Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Origin of Repression; Part 5 of The Scene of Writing

If Writing is the origin of memory and all it's machinery (apparatuses), the writing that writes onto the Mystic Pad, or the psyche, then there is also a place of non-writing. We can speak of this space of non-writing phenomenologically as a happening between point A and point B where a "subject" is doing something without any regard for the points or awareness of their "natural inclination". Still even without consciousness, writing finds a way to write something onto what is called "consciousness", essentially in it's passive nature, that is still active. According to Husserl, an "Active Passivity". With this being said, as we learned earlier, there are gaps in-between periods, in-between periodicity that form the trace. The whole structure of gaps and periods within something called the psych, Derrida will refer to as the arche-trace, but he signifies that the concept of the arche-trace is not a concept because it isn't simply the static phenomenology of gaps and periods within the "memory", but the process of gaping and memory, and within this present participle, the concept always eludes itself beyond the fact of an "imaginative variation" of a linerar sequence of it happening. One lesson learned from Husserlian phenomenology though is the idea that there are somethings entering into consciousness that aren't perfected, in other words, are not idealized into "objectivities". From the last post though we saw that writing was always and already writing perception before being acted on. That writing is always writing it's own history, it's own empirical-historical history, it's own scientific history of perception, does not mean however that the writing mechanism inside something called a "subject" can be not writing at times, and is this not exactly what the gap in-between periods is? If we are to find an analogy for this theoretical attitude in something more understandable by the guidance of the praxis of empiricism, it can be found in the psychoanalytical idea of repression. And make no doubt about it, it's influence it's extreme; more specifically, Freud's influence has been extreme. "Thus perhaps argued, in the Freudian breakthrough, a beyond and a beneath of the closure we might term "Platonic". In that moment of world history 'subsumed' by the name Freud, by means of an unbelievable mythology...a relationship to itself of the historico-transcendental stage of writing was spoken without being said, thought without being though..it was represented". The mythology of psychoanalysis had an abrupt strike in the stage of transcendental history as a breakthrough and difference from classical metaphysics. That breakthrough we went into as writing as a metaphor of psychical writing, the more primary writing that couldn't be read in terms of a simple code (refer to dream interpretation essay). The influence of Freud through his concept of repression has lead man to unequivocally privileged whatever is called "the unconscious" as the code to ones soul, much like Plato, except the breakthrough that analysis could be done in regards to this unconscious repression, unlike Platonism which saw the "unconscious" as already written, not in a state of tabula rasa. With the simple idea of repression, that we all know and that we all use to criticize others when they are appearably "not acting honest", there is a grounds to it that dives beyond the idea of some concept of "free will" being able to awaken this repression, to be free from it's state of at one time being repressed. By grounding repression in somewhat transcendental terms, the fate of repression is sealed as something that is always and already the situation. "This erasure is death itself, and it is within its horizon that we must conceive not only the 'present', but also what Freud doubtless believed to be the indelibility of certain traces in the unconscious, where 'nothing ends', nothing happens, nothing is forgotten'". Here is where an analogy between Husserl and Freud can be posed, or rather a simple similarity in their theoretical/hypothetical conceptions of the psyche. Very simply, the idea that Writing is not catching anything in a process, and for Husserl, the idea that consciousness has it's times of respites where it's not catching anything that would be exterior to it, usually called a "perception". The erasure is the metaphor of not-catching. Certain traces within the unconscious don't end, which mean they don't become idealized as objectivities in Husserlian terms, and in this sense nothing happens to us even though in the unconscious something happens. If it doesn't fully catch an idealized intention of the unconscious, nothing happens to me. Here at least is further proof for how ambiguous the nature of the unconscious is and a further repudiation of simple dream-coding. Because nothing ends and nothing happens, nothing is forgotten. I can't forget something that at first didn't come to me. I need to have what is called an "object" or concept or notion first to be able to forget that idealized objectivity. If I don't the possibility of it being forgotten is impossible. That being said, Freud still attributes an indelible trace to this process. Not just a trace, but an indelible trace: Something that happens to us that can't be erased but we will never have any idea of. Husserl explained this perfectly in his Analysis concerning Passive and Active Synthesis as "perceptions" not becoming "perfected". Hypothetically, it's still the case that the trace or memory has made an impression on me, it's just also the fact that at the same time I have no idea on it, and would have to erase the concept of an impression being made upon "me" in this case. To put it simply, this indelible trace is erased from unconsciousness because it hypothetically never gets to consciousness. "This erasure of the trace is not only an accident that can occur here or there, nor is it even the necessary structure of a determined censorship threatening a given presence; it is the very structure which makes possible, as movement of temporalization and pure auto-affection, something that can be called repression in general, the original synthesis of original repression and secondary repression, repression 'itself'". There are a ton of keys to this quote. Erasing in general is not censorship. Erasing is not something to be censored itself as being a threat to something that is "present" and the logos of some