, existing only through it, though it is not yet here. “We are lacking that final force, in the absence of a people to bear us. We are looking for that popular support.” Every thought is already a tribe, the opposite of a State. And this form of exteriority of thought is not at all symmetrical to the form of interiority. Strictly speaking, symmetry exists only between different poles or focal points of interiority. But the form of exteriority of thought-the force that is always external to itself, or the final force, the nth power-is not at all another image in opposition to the image inspired by the State apparatus. It is, rather, a force that destroys both the image and its copies, the model and its reproductions, every possibility of subordinating thought to a model of the True, the Just, or the Right (Cartesian truth, Kantian just, Hegelian right, etc.). A “method” is the striated space of the cogitatio universalis and draws a path that must be followed from one point to another. But the form of exteriority situates thought in a smooth space that it must occupy without counting, and for which there is no possible method, no conceivable reproduction, but only relays, intermezzos, resurgences. Thought is like the Vampire; it has no image, either to constitute a model of or to copy. In the smooth space of Zen, the arrow does not go from one point to another but is taken up at any point, to be sent to any other point, and tends to permute with the archer and the target. The problem of the war machine is that of relaying, even with modest means, not that of the architectonic model or the monument. An ambulant people of relayers, rather than a model society. “Nature propels the philosopher into mankind like an arrow; it takes no aim but hopes the arrow will stick somewhere. But countless times it misses and is depressed at the fact …. The artist and the philosopher are evidence against the purposi veness of nature as regards the means it employs, though they are also first-rate evidence as to the wisdom of its purpose. They strike home at only a few, while they ought to strike home at everybody-and even these few are not struck with the force with which the philosopher and artist launch their shot.” (pgs. 376-377)

But the earth asserts its own powers of deterritorialization, its lines of flight, its smooth spaces that live and blaze their way for a new earth. The question is not one of quantities but of the incommensurable character of the quantities that confront one another in the two kinds of war machine, according to the two poles. War machines take shape against the apparatuses that appropriate the machine and make war their affair and their object: they bring connections to bear against the great conjunction of the apparatuses of capture or domination. (pg. 423)

D is negative or relative (yet already effective) when it conforms to the second case and operates either by principal reterritorializations that obstruct the lines of flight, or by secondary reterritorializations that segment and work to curtail them. D is absolute when it conforms to the first case and brings about the creation of a new earth, in other words, when it connects lines of flight, raises them to the power of an abstract vital line, or draws a plane of consistency. (pg. 510)

What is Philosophy?

Whether physical, psychological, or social, deterritorialization is relative insofar as it concerns the historical relationship of the earth with the territories that take shape and pass away on it, its geological relationship with eras and catastrophes, its astronomical relationship with the cosmos and the stellar system of which it is a part. But deterritorialization is absolute when the earth passes into the pure plane of immanence of a Being-thought, of a Nature-thought of infinite diagrammatic movements. Thinking consists in stretching out a plane of immanence that absorbs the earth (or rather, “adsorbs” it). Deterritorialization of such a plane does not preclude reterritorialization but posits it as the creation of a future new earth. Nonetheless, absolute deterritorialization can only be thought according to certain still-to-be-determined relationships with relative deterritorializations that are not only cosmic but geographical, historical, and psychosocial. There is always a way in which absolute deterritorialization takes over from a relative deterritorialization in a given field. (pg. 88)

It is not false to say that the revolution “is the fault of philosophers” (although it is not philosophers who lead it). That the two great modern revolutions, American and Soviet, have turned out so badly does not prevent the concept from pursuing its immanent path. As Kant showed, the concept of revolution exists not in the way in which revolution is undertaken in a necessarily relative social field but in the “enthusiasm” with which it is thought on an absolute plane of immanence, like a presentation of the infinite in the here and now, which includes nothing rational or even reasonable. The concept frees immanence from all the limits still imposed on it by capital (or that it imposed on itself in the form of capital appearing as something transcendent). However, it is not so much a case of a separation of the spectator from the actor in this enthusiasm as of a distinction within the action itself between historical factors and “unhistorical vapor,” between a state of affairs and the event. As concept and as event, revolution is self-referential or enjoys a selfpositing that enables it to be apprehended in an immanent enthusiasm without anything in states of affairs or lived experience being able to tone it down, not even the disappointments of reason. Revolution is absolute deterritorialization even to the point where this calls for a new earth, a new people. (pgs. 100-101)

