The individual is a chaos necessary to every political and social order, a chaos enveloped in a structural social machine. This chaos should be distinguished from a random distribution of intensities or an undifferentiated aggregate but instead should be thought of as overdetermined. From our point of view (against a flow of power that remains obscure in origin) this is precisely the problem that must be addressed according to the collective nature of the individual, including the individual’s own place in the social order at large.
From the other point of view, it is the individual that poses the problem to society—hence the horrifying solution of micromanagement wherein the individual-as-problem is solved according to algorithms that divide these ‘solutions’ to their respective function in the social body. And when we say body in this sense, we take the ‘solution-individual’ to mean precisely the transformation of the individual into a tool—the instrumental individual—that nevertheless, if we risk the metaphor, functions as a cell assigned to certain duties in relation to different organs (conceived as institutions directing molar quantities of power) linked to the Organism-State (the constituted Whole that literally exceeds its parts through its miraculation as surplus value, projecting a dominant image of repres(sive)entation). The problem with this view is at least twofold: first, the problematic of the individual cannot be solved from a hierarchical political position (without violence, even considered in terms of psychic/collective repression); and secondly, there are criteria upon which to decide where the Whole lies, because the Whole is precisely the illusion of the State as an entity or organism, when in fact the individual calls into question (if its problem is diagonally posed) the (de)stratification that a certain social body undergoes (through entropy and (planned) states of equilibrium).
The problem may not even be that of creating new values. It seems more appropriate to say that what is required is more like an ethics, which we conceive as the methods by which values are genetically traceable in their becoming and questioned in relation to what values can do—what their real effects (potential or actual) are and what types of environmental stresses or affects (social and physico-biological) combine to produce these values (values inherently related to nihilism, both negative and affirmative).
There are, in fact, a number of different ways of approaching the ‘problem’ of the individual. As Gilles Deleuze reminds us in his essay “Nomad Thought,” Nietzsche’s philosophy has (especially in France where the two strands are dominant) ceaselessly been synthesized with Freudianism and Marxism (for better or worse)<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>. Deleuze argues that unlike Freudianism and Marxism (more their strands than the thinkers of Freud and Marx themselves), Nietzsche has opposed the ‘recoding’ of individuals into a framework beneficial to the state. For Freudianism, this involves trapping the individual into representations of the family (drama), and for Marxism, the ‘illness’ of the individual—caused by the state—is to be cured by the state (betraying behind the political (revolutionary) process the real goal of political (fascizing) normalization). Unlike these strands, Nietzsche’s type of philosophy encourages a ‘decoding’ of the individual in relation to society, one that is a ‘decoding’ in the absolute sense, for we have not been deterritorialized enough—or, as Nietzsche would say, decay (in both the individual and society) is an irreversible process that cannot be sidestepped but must be accelerated and augmented through a reevaluation of the coding (legal, contractual, institutional) process.
This train of thought can be traced through Nietzsche’s texts as well as recent French philosophical theory. Both Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus and François Laruelle in Nietzsche contre Heidegger approach the prospect of a Nietzschean politics through an engagement with the questions of state formations—the former insist, like Nietzsche, that institutions and cultural guarantors (the state) must be injected with a little death instinct, i.e. political formations must always be mortal, or, in another sense, must guarantee the renunciation of their will to power (understood as the will to erect a stable being, reproduced through the molecular individuals that come to take on and be identified with the social roles and instrumental values through which the state guarantees itself). Like Deleuze and Guattari, Laruelle understands that there is both a fascist and a revolutionary side to Nietzsche, just as there are fascist and revolutionary readings of Nietzsche (we are all fascist and revolutionary readers of Nietzsche). His contribution, which we will engage with more fully later, is the singular undertaking to isolate a Nietzschean politics that is irreducible to the Marxist history of economy and production (thus undermining the quick readings that turn Nietzsche into an aristocrat, an elitist, a bourgeois, automatically nullifying any politico-revolutionary value in his text from the start).
<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–> In fact, Maurice de Gandillac in the discussion following Pierre Boudot’s essay in the Nietzsche aujourd’hui collection, argues that it might be better to refrain from permanently bringing Freud and Marx to bear on Nietzsche’s thought. In Daybreak section 206, we detect a strong resistance to (and overturning of) Marxist conceptions of class struggle. More on this later.