Skip navigation

1. Freud and Einstein

In 1931 the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation invited certain intellectuals to communicate and think about the solutions to the problems facing the world. The First World War was over but the second one was already knocking on the door. The developments in central Europe were signs of the approaching disaster. Einstein was one of the intellectuals the institute got in touch with, and he proposed Freud as a participant in this collaboration. In 1932 Einstein wrote a letter to Freud and asked him how the tendency of humanity to war, destruction and violence could be overcome, if it could be overcome. Einstein expected Freud to come up with some practical solutions. Einstein wanted revolution, but a great admirer of Darwin, Freud talked about evolution.

Freud responded to Einstein after about a month. Throughout the letter Freud emphasized that he couldn’t do what Einstein expected him to, that it was impossible for him to come up with practical solutions to the problem of aggression inherent in human nature.

In his response to Einstein’s letter Freud interrogated the relation between the aggressive impulse in human nature and the organization of society and concluded that in the organization of social order aggression was unavoidable.

In the second part of his letter Freud mentioned the role played by drives in the inner world of human-beings and summarized his theory of drives. According to Freud the polarity between the forces of attraction and repulsion, which Einstein was familiar with as a physicist, also existed in human psyche. One of these forces was the life drive which aimed at self-preservation and unification, the erotic force represented by Eros. The other force was the death drive which aimed at destruction and splitting, represented by Thanatos.

But we must not be too hasty in introducing ethical judgements of good and evil. Neither of these instincts is any less essential than the other; the phenomena of life arise from the concurrent or mutually opposing action of both. Now it seems as though an instinct of the one sort can scarcely ever operate in isolation; it is always accompanied—or, as we say, alloyed – with a certain quota from the other side, which modifies its aim or is, in some cases, what enables it to achieve that aim. Thus, for instance, the instinct of self-preservation is certainly of an erotic kind, but it must nevertheless have aggressiveness at its disposal if it is to fulfil its purpose. So, too, the instinct of love, when it is directed towards an object, stands in need of some contribution from the instinct for mastery if it is in any way to obtain possession of that object. The difficulty of isolating the two classes of instinct in their actual manifestation is indeed what has so long prevented us from recognizing them.[1]

For Freud the death drive was targeting the living organism, aiming at turning the organic into inorganic. Because of the intervention of the self-preservative force of the life drive, the death drive was turned towards the external world by a psychic operation, so that the self-destruction of the organism was prevented.

It is important to note here that death drive does not correspond to self-destruction. The death drive postpones the self-destruction of the organism by projecting aggression onto the external world and hence can be said to serve self-preservation. The self-destructive impulse turns against itself and manifests itself as violence and aggression against the others. The subject kills the others not to kill itself. “The death instinct turns into the destructive instinct when, with the help of special organs, it is directed outwards, on to objects. The organism preserves its own life, so to say, by destroying an extraneous one.”[2] It is this scenario that makes it possible to say that there is a disjunctive synthesis at work here. A term coined by Gilles Deleuze, disjunctive synthesis defines the operation in and through which the two components of an apparatus, a psychic apparatus in this case, appear to be the two differently conceived constituents of the same thing.  

The influence of Nietzsche’s concepts of the will to nothingness and eternal return are pervasive in Freud’s later work. Freud’s turn towards metapsychology and his consequent creation of the concept of the death drive is rooted in his need for something to fill in the gaps in his scientific and empirically observable theories owing much to Darwin. Freud was uneasy with the concept of the death drive on account of its non-scientific nature, but nevertheless he had to conceptualize the death drive as the counterpart of the life drive in order to be able to go beyond the pleasure principle. Educated as a neuroscientist Freud was aware that he was contradicting himself and perhaps even turning against his earlier attitude towards the human psyche by showing that at the beginning was the death drive and that the life drive was only an outcome, a kind of defense against the death drive.