intention. Erasure instead, makes repression possible. Erasure in the abstract, meaning the fact that an indelible trace can sometimes never be realized in consciousness because of it never being thrown into or "intended" into consciousness creates the possibility for repression before any empirical fact of ones existence would be able to define their own repression, their ownership of their repression, their subtle delight in the things that they are "not Ok with". It's always the case that traces are being written to consciousness, or the Mystic Pad, but it's also the case that these traces (that are nonetheless "indelible") are where nothing happens and where nothing is forgotten. This original repression of not fullfillying what writing wants to fulfill, by writing itself into the historico-transcendental stage, firstly grounds the idea of repression in general before it's modern weight it gains in empiricism, and more noticeably, in ones existentiality (basically repression as a product of an individual ego). To further solidify this idea, Derrida defers an authority to phenomenology by explaining the operation of repression as a "movement of temporalization and pure auto-affection". This is what repression is in general. The movement of temporalization: the idea that a trace needs to happen under a certain amount of time, it has to be temporalized, a trace can't be repressed unless it's given the space of time to sink into nothingness, where certainly, it could have been much more than nothingness, according to Derridean verbiage, it could have developed into the death of itself as representation. After this basic phenomenology of temporality, it is also because of "pure" auto-affection that repression can happen. I can't repress something unless I write it to myself, no matter how much a trace according to Freud can have characteristics to it that resemble nothing; "where nothing ends, nothing happens and nothing is forgotten". By the space of time and the automatic affectation of the pysche, I write down something that is outside of myself. I write it down to my psyche slab, my Mystic Pad. So I'm always writing within the psyche, writing something that is outside of myself, and sometimes what I'm writing down becomes remembered, and sometimes it doesn't even exist except for postulating the hypothesis of traces that never become perfected, but are still indelible in the sense that they are absolutely happening; They are just not happening to "me" because "me" here is being equated with consciousness and unconsciousness is being equated with absence, or nothingness. An indelible mark within nothingness: A definition for the unconscious? "Such a radicalization of the thought of the trace (a thought because it escapes binarism and makes binarism possible on the basis of nothing)". Once thought gets laid out, for example, the thought of consciousness, it finds it's binary opposition in unconsciousness. But the radicalization of this thought of the trace, essentially as one that is completely empty, is nothing, in the sense that nothing can be said about it except by positing it hypothetically, grounds binarism, and in this sense grounds the classical psychoanalytical and existential concept of repression. For classical pyschology, dogmatic pyschology if you will, one is always being analyzed into a place where what needs to be "brought up from the depths of your unconsciousness" is something wholly opposite to what you're speaking about; "to let out your inner demons". To speak badly about your mother, means you really have an infatuation with your father. To speak badly about your father, means you really have a strong affection about them. Both the figures of the paternal figures and the concept of "speaking badly" refer to their binary oppositions of the opposite paternal figure and affection respectively. But the origins of repression don't happen from "experience", if "experience" means a person who enters into the world with a blank-slate consciousness who then experiences things they dislike and then subsumes them into their unconsciousness. On the contrary, the origins of repression start from the fact that one has the capacity for indelible traces where nothing happens and nothing is forgotten. Essentially, the psyche writing it's own history and erasing a part of that history before it even enters into your though process (consciousness). Already at work is a psychical apparatus that is distinguishing, sublimating, and repressing traces. That some of these traces are realized in consciousness is the case. That these realized traces (memories) are realized and then repressed is just a function of a much more fundamental operation of the psyche to want to erase things in general for unknown reasons because they operate from nowhere. The operation of repression is always the case. The existential neurosis for "solving" repression is a misplaced "task" of modern psychology because of 1. not being able to see that when one thing is "awakened" in a repression more will pop up because of the fundamental work of the psyche to write things it may want to erase in the first place and 2. not being able to see this ground work of the psyche as operating in a process of Freud's Mystic Writing Machine where at the same time something is written, something is erased with some marks on it that can be recognized. Without a theoretical attitude towards the psyche, psychology can operate under a really misguided teleology of "solving peoples problems". That classical and modern psychology would need to operate under the idea of the trace (or memory) whose structure allows for something to be repressed in the first place would give new grounds to psychology. First and foremost, to not think that the patient is some sort of static identity where all the analyst would have to do is "solve their problem" by bringing out a repression as if other repressions wouldn't manifest once this one repression was "brought up". A change in thinking would have to occur, and that change would be the indefinite repressions with the human psyche. Would this be of consolation to "the patient"? Maybe not in the moment. Would it make them think afterwards about the indefinite state of imbalance that envelops their existence? Maybe so. Either way, psychology without a theoretical foundation of how memory works is strange, strange not just because it's lacking in explanation, but strange because of how popularized the science has become without really needing to know anything about itself.
