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Monthly Archives: May 2010

From Metaphor and Towards Metamorphosis 

With Deleuze the Cartesian mind-body dualism has been replaced by body-language dualism. Without being too insistent about it at this stage I would like to hint at where the relationship between these dualisms is heading. I propose, therefore, what Deleuze has already pointed out, namely a new possibility of analysing the nature of dialectics in the context of the relationship between language and its affective quality, what he calls the sense-event. As he puts it in his Time-Image, Deleuze thinks that neither the grounds of mind-body dualism nor those of body-language dualism are sufficient to theorize a progressive movement towards a new mode of signification. 

These are no longer grounds for talking about a real or possible extension capable of constituting an external world: we have ceased to believe in it, and the image is cut off from the external world. But the internalisation or integration in a whole as consciousness of self has no less disappeared.[1] 

Lothar Osterburg, Trailer Park, 2009

 There is no longer any movement of internalisation or externalization, integration or differentiation, but a confrontation of outside and an inside independent of distance, this thought outside itself and this un-thought within thought.[2] 

Deleuze invites exploration of a text in the way of explicating a progressive potential within the text which had hitherto been consciously or unconsciously ignored or neglected, or even repressed. This theme is linked to Deleuze’s life-long concern with Nietzsche’s thought of eternal recurrence and difference qua repetition. The emergence of the unthought within thought requires an encounter with the already thought in such a way as to expose its inner dynamics and hence show what’s inside it as its outside. That is, what the thought seems to be excluding as its other constitutes its subject as self-identical. It is through the exclusion of the other that the subject becomes itself. If we apply this to subject-object relations it becomes obvious that the split between the subject and the object is itself a construct, but nevertheless a necessary construct for the subject’s subsistence. In-between the subject and the object, then, there is an unfillable gap that is constitutive of both the subject and the object. 

[…]thought, as power which has not always existed, is born from an outside more distant than any external world, and, as power which does not yet exist, confronts an inside, an unthinkable or un-thought, deeper than any internal world […][3] 

For Deleuze new thought can only emerge as a curious absurdity, as in the Beckett case. That is because the new thought, although it comes from within the old thought, is beyond the interiority and the exteriority to a context in its primary emergence. This means that new thought always appears to be a non-sense, for no thought can be meaningful without a context. But non-sense is not the absence of sense. It is, rather, sense with its own particular context which it creates in the process of emergence from out of the old context. Being without the predominant context makes the thought seem absurd, non-sense, but not meaningless, for meaningless means absence of thought. 

What is a transcendental field? It can be distinguished from experience in that it doesn’t refer to an object or belong to a subject (empirical representation). It appears therefore as stream of a-subjective consciousness, a pre-reflexive impersonal consciousness, a qualitative duration of consciousness without a self. It may seem curious that the transcendental be defined by such immediate givens: we will speak of a transcendental empiricism in contrast to everything that makes up the world of the subject and the object.[4] 

Joe Bosquet must be called Stoic. He apprehends the wound that he bears deep within his body in its eternal truth as a pure event. To the extent that events are actualised in us, they wait for us and invite us in. They signal us: “My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it.” It is a question of attaining this will that the event creates in us; of becoming the quasi-cause of what is produced within us, the Operator: of producing surfaces and linings in which the event is reflected, finds itself again in incorporeal and manifests in us the neutral splendour which it possesses in itself in its impersonal and pre-individual nature, beyond the general and the particular, the collective and the private. It is a question of becoming a citizen of the world.[5] 

In this light we now see more clearly what Deleuze is aiming at with his disjunctive synthesis of transcendence and immanence leading to his transcendental empiricism. Empiricism starts from the material world rather than from the metaphysical world which it sees only as a product of the representations of experience through language. In fact, it knows no world other than the material world, and even if it does it prioritizes the physical world over the metaphysical world. Experience of the world before subjectivation is what Deleuze is trying to access. Since reaching the pre-subjective field of partial objects is possible only through language, and he knows that, he says that we have to produce that pre-subjective field which is called the transcendental field of immanence. 

The event considered as non-actualized (indefinite) is lacking in nothing. It suffices to put it in relation to its concomitants: a transcendental field, a plane of immanence, a life, singularities.[6] 

What we encounter with Deleuze is therefore a replacement not only of body-mind dualism with body-language dualism, but also a beyond of both, a triplicity; body-language-event. The event is the sense-event. It is the emergence of new sense not out of non-sense but out of the old sense, that is, a simultaneous explication of a new sense within the old sense. The new sense always appears in the form of an absurdity at first, but in time, through repetition and persistence this absurdity starts to appear in a new light and becomes new sense. Absurd is not the same as non-sense or absence of sense, but explicates the non-sense inherent in sense, and hence is in-between non-sense and sense. Through the absurd the unconscious manifests itself revealing another realm of consciousness which goes beyond the subject and the object and yet that is at the same time in-between them. This consciousness is the becoming of being. Being is a whole in process, that is, being is its own becoming whole, therefore it is always incomplete and yet whole. Being is an incomplete idea of wholeness which is in the process of becoming present. Since presence can only be at present, and since time is only at present, the pre-subjective impersonal consciousness is in between past and present, that is, in-between non-being and being. The event is the emergence of being out of becoming, what Deleuze calls a static genesis. This emergence, however, has neither a beginning nor an end, and therefore being is the becoming of an impersonal consciousness; “I am all the names in history,” says Nietzsche. 

