Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Transsexuality of Schizophrenia; Anti-Oedipus Part 4

Man, Woman, God, 90° tilted square.

The last post ended by highlighting the idea of "Schizoanalysis" that D&G would eventually elaborate on. With their criticism of Oedipus, they are on their way towards this analysis, and the criticism that happens until the "formal" (if it is formal) elaboration of "schizoanalysis" will prove to be important towards understanding schizoanalysis. This idea of schizoanalysis will then first find it's grounds in the criticism of the classical Oedipus structure elaborated on in the past posts and distinguished by D&G as the paralogism of psychoanalysis. The classically defined schizophrenic will obviously be of issue. The easy pathologization of this "condition" will be elaborated on in a different way than one that is understood by psychoanalysis. The main distinction in this post will be between syntheses of contradictory elements and disjunctive syntheses that are affirmed by the schizophrenic according to D&G. This terminology will be used in distinction to psychoanalysis' Oedipus method of seeing a person as having contradictory elements that need to be resolved (always in search for a "cure"). Schizoanalysis will end up finding itself as a method that makes refuse out of the idea of a "cure." Lets move to the beginnings of this new analysis by way of re-understanding the classically understood schizophrenic who affirms an infinite amount of identities according to D&G.

"It would be a total misunderstanding of this order of thought if we concluded that the schizophrenic substituted vague syntheses of identification of contradictory elements for disjunctions...He does not substitute syntheses of contradictory elements for disjunctive syntheses; rather, for the exclusive and restrictive use of the disjunctive syntheses; he substitutes an affirmative use." If we can understand what D&G are saying here then it will go a long way towards understanding the theory of Anti-Oedipus. Phenomenology could find its way towards using these concepts if it were concerned with overturning the practice psychoanalysis. First off we need to understand the concept of a "vague syntheses of identification of contradictory elements." What D&G are implying here is an experience where the body (including the mind, that for D&G is body) synthesizes raw hyletic experience into a contradictory elements. When this happens, a process happens (understood most in depth by Husserlian phenomenology) whereby what was at once vague then becomes conceptualized into binary categories, meaning the logic of "either/or." Something is identified as "not this" and something else is identified as "this." For example, I can say (by elaboration), "This here is a tree, but this over here is not a tree, it's a fox." This proceeds into further classifications and categories up to the point of the ego. The ego forms separations that will define itself as this and not that. This is neurotisism for D&G; essentially the need to live as an opposition to something, guided by the paternity of Oedipus. What is not neurotic is the schizophrenic who doesn't substitute pure experience for this formalized/oedipalized experience. To be sure though, the pure experience for the schizophrenic is synthesized, just not oedipalized. What's synthesized in pure hyletic experience for the schizophrenic are disjunctions; pure disjunctions, meaning lateral separations, not vertical separations. Experience doesn't form a personality, but a multitude of differences that roam the stick. The formed disjunctions of experience stay in place as disjunctions that never need to be "fulfilled" into something else. The schizophrenic takes the disjunctively formed experience and affirms it, not consciously, but schizophrenically, meaning there's nothing wrong with being any different disjunction at any time. There's nothing wrong with not being a me. In other words, the schizophrenic doesn't operate off of the need to be a specific disjunction (person) that would then do everything in its power to further establish this personality (me-hood) by seeking the approval of others, whereby the approval and disapproval of others would form injunctions and non-injunctions that would guide that person, thereby making them neurotic and oedipalized. The injunction function of oedipus is not the case for the schizophrenic. The schizophrenic doesn't feel bad that they aren't a "whole" personality, a limited and definite personality. They don't feel bad because they're angry at someone who's trying to oedipalize them, they just don't have the instinct for specificity-formation. Instead of specificity, where opposition by way of the negative personality occurs, non-specificity occurs as affirmation. What is formed in experience as disjunctive parts (partial objects) is affirmed, not negated. Things don't get classified into "I'm not this" in the schizophrenic, instead, the schizophrenic says to the analyst: "Human being? I'm a fucking dinosaur!" And after this, maybe they move onto being a girl regardless of whatever personal sex they are (For example; a lesbian who takes on very feminine traits). The disjunctions of experience are all affirmed, not at the same time, but at different times where one isn't privileged over another. "He does not abolish disjunction by identifying the contradictory elements by means of elaboration; instead he affirms it through a continuous overflight spanning an indivisible distance. He is not simply bisexual, or between the two, or intersexual. He is transsexual. He is trans-alivedead, trans-parentchild. He does not reduce two contraries to an identity of the same; he affirms their distance as that which relates the two as different." The key here is elaboration. Elaboration (as language) forms contradictory elements. The need to represent something (elaboration) forms contradictory elements instead of letting the pure flow of disjunctions happen. Disjunctions are affirmed through different times and different spaces that nonetheless are not different from each other (indivisible). This means that there are separations in formed experience for the schizophrenic, but the separations aren't elaborated on as separations (disjunctive syntheses flow in the neoma purely understood by Husserl in Ideas I). "Oh it's like this", not "It's not this." The schizophrenic is bisexual without knowing it and hence would be more accurate under the appellation of transsexuality. It knows no sex, it sees no difference. The schizophrenic doesn't roam back and forth between homosexuality/lesbianism and being-straight, they just don't care either way. The schizophrenic isn't out to "explore other options." For example, the schizophrenic isn't a girl who pretends to be a lesbian because she couldn't get any guys growing up, who when eventually gets a guy, has an epiphany that they're actually straight (to be sure, the epiphany is told to others as some sort of celebration). The schizophrenic is transsexual from the start and homosexual when oedipalization breaks through (the need for a value-life). Beyond sexuality, they are a parent, an injunctive parent even, and a son. At one time they roam the forests in a gaze of wonder, and at another they say "it's time to go home," and the parent and child never become formed as a parent or child for good. The distance between both is indivisible. They all stem from the body without organs. Singularities open up non-inclusion. "They are all inhabited by a faceless and transpositional subject." The schizophrenic is without personal identification. It's position as subject is beyond being a subject. It's subjectivity is absolutely free without consciousness of identity as contradiction. Beyond sexuality and the example of being a trans-parent and son, there is the schizophrenic God. There is God "as the master of the exclusions and restrictions that derive from the disjunctive syllogism, [contrasted with] an antichrist who is the prince of modifications, determining instead the passage of the subject through all possible predicates. I am God I am not God, I am God I am Man: it is not a matter of a synthesis that would go beyond the negative disjunctions of the derived reality, in an original reality of Man-God, but rather of an inclusive disjunction that carries out the synthesis itself in drifting from one term to another and following the distance between terms. Nothing is primal." By disjunctive syllogism we understand the logic of "A or B, it's not A, so it's B," meaning the logic of "either/or," process of elimination, everything that something is not; in other words, the exclusion function of oedipus whereby the presence of an answer is the "cure", the answer, the presence. This God, this logically-positivist God is the master of excluding a body from being everything that it is. It is western metaphysics, it's Aristotle. The schizophrenic God on the other hand is a "prince of modifications," it is Heraclitus. This God throws the subject through infinite possibilities. The schizophrenic God doesn't "see" disjunctions and then decide to go beyond them into a place where the disjunctions are no longer "seen." The schizophrenic God doesn't start off at "zero" and then want to get to a place where it throws being into a Heraclitean flux. It has no "originality," it doesn't exist in what's understood as "primal." God doesn't create Man in order to take it on a wild journey of infinite possibilities. Disjunctions always and already exist on a body without organs in different flows and different intensities that are all experienced on their own terms. Disjunctions drift into other disjunctions right when one disjunction becomes terminated. He lives and dies. "He is already the mother of a new humanity and can finally die." These all happens in an inclusive space of disjunctions, where the disjunctions are always being affirmed to drift into other disjunctions that will be affirmed. Yes, this, Yes this. Yes this.

