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Extra resources for Gilles Deleuze and F?lix Guattari
19 After his parents’ professional problems, the need to be ready to “start a business” at every moment, and his grandfather’s dramatic death, Guattari remade himself and became Félix, or happiness. His yearning to be happy in the moment and his exceptional vitality were born of his precocious awareness of mortality and of the very real presence of death. Recognizing that he faced an unavoidable finitude, “start a business” became the byword for dispelling anxiety and the deathly forces. Young Félix had encountered death even before the death of his grandfather; in July 1971, he wrote in his diary that at six or seven, he suffered from a recurring nightmare.
At his feet there is a box of cut-outs: the little paper dolls for which I made the dresses. Grandpa’s head is drooped on his knees, his arms are dangling. Is he touching my toys? I wanted to yell at him. Silence. I turn my head, slowly—forever—toward the light on the radio. There’s an incredible noise. He falls down. Grandmother is yelling. 12 The grandmother arrived, panicked, and cut the ends of his ears to try to get his heart beating. When that did not work, she put a newspaper over her husband’s head to keep the flies off him.
Guattari and Deleuze immediately connected. Guattari’s conversation was full of topics that interested Deleuze, such as mental illness, La Borde, and Lacan—he had just finished a lecture entitled “Machine and Structure” 6 that he was to give at the Freudian School of Paris. 7 The text is important. Guattari had been a disciple of Lacan until then, and he was beginning to position himself as Lacan’s interlocutor, hoping that the master would anoint him as a preferred partner. But Lacan’s attitude toward him was ambiguous; he preferred the Maoist-Althusserian clique from the rue d’Ulm, which included Jacques-Alain Miller and Milner.