This indefinite life does not itself have moments, close as they may be one to another, but only between-times, between-moments; it doesn’t just come about or come after but offers the immensity of an empty time where one sees the event yet to come and already happened, in the absolute of an immediate consciousness.[7] 

At this moment in time, and in this place all the wounds of humanity of the past are incarnated.  One has to feel the pain of all the past times, empathize with all those sufferings and learn from them for progress to take place. It is not the individual sufferings of a single person that Hegel, Nietzsche, or Deleuze talk about. Theory, cinema, and literature are not personal affairs. What is at stake is the “presence” of all the already dead bodies that have to be turned into fertilizers. How to make use of the already dead bodies in the service of progress as opposed to the ones who kill in the service of  progress? Suffering and pain indeed weaken the subject and yet there is no way other than turning this weakness, this impoverishment of thought into an affirmative will to power beyond the life/death drive. Perhaps a more than banal accident of life but just like Bosquet “my wound existed before me.” I am always already injured and if there are many more wounds awaiting to be embodied by me, well then, this indeed signifies that it has always been, still is, and will never cease becoming a time of passage from homo sapiens across homo historia and it appears to be towards homo tantum. 

The unconscious of the subject is a product of cultural products such as advertisements, films, and books. Since the unconscious is itself a cultural product, giving free rein to the unconscious to express itself serves the reproduction of the cultural context in which the unconscious is itself produced. To be able to create difference without having to die the subject has to turn the unconscious into a void within the symbolic out of which a new way of looking at the world can manifest itself. A subject is he/she who actively submits to the unknown in such a way as to create the condition of possibility out of a condition of impossibility for the creation of a new beginning. 

In a world which the subject loses itself surrounded by lies and illusions it is very difficult for one to become a subject since a subject is nothing but a void lost upon entry into the symbolic. Finding of itself of a subject means finding itself of a subject as a void, that is, a pre-symbolic hole, or a hole within the symbolic. This means that finding itself of a subject is its losing itself as a symbolic being. And this means that what is found by regressing to the pre-symbolic is nothing. So a subject is that which cannot be found, it can only be created in and through the destruction of its symbolic self. In this context becoming a subject refers to the process of creation of a self-conscious consciousness out of the void. 

We must keep in mind that the pre-symbolic void is not actually before the symbolic but beneath it. Opening a hole within the symbolic through cont(r)action creates the condition of possibility for the contact between the known and the unknown, between the subject and its a-subjective self, between the conscious desiring and the unconscious drives. 

  


 

[1] Gilles Deleuze, Time-Image, (London: Athlone Press, 1989),  277 

[2] Deleuze,, 363 

[3] Deleuze, 273 

[4] Gilles Deleuze, Pure Immanence: A Life, trans. Anne Boyman (New York: Zone Books, 2001), 25 

[5] Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester (London: Athlone, 1990), 148 

[6] Deleuze, 31-2 

[7] Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 29

          AAAARG DOESN’T EXIST!

The cover of Kafka's absurdist 1915 novella Di...

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A short film adaptation based on Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”. Early work by filmmaker Carlos Atanes, 1994.

İzolasyon ve Yaratıcılık

Eğer bunalımlı, yani depresif bir şahsiyet biraz yetenekliyse evden çıkıp toplumsallaşma uğruna saçmalamak yerine odaya kapanıp yaratıcı yazarlığa, müziğe veya ressamlığa falan yönelirse kendine çok büyük bir iyilik etmiş olur. Bunalımlı kişi böylelikle bunalımını ve mutsuz bilincini lehine çevirerek topluma faydalı bir insan olur ve tımarhanede saygın bir hasta konumuna düşmekten kurtulur.

Yazarların tanıması pek hoş olmayan insanlar olduğu sıklıkla söylenegelmiştir. Bu tüm yazarlar için doğru olmasa bile, pek çoğu için yerinde bir tesbittir aslında. Bunun sebebi yazarların kişiliklerinin yazdıkları yazılarda ortaya çıkarken, sosyal ortamlarda geri plâna itilmesidir. Ama belirtmeliyim ki bu da tüm yazarlar için geçerli sayılamaz; sadece bunalımlı yazarlar yazılarının yansıttığından daha farklı karakterlere bürünürler gerçek hayatlarında. Toplumdan yabancılaşma, çevreden kopma, içe dönme had safhadadır bunlarda.                                     

İzolasyonu ve bunalımı bir yaşam biçimi olarak benimsemiş yazarların başında gelen Franz Kafka’nın bir sabah uyandığında kendini devcileyin bir böceğe dönüşmüş olarak bulan bedbaht personası bu yabancılaşmanın ürünüdür meselâ. Ama Kafka’nın kendinden öncekilerden farkı “yabancılaşmaya yabancılaşmak” gibi bir durumun nasıl olabileceğini ve nelere yol açabileceğini kaleme almış olmasındadır.

Kafka bir insanın böceğe dönüşmesi gibi son derece doğaüstü bir hadiseyi son derece normalmiş gibi ciddi ciddi anlatıyor bizlere. Ama Dönüşüm’ün sonlarına yaklaştığımızda görüyoruz ki yüzeydeki o ciddiyetin hemen altında anormalliğe kayıtsız kalan bir çevre karşısındaki bireyin ironik tutumunun yarattığı dalgalanmalar mevcuttur. Ve bu ironik ciddiyet — işte bu yersiz resmiyet — yabancılaşmış karakterin böceğe dönüşme olayına kayıtsız kalan toplumun düştüğü durumun ironik ve mizahi bir anlatımı olarak çıkıyor karşımıza Dönüşüm ikinci kez okunduğunda.

