algebra, desire, force, form, lacan, libido, love, real, signifier, structure, transference

Subtraction

Responding to a question concerning the loss incurred by the sexuation of living beings, Lacan correlates the opening and closing of the gaps of the unconscious to the opening and closing of the orifices of the body. This inter-relation is real because it is in the unconscious the presence of the living being becomes fixed.

The erogenous zones are indissolubly linked to the unconscious, the organ of the libido itself. At the level of the drive, the relation between the drive and a specific action or passion is purely grammatical — a support, an artifice, literally a machine whose functioning coincides with the outward-return movement of the drive. Re-articulating this machine allows Lacan to indicate not only his tension with Freud, but even to raise concerns regarding the — perhaps masochistic — desire for psychoanalysis as such:

“Today I have shown in the most articulated way possible that each of the three stages, a, b, c, with which Freud articulates each drive, must be replaced by the formula of making oneself seen, heard and the rest of the list I have given. This implies fundamentally activity, in which respect I come close to what Freud himself articulates when he distinguishes between the two fields, the field of the drives on the one hand, and the narcissistic field of love on the other, and stresses that at the level of love, there is a reciprocity of loving and being loved, and that, in the other field, it is a question of a pure activity for the subject. Do you follow me? In fact, it is obvious that, even in their supposedly passive phase, the exercise of a drive, a masochistic drive, for example, requires that the masochist give himself, if I may be permitted to put it in this way, a devil of a job.” [Jacques Lacan, “The Deconstruction of the Drive,” The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis]

The driven-subject or the field of the drives, or what Lacan claims is pure subjective activity, must be rigorously distinguished from the desiring-subject, the lovers and the field of love produced, characterized by inconsistent reciprocity of loving/being-loved. A dimension of eternal force and a plane of inconsistent passion. The question becomes: what is lost in the passage from the drive to its other side which makes sexuality present in the unconscious itself, and what remains? What, then, is left of the sign — and for whom?

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alterity, awareness, being, difference, inequality, inhumanity, language, levinas, love, metaphysics, Politics, reason, truth, tyranny, Uncategorized, violence

Outside

The relation between me and the other commences in the inequality of terms, transcendent to one another, where alterity does not determine the other in a formal sense… It is produced in multiple singularities and not in a being exterior to this number who would count the multiples. The inequality is in this impossibility of the exterior point of view, which alone could abolish it. The relationship that is established–the relationship of teaching, of mastery, of transitivity–is language, and is produced only in the speaker who, consequently, himself faces. Language is not added to the impersonal thought dominating the same and the other; impersonal thought is produced in the movement that proceeds from the same to the other, and consequently in the interpersonal and not only impersonal language. An order common to the interlocutors is established by the positive act of the one giving the world, his possession, to the other, or by the positive act of the one justifying himself in his freedom before the other, that is, by apology.

Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity 251, “Beyond the Face”

Levinas argues forcefully that the truth of our being is compromised when we submit to tyranny. It is neither suicide nor resignation to declare this truth, but rather love itself, revolted by the violence of reason. There is a plane of reality that must be indicated, whose very existence at once presupposes and transcends the revelation of the other, wherein the I bears itself beyond death.

Yet in this movement, where subjectivity itself is posited as a function, the I also recovers from its return to itself. This plane is certainly love: the other who faces us arouses an infinite desire, and reveals a mode of subjectivity which is the meaning of language, or justice, and which is the very actuality of love, living for others. The mere existence of this plane implies both separation and transcendence — a revolt against the violence of a “reason” that would reduce interpersonal discourse to silence.

