… at this point, the Deleuzian hero is the pervert. The pervert is the “structural” hero who escapes the undifferentiated depth of psychosis as well as the manic-depressive circles of neurosis. Through his art of surfaces and his mobility, the pervert circulates in the interval beyond neurosis and before psychosis. Ordinary neurosis remains at the level of lived experience and everyday triviality, enforcing the established significations, settled manifestations, and obvious denotations; psychosis drives into the depths of infra-sense, a world of instincts in which only bodies caught in relations of composition and destruction prevail. Only the pervert averts these twin dangers “at the end of an adventure which surely has passed through neurosis and brushed up against psychosis”. It is like a clinical version of the alternative between order and chaos. The pervert evades the undifferentiated in which psychosis would plunge him as well as the preestablished differentiations in which neurosis is settled. “In a certain respect,” writes Deleuze, “it is our epoch which has discovered perversion.
There is of course a grandeur, a heroism, to the schizophrenic,
due to the unimaginable quantity of suffering with which his life is
permeated; but he remains a figure of collapse, unable to constitute
a metaphysical surface of thought. His effort to think is continually
driven back to its impossibility or powerlessness, the “schiz” itself.
What prevents the schizophrenic from attaining full positivity is his
incapacity to preserve and produce sense. Conversely, what accounts
for the positivity of the pervert is his unique aptitude for producing
sense, nothing but sense, be it in the most artificial way. If, despite
everything, the pervert prevails, it is because sense must be ‘saved. ”
Perversion, then, wins the day. While it is true that the powers of
thought are on the side of schizophrenia, it is no less true that the
metaphysical surface allowing those powers to be exercised is on the
side of perversion. Only perversion can deliver thought from the
powerlessness into which it otherwise continually slips. Perversion is
something like the ideal double of schizophrenia.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF GILLES DELEUZE