Kafka’nın eserlerindeki o kesin ve net dilin — Kafka’nın bir avukatlık bürosunda hukuki yazışmalar yaparak yaşadığını unutmayalım — işte o hukuk dili gibi boğucu dilin böyle anormallikleri anlatmakta kullanılması bizi adeta bir yabancılaşmalar seli içerisinde bilinmezliğe sürüklüyor ve/fakat işte biraz şansımız varsa Kafka’nın yabancılaşmaya yabancılaşmış sesini duyabiliyoruz.

Şöyle: Eğer bu güne kadar hep kaybetmişsek aşkta, kumarbaz aklıyla düşünüldüğünde son derece şanslı bir kişiyiz demektir. Bu kadar şanslıysak, yani hep kaybetmişsek aşkta, işte ancak o zaman girebiliyoruz Kafka’nın bu garip dünyasına. Ve eğer girebilmişsek bu dünyaya, sen de takdir edersin ki kahkahalarla gülmekten kendimizi alamıyoruz sevgili okur.

C.E.

Catrin Welz-Stein – Unborn Ideas

I close the eyes of my intelligence, and giving voice to the unformulated within me,

I offer myself the sense of having wrested from the unknown something real.

I believe in spontaneous conjurations.

On the paths along which my blood draws me, it cannot be that one day I will not discover a truth.[1]                     

 Artaud does not call for destruction of reason through the imaginary but an affirmation of reason’s self-destruction on the way to self-creation. There is a knowledge which Artaud is in pursuit of without knowing what that knowledge is and what purpose it serves. Artaud is always in pursuit of this unattainable and ungraspable knowledge and he knows that, as he is trying to give it a voice, he is moving away from and towards it at the same time. This movement of the action and the intention in opposite directions, that is, this turning against itself of desire, is a thought that Artaud feels with his body but cannot express through articulable forms. Artaud makes the inarticulable visible through costume, lighting, etc., and tries to create a psychic materiality. 

 

When you will have made him a body without organs,

then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom,

then you will teach him again to dance wrong side out,

as in the frenzy of dancehalls,

and this wrong side out will be his real place.[2]

Artaud feels the body as an externally organized structure and experiences existence as pain because he feels his body to be restricted and subjected to forms it is not willing to take at all times. By disorganizing the body through putting its organs to different uses, to uses other than they have come to be put, within the organizing structures, Artaud induces agony in himself. Desiring to become inorganic, and this is a desire for an impersonal death, an “ungraspable” knowledge, this striving for infinity within the finite, is, paradoxically, at once the product and the producer of his affirmation of life as it is, that is, as “a process of breaking down…” as the American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald puts it in his The Crack Up. In The Logic of Sense Deleuze reads Fitzgerald’s The Crack Up with Kleinian eyes and says that identification is peculiar to manic-depressive states. In The Crack Up Fitzgerald says,

I only wanted absolute quiet to think about why I had developed a sad attitude toward tragedy—why I had become identified with the objects of my horror or compassion… Identification such as this spells the death of accomplishment. It is something like this that keeps insane people from working. Lenin did not willingly endure the sufferings of his proletariat, nor Washington of his troops, nor Dickens of his London poor. And when Tolstoy tried some such merging of himself with the objects of his attention, it was a fake and a failure…[3]

Deleuze affirms Fitzgerald’s manic-depressive attitude towards the relationship between life and death in the Porcelain and Volcano chapter of his The Logic of Sense.

If one asks why health does not suffice, why the crack is desirable, it is perhaps because only by means of the crack and at its edges thought occurs, that anything that is good and great in humanity enters and exits through it, in people ready to destroy themselves—better death than the health which we are given. Is there some other health, like a body surviving as long as possible its scar, like Lowry dreaming of rewriting a “Crack Up” which would end happily, and never giving up the idea of a new vital conquest?[4]

In a world ruled by fools full of ill-will war becomes inescapable. Since war, conflict, violence and destruction are interior as much as they are exterior affairs, it is hardly a matter of bad luck that we will be wounded at some point if we haven’t been already, not that I wish it to be that way. An injury either creates a possibility of relating to the world as it is, or turns into an obsession with the self, into a delusional and rigid vision of existence projected onto the real, giving birth to neurosis or psychosis.

We do not write with our neuroses. Neuroses or psychoses are not passages of life, but states into which we fall when the process is interrupted, blocked, or plugged up. Illness is not a process but a stopping of the process, as in “the Nietzsche case.” Moreover, the writer as such is not a patient but rather a physician, the physician of himself and of the world. The world is a set of symptoms whose illness merges with man. Literature then appears as an enterprise of health.[5] 

If we have a look at “the Nietzsche case” once again with Kleinian eyes through a Deleuzean looking glass we see that the mechanism of projection-introjection is itself the illness of which resentment and bad conscience are the causes and the symptoms at the same time. In the case of projection the subject’s illness is manifested as aggressiveness and hostility towards the external world, always accusing the others for his weaknesses. This is the paranoiac who is afraid of being persecuted and sees the external world as a threat to his unity. Afraid of the external world, he himself becomes hostile towards it in turn provoking hostility against himself, thus giving birth to the actualisation of what he was afraid of. And in the case of introjection the subject internalises the fault and turns against itself. This is the psychotic who identifies with everything and everyone, and who has too many points of view together with a divergent coherency of thought and action. Intending to take a spoon from the drawer he might break a plate on the floor. In the first case there is a detached hostility and in the second case there is an immersed attachment. In both cases the subject becomes the victim of his own actions against and toward himself and others.

