Skip navigation

Category Archives: Minimal

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. 

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 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. 

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 minimal techno, 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 of 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 creates 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. 

As I said at the beginning of this article, in this perilous time the three dimensional sounds created by the contemporary electronic music are non-representational to such an extent that it is as though there is a living organism from a completely other dimension making organic noises in the room. And in this room and at this very moment  in which I found myself Marcuse’s theories are unfortunately 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. As we know from Foucault and Hobbes, 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 shall 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 have left unanswered. If we look at Adorno’s and Foucault’s writings we can see that most of their thoughts are directed towards finding out 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, and 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 practise 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.

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 time, these lines are in the process of reappearance.

click to listen

MANTIS 076 + BLACKMASS PLASTICS
DOWNLOAD STREAM ITUNES RSS

hour 1 / DVNT

Photek – Ni-Ten-Ichi-Rhy [Science]
Solar Chrome – Malevil [Maschinen Musik]
Petar Alargic – EeR NR1 [petaralargic.com]
Octave Mouret – Good News Everyone! I’ve Taught the Toaster to Feel Love [octavemouret.bandcamp.com]
Foul Shape – A Monster Has Created [Entity]
Loefah – Twisup VIP [DMZ]
Adam X – Downbursts [Prologue]
Plastikman – Ask Yourself (Dead Sound remix) [dub]
Intra:mental – Love Arp [Semantica Records]
Mothboy – Medusa feat. Sezrah Sylvan [Drawn Recordings]
Mothboy – Others [Drawn Recordings]
Drugstore – Razor [Offaudio]
Steve Bicknell – Track 5 [Cosmic Records]
Scanone – Angels [Syndetic Recordings]
Laserfire – Wires of Love (Encrypter remix) [dub]
Bruce Stallion – OK U Cunts [Off Me Nut Records]
Perforated Cerebal Party – Mystery Train [Russian-Techno.com]
Concrete DJz – Hadron Collider [Subsequent]
Pillpopper – Jewelry Box (Threnody remix) [Furioso] forthcoming
BEATure – Follow the Line [Sens Inverse Label]
ECHO PARK – After Burner [All City Records]

hour 2 / BLACKMASS PLASTICS showcase

Blackmass Plastics – Plasixsixsix
Blackmass Plastics – Bad Reflection
Blackmass Plastics – Step Up or Get…
Blackmass Plastics – Ouija Board
Blackmass Plastics – Arpexone
Blackmass Plastics – Biomega
Blackmass Plastics – Klonk Kreator
Blackmass Plastics – Visions of Plastic
Blackmass Plastics – OK Ozzy
Blackmass Plastics – Dial M.
Blackmass Plastics – D for Danger
Blackmass Plastics – Red and Black Rush
Blackmass Plastics – Known Space
Blackmass Plastics – Paranoid Agent
Blackmass Plastics – Selecta Infecta
Blackmass Plastics – Give Me Da Data
Blackmass Plastics – Scope Dog
Blackmass Plastics – T-Rex Powerdrill
Blackmass Plastics – Zargon
Blackmass Plastics – Nothing Nice
Blackmass Plastics – Get Destroyed
Blackmass Plastics – Get Bigga
Blackmass Plastics – Down Periscope
Blackmass Plastics – Get Jacked
Blackmass Plastics – Tek Tek v3
Blackmass Plastics – Ice and Slice
Blackmass Plastics – Future Past (original mix)
Blackmass Plastics – Trauma Centre
Blackmass Plastics – Blindsider
Blackmass Plastics – No Escape
Blackmass Plastics – Get Spooked

Advertisements

Üst Düzey Bir Araştırma Komisyonu’nun ilk icraatı Dr. Lawgiverz’i bulup sistemin temellerini dinamitlemesini engellemek için yargıya havale etmek üzere üç siyasi polis memuru görevlendirmek olur. Üç farklı ülkeden seçilen ve kendi ülkelerinde işlerinin ehli olduklarını ispatlamış bu üç siyasi polisin biri şef, biri müfettiş, diğeri de basit bir çavuştur. Öncelikle üçünün de konuşabildiği ortak bir dil belirleyip, ki bu dil elbette ki İngilizce’dir, işe koyulan bu üçlüye Üç Silahşörler demek ise ilerleyen süreçte açıklığa kavuşacak sebeplerden ötürü sanırız pek yerinde olacaktır. Dolayısıyla da bundan böyle onları üç silahşörler olarak anacağımızı şimdiden belirtelim.

Her neyse, geleneksel romanlarda olduğu gibi durup da bu üçlünün teker teker karakter tahlillerine girişmek yerine, karakterlerini olayların seyrinin açıklığa kavuşturmasını günümüz edebiyatına uyum açısından uygun bulduk. Örneğin göreve getirildikleri o ilk günkü karşılaşma esnasında gerçekleşen şu anekdot bile bize nasıl bir üçlüyle karşı karşıya bulunduğumuzu göstermeye yeter ve hatta artar bile diye düşünüyoruz.

Şef şu sözlerle başlasın mesela konuşmasına: “Arkadaşlar merhaba. Bildiğiniz gibi Dünya Devletleri Ortak Platformu’nun istihbarat şubesi baş sorumlusu kendisine verilen yetkiye dayanarak Üst Düzey Bir Araştırma Komisyonu oluşturdu ve beni de şimdilik üçümüzden ibaret bu komisyona şef olarak atadı. Bundan böyle aramızdaki kültürel farklılıkları geri plana itip ortak bir amaç doğrultusunda, yani Dr. Lawgiverz’i ve Spekülatif Gerçekçiler’i haince planlarını yürürlüğe koymaktan men etmek yolunda birlikte çalışacağız. İstihbarat şubesi baş sorumlusunun bana verdiği dosyaya göre Dr. Lawgiverz şu anda Japonya’da. Sanırım aramızda bir Japon’un bulunması da bu yüzdendir.” Bunları söylerken bakışlarını müfettişe yönelterek başını hafifçe öne eğmesinden anlıyoruz ki müfettiş Japon’dur, ki nitekim öyle olduğu için de sözü devralan o olacaktır. “Teşekkürler şefim. Japonya polis teşkilatı olarak, Dr. Lawgiverz’in iletişim halinde olmanın da ötesinde bir takım bilimsel projeleri hayata geçirmek üzere son derece içli dışlı olduğu bilim adamını tespit etmiş bulunmaktayız. Takamuro Kootaro adındaki bu adam yıllardır zamanda yolculuk, ölümsüzlük ve daha başka doğa üstü hadiselerle ilgili araştırmalar yapıyor. Ne yazık ki arkasındaki güçleri henüz tespit edebilmiş değiliz, ancak Japonya dışından, büyük ihtimalle Kuzey Amerika’dan olduğunu tahmin ettiğimiz bazı şer odaklarından beslendiğini tahmin ediyoruz. Ona maddi kaynak sağlayan birden fazla enstitü olduğu aldığımız duyumlar arasında.” O vakte kadar tüm bunları dikkatle dinlemekte olan çavuş tam da müfettiş sözlerini bitirdiği esnada araya girerek Amerika Birleşik Devletleri vatandaşı olduğunu ele veren bir cümleyle başlayacaktır konuşmasına. “Chicago Haberalma Örgütü’nde geçirdiğim yıllar boyunca edindiğim tecrübeyle ifade edecek olursam Dr. Lawgiverz’in söz konusu Japon bilim adamına maddi kaynak sağlayan enstitülere göbekten bağlı olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Elimizde henüz kanıt olmasa da Dr. Lawgiverz’in Takamuro Kootaro’yla ülkemizdeki birtakım ne idüğü belirsiz enstitüler arasında bir nevi köprü vazifesi gördüğünden eminiz diyebilirim. Oradaki arkadaşlarım gerekli kanıtları bulmakla, bulamadıklarını ise yaratmakla meşguller şimdi.” 

Dikkatli okuyucularımızın gözünden kaçmayacağı üzere şefin milliyetini belirtmediğimizin ise elbette ki farkındayız. Bunun sebebi kendisinin Atlantik Okyanusu üzerinde uçmakta olan bir uçakta ve/yani hiçbir ülkenin hava sahasına dahil olmayan bir bölgede doğmuş olmasıdır. Annesi İspanyol-İtalyan, babası ise Fransız-İngiliz kırması olan bu adam sizin de gördüğünüz üzere kırmaların kırmasıdır. Avrupalı diyebileceğimiz şef, artık Avrupa Birliği kurulduğu için çoğu anlamsızlaşan toplam altı ülkenin pasaportunu birden taşımakta ve yedi dili anadili gibi konuşabilmektedir. Elbette ki bunun sebebi herhangi bir anadile sahip olmamasıdır, yani mantık kurallarına özen gösteren okuyucularımızın da takdir edeceği üzere az önce yanlış bir benzetme yapmak gafletine düştük. Zira anavatanı olmayan bir insanın anadili de olmaz, olamaz.

Londra’nın her zamanki gibi o son derece soğuk ve yağmurlu gecelerinden birinde, Dünya Devletleri Ortak Platformu tarafından üç silahşörlere merkez ofis niyetine tahsis edilen, Liverpool Street yakınlarındaki o eski evde vuku bulan bu anekdot, üç silahşörlerin, ertesi gün bazı spekülatif gerçekçilerin Londra’da boy göstereceği bir konferansa, esas amaçlarının ne olduğunu kimseye çaktırmadan katılıp olayın felsefi boyutunu mercek altına alma kararıyla son bulacaktır, ki nitekim sanırız bulmuştur da zaten işte.

Mixes by swarmintelligence

This new collection of  challenging literary studies plays with a foundational definition of Western culture: the word become flesh. But the word become flesh is not, or no longer, a theological already-given. It is a millennial goal or telos toward which each text strives.

Both witty and immensely erudite, Jacques Rancière leads the critical reader through a maze of arrivals toward the moment, perhaps always suspended, when the word finds its flesh. That is what he, a valiant and good-humored companion to these texts, goes questing for through seven essays examining a wide variety of familiar and unfamiliar works.

A text is always a commencement, the word setting out on its excursions through the implausible vicissitudes of narrative and the bizarre phantasmagorias of imagery, Don Quixote’s unsent letter reaching us through generous Balzac, lovely Rimbaud, demonic Althusser. The word is on its way to an incarnation that always lies ahead of the writer and the reader both, in this anguished democracy of language where the word is always taking on its flesh.

Download and Read

via V£R$O

      
 
Now, more than ever, one should insist on what Badiou calls the ‘eternal’ Idea of Communism.  – Slavoj Zizek
 
A new program for the Left after the death of neoliberalism. ‘We know that communism is the right hypothesis. All those who abandon this hypothesis immediately resign themselves to the market economy, to parliamentary democracy—the form of state suited to capitalism—and to the inevitable and “natural” character of the most monstrous inequalities.’—Alain Badiou
 

Badiou’s Communist Hypothesis and The Idea of Communism Conference > Resources


 

Download and Read

Descartes

Life and Death in a Raving New World (excerpt from The Life Death Drives)

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

via senselogic

Being Without Thought: The Unconscious and the Critique of Correlationism

Being Without Thought: The Unconscious and the Critique of Correlationism I have decided to make available a short draft version of a larger work, what could probably be called my greater “project” that I am actively working on. As has been pointed out by both Nick and Ben in their recent interviews with Paul Ennis, I am part of a small group of speculative realists (a name I gladly wear) that not only defends, but attempts to expand on the tradition of psychoanalysis, or more specifically, the metaphysics of psychoanalysis… Read More

via Complete Lies.

Table journals

Image via Wikipedia

I’m a little late on this, but you still have a month left to enjoy unfettered, free access to Sage Journals Online. Good times to be had for all you independent scholar types out there. … Read More

via An und für sich

• Philosophy as Biography •
• Alain Badiou •

“Nietzsche wrote that a philosophy is always the biography of the philosopher. Maybe a biography of the philosopher by the philosopher himself is a piece of philosophy. So I shall tell you nine stories taken of my private life, with their philosophical morality… The first story is the story of the father and the mother.
My father was an alumnus of the École Normale Superieure and agrégé of mathematics: my mother an alumna of the École Normale Supérieure and agrégée of French literature. I am an alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure and agrégé, but agrege of what, of philosophy, that is to say, probably, the only possible way to assume the double filiation and circulate freely between the literary maternity and the mathematical paternity. This is a lesson for philosophy itself : the language of philosophy always constructs its own space between the matheme and the poem, between the mother and the father, after all.” Read More

• VIDEO Version •

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/Aan1MAI%5D
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AaqtLQI%5D

Postfelsefe nasıl hadım eder, ya da neden XI. tez tersine çevrilmeli üzerine

Postfelsefe nasıl hadım eder ya da neden XI. tez tersine çevirilmeli üzerine Benim felsefeye ilgim materyalizm ve onun eleştirel işlevi sayesindedir: bilimsel bilgiyi onun mistifiye edilmiş tüm ideolojik bilgiselliğinin karşısına almaktır. Ahlaki temelde bir mit ya da yalan karşıtlığından değil, onların akılcıl ve sistematik eleştirisinden bahsediyorum. – Louis Althusser [kaynak]

Burada bır zamandır okumaya çalıştığım bir felsefi metinden kısaca sözetmek istiyorum. Zira şu ana dek metnin sadece 2 bölümünü yani 50 sayfasını okuyabildim. Bu da kitabın sadece 3′te 1′ine tekabül ediyor. Şunu itiraf etmek zorundayım: Bu 50 sayfayı okumak bana 500 sayfa okumak gibi geldi. Bunun nedenlerinin başlıcaları arasında benim “felsefeci” olmadığım gerçeği yatıyorsa da, bundan öte metnin Kant sonrası felsefeye, modernist felsefeye olan özgün eleştirisinin ince noktaları ve ziyadesiyle yoğunluğu okunuşunu zorlaştırdığını eklemek gerekiyor. Halbuki metnin son yılların felsefi metinleri içerisinde en yalın, en tutarlı, en takip edilebilir bir dille yazıldığını düşünmeme rağmen, bu böyle oldu. Yazar: Quentin Meillassoux, Kitap: After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity on Contingency (Sonluluk Sonrası : Vukuu Belli Olmamanın Gerekliği Üzerine Bir Deneme)… Read More

via Mutlak Töz

AUFS links to a conversation between Jacques Derrida and Ornette Colman from the late 90s. Here. Plus, here’s another interview with Ornette Coleman: Read More

via Perverse Egalitarianism

röportaj güzel de, yazı karakterleri o kadar küçük ki okunmuyor… güya wordpress bu hemingway temasını yazarlar için yapmış, okunmak istemeyen yazarlar için yapmış belli ki… her neyse, underground poetix elemanları isteseler bu küçük yazı karakteri sorununa bir çözüm bulurlar aslında ama nedense onlar da bu konuda hiçbir şey yapmıyor… dostça bir uyarı ve öneri olarak alınsın lütfen bu, “dost acı söyler,” lâfı hatırlansın… sevgiyle…

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1969) 1969 Baharı: Jack Shoemaker’la birlikte Ferlinghetti’nin San Francisco’nun Potrero Hill bölgesindeki evine gittik. Sanat ve kitaplarla dolu, sıcak bir tarzda döşenmiş ve rahat bir ev. Bir süre oturma odasında sohbet edip şarap yudumlayarak oturduk. Sonra Lawrence bizi çatı katındaki ofisine götürdü. Pencereleri şehre bakıyordu. Cana yakın ve şakacı bir adamdı; bazen bizi oyuna getirdiğini düşünüyordum, buz mavisi gözl … Read More

via Underground Poetix

“Absence: Stubborn heaven of the neutral”

Image by DerrickT via Flickr

Zamanın Sonu ve Sonsuzluğun Başlangıcı [1] 