As a final note to this text on Derrida, I wanted to elaborate on the fields that Derrida sees that could be opened up by psychoanalysis that haven't been opened up yet.
1. A pyschopathology of everyday life. Not simply interpreting lapsus calami (The Freudian Slip, or more literally, The Slip of the Pen) in it's specific encounter, but how it's possible for a slip to happen. If the traces of memory are able to be nothing which constitute a primal repression, then a slip perhaps has a theoretical space in the unconsciousness; perhaps where traces are being allowed into the consciousness not by some empirical-existential slip, but by a slip where what was once an "indelible trace of nothing" slipped into "becoming something". Beyond this, Freud doesn't address responsibility for the slip. In an existential sense, when the slip happens, what is the responsibility of the one who makes the slip, and what is even the responsibility of the receiver of this slip? It must be said though, that Freud, as a person, was probably not the person to concern himself with these ethical issues between "others" where slips manifested into issues of guilt and responsibility.
2. A history of writing: A history of writing that is not empirical, that is not of the speculation of Rousseau works on what possibly was natural man, in his romantic sense of it, and one senses, his thoughts on it that were manifested from an opulent surrounding. Only the most opulent surroundings produce thinkers who "champion nature in it's purity", and the same would go for writing. The history of writing not as some innocuous process that was at once "pure", but maybe always sedimented by a non-altruistic motivation which Derrida takes to task with Claude Levi-Strauss later on in Writing and Difference in the text "Structure, Sign, and Play
in the Discourse of the Human Sciences". A history of writing that follow the unconscious factors in the reading would be the task.
3. A becoming literary of the literal: The task of psychoanalysis to not focus so much on the signified concept as the transcendental object for thinking, but the play of signifiers which constitute the signified itself. In Zizek's terms, "the fictions that create reality". A focus on the literary signifier, the signs that point towards something, where whatever was being pointed to, the intentional object was being bracketed out itself. While Husserl would bracket out his existentiality to find a pure intentionality leading to something called an "objectivity", this objectivity (the intentional object) would be braketed out for how signifiers operate independent of their ostensible teleology to the direct object, or the signified, or the intended substance. As Derrida states "the history of literary forms was destined precisely to authorize this disdain of the signifier".
4. Finally, a psychoanalysis of the "forms of gestures, movements, letters, lines, points, the elements of the writing apparatus (instrument, surface, substance, ect.)" For example, The Role of the School in the Libindinal Development of the Child where analysis would happen not just by analyzing "adult disorders", but would follow how school brings about force to a child. What is education doing for a child that allow them to be themselves or not be themselves, essentially as libindinal beings, as beings with drives, often insatiable drives that an educator would either curtail or accentuate in the school. Also, Strachey's Some Unconscious Factors in Reading. What is happening in reading? What are parts that are being forgotten and remembered and why? Why at a very early stage are certain things of no interest to a reader and others are? When reading, what does the writing of the unconscious want to grab onto? And how does it influence the entire interpretation of the text that leads to all the multivariant interpretations of texts in general? By laying out these unconscious factors, it would certain ground ambiguity in some possibly invariant structures of how reading happens in general. Psychoanalytically, what is that man wants from reading? In Numbers, with the parched woman drinking the inky dust of the law, what is the motivation for the drinking of the law, and how does this communicate with the writing of the law as an excrement of writing? Writing being excreted as law to be swallowed by a woman who feels parched...by not having a law in their life.
Psychoanalysis has an enormous amount of avenues it can traverse to not only flesh out its own theory, but to flesh out the ontological state of being in general.

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