If philosophy is reterritorialized on the concept, it does not find the condition for this in the present form of the democratic State or in a cogito of communication that is even more dubious than that of reflection. We do not lack communication. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present. The creation of concepts in itself calls for a future form, for a new earth and people that do not yet exist. Europeanization does not constitute a becoming but merely the history of capitalism, which prevents the becoming of subjected peoples. Art and philosophy converge at this point: the constitution of an earth and a people that are lacking as the correlate of creation. It is not populist writers but the most aristocratic who lay claim to this future. This people and earth will not be found in our democracies. Democracies are majorities, but a becoming is by its nature that which always eludes the majority. The position of many writers with respect to democracy is complex and ambiguous. The Heidegger affair has complicated matters: a great philosopher actually had to be reterritorialized on Nazism for the strangest commentaries to meet up, sometimes calling his philosophy into question and sometimes absolving it through such complicated and convoluted arguments that we are still in the dark. It is not always easy to be Heideggerian. It would be easier to understand a great painter or musician falling into shame in this way (but, precisely, they did not). It had to be a philosopher, as if shame had to enter into philosophy itself. He wanted to rejoin the Greeks through the Germans, at the worst moment in their history: is there anything worse, said Nietzsche, than to find oneself facing a German when one was expecting a Greek? How could Heidegger’s concepts not be intrinsically sullied by an abject reterritorialization? Unless all concepts include this gray zone and indiscernibility where for a moment the combatants on the ground are confused, and the thinker’s tired eye mistakes one for the other-not only the German for a Greek but the fascist for a creator of existence and freedom. Heidegger lost his way along the paths of the reterritorialization because they are paths without directive signs or barriers. Perhaps this strict professor was madder than he seemed. He got the wrong people, earth, and blood. For the race summoned forth by art or philosophy is not the one that claims to be pure but rather an oppressed, bastard, lower, anarchical, nomadic, and irremediably minor race-the very ones that Kant excluded from the paths of the new Critique. Artaud said: to write for the illiterate-to speak for the aphasic, to think for the acephalous. But what does “for” mean? It is not “for their benefit,” or yet “in their place.” It is “before.” It is a question of becoming. The thinker is not acephalic, aphasic, or illiterate, but becomes so. He becomes Indian, and never stops becoming so–perhaps “so that” the Indian who is himself Indian becomes something else and tears himself away from his own agony. We think and write for animals themselves. We become animal so that the animal also becomes something else. The agony of a rat or the slaughter of a calf remains present in thought not through ‘pity but as the zone of exchange between man and animal in which something of one passes into the other. This is the constitutive relationship of philosophy with nonphilosophy. Becoming is always double, and it is this double becoming that constitutes the people to come and the new earth. The philosopher must become non philosopher so that nonphilosophy becomes the earth and people of philosophy. Even such a well-respected philosopher as Bishop Berkeley never stops saying, “We Irish others, the mob.” The people is internal to the thinker because it is a “becoming-people,” just as the thinker is internal to the people as no less unlimited becoming. The artist or the philosopher is quite incapable of creating a people, each can only summon it with all his strength. A people can only be created in abominable sufferings, and it cannot be concerned any more with art or philosophy. But books of philosophy and works of art also contain their sum of unimaginable sufferings that forewarn of the advent of a people. They have resistance in common-their resistance to death, to servitude, to the intolerable, to shame, and to the present. (pgs. 108-110)

Whether through words, colors, sounds, or stone, art is the language of sensations. Art does not have opinions. Art undoes the triple organization of perceptions, affections, and opinions in order to substitute a monument composed of percepts, affects, and blocs of sensations that take the place of language. The writer uses words, but by creating a syntax that makes them pass into sensation that makes the standard language stammer, tremble, cry, or even sing: this is the style, the “tone,” the language of sensations, or the foreign language within language that summons forth a people to come, “Oh, people of old Catawba,” “Oh, people of Yoknapatavpha.” The writer twists language, makes it vibrate, seizes hold of it, and rends it in order to wrest the percept from perceptions, the affect from affections, the sensation from opinion-in view, one hopes, of that still-missing people. “I repeat-my memory is not loving but inimical, and it labors not to reproduce but to distance the past. What was it my family wished to say? I do not know. It was tongue-tied from birth but it had, nevertheless, something that it might have said. Over my head and over the head of many of my contemporaries there hangs the congenital tongue-tie. We were not taught to speak but to babble-and only by listening to the swelling noise of the age and bleached by the foam on the crest of its wave did we acquire a language.” This is, precisely, the task of all art and, from colors and sounds, both music and painting similarly extract new harmonies, new plastic or melodic landscapes, and new rhythmic characters that raise them to the height of the earth’s song and the cry of humanity: that which constitutes tone, health, becoming, a visual and sonorous bloc. A monument does not commemorate or celebrate something that happened but confides to the ear of the future the persistent sensations that embody the event… (pg. 176)

The plane of philosophy is pre philosophical insofar as we consider it in itself independently of the concepts that come to occupy it, but non philosophy is found where the plane confronts chaos. Philosophy needs a nonphilosophy that comprehends it; it needs a nonphilosophical comprehension just as art needs nonart and science needs nonscience. They do not need the No as beginning, or as the end in which they would be called upon to disappear by being realized, but at every moment of their becoming or their development. Now, if the three Nos are still distinct in relation to the cerebral plane, they are no longer distinct in relation to the chaos into which the brain plunges. In this submersion it seems that there is extracted from chaos the shadow of the “people to come” in the form that art, but also philosophy and science, summon forth: mass-people, worldpeople, brain-people, chaos-people-nonthinking thought that lodges in the three, like Klee’s nonconceptual concept or Kandinsky’s internal silence. It is here that concepts, sensations, and functions become undecidable, at the same time as philosophy, art, and science become indiscernible, as if they shared the same shadow that extends itself across their different nature and constantly accompanies them. (pg. 218)


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7 Responses to Deleuze and Guattari: New Earth, New People

  1. dmf says:

    good timing just picked up a copy of chaosophy at the library this afternoon, for anyone without such access:

    • edmundberger says:

      Oh, cool! Aside from a few individuals essays, I’ve never read the whole of this book.

      • dmf says:

        I haven’t read it since it came out, will be interested to see how it holds up all this time later, gotta love
        “For as long as I can remember, I was preoccupied with joining together different different layers of things which fascinated me: the philosophy of science, logic, biology, early works in cybernetics, militantism…”

      • edmundberger says:

        I love that too! Pretty much it: the whole template. If I recall correctly, doesn’t he also add existential dread in the next few lines?

      • dmf says:

        yep, plus “an irrevocable sensation of existential loss”, might be our new motto…

  2. dmf says:

    Reblogged this on synthetic zero.

  3. dmf says:

    GUATTARI: It’s the same thing in traditional political structures. One finds the old trick being played everywhere again and again: a big ideological debate in the general assembly and questions of organization reserved for special commissions. These questions appear secondary, determined by political options. While on the contrary, the real problems are those of organization, never specified or rationalized, but projected afterwards in ideological terms.

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