Nietzsche says that the will to nothingness eventually turns against itself and becomes creative and revalues all values to survive death.[6] It is through writing as the patient and the physician, as the analyst and the analysand at the same time that Nietzsche is able to turn resentment, bad conscience, fear, and guilt against themselves and produce desire as affirmation of the world as it is after a conflict that is interior as much as it is exterior to the self. This conflict is the crack up that happens to the body of the organism. It is neither interior nor exterior, but a “surface event.”    

There was a silent, imperceptible crack, at the surface, a unique surface Event. It is as if it were suspended or hovering over itself, flying over its own field. The real difference is not between the inside and the outside, for the crack is neither internal nor external, but is rather at the frontier.[7]

It was on and through his disorganized body, or body without organs, that Artaud traversed the realm of affective intensities and the field of partial objects and produced desire without an object. For Deleuze the process of traversing the affective intensities felt through body rather than grasped by the mind may be the returning of a “great health.” Here objects are related to in such a way as to produce desire not as lack but as production. For Deleuze it is the production of fantastic visions of the world that are the causes and effects of certain pathological conditions. Bombarded with unattainable objects of desire the subject becomes mad.

In both Freud and Lacan the attitude toward the object of desire is Platonic in that the object of desire is the object of desire as long it remains unattainable. To put it in Lacanian terms, with the acquisition of language the subject starts to enter the symbolic order and loses touch with the Real which is the unconscious. His desires and drives are shaped and organized according to the Symbolic order of the language game in which he finds himself. So the direction the subject’s becoming will take depends not only on the way in which the subject relates to language but also how he relates the unconscious to language, since it is one’s production of a sense of oneness for oneself in and through language that determines one’s way of being in relation to language. Language is neither internal nor external to the subject and yet it is equally internal and external to the subject since language is the surface in-between. Beyond language there is nothing. Deleuze observes a movement of language towards its outside, not to reach the outside of language, but to create an outside language within language in writers such as Kafka, Beckett, and later Kerouac(The Subterraneans, Big Sur). For Deleuze, their subversions of syntax become their passage through the fleshy transparency of signification unless the process of production through the unconscious forces of the outside is blocked.

All writing involves an athleticism, but far from reconciling literature with sports, or turning writing into an Olympic event, this athleticism is exercised in flight and in the breakdown of the organic body—an athlete in bed, as Michaux put it.[8]

Deleuze sees the goal of literature as giving a voice to those unconscious forces that belong to a realm outside of language and those forces can only be given a voice by creating an impersonal consciousness through a new language within language – an outside language inside the language – that traverses the field of partial representations of the human condition and produces an other sign that is itself at once internally exterior and externally interior to the major order of signification. The outside of language is the realm which Deleuze calls “the transcendental field of immanence.” It is through this synthesis of transcendence and immanence that Deleuze is theoretically able to touch the material through the psychic, and the real through the fantasy. But the problem persists, for the question remains: how are we going to practice this theory? Is it practical enough to be applied to the banalities of ordinary life?

In his book, On Deleuze and Consequences, Zizek bases his critique of Deleuze on his use of Artaud’s concept of the body without organs. As is clearly understood from the subtitle of his book, Organs Without Bodies, Zizek’s aim is to reverse the Deleuzean order of things. With his well known 180 degrees reversals, Zizek uses Deleuze’s idea of a resistance to Oedipalization against him, and that way shows that Deleuze’s assumption that Oedipalization is something to be resisted is based on false premises. For Zizek, Oedipalization takes place when and if there is a failure in the system. Zizek considers Anti-Oedipus to be a book in which Deleuze and Guattari situate a psychotic and an Oedipalized subject on the opposite poles of one another. For Zizek a psychotic is the Oedipalized subject par excellence, rather than being an anti-Oedipe who escapes the codes of capitalist axiomatics.

[…] far from tying us down to our bodily reality, “symbolic castration” sustains our very ability to “transcend” this reality and enter the space of immaterial becoming. Does the autonomous smile that survives on its own when the cat’s body disappears in Alice in Wonderland also not stand for an organ “castrated,” cut off from the body? What if, then, phallus itself, as the signifier of castration, stands for such an organ without a body?[9] 

What for Deleuze is traversing the symbolic becomes traversing the fantasy in Lacan as Zizek pointed out first in The Sublime Object of Ideology and later in The Ticklish Subject. Traversing the fantasy is a stage in the process of progress and it is only upon entry into the symbolic that the subject becomes capable of initiating change in the symbolic order. In Lacan’s mirror stage where a series of imaginary Narcissistic identifications prepares the subject for the symbolic order, the child has an illusory sense of oneness and yet this illusion is necessary only in so far as the child will traverse this fantasy and will have learned to look at the world without identification.

A detachment from identification is common to both Deleuze and Zizek and in this sense they are both Lacanians. Lacan is the one that unites them as he splits them. For Deleuze the Lacanian symbolic is that in which the subject finds itself upon birth, so to initiate change the subject should try to introduce an exterior inside, a new language within language. Deleuze tries to put language in touch with a pre-verbal, if not pre-linguistic stage. It is to Klein’s paranoid-schizoid position that Deleuze attributes importance. Deleuze takes the schizoid part of the paranoid-schizoid position and extracts from schizophrenia all apart from introjection and splitting processes. Following Klein Deleuze makes a distinction between introjection and identification. According to Deleuze introjection and splitting are useful tools for creating difference, whereas identification not only preserves but also serves the system. Zizek agrees with him on the usefulness of introjection and splitting. In both cases the revolutionary-becoming is associated with the death drive. But Zizek disagrees with Deleuze’s association of introjection and splitting with schizophrenia.