Güneşin 4.5 yıl içerisinde sönmesi neticesinde dünyamızdaki yaşamın son bulacağı yönündeki spekülasyonların son dakika haberi olarak manşetlere taşındığı o mübarek gecede Dr. Lawgiverz bir yıl önce dünyadaki tüm televizyon ekranlarının bilinmeyen bir sebepten ötürü beyazlara bürünmesinin olası sebepleri üzerine derin düşüncelere dalmıştı. Hatırlanacağı üzere bir kitap önce televizyonları takiben bir hafta gibi kısa bir zaman zarfında daha başka ekran mekanizmaları da beyazlara bürünmüş ve haberi gazetelerden okuyan bedbaht insanları tedirginliğe maruz bırakmıştı. Söylemeye bile gerek yok belki ama güneşin 4.5 yıl içerisinde söneceğine dair haberler de tıpkı televizyon ekranlarının beyazlaşması gibi, sadece düşünce treni şeffaf bir duvara çarparak raydan çıkan Dr. Lawgiverz’de değil, haberi radyolarından duyan ve o sırada hiçbir şey düşünmekte olmayan, hatta belki de bir yıldır görsel imgelerden mahrum kaldıkları için psikozun eşiğinde olan sıradan insanlarda da muazzam bir şok etkisi yaratmıştı. Dr. Lawgiverz’in kendisi görsel imgelerden yoksun yaşamayı umursamıyordu, zira ne de olsa onun için, ünlü Fransız filozof Gilles Deleuze’ün sözleriyle ifade edecek olursak, beynin kendisi bir ekrandı.

fmhs

                                                                               fmhs

Dr. Lawgiverz “söz uçar, yazı kalır,” sözünü hatırladı. Bu sözün 4.5 yıl içerisinde anlamını yiterecek olması, onu sarfedilmiş diğer tüm sözlerin de anlamını yitireceği düşüncesine sevketti. Ne de olsa güneşin sönmesi neticesinde dünya ve hatta evren dev bir buz kütlesine dönecek ve dünyadaki her şeyle birlikte kitaplar da yok olacaktı. Yazarların ve sanatçıların eserleriyle ölümsüzlüğe kavuştuğu düşüncesinin ne derece saçma olduğu bir kez daha kanıtlanmış olacaktı böylece. Ölümle yazı arasındaki ilişki elbette ki eski çağlardan beri yazarların ve düşünürlerin kafasını kurcalamış bir ilişkiydi. Maurice Blanchot “ölmemek için yazıyorum,” dediğinde büyük ihtimalle kendisini bir Şehrazat olarak duyumsamıştı. Yazılarımız boşluktan gelir ve boşluğa giderdi. İnsanın ölüm karşısındaki aczi teknoloji vasıtasıyla aşılmaya çalışılmış ve bazı bilim adamları teknoloji sayesinde insanın ölümsüz bir varlığa dönüşebileceğini iddia etmekle kalmamış, bunu kanıtlamıştı da. İnsan ezelden beridir yaşamı ölüme karşı bir direniş olarak görmüş, ölümü altetmek için çeşitli icatlar yapmıştı. Örneğin Dr. Lawgiverz’in yakın bir dostu olan ve Recep Sezgili adını taşıyan bir yazar-bilimadamı, insan beyinlerinin küvezlere yerleştirilerek, bedenin geri kalan tüm kısımları yaşamsal fomksiyonlarını yitirse bile beynin kendisinin hayatta tutulabileceğine ve daha sonra yapay bir bedene (avatar-robot?) yerleştirilerek sosyal yaşama dahil edilmek suretiyle yaşamın deneyimsel yönüne kavuşturulması neticesinde ölümsüzlüğün hayata geçirilebileceğine gönülden inanmış ve yııllardır bu yöndeki çalışmalarını hayvanlar üzerinde yaptığı deneylerle neredeyse kanıtlamıştı. Güneşin söneceğine dair spekülasyonlar şimdi işte onun da tüm bu çabalarını anlamsız kılmış, ölümsüzlük hayalini imkânsızlıklar arenasına dahil etmişti. Dr. Lawgiverz işte bu arkadışını telefonla arayıp güneşin söneceği yönündeki iddiaların gerçekliğini sorgulamaya karar verir. Dr. Lawgiverz’in pek fazla arkadaşı yoktu, o yüzden de kadim dostunun telefon numarasını ezbere biliyordu. Antika kategorisine gireli yıllar olmuş eski model siyah telefonun ahizesini kaldırıp numarayı çevirdi ve karşıdan gelecek, Alo, sesini beklemeye koyuldu. Söz konusu ses çok geçmeden gelecekti.

Telefonun sesini duyduğunda Recep Sezgili endişe içerisinde sigara içiyor ve bir yandan da kahvesini yudumluyordu.

Alo?

Kadim dostum selamlar.

Law?, (belli ki dostları Dr. Lawgiverz’e kısaca Law derdi).

Evet, benim. Haberleri duydun mu?

Duymaz olur muyum hiç; sağır sultan bile duydu haberleri.

Ne diyorsun peki, aslı astarı var mıdır bu iddiaların?

Bilmiyorum, bekleyip göreceğiz.

Ne demek bekleyip göreceğiz, güneş gerçekten sönerse ne bunu görecek insan kalacak, ne de görülecek bir şey. Tüm özneler ve tüm nesneler ebediyete intikâl edecek zira.

Ebediyete mi? Ölümden sonra yaşama inandığını bilmiyordum.

İnanmıyorum zaten. Ebediyetin tecrübe edilebilecek bir şey olduğuna inanmıyorum, biliyorsun ben Kantçı’yım.

Yaptığım çalışmalarla ölümsüzlüğün mümkün olduğunu kanıtladığımı göz ardı ediyorsun.

Sanırım henüz acı gerçeği kabullenemedin. Güneş sönerse çalışmalarının anlamını yitireceğinin farkında değil misin?

Üstüme gelme lütfen. Sen de takdir edersin ki insanın tüm yaşamını bir anda sıfırla çarpması pek kolay değil. Şimdi kapatmalıyım, benim de birkaç yeri arayıp bu sönme mevzuunda bazı teferruatlar hakkında bilgi almam gerek. Umarım sadece asılsız bir iddiadan ibarettir bu spekülasyonlar.

Beni de bilgilendir lütfen.

Tamam.

Bay bay.

Bay bay.

Görüldüğü kadarıyla güneşin sönecek olmasından henüz duygusal olarak pek etkilenmemiştir kurbanlarımız. Belki de bunun sebebi henüz olayın ciddiyetini ve gerçekleğini idrak edememiş olmalarındandır. Olaya gayet soğuk bir biçimde bu denli bilimsel yaklaşmaları ancak bunun göstergesi olabilir.

Her neyse, Dr. Lawgiverz’in mahremine geri dönecek olursak görürüz ki her zaman oturduğu o eski model koltukta oturmuş boş gözlerle karşısındaki beyaz duvara bakmaktadır. O duvar Dr. Lawgiverz’in hayallerini yansıttığı bir ekrandır. Ama bu ekranın ebediyete intikâl etmiş ekranlardan farkı sinema dilinde beyaz perde tabir edilen ve/yani dışa görüntü yansıtmaktan ziyade görüntünün üzerine yansıtıldığı, insanın ekran demeye dilinin varmadığı ama işte kelime kıtlığından dolayı kendisini demek durumunda bulduğu ekranlardan olmasıdır. Dr. Lawgiverz şu anda bir şey hayal etmemekte olduğu için söz konusu duvarda hiçbir şey görmemektedir. Ama tabii bu Dr. Lawgiverz’in beyninin içinde bulunulan zaman diliminde tamamen boş olduğu manasını taşımamalıdır, ki nitekim taşımamaktadır da zaten. Zira Dr. Lawgiverz’in beyninde şu anda düşünce tabir edilen olgular dolanmaktadır. Kendimizi bu olguların akışına bırakmadan önce düşünce kavramının doğasına ilişkin birtakım spekülasyonlar yapmayı uygun bulduğumuzu ve müsaadenizle şimdi bu meşakkatli işe girişeceğimizi bilgilerinize sunmak istiyoruz.

Ünlü Portekizli yazar José Saramago, Lizbon Kuşatmasının Tarihi adlı kitabında, Raimundo Silva’nın çalıştığı yayınevindeki düzeltmenlerden sorumlu editörü Dr. Maria Sara’yı görmeye giderken asansörde aklından geçenleri okuyucularına aktardıktan hemen sonra düşünce üzerine şunları söyler:

“Düşünen kişi yalnızca ne düşündüğünü bilir, niye bunu düşündüğünü bilmez, sanırım, doğduğumuz andan başlayarak düşünürüz, ama ilk düşüncemizin, bütün daha sonrakileri doğuran düşüncenin ne olabileceğini bilmeyiz, düşünceler ırmağından yukarıya, ilk kaynağa doğru gittiğimizde, her birimizin en kesin yaşamöyküsü ortaya çıkar ve bunların akışını izleyebilsek, birden yeni bir düşünceye kapılıp bunun peşine takılarak içinde bulunduğumuz güne varabilsek, başka bir yaşamı seçerek bunu kısaltmadığımız ve söz konusu yaşam bir düzeltmeninki olmadığı sürece, herhalde yaşamımızı değiştirebilirdik, o zaman başka bir asansörde, belki de Dr. Maria Sara’dan başka birisiyle görüşmeye gidiyor olurduk.”[2]

Olurdunuz tabii, neden olmayasınız ki? Lâkin ne yazık ki hayat bir roman olmaktan ziyade rastlantıların gerekliliğinden başka mutlak tanımayan paradoksal bir olaylar serisidir. Elbette ki romanlar da görünüşte rastlantıların gerekliliğini yansıtmaya çalışan bir dizi paradoksal hadisenin zuhruyla vücut bulan oluşumlardır. Fakat akılda tutulmalıdır ki romanlardaki rastlantısallıklar sarmalı bir yazar tarafından kaleme alınmış sanal gerçeklikler olduğu için söz konusu rastlantısallıklar yapay banalliklerden başka bir şey değildir. Yazı doğası gereği yalan söylemek durumundadır; hakikatler ancak yazılanlardaki anlam boşluklarından sızan sonsuzluklar olabilir. Her ne kadar Saramago’nun “düşünen kişi yalnızca ne düşündüğünü bilir, niye bunu düşündüğünü bilmez,” sözüne katılsak da düşüncemizde geriye doğru gidebilmemizin gerçek hayatta da geriye gitmemizi mümkün kılmayacağı söylemeye gerek bile bırakmayacak derecede aşikârdır. Roman yazmanın en iyi yanı da işte gerçek hayatta gerçekleşmesi namümkün hadiselerin dil vasıtasıyla mümkün kılınabilmesine zemin hazırlamasıdır. İşte bu gerçekten hareketle biz de şimdi kurbanımız Dr. Lawgiverz’i zamanda yolculuk yapmış ve olmayan bir gelecekten, romanımızın geçtiği zamana gelmiş bir ölümsüz olarak yeniden kurgulamaya karar verdik. Bu senaryoya göre Dr. Lawgiverz romanımızın geçtiği zamandan, yani güneşin 4.5 yıl içerisinde patlayacağını duyuran ve kimilerinin radyodan duyduğu, kimlerinin ertesi gün gazetelerde okuduğu, kimilerininse halk arasında dolanan söylentiler dolayımıyla bilgi sahibi olduğu o mübarek iddianın ortaya çıktığı günden 5 yıl sonrasından gelmiş bir kişidir. Kendisinin bu durumu O’nu bir ölümsüz kılmaktadır, çünkü güneş hakikaten de sönmüş ve hiçliği tüm evrene olmasa bile güneş sistemine hâkim kılmıştır. Dr. Lawgiverz de tüm canlılar gibi bedenen yok olmuş, fakat her ne hikmetse, bizim de bilmediğimiz ve dolayısıyla da açıklayamayacağımız bir sebepten ötürü salt bilinçten ibaret bir varlık olarak (ruh?) şimdiki zamana gelerek bedenini aramaya koyulmuştur. Dr. Lawgiverz henüz bir ölümsüz olduğunu bilmemekle birlikte, yukarıda zikrettiğimiz sebeplerden ötürü kendisi bilse de bilmese de hâlihazırda bir ölümsüz olması hasebiyle bir ölümlü gibi davranmaya devam etmektedir. Zavallı Dr. Lawgiverz…

Life After Apocalypse - Vladimir Manyuhin

Hatırlanacağı üzere düşünce üzerine spekülasyonlarımıza başlamadan önce Deleuze’ün beyni bir ekran olarak nitlendirdiğini söylemiş ve anlatıda bir sapma gerçekleştirmek suretiyle bir ekran olarak beynimizde zuhur eden hadiseleri, Dr. Lawgiverz’in bilimadamı dostunu araması gibi, siz okuyucularımızın beğenisine sunmuştuk. Takdir edersiniz ki araya giren inanılmaz gerçekler anlatımızın artık asla eskisi gibi olamayacağının göstergesidir. İnsan olan her fâninin aklına durgunluk vermesi kuvvetle muhtemel söz konusu gerçekler biz istesek de istemesek de gerçektirler. Biz ölümlülerin bilincinden bağımsız bir hakikat olduğunu hiç kuşku duymaksızın dile getirebilmemize zemin hazırlayan bu gerçekler, hâliyle anlatımızı oluşturan olayların seyrini değiştirerek, bizimle beraber sizi de yeni mecralara ve maceralara doğru sürükleyecektir. Ne mutlu bizlere ve tabii ki sizlere, ki bu akıl almaz hadiselere tanıklık etmek ayrıcalığına sahibiz. Ne güzeldir hayat, ne anlamlıdır tüm bu kelimeler… 

Ölüm düşüncesiyle yatıp ölümsüzlük düşüncesiyle kalkan, yani bir sabah uyandığında kendini bir ölümsüz olarak bulan Dr. Lawgiverz, az önce de belirttiğimiz gibi, gelecekten geldiğinin farkında değildi önceleri. Lâkin sonraları, bilinmeyen bir sebepten ötürü idrak kabiliyetinde yaşanan muazzam bir patlama neticesinde farkına varacaktı bu hakikatin. Gelecekten gelmiş olduğunun idrakiyle önce paniğe, sonra ise sırasıyla telâş, endişe ve son olarak da sevince, neşeye kapılan Dr. Lawgiverz, kendini içinde bulduğu durumdan, yani şimdiki zamanda var olan bir geleceklilik durumundan bir an evvel çıkması gerekeceğinden habersizdi anlatımızın bu aşamasında. Aslında hem önemli ve saygın bir bilimadamı, hem de bilim-kurgu-gerilim romanlarının ölmeden ölümsüzleşen meşhur yazarı Recep Sezgili’in yazdığı bir bilim-kurgu-gerilim romanının başkahramanı olan Dr. Lawgiverz, şimdiki zamanda var olduğu süre içerisinde bitmek bilmez bir deja-vu’nun aynı anda hem öznesi, hem de nesnesi olarak duyumsayacaktı kendini.