It's this nature that D&G find on the body without organs, and it's this nature that they find to be oedipalized way before psychoanalysis, but becomes formalized as oedipus in psychoanalysis. Oedipus lets you know about your differentiations. Oedipus lets you know that you are a child, and that there is your mother, and over there is your father. You as the child, are not your mother or father, even if you drift off into those disjunctions by random occurrence, by spontaneous occurrence. Oedipus demands that you be different, that you be specific, and if you're not, you will "fall into the black night of the undifferentiated." You will be woman when you really are a man. You will be unmotivated when you really are a goal-setter . You will be crazy, when you really are sane. You will be undifferentiated, when you really are different. The dreams of the child are castrated in oedipus. I am now not a dinosaur, but someone who needs to get my homework done (no matter how shitty of a job I did). I am different, just the same way everyone else is different. There's a million mothers in the world. I'm not one of them though. There's a million mid-20 year-olds in the world though. I'm one of them. I'm different just like every single one of them. My dreams are castrated into Oedipus, into where I'm at right now. I am different, just like you, and it has to be this way. I'm not allowed to not be different,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Dependency in Pyschoanalysis; Anti-Oedipus, Part 3

Lets try to get to the bottom of your find new sicknesses.

It's always just a matter of time before D&G take their analysis to the analyst's couch. I say this because it's been taken up in every chapter of Anti-Oedipus thus far, and for good reason. If Anti-Oedipus wants to act as a counterweight to established psychoanalysis, then an obvious sign is the analyst's couch, more specifically, the analysis session. I must note though that this certainly doesn't cover the breadth and scope of their investigations. They cover a plethora of authors reactions towards being oedipalized, and thus far spend most of their time explaining the theory of desiring-machines independent of the oedipal-form that everyone functions in. Going into this more "pure" theory of disjunctions, flows, breaks, intensities, etc., is something I haven't found myself wanting to write on, not because it isn't important (it's the most important ideas of the book), but because after going into the pure theory of Husserl with basically no examples I've become exhausted. I will eventually spend a post on explaining the pure theory of how the schizophrenic/psychotic as the body without organs operates as a pure productive machine like a factory instead of as something that could be explained by a "despotic signifier," paternal-theory, and oedipalization in general. When posting though, I try to let the words of the book teach out to me (as words that I want to elaborate on). In this sense, I write on what speaks to me, as the words (ideas) that pop out to me the most. The dependency placed upon the subject in psychoanalytical practice is no doubt an easy subject and a post like this won't be difficult at all. It will be fun and easy. But after doing an analysis of Husserl's Ideas I, I feel like I deserve a couple presents in the form of easy posts. A post like this is fun for everyone. Everyone gets it, I like the idea of people getting it , and we're all grotesquely satisfied in getting things. Yep, it's Christmas in the fall. Sometimes you just gotta give and take, rather than just taking it assbackwords from a phenomenologist. So lets enjoy ourselves while we can, before the winter comes, where one of the texts for analysis will probably be Husserl's expanded work and lectures on Internal Time Consciousness (where the anus will fully be opened).