For Zizek there must be a distance between reason and non-reason. One should not try to name the unnamable, but rather one must show the nothingness outside everything, to do this one must introduce a split into the symbolic continuity of things. An interruption of the system from within is the aim of both Zizek and Deleuze, and yet while Zizek affirms non-representability of the unconscious, Deleuze sees the unconscious as the producer of difference and initiator of change. For Deleuze the unconscious is dynamic, but for Zizek it is static and it is this static state outside time that manifests itself in the form of gaps within the symbolic order; it splits and interrupts the flow of things, rather than participate in it.

What does Oedipalisation mean? It means the production of a subject who would willingly blind himself to the social reality. Who would rather see nothing rather than see the truth. An Oedipalised subject is he who blinds himself to the symbolic meaning of things and chooses to see the nothingness before or after the symbolic. It is the symbolic that Oedipus represses by blinding himself to it. That he has engaged in sexual intercourse with his mother and killed his father, induces such guilt in Oedipus that he punishes himself by cutting himself off from the external world. This Oedipal introversion of the subject leads to a weakening rather than a strengthening of the subject’s fantasy world. With the exclusion of reality, fantasy has nothing to mediate. Unconscious drives cannot attach themselves to external objects so as to turn into desire. Left hanging in the air the unconscious drives turn against the subject and the subject becomes self-destructive, blinding himself to the symbolic, thus opening himself up to the nothingness behind it by choosing to see nothing. An Oedipal subject closes his eyes and seeing the nothingness inside says there is nothing outside. He is Nietzsche’s man, as he puts at the beginning and the end of On The Genealogy of Morality, who “would much rather will nothingness than not will.” For he still wills, otherwise he wouldn’t want to blind himself to it all. It is because he cannot help willing although he doesn’t want to will that his will turns against itself and wills nothingness rather than something to stand in for it. 

It is Nietzsche’s legacy to have made a distinction between the subject and the signifier, knowledge and truth. By exposing the absence of an origin of knowledge he exposed the absence of truth in knowledge. Nietzsche inverted into the spotlight the nothingness inherent in knowledge which is constitutive of a truth outside scientific knowledge. Truth can take many forms and one of these is poetic truth, which Nietzsche considers to be closer to the absolute truth, which is the truth of the absence of truth at the center of scientific knowledge.

For Nietzsche there is no relation whatsoever between the object of knowledge and the truth of experience. Perhaps what Deleuze would years later call transcendental empiricism explains the production of truths alternative to the scientific truth which claims to be objective and absolute. For Deleuze literary activity involves creation of impersonal consciousnesses within the subject of writing. The subject of writing should detach himself/herself from the object of writing; that is, the writer should make a distinction between the enunciated and the subject of enunciation. As Deleuze puts it in his essay, Life and Literature, “literature is not a personal affair.”  Literature is not about writing down one’s personal experiences as they actually took place, which is impossible anyway. Literature involves selecting from experience and giving form to formless experience which is yet to take the shape of new forms of experience. Out of the old experience one creates new experience.

The writer turns unnameable drives into new symbolic meanings and new objects of desire. With Deleuze the unconscious is given a very important role to play in the process of cultural production. The non-symbolizable drives interacting with one another and forming what is called the unconscious are turned into comprehensible and desirable forms through literature. Literature contributes to the symbolic order by producing not only new symbolic meanings of the already existing objects but also new objects which didn’t previously exist within the symbolic order.  Literature, therefore, turns the unconscious drive into the symbolic desire. So Deleuze could say the unconscious produces desire. Literature is about turning the pre-verbal — if not pre-linguistic — objects into verbal objects with symbolic meanings attached to them. Literature constructs a world in which the objects gain new significance.


David Pearson, a plastic surgeon, has a fun hobby: photoshopping Escher/Droste-style remixes of watch-faces, combination-lock dials, and other round readouts and twiddles.

Droste/Escher (Thanks, Teresa!)

(Image: Antique Time Spiral, used by permission)


[1] Antonin Artaud, Selected Writings, ed. Susan Sontag (Berkeley: University of California, 1975), 92

[2] Antonin Artaud, Selected Writings, ed. Susan Sontag (University of California: Berkeley, 1975), 570-1

[3] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack Up (New York: New Directions, 1945), 69

[4] Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale, (London: Continuum, 2003),

[5] Gilles Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical, transl.Daniel W. Smith and Michale A. Greco (London and New York: Verso, 1998), 3

[6] Friedrich Nietzsche, On The Genealogy of Morality, trans. Maudemarie Clark and Alan J. Swensen (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998), 116-8

[7] Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale, (London: Continuum, 2003), 155

[8] Gilles Deleuze, Essays: Critical and Clinical, transl. Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco (Verso: London and New York, 1998), 2

[9] Slavoj Žižek, Organs Without Bodies: On Deleuze and Consequences (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), 83

Liquid Theory TV is a collaboration between Clare Birchall, Gary Hall and Peter Woodbridge. This second episode in the series takes as its focus Gilles Deleuze’s short essay Postscript on the Societies of Control. The first episode can be found here.

Hosted by The Institute for Human Sciences at Boston University on November 26, 2007, in this lecture entitled “Fear Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Antinomies of Tolerant Reason” Slavoj Zizek addresses perception, identity, and the “other”.