Hepimizin takdir edeceği üzere, roman kahramanlarının ete kemiğe bürünüp şimdiki veya gelecek zamanda var olması ne görülmüş bir şeydi, ne de duyulmuş. Lâkin akılda tutulmalıdır ki şu anda bizler de bir romanın içerisindeyiz ve söylemeye gerek bile yoktur ki romanların zamanı gerçek zamandan farklıdır. Romanlar sanal zamanlarda vuku bulan sanal hadiselerden meydana gelen oluşumlar olduğu için elbette ki gerçek zamanlarda gerçekleşen hadiselerden farklı hadiseler ihtiva edecek ve netice itibarı ile de gerçek hayattakinden farklı mantık kurallarının işlerlik kazandığı oluşumlar olacaklardır. Edebiyat ve hayat arasındaki fark konusunda kestiğimiz bu ahkâmlara anlatımızın ilerleyen bölümlerinde yeniden yer vermek üzere şimdilik ara verip Dr. Lawgiverz ile Recep Sezgili arasındaki ilişkinin ayrıntılarına geçecek olursak diyebiliriz ki bu ikisi birbirlerinin ruh ikizi olmaktan ziyade, aynı madeni paranın iki farklı yüzüdürler. Zira Recep Sezgili, Dr. Lawgiverz’i olmak istediği ve/fakat asla olamayacağını bildiği bir karakter olarak kurgulamıştır. Denebilir ki bu ikisi arasındaki ilişki Fight Club(Dövüş Kulübü) filmindeki Tyler Durden ve Anlatıcı(Jack) arasındaki ilişki gibidir. Hatırlayacaksınız orada kendine Jack diye hitap eden Anlatıcı hayatından hiç memnun olmayan, bunalımlı, bastırılmış ve ezik bir tip olarak sürdürdüğü yaşamdan bıkıp usanmış ve olmak istediği fakat olamadığı agresif, kendine güvenen, özgürlükçü, maskülin bir tip olan Tyler Durden’ı yaratmıştı. Tyler Durden, Jack’in alter-ego’su olarak Jack’in ego’sunu yerden yere vuran kapitalist sisteme karşı baş kaldıran ve hatta bununla da kalmayıp adeta savaş açan anarşist kuvvet formunda zuhur ediyordu. Her neyse, işte Dr. Lawgiverz de tıpkı Tyler Durden gibi, Recep Sezgili’nin bastırılmış ve/fakat bendini sığmayıp taşan bir dere gibi şimdiki zamanla gelecek zaman arasındaki duvarı yıkarak Recep Sezgili’nin hayatına nüfuz eden kural tanımaz, yıkıcı kuvetti. İflah olmaz bir nihilist olan Dr. Lawgiverz bir dizi spekülasyonla Recep Sezgili’nin gerçeklik algısını alt-üst edecek ve yıllardır kendisini tüketen kapitalizme karşı savaş açmasını mümkün kılacaktı.

O Ölümsüz Özne

Dikkatli okuyucularımızın gözünden kaçmamış olduğuna yürekten inandığımız üzere Dr. Lawgiverz sık sık derin düşüncelere dalan bir düşün adamıydı. Adı kurgu açısından gereksiz bir üniversitenin felsefe bölümünde ontoloji (varlıkbilim) dersleri veren ve/fakat son zamanlarda “şiddetli ruhsal çalkantılar” geçirmekte olduğu gerekçesiyle askıya alınan bir felsefe doktoruydu. Sonsuzlukla karşı karşıya kalan beynin derin bir sarsıntı geçirmesinin kaçınılmaz olduğunu Kant’tan beri hepimiz biliyoruz. Hatırlanacağı üzere Kant sonsuzluğun sınırına vardığında geri adım atmış ve yazmaya on yıl ara vermişti. Dr. Lawgiverz de tıpkı işte Kant gibi yaşamdan ölüme, kendinde-şey’den sonsuzluğa, ve hatta düşünecek bir özne olmadığı takdirde düşüncenin var olup olamayacağına kadar her şeyi düşünürdü. O’nun hakkında söylenebilecek daha pek çok şey var aslında, ama biz şimdilik tüm bunları bir tarafa bırakıp Dr. Lawgiverz’in kendini hangi felsefi akıma ait hissettiği konusuna yönelteceğiz dikkatimizi.

Dr. Lawgiverz kendini gerçekçi bir spekülatör olarak görüyor ve Spekülatif Gerçekçilik (Speculative Realism) adlı yeni bir felsefi akıma öncülük eden spekülatif gerçekçilerin grubuna ait hissediyordu sevgili okur. Her ne kadar bahse konu spekülatif gerçekçilerin bazıları özellikle adlandırmanın gerçekçilik kısmından pek hoşnut olmasalar da tıpkı bizim gibi onlar da gerçekçilik kelimesini ikâme edecek bir başka sözcüğün yokluğu sebebiyle bu sorunlu adlandırmaya boyun eğmek zorundaydılar. Meselâ Ray Brassier, terimi icat eden kendisi olmasına rağmen son zamanlarda kendisiyle yapılan bir röportajda gerçekçilik (Realism) kelimesinden duyduğu hoşnutsuzluğu açıkça dile getirmiştir.

Anlatımızın bu noktasında etnik kökeni, dini, dili ne olursa olsun bazı okuyucularımızın şu tür sorular sorması kuvvetle muhtemeldir: “Peki ama bir ölümsüz sabah uyanınca ne yapar? Ölümlüler gibi dişlerini fırçalayıp yüzünü mü yıkar? İşeme ve dışkılama işlemlerini gerçekleştirir mi? Yoksa ölümsüzlerin bu tür ihtiyaçları olmaz mı?” Sanırız bu tür sorular sormakta hiçbir sakınca görmeyen meraklı ruhlar bizim ölümsüz diye nitelendirdiğimiz varlığın ne mene bir şey olduğunu idrak etmekte sorun yaşayan okuyucularımıza ait ruhlardır. Sayfalardır anlatmaya çalıştığımız üzere bizim ölümsüzlerimiz fiziksel olarak değil, zihinsel olarak ölümsüz şahsiyetlerdir. Denebilir ki biz bahse konu şahsiyetleri birer ölümsüz olarak nitelendirirken Kant’ın ortaya attığı  kurucu bir yanılsamaya başvurmaktayızdır. Belli ki ölümsüz derken bizim kastettiğimiz varlıkların ortak özelliği, var oluşlarını kurucu bir yanılsama üzerine inşa etmiş olmalarıdır. Ölümlülerin dünyasına birer ölümsüzün gözleriyle bakabilmek için aşkıncı düşünümü bir yaşam biçimi haline getirmiş olan ölümsüzlerin yemek yemeden, su içmeden, uyumadan, işemeden, sıçmadan var olabilmeleri mümkün değildir. Yeri gelmişken belirtmeliyiz ki ölümsüzler fiziksel olarak ölümlülerden farksız olsalar da, bilinç düzeyinde ölümlülerle en ufak bir benzerlikleri yoktur. Tıpkı ölümlüler gibi ölümsüzler de fiziksel olarak yorulurlar, lâkin ölümlülerden farklı olarak ölümsüzlerde zihinsel yorgunluk asla mümkün değildir.

Benim için de muamma olan bir sebepten ötürü bu noktada birinci tekil şahısa geri dönmenin yerinde olacağına kanaat getirdim. Bununla beraber şunu da itiraf etmeliyim ki az önce yanıtlamaya çalıştığım bu basit soruların varlığı ve onları yanıtlamanın zorluğu beni böyle bir roman yazmaya girişmekle son derece çılgınca, gerçekleşmesi neredeyse imkânsız bir işe kalkıştığım düşüncesine sevk ediyor sevgili lânetlenmiş okur. Ama yazmalıyım, yapmalıyım bunu, zira ben Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson, Deleuze, Badiou gibi düşünürlerin insanötesi varlık koşulları yaratmak yolunda çıktıkları o meşakkatli ve/fakat bir o kadar da zevkli yolculuğu her ne pahasına olursa olsun sürdürmeye vakfetmiş bir insanım kendimi. Kant’ı aşma çabalarının bir ürünü olan ölümsüzlük teorilerini mercek altına almak suretiyle ölümlülüğün ötesindeki bir varoluş biçiminin hayata geçirilmesi sürecinde son dönemlerde öne çıkan Spekülatif Gerçekçilik adlı felsefi akımın baş aktörleriyle el ele, hatta kol kola yürümeliyim nereye varacağı bilinmeyen, engellerle dolu bu engebeli yolda. Tehlikelerle dolu bu garip yolculuğun bir dizi gerçekçi spekülasyon vasıtasıyla gerçekleşeceğini ise bilmiyorum söylemeye gerek var mı, ama gene de söylüyorum işte, belki vardır diye.   

Bu arada Dr. Lawgiverz ise son derece gerilmiştir. Elbette ki bu gerginliğin sebebi sadece acıkmış olması değildi. Tüm insanların 4.5 yıl içerisinde aynı anda ölecek olmasıydı bahse konu gerginliğin sebebi. Bu noktada belirtmemiz gereken bir başka önemli husus da sadece Dr. Lawgiverz’in değil, dünyadaki tüm insanların son derece gerilmiş olduğu gerçeğidir. İnsanlık o kadar gerilmiştir ki adeta işte evrenin âhengi bozulmuş, kâinata sonsuz bir gerginlik hâkim olmuştur. Astronomlar Samanyolu’nun hareketlerinde bir gariplik sezinlemekte, dünyanın çevresinde yıllardır dönmekte olan ve işlevlerini bir süreden beridir yitirmiş bulunan uydular anlamsız rota değişimleri sergilemektedir. Ünlü filozof Platon’un âleme ibret olsun diye hakikati gökteki yıldızlar arasında ararken önündeki çukuru görmeyip içine düşen düşünürden söz ettiği o anlamlı ankedotu hatırlayarak bakış ve düşüncelerimizi uzaydan dünyaya yöneltecek olursak görürüz ki bir anda gelen bu güneş patlaması haberi insanların büyük bir kısmında tarifi imkânsız bir akıl yitimine, yani çıldırışa, bir başka deyişle delirme tabir edilen ruhsal duruma sebep olmuştur. Nasıl olsa 4.5 yıl içerisinde öleceklerinin idrakiyle insanlar, “ha bugün öldüm, ha yarın,” düşüncesiyle tüm tabuları yıkma ve ahlâki kuralları hiçe sayma, ve tüm normlardan sapma eğilimi içerisine girmiştir. 4.5 yıl içerisinde ölecek olmaları gerçeğine tamamen tezat oluşturacak bir biçimde adeta birer ölümsüz gibi yaşamaya başlayan insanlar aralarındaki tüm ideolojik ve siyasi ayrımları bir çırpıda silip atmış, nihilizmi bir yaşam biçimi olarak benimsemiş ve anarşizmin bayrağını yaşamlarının gönderine çekmiştir. Kaos, karmaşa, anlamsızlık ve sebepsiz şiddet her yerdedir. Bunlara ilâveten, birbirini daha önce hiç görmemiş onlarca insanın bir araya gelerek düzenlediği çılgınca seks partileri günün normu hâline gelmiştir. Tüm bunlar yetmezmiş gibi toplu intiharı bir kurtuluş olarak gören ve bunu kitlelere zorla benimsetmeye çalışan gruplar da türemiştir. Dahası, devletler de bu gidişe bir dur demek için ne bir sebep görmekte, ne de bu yönde bir istek duymaktadır. Bilâkis, devlet adamları da ölümlülüklerinin idrakiyle ayakları yere basan insanlar hâline gelmiş ve herkes gibi birer insan olduklarını hatırlayarak az önce sözünü ettiğimiz seks partilerinde başrollerde yer almaya başlamıştır. Hatta bahse konu seks partileri bazı ülkelerde devlet eliyle düzenlenmeye bile başlanmıştır. Bu acı gerçekten para tabir ettiğimiz illet de nasibini almış ve ölümlülük karşısında önemini yitirerek har vurulup harman savrulmaya başlanmıştır. Sanırız bu noktada kapitalizmin ölümle ilişkisini mercek altına almak yolunda keseceğimiz bazı ahkâmlar konuya açıklık getirecektir. Her ne kadar bazı okuyucularımız, değinmek zorunda olduğumuz bu teorik konuları sıkıcı bulacak olsa da, bizler birtakım siyasi mesajlar vermek kaygısı taşıdığımızı açıkça dile getirmekten çekinmiyoruz. Didaktik olmakla itham edilmek pahasına, kimin söylediği meçhul “gerektiğinde didaktik de olunmalıdır” sözünden hareketle ölümün kapitalizmle ilişkisi konulu bir konferansa yönlendiriyoruz şimdi anlatımızı.

Adı kurgu açısından gereksiz bir üniversitenin devasa kongre merkezinde toplanan ve güneşin sönmek suretiyle insanlığı, hayvanlığı, bitkiliği, nesneliği, hatta işte güneş sistemindeki tüm varlığı yok edeceği yönündeki  iddiayı bir grup kapitalistin kapitalizmin gücüne güç katmak ve eğlence sektörüne ivme kazandırmak maksadıyla ortalığa yaydığına inanan ve dünyadaki bu kaygı verici gidişata kayıtsız kalmamayı seçen bir grup komünistin düzenlediği “Ölüm ve Kapitalizm” adlı konferansın ilk konuşmacısı, akıl ihsan olunmuş her fâninin aklına durgunluk vermesi kuvvetle muhtemel olsa da Dr. Lawgiverz’di ey üstündeki lâneti yazgısı belleyen şaşkın okur. Akla zarar hakikatlerin birbiri ardına zuhruyla kasılan bilinçlerin daha fazla kasılmasına gönlümüz razı olmadığından, Dr. Lawgiverz’in konuşmasının anlatımızın kurgusu açısından önem arz etmeyen yanlarını budayıp, sadece hayati ehemmiyeti haiz bazı noktaları iktibas etmenin yerinde olacağını düşündük. Eminiz ki pek çok okuyucumuz bu kararımızı sevinçle karşılamış, içlerine dolan salakça sevinçle ne yapacaklarını bilmez bir vaziyette taklalar atmaya başlamıştır. Kararımızdan hoşnut olmayan okuyucularımıza ise elimizden herkesi tatmin etmenin mümkün olmadığı gerçeğini bir an olsun akıllarından çıkarmamalarını salık vermekten başka bir şey gelmediğini üzüntüyle belirtmek isteriz. Kendilerine burada sizlerin huzurunda söz veririz ki bir dahaki sefere de şimdi sevinç çığlıkları ve taklalar atan okuyucularımıza vereceğiz aynı salığı. Böylece her iki gruptaki okuyucularımızı da eşit derecede ihya etmiş olacağız sanırız. Her neyse, kendini hangi gruba dahil hissederse hissetsin, hiçbir okuyucumuzu sanrılarımızla meşgul etmek istemediğimiz için lâfı fazla uzatmadan Dr. Lawgiverz’in konferansta sarfettiği ibret verici sözlere geçelim isterseniz şimdi hep birlikte.