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acceleration, anti-gravity, Bachelard, belief, brother, celerity, change, dream, dreams, feeling, flight, future, laughter, love, memory, reality, texture, Thought, transformation, truth, Uncategorized, world

Learning to Fly

Psychologists — and more especially philosophers — pay little attention to the play of miniature frequently introduced into fairy tales. In the eyes of the psychologist, the writer is merely amusing himself when he creates houses that can be set on a pea. But this is a basic absurdity that places the tale on a level with the merest fantasy. And fantasy precludes the writer from entering, really, into the domain of the fantastic. Indeed he himself, when he develops his facile inventions, often quite ponderously, would appear not to believe in a psychological reality that corresponds to these miniature features. He lacks that little particle of dream which could be handed on from writer to reader. To make others believe, we must believe ourselves.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, “Miniature”

The tiniest things are the greatest secrets: focus in on the details, a world, an individual, truth emerges. Love is clarified silence. In the mysterious simplicity of vision, truth escapes and enters being in the very same movement — which is not split in simply two directions, but rather fractured from end to beginning into a billion microscopic fragments of light. Become a prism. What we see is not what is apparent, but rather caused by it. So stop looking — and see. Sensory reality is overwhelmingly powerful, so overwhelmingly convincing it easily tempts us into becoming its willing hostage. But it is no more real than your dreams. What makes us afraid to really trust in sense itself, the reality of our dreams and the dreaming of reality, is the invisible presence of the “enemy.” What we are generally unaware of is that this “enemy” is in fact, our most intimate friend — even a twin brother. Because there are no distinctions when anything is properly distinguished. Infinity is nothing at all, an image of thought: a paradoxical dream that everything is and can be one, and that one is and can be everything. Because we are finally no longer pinned down by the old evaluations, we are free to become anything. We have at long last conquered that ancient negation of laughter which is only now really beginning to lose its sting. We are slowly, so slowly remembering it was we who gave words their weight in the first place. We have remembered that feeling is enough to transform the world — not because it changes what the world is — but because it changes what the world can be. We have remembered that a law of celerity is needed to supplement the law of gravity. We have rediscovered the absurd truth, that the tiniest “push” is all that is required to fly. The transformation of reality is also the transformation of dreams. All that is required — is to do it. Make it shift. Go ahead, give it a try. There are no causes, no effects, only lines of acceleration producing textures — light and sound. So create, invent, experiment! And don’t forget: the future is history. Remember before.

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art, cruelty, difference, language, love, metaphysics, morality, nature, Nietzsche, Politics, rigor, science

The Poetics of Psychoanalysis: Towards an Ethics of Expression

Introduction: Rationality and Affect

The lofty prize
Of science lies
Concealed today as ever!
He has no thought
To him it’s brought
To own without endeavor!

Goethe, Faust (1st part, 2567-2572)

Intelligence is a moral category. The separation of feeling and understanding, that makes it possible to absolve and beatify the blockhead, hypostasizes the dismemberment of man into functions. Praise of the simpleton has an undertone of anxiety lest the severed parts reunite and put an end to the derangement. ‘If you have understanding and a heart,’ a verse of Holderlin’s runs, ‘show only one. Both they will damn, if you show both together.’

Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia 197 (“Wishful Thinking”)

In The Gay Science, Nietzsche expresses his desire for independent thinkers to reflect on the origins, and speculate on the future of science and art. On the one hand, he draws attention to the conditions for their invention: in order for scientific thinking and art to have begun at all, a wide variety of physiological and psychological faculties (whose effects are quite different without the framework imposed by artistic or scientific rigor) must become strong enough to overpower their “opposing” functions. For example, in order for science to begin, the impulse to doubt must overcome the impulse to believe, just as the impulse to wait must overcome the impulse to simply make something up and move on, and so forth. On the other hand, Nietzsche reminds us that the divergence between the aesthetic and scientific experience tends to fracture humanity’s spirit, pushing it both further from and closer to reaching itself than ever. At the very moment determinate thought emerges as a unity, science finds itself foreign to itself, incompletely digested. Its great distance and inhuman coldness oppose it to both practical wisdom and to art.

