Becoming-Critical with/out Deleuze and Guattari : Three Anarchies Beyond Post-Critique

Usually, Deleuze and Guattari's philosophies are understood as an alternative to allegedly “ressentiment”-laden approaches of Critical Theory. The present essay, however, seeks to distil Deleuze and Guattari's critical potential from an angle critical of post-critical endeavours. By bringing them together with two of their main influences, Nietzsche and Kafka, their concept of becoming gets connected to that of becoming-critical. The essay's orienting questions thus are (a) what understanding of critique is involved in Deleuze and Guattari's concept of becoming, and (b) how useful is it to address the political-economic dynamics of the 21st century? After “three anarchies” are traced as the critical potential in Deleuze and Guattari, Manfredo Tafuri helps to problematise their relationship with anarcho-capitalist ideologies, and to show how to differentiate them from each other. In between, affirmative immanence gets subverted in a Geistergespräch with the main philosopher of affirmation and anti-transcendental thought, Friedrich Nietzsche. Finally, the essay argues that, due to the world's state, affirmation can only be upheld if reconciled with critique: especially in times of crises, critique becomes necessary. At least if re-read together with Nietzsche and Kafka, a critique of what is murderous follows from the Deleuzian affirmation of life; as much as embracing the earth in a Guattarian manner necessitates to transcend the plane of (political) immanence. All in all, to whole-heartedly affirm singularity, as Deleuze and Guattari do, one needs to go beyond post-critique's resentments against utopia.

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