Dr. Lawgiverz’den Nihilistik Spekülasyonlar

“Değerli konuklar, saygıdeğer yoldaşlar ve sevgili çocuklar,

Konuşmama başlamadan önce hepinize hoş geldiniz demek istiyorum: Hoşgeldiniz! (Yoğun alkış dalgası….Alkışlar…..Alkış yoğunluğunda azalma…. Tek tük alkış….. Sessizlik). Bildiğiniz gibi bugün burada çok önemli bir konuyu mercek altına almak için toplandık. Düşmanın maskesini düşürmek ve dünyamızda oynanan bu çirkin oyunu sonlandırmak gayesini taşıdığımızı bilmiyorum söylemeye gerek var mı. Ama aranızda aramıza yeni katılmış kişilerin de olabileceğini göz önünde bulundurarak, gene de söylüyorum işte, belki vardır diye.

mad birds (deli kuşlar)  böyle küçük bir karenin içine insan dahil hangi hayvanı hapsetseler delirirdi zaten… benim anlamadığım neden akıl ihsan olunmuş bir fâninin, yani bir insanın, böyle bir gif yapmak ihtiyacı duyduğudur… belki de biz bunları yazıp bu iletişimi kuralım diye yapmıştır, kim bilir… aslında anlamsız görünen her şey biz hakkında konuşmaya başladığımız anda anlam kazanır, her ne kadar o şey hakkında son derece anlamsız lâflar sarfetsek de… belki de bir şeyin anlam kazanabilmesinin temel koşulu o şeyin maddi veya manevi dünyada bir etki yaratmasıdır, yarattığı etki hiçbir amaca hizmet etmese de… bildğimiz kadarıyla her etki bir amaca hizmet eder ama, hizmet edilen amacın ne olduğunu biz ölümlüler bilsek de bilmesek de… kendinde-şey (in-itself) olarak bir nesnenin anlamlı olması mümkün müdür acaba? meselâ yazılmış ve/fakat bir yayınevinin deposunda veya bir kütüphanenin ambarında tozlanıp pirelere, güvelere yem olmaya mahkûm olmuş bir kitap, yani hiç kimsenin okuması mümkün olmayan bir kitap kendi içinde, yani dış dünyadan bağımsız bir anlam ihtiva eder mi? hakkında konuşulmayan şeyler var mıdırlar? elbette ki vardırlar, ama bu varlık anlamlı mıdır? anlamlıysa bu anlamın kaynağı nedir? anlamın kaynağı var mıdır? varsa bu kaynak dil midir? yoksa bu kaynak yok mudur? yoksa bu kaynak dil midir? dilse bu kaynak sanal mıdır? sanalsa bu kaynak var mıdır? varsa bu kaynak sanal mıdır? sanalsa bu kaynak sonsuzluğun ta kendisi midir? öyleyse sonsuzluk hiçlikle aynı şey midir? aynı şeyse hiçlik varlık mıdır? varlıksa hiçlik yok mudur? yoksa hiçlik var mıdır? varsa hiçlik yok mudur? varsa da hiçlik yoksa da hiçlik etc…etc… bu gif ve bu kuşlar hakkında bilmiyorum başka ne söylenebilir, söylenebilirse eğer bir şey…  (via lucyphermann, sinatrablue)       

Her neyse, nesnelerin sadece birbirleriyle bağlantıları bağlamında bir anlam kazanmasının şart olmadığını, bilâkis bunun son derece tesadüfi 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. Zamanın ve uzamın birbirine dönüşerek tarih-dışı bir var oluşun, yani bir ölümsüzün, zuhur etmesini mümkün kılacak alanı yaratması ise 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 Felsefesi’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 bağlılaşımcılığın(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 sönerek 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.

İnsanın ölümlü bir varlık olduğu ise, 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: 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.

Ölümlülüğü sömürmek suretiyle gücüne güç katan liberal-demokratik-militarist-kapitalizmin ölümün ortadan kalkmasıyla kendi içine dönük bir patlamaya, çökmeye(contraction) 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 içkin olduğu komünist-gerçekçiliğe doğru bir yönelim hem mümkündür, hem de gerekli.”  

Yokluk Olarak Varlık

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? İşte bu soruyu yanıtlamak maksadıyla, 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 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…

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, çünkü O bir ironisttir. 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. Belli ki bu kitabın ironist yazarının kavramsal personasının, 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. Öncelikle Kant ve Hegel’in felsefeleri arasındaki benzerliklerden ziyade farklılıklara değinmek istiyor O. Daha sonra ise konuyu güneşin 4.5 yıl içerisinde söneceği yönündeki spekülasyonlara bağlamaya çalışacak büyük ihtimalle. O, lâfı fazla uzatmadan diyebilir ki 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.

Her ne kadar ölümsüzlük düşüncesini hayata geçirebilmek sinir ve damar sisteminin bozguna uğratılmasını gerektirir gibi gözükse de, işin aslı hiç de öyle değildir. Zira az önce de belirtildiği üzere ölümsüz şahsiyetin ölümsüzlüğü fiziksel anlamda sonsuz olmak anlamına gelmekten ziyade, ruhsal veya şuursal anlamda sonsuzluğu idrak edebilecek bilinç düzeyine ulaşmış olmak demektir. Fâni bir bedende, fâni olmayan bir düşünceyi barındırabilecek kudrete erişmek olarak da nitelendirebileceğimiz bu var oluş tarzı özellikle 20. Yüzyıl sonu ve 21. Yüzyıl başında Deleuze ve Badiou gibi düşünürlerin kafasını kurcalamış spekülatif bir teoriler demetinin ürünüdür. Benim, olmayan şeyleri varmış gibi gösterme eğilimi içinde oluşumun sebebi ise söz konusu olmayan şeylerin var olduğunu düşünmemdir. Dikkat ederseniz cümlemi “olmayan şeylerin var olduğunu bilmemdir,” yerine “olmayan şeylerin var olduğunu düşünmemdir,” diyerek noktaladım. Zira ben bilmek ve düşünmek mastarları arasında dipsiz bir uçurum olduğu kanaatindeyim. Dipsiz bir uçurumun varlığından söz etmiş olmamın maksadı, siz de takdir edersiniz ki, olmayan bir şeyin var olmasının ne anlama geldiğini bir metafor aracılığıyla göstermek arzusunu taşıyor oluşumdur. Elbette ki benim sözünü ettiğim her şey salt benim tarafımdan söz konusu edildikleri için kanıtları kendilerinden menkûl hakikatler değildir. Bir metafor olarak “dipsiz uçurum” olgusu boşlukla dolu bir varlığı ifade eder. Fakat şu da bir gerçek ki dünyada dipsiz uçurumlar namevcuttur. Dünyada olmayan olguların varlığından söz edebilmemiz bile fiziksel dünya koşullarında var olması imkânsız olan pek çok olgunun düşünsel düzlemde mümkün olabileceğinin göstergesidir. Zira düşünce doğası gereği metafiziksel bir olaydır ve vazifesi maddi bir olgu olan dil vasıtasıyla fiziksel dünyada boşluklar oluşturmaktır. Tabii burada dil vasıtasıyla derken sakın dili ve aklı araçsallaştırdığımızı sanmayın. Aklıda tutun ki burada bahse konu düşüncenin fiziksel dünyada dil vasıtasıyla yarattığı şey boşluktan başka bir şey değildir. Boşluk yaratmaksa bizim projemiz bağlamında bir amaç olmaktan ziyade bir araçtır. Yani buradaki amaç dilin araçsallaştırılmasına karşı dili boşluk yaratmakta kullanılan bir araca dönüştürmek suretiyle amaçla aracın rollerini değiştirerek kendilerinin ötekisine, yani birbirlerine dönüşmelerini sağlamaktır. Birbirlerine dönüşen amaç ile aracın birbirlerini yok etmesinin kaçınılmaz olduğunu söylemeye ise bilmiyoruz gerek var mı. Varılmak istenen nokta şudur: 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.

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. Bunu da ancak bir ironist, aynı zamanda hem kendini aşan, hem de kendine içkin anlam dünyalarına kapılar aralayan ironisiyle yapabilir, ki nitekim işte yapmıştır da zaten.

the door of perception (via lucyphermann)

Notlar

[1] Bu metin henüz yazım aşamasında olan yeni kitabımın ilk hâlidir. Büyük ihtimalle 2-3 yıllık bir süreç içerisinde dallanıp budaklanacak, serpilip açılan bir halı gibi yayılacaktır önümüze. Söylemeye gerek var mı bilmiyorum ama adı bile henüz belli olmayan yeni kitabın bir özeti niteliğini taşıyan söz konusu metin son derece yoğun, sıkıştırılmış bir taslaktan öteye gitmemektedir. Okuyucudan ricam metni bitmiş bir ürün olarak değil, inşası süren bir yapıt olarak gören gözlerle okumasıdır. C.E.

[2] José Saramago, Lizbon Kuşatmasının Tarihi, çev. İpek Babacan (İş Bankası Kültür: İstanbul, 1989), 178.

Is Deleuze a Speculative Realist?

At first it might seem he is. If Bruno Latour is on the right track with respect to speculative realism, as Graham Harman and others would argue, then it might seem that Deleuze is on the right track as well for there are a number of areas where their philosophies converge in significant ways – especially concerning events, multiplicity, and their embrace of an ontological monism. I cover much of this in Deleuze’s Hume. It would also seem that De… Read More

via Aberrant Monism

Written by Infinite Thought

Deleuze in Context  

image

Deleuze in Context Workshop
University of Dundee
24 September 2010
11 AM – 6 PM, Carnelly Building, Room 2.20
Supported by School of Humanities and Arts and Humanities Research Institute, University of Dundee
Speakers
Jeffrey Bell, Southeastern Louisiana University, ‘Between Realism and Anti-Realism: Deleuze and the Spinozist Tradition in Philosophy’
Ian Buchanan, Cardiff University, ‘Deleuze and the Question of Revolution’
Craig Lundy, UNSW, ‘Historiophilosophy: Absolute Thought and its Historical Milieu’
David Martin-Jones, University of St Andrews, ‘The Child Seer in and as History: Putting the Cinema Books into Context’
Dominic Smith, University of Dundee, ‘Get Beyond Bad Faith and Bartleby: Some Stakes for Contemporary Thought’
Organiser: Professor James Williams, School of Humanities, University of Dundee

This event is free but places are limited due to the workshop format, so please book ahead as soon as possible by contacting James, j.r.williams[at]dundee.ac.uk

Visit this site

imaj ve yanılsama: reklam Subliminal! 1957 yılında market araştırmacısı James Vicary sinema ekranında çok hızlı bir şekilde parıldayan mesajların insanların gıda üzerinde tercihlerini etkilediğini kanıtlamak amacıyla yaptığı bir araştırmada teskistoskop adı verilen bir cihazla filmlerin arasına ‘coacola iç!’ ‘patlamış mısır ye!’mesajlarını yerleştirdi. Bu mesajlar saniyenin 1/3000’i kadar kısa bir sürede görünüyor ve her 5 saniyede tekrarlanıyordu. Bu filmlerin ardından N … Read More

via Anticopyright-tr Blog

 The Brain: The Places in the Brain Where Space Lives | Mind & Brain | DISCOVER MagazineJames Williams teaches philosophy at the University of Dundee. He has written on French thinker Jean-François Lyotard, Lyotard: Towards a Postmodern Philosophy (Polity), Lyotard and the Political (Routledge) and with Keith Crome The Lyotard Reader and Guide (Edinburgh), on Gilles Deleuze, Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition: a Critical Introduction and Guide (Edinburgh) and The Transversal Thought of Gilles Deleuze (Clinamen) and a new defence of poststructuralism, Understanding Poststructuralism (Acumen).

 Mark Thwaite: You have written books on Lyotard, Deleuze and now you add three other poststructuralist thinkers (Derrida, Foucault and Kristeva) to your list – before we get into the detail of your books, what is it that draws you to these thinkers?

James Williams: I was drawn to Lyotard’s ultra-realist political sensitivity, not in the grim conservative sense of realist, but in the sense of refusing any misplaced idealism about structures and systems. I like the way he seeks out gaps in those structures through their dependence on desire. His ability to connect those gaps to notions of justice is important to me. Deleuze is a vital metaphysician; in future years it will be commonplace to utter lines like “Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Marx, Deleuze …” He opens life on to a realm of conditions and potentials that resist modern day naturalism (the reduction of life to the findings of the natural sciences defined in a very limited way) whilst remaining free of dogmatic mysticism. Derrida is a wonderful teacher. He expands our capacity to read between and across lines and texts. I like Kristeva’s combination of literary and psychoanalytical thought. She shows that an engagement with the role of deep processes in the psyche allows us to understand the revolutionary power of literature. As for Foucault, I have a soft spot for the complexity and balance of his style, its measure and cadence; it adds pleasure to the necessity of his understanding of the power of interlaced historical processes in contemporary lives.

MT: Your first book was on Jean-François Lyotard. Lyotard strikes me as a thinker often cited as the writer who defined postmodernism (in The Postmodern Condition), but not as a philosopher whose work has had a great impact beyond this. What is is that you see in Lyotard’s work that is so important?

JW: Lyotard was one of the best essayists of his time. A modern day Diderot, rather than a pure professional philosopher. So his work on the postmodern must be seen as a brilliant idea among many. It must also be seen in its aesthetic and polemical settings. Lyotard’s works are creative provocations with deep philosophical, political and artistic backgrounds. His work on the postmodern is often misread as a defence of postmodernity (an epoch) when it fact it is a plea for postmodern works that defy epochs by retaining a disruptive extra-historical power. Postmodern works remind us of the limits of the rational or irrational consensus that emerges and defines a slice of history. They are therefore outside such time-slices and have a negative power, ‘here are the limits of reason’, and a positive power, ‘here is an event that we must find new ways of doing justice to’. The notion of impact is a suspicious one in this context and I prefer to think in terms of the untimely: ‘That is to say, for as long as that for which it is time, and which the present time has more need of than ever, continues to count as untimely – I mean: telling the truth’ (Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, 55). There are many current works inspired by Lyotard’s truths, for example, Margret Grebowicz’s Gender after Lyotard (SUNY, forthcoming), Geoffrey Bennington‘s Late Lyotard and Simon Malpas’s Lyotard (Routledge). Keith Crome and myself have a new critical edition of Lyotard’s works out this month! (The Lyotard Reader and Guide, EUP).

MT: Your Understanding Poststructuralism will, inevitably, be sold as an introductory text to students, but I thought it much better than many introductory texts (important though I think many of these gateway books can be). One of your concerns would seem to be that some analytic/traditional philosophers have not bothered to rise to the challenge of poststructuralist thought, but have condemned it tout court and without care. Why do you think that is?

JW: I like Bourdieu’s sociological methodology for answering this kind of question. For example, in his Homo Academicus, he traces the patterns of training and background for French academics. A similar work could be done for contemporary philosophers (where they trained, with which supervisors, their views of the importance of reason and common sense, whether they view themselves and thrive as specialists or generalists, their attitudes to science, religion and the arts). It would be scurrilous to offer answers independent of such a survey in addition to an extensive study of the statements made on continental philosophers. I am interested in raising critical questions that intersect with analytic ones in order to show that poststructuralist thinkers have some of the most original and powerful, in the sense of liberating, answers to traditional problems. Sometimes, the answer is that the problem is a false one. This can lead to some shock and misunderstanding, often based on the most sketchy reading and perhaps some concealed political and emotional motivations. I’d be happy to have shown that this need not be the case.

MT: What do you make of the ethical/religious turn in thinkers like Derrida? Was it inevitable?

JW: Nothing is inevitable, because even if things are causally determined, the meaning of what occurs exceeds facts or states of affairs. That’s why the same event is very different if we know it is to happen, rather than if it surprises us – hence the rich possibilities in literature for scenes where a death is foreseen (I often return to Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, even if it was unsettling to read of its origin in true events in his recent beautiful memoirs Living to tell the tale). When we use the term ‘turn’ in philosophy it imparts meaning and weight to what is turned to, but this is always controversial, none more so than when it imposes linearity on to works with much more complex twists in time. For me, Derrida is primarily a great political interpreter of the philosophical tradition – and he never turned – for others, he is an ethical thinker. It is a mark of his importance that this will remain a rich source of debate.

MT: A number of the big beasts of poststructuralism are dead now. Theory’s time has, perhaps, passed. Who in contemporary thought should we be watching out for: Agamben, Badiou, Negri, Virilio, Zizek!?

JW: The philosophy I work on avoids these kind of predictions, except when they are uttered ironically. They encourage a nostalgic view that deflates the present. They also run counter to the view of events as shaped in retrospect and as always retaining an openness to future transformations (theory will return, but not as we know it). They also reflect the consumerist and fashion-led approach that turns us into onlookers rather than makers (see Guy Debord’s not-to-be-missed Comments on the Society of the Spectacle or his original Society of the Spectacle). Don’t look to others: What drives you and disgusts you? Work on them, but without fixing and representing them… Not easy, but definitely good for life.

MT: Lyotard’s libidinal economics – like Deleuze & Guattari’s politics of desire – seem to me to have dated more heavily than other postmodernisms, perhaps because they seem so tied to the jouissance of ’68 … or am I being unfair?

