Deleuze and Guattari oppose the Freudian conception of the unconscious as a representational "theater", instead favoring a productive "factory" model: desire is not an imaginary force based on lack, but a real, productive force. They describe the machinic nature of desire as a kind of "desiring-machine" that functions as a circuit breaker in a larger "circuit" of various other machines to which it is connected. Meanwhile, the desiring-machine is also producing a flow of desire from itself. Deleuze and Guattari conceptualize a multi-functional universe composed of such machines all connected to each other: "There are no desiring-machines that exist outside the social machines that they form on a large scale; and no social machines without the desiring machines that inhabit them on a small scale." Desiring-production is explosive: "there is no desiring-machine capable of being assembled without demolishing entire social sectors".
The concept of desiring-production is part of Deleuze and Guattari's more general appropriation of Friedrich Nietzsche's formulation of the will to power. In both concepts, a pleasurable force of appropriation of what is outside oneself, incorporating into oneself what is other than oneself, characterizes the essential process of all life. Similarly, a kind of reverse force of "forgetting" in Nietzsche and the body without organs in Deleuze and Guattari disavows the will to power and desiring-production, attempting to realize the ideal of an hermetic subject.
Thenceforth, while very interested by Wilhelm Reich's fundamental question—why did the masses desire fascism?—they criticized his dualist theory leading to a rational social reality on one side, and an irrational desire reality on the other side. Anti-Œdipus was thus an attempt to think beyond Freudo-Marxism; and Deleuze and Guattari tried to do for Freud what Marx had done for Adam Smith.
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- Guattari, Félix. 1984. Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics. Trans. Rosemary Sheed. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-055160-3.
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- Hocquenghem, Guy. 1972. Homosexual Desire. Trans. Daniella Dangoor. 2nd ed. Series Q Ser. Durham: Duke UP, 1993. ISBN 0-8223-1384-7.
- Massumi, Brian. 1992. A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. Swerve editions. Cambridge, USA and London: MIT. ISBN 0-262-63143-1.
- Holland, Eugene W.. 1999. Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-11318-2.