"Institutional analysis tries to trace its difficult path between the repressive asylum and the legalistic hospital on the one hand, and the contractual psychoanalysis on the other. From the outset the psychoanalytic relationship modeled itself after the contractual relationship of the most traditional bourgeois medicine: the feigned exclusion of a third party; the hypocritical role of money, to which psychoanalysis brought farcical new justifications; the pretended time limitation that contradicts itself by reproducing debt to infinity, by feeding an inexhaustible transference, and by always nursing new 'conflicts.'" Psychoanalysis finds itself as a place where people can really be helped out. This is in distinction from the asylum; the place traced by analysis (where the psychotic was housed) as repressive. The legalistic hospital had to worry about just that, legality. The hospital is no place to treat the psychotic because it has to worry too much about what's legal and what's not legal (E.G. the administration of drugs). The hospital with it's infinite medicine wouldn't treat the patient, but gives them substances that would hope to change their condition. The hospital doesn't really care about a "progressive" cure for the psychotic patient. The doctor knows there's medicine that will change the neural-biological patterns of one's brain. Why waste a bunch of time on a "progressive cure" when one can just take some pills (If anyone didn't notice, I'm being somewhat sympathetic to the purely physiological doctor, the biologically-deterministic doctor.) The asylum and the legal hospital are in contrast to the psychoanalyst who makes this contrast for themselves (which is nothing new; establishing ones methods against other methods in order for ones methods to be seen as better). D&G move onto to criticize psychoanalysis for pretending to think that there isn't a third person in the room. This third person is money. Simply put, if I go to see a psychoanalyst (a therapist) I have to pay them money. Analysts don't do this stuff for free. They are there to cure you from your illness you think you have and for this to happen you have to give them something in return (the old and ageless ritual of being in debt and owing something to someone for this debt). We who are sick and think the analyst will "cure" us give them money. It's not necessary to go into money as value because it would be ridiculous to think that this could be covered in one post and not simply refereed to other infinite sources. With that being said, notice how D&G emphasize the "feigned exclusion of a third party." It's as if one's not even aware that money is playing a part in the analytical session. It's as if one pays for the session and then forget that it held any value to them, or rather, that the money one's giving is being "well spent," meaning one implicitly knows their money is going to a good place. The psychoanalytical session then will forget about the fact that one just paid money to the analyst who will cure you. Right now, it's just you and the analyst, and the money that has been exchanged and forgot about as if the analyst really didn't need it and you didn't really want to give it. You are in the non-judgmental zone where everything is done for free and the analyst just really wants to "cure" you. It's here where psychoanalysis brought "new justifications" to its practice. You were only allowed a certain time to air your grievances, usually an hour by today's standards. But this time limit has nothing to do with the fact that the analyst has other clients that they need to "cure." It has to do with a self-imposed law of psychoanalysis whereby the person who needs to be cured should only go through their "talk-therapy" an hour at a time. You can't exercise your demons all in one shot. It has to be a slow, arduous process whereby you keep coming back to the analyst for one hour sessions for a prolonged period of time, maybe forever. Maybe an "inexhaustible transference" whereby you never stop talking to your analyst that was supposed to "cure" you in the first place in turn not making you come back to them over and over again. As the patient, you may feel that you have realized your sickness and have resolved it, but only in proportion to how dependent you are on your analyst, which depends on how much they think you are cured or not. You may feel yourself coming to new realizations during an analysis, in the "non-judgmental zone." The analyst though may sneak something in and say "I think we are just skimming the surface. This is good!" (A Good; A topical Realization). Your realization that you have "resolved a conflict" because of the session then becomes marked as "just skimming the surface"; as if the resolution was not enough, as if part of the realization was to look deeper down for more problems that weren't there in the first place and to find resolutions for these non-problems as part of the process in solving ones initial "sickness." Here is where the analyst will find "new conflicts." Just when you thought you figured everything out, the analyst tells you that you haven't, and consequentially, you have to keep coming back to them to figure out the new problems that they have just given that person. One (back to the One from the You) may ask oneself, "where does this ever end?" and D&G elude to this in a sharp passage from Anti-Oedipus. "We are astonished when we hear that a terminated analysis is by that very fact a failure even if this proposition is accompanied by the analyst's little smile." If one asks oneself the question, "Where will this ever end," then they may realize the interminable character of analysis. They then express this to their analyst and the analysis is then deemed a "failure." In other words, anytime an analysis ends, it's a failure. A successful analysis is one that never ends. A successful analysis is one where one's an eternal client of the analyst; an eternal return customer to the analyst. One almost forms a friendship, except in this friendship, ones pays the other to be ones friend. A true loser. Later on, D&G state "We are surprised when we hear a knowledgeable analyst mention, in passing, that one of his 'patients' still dreams of being invited to eat or have a drink at his place, after several years of analysis, as if this were not a tiny sign of the abject dependence to which analysis reduced the patients". The screw of this statement lies in the passivity of the psychoanalyst; their passive nature (things stated in passing to other colleagues with a sense of pride that their patients still think of them.) Is the analyst aware of the dependency they created for their subjects, their patients? Does the analyst think to themselves, "Well, I've been dealing with this girl for over a year now. Anyone that I have a clinical relationship with for that long of a time I'm bound to have dreams about and think about at the very least." And the same would go for the patient. This is an open question. This is an ethical question to be sure. In the voice of D&G though, they speak in fire here referring to the analyst who wouldn't think that it was the "abject dependence" of the analysis. In the practicing of thinking that there is something that needs to be cured (a distinction from psychoanalysis; but I still state with a sense of condescension), how can one ward off the fact that the cure is not in bending our knees, is not in lying on a couch, is not in participation in the master-slave dialectic, but in the realization of a larger and much more general master-slave dichotomy; in other words, Oedipus. D&G go into Freud's last days where he was animated with a sense of feeling "hopeless, disenchanted, tired, and at the same time a serenity, a certitude in the finished work. It is Freud's testament [Psychoanalysis]. He is going to die, and knows it. He knows something is wrong in psychoanalysis. The cure tends to be more and more interminable!" Freud would not live to see what would become of the discipline that he created for better or worse. He's filled with ambivalence towards the project regardless of knowing he created something vast under his name. Freud asks himself if a current "conflict" can be exhausted and if the one who is sick can be forewarned against ulterior conflicts that could create "conflicts," not only in themselves but by the analyst who can arise new conflicts for preventive purposes. Why would a conflict be brought to ones attention for a preventive purpose? To warn someone of something? To warn someone of something that has yet to happen to them? To warn them of something that ostensibly happened to them that never happened to them? The ghosts that the patient and analyst can conjure up together are infinite. The problem lies in the patient or analyst thinking there's a problem in the first place, and consequentially, that there's a cure to this "problem."