JW: There is a beautiful treatment of this kind of problem in Charles Péguy’s great book Clio. Péguy describes history as two intersecting cones: as we look into the future the cone widens and there are always more judges and actors, a bigger potential audience, but equally when they look back there are ever more worthy protagonists around us in the past. Our future audience turns out to have a choice among a much greater range of scenarios than we expected. So the interlocking cones of history grow wider backwards and forwards, and both cones expand through time. This leads to a set of interesting paradoxes. We care about future judgements, but we necessarily matter less and less in the future. Yet when we look back at needy actors just like us, we see them amongst many others. We crave significance, but remove it from others to make space for our own, as they do to us. One of the biggest problems is whether this should be cause for melancholy, or for a release from the burdens of destiny (Péguy’s moods alternate between despair and glory). If it is the latter – and, after all, it is up to us – then Lyotard’s desire will keep returning, but never as a dominating legacy.

MT: In the critical responses to your books, have you learned anything that would make you want to reassess or finesse your arguments? Have you been happy with the responses to your work?

JW: Readers’ responses to manuscripts, commissioned by academic presses, are the most important critical response to books and articles received by academics; they are almost never seen by others. A bad response means no publication, no publication can mean no job. Luckily, I have had many helpful responses that have much improved my books. It is luck because readers and reviewers can often be less well-qualified than the original author or have an opposed agenda (‘this book about guinea pigs should have been about elephants’. There is very little kudos in reading and reviewing, so they are done out of duty, enjoyment in judging others, lust for power, or necessity (junior academics find it hard to get early publications and hence often work through reviews; they are also in need of the tiny sums paid for reading: ‘we offer you £50 worth of our books for a 3 page report on this 400 page manuscript’). I like the way some modern reviewers are trying to re-invigorate the form by turning reviews into more creative pieces, where judgement and categorisation play less prominent roles. A good reviewer jumps off from a work, rather than jumps on it (obviously Nietzscheans do not have regrets, but were I to have any, one would be to have flattened rather than lifted works).

MT: You have a new book about Deleuze coming from Clinamen in March (The Transversal Thought of Gilles Deleuze) – can you tell me a little about it? Will this be building on the arguments in your Gilles Deleuze’s “Difference and Repetition”: A Critical Introduction and Guide?

JW: Clinamen is one of a dwindling number of independent specialist philosophical presses resisting the commercial logic of ‘many introductory primers and few, mainly historical, classics’. Bill Ross, the editor, pays genuine care to his authors and books. My book argues that Deleuze sought to construct a metaphysics, a world-view, with the greatest potential for openness, that is, with the fewest basic exclusions and identifications. A metaphysics that says that humans or nature or God, identified in a certain fixed way, are prior and best is terribly violent and narrow. However, even contemporary forms of empirical scientific naturalism can be narrow, due to the metaphysical presuppositions of their methods: forms of abstraction and generalisation, for instance. My book shows the detail of Deleuze’s arguments in relation to other key thinkers. I trace Deleuze’s work on transcendental conditions in Kant; his ethical thought based around expression, through Levinas; his engagement with science, through Bachelard; his work on reciprocal determination, in Whitehead; his distance from the possible, through Lewis; his radical opposition to the use of common sense, through Harman; and his revolutionary politics, in Negri and Lyotard. The book could have been called Deleuze, Life and Philosophy, but The Transversal Thought of Gilles Deleuze: Encounters and Influences is much less hubristic (the value of a good editor).

MT: What are you working on now?

JW: I’m working on another book-length reading of a work by Deleuze (The Logic of Sense). This book develops his idea of the radical connection of all things and people through the intense sensations that can run through them. He deduces a surface of sense connecting impersonal neutral events to individual singular actual ones, for example, in the way a single battle brings together many different actors, but from myriad perspectives and through multiple emotions and attachments. This notion of the event, as a connecting process prior and constitutive of fleeting identities, has very interesting ramifications for the ways we see life. So I am working on a long-term project of a new philosophy of the event inspired by Deleuze and by Whitehead.

MT: What is the best book you have read recently? Who is your favourite writer/what is your favourite book?

JW: I do not really have favourite writers and books. There are writers that accompany different moods and moments very well (Goytisolo, McEwan, Faulkner, Franquin, Goscinny, Uderzo, Chatwin, Sollers, Barthes, Greene, Borgès, Morris, Nietzsche, Foucault, Golding, Proulx, Waugh, Sempé) but which ones, when and where is unpredictable, sometimes they work, sometimes they do not. When they work they connect a moment to others by making them different; a single fixed and cherished favourite could not really do that – like a jester always telling the same joke to lesser effect. Off with his head.

MT: Has the internet changed the way that you read and write?

JW: I can’t remember a time before the internet. The latest surfing speeds and remote file and email access allow an academic to be almost anywhere in the world and ‘at work’. This ends the old dichotomy of, either, working on a single well-crafted piece next to a hot stove in slippers, or, sitting in a fusty university office teaching and administrating. My only worry with this passing is that it can increase a somewhat typical academic jealousy and paranoia (What are they doing? Why aren’t they reading me? Who is planning my downfall? Do I care?) Less in-the-flesh contact involves a loss of social skills and an increase in lonely self-analysis. It goes without saying that poststructuralists like me never ever suffer from this, and don’t you ever say the contrary, because I will find out.

MT: Anything else you’d like to say?

JW: Thanks for interviewing me. A serendipitous remedy for the above electronic social alienation lies in setting up a network of valued internet sites – something like an archipelago of cultured writing amidst a sea of dross. ReadySteadyBook (and its linked blogs) are pleasant and hospitable islands!

MT: Thanks so much for your time James – all the very best.

RSB-ROBOT
Copyright © 2002-2010 http://www.readysteadybook.com.

Mark Thwaite (13/02/2006)

 
alice, white rabbit, the hole and many doors

 

Mark Fisher has been writing an acclaimed blog as k-punk for some years now. Focussing on culture, especially music and literature, and politics. His writing also appears in the New Statesman, Frieze, The Wire, Sight and Sound and FACT. A founder member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, he now teaches at Goldsmiths University and the City Literary Institute in London.

In November last year he published his first book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, and also edited a collection of texts on the death of Michael Jackson, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson, both published with Zer0 Books.

Rowan Wilson: Your blog, k-punk, is one of the leading blogs for cultural analysis. When did you first start writing it and why did you start?

Mark Fisher: Thank you. I started it in 2003. At the time, I was working as a Philosophy lecturer in a Further Education college in Kent – I reflect on some of my experiences there in Capitalist Realism. I was then quite badly depressed – not because of teaching, which I enjoyed, but for a whole series of long-term reasons – and I started blogging as a way of getting back into writing after the traumatic experience of doing a PhD. PhD work bullies one into the idea that you can’t say anything about any subject until you’ve read every possible authority on it. But blogging seemed a more informal space, without that kind of pressure. Blogging was a way of tricking myself back into doing serious writing. I was able to con myself, thinking, “it doesn’t matter, it’s only a blog post, it’s not an academic paper”. But now I take the blog rather more seriously than writing academic papers. I was actually only aware of blogs for a short while before I started mine. But I could quite quickly see that the blog network around Simon Reynolds’ blog [see the RSB interview with Reynolds] – which was the first network I started to read – fulfilled many of the functions that the music press used to. But it wasn’t just replicating the old music press; there were also sorts of strange, idiosyncratic blogs which couldn’t have existed in any other medium. I saw that – contrary to all the clichés – blogs didn’t have to be online diaries: they were a blank space in which writers could pursue their own lines of interest (something that it‘s increasingly difficult for writers to do in print media, for a number of reasons).

RW: You’re almost one of the elder statespeople of blogging now. How has it changed since you started?

MF: Blogging networks shift all the time; new blogs enter the network, older ones fall away; new networks constitute themselves. One of the most significant developments was the introduction of comments; a largely unfortunate change in my view. In the early days of blogs, if you wanted to respond to a post, you had to reply on your own blog, and if you didn’t have a blog, you had to create one. Comments tend to reduce things to banal sociality, with all its many drawbacks.

Yet blogs continue to do things that can’t be done anywhere else: look at the way that Speculative Realism has propagated through blogs. Originally coined as term of convenience for the work of the philosophers Ray Brassier, Graham Harman, Iain Hamilton Grant and Quentin Meillassoux, Speculative Realism now has an online unlife of its own. This isn’t just commentary on existing philosophical positions; it’s a philosophy that is actually happening on the web. Graham has his own blog, Object-Oriented Philosophy, but there are a whole range of Speculative Realism-related blogs, including Speculative Heresy and Planomenology. Reid Kane of Plamomenology has gone so far as to argue that Speculative Realism is “the first avatar of distributed cognition”, that, in other words, there is a natural fit between SR and the online medium.

RW: You were one of the co-founders of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), described by Simon Reynolds as the academic equivalent of Apocalypse Now’s Colonel Kurtz. Who did you form it with and what was its purpose?

MF: The main driving forces behind it were Sadie Plant and Nick Land. But Sadie Plant left quite quickly so the CCRU as it developed was much more shaped by Nick Land. Nick’s 1990s texts – which are to be issued in a collected edition this year, by Urbanomic, who publish the Collapse journal – are incredible. Far from the dry databasing of much academic writing or the pompous solemnity of so much continental philosophy, Nick’s texts were astonishing theory-fictions. They weren’t distanced readings of French theory so much as cybergothic remixes which put Deleuze and Guattari on the same plane as films such as Apocalypse Now and fictions such as Gibson’s Neuromancer.

Jungle was crucial to the Ccru. What the Ccru was about was capturing, (and extrapolating) this specifically British take on cyberculture, in which music was central. Ccru was trying to do with writing what Jungle, with its samples from such as Predator, Terminator and Blade Runner, was doing in sound: “text at sample velocity”, as Kodwo Eshun put it.

RW: The writing of the Ccru seems very different to your current style. Are you still involved with the Ccru – and indeed is it still operating?

MF: It was never formally disbanded but then again it was never formally constituted. It’s odd because, it’s only a decade on that the stuff is starting to get published in book form. As I said, Nick’s texts are just about to be published. Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) has just had his book Sonic Warfarepublished on MIT Press. As for the change of style, I suppose a number of things happened. One was the slowing of the UK cyberculture that had inspired the Ccru throughout the 90s. Gradually, the exorbitant hypotheses of the Ccru seemed to have less purchase on a culture that increasingly seemed to correspond more with Jameson’s ideas of retrospection and pastiche. In the 90s, it was possible to oppose a vibrant cyberculture to the malaise which Jameson identified. But in the 00s, the blight of postmodernism spread everywhere.

Also, I found that, as I started teaching regularly, and as I got used to writing for an audience – and there’s no form of writing that makes you as aware of having an audience as blogging; print publications just don’t compare – I rediscovered rhetoric, argument and engagement. The exhilaration of the Ccru-style was its uncompromising blizzard of jargon, text as a tattoo of intensities to which you just had to submit. But it’s hard to maintain that kind of speed-intensity for longer writing projects; and I found that I enjoyed producing writing that was expositorier and which tried to engage the reader rather than blitz them. I like Zizek’s line that the idiot he is trying to explain philosophy to is himself; I feel the same. Much of my writing now is me trying to explain things to/for myself.

There were also political schisms. The Ccru defined itself against the sclerotic stranglehold that a certain moralizing Old Left had on the Humanities academy. There was a kind of exuberant anti-politics, a ‘technihilo’ celebration of the irrelevance of human agency, partly inspired by the pro-markets, anti-capitalism line developed by Manuel DeLanda out of Braudel, and from the section of Anti-Oedipus that talks about marketization as the “revolutionary path”. This was a version of what Alex Williams has called “accelerationism”, but it has never been properly articulated as a political position; the tendency is to fall back into a standard binary, with capitalism and libertarianism on one side and the state and centralization on the other.

But working in the public sector in Blairite Britain made me see that neoliberal capitalism didn’t fit with the accelerationist model; on the contrary, pseudo-marketization was producing the pervasive, decentralized bureaucracy I describe in Capitalist Realism. My experiences as a teacher and as trade union activist combined with a belated encounter with Zizek – who was using some of the same conceptual materials as Ccru (the Freudian death drive; pulp culture, technology), but giving them a leftist spin – to push me towards a different political position. I guess what I’m interested in now is in synthesizing some of the interests and methods of the Ccru with a new leftism. Speculative Realism has returned to some of the areas that the Ccru was interested in. What I’m hoping will happen in the next decade is that a new kind of theory will develop that emerges from people who have been deep-cooked in post-Fordist capitalism, who take cyberspace for granted and who lack nostalgia for the exhausted paradigms of the old left.

RW: One of the most exciting things to happen in publishing last year was the development of the Zer0 Books imprint. Can you explain how that came about and the purpose of the project?

MF: The imprint was set up by the novelist Tariq Godard. He asked Nina Power and me if we’d like to do books, and we suggested a range of other people. What we wanted was to produce the kind of books we’d want to read ourselves, but which weren’t being published anywhere. In mainstream media, the space that had drawn Tariq and myself towards theory in the first place – the music press, areas of the broadcast media – had disappeared. Effectively, that kind of discourse had been driven into exile online. So part of what Zer0 was about was harvesting the work that has been developed on the blog networks. Zer0 is about establishing a para-space, between theory and popular culture, between cyberspace and the university. The Zer0 books are a reminder of what ought to be obvious, but which the imbecilic reductionism of neoliberal media would like us to forget: serious writing doesn’t have to be opaque and incomprehensible, and popular writing doesn’t have to be facile.

RW: Your first book, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, was published by Zer0 in November. Why do you think that capitalism, even in the wake of the financial crisis, has such a grip on our consciousness?

MF: I’m not sure that it has a grip on our consciousness so much as on our unconscious. It shapes the limits of what we can imagine. It does so because it has enjoyed 20 years of unchallenged domination, blitzing our nervous systems with its intoxicants, paralysing thought. Put at its simplest, capitalist realism is the widespread idea that capitalism is the only “realistic” political economic system. The response to the financial crisis only reinforced this belief – it was (on every level) unthinkable that the banks could be allowed to crash. The problem is imagining an alternative that anyone believes could be actually attained. Which isn’t to say that an alternative can’t ever come about; in fact, after the financial crisis, we’re in the bizarre situation at the moment where everything – very much including the continuation of the status quo – looks impossible.  But this is already an improvement from how things seemed only two years ago. The financial crisis forced capitalist realism to change its form. The old neoliberal story was no longer viable. But Capital has not yet cobbled together much of a new narrative, or come up with any economic solution to the problems that led to the crash in the first place. It’s as if capitalism has suffered its own version of shock therapy.

RW: How is your argument different from that put forward by Fredric Jameson in his work on the culture of postmodernism?

MF: Well, as I say in the book, in many ways what I’m calling “capitalist realism” can be contained under the rubric of Jameson’s theorization of postmodernism. Yet the very persistence and ubiquity of the processes that Jameson identifies – the destruction of a sense of history, the supersession of novelty by pastiche – meant that they have changed in kind. Postmodernism is now no longer a tendency in culture; it has subsumed practically all culture. Capitalist realism, you might say, is what happens when postmodernism is naturalized. After all, we’ve now got a generation of young adults who have known nothing but global capitalism and who are accustomed to culture being pastiche and recapitulation.

RW: In the book you move from describing the problems of capitalist society to how it is making us mentally ill. What do you think are the central lasting effects of neoliberalism on our psyches and, with its collapse, how do you see these unravelling?

MF: Neoliberalism installs a perpetual anxiety – there is no security; your position and status are under constant review. It’s no wonder that, as Oliver James shows in The Selfish Capitalist, depression is so prevalent in neoliberalized countries. Widespread mental illness is one of the hidden costs of neoliberal capitalism; stress has been privatized. If you’re depressed because of overwork, that’s between you and your brain chemistry!

I do think that the financial crisis killed neoliberalism as a political project – but it doesn’t need to be alive in order to continue to dominate our minds, work and culture. Even though neoliberalism now lacks any forward momentum, it still controls things by default. So, sadly, I don’t see the deleterious psychic effects of neoliberalism waning any time in the immediate future.