Nesnelerin sadece birbirleriyle bağlantıları bağlamında bir anlam kazanmasının şart olmadığını, bilâkis bunun son derece teasadüfi ve tarihsel süreç tarafından koşullandırılmış felsefi bir varsayım olduğunu anladığımda, kendinde-şey’in, yani varlığı hiçbir şeyle ilişki içerisinde olmasına bağlı olmayan, varlığını çevresinden bağımsız ve çevresine kayıtsız bir biçimde sürdürebilen nesnelerin var olabileceğini de anlamış oldum. Zira herhangi bir nesne insandan bağımsız olarak düşünülebiliyorsa, insan da nesnelerden bağımsız olarak düşünülebilir demekti, demektir. İnsanın ölümlü bir varlık olduğu, söylenmesi bile gerekmeyen bariz bir durumdur. Ölümlü bir varlık olan insan, olmadığı bir şeye, yani bir ölümsüze dönüşmeye heveslidir. Çeşitli devirlerde çeşitli şekiller alan söz konusu ölümsüzlük hevesinin doruğa çıktığı Romantizm dönemi günümüzde kapitalizm tarafından yeniden diriltilmeye çalışılmakta ve bu yolda çeşitli gıda ürünleri ve hap formuna sokulmuş bitkiler piyasaya sürülmektedir. Zararı herkes tarafından bilinen alkollü içeceklerin üzerinde bile “hayat güzeldir,” “hayata içelim,” şeklinde ibareler görmek mümkün hale gelmiştir. Slavoj Zizek’in Nietzsche’nin “insan hiçbir şey istememektense, hiçliğin kendisini ister,” sözünden hareketle verdiği Diet-Cola ve kafeinsiz kahve örnekleri insanın hiçlik istencini, olmayana duyduğu arzuyu gayet net şekilde deşifre eder niteliktedir. İçi boşaltılmış, varlık sebebinden arındırılmış ürünler sağlıklı yaşama giden yolu asfaltlama çalışmalarında kullanılmaktadır. Lâkin akılda tutulmalıdır ki ister şekerli, ister şekersiz olsun, kola son derece zararlı bir üründür ve sadece şekerden ve kafeinden arındırlmış olması onun sağlıklı bir içecek olduğu manasını taşımaz. Tüm bunların ölümsüzlük konusuyla ilgisi ise şudur ey kara bahtlı okur: Ölümsüzlük bir ölümlü için olmayan bir şeydir. Ölümsüzlük ölümden arındırılmış yaşamdır. Gelinen noktada kapitalizm insanlara ölümsüz yaşam vaad etmektedir. Matematiksel adı sonsuzluk olan ölümsüzlük ölümlülüğün bittiği yerde, yani ölünen noktada başlar. Sonsuzluk kavramının başı sonu olmayan bir süreçten ziyade, başı sonu olmayan bir durumu anlattığını akılda tutarsak diyebiliriz ki ölümsüzlük ancak sonsuz boyuttaki bir çelişkinin dünyamıza yansımasıyla zuhur edebilir. Sonsuzluk veya ölümsüzlük birer süreç olmaktan ziyade birer durumdur, çünkü süreçler başı sonu olan sürerdurumlarken, durumlar durağan ve zaman dışı olgulardır. Zamandan ve uzamdan bağımsız bir varoluşsal durum olan ölümsüzlük felsefe tarihi boyunca ölümlü insan bilincinin tamamen dışında konumlanmış bir kendinde-şey olarak düşünülmüştür. Oysa biz biliyoruz ki aslında ölümsüzlük insanı çevreleyen değil, bilakis insanın çevrelediği bir boşluktur. Şu anda ölümsüzlüğü düşünmekte olduğumuza ve/fakat bu söylediklerimizin doğruluğunu kanıtlayacak hiçbir dayanağımız olmadığına göre demek ki ölümsüzlüğün düşüncemizin kendisini sürdürebilmek için kendi içinde yarattığı bir boşluk olduğunu teslim etmeliyiz. Boşluklar olmayan varlıkların yokluğunu doldurduğuna göre diyebiliriz ki düşünmek ölüme ara vermek, yaşamda boşluklar yaratmaktır. Ölümlü ne demektir? Bir gün ölecek olan, yani ölümden kurtulmuş olmayan. Peki ölümsüz ne demektir? Artık ölmesi mümkün olmayan, zira hâlihazırda ölmüş olan, bu vesileyle de işte ölümden arınmış olan.

Sonsuzluk özne ile nesne, amaç ile araç, neden ile sonuç arasındaki ilişkinin anlamsızlaşarak ortadan kalktığı, böylece de işte varlıkları birbirleriyle ilişkilerine bağımlı olan bu kavramların bizzat kendilerinin yok olduğu, zaman ile uzam içindeki bir boşluk formunda zuhur eden o malûm içkin dışsallıktır. Özneye içkin aşkınsal bir kavram olan sonsuzluk mevcut-egemen varoluş biçiminde kısa-devre yaratarak mevcut-egemen düzenden bir kopma yaratır. İşte Alain Badiou’nun Varlık ve Olay adlı kitabında boş-küme olarak nitelendirdiği söz konusu sonsuzluk bizim O adını verdiğimiz ölümsüz öznedir. O, Gilles Deleuze’ün deyimiyle bu kitabın yazarının kavramsal personası, Fernando Pessoa’nın anlam dünyası bağlamında ise söz konusu yazarın heteronomik kişiliği, yani dış-kimliğidir. Olmayan bir şey olarak var olan O bu kitabın yazarına içkin bir dışarıda konumlanmıştır. Bu kitabın yazarının içindeki bir dışarı, veya işte bir şey olduğunu zanneden bir hiçin içindeki hiçbir şey olan O, kitabın aynı zamanda hem nesnesi, hem de öznesidir denebilir, ki nitekim işte denmiştir de zaten.