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critique, decision, escape, gravity, health, language, love, metaphysics, modern, order, outside, parasite

Modern

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If a person never contradicts himself, it must be that he says nothing.
Miguel de Unamumo

Modernity is a mass exhumation, plunging multiple, trembling, accelerating tunnels into the depths of affectivity. An ambiguous anticipation of this pure positivity can be paradoxically grasped already in the very grayness, finality, boredom and gravity of the classical categories of knowledge. For the consistency of the subject in the classical sense is metaphysical, sublime, hidden, like a secret promise.

But the same metaphysical operation has an entirely different meaning to modern ears. To us, subjectivity indicates creativity and energy. Flight exploits gravity, both in taking-off and landing: modernity brings a celerity and furor to bear upon hypocritical objectivity. For what guarantees the consistency of a decision upon critical self-awareness, besides an uncertain and terrifying project of profound (psychic) extrusion?

The modern project is also classical, but re-opening rather than repeating it. Dehiscence. The modern is an historical excess, a point of over-saturation, in-differentiation, hyper-depersonalization, “literal” dissolution. Conduct an experiment, disintegrate cautiously, get started! For beneath culture and nature, beneath science and literature, a cosmic or microscopic order intrudes.

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asceticism, gandhi, God, love, nihilism, non-violence, paradox, Politics, purity, religion, truth

Purity

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To see the universal and all-pervading spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life.

That is why my devotion to truth has drawn me into the field of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.

Gandhi

To Gandhi’s way of thinking, self-purification is the straight and narrow path towards realizing God, the only possible means human beings have to allow them become truly and actively non-violent. Purification is not constrained to one or two kinds of activities; religion is inseparable from all human activities, as their essence or content. In order to approach truth, human beings must becomes purified; if they purify themselves, the world around them will become purified as well.

The pathway of purification therefore also leads to non-violence in all ways of life: only once we become pure of heart can we identify ourselves with any living being — even those who hate us. We can love the lowest; we can even find the strength to love our enemies:

Not until we have reduced ourselves to nothingness can we conquer the evil in us. God demands nothing less than complete self-surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having. And when a man thus loses himself he immediately finds himself in the service of all that lives. It becomes his delight and his recreation. He is a new man, never’ weary of spending himself in the service of God’s creation. (MM, 30)

We may begin to grow curious at the absolute positivity Gandhi deduces from self-negation. How can surrender produce freedom? Yet Gandhi claims surrender is the price for the only freedom which is worth having. We must lose ourselves in order to find ourselves (transposed, does this imply God must be infinitely distant from us in order to discover him as truth itself? That in a way, God must die in order to be revived within us, through our spiritual self-purification?)

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architecture, health, love, multiplicity, noise, Politics, reason, space, transformation, voice

Tunnels and Voices: Love and the Cultural Architectonic of Space

(Ken Garduno)

We were a silent, hidden thought in the folds of oblivion; and we have become a voice that causes the heavens to tremble.
(Kahlil Gibran)

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…
(E. E. Cummings)

The voice — what an unnatural and traumatic element! It is the theoretically irreconcilable, the ever-ambivalent (a voice is never univocal.) It is an everted organic flow, a living sonority: the voice is the elemental flow exchanged through the logic and the architecture of social arrangement. But the really critical question is the architecture of spaces: how are the tunnels and pathways through which the voice flows formed? How do we ‘build’ these vacuoles, tubules, these micro-vortices?

In brief, our question is: how are subjectivities produced which are able to listen, which can become points in a signal-sign network? Where does this noise-filled tunnel lead, where else but somewhere within, somewhere between? The voice comes from inner space, between the tribe, a virtual univocal space that becomes individual, becomes a part-object; or rather, the individual, the voice-machine, rises up only against the tribe, in pitched battle against its calming background-noise and static ritornelles. The tribe reacts against the jagged neologism, this unsanctioned activity of deviational intuition, the echoic profanation; the word which cannot be integrated becomes a war, it is the spark which flies between disparate spaces, presaging millennia of arguments, violence and bloodshed.
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