RW:You identify the madness of managerial bureaucracy, the incessant and pointless ‘auditing culture’, in contemporary public services, specifically education. You discuss how this auditing culture is now, along with capitalism’s PR network, a new big Other, a replacement for God. It’s the ideological matrix that we all cynically dismiss (not just privately – this cynicism is now the accepted public language; see the Guardian’s G2 section for daily examples) but nonetheless remains the binding authority. Why are we not simply able to shrug it off?

MF: PR is not limited any more to specific promotional activities – as I say in the book, under capitalism, all that is solid melts into PR. In so-called “immaterial” labour, the effect of auditing is not to improve actual performance but to generate a representation of better performance. It’s a familiar effect that anyone subject to New Labour’s targets will know all too well.

Neoliberalism reproduces itself through cynicism, through people doing things they “don’t really believe”. It’s a question of power. People go along with auditing culture and what I call “business ontology” not necessarily because they agree with it, but because that is the ruling order, “that’s just how things are now, and we can’t do anything about it”. That kind of sentiment is what I mean by capitalist realism. And it isn’t merely queitsm; it’s true that almost no-one working in public services is likely to be sacked if they get a poor performance review (they will just be subject to endless retraining); but they might well be sacked if they start questioning the performance review system itself or refusing to co-operate with it.

RW: So now we move from the critique to the positive proposals. In an interview with Matthew Fuller for Mute you tentatively suggest that the left needs to come up with a new big Other, one that is more representative of Rousseau’s ‘general will’. How is this to be distinguished from the capitalist big Other and how would it be prevented from becoming reified, a new system of mystical dominance?

RW: Reification isn’t a problem per se; in fact, it’s something we should hope for. Evan Calder Williams, whose book Combined and Uneven Apocalypse is coming out on Zer0, talks of an “anti-capitalist reification”, and I think that’s what we need to develop. It’s capitalism that poses as being anti-reification; it’s capitalism that presents itself as having dissolved all illusions and exposed the underlying reality of things. Part of what I’m arguing in Capitalist Realism is that this is an ideological sleight of hand; it’s precisely neoliberal capitalism’s ostensible demystifications (its reduction of everything to the supposedly self-evident category of the free individual) that allow all kinds of strange, quasi-theological entities to rule our lives. But I don’t think the aim should be to replace capitalism’s fake anti-reification with a “real” anti-reification. Reification can’t be entirely eliminated. I take this to be one of the important lessons that Lacanian psychoanalysis has to teach. Being a speaking subject at all involves a minimal reification; the big Other is coterminous with language itself. But this is very far from being a problem for the left. It’s the left that needs to insist on the reality of something in excess of individuals, whether you call it the “general will”, the “public interest”, or something else. When Mrs Thatcher famously denied the existence of society, she was echoing Max Stirner’s claim that all such abstractions are “spooks”. But we can’t ever rid ourselves of these incorporeal entities – neoliberalism certainly hasn’t. As I argue in Capitalist Realism, neoliberalism hasn’t killed the big Other – for who is the consumer of PR (which no actual empirical individual believes) if not the big Other? The point now – and I would affirm this forcefully, not tentatively – is to invent a leftist big Other. This doesn’t mean reviving authoritarianism; there is no necessary relation between the big Other and a strong leader. On the contrary, in fact, authoritarianism happens when there is a confusion between the big Other (as virtuality) and an empirical individual. What we need are institutions and agents that will stand in for – but cannot be equated with – a leftist big Other.

RW: You talk about the re-formatting of memory that is a symptom of capitalist realism, where history can be altered almost instantly (as in a Philip K. Dick novel) as we stand agog before the supposed ceaseless innovation of capitalism. You were also one of those to start using the concept ‘hauntology’, the idea that there was a cultural meme that acknowledged the collapse of a moment and picks through the remains for the lost futures buried within (it’s probably fair to say that Owen Hatherley’s Militant Modernism, the first Zer0 Book, is operating within this terrain). Similarly, we are in a political landscape littered with ‘ideological rubble’ (as you quote Alex Williams). My suspicion is that for you the ‘moment’ that has collapsed is the politics of ’68, one that was perhaps guilty of the re-formatting of history and memory in its own way, before many of its ideas were taken up by a post-Fordist capitalism. So what is the detritus that you are picking through? What of the discarded remnants of left politics would you dust off? And is it possible to give old ideas new momentum?

MF: I would say that, in many ways, the politics of ’68 haven’t collapsed enough. ’68 is a spectre which still hangs over theory. Yet the forces which ’68 railed against no longer exist; there is no Stalinist Party or State that we need to blow apart with a Cultural Revolution. Which isn’t to say that we should want to return to Stalinist authoritarianism, or that it is possible to do so; the oscillation between these two options is the sign of a failure of political imagination. It’s necessary to go all the way through post-Fordism, to keep looking ahead, especially at times when there seems to be nothing ahead of us. Part of the importance of the concept of hauntology is the idea of lost futures, of things which never happened but which could have. On one level, late capitalism is indeed all about ceaseless reinvention, nothing is solid, everything is mutable; but on another level, it is about recapitulation, homogeneity, minimally different commodities. Some of Jameson’s best passages are about this strange antinomy. Deleuze and Guattari, too, emphasize the way in which capitalism is a bizarre mix of the ultra-modern and the archaic. The failure of the future haunts capitalism: after 1989, capitalism’s victory has not consisted in it confidently claiming the future, but in denying that the future is possible.  All we can expect, we have been led to believe, is more of the same – but on higher resolution screens with faster connections. Hauntology, I think, expresses dissatisfaction with this foreclosure of the future.

So it’s not now a question of giving old ideas new momentum, it’s a matter of fighting over the meaning of the words “new” and “modern”. Neoliberalism has made it seem self-evident that “modernization” means managerialism, increased exploitation of workers, outsourcing etc. But of course this isn’t self-evident: the neoliberals fought a long campaign on many fronts in order to impose that definition. And now neoliberalism itself is a discredited relic – albeit, as I argued above, one that still dominates our lives, but only by default now. Part of the battle now will be to ensure that neoliberalism is perceived to be defunct. I think that’s already happening. There is a change in the cultural atmosphere, small at the moment, but it will increase. What Jim McGuigan calls “cool capitalism”, the culture of swaggering business and conspicuous consumption that dominated the last decade, already looks as if it belongs to a world that is dead and gone. After the financial crisis, all those television programmes about selling property and the like became out of date overnight. These things aren’t trivial; they have provided the background noise which capitalist realism needed in order to naturalise itself. The financial crisis has weakened the corporate elite – not materially so much as ideologically. And, by the same token, it has given confidence to those opposed to the ruling order. I’m sure that the university occupations are the signs of a growing militancy. We need to take advantage of this new mood. There’s nothing old fashioned about the idea of rational organisation of resources, or that public space is important. (The failure to rationally organise natural resources is now evident to everyone; and the consequences of letting the concept of public space decline are equally obvious to anyone living in Britain, with its violent crime and drunkenness, both of which are symptoms of a kind of despair that is as unacknowledged under capitalist realism as it is ubiquitous). Similarly, what is intrinsically “modern” about putting workers under intolerable stress? The pseudonymous postal worker Roy Mayall put this very well in his LRB blog:

We used to be told that there were three elements to the postal trade: the business, the customers and the staff, and that all were equally important. These days we are clearly being told that only the business matters. So now the ‘modernisers’ are moving in. They are young, thrusting, in-your-face and they think they know all the answers. According to them, the future is the application of new technology within the discipline of the market. But the market doesn’t tell us what to do: people tell us what to do. The ‘market’ is essentially a ploy by which one group of people’s interests are imposed on the rest of us. The postal trade is at the front line of a battle between people’s needs and the demands of corporations to make ever increasing profits. That’s what they mean by ‘modernisation’, and it’s not ‘nostalgia’ to remind ourselves that things used to be different.

But the fight will only be won when we can say with confidence, not only that things used to be different in the past, but that they can be different in the future too. I’m hoping that, before long, the neoliberal era will be seen for what it was: a barbarous anti-Enlightenment atavism, a temporary interruption of a process of egalitarian modernization.

RW: At the end of last year you edited a collection of essays, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson, brought out almost at the speed of John Blake Publishing! What was so important about Michael Jackson’s death that made you put such energy into this project?

MF: Yes, it’s rapid-response theory! There’s no doubt that Jackson’s death arrived at a punctual moment. A whole thirty year reality system had just collapsed with the bank bail-outs. Obama had been elected. There was no-one who personified that thirty year period more than Michael Jackson. In the few days after Jackson died, I found myself watching his videos over and over again. I surprised myself by moved from a position of detached cynicism to feeling increasingly sad. There was something in those videos – particularly the Off The Wall clips – which afterwards disappeared from Jackson personally and from the culture in general. So I listened to Off The Wall and “Billie Jean” obsessively. I probably listened to “Billie Jean” forty times, but it was like listening to it for the first time; there were depths to it I’d never got to before. I wrote a post on my blog which elicited some positive responses; and it struck me that the network around Zer0 – which includes many of the world’s music writers as well as theorists – was in an ideal position to produce a book that could deal with MJ as a symptom. Which isn’t to say that the book is some desiccated analysis that doesn’t engage with the sensuous qualities of Jackson’s music – there are some wonderful descriptions of the tracks and Jackson’s dancing. The book was put together very quickly, but I’m extremely pleased with the results. It was heartening to see what music writers can do when you give them space and let them pursue their interests. There are some pieces in the book – such as Chris Roberts’ and Ian Penman’s – that are so sui generis that it is difficult to imagine them appearing anywhere else.

RW: You’ve had a busy year, what with the blog, teaching, finishing a stint as reviews editor at The Wire, conference papers, marriage, Zer0 and the publication of two books – is it time for a rest now or will 2010 be just as busy?

MF: This is not the time for a rest. On a personal level, a rest is impossible. Most of what I do doesn’t make me much money, so I have to keep working at a furious rate to keep my head above water. On a wider cultural and political level, this is a highly exciting time, not a moment to be convalescing. This year, in addition to the teaching, blogging, freelancing and editing for Zer0, I will be putting out Ghosts Of My Life, which will bring together my writings on hauntology and lost futures; in some ways, it’s the other half of Capitalist Realism. There’s another big project that I’m involved with which I have high hopes for, but we’re not ready to go public on that yet.

RW: And finally, I hope it’s not too late to ask what were your favourite books of last year?

MF: Apart from the Zer0 books – and I’ve almost certainly forgotten something really important – they would be:

Fredric Jameson, Valences Of The Dialectic. A genuinely monumental work that I expect to be referring to for many years.
Graham Harman, Prince Of Networks. A stunning reinterpretation of Bruno Latour’s work that is also Graham’s most lucid account yet of his object-oriented philosophy
Jodi Dean, Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Jodi’s sharp analysis of the impasses of the left is also a kind of requiem for much the 2.0 bluster of the last decade.
Slavoj Zizek, First As Tragedy, Then As Farce. Much more focused than some of Zizek’s recent books, this was a reminder of his supreme relevance to the current conjuncture.

RW: Thanks Mark.

Rowan Wilson (22/02/2010)
RSB-ROBOT
Copyright © 2002-2010 http://www.readysteadybook.com.

Actually I am from Cyprus, not that it matters much. And no, we haven’t communicated before. And yes, Cengiz is the Turkish form of Genghis. That said, thanks for the appreciation though.

I can't remember if I've previously noticed the MINIMAL VE MAKSIMAL YAZILAR blog before, out of Turkey. But it's run by Cengiz Erdem, and contains a lot of good stuff. (And by the way, is the name "Cengiz" the Turkish form of "Genghis"? Sure looks like it. I hope I haven't communicated with him before and simply forgotten about it; looks like the sort of blog I would have noticed before.) … Read More

via Object-Oriented Philosophy

At first it might seem he is. If Bruno Latour is on the right track with respect to speculative realism, as Graham Harman and others would argue, then it might seem that Deleuze is on the right track as well for there are a number of areas where their philosophies converge in significant ways – especially concerning events, multiplicity, and their embrace of an ontological monism. I cover much of this in Deleuze’s Hume. It would also seem that De … Read More

via Aberrant Monism

In the context of Spinoza’s famous letter to Lodewijk Meyer (Letter 12) where Spinoza lays forth the differences, as he sees it, between the infinite and the finite, substance and modes, Spinoza makes an important distinction between eternity and duration: The difference between Eternity and Duration arises from this. For it is only of Modes that we can explain the existence by Duration. But [we can explain the existence] of Substance by Eternity … Read More

via Aberrant Monism

If you can see, look.
If you can look, observe.
FROM THE Book of Exhortations.
Blindness
The moral conscience that so many thoughtless people have offended against and many more have rejected, is something that exists and has always existed. It was not an invention of the philosophers of the Quartenary, when the soul was little more than a muddled proposition. With the passing of time, as well as then social evolution and genetic exchange, we ended up putting our conscience in the colour of blood and in the salt of tears, and, as if that were not enough, we made our eyes into a kind of mirror turned inwards, with the result that they often show without reserve what we are verbally trying to deny. Add to this general observation, the particular circumstance that in simple spirits, the remorse caused by committing some evil act often becomes confused with ancestral fears of every kind, and the result will be that the punishment of the prevaricator ends up being, without mercy or pity, twice what he deserved.
Blindness
…we’re so remote from the world that any day now, we shall no longer know who we are, or even remember our names, and besides, what use would names be to us, no dog recognises another dog or knows the others by the names they have been given, a dog is identified by its scent and that is how it identifies others, here we are like another breed of dogs, we know each other’s bark or speech, as for the rest, features, colour of eyes or hair, they are of no importance, it is as if they did not exist, I can still see but for how long.
Blindness
Doctor’s wife.
A blind man is sacred, you don’t steal from a blind man.
Blindness
Car thief.
…anyone who gets up early by inclination or has been forced to rise early out of necessity finds it intolerable that others should go on sleeping soundly, and with good reason in the case to which we are referring, for there is a marked difference between a blind person who is sleeping and a blind person who has opened his eyes to no purpose.
Blindness
…just as well that we are still capable of weeping, tears are often our salvation, there are times when we would die if we did not weep…
Blindness
Doctor’s wife.
As the saying goes, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, Forget about sayings, But this is not the same, Here not even the cross-eyed would be saved…
Blindness
Recalling the H. G. Wells saying.
Attention, attention, the internees may come and collect their food, but be careful, if anyone gets too close to the gate they will receive a preliminary warning, and unless they turn back immediately, the second warning will be a bullet.
Blindness
Voice over loudspeaker in mental asylum.
Perhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly are.
Blindness
The Doctor.
…a longing to curl up inside herself, her eyes, especially her eyes, turned inwards, more, more, more, until they could reach and observe inside her own brain, there where the difference between seeing and not seeing is invisible to the naked eye. Slowly, ever more slowly, dragging her body, she retraced her footsteps to the place where she belonged…
Blindness
Doctor’s wife.
…for the authorities had no humanitarian scruples when rounding up the blind and confining them here, they even stated that the law once made is the same for everyone and that democracy is incompatible with preferential treatment.
Blindness
…for dignity has no price, that when someone starts making small concessions, in the end, life loses all meaning.
Blindness
Say to a blind man, you’re free, open the door that was separating him from the world, Go, you are free, we tell him once more, and he does not go, he has remained motionless there in the middle of the road, he and the others, they are terrified, they do not know where to go, the fact is that there is no comparison between living in a rational labyrinth, which is, by definition, a mental asylum and venturing forth, without a guiding hand or a dog-leash, into the demented labyrinth of the city, where memory will serve no purpose, for it will merely be able to recall the images of places but not the paths whereby we might get there.
Blindness
…just like everything else in life, let time take its course and it will find a solution.
Blindness
There’s no difference between inside and outside, between here and there, between the many and the few, between what we’re living through and what we shall have to live through…this must be what it means to be a ghost, being certain that life exists, because your four senses say so, and yet unable to see it…
Blindness
…you do not know, you cannot know, what it means to have eyes in a world in which everyone else is blind, I am not a queen, no, I am simply the one who was born to see this horror, you can feel it, I both feel and see it…
Blindness
Doctor’s wife, the only person who retains her sight through blindness epidemic, to her blind companions.
Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.
Blindness
Blind people do not need a name, I am my voice, nothing else matters…
Blindness
It is a great truth that says that the worst blind person was the one who did not want to see…
Blindness
On their way to the home of the girl with dark glasses, they crossed a large square with groups of blind people who were listening to speeches from other blind people, at first sight, neither one nor the other group seemed blind, the speakers turned their heads excitedly towards their listeners, the listeners turned their heads attentively to the speakers. They were proclaiming the end of the world, redemption through penitence, the visions of the seventh day, the advent of the angel, cosmic collisions, the death of the sun, the tribal spirit, the sap of the mandrake, tiger ointment, the virtue of the sign, the discipline of the wind, the perfume of the moon, the revindication of darkness, the power of exorcism, the sign of the heel, the crucifixion of the rose, the purity of the lymph, the blood of the black cat, the sleep of the shadow, the rising of the seas, the logic of anthropopagy, painless castration, divine tattoos, voluntary blindness, convex thoughts, or concave, or horizontal or vertical, or sloping, or concentrated, or dispersed, or fleeting, the weakening of the vocal cords, the death of the word, Here nobody is speaking of organisation, said the doctor’s wife, Perhaps organisation is in another square, he replied.
Blindness
The difficult thing isn’t living with other people, it’s understanding them.
Blindness
The Doctor.
…all the images in the church had their eyes covered, statues with a white cloth tied around the head, paintings with the thick brushstroke of white paint… that priest must have committed the worst sacrilege of all times and all religions, the fairest and most radically human, coming here to declare that, ultimately, God does not deserve to see.
Blindness
I don’t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see.
Blindness
Blindness, an allegorical novel about a mysterious epidemic of blindness that paralyzes a major city, was written by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago and published in 1995. Born on November 16, 1922, Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. He died on June 18, 2010.