The problem of there "being problems" is not something the analyst has a grasp of beyond reassuring that they too have problems, making a herd of people with problems. The analyst may even confess to the patient that they go through analysis too with someone else. This certainly reassures the patient that they are not alone in their problems. Everyone needs help. Everyone needs to find a professional analyst to get to the "deep core" of what's bothering them. But something isn't simply bothering them. What's bothersome gets privileged into the grand narrative of a problem. What was once called malaise is now called clinical-depression. What was once called the jitters is now called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD to be more specific. The acronym certainly serves its purpose of making an illness official). What was at once a little nuisance becomes a problem of life or death, or rather a problem for those who don't have any real problems (because there may not be any). The transitions from annoyances to problems is where psychoanalysis finds its bread. The transition from a humanity who at once was able to survive and "be happy" with little in their lives to a humanity who fears just about everything is where psychoanalysis finds its privileged place in medicine. As was stated in the post before, it was always going to happen. But where does psychoanalysis go when it becomes detached from the idea of people-problems, if it finds its way out into the open where people don't constitute universal significance, but create significance themselves? People, who created their own problems. It's here where I would simply refer to Part I of Heidegger's Being and Time as a way of understanding the ontology of Dasein being. The idea of "problems" tend to slip away nicely after reading this breakthrough account of our-being. For D&G though, they will move onto what's called "Schizoanalysis." This we will elaborate on in future posts.

Monday, September 20, 2010

George Will's current op-ed

The op is in regards to Castro who recently told The Atlantic that "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."

Some choice quotes from the op:

"As everyone attuned to the zeitgeist then was - college students who owned black turtlenecks; aficionados of foreign films (not "movies," heaven forfend)...

and the best of all...

"Half a century later, Castro seems to be catching up...He who proclaimed at his 1953 trial that 'History will absolve me' may at last have lost the most destructive illusion of modern politics, the idea that history is a proper noun."

This repudiation of History as a Science is not new of course, but it's Will's relaxation and elegance in the statement that makes it so sharp...and (thankfully) not academic which tends to aggrandize ideas like this for the sake of wanting to be insightful (to others of course).

Will is seriously coming into his own.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Private Theater of Sexual Oedipus; Anti-Oedipus, Part 2

It's not a meatbox, it's a meatlocker.
(regardless of how much it wants to appear virginal)

In the last post we introduced D&G's (Deleuze and Guatarri) Anti-Oedipus by elaborating on the first insights on what desiring-machines were to them. We saw how desiring-machines attach itself to the body-without organs and give the body-without-organs something beyond the blind intensities that happen to it, mainly desires-after-intensities. I noted that the fun of doing analysis on a text like this is how all encompassing the idea of desiring-machines. We can find desire everywhere and can find many ways in which the phenomena of desire is understood as neurotic. One of these most obvious phenomena of desire is in the sexual act and everything that envelops this act. D&G waste no time making a differentiation between sexuality as being oedipalized and sexuality as belonging to the body without organs as a fantastic factory at the end of chapter 1 of Anti-Oedipus. This post will do its best to try and not sensationalize the theme. This is not just because of how easy of a subject it is to sensationalize, but because D&G don't spend loads of time before or after giving Freudian impressions (sexual) to the Oedipus structure. They find it everywhere and give due justice to all it's different forms. One can't help but see it conspicuously in the sexual act though. D&G are very clear about sexuality as desire and make a clear distinction between an oedipalized sexuality and non-oedipalized sexuality. There will be questions coming up though that question both forms and ask about the power of sexual-oedipus that I'm sure D&G were well aware of, but still need to be emphasized so the reader doesn't take the sexual act the way D&G obviously want it to go (non-oedipalization). I won't necessarily defend sexual-oedipus but will viscerally understand its power, as something that may not belong in a marginalized place that they want to put it.

D&G state "..the Oedipal triangulation plays a role in the recording of the process, we find ourselves trapped in the net of a diffuse, generalized oedipalism that radically distorts the life of the child and his later development, the neurotic and the psychotic problems of the adult, and sexuality as a whole." Oedipus, as the tripartite structure of individuality distorts the life of the orphan unconscious (the child) and whatever they understand as "later development." The son or daughter who look above to the father as an idol figure and the mother as another idol figure (another father) distorts the child's virignal mind. Of course this is the case because people that you're always around are going to have an influence on you. But G&D are more specific with the Oedipus-complex they describe. They want to signify not just influence, but paternal injunction on the orphans moves. These injunctions create neurotic and psychotic problems in "later development," and sexuality as a whole. What does being the direct object of injunctions do to the child as it develops into other-child? For D&G, we find this in the way psychoanalysis treats the sexual act and they refer to D.H. Lawrence who wasn't terrified once he learned "what real sexuality was," but terrified in psychoanalysis's understanding of the sexual act. It's important to point out the "revolution" of Freudian thought here as establishing a new way for the sexual act to be understood. Psychoanalysis through Freud emphasized the sexual drive as the root of all of our problems stemming with a relation to paternal figures growing up. Whatever type of sex we prefer and may even sadistically enjoy come from the Oedipus structure as defined by psychoanalysis. There is a problem with this interpretation and it's with the fact that the sexual act was Victorian before it can be classified as oedipalized by psychoanalysis. Certainly, the relationship between Mr.Darcy and Elizabeth in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice serves as an example of a courtship defined by paternal-injunction. This is a question I leave open that I don't want to go into now because it's not the point of the post. But I would like to hear from a D&G scholar what the difference is between oedipal-sexuality and Victorian courtship, and why the oedipal break has to happen at Freud. Regardless of period though, we can understand the sexual act as being defined by injunction, guilt, and power structures. D&G acquiesce with Lawrence's fear of psychoanalysis's understanding of the sexual act. According to D&G, "he had the impression-the purely instinctive impression-that psychoanalysis was shutting sexuality up in a bizarre sort of box painted with bourgeois motifs, in a kind of rather repugnant artificial triangle, thereby stifling the whole of sexuality as production of desire so as to recast it along entirely different lines, making it a 'dirty little secret,' the dirty little family secret, a private theater rather than the fantastic factory of nature and production." There's a lot to extract here and this description of Lawrence by D&G is a key to understanding D&G's understanding of not only the sexual act but how desire should happen in general. It's important to first mark out that D&G found it necessary to call Lawrence's impression a "purely instinctive impression." D&G will continually want to privilege the "purely instinctive" over the oedipalized structure throughout Anti-Oedipus and this statement will show D&G ascribing a primal nature to Lawrence on their own accord, a primal nature that is appropriate. Lawrence feared the bourgeois motif that was characterizing sexuality meaning that he feared that sexuality was being treated as something that one should do or not do at certain times and certain places depending on a middle class status that needed to be upheld in respectability (see? How Victorian is this?). This triangulation is described as artificial because it places limits on the sexual act where there should ostensibly be none in D&G's body without organs. The freedom of sexuality becomes "stifled" by these oedipal-injunctions. Instead of being "fantastic" and "natural," the sexual act becomes constrained by the socius, by paternal triangulation where the child is shown by the parents that sex is a secret, a "dirty little secret." In oedipus, the sexual act becomes recast as a "dirty little secret" instead of being open and natural. It's a secret of the family. A child is under the guidance of the mother and father who both operate as injunction machines (both fathers) where they have the sexual act in privacy away from the child. The child then knows something is happening but sees that it's something that it can't be aware of (and seen). Simply put, the child can't watch their parents have sex. The child looks up at the parents and may see a smirk or a or a subtle attitude of "yeah we do this." The key is in the subtlety. The child never has a clear vision of what's happening when the injunctive parents are being non-injunctive with each other. The child has to guess and eventually see it as some mystery that is being kept from them for reasons the child doesn't understand but is yet being impressed upon by the secret act that is happening right under or over their nose. The secrecy of the act gives it its oedpilization structure by being hidden while at the same time being known, no matter how vague this "knowledge" is. It's something that the child will be allowed to do, but for now, at this young impressionistic age, they are not to be in the graces of this act. From then on, the sexual act becomes a secret, a secret that appears dirty to the child instead of one that flourishes in the "fantastic factory of nature and production." The sexual act then becomes repressed and this repression is understood first and foremost by psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis will state that the child is repressing their sexual drive when the act is hidden. Then, the child will open up and act out the sexual act in it's repression mode, under the unconscious state of mind that it's a perverted and secret act, the act that was always kept away from them but that they are now exploring. The "bourgeois motifs" that D&G refer to are the "respect-structure" of the socius. It's the socius with all of its injunctions. The sexual act is no longer "natural" but under the guidance of psychoanalysis's understanding of it as seeing the child brought about by mother and father. The mother and father created the child and the child doesn't have access to the mother and fathers creative impulses from it's inception. The child is always defined by it's relationships to its idolized paternal figures and these relationships include the sexual relationships. Psychoanalysis sees the child as defined by their relations to their parents and so the child is defined by the the parents secret gestures of the sexual act, their hidden acts of the sexuality in this case. For Lawrence and D&G, the sexual act loses it's original "power and potentiality" that it used to have. Lawrence isn't frightened by this original power of the "fantastic factory of nature" but psychoanalysis's understanding of it which is not natural. In nature, sex isn't repugnant like it is under psychoanalysis's understanding of it, the understanding of it that puts it in a "bizarre sort of box." Questions arise here. What is "natural sex?" What is this "bizarre sort of box" that psychoanalysis boxes the sexual act in? For D&G, they clearly like Lawrence's idea of the the "natural sexual act" instead of it as the "dirty little secret." The question is one of the residuum carried into the child's unconscious during it's "budding years." But is there universal grounds for marginalizing the sexual act as a "dirty little secret" that happens in privacy? For however powerful D&G want to make "natural sex," can't it also be the case that this oedipalized, perverted, and "dirty-little-secret" sex can be just as powerful without there being something wrong with it, just because it happened to evolve from the hidden character of parental figures? Why does "nature" have to be privileged over "neurotic" and perverted "unnatural" sex? Is it not possible for intercourse to be more powerful when kept secret, essentially when it's oedipalized? Couldn't it easily be argued that a free and unfettered intercourse in the "public theater" wouldn't hold the value of the "private theater," the later being exclusive and not simply intercourse in the "private theater," but the public acknowledgment of private intercourse by the coquettish, feminine (whose agent can be either male or female), and most importantly, subtle recognition of the act of intercourse? (An example of this subtle public acknowledgment of private intercourse was Zooey Deschanel's character in 500 Days of Summer where she made sure to subtly let Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character know that she had a really good weekend.) The value of the sexual act absolutely goes into surplus-mode. But is this fantasy-in-surplus less than what D&G refer to as the "fantastic nature factory?" Is it not possible for fantasy to simply be more pleasurable than what's "natural?" And if it is, how inappropriate is it that desiring-machines attach itself to the body without organs? Or even more simply put, is desire as oedipalization something that one consciously needs to think is inappropriate? If the idea of a body without organs is a privlidged pure place, wouldn't it better "find itself" by treating oedipal-desire (and surplus-value) in neutrality, as an observation where desire pivots off nothing? The basic question is one of value. If D&G want to place us in a body without organs, a state of mind in "nature" (which Husserl emphasized so much for these very reasons of understanding how things happen) then how much are we being puting in this "natural state" by emphasizing that there is such a thing called a "natural state" that is "fantastic" and obviously privileged over psychoanalytical practice of oedipalizing? If it's all happening, if it's all happened at one time or another, isn't it all "natural?" Even oedipus? The "dirty little secret" found it's way to the body without organs. Is this not a natural movement? It did happen after all.

The problems elaborated on here eventually fall back to the Hegelian dialect for me. In other words, it's simply a matter of being becoming representation, or in this case, desire becoming transformed into a modified "non-pure" desire that is nonetheless part of what's "natural." D&G are operating on a theoretical explanation for being and nothingness whereby they're privileging nothingness to be frank. The theory is certainly interesting and convincing but is somewhat diluted with their allusions to the purity of nature. The desiring-machines are at the same place as the body without organs. As was stated above, they both happened. As a reader of this text, what do you take the text as? You can't take this text as pure philosophy and of course D&G and any defenders of their work would probably say "Good, it's better off that's not philosophy," and this is where the Marxian proclivities come in with D&G; to find theory in wanting to change material conditions of being, in this case the psychological conditions of being which are the material conditions of being. Being an ardent defender of this text puts one in the "anti-person" category rather than the neutrality position of watching the phenomena of being happen on its own. I think it's obvious where I tend to sway on this. Regardless of this confession, Anti-Oedipus is a text that needs to be read closely and understood to the best of the readers ability. There's plenty to learn here regardless of the positions taken. Who knows, maybe they're positions that need to be taken, that would be taken regardless of the pretension of the observer who simply watches the positions being taken with a sense that "these positions were always going to be taken anyways." Actually, this was always in the cards. It was always going to happen. As an observer of the phenomena of position taking, one may always know that positions will be taken, in this case the body without organs as the intensity that's natural to being instead of the oedipalized-structure-being, but they don't know it until they observe it. Something that's being observed by the observer is the desire to want to bring things to a more natural place. As much as the observer wants to come into the scene and shake position-takers into a realization of their meaninglessness, they nonetheless will abstain from this position-taking and watch the position-takers as a part of the phenomena of being that always had to happen, and will happen, and is fine that it's happening...and will enjoy this happening rather than taking a position in this happening. We will open up to D&G and observe what they're doing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Top 10 Nietzsche Quotes on Humanity

Thick mustaches signify fearlessness in writing aphorisms instead of systems.

One of the articles I was recently commissioned to write for was a Top 10 Nietzsche quotes on humanity. I thought it came out well.
Here she is:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Anti-Oedipus; Introduction (Desiring-Machines)

Where Psychoanalysis gets psychoanalyzed by non-psychoanalytical methods.

The start of a school year; whereby one desires new things, different things or one desires the same things. The intensities of one's experience will sway the organized body regardless of the organized body desiring to see itself a certain way. Here we offer an introduction to these intensities that function in desire-spaces with Deleuze and Guatarri's Anti-Oedipus. Whether one is studying comparative literate, philosophy, or even physical art, these authors will find a way to show up on one's thinking screen. They don't just show up either, they command your attention for reasons you're not quite sure of because you haven't read anything from them. You have general ideas in your head of what "Anti-Oedipus" is trying to convey. At first glance you think to yourself that it's a book about a child not wanting to kill his father to confiscate his mothers love, and if this is your first thought about the book, you would be pretty much right on with the theme. To be more specific, this book starts a movement of sorts that tries to dissemble the Oedipus-complex of psychoanalysis; the Oedpus-complex that would like to understand everyone in terms of their rapport with their parents. And it's not just parents either, it's the paternal image seen in the geometrical "triangulation" of the psyche, a triangulation we will see that won't hold the ground it once had (Father-Mother-Child/Father-Son-Holy Ghost). The hierarchicization that psychoanalysis operates on stems from the emphasis given by Freud to parental complexes in the subject. Of course Freud needs to be distinguished as an author from his different periods like many authors. We will see that Deleuze and Guattari operate off the idea of random intensities much in the same way Freud spoke of intensities in his Project for a Scientific Psychology that we referenced before in the analysis of Derrida's work on Freud. Rather than trying to sum-up the entirety of this text while it's currently being read, we will continue to not be pithy by giving multi-part essays on the text in order to give due diligence to the author. Besides respect though, insights are really enjoyable, almost too enjoyable? The deeper one enters into this text, any text for that matter, the more insights will come to the forefront. It will be interesting to analyze the desire-for-insights within Deleuze and Guarttari's framework that sees desiring-machines as machines that are everywhere that attach to each other and most importantly, attach to something called a body-without-organs. To start off though, every post from now on pertaining to Deleuze and Guattari will be nominalized as "D&G." While respecting the idea of depth and length, it's also important to respect brevity in the form of acronyms for simplicity's sake on these posts, and future posts. Without name-dropping all the references that one will find when reading this text and finding analogies with previous or current authors (maybe even future authors), lets dive into the text, and find ourselves in D&G's world of organisms with drives that are much more complicated and spontaneous than the structure of Oedipus.

