The title of the sixth chapter of A Thousand Plateaus, “November 28, 1947: How Do You Make Yourself a Body without Organs?”, is an oblique reference to the surrealist poet and playwright, Antonin Artaud (4 Sept. 1896 – 4 March 1948). Artaud coined term ‘body without organs’ in his radio play “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (“To Have Done With the Judgment of God”) (link). This play was scheduled to airing on 2 February 1948, but is shelved by the director, Wladimir Porché the day before. Artaud was trying to get beyond his bodily corporality, which he experienced as a “perpetual crucifixion.” He refers to the human body as “this ill-assembled heap of organs which I was and which I had the impression of witnessing like a vast landscape on the point of breaking up.” Artaud often created magic spells, astrology charts, and drew disturbing images. After visiting an exhibition of works by Vincent van Gogh he wrote Van Gogh le suicidé de la société (Van Gogh, The Man Suicided by Society) in 1947.
Duns Scotus (John Duns)
Duns Scotus (1266 – 1308) was one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. He developed the doctrine of the ‘univocity of being,’ which implies a denial of any real distinction between essence and existence. Deleuze adopted Duns Scotus’ theory of the univocity of being (by way of Heidegger). According to Deleuze, in Opus Oxoniense, Duns Scotus understands univocal being is “as neutral, neuter, indifferent to the distinction between the finite and the infinite, the singular and the universal, the created and the uncreated” (DR 39).
Schreber, Daniel ("Judge Schreber")
The term to ‘miraculate’ is derived from the memoire of Daniel Schreber (1842-1911), who suffered from paranoiac schizophrenia. In his memoire, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, Schreber chronicled the progress of his disease. One morning, he woke up with the thought that it would be pleasant to “succumb” to intercourse “as a woman” (i.e., anal intercourse). As his psychosis progressed, he believed that God had miraculously turned his body into that of a woman by sending sun rays directly into his anus. Schreber’s anus (organ) was “miraculated” by God so that his body seemed to emanate from God as a quasi-cause. Schreber figures prominently in the opening pages of Anti-Oedipus, as D&G’s primary example of an empty BwO. (AO 2, 16, 18).