With the aim of changing the past, an impossible thing to do, the subject messes with nature, and his intrusion causes the very event which he was trying to prevent from happening. Just like Oedipus’s father who, in escape from a prophecy, falls victim to his choice of way to escape, and becomes the victim of his own choice. And his choice is, in the first place, to believe in the prophecy. It is as soon as he puts his belief into action that he prepares the grounds of his subjection to an external force. His own construct, that external force, governs his actions independently of his intentions. There still is a governor but this governor is an internally constituted external force.

What Lacan calls the unconscious is the dead zone in-between the subject and the signifier. Or the state of non-being in the space between the state of being governed by drives and the entry into the symbolic order. The unconscious understood as the dead zone in between the subject and language, is at the same time the gap between being and becoming. Entry into the symbolic is associated with a passage from the state of being, through non-being and into the symbolic order of becoming.

Melanie Klein takes the beginning of becoming to as early as the first months of life. In her analysis of the “Early Stages of the Oedipus Conflict and of Super-ego Formation,” Klein looks for the causes of aggression and sadistic impulses in the normal development of the child.

The child also has phantasies in which his parents destroy each other by means of their genitals and excrements which are felt to be dangerous weapons. These phantasies have important effects and are very numerous, containing such ideas as that the penis is, incorporated in the mother, turns into a dangerous animal or into weapons loaded with explosive substances; or that her vagina, too, is transformed into a dangerous animal or some instrument of death, as, for instance, a poisoned mouse-trap. Since such phantasies are wish phantasies, the child has a sense of guilt about the injuries which, in his phantasy, his parents inflict on each other.[1]

Absence of the feeling of guilt causes the sadistic impulse to dominate the child. The external world is considered to be dangerous and the child attacks the mother whom he believes to contain the father’s penis. As he is attacking the mother the child is in fact attacking the father. Formation of the super-ego, or entry into the symbolic requires the acceptance of loss of innocence, purity, security, omniscience and recognition of one’s own guilt. The importance of what Klein is saying here lies in her realization that there is more evil and less evil, but there is no absolute good and evil. We are all, in a way, mad, but some are more so than the others. According to Klein, most subjects experience a certain neurosis during normal development, but in some children the neurotic experience is stronger, more intense, and lasts a longer time. In the Mantle twins for instance, we have seen that it lasted quite a long time, so long as to enable them turn their pathology into their object of study and make a profession out of themselves.       

Creativity going wrong and producing weapons rather than surgical tools is a recurrent theme in Cronenberg films. What we see in Dead Ringers and Videodrome is the same process of degeneration, a worstward movement of the experiment undertaken, in different fields of knowledge. Just as Max’s sadistic fantasies turn against him, the Mantle twins’ surgical instruments turn into sharp edged weapons which they direct against themselves at the end. What is portrayed is the characters’ inability to pass from the state of being governed by the unconscious drives, to conscious desiring. The passage from death drive to the desiring production is never achieved in Cronenberg’s films. As we have seen in eXistenZ the subjects only become capable of desiring when they are in the virtual world of the game, attached to an organic bio-port with an umbilical cord. In escape from the realists Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) hides in her own game. At the end of the film we learn that even her escape from the realists was part of the game, a construct of her own psyche, her own creation. We also learn that eXistenZ is only a game within another game called transCendenZ and that the realists trying to annihilate the project turn out to be Allegra Geller and her security guard (Jude Law). As it was in Videodrome so too it is in eXistenZ; what the virtual world of another reality does is to sustain the subject with the environment in which he/she can act out his/her fantasies in a virtual realm beyond the flesh. Within the game Allegra and the security guard can make love, outside it they have a purpose; they have to free desire from the confines of virtuality and restore it to its true place, that place being the material world.

existenz01

When Jude Law refuses to undergo the operation of being penetrated by what looks like a big machine gun, so that the bio-port can be plugged into him, Allegra Geller says, “this is it, you see! This is the cage of your own making. Which keeps you trapped and pacing about in the smallest space possible. Break out of the cage of your own, break out now.” Allegra Geller sees the physical world as limiting and unsatisfying. To go beyond this limited existence she creates an illusory time-space in which the player is in the service of his/her unconscious drives which are themselves represented in material objects. When the bio-port is plugged into the subject the subject’s five senses are governed by the sensual effects the game creates on the subject. The illusion of safety and security is the result of the depersonalization of experience; it is the Other that plays the game through me. A fantasy world which keeps death at bay, an impersonal consciousness that thinks through me, and a body that never dies. What the game eXistenZ does, then, is to promise immortality in a spiritual realm beyond the flesh. And yet it does this through stimulating the centres of reception in the body which activate the five senses. When Jude Law licks Allegra Geller’s bio-port hole she immediately withdraws and asks, “what was that?” Surprised at his own act, Jude Law says, “That wasn’t me, it was my game character. I couldn’t have done that!” After a very brief silence they realize that since they are in the game they can’t be held responsible for their actions and start kissing passionately.

The umbilical cords in eXistenZ, which seem to connect the subject with a world beyond the physical, in which there is no guilt, no responsibility, and no death, turn out to be the chain of negativity chaining the subject to a detached, meaningless, inauthentic existence. It was Hegel who pointed out that freedom without society is meaningless and not freedom as such. For freedom to become freedom it should be situated in a historical context and hence gain its meaning in relation to time. What Heidegger borrows from Hegel is this idea of the necessity of the social for any meaningful activity to take place. Heidegger’s attitude is very different from the Romantic understanding of freedom as something that can only be experienced in isolation, where, detached from his social environment, the subject bonds in a more profound way with nature, and unite with all the forces of nature in a state of euphoria.

This jubilant assumption of his specular image by the child at the infans stage, still sunk in his motor incapacity and nursling dependence, would seem to exhibit in an exemplary situation the symbolic matrix in which the I is precipitated in a primordial form, before it is objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject.[2]

Lacan’s Mirror Stage describes the child’s first confrontation with its image of itself on the mirror. Lacan says that the child is not as unified as it sees itself on the mirror. But the child needs this illusion of unity to be able to see itself as a being in the world. This is when the sense of omnipotence begins in the child.

The primary process—which is simply what I have tried to define for you in my last few lectures in the form of the unconscious—must once again, be apprehended in its experience of rupture, between perception and consciousness, in that non-temporal locus, I said, which forces us to posit what Freud calls, in homage to Fechner, die Idee anderer Lokalitat, the idea of another locality, another space, another scene, the between perception and consciousness.[3]

If we keep in mind that the primary process is the death-drive then we can see that Lacan’s shift is away from Cartesian dualisms of subject and object, mind and body, nature and culture. In Lacan there is an opposition to a Heideggerian attitude towards the world and its relation to the self. A third world is introduced in addition to the imaginary and the real. And this third world is the symbolic. For Lacan, between the illusory sense of omnipotence and the symbolic loss of self with the acquisition of language, there is a dead zone, a space in-between, a gap between the symbolic and the imaginary. That space is the Lacanian Unconscious, the Real which refers to what Descartes called Cogito, Freud Ego, and Heidegger non-being. 

What Descartes and to some extent Freud presuppose is that there is a cogito before anything else, that there is an ego that says “I.”  There can be no self in relation to an external world before language. There is nothing before the subject says “I.” For the ego to begin to exist and develop it has to acquire language and say “I” first. The real entry into the symbolic takes place when the subject is sufficiently equipped with language and capable of realizing that “I” is an illusion, that the self who is to say “I” is lost upon entry into the realm of language. This illusion, however, this imaginary self who says “I,” should be preserved at least to a minimal extent, otherwise the Real slips through and life becomes painful. It is a necessary illusion, the subject, if one wants to be able to do things. Fantasies are illusions we need to keep the Real of our desire at bay.

Is it not remarkable that, at the origin of the analytic experience, the real should have presented itself in the form of that which is unassimilable in it—in the form of the trauma, determining all that follows, and imposing on it an apparently accidental origin? We are now at the heart of what may enable us to understand the radical character of the conflictual notion introduced by the opposition of the pleasure principle and the reality principle—which is why we cannot conceive the reality principle as having, by virtue of its ascendancy, the last word. [4]

So the Real is in-between the pleasure principle and the reality principle. The conflict between the pleasure principle and the reality principle takes place when and if the subject falls victim to the drives and the pleasure principle by letting himself be governed by the unconscious drives.

For Lacan progress takes place when and if the subject passes from the state of being governed by unconscious drives to becoming capable of desiring and being desired. Since for Lacan desire is the desire of the Other, desire is essentially social and symbolic, which means that it is the drive that is prior to the symbolic, and the imaginary is the support of the reality principle, without which the Real would enter the scene and destroy the subject.  Lacan forgets that death-drive is the cause of conflict as well as being its effect. The death-drive preceeds and proceeds the conflict at the same time. But with the traumatic incident the subject’s relation to the Real changes. The direction of this change may lead to destruction as much as it may lead to creation. It is a matter of becoming capable of using the unconscious drives in the way of producing new forms of life.

Gas (Willem Dafoe): See? That didn’t hurt.
Pikul (Jude Law): I didn’t expect that to hurt.
I expect the next part to hurt.

Pikul: Yeah, that’s the part I expect to hurt.

Gas: I haven’t crippled anyone yet.

Pikul: How many have you done?

Gas: Three. Well, you’ll be my third.

Gas: Hey! Easy!
People usually pay me to do this, you know.

Pikul (to Allegra): As you can see, I’ve decided not
to have a bio-port installed.

Allegra (Jennifer Jason Leigh): This is what keeps you trapped
in a cage of your own making, which keeps you trapped
and pacing about. Break out of your cage, Pikul. Break out now.
Cut to:

The subtitles read:

[explodes]


[grunts]

Allegra: The swelling doesn’t last for long.


Pikul: What’s going on? I can’t… I can’t move my legs!

Reference Matter


[1] Melanie Klein, Psychoanalysis of Children, 132

[2] Jacques Lacan,,  Écrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1977), 2

[3] Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Hogarth Press, 1977), 56

[4] Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 55

 organ without a body

The Naked Lunch I am concerned with here is David Cronenberg’s film about William Burroughswriting process of Naked Lunch. The film, rather than being a direct adaptation of the novel, is a distillation of Burroughs’s life as he strives to write himself out of the past. We see Burroughs progressively deteriorating to the level of a dumb beast as he tries to make sense of his sufferings in and through writing. In the introduction he wrote for the 1985 edition of his earlier novel Queer, the writing of which dates back to 1953 following the two years period of depression, guilt, and anxiety ridden self-hatred after his accidental shooting of his wife Joan in September 1951, Burroughs, in an almost confessional manner, explicates the sources of his compulsion to write. Writing, for Burroughs, represents his lifelong pursuit of getting out of consciousness and reaching the area between fantasy and reality.

I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing. I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from Control. So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit, and maneuvered me into a lifelong struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.[1]

The death of Joan creates a space within Burroughs into which he escapes, and attempts to fill with his writings. Cronenberg explicates what Burroughs had already implied in his introduction to Queer. In the film writing in particular and creativity in general is shown to be a response to a traumatic incident, that is, production of fantasies to compensate for the horrors of life. As the film proceeds so does the mental deterioration of Bill Lee who represents Burroughs in the movie. The first signs of Lee’s split come when he is arrested by two policemen for “the possession of dangerous substances.” What they are talking about is the bug-powder which, Lee, who has given up writing to become a bug exterminator, uses to kill insects. The two policemen ask him to demonstrate his profession. One of them puts an insect the size of a hand on a pile of bug powder to see if the insect will die. As the insect begins moving its wings, arms, and legs they leave the room and Lee with the insect. As soon as they leave the room the insect tells Lee through a mouth-anus at its back that it has instructions for him, that it comes from the Interzone, that his wife Joan is not actually human and that he has to kill her. The insect asks Lee if he could put some bug powder on its mouth-anus upon the application of which it starts to make noises and movements as if in an orgy. In the next scene we are in reality and Joan is asking Lee to put some bug powder on her lips. As wee see a few scenes later that the mouth-anus turns out to be the abyss, the bottomless depth, or the space in-between fantasy and reality in which Lee loses himself and shoots his wife.

This presentation of fantasy and reality side by side occurs throughout the film. It is when the gap between fantasy and reality disappears that the Unconscious manifests itself. In the case of Bill Lee the undesired event is pushed back into the unconscious in turn causing an accumulation of sadistic impulses in him. These sadistic impulses are then externalized in and through writing. For Burroughs writing was cathartic in that it liberated the untamed drives and prevented the manifestation of aggression in the external world. In Cronenberg what we see is almost the opposite of this attitude to writing. As we know from Dead Ringers, Videodrome, and eXistenZ, for Cronenberg writing and creativity have destructive rather than therapeutic effects on the writer. In the film Bill Lee emerges as the culmination of these two opposing views on not only the creative process but also the relationship between the creator and the creation, the subject and the object, mind and body. As the arena of this conflict Bill Lee’s world is that of the one in-between the internal and the external worlds, the Interzone, or in psychoanalytic terms the Unconscious, the Real, where there is no self or not self.

Interzone is Tangiers on the North African coast where Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in 1953. In those days it was a place of escape for the self-exiled artists and artisans. At Interzone everyone has their own particular universality in one big universal cesspool and that cesspool is Lee’s fantasy world. The Real, or the Unconscious, is impossible to represent and all those monsters, bug-typewriters, and disgusting images are only the creations of Lee’s hallucinating mind. In it every universality is surrounded by many other universalities and each universality is a body without organs. Upon arrival at the Interzone Lee starts to see his typewriter as an insect resembling the one which he had first encountered in the interrogation room at the police station. The bug-typewriter becomes the mouth-anus mechanism, the partial object opening a gap through language in-between the body without organs and the organ without a body.