Bu yazılar şu anda okunmakta olduğuna göre demek ki bu yazıları yazan, belirli bir zamanda ve belirli bir uzamda konumlanmış bir özne söz konusu olmuştur. Söz konusu öznenin kendini anlatmaktan ziyade O diye adlandırdığı bir hiçliği anlatıyor oluşu ise ancak yazının öznesinin kendini nesneleştirerek olmayan bir özneye dönüştürmek çabası içerisinde olduğunu gösterir. Peki ama söz konusu özneyi içinde bulunduğu çabadan ayıran nedir? Öznenin kendisi olmadan içinde olunabilecek bir çaba da olamayacağına göre, neden bu özne kendisinden bağımsız bir çaba olabilirmiş gibi kendisini çabanın nesnesi olarak göstermek ihtiyacı içerisindedir? Belli ki bu kitabın yazarının, yani O’nun derdi, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Deleuze, Derrida, Badiou ve Zizek gibi düşünürlere de dert olmuş olan aşkınlık(transcendence) ve içkinlik(immanence) arasındaki ilişkidir. Bir nesne olarak yazarın kendisi üzerine ahkâm kesebilmek için kendisini aşan bir özneye dönüşmesi gerektiğini dile getiren Kant ve bir nesne olarak yazarın kendisi üzerine ahkâm kesebilmek için kendisini aşan bir özneye dönüşmesi gerekmediğini, zira kendisini bir nesne olarak dile getiren söz konusu yazarın kendisini aşan o özneyi zaten hâlihazırda içinde barındırdığını kaleme alan Hegel’in felsefeleri üzerine bir takım spekülatif(kurgul) düşünceler üretmeye niyetlenen ve bu yolda Kant ile Hegel’in karşılaştırmalı bir okumasına girişmesi gerektiği aşikâr olan O’nun dünyasına giriyoruz şimdi hep birlikte: Ben, Sen, O, Biz, Siz, Onlar…

Kant’ın aşkınsal(transcendental) idealizmini Hegel’in spekülatif idealizminden ayıran fark, Kant’ın kendinde-şey’i tarif edebileceğimizi, Hegel’inse kendinde-şey’den ancak neticeler çıkarabileceğimizi dile getirmesinden kaynaklanan bir farktır. Kendi anlam dünyamız bağlamında yeniden yazacak olursak diyebiliriz ki Kant bizim birer ölümlü olarak ölümsüzlüğü tarif edebileceğimizi söylerken, Hegel ölümsüzlük düşüncesinden ancak ölümlülüğümüzün anlamı hakkında çıkarımlar yapabiliriz demektedir. Zira Kant’a göre ölümsüzlük ölümlülüğü çevreleyen bir durumken, Hegel için ölümsüzlük ölümlülüğün içindeki bir boşluktur. Bir başka deyişle Kant için ölümsüzlük özneyi aşkınken, Hegel için ölümsüzlük özneye içkindir. Ne aşkınsal idealizmi, ne de spekülatif idealizmi tasvip eden O henüz adlandıramadığı, fakat tanımlayabildiği yeni bir spekülasyon biçiminin şemasını çizmeye yeltenmekten başka çaresi olmadığını çok geçmeden idrak edecektir. O’nun tasavvur edebildiği kadarıyla söz konusu spekülasyon biçimi Kant’ın ve Hegel’in idealizmlerinden radikal bir kopuş gerçekleştirerek kendinde-şey’in düşünceden ve bilgiden bağımsız olarak var olabileceğini kuramsallaştırmaya yönelik olacaktır. Aşkınsal olmayan bir dışarı ve içkin olmayan bir içeri, şeklinde özetleyebileceğimiz kendinde-şey’in konumunun zamanın ve uzamın birleştiği yer olduğunu söylemeye ise bilmiyoruz gerek var mı, ama gene de söylüyoruz işte, belki vardır diye. 

Kendinde-şey olarak O kendini ifade edebilecek ve kendinden farkını dile getirebilecek bir spekülasyon biçimini hayata geçirebilmek için kaçınılmaz olarak Kant ile Hegel arasında, Deleuze’ün deyimiyle bir ayırıcı-sentez(disjunctive-synthesis) işlemi gerçekleştirmek zorundadır. Zira bir ölümlünün kendini bir ölümsüz olarak tasvir edebilmesi ancak Kant’ın düşünümsel yargı(reflective judgement) ve Hegel’in spekülatif diyalektik stratejilerinin materyalist bir felsefe anlayışı içerisinde bölünüp aşkınsal ve idealist yanlarından arındırıldıktan sonra spekülatif ve materyalist yanlarının yeniden birleştirilmesiyle mümkün kılınabilir. Zamanın ve uzamın birbirine dönüşerek tarih-dışı bir var oluşun, yani bir ölümsüzün, zuhur etmesini mümkün kılacak alanı yaratması elbette ki yalnızca teoride mümkündür. Lâkin zaten biz de burada ölümsüzlüğü kuramsallaştırmaktan başka bir şey yapmakta olduğumuzu iddia etmiyoruz. Söz konusu ölümsüzlük teorisinin pratikte ne işe yarayacağına ve/yani böyle bir kuramsallaştırma girişiminin politik arenada ne anlama geleceğine ise spekülasyonlarımızın ilerleyen aşamalarında değineceğimizi şimdiden belirtelim; belirtelim ki sabırsız okuyucularımız sabretmeyi öğrenmek yolunda adımlar atmaya şimdiden başlasın. Hatta değinmekle de kalmayacak, liberal-demokratik-militarist-kapitalizm içerisinde yaşayan bir ölümlünün, içinde yaşadığı sistemi değiştirebilmek için kendini neden ölümlü bir nesne olarak görmekten ve göstermekten vazgeçerek, ölümsüz bir özne olarak görmeye ve göstermeye başlaması gerektiğini Alain Badiou’nun hakikat teorisi dolayımıyla açıklamaya çalışacağımızı da sözlerimize ekleyelim; ekleyelim ki hayata geçirmeye cüret ve teşebbüs ettiğimiz olayın boyutları bir nebze olsun açıklığa kavuşsun. Ama tüm bunlardan önce yapmamız gereken daha başka şeyler var; meselâ az önce net bir şekilde adlandırmaktan kaçındığımız spekülasyon türünün adlandırılması gibi… Öncelikle bu adlandırma işlemini bizden önce gerçekleştirmiş olanlar olduğunu teslim etmeliyiz. Quentin Meillassoux bahse konu spekülasyon biçimine Spekülatif Maddecilik demeyi seçerken, Ray Brassier benzer bir spekülasyon türüne Spekülatif Gerçekçilik demeyi seçmiştir. İkisinde de aynı kalan sözcüğün Spekülatif sözcüğü olduğu gözden kaçacak gibi değil. Belki de işte bu yüzden biz de az önce spekülasyon terimini kendimizden emin bir biçimde zikretmiş olmamıza rağmen bunun ne tür bir spekülasyon olacağını dillendirmemeyi seçmişizdir, kim bilir.