In his Civilization and Its Discontents Freud talked about the oceanic feeling, a sense of oneness with the world which he admits to have never experienced personally. Perhaps his creation of the highly speculative concept of the death drive was Freud’s attempt to fill the gap opened by the absence of this oceanic feeling for him.  

Writing was in its origin the voice of an absent person; and the dwelling-house was a substitute for the mother’s womb, the first lodging, for which in all likelihood man still longs, and in which he was safe and felt at ease.[3]

In his An Outline of Psychoanalysis, Freud had put forward the idea that drives produce affects and so drives are at the root of all actions. I agree with Freud that drives are at the root of all actions at the beginning, but contrary to what Freud says of them, I think affects are not mere manifestations of the drives. Rather, affects emerge as a response to the changes in the level of the intensity of external stimuli. The external stimuli creates affects towards objects and the drives “find” their satisfaction through the affective quality of the objects produced to match the drive. But it is precisely this matching process that produces the desire for the object, so the unconscious drive turns into “conscious” desire. 

In his 1920 essay Beyond The Pleasure Principle, Freud revised his drive theory and introduced his concept of the death drive. In this revised drive theory Freud conceptualized the life drive as inclusive of both the libidinal impulses and the self-preservative impulses. As for the death drive Freud conceptualized it as the self-destructive impulse. So, at the beginning Freud argued that libidinal impulses contain sadistic elements as well. While in his first drive theory in On Narcissism (1914), Freud suggested that aggression should be included within the life drive, in his second drive theory in Beyond The Pleasure Principle, he says that aggression is the will to return to the inorganic state and is therefore directed against the self and serves self-destruction. According to this picture if adaptation is essential to survival then aggression is against life and is a manifestation of the death drive.

In the face of the present situation I project a few alterations onto Freud’s drive theory in the light of Lacan’s theory of the subject. Since thought is a product of the brain and since most psychoanalysts agree that metaphysical phenomena are composed of psychosomatic events, there is nothing other than a fantasy that fills the space between the soma and the psyche. This fantasy (‘I,) stands in for the nothingness in between them; it unites them as it splits them apart. I disagree with Freud’s theory concerning the source of drives. But I do make a distinction between the conscious desires and the unconscious drives. 

Lacan’s contribution to the field is his realization that the unconscious drives are shaped by the external circumstances and turned into conscious desire. For me Lacan’s theory, however, just like Hobbes’s metaphor of modern power, the Leviathan, remains, to use Donald Winnicott’s terms, a mere transitional object, which helps to situate the psychosomatic events in the context of sociopolitical theory.

I now return to Hobbes through Foucault, whose thoughts on death and its relation to power become relevant to the subject of drives, their source, and their processes of formation.

2. The Void, Drives, Automata 

The most important thing that Hobbes says in Leviathan, which I think is still relevant to a considerable extent, is that death is the absolute master, and the fear of death forces the subjects to adapt to the existing social order. Leviathan feeds on this fear of death, and it is Leviathan itself that instills the fear of death in people. If we keep in mind that in Western societies death is associated with nothing/ness, it becomes clearer why and how Foucault’s use of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon in Discipline and Punish as a metaphor of the modern power structure which has nothing/ness at its centre gains new significance.     

At the periphery, an annular building; at the center, a tower; this tower is pierced with white windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower; the other, on the outside, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other. All that is needed, then, is to place a supervisor in a central tower and to shut up in each cell a madman, a patient, a condemned man, a worker or a schoolboy. By the effect of backlighting, one can observe from the tower, standing out precisely against the light, the small captive shadows in the cells of the periphery. They are like so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible. The panoptic mechanism arranges spatial unities that make it possible to see constantly and to recognize immediately. In short, it reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions – to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide – it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two. Full lightning and the eye of a supervisor capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap.[4]  

            Foucault, without directly referring to him, shows that Hobbes’s monster has become a machine. I argue that this machine is itself in a process of transformation today, and is in the way of taking the form of something that is neither organic nor inorganic, neither visible nor invisible, but felt. This is power as affective force. Power can no more be represented by metaphors. For metaphor is a concept that belongs to the world of metaphysics which exists only as a fantasy world, whereas today power has a more material existence than it has ever had and its materiality splits as it unites the psychosomatic and the sociopolitical realms of experience.

The automatization of power, that is, transformation of power from an organic state, as demonstrated by Hobbes, towards an inorganic state, as demonstrated by Foucault, has been studied in a different way and in a different context by Mark Poster in his Foucault, Marxism, and History. Influenced by Poster’s interpretation of Foucault in relation to Marxism, and in the context of the relationship between discourse and power, I reassert, in a different way and for different reasons, that Foucault’s conceptualization of the Panopticon is useful and yet insufficient in understanding the workings of power today in the face of the recent developments in technology.

In this new situation the subjects know that they are still locked in the Panopticon, but pretend that they are free floating across the Superpanopticon.  This is because they are being locked deeper into the Panopticon; and there finding themselves dismembered, losing themselves in the terrible condition of being pushed further into the hitherto undiscovered corners of one’s own room, in their cells.

A new formulation of Foucault’s concept of bio-power, the Superpanoptic discourse reverses the roles of Eros and Thanatos; abuses our understandings and misunderstandings of the life drive and the death drive, as well as manipulating our inner conflicts and turning us into antagonists. It does this by erasing the necessary boundary between life and death, the organic and the inorganic, so as to create the conditions of possibility for manufacturing an illusory sense of oneness with the world, hence uniting the subject of statement (the enunciated) and the subject of enunciation which should remain separate from and/but contiguous to one another for the perpetual transformation and multiplication of life forms to take place at the same time.

Now I will attempt to make a leap forward in the direction of theorizing a practical way of handling the conflict between material production and metaphysical production. In what follows, therefore, I try to show how this conflict arises and how it turns into an antagonism.

It is the projection-introjection mechanism operating within and through the capillaries of the body without organs across the new Earth only to reproduce that which it had attempted to expulse as an organ without a body on the old Earth that produces the two poles of the unhealthy conflict. One being social and the other metaphysical, and being against one another, these two are feeding neither themselves nor the other, but contributing to the production of otherness as negativity, hence taking part in the setting of the very vicious trap in which they find themselves against each other and out of which they both come dismembered. They are locked in an agonizing process, which is destroying both of them. It is impossible for one to survive without the other, and yet they prefer to eat one another. Social production produces exclusion of the other, metaphysical production produces an illusory image of the other. When these two modes of production work together they create the conditions of impossibility for a non-illusory and non-antagonistic mode of being.

We shall add to this, that although the problem is inherent in the projection-introjection mechanism itself we are looking for the source of our maladies outside. We are projecting all our bad qualities onto the others and then accusing them of being negative towards us. In turn we are giving birth to the negativity of the other, or otherness as negativity. The negative within and without us is being created by us since we introject what we have projected and inversely.

 

3. The Subject and Power

The relationship between the subject and power is a theme that has played a significant role in determining the direction of European thought since Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud. Both the Frankfurt School thinkers such as Horkheimer and Adorno, and the poststructuralists such as Deleuze and Foucault, took on this subject as one of the objects of their studies in different ways. Although I was deeply influenced by Adorno’s Negative Dialectics and Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution before the beginning of this thesis, I later on turned towards Deleuze and Foucault to find tools for repairing the restrictive implications of the early Frankfurt School thought. I think post-structuralism and critical theory have a lot more to offer to one another that can be used in practical critique of the predominant order in particular and nihilisms in general, than many, such as Habermas, suggest.

Having taken what I wanted from both parties, I asymmetrically placed them into one another’s contexts with the aim of analyzing the relationship not only between post-structuralism and critical theory, but also between theory and practice. I projected these two forms of thought onto one another. My aim was to theorize a practical way of looking at the world which could be turned into action in accordance with the demands of the present. I used practical Kleinian looking glasses and what I saw was and remains uncanny. I found Thomas Hobbes and Michel Foucault in the form of a snake biting its own tail in a cell, with Marcuse standing firm outside the cell as the guardian angel under the guiding hand of Reich and his orgasm theory.  Upon the emergence of this image that in time took shape on the stage of my internal theatre, I finally managed to determine my direction and object of study.