Orality is naturally prolonged in cannibalism and anality in the case of which partial objects are excreta, capable of exploding the mother’s body, as well as the body of the infant. The bits of one are always the persecutors of the other, and, in this abominable mixture which constitutes the Passion of the nursing infant, persecutor and persecuted are always the same. In this system of mouth-anus or aliment-excrement, bodies burst and cause other bodies to burst in a universal cesspool.[2]

Here Deleuze is referring to Melanie Klein’s Psychoanalysis of Children. The state of being which Deleuze summarizes is the paranoid-schizoid position of the child, the world of simulacra. At this stage, which preceeds Lacan’s mirror stage, the child is not yet capable of identification. There is an introjection-projection mechanism going on but the objects, internal and external, are experienced as bad objects. The conception of goodness has not yet developed in the child. Since there is no good object for the child to identify with there is no condition of possibility for the identificatory process with a good or a bad object, there is no self or not self.

The paranoid-schizoid position is followed by the manic-depressive position in which identification with a good object takes place. The passage from paranoid-schizoid introjection-projection to manic-depressive identification is the process of passing through the Interzone, or in Lacan’s words “traversing the fantasy.” In Deleuze’s terms this process is the hovering of an impersonal consciousness over the transcendental field of partial objects. The bug-typewriter is Lee’s impersonal consciousness manifesting itself in the form of a paranoid fantasy, a body without organs which is pretending to be an organ without a body. In fact it is neither a body without organs nor an organ without a body and yet it is both at the same time. It is a becoming in between being and non-being.

Cronenberg’s move is away from Burroughs’s Kafkaesque understanding of the body as metaphor and towards a Deleuzean narrative of the metamorphosis of the body in a literal sense. All those self-destructive creators are inverted into the spotlight in and through Croneberg’s films and this enables Cronenberg to contemplate on the creative process as an inversion of destructive process and fill the film with this contemplation. What we see in Naked Lunch is the death drive in conflict with the life drive.

In Deleuze the body without organs is the metaphor of the death drive. And since the death drive is a response to the fragmentation of the self, it can only take the form of a paranoid fantasy projected onto the Real. The body without organs is the partial objects brought together in a totalizing way, in a way that deprives them of their partialities.

What the schizoid position opposes to bad partial objects—introjected and projected, toxic and excremental, oral and anal—is not a good object, even if it were partial. What is opposed is rather an organism without parts, a body without organs, with neither mouth nor anus, having given up all introjection or projection, and being complete, at this price.[3]

The body without organs, then, is the absence of a connection between the subject’s inside and outside. The subject, in a state of total negation, neither eats nor excretes. It eats nothingness itself and becomes the catatonic (w)hole. It is not out of the body without organs that the subject is born but from the paranoid-schizoid position which consists of a not yet formed consciousness, an impersonal consciousness violently attacking the external world and splitting the given unities. As opposed to the body without organs it consists of projection and introjection of the partial objects surrounding the subject to create fantasies such as an illusionary ego, and learns to keep the body without organs, or the Real at bay. The paranoid-schizoid position is followed by the manic-depressive position which corresponds to the formation of the super-ego and the sustenance of a balance between id, ego, and super-ego.

Burroughs’s cut-up and fold-in techniques appear to be the two constituent parts of his defense mechanism against the spectre of Joan haunting him. To escape from the paralyzing state of being haunted by the spectre, that is, not to turn into a body without organs, he carries the projection-introjection mechanism to its furthest and literally and unconsciously puts words and sentences, partial objects, next to and within each other to make up discontinuities, cause ruptures and keep the Real at bay. Through giving a voice to the Real as it is before symbolization, Burroughs’s intends to prevent it from becoming real, from being actualized  hence submitting the governance of his actions to an external force. It is this mechanism of repression inherent in the cut-up technique that causes what it tries to cure. The cut-up technique involves literally cutting-up passages and putting them together as a new text which would be neither the one nor the other, hence deforming the syntax. The fold-in technique involves folding into each other the different parts of the same text, hence distorting the order of time. In both states what is at stake is a total negation of the external world as a result of its being considered as hostile. In Burroughs the paranoid fantasy projected on the real replaces reality with its inverted version, that is, Burroughs turns what he imagines the external world to be against itself by creating a paranoid fantasy involving a scenario in which the subject believes itself to be governed by an internally constituted external and evil force. Burroughs discovered cut-up and fold-in techniques as a defense mechanism against the paranoid fantasy he constructed around himself. To get out of this mad symbolic world, he decided to slash it into pieces and connect it with other texts that are themselves torn apart.

Burroughs’s cut-up technique is a result of his search for a way of desymbolizing the paranoid symbolic world he had constructed and projected onto the external world. Burroughs thought resymbolization was therapeutic in that it gave voice to the evil within in the way of expelling it. Cut-up technique aims at desymbolizing the totalitarian system surrounding the subject and was a defense against the totalitarian nature of this resymbolization. Burroughs himself admits in a letter written to Kerouac shortly after beginning to use the cut-up and fold-in techniques that “writing now causes me an almost unendurable pain.”[4] In Naked Lunch the movie, the theme of the materiality of language recurs through the encounters between the bug-typewriter and Bill Lee. Bill Lee creates an insect within, projects it onto his typewriter, and talks with it.  His creations have taken on lives of their own and are doing and saying things mostly against him.

  • (via silent-musings)In Nova Express, Burroughs’s 1964 text, The Invisible Man says, “These colourless sheets are what flesh is made from—Becomes flesh when it has colour and writing—That is Word and Image write the message that is you on colourless sheets determine all flesh.”[5] Burroughs had a strong sense of the materiality of language. When he has The Invisible Man say “becomes flesh when it has colour and writing” he is in a way referring to the Unconscious as the invisible man who is striving to become visible to himself and to others in and through language.

 Foucault’s interpretation of Bentham’s Panoptic mechanism becomes relevant here. In Discipline and Punish Michel Foucault presents the Panopticon as a metaphor of how power operates within modern western society. A revolutionary apparatus for its time (19th century), the Panopticon was more than just a model of prison for Foucault, it was a mechanism to keep an absent eye on the prisoner, to keep them under control at all times.

The Panopticon functions as a kind of laboratory of power. Thanks to its mechanisms of observation, it gains in efficiency and in the ability to penetrate into men’s behaviour; knowledge follows the advances of power, discovering new objects of knowledge over all the surfaces on which power is exercised.[6]

The formulation of the concept of the Panopticon involves not only seeing without being seen, but also a mechanism that imposes both their differences and their resemblances upon the subjects. So the subject’s difference from other subjects is itself externally constituted, but is also internal to the subject. The subject is the product of the mechanism in which the subject finds/loses itself, and participates in the setting of the trap. Some subjects are produced in such a way as to act on an illusory sense of consciousness, that they are in control of their lives and events surrounding them, that they are freely choosing their destiny, when in fact all the rules and possibilities of action are always already set. In a panoptic mechanism taking on passive and submissive roles brings wealth, love, health, and even happiness. In a panoptic mechanism everyone is a slave, but some are less so than the others. In a panoptic mechanism submissiveness brings power. The system is such that the subject, to feel secure, takes on a passive role. In return the subject is recognized as worthy of a higher step on the social ladder, which brings an illusionary sense of security. The efficiency of the panoptic mechanism depends on its ability to produce submissive/adaptive/rational subjects.

Panopticomania

Burroughs’s mind works exactly like a panoptic mechanism. And I think this has been one of the major concerns of Cronenberg throughout the shooting of the Naked Lunch. What we have in the movie is a man who has been caught up in a trap that he himself set. Bill Lee projects the construct of his psyche onto the external world and it is by doing this that he finds/loses himself in the trap, dismembered. The paranoid fantasy he constructs becomes so powerful that it engulfs him causing his detachment from the external world and leading to the eventual loss of the gap between fantasy and reality. It as this point that the Real slips through and tears him apart. He, in his mind, literally becomes a slashed monster, sees himself thus, as he is not, and becomes other than himself. His becoming-other, however, is in the wrong direction, or rather results in a confusion concerning the relationship between the subject and the object.

Burroughs believed that literature gives birth to action. He also saw writing itself as an action. At the end of the film we see Bill Lee at the border on his way back to Annexia from the Interzone. Two guards ask him what his occupation is. He says he is a writer. They want him to demonstrate. He takes out the gun from his pocket. Joan is at the back of the car. It’s time for their William Tell routine. Joan puts a glass on her head. Lee misses the glass and shoots Joan on the head. The guards are satisfied. The spectator witnesses this crime and remembers the person irrelevantly looking out of the window when they were slaughtering Kafka’s K. at the end of The Trial. Who was that person? Was it God? Was it a single man? Was it all of humanity?


[1] William Burroughs, Queer (New York: Penguin, 1985)

[2] Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester (London: Athlone, 1990), 187

[3] Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 188

[4] William Burroughs, Letters (New York: Penguin, 1994), 286

[5] William Burroughs, Nova Express, (London: Panther, 1982), 30

[6] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977), 204

The Evil Spirit and The Spiritual Automaton

It is a recurrent theme in science-fiction-thriller movies that in time humanity turns into the slave of its own creation, namely of machines. It is precisely because of this fear of being replaced that humanity attempts to get out of time, out of the physical, and eventually falls on the side of what it was attempting to escape from; be that which they fall in the direction of metaphysics or pure-physics, in both cases their thought itself becomes machinic.

The Panopticon may even provide an apparatus for supervising its own mechanisms. In this central tower, the director may spy on all the employees that he has under his orders: nurses, doctors, foremen, teachers, warders […] and it will even be possible to observe the director himself. An inspector arriving unexpectedly at the center of the Panopticon will be able to judge at a glance, without anything concealed from him, how the entire establishment is functioning. And, in any case, enclosed as he is in the middle of this architectural mechanism, is not the director’s own fate entirely bound up with it?[1]

Panopticon, then, is a mechanism that disperses power as it produces submissive subjects. The transparency of the building makes it a model for the exercise of power by society as a whole. The subject becomes one with the mechanism surrounding it and so becomes the effect and the functionary at the same time. In short, the subject starts operating like and feeling itself as a machine. The body is not replaced by a machine but starts to work like the machine it is connected to. This is the contamination of the subject by the object.

Slavoj Zizek points out Deleuze’s emphasis on the passage from metaphor and towards metamorphosis in terms of the difference between “machines replacing humans” and the “becoming-machine” of a man.

The problem is not how to reduce mind to neuronal “material” processes (to replace the language of mind by the language of brain processes, to translate the first one into the second one) but, rather, to grasp how mind can emerge only by being embedded in the network of social relations and material supplements. In other words, the true problem is not “How, if at all, could machines imitate the human mind?” but “How does the very identity of human mind rely on external mechanical supplements? How does it incorporate machines?”[2]

In Cronenberg’s films we see the theme of machines replacing humans in the process of being replaced by the theme of humans connected to machines, or machines as extensions of humans providing them with another realm beyond and yet still within the material world; the psychic and the material horizontally situated next to each other. In eXistenZ, for instance, we have seen how the game-pod is plugged into the subject’s spine through a bio-port and becomes an extension of the body. In Naked Lunch the typewriter becomes Lee’s extension. In Burroughs’s the obsession was still with the machine taking over the body. In Cronenberg’s adaptation of Burroughs the obsession is with body and machine acting upon one another. What Burroughs experienced with his body but was unable to express becomes possible to express with the film. As we know from his writings on his routines Burroughs himself was becoming-machine internally, he was incorporating the dualistic and mechanical vision of the world surrounding him, but he thought his body was being attacked by external forces and the space he occupied was being invaded by forces that belonged to an altogether different realm, an external world. In Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch we see Bill Lee becoming a spiritual automaton to keep the Evil Spirit within at bay. The paradox is that the Evil Spirit is itself his own construction which in turn constructs him as a spiritual automaton constructing an external Evil Spirit.


In what follows I will attempt to show that Cronenberg’s films are caught in a vicious cycle, that they are self-deconstructive, and that if one thinks too much about them they not only turn back on themselves but also collapse in on themselves. This is because they are shut up in themselves in a highly solipsistic fashion and are the victims of the way they attack what they consider to be dangerous for humanity. In short I will try to show how Cronenberg’s films deconstruct themselves and invalidate their own stance before what they criticize, and this turns them into suicidal rituals before which the spectator is expected to recoil in horror.

One example of what I have said concerning the self-deconstruction inherent in Cronenberg’s films is in the middle of Naked Lunch where Tom Frost, also a writer, who appears to be Joan’s husband in Interzone, tells Bill Lee that he has been killing his wife everyday for years.

Author William Burroughs, an ex-dope addict, relaxing on a shabby bed in what is known as a Beat Hotel. Paris, 1959. Photograph: Life/ Loomis Dean.

Tom: There are no accidents. For example, I have been killing my own wife slowly, over a period of years.

Lee: What?

Tom: Well, not intentionally, of course. On the level of conscious intention, it’s insane, monstrous.

Lee: But you do consciously know it. You just said it. We’re discussing it.

Tom: Not consciously. This is all happening telephatically. Non-consciously.[close-up of Tom’s mouth, his lips moving in disharmony with what he is actually saying] If you look carefully at my lips, you’ll realize that I’m actually saying something else. I’m not actually telling you about the several ways I’m gradually murdering Joan. About the housekeeper Fadela whom I’ve hired to make Joan deathly ill by witchcraft. About the medicines and drugs I’ve given her. About the nibbling away at her self-esteem and sanity that I’ve managed, without being at all obvious about it. [the movement of his lips become harmonious with what he is saying] Whereas Joanie finds that she simply cannot be as obsessively precise as she wants to be unless she writes everything in longhand.

We have to keep in mind before engaging in analysis that all this is happening in Lee’s mind, that Interzone is a construct of his psyche, that he is actually in New York, that he is hallucinating all this Interzone business, and that the year is 1953. What we have here is the loss of the boundary between the conscious and the unconscious mind. However, this is not a real loss of the boundary because we, the spectators, are informed beforehand that all this is happening in Lee’s mind. There is only the inside of Lee’s mind, and if there is anything lost it is the reality of the external world. Lee only hears the echoes of his projections. The murder of Joan has had such an impact on Lee that he is hearing nothing that the other says and he is replacing this nothing with his own scenarios concerning what’s actually going on outside.

What does the disintegration between Tom’s words and actions signify? It signifies the double-bind situation in which Cronenberg’s films are caught. In other words he is unconsciously communicating that which he thinks he is not saying. He is unconsciously doing what he thinks he is arguing against; that creativity brings with it destruction, that progress and regress are complementary. In Naked Lunch writing is identified with killing one’s wife. To keep the actual killing of the wife at bay, Lee writes not to rationalize the murder but to irrationalize not-killing one’s wife, and we know this from the fact that Tom Frost’s words are only projections of Lee’s psyche.

This scene also explicates Cronenberg’s attitude towards the recurring theme of a psyche-soma split in his films. But more importantly, since Naked Lunch is mainly concerned with the activity of writing and what happens to someone who is in the process of creating something, this scene deals with the relationship between body and language. Here I will leave aside the exhausted subject of a mind-body split who cannot make a distinction between appearance and reality and move towards the more recent theme of the relationship between bodies and languages, with the hope of opening up a field across which one passes and in the process of this passage becomes the embodiment of a new possibility of signification, another sign, neither within nor without the old mode of signification. For this a third dualism is required, and that third dualism, being that of language and Event, has already been worked through by Deleuze.     William Burroughs at his writing machine, New York, fall 1953. One of numerous, rarely seen photographs taken by Allen Ginsberg that feature in a special Gallery section of Naked Lunch@50, here Ginsberg’s Kodak Retina records a crucial moment for Burroughs, as he worked on the manuscripts of “Queer” and “Yage” before heading off towards Tangier and the writing of Naked Lunch… (Courtesy of the Allen Ginsberg Trust and Stanford University Library.)


[1] Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 204

[2] Slavoj Zizek, Organs Without Bodies (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), 16

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

%d bloggers like this: