Mutant Algae and Fights against Fascism with Félix Guattari

This lightening talk is based on fragments from a lost radio interview with Felix Guattari

Ideas of, Ecosophy (Ecological Philosophy), Chaos-mosis and The Three Ecologies as useful ways of thinking about Earth and Equity and Subjectivity were discussed.

Somethings may have been lost in my translation.

Introduction: Welcome Felix,  Enchanté,     your background is unlike that of any of your peers. In 1953, with psychoanalyst Jean Oury, you founded the La Borde psychiatric clinic, which was based on the principle that one cannot treat psychotics without modifying the entire institutional context.

You participated in the May 1968 student rebellion and you realised early on that it was possible to introduce analysis into political groups.

You have fought fascism all your life and, amongst many other concepts, developed thoughts on microfascisms and how to counteract them.

In 1972 you co-wrote Anti-Oedipus,  which Michel Foucault described as  “an introduction to the non-fascist life”.

And co-wrote A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, in 1980.

Which had been described as a positive exercise in the affirmation of, “nomad” thought.

Q: Felix, you have recently written on how to develop a deeper understanding of why the combination of planetary health, social health and personal health should be looked at as a whole so they become intersectional. Can you say something about this?

A. Yes of course, without modifications to the social and material environment, there can be no change in mentalities.

Now more than ever, nature cannot be separated from culture; in order to comprehend the interactions between eco-systems, the mechanosphere and the social and individual Universes of reference, we must learn to think ‘transversally’.

Just as monstrous and mutant algae invade the lagoon of Venice, so our television screens are populated, saturated, by ‘degenerate’ images and statements.

In the field of social ecology, men like Donald Trump are permitted to proliferate freely, like another species of algae, taking over entire districts of New York and Atlantic City; he ‘redevelops’ by raising rents, thereby driving out tens of thousands of poor families, most of whom are condemned to homelessness, becoming the equivalent of the dead fish of environmental ecology.”

Here, we are in the presence of a circle that led me to postulate the necessity of founding an “e cos sophy” that would link environmental ecology to social ecology and to mental ecology.’

Q. How can we do this? “… I place great importance in what I called ‘incorporeal species’ (music, the arts, cinema), and their ability to reframe sensual perception, forcing people into encounters with alternative ways of thinking and nonhuman forces, creating new modes of being in the world.”

I think we need to affirm and reinvigorate our experimental care for mental and social ecologies, as much as we assume a care for the state of the physical ecology of our natural environment.”

The Earth is undergoing a period of intense techno-scientific transformations.

If no remedy is found, the ecological disequilibrium this has generated will ultimately threaten the continuation of life on the planet’s surface. Alongside these upheavals, human modes of life, both individual and collective, are progressively deteriorating.

Political groupings and executive authorities appear to be totally incapable of understanding the full implications of these issues.

Despite having recently initiated a partial realization of the most obvious dangers that threaten the natural environment of our societies, they are generally content to simply tackle industrial pollution and then from a purely technocratic perspective, whereas only an ethico-political articulation – between the three ecological registers (the environment, social relations and human subjectivity) would be likely to clarify these questions.

We need new social and aesthetic practices, new practices of the Self in relation to the other, to the foreign, the strange – a, whole programme that seems far removed from current concerns. And yet, ultimately, we will only escape from the major crises of our era through the articulation of:

a nascent subjectivity

a constantly mutating deterritorialisation of society and politics

an environment in the process of being reinvented.

Thank you Felix, and have you any final words for our listeners?

Yes if I may, I would like to finish by quoting from one of my favourite writers Italo Calvino, from Invisible Cities

“ The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together.

There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it.

The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”


Merci, Salut, À plus“.

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