When trying to understand Oedipus's sway on classical psychoanalysis, we first have to uncover desire, more specifically ourselves as desiring-machines. Desiring-machines; pure operations of want. D&G state "the traditional logic of desire is all wrong from the very outset...From the moment that we place desire on the side of acquisition, we make desire an idealistic (dialetical, nihilistic) conception, which causes us to look upon it as primarily a lack: a lack of an object, a lack of the real object." For D&G it is inappropriate to see desire as a lack. When one desires something, the traditional logic of this desire is that the desire wants something that it doesn't have. Not so for D&G and not so either for Kant who states "the faculty of being, through its representations, the cause of the reality of the objects of these representations" is the function of desire. In other words, desire is not a want, but a production. A production of desire. If lack is part of the logic of desire, it's because desire produces a lack. First and foremost, desire is a productive machine that afterwords happens to produce a lack in being. The Platonic logic of desire that "forces us to take, making us choose between production and acquisition" is wrong. This choice doesn't cover the whole of the logic of desire. How then does desire operate for D&G? "If desire is the lack of the real object, its very nature as a real entity depends upon an 'essence of lack' that produces the fantasized object." When we desire, we are desiring something that we don't have, but why is it that we feel we want this thing that we don't have in the first place? Any object, the fantasized object (meaning the object that we want but don't currently have so we fantasize about it) can be sought after because of something called an "essence of lack." More simply put, we can think of this "essence of lack" as a feeling that we aren't getting what we want either in a specific or general way. The nature of desire as lack depends firstly on the production of something we don't have. "The production of something we don't have" though is not simply some "real object" like a rock for instance, but the flow and force of desiring-machines creating (producing) an affect of something outside itself to obtain. This is juxtaposed to the body-without-organs whereby there is no smell, taste, or touch; in other words, a juxtaposition to nothing. At some point though, the body-without-organs becomes something. It becomes attached to desiring-machines where it "breaths, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks." These functions Freud would call the id, the representation of which D&G would call a "mistake" on the grounds that the representation of whatever is classified as the id didn't need to be represented (or it's representation by Freud and philosophy in general is grossly outside something called "the real" or what's called a priori experience). It's important here to clarify that desiring-machines for our purposes can be seen as human-beings. We at first will have to relate to ourselves as human beings much in the way that one has to understand Heidegger's concept of Dasein as Human-Being when the sense of the statement is meant to convey being-there, meaning being in a place where something happens which Heidegger would go on to describe. D&G will see the Human-Being as desiring- machines and they will make sure the reader sees this not as a metaphor but as an actuality which will create a distance between the subject seeing himself through the text of Anti-Oedipus and rather reading into themselves a pure production of desire ignorant of whatever would be classified in the classical personality traits of Freud's tripartite Oedipus-schemata. So for right now, we are reading into the text that something is desiring and by desiring, "we" mean a production of a lack that is first and foremost a production. And the lack that is the production is a production itself. In other words, it's a production of a production. Desire is then understood as production and at the lowest level, this means that "the real object that desire lacks is related to an extrinsic natural or social production, whereas desire intrinsically produces an imaginary object that functions as a double of reality, as though there were a 'dreamed-of object behind every real object.'" The "real object," whatever that is, is extrinsic. You can call it "natural," or "social." Whatever it is, it conceptually exists outside. Nothing can be said of it because it's not represented. This comes up against Husserl's problem in trying to understand the original motivations of the "first geometers" independent of language. It lies in a place that D&G call a "body-without-organs" meaning a non-represented being. Desiring-machines though operating under the production of desire produces "imaginary objects" that function as a double of whatever was this "extrinsic space." Desire functions not like the body-without-organs. Instead it looks for something else beyond what is already given. What this beyond is, is the "dreamed-of object behind every real object." This flips the Platonic ideal. Instead of seeing beyond representation into truth ("the real"), "we" as desiring-machines see beyond what's "real" into representation as truth. Truth for us is not whatever is called "the real," but the representation of it that is behind everything that's called the "real." This makes sense. Everything is in front of me, and then I (phenomenologically) look into it to find something else, for example, what's it's called, and when I find out what this "real" is called I mark it down on what D&G call the recording surface. Desire produces this reproduction. "If desire produces, its product is real." Desire produces our reality, our truth, and here we must distinguish what we just called "the real" from what the real is now being understood of as "the truth." D&G will regard the real here as something for us, the desiring-machines. The real (truth for us) happens after we are in "passive syntheses" (phenomenological) that engineer partial objects, flows, and bodies, and that function as units of production. Partial objects are likened to ruptures for example, and this means intensities independent of any truth value, meaning independent of the de facto situation of being able to represent it. These intensities are units of production. This all happens "as autoproduction of the unconscious." For example, I can have a nervous reaction to anything without anything "about me" influencing this. Desire will always happen. The body-without-organs will be attached to an organic body with desire. In these passive syntheses, "desire does not lack anything; it does not lack its object. It is rather the subject that is missing in desire, or desire that lacks a fixed subject; there is no fixed subject unless there is repression." In passive syntheses, in this productive desire, nothing is in lack in the original "real." Ruptures and flows "happen" without regard to an object being grasped. Desire as a machine of production though is a machine that D&G call a "subject," and like how production had to produce something (for D&G, desire), desire finds its own production in the fixed subject. The "residuum" of this producing and the product creates a detachment called "the subject." There is no fixed subject without repression though. This is the residuum of passive experience (passive syntheses), repression. In other words, in a process of passive syntheses, intensities happen to bodies and flows, and "something becomes detached" meaning a difference is setup. A difference from bodies and flows "happens" into something called the "subject" by way of a repression of these intensities that happen to bodies and flow (what D&G call "partial objects"). The detachment from the original "real" is the repression of intensity, and it's in these repressions of intensities that D&G will situate their concept of the neurotic. The neurotic: "the subject" who is always running away from "the real." The subject loses its desire "at the same time that it loses the passive syntheses of these conditions." When desire differentiates into a "subject," the subject sees itself as a difference from the passive syntheses that setup it's own detachment in the subject. The "subject" is the "countereffect" of the process of desire. Desire feels objective existence in all its intensity but just like how it's a machine of pure production (a machine of a machine), it differentiates itself from desire as a "space for intensity" into its next form of production ("the subject") where the form loses its "desire of intensity" and instead produces (desires) needs. In every aspect of this movement, from production, to desire, and finally to the subject, something is common, and that's pure production, in other words, something is made out of something else and differentiated from that previous form (The question of temporality in using the word "previous" is something that won't be addressed here but always stands as an open question). Desire then is not a lack, but a production of a need. One feels that desire is (Platonically) a lack, but this isn't the case. Desire sets out to withdraw itself into a subject that creates for D&G, surplus-needs which is distinguished from the needs of the penury or the dispossessed who "know they are close to grass." The dispossessed who don't feel the need of leftovers, but to live in the real, that they feel has somehow been taken away from them in the socius. The question of Anti-Oedipus then will revolve around the difference between desire that has very few needs (the need to live objectively) and the desire of leftovers (surplus-desire). In this distinction, we will find an absolute parallel between the psychoanalytically regarded "psychotic" and "neurotic" respectively. One can already tell that D&G will try to save the "psychotic" from its marginalized place in the socius by pointing to a more "pure desire" with few needs (which nonetheless are needs) and not a "lack" that classical psychoanalysis would like to find in its subject (Like thinking a psychotic lacks love and getting a hardy laugh from them afterwords). How the phenomena of over-abundant needs "happens," and how psychoanalysis addresses this psychosis as a lack in the subject (wrongly understood as a lack) is what will be the subject of Anti-Oedipus. We will gain further clarifications on the structure of Oedipus as it pertains to not just psychoanalysis but the socius as a whole, and how much psychoanalysis defines the categories of belongingness and distance from a privileged "normalized" center. All these concepts will need to be elaborated on. The fun thing about desire as a theme is that it can be seen everywhere. It is everywhere. Desiring-machines are everywhere. We will be able to go into themes on sexuality, capital, religion, and thought in general because of the all-encompassing nature of desire. We will be able to see it at work subtly and hopefully try to make these subtleties not so subtle.

This introduction then served mostly on a theoretical level defining D&G's understanding of how a pure process happens to a subject as a desire and how that desire changes into desiring more than just a few things. All of this is a production that happens to a production ad infinitum. This introduction can be understood as a general phenomenology of desire, if we are to understand desire purely at a distance from the existential connotations that it will end up taking as the text develops. This general overview of course can be expanded on phenomenologically. The idea of passive syntheses can of course be elaborated on independent of the idea of desiring-machines. A phenomenology of pure intentionality and a psychoanalysis of desire using non-psychoanalytical methods are of course two different approaches. Simply put, one can either read Husserl or D&G. If one isn't satisfied with the way D&G use "passive syntheses" then they can go into the depths of Husserl, but if they are satisfied in the concept of "passive syntheses" then they can move into the insights provided by D&G regarding the phenomena of desire and how it pertains to everything as desiring-machines and how classical psychoanalysis has made an incorrect model in trying to understand desire as a lack, and ultimately classifying certain types of desiring-machines as lacking something that is a "normalized center" for them. These next posts though will develop the themes of Anti-Oedipus. We will stray from the depths of phenomenology and enter into the human-being as desiring-machines. I have a feeling that the next posts will be more interesting for everybody. People would rather see themselves as desiring-beings rather than pure-intentionalities. What makes one interested into reading desire into things instead of intentionality? It's an open question that I think will become more evident as the text develops.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Siddhartha's Experience

Does it look like I'm rich?

It's always amazing to reread Siddhartha regardless of how many times one can read it. I think it always sits comfortably next to a heavy philosophical text. At the end of a mammoth 400 page philosophical text of pure theory, Hesse's Siddhartha is always a humbling surprise; a joyful humiliation. For how much it's straightforward and abstinent from the need to create its own concepts (theory), there's always something that pops up new when you haven't read it for two years. Choice quotes pop up in a way where you say to yourself, "How did I not see this as important as I see it now?" This happened to me over the past couple days rereading Siddhartha. There was at least 10 parts I underlined that I didn't recognize for their importance before. After Siddhartha's experience with the Buddha (Guatama) and Kamala, Siddartha is in a place of moment to moment "enlightenment" before he meets with what I think is the "soul" of this book, the Ferryman and the River. This mediation point between Kamala and the Ferryman revisited is extraordinary, not simply in prose, but the style of thought that happens to be in the mode of prose (it's a book after all). What stood out this time though was how much Siddhartha emphasized how every experience was good to him. It's a mindset that I can't stress enough to people I sometimes meet (mostly people who wear their "intellectual nature" on their sleeve). It's a recognition of the difference between knowledge and experience, and the disingenuous nature of knowledge being used against some other knowledge without any of these "knowledge's" being experienced. Basically, it's a recognition of the knowledge-gulping personality as being exactly that, a personality.

"'It is good,' he thought, 'oneself to sample everything one needs to know. That worldly pleasure and riches are not good I already learned as a child. For a long time I knew it, but I have experienced it only now. And now I know it, know it not only by heart, but also with my heart, with my eyes, with my stomach. Good for me that I know it!'"

Siddhartha here is referring to his teachings given to him as a Brahmin by his father and his just previous merchant-days with Kamaswami. He was taught by his father in language that riches weren't good, yet it was only a knowledge of riches not being good for the Brahmin. Siddhartha already knew this as a child. Could he simply just skip over actually being in the position of being rich? This was not the course for Siddhartha. This is what led him away from his best friend (Govinda) who would follow the Buddha for the rest of his life. It wasn't in Siddhartha to simply hear from teachers (no matter how perfect the teacher was; the Buddha) about the essence of the world and how to live in it. He had to live every possible way without knowing ahead of time that he would live every possible way that he would always be warned against growing up. Forever he experienced teachings. Forever he could be taught by his father, the Shramanas, Guatama, and Kamala, but he would never experience it until he experienced it. He had only experienced it now, after he experienced it. "And now I know it" Siddhartha says. Knowledge becomes experience after he experienced what he was once taught growing up. He doesn't know it by the written word or by the law, but with the heart. The analogy between Hesse's Siddhartha and the transition from Moses to Jesus in the Bible is perfect here. It's not just the heart either. It's the eyes and the stomach. He had to see with his own heart, his own eyes, and his own stomach why opulence was an offensive being. Siddhartha would never be satisfied hearing a code. He would continue to wander into non-coded places experiencing non-coded experiences (regardless if there was ever some program that "knew" a "code"). What the heart and stomach can say to you is more than what the written word could ever say to Siddhartha. The inclusion of stomach here I find so valuable. One can see their outside surroundings for a long period of time ("seeing" taken literally) and one can even know with their heart that the way they're living isn't appropriate to them, but it's the stomach that is literally "gut-wrenching." It's Siddhartha having to make deals with other merchants that spoke in his stomach. It made him feel nauseous. The heart can fly, but the stomach sinks. The heart to me is more passive while the stomach is more direct, and more aggressive. The heart can make one feel "wrong" or "right," but the stomach is a whirlwind uppercut. This passage wouldn't have meant nearly as much to me without the inclusion of stomach in it. You have to stomach whatever it is you think you dislike, or rather, want to dislike. If not, there are other reasons for the dislike that don't have to do with the object of this dislike, but with wanting to dislike anything in general (a desire for dislike, a desire for taking a position). Hesse's Siddhartha wouldn't falter to this "satisfaction-of-dislike." Instead he would approach everything and see how it stomachs after. Who knows, maybe he would have loved being a merchant. Maybe it was his path he was always looking for. Maybe it was him. It wasn't, but he only "knew" this after he was it.

If I can offer a little wisdom to the academically involved. You don't "know" it until you are it. Whatever or whoever you "find" repugnant isn't what you think it is until you are it. No matter how much theory one digests, no matter how many protagonists (and antagonists too) one identifies with, your experience is limited to these experiences, these experience that you have spent so much time with and that's shown you your path. All the words and untimely thoughts that are outside of your experience are just that, words, or desires for wanting to take positions (which the reader can figure out the disingenuous nature of for themselves). I hope I always remember this for myself. And if I do, "Good for me that I know it!"