2007 yılında Londra’daki Goldsmiths Üniversitesi’nde Ray Brassier, Quentin Meillassoux, Graham Harman, ve Iain Hamilton Grant’ın konuşmacı olarak katılımıyla düzenlenen bir konferansta Brassier tarafından ortaya atılan spekülatif gerçekçilik kavramı insan aklından, düşüncesinden, bilincinden bağımsız gerçeklikler ve insandan bağımsız kendinde-şeyler olduğunu ortaya koyan felsefi bir akımdır. Gerek Kıta Felsfesi’nden, gerekse de Analitik Felsefe’den radikal bir kopuş gerçekleştirerek Kant ve Hegel’in uzantısı olan tüm felsefi yaklaşımların, Meillassoux’un Sonluluktan Sonra(After Finitude) adlı kitabında ortaya koyduğu deyimle bağlılaşımcılık(correlationism) dünyadan bağımsız bir insan veya insandan bağımsız bir dünya tasavvur etmekten aciz olduğunu iddia eden spekülatif gerçekçilik hem yeni bir düşünce alanı, hem de yeni biri düşünme biçimi yaratması bağlamında önem arz etmektedir. İnsan bilincinden bağımsız kendinde-şeyler’in var olduğu noktasında birleşen Brassier, Meillassoux, Grant ve Harman’ın felsefeleri arasında pek çok fark da mevcuttur aslında. Ama biz şimdilik birleştikleri bu ortak nokta üzerinden tartışacağız spekülatif gerçekçileri, özellikle de Meillassoux ve Brassier’i. Meillassoux’nun Sonluluğun Sonu’ndan bir yıl sonra yayımladığı Hiçliğin Çözülüşü(Nihil Unbound) adlı kitabında Brassier, Heidegger ve Deleuze’ün zaman ve ölüm okumalarının eleştirisi ve Lyotard’ın Güneş Felaketi(Solar Catastrophe) makalesinin bir yeniden okuması üzerinden güneşin 4.5 milyar yıl içerisinde patlayarak dünyadaki yaşamı sona erdireceği gerçeğinin insan bilincinden ve düşüncesinden bağımsız bir gerçeklik olarak görülmesi gerektiğini ve bunun da hepimizin hâlihazırda yaşayan birer ölü olduğumuz anlamına geldiğini öne sürmektedir. Her iki yazarda da karşımıza çıkan ortak özellik kendinde-şey olarak mutlağın(Meillassoux) ve hakikatin(Brassier) var olabileceği iddiasını taşıyor oluşlarıdır. Benim için önemli olansa kendinde-şey olarak ölümsüzlüğün veya sonsuzluğun, ölümlü ve sonlu bir varlık olan insandan bağımsızlaşan kimliksiz ve kişiliksiz bir bilincin a-nihilistik spekülasyonları dolayımıyla politik bir amaç için kullanıma sokulabileceği, sokulması gerektiği gerçeğidir. Badiou’nun hakikat ve olay teorisinden hareketle, bir ölümsüzün gözüyle ve bilinciyle tasvir edilen ölümlülerin dünyası, mevcut-yapı içerisinde gedikler açmak suretiyle yeni hakikatlerin zuhur etmesini sağlayacaktır kanaatindeyim. Ölümlülüğü sömürmek suretiyle gücüne güç katan liberal-demokratik-militarist-kapitalizmin ölümün ortadan kalkmasıyla kendi içine dönük bir patlamaya(contraction), içe doğru çökmeye maruz kalacağından hareketle diyebiliriz ki yaşamı olumsuzlamaktan ziyade olduğu gibi olumlayan materyalist bir gerçekçiliğe, yani aşkınsallığa öykünen, ölüm dürtüsü ve yaşam dürtüsünün tahakkümü altındaki kapitalist-gerçekçilikten, kendinde-şey olarak Öteki’nin, yani ölümsüzlüğün veya sonsuzluğun içkin olduğu komünist-gerçekçiliğe doğru bir yönelim hem mümkündür, hem de gerekli.

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