The point of departure of this thesis is the modern discourse on power that emerged with the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. A response to metaphysics and Christian dogmatism, Enlightenment is a system of thought which proclaims itself to be governed by universal reason alone. In the Dialectic of Enlightenment Horkheimer and Adorno situate Marx and Freud, together with themselves, in this tradition. I situate Foucault himself in this same tradition of Enlightenment.

Michel Foucault’s interpretation of the Panopticon, and Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan become relevant here precisely because they present us with metaphors representing an idealized model of modern power structure which takes its driving force from the exploitation of the conflict between the psyche and the soma, reason and non-reason, the life drive and the death drive.

This power structure is not only still dominant, but also increasing its dominance as it decreases its visibility.  It does this by making the subjects believe that they are governed by the reality principle when in fact they are governed by the pleasure principle. This situation causes a shift in the subject’s conception of health. I’ll come back to this in the future, but now I have to mention something else which is very closely linked to this shift in the subject’s conception of health.

Enlightenment signifies the secularization of the authority of the Big Other, and erection of instrumental reason in the place of the absolute authority of the Bible. In this light Enlightenment appears to be merely a change of roles between the masters and the slaves; the problem inherent in the metaphysical world of representation remains the same. Walter Benjamin, for instance, warns against this trap set by the panoptic mechanism which creates a Leviathan within the subject. In his essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Benjamin argues that cinema can turn out to be a fascist propaganda machine if it falls in the wrong hands. Benjamin is not only against the aestheticization of politics but also the politicization of aesthetics. What remains unthought in Benjamin’s essay, though, is the ideology of representational and metaphysical conceptions of non-reason, which is itself the problem inherent in the structure of the system.

Here it is also important to emphasize my difference from Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse considered modern western capitalist societies to be sick. He thought himself as the healthy subject outside a sick society and determined his goal as the healing of this sick society. Marcuse’s political philosophy as therapy is no more sufficient for the increasingly sophisticated problems of today. For power has become more than oppressive/repressive.

4. The Imprisoned Creators of Our Times

If we look at the contemporary electronic music scene we see that the three dimensional sounds created are non-representational to such an extent that it is as though there is a living organism from a completely another dimension making organic noises in the room. I will return to the relevance of electronic music in a little while, but first let me revisit Herbert Marcuse’s theory of how capitalism keeps itself alive by feeding on the death of the counter-subjectivities and the life of the dominant consuming subject governed by the life drive which is itself externally constituted within the subject.

In a nutshell, Marcuse’s theory in One-Dimensional Man was that the one dimensional market society absorbs and turns the counter-cultural products into its own agents, reducing the two-dimensional to the one-dimensional, hence making the forces of resistance serve the purpose of strengthening what they are counter to. Marcuse’s problem was the dissolution of the two-dimensional sphere of counter-cultural production and its domination by the one-dimensional relations. He suggested using mythological imagery  not only to make sense of the pre-dominant social reality, but also to create a counter-social reality which would at the same time be a critique of the existing social reality. What Marcuse said is still relevant to a certain extent, but to be able to use this theory one has to adapt it to the demands of the present situation. What I will attempt to do, therefore, is to ignore the irrelevant parts of Marcuse’s theory and try to find out those parts of it that matter for my concerns. It is true that Marcuse’s theory is no more sufficient in understanding and solving the problems of our Superpanoptic societies. And yet in it there are lots of insights with high potential for development in the service of psychosomatic and sociopolitical progress today.

Today even Madonna’s latest release, Confessions on the Dance Floor, is produced in a DJ’s room in London. The electronic dance music products are mostly produced in people’s bedrooms on a personal computer donated with software especially produced for making electronic music. The recent shift in the gears of electronic dance music, of course, is a cause of the amazing possibilities the digital sound machines present. These machines have no material existence; they are loaded on the computer in the form of digital data. One can have a studio loaded into one’s computer by pressing a few buttons on the keyboard. In this context, making music requires technical knowledge of the tools of production more than the knowledge of the rules of what is called making music. With electronic music the sounds are already there, loaded into the computer; all one needs to do to become a music producer has become putting these sounds together, making them overlap with one another in a positively disordered way and produce something that is neither the one nor the other.

If we imagine for a moment Beethoven making his music after the orchestra plays it, composing the piece after it is materialized, we can see how paradoxical the situation the producer is caught up in inherent in the production process of electronic music is. It is as if Beethoven wrote the notes of his music as he listened to the orchestra play it. We can see that this is in fact exactly the opposite of what Beethoven did. For in the case of Beethoven, unlike the electronic music producer, it is the internal orchestra in the psyche that plays the piece as Beethoven writes it, not an actual orchestra in its material existence. With electronic music that internal orchestra is not in the creator’s mind, but in the computer. 

Some of the more creative and experimentalist logics in this field record the noises coming from within their bodies, or from within other animals’ bodies, load them into the computer, and with the aid of synthesizers and effects units, turn these noises into the basic rhythms and melodies of their music. Heartbeat, for instance, can be used as drum and bass at the same time in some electronic music recordings. It is possible to dub-out, echo, delay, deepen, darken, lighten, slow down, or fasten up the sound of heartbeat with the computer. And after a proper mastering process you get something that sounds neither totally organic, nor totally inorganic.  These products are not only digitally bought and sold on the internet, but also exchanged with similar other products.

The affective qualities of these products are extremely high. The producers of the five most developed forms of electronic music, which are Techno, House, Electro, Trance, and Breakbeat, claim that they are the beholders of the threshold between the soma and the psyche, that with their walls of sound they keep them separate and yet contiguous to one another. 

What we witness in this time is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World turning into Rave New World.  A world in which the well known and the so called lines between mind and body, fantasy and reality, nature and culture, organic and inorganic, life and death, are not just blurred, but have completely disappeared. And yet, at the same, these lines are in the process of reappearance.

The recent developments in electronic music present us with a good example of how the inorganic has become, at least in sound, more organic than the organic. With the rapid development of sound producing machines it has become possible to create such sounds that while listening to it one feels like there is a living organism from a strangely familiar realm making noises in the room, or worse still, that the noises are coming from within one’s mind and body. Listening to this kind of music makes the mutual exclusiveness of the somatic and the psychic irrelevant. Especially after the three dimensional medium presented by CDs and DVDs it has become possible to present the sound to masses in a form that sounds more real than the original, live recording.

It would be wrong to assume, as many have done, that this kind of music is in touch with only a few listeners. On the contrary, since not only the listeners but also the producers of this kind of music have started to occupy dominant positions in the advertisement production business, it is not surprising that electronic music, and especially the underground minimalist techno-electro is increasingly being used as the background music surrounding the object advertised in many advertisements on radio and T.V. Based on the erasure of the boundary between the psychic and the somatic, or between the inorganic and organic, the use of minimalist electronic music in the advertisements of today’s hectic life-styles is a very good example to the exploitation of the life/death drives inherent in contemporary nihilistic culture driving and driven by what has almost become transglobal capitalism.  The LG U880 ultra-slim mobile phone advert on T.V. is precisely the hard-core of how this exploitation of the life/death drives takes place. In the advert there is heart beating in the phone. Or, the heart is shown to have a transparent phone surrounding it. And with the minimalist techno at the back, that is, sounds that are neither organic nor inorganic but both at the same time. The beating heart in the phone create the deep and dark bass sound with extremely electronic and yet organic sounding noises coming from within the phone.  It’s as though it is one’s own heart beating in the phone; this phone is you, so it’s yours… If we keep in mind that the transparency of the phone is fleshy, for there are capillaries of the phone, the overall impression created is one of ultra minimalist life reduced to its bare bones when in reality the LG U880 mobile phone is itself the product of exactly the opposite of an ultra minimalist attitude. The message is that this mobile phone is what attaches you to life, when in fact it detaches you from life as it is. The finishing words, “Life is Good,” only confirms my critique of this advertisement, of this marvellous sound-image which is an inorganic object disguised as a living organism. It is obvious that what’s at work here is the exploitation/oppression of the life/death drives, as the inorganic replaces the organic, and the real of death in the midst of life is expelled.

