I've been thinking a lot of desiring machines recently. I go to Deleuze and Guattari like I used to go to the Bible; every time I read Thousand Plateaus it feels like I just took a long bath, nothing is better. Maybe Jeff Buckley.
Anyways. They basically reconceptualize desire so that instead of it being about lack (in the psychoanalytic sense) desire is productive; desire forms a series of circuits, assemblages, inter-connected flows. I love this image. It comes to mind during the first few days of spring in Toronto, when everyone feels connected. The air is electric. People move differently. Whereas subway rides in the winter are quite possibly the most depressing activity possible in this city, particularly at rush hour, everyone breaks open a little bit when it gets warm. Bodies jostle, people maintain eye contact a little longer than necessary, jackets are unzipped. Desire pulses between people. Not (only) sexual desire, but a sense of affinity, a desire for closeness, to know rather than consume the other.
I feel that I lack the ability to cut those desiring lines. I feel like my desire is messy and chaotic. I feel that desire is messy for most people but that maybe some are better at cutting off connections to others and letting the wounds heal so that what is left doesn't continue reaching for what is gone. As much as I love D&G and believe that their theory of desiring machines is pretty great and true, it is also a profoundly depressing theory when your desire is out-of-bounds, when the reaching is not productive but only points out the impossibility of that desire ever reaching what it is directed towards. I certainly relate to the theory of desire as circulating, but I feel that my desire is, very frequently, only circulating around me and the un-tidy, prematurely chopped-off connections I had to people who are now out-of-bounds. Someone once told me that they hate looking into the faces of someone they once loved, someone who, at one point, they couldn't imagine not knowing and caring about, and then realizing that that feeling is no longer there. Maybe in that moment of (mis)recognition, what is being mourned is the desire itself, not the person.
I think if Deleuze was here and/or if I could have a beer with Guattari they would just tell me that I am still thinking of desire in terms of lack, as a negative term - a reaching out towards what I, myself, do not possess (humans want what we can't have!). Desire in their model is uncoupled from the individual ego - it becomes a circulating affect within an assemblage that exceeds the individual. But realistically, desire is tricky. Because as much as desire is productive, it also involves rejection, missed connections, missing people all over the place, god, I wish I could excise people from my brain. I am positioned at the median, oscillating between desiring-production and desire as lack. I'm just looking for distractions.