In this situation which I found myself Benjamin’s and Marcuse’s theories are insufficient in that they do not realize that it is precisely the reversing of the roles policy, that is, presentation of something as its opposite, of an inorganic entity as an organic entity for instance, or of that which is inside as if it is outside, that has to be left behind, for Panopticon and Leviathan are within and without the subject at the same time, and a reverse of the roles of the inside and the outside means nothing in this perilous time. 

For the solution of problems posed by the advanced projection-introjection mechanisms of what have become Superpanoptic societies, I attempt to show that post-structuralism and critical theory have never been as mutually exclusive as many suggest, especially in terms of the wrong and right questions that they left unanswered. If we look at Adorno’s and Foucault’s writings we can see that most of their thought is directed towards finding how to reconcile theory and practice. Just as theory and practice, post-structuralism and critical theory, too, are always already reconciled, because they come from Nietzsche, Marx, Freud. They may be always already reconciled but the only way to actualize this reconciliation is to realize their common goal; to put theory in the service of ordinary life, to develop the conditions of existence, and to practice freedom. 

 It will almost sound offensive to say that the new emerges only if some people become traitors and shake the foundations of their own mode of being, or at least undertake opening up spaces so that light can shine among all, or death can manifest itself. But one must take the risk of offending some others, for every situation requires its expression, every problem bears within itself at least half of its own solution. It is all a matter of putting theory and practice in the service of one another. Theory that does not match the truth of its time is for nothing. It is important to theorize practical ways of dealing with the banal accidents of an ordinary life. I think what I have just said is one of the things that both Foucault and Adorno would have agreed on.

5. The Nietzschean Subject

Here I turn to Nietzsche who creates the concept of bad conscience as the generator of illness, which is in turn fed by the illness it generates, giving birth to the man of ressentiment. Nietzsche’s ressentiment is what Klein calls envy. To be able to see the link between envy/ressentiment and the will to nothingness/the life-death drives, I shall start from the beginning, from the first year of life.

The Nietzschean subject is always at the periphery and perpetually in touch with the objects surrounding him. In fact he is not only in touch but also is defined by them. This subject is produced through what it consumes. The subject buys things and those things determine the subjects identity which is a non-identity. The subject becomes what it consumes, it projects what it has introjected. In a world full of violence, destruction and death, or “madness in every direction,” as Kerouac would have said, the subject becomes nothing but a projector of the evil within society. This paradoxical nature of the contemporary Nietzschean subject is a result of the turning of self into the other within in the process of becoming. The self of the present has not only become a prison-house of the others within itself but also it itself has become a self-contained monad with no relation to the outside and no awareness of the external world populated by the others’ selves.

The relation of a subject to the objects surrounding him/her shows us something about the subject’s relation to death. In a world which use value as opposed to the exchange value is important, the subject gets to know the nature of the objects and death more profoundly. But today use value is itself determined by exchange value. The world today is almost exactly the opposite of a world in which nothing is a substitute for another thing.

With societies based on exchange value the relationship between the subject and the object is confined in the paranoid-schizoid position. There remains no gap between the subject and the object when in fact there should be. Everything becomes a substitute for another thing and everything is substitutable. With the advance of global capitalism the subject itself becomes an object. The subject begins to act itself out as an object for the desire and consumption of the other. The subject becomes a substitute of itself.  With global capitalism the subject starts to feel itself as a machine; it becomes inorganic for itself when in fact it is essentially organic. In other words organs start to operate like non-organs, all organicity is replaced by inorganicity, life with death, and in this kind of a society everyone is always already dead.

Global capitalism indeed appears to have rendered everyone equal in relation to each other. They all have the equal rights to consume but in no way have all the means to do so. This status of the subject as a mere consumer, objectifies the subject as a subject of consumption. The subject is reduced to a consuming-excreting machine(naturally), or a mechanism of introjection-projection(culturally). That makes everyone substitutable by anyone else; they can take on each other’s roles, act themselves out as they are not, as someone else is. In other words rather than become no-one, no-body, imperceptible, they become something exchangeable and expendable. And yet it is only on the condition of feeling oneself as nothing rather than something, feeling of self as nothingness, can one go beyond one’s symbolic life driven by striving for security and omniscience. The subject should start to see the reduction of self to nothingness as a gain when from the perspective of the already existing symbolic order it is a loss of the difference of everything in relation to a subject or an object. In the absence of this kind of a subject who does not want to become an ordinary symbolic person, herd-instinct dominates all subjects. With the advance of global capitalism this herd-instinct can be said to have become nothing but a result of the exploitation of the life and death drives to reduce life to a struggle for and against life/death. The subject no longer has to carry the burden of being different. In this light and in this time we can see global capitalism creating not only the conditions of possibility for the subject to forget itself but also the conditions of impossibility for a remembrance of self, producing the non-knowledge of self as the counter-knowledge.

Now that Nietzsche’s autobiographical book Ecce Homo has become a symptom, an effect of his previous books, the other within of his oeuvre, in most parts of Europe, but especially in the United States of America and Britain, this book is considered to be a  prescription for the predominant way of “healthy living.” It will almost sound offensive to say that the other within of the past has become the self of the present, the non-reason inherent in reason has become the reason itself, and yet the questions remain: 

1. What can be learned from Nietzsche’s failure, which caused and continues to cause many other failures?

2. What are the conditions of possibility for a non-antagonistic and yet non-illusory relationship between the self and the other and how can they be sustained?

 Intermediation 1

In the previous chapter I tried to introduce certain Freudian concepts in relation to post-structuralism and critical theory. The importance of this first chapter lies in its attempt to link the concepts of the life drive and the death drive created approximately a century ago to contemporary cultural and critical theory. In the next chapter I will try to frame the context of the disagreement between Klein and Lacan in relation to Freud. The aim of this second chapter is to link the life drive and the death drive to the processes of introjection and projective identification. The chapter also includes an analysis of Derridean deconstruction in relation to the paranoid-schizoid position and the depressive position in the context of introjection and projective identification. On the whole the following chapter aims at connecting psychoanalytic theory and practice to more philosophical issues concerning creative and critical processes. 

 


[1] Sigmund Freud, Civilization, Society, and Religion, trans. Angela Richards (London: Pelican, 1985)

[2] Freud, 357

[3] Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, trans. James Strachey (London: Penguin, 1985), 279

[4] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977), 200

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] The influence of Nietzsche’s concepts of the will to nothingness and eternal return are pervasive in Freud’s later work. Freud’s turn towards metapsychology and his consequent creation of the concept of the death drive is rooted in his need for something to fill in the gaps in his scientific and empirically observable theories owing much to Darwin. Freud was uneasy with the concept of the death drive on account of its non-scientific nature, but nevertheless he had to conceptualize the death drive as the counterpart of the life drive in order to be able to go beyond the pleasure principle. Educated as a neuroscientist Freud was aware that he was contradicting himself and perhaps even turning against his earlier attitude towards the human psyche by showing that at the beginning was the death drive and that the life drive was only an outcome, a kind of defense against the death drive… Read More […]

  2. […] by Cengiz Erdem on January 19, 2011 · Leave a Comment  “What we witness in this time is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World turning into Rave New World… Here’s another ENCHANTING POST from D.C., referring to a bit of my stuff, and a bit of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: