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A Lacanian Ink Event – Jack Tilton Gallery – NYC, 10/15/2010
Introduction by Josefina Ayerza


Edited by Brad Evans & Laura Guillaume

Featuring:
Brad Evans & Michael Hardt, Barbarians to Savages: Liberal War Inside and Out
Laura Guillaume, Revolutionizing Virtual War: An Interview with James Der Derian
Julian Reid, What did Cinema do in “the War,” Deleuze?
Brian Massumi, Perception Attack: Brief on War Time
John Protevi, Rhythm and Cadence, Frenzy and March: Music and the Geo-Bio-Techno-Affective Assemblages of Ancient Warfare
Brad Evans, Terror in all Eventuality
Guillaume Sibertin-Blanc, The War Machine, the Formula and the Hypothesis: Deleuze and Guattari as Readers of Clausewitz
Gregg Lambert, The War-Machine and “a people who revolt”

Synopsis
The ambition for this symposium is to explore Deleuze’s concerns with the problem of war, their contributions
to his thinking, and the contemporary issues that arise out of the relationship between Deleuze and war in the face of increasingly shifting conceptions of state power and militarization. Their introduction is openly accessible and is available here. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v013/13.3.evans02.html

Pieces in this symposium include: an exchange with Brad Evans and Michael Hardt on the relationship between civil war and the problems of sovereignty; an interview by Laura Guillaume with James Der Derian that takes up issues such as the (ab)use of the militarization of critical thought; an essay by Julian Reid that engages Deleuze’s analysis of cinema and his problematic periodizations of pre and post-war films; a contribution from Brian Massumi considering the ubiquity of “soft power” and “epistemological warfare” and defending the virtual against the military logic of pre-emption; a paper from John Protevi deploying Deleuze and Guattari’s complex notion of affect in order to rethink how we understand the body in the face of affective responses to war; an essay by Brad Evans arguing that security is becoming less concerned with issues of identity and more focused on questions of circulation and emergence; a genealogy of war exploring how the forces of capture and flight operate in everyday life by Guillaume Sibertin-Blanc; and, a paper by Gregg Lambert that traces the relationship between the war
machine, the state, and the people.

Institute of Geosciences of the Universidade F...

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The Science and Metaphysics Event has just kicked off over at Speculative Heresy, with Ben Woodard giving us a post on Lovecraftian Science/Lovecraftian Nature. I’ve just finished my piece, which will go up at some point over the next week I’m sure, so stay tuned. It didn’t turn out quite as I intended, but I’m sure some people will find it interesting. … Read More

via Deontologistics

Science, Metaphysics and the A Priori / A Posteriori Distinction by Pete Wolfendale
Posted on September 21, 2010 by Nick Srnicek @ Speculative Heresy
Today’s contribution to the blog event comes from Pete Wolfendale of the always interesting Deontologistics blog.

The question that we have been posed is that of the relation between metaphysics and the natural sciences. In particular, we are tasked with squaring the relative autonomy of metaphysics in relation to natural science with the fact that they in some sense share the same object – the world as it is in-itself. This is a difficult task, and it cannot be satisfactorily completed here. However, it is possible to sketch an answer to the question, and to defend it against a few important objections, if not all possible ones. This is what I propose to do here.  Read More

via Speculative Heresy

      
 
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.


The consequences of projection of fantasies onto the Real can be clearly observed in Kerouac’s The Subterraneans, which was quite a subversive book in its time, carrying Kerouac quite high up the cultural ladder, and in Burroughsian terms “causing thousands of Levi’s sold”. 

 San Francisco, California

In The Subterraneans we see Jack Kerouac’s persona Leo oscillating between attraction to and repulsion by Mardou who is a Cherokee American. One half of Leo loves Mardou and the other half is afraid of this love. If in one chapter Leo declares his love for Mardou, in the next chapter we see him resenting her. Leo’s oscillation between the life drive and the death drive constitute a movement between negation and the transcendence of this negation. Affirmation always remains at bay for Kerouac and his character Leo. Perhaps only at the beginning of the novel he gets a bit closer to affirmation, but this affirmation is in no way an affirmation of Mardou as she is. Rather, it is the affirmation of what has happened throughout the novel, an affirmation of that which has lead to the break-up of Mardou and Leo, as if what has taken place was what actually happened, rather than a projection of Leo’s paranoid fantasy on what has actually happened. At the end of the novel it becomes clear that all that has been lived had been lived for this novel to be written, rather than for its own sake.

[…] this was my three week thought and really the energy behind or the surface one behind the creation of the Jealousy Phantasy in the Grey Guilt dream of the World Around Our Bed.)—now I saw Mardou pushing Yuri with a OH YOU and I shuddered to think something maybe was going on behind my back – felt warned too by the quick and immediate manner Yuri heard me coming and rolled off but as if guiltily as I say after some kind of goose or feel up some illegal touch of Mardou which made her purse little love loff lips at him and push at him and like kids.[1]

Upon having the dream Leo begins to see everything through the keyhole of his obsession that one day Mardou will sleep with Yuri if she hasn’t already done so. I would like to read this story with the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from Heaven to Earth in mind, or the passage from the old Earth to the new Earth. What’s at stake here is the conflict between what’s going on in Leo’s mind as to what’s going on in Mardou’s mind and what’s really going on in Mardou’s mind. There is, in reality, nothing going on in Mardou’s mind. It is Leo projecting what he read in the Bible onto Mardou’s mind, what he read in the Bible being that it was Eve who caused the fall, for it was her who tempted Adam to eat the apple. So Leo is projecting what he has introjected from the Bible. And the Bible was the representation of women in general and his mother in particular for Kerouac. The preconception in Leo’s mind that women are evil, sinful, and guilty by nature both attracts and repels Leo. This state of being caught in a movement between repulsion/attraction ties the subject with an endless chain of negative associations to his own fear of being betrayed, pushing him further towards madness and death. The final words of the book bring the end which Leo was from the beginning of the relationship more than willing to reach: separation and through writing it down reunification with the lost object. For as we know from Freud, “writing was in its origin the voice of an absent person.”

And I go home having lost her love.

And write this book.[2]

  Leo believes that he has had the dream and that if he has the dream of it the sexual intercourse in real life has either taken place or will take place in the future. Kerouac/Leo is, “at present,” writing The Subterraneans. And everything has already taken place; the sequence of events follows this way: Leo has the dream, Mardou engages in sexual intercourse with Yuri, Mardou and Leo break up, Leo continues the daydream, laughs to retain sanity in the face of this tragedy, and goes home and writes this book. In it there is no true story; and it doesn’t matter whether there is or not a true story other than the story of an unhappy consciousness running towards its death in and through a story of love, affection, resentment, guilt, and compassion, which exposes the symptoms of a life as it unceasingly wills its subject’s end.

[…]still making no impression on my eager impressionable ready-to-create construct destroy and die brain – as will be seen in the great construction of jealousy which I later from a dream and for reasons of self-laceration recreated…[3]   

Now, Leo sees Mardou in bed with Yuri and obsessively believes that his dream will come true. Leo believes himself to be a clairvoyant, that he has the ability to know things prior to seeing them actually taking place before his eyes. This he has introjected from Mardou herself, who, in a Nietzschean fashion, believes, does, and says things which simultaneously repel and attract Leo. There is no linear narrative in Mardou’s story about her adventures with the subterraneans of San Francisco and Leo likes it because there remain lots of gaps for him to fill with his fantasies later on when he is writing his story. Say what she may,

I got nervous and had some kind of idea about Mike, he kept looking at me like he wanted to kill me – he has such a funny look anyway – I got out of the house and walked along and didn’t know which way to go, my mind kept turning into the several directions that I was thinking of going but my body kept walking straight along Columbus altho’ I felt the sensation of each of the directions I mentally and emotionally turned into, amazed at all the possible directions you can take with different motives that come in, like it can make you a different person – I’ve often thought of this since childhood, of suppose instead of going up Columbus as I usually did I’d turn into Filbert would something happen that at the time is insignificant enough but would be like enough to influence my whole life in the end? – What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take? – and all that, so if this had not been such a constant preoccupation that accompanied me in my solitude which I played upon in as many different ways as possible I wouldn’t bother now except but seeing the horrible roads this pure supposing goes to it took me to frights, if I wasn’t so damned persistent –’ and so on deep into the day, a long confusing story only pieces of which and imperfectly I remember, just the mass of the misery in connective form –[4]

What, then, is this “connective form”? Who, then, is the subject of this “mass of misery pieces of which are imperfectly remembered”? There is a different way of remembering in action here, a different way of being in relation to time and language in this “imperfect remembrance” of the lived experiences. The problem with Kerouac’s writing is that he is not separating his introjected object from the projecting subject. Kerouac wants to represent Mardou as she is and yet he at the same time wants to prove that Leo was the one pulling the strings from the beginning. What Mardou is actually trying to convey is veiled by Kerouac who makes it impossible for the reader to distinguish between fiction and reality, self and other, subject and object, projected and introjected. His voice dissolves into the voice of Mardou and Mardou’s story remains unheard. Rather than unveiling, Kerouac’s writing not only veils but also manipulates the truth of the other for his abusive purposes. All his life Kerouac struggled to traverse this field of partial representations of the other, but being an innocent fascist he repeatedly fell into his own traps and failed in affirming the real as it is. If he could have loved the real as it is, he could have “delivered himself from his automatic reactions,” and thus he could have become “a body without organs.”[5]

While most of us live by the time of good sense, the Nietzschean subject is able to defy such sense and experience the creative evolution of self in exploration of a deeper memory – the virtual memory of the pure past as the event of events of the eternal return. Rather than a self-identical self, the self of the third synthesis of time is a creatively evolving self who is able to genuinely affirm life as metamorphosis.[6]

Leo chooses to become partially mad, for Mardou is the other half of his madness. The internal theatre of Leo stages a sexual intercourse between Mardou and Yuri and/but although this intercourse has not yet taken place, Leo is assured that one day it will. Leo had started plotting ways of getting rid of Mardou three weeks prior to their split. Is this will a will to end the relationship that makes Leo see this dream? In other words, is the source of this dream a will-to-nothingness-oriented-hope, a wish that Mardou will engage in sexual intercourse with Yuri and the relationship will end that way? Or is the dream based on a will-to-nothingness-oriented-fear that Mardou does not, and has never loved Leo? These questions can be asked if one wants to know what the dream means, in other words these questions are interpretation oriented questions and my aim here is not to interpret Leo’s dream and understand what it means but rather to make use of this dream in understanding why this dream matters not only for The Subterraneans, but also for twentieth century philosophy, literature, cultural and critical theory, and psychoanalysis.

 Both Oedipus and Leo see themselves as innocent victims “caught in a trap set by the God.” Fiction and reality give birth to one another in each case. In Oedipus’ case the prophecy turns into truth, in Leo’s case a dream turns into reality. Leo believes in what he sees in his dream and he sees Mardou in bed with Yuri. And his strong belief, almost an obsession, that one day Mardou will sleep with Yuri gives birth to the actualisation of this event at the end of the novel. Leo tells everyone about his dream. He tells Mardou almost every day following his dream that he is worried about the future of their relationship. Leo’s paranoid-schizoid attitude prepares the grounds for the actualization of what he was afraid of. At the end of the story, the only thing left at hand for Leo to make the best of is to write his experiences down and turn his loss into a gain in and through language. Leo is such a tragic character that in order to remain sane he has to laugh at himself by considering the “whole host and foolish illusion and entire rigmarole and madness we erect in the place of one love, in our sadness…”[7] to be a joke. When Leo learns that Mardou has actually slept with Yuri, when the truth is finally established, when fiction turns into reality, he addresses the reader:

[…]but I continue the daydream and I look into his eyes and I see suddenly the glare of a jester angel who made his presence on earth all a joke and I realize that this too with Mardou was a joke and I think, ‘Funny Angel, elevated amongst the subterraneans.’

‘Baby its up to you,’ is what she’s actually saying, ‘ about how many times you wanta see me and all that – but I want to be independent like I say.’

And I go home having lost her love.

And write this book.[8]

Cover art from the film and soundtrack editions of THE SUBTERRANEANS. Cover art from the film and soundtrack editions of  The Subterraneans 

Kerouac writes through love, but through a love that Leo is afraid of falling in. And his writing is the product of a sick desire, it is driven by a love of love, a desire to be desired. Kerouac exposes himself through Leo in such a way as to show why it is necessary to create something without becoming destructive of either the self or the other. Something that he himself doesn’t know how to do. It is an ill will that drives Kerouac towards manic-depressive, self-destructive alcoholism. His consciousness of the absence of “eternal love” in this finite life together with his immortal longing for an eternal love turn him into “a shipwreck on the shores of lust.” What Kerouac lacks in life is what is necessary to operate the war-machine in Kerouac. Love is the force that drives the war-machine and Kerouac is afraid of loving with a greater love, without projective identification. He is a paranoid love-machine because his love is in the form of a spark given birth by the struggle between the superiority and the inferiority complexes he simultaneously harbors within himself.

In the absence of a war–machine, war dominates the world. And when war dominates the world there is nothing left for one to write but that although his books are among the most important examples of a different way of being in relation to time, language, and life, Kerouac is “locked into an attenuating endgame, playing himself, with each move, further into a corner and into defeat.”[9] He, suffering inordinately from an irrecoverable loss, an irreparable deterioration of psychic and somatic health, pays a high price to render us the witnesses of his fantastic experiences.

Kerouac died in 1969 and/but long ago, in 1951, eighteen years before ceasing to exist among the living, in On the Road, he writes this:

And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiances shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus-lands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething soar which wasn’t in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember especially because the transition from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like that action of wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment.[10]

What Kerouac enjoys is death from pleasure, what he desires is suffering. In Kerouac’s writing there is a multiplication of the directions towards which it becomes possible for the subject to head as the subject goes along the way creating new life forces out of his Dionysiac regress. In time, however, Kerouac’s revolutionary becoming takes such a direction that his desire turns against itself turning him into a reactive force drowning in his own resentment. The Kerouac image represented by the media (newspapers, TV, radio), is in conflict with Kerouac’s image of himself, and this relation to himself of Kerouac through a media, through an external force, through a panoptic eye, locks Kerouac into the projection-introjection mechanism through which he constantly breaks and is beaten by as he beats. This operation is more than Kerouac can actively handle, and turns him into a reactive and anti-social person making him “rather will nothingness than not will,” destroying him in the process.

Conclusion

In Julio Cortazar’s short story Axolot, we read the main character realizing that the type of fish called Axolot stand still in water with no movement at all, a kind of motionless flight. With this realization the character commits himself to becoming like those fish himself. At the end of the story he sees everyone outside of himself as an Axolot fish. He has become an axolot himself. He has gone beyond the finitude of his existence. He becomes altogether immobile, merely an observer, watching people, life, opportunities, and time pass by. Eventually he becomes imperceptible. Here and now everything is continually changing towards becoming-imperceptible. Time turns something into nothing. Everything is in time only for a short period of time. Then everything disappears in a neutral light.

To have dismantled one’s self in order finally to be alone and meet the true double at the other end of the line. A clandestine passenger on a motionless voyage. To become like everybody else; but this, precisely, is a becoming only for one who knows how to be nobody, to no longer be anybody. To paint oneself gray on gray.[11]

It is the ambiguity of the relationship between the life drive and the death drive that is being manipulated by global capitalism (contemporary nihilism) today. Undecidability, absence of foundational truth procedures, loss of principles, and declarations of the end of history and the subject are all manifestations of a discursive disease which is very rapidly contaminating the relationship between humans and their own health. In a world where a normal person must have a therapist, where having a therapist is a sign of normalcy, there can be no other choice but to shake the foundations of the illusions on which the health of many generations to come depends.         

Carrying out an intervention in the course of events, introducing a split into the continuity of things requires learning how not to be produced by the image factory which captures desire in a certain order of signification mechanism so as to turn the subject into a copy of the products of the image factory, or into the object of the other’s interpretation  and identification processes. To become capable at least to subvert the codes of the capitalist axiomatics which produces desire as the desire of nothingness and death, this subject should come to a realization that he/she is already caught up in the projection-introjection mechanism. So the subject has to learn to use the projection-introjection mechanism in such a way as to sustain the conditions for the impossibility of wickedness in the form of exclusive and illusory constructions of the Real. Surviving the absence of a transcendental signified in a “time out of joint” requires learning to love the object of desire for what it is rather than for what it resembles. This is to love and live without projective identification, without paranoid reactions to the other, without possessing the other, or without confining the other within the boundaries of the self. One has to cease to be somebody and learn to become nobody so as to create a difference in and for itself and affirm this difference by affirming the difference of that which is “not I.”

Movie from the book: “The subterraneans” (1960; Dir. Ranald MacDougall) featuring Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Art Farmer, André Previn and Carmen McRae on screen.

The Subterraneans- Kerouac, Pollock and Bowie from magicloaf on Vimeo.

Cengiz Erdem, The Life Death Drives (London: Lulu.com, 2009), 210 – 220.

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Kerouac'ın aşk müziği 

Jack Kerouac’ın Türkçeye yeni çevrilen romanı ‘Yeraltı Sakinleri’ bu yıl okuyacağınız aşk romanlarının en afilisi. Roman, Beat Kuşağı’nın özgürleştirici anlatım tekniklerinin ilk uygulamasını da satırlarında barındırıyor. Kerouac, en ünlü kitabı ‘Yolda’yı üç haftada, ‘Yeraltı Sakinleri’ni üç günde yazmıştı.

Kerouac’ın aşk müziği – Kaya Genç (Radikal Kitap)


[1] Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans (Penguin: London, 2001), 69

[2] Kerouac, The Subterraneans, 93

[3] Kerouac, 39

[4] Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans, 20

[5]Antonin Artaud, Selected Writings, ed. Susan Sontag (University of California: Berkeley, 1975), 570-1 “When you will have made him a body without organs,

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

then you will teach him again to dance wrong side out

as in the frenzy of dancehalls

and this wrong side out will be his real place.”

[6] Tamsin Lorraine, “Living a Time Out of Joint,” Between Deleuze and Derrida, eds. Paul Patton and John Protevi (Continuum: London and NY, 2003), 39

[7] Kerouac, The Subterraneans (Penguin: London, 2001), 77

[8] Kerouac, 93

[9] J.M. Coetzee, Youth (Secker and Warburg: London, 2002), 169

[10] Jack Kerouac, On the Road (New York: The Viking Press, 1957), 173

[11] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi (University of Minnesota Press: Minnesota, 1988), 197

Cengiz Erdem, The Life Death Drives (London: Lulu.com, 2009), 210 – 220.

 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

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

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

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

From a debate between Slavoj Zizek and Alex Callinicos held at Marxism 2009 entitled, “What does it mean to be a Revolutionary today?”

Excerpt from Cengiz Erdem’s Ph.D. thesis

1. Method

The nature of this study requires an interdisciplinary and a multi-methodological attitude which goes beyond the opposition between merely conceptual and merely empirical approaches. It is based on a mode of enquiry which takes its driving force from thought-experiments that open paths to a new field in which various perspectives interact and form an intra-subjective dimension of theoretical practice situating psychoanalysis, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy in the context of cultural and critical theory. For the emergence of a new truth out of the old knowledge one must pose new questions concerning the workings of the human mind. In the light of the recent developments in cognitive neuroscience, for instance, especially the works of Antonio Damasio and Gerald Edelman, Freud’s concepts of the life drive and the death drive, Klein’s concepts of introjection and projective identification, and Wilfred Bion’s affirmative recreation of Klein’s theories in the way of a theory of thinking become extremely relevant for the development of a universal cultural and critical theory.

Cognitive neuroscience proposes that the quality of an external object is always already projected onto that object by the neuronal activity of the brain. What cognitive neuroscience lacks is a historical context, likewise what cultural studies lacks is an organic basis. An interaction between psychoanalysis, linguistics, philosophy, cultural studies, and cognitive neuroscience can break out of the closure of the humanities and give birth to the link which has come to be considered missing, between nature and nurture, organic and inorganic, empirical and conceptual, epistemological and ontological, transcendental and immanent, the objective and the subjective.

Because of the dynamic and parallel nature of re-entry and because it is a process of higher-order selection, it is not easy to provide a metaphor that captures all the properties of re-entry. Try this: Imagine a peculiar (and even weird) string quartet, in which each player responds by improvisation to ideas and cues of his or her own, as well as to all kinds of sensory cues in the environment. Since there is no score, each player would provide his or her own characteristic tunes, but initially these various tunes would not be coordinated with those of the other players. Now imagine that the bodies of the players are connected to each other by myriad fine threads so that their actions and movements are rapidly conveyed back and forth through signals of changing thread tensions that act simultaneously to time each player’s actions. Signals that instantaneously connect the four players would lead to a correlation of their sounds; thus, new, more cohesive, and more integrated sounds would emerge out of the otherwise independent efforts of each player. This correlative process would alter the next action of each player, and by these means the process would be repeated but with new emergent tunes that were even more correlated. Although no conductor would instruct or coordinate the group and each player would still maintain his or her style and role, the player’s overall productions would lead to a kind of mutually coherent music that each one acting alone would not produce.[1]

The model of mind conceptualized by Gerald Edelman shows us that the mind is an embodied substance which has the ability to adapt to changes surrounding it. If we keep in mind that cinema, literature, art, and music show how the mind works at a particular moment in history, as well as the emotional state of that particular moment, it becomes clear why a mode of enquiry rather than a specific method is required for the analysis and critique of human consciousness and its relation to the environment surrounding it. In this context, the plot driven critique of the literary and filmic texts aims at distinguishing between the world of consciousness and the world of appearances. My claim is that it is only through looking at the mortal world of appearances with the eyes of an immortal consciousness that we can see that which is present as an absence in the predominant symbolic order. By looking at “what happens when” in a movie or a book as well as “how that thing happens,” I sustain the conditions of impossibility as the conditions of possibility for cont(r)action to take place and give birth to an immortal subject. Needless to say, this subject is also an object encountering and encountered by the unknown within the known, the chaos inherent in the order itself, that calls forth he who has died so many times and is yet to die again and be reborn many more times so as to live as dead again. The reader might be disappointed because I will not have pursued and incorporated Edelman’s neural Darwinism and further developed the idea of a context-bound cognitive neuroscience and a matter(brain) based cultural and critical theory. The reason for this is that I discovered Edelman’s work towards the end of writing my thesis, and then  rewrote the Introduction. As a matter of fact, after this discovery the whole thesis itself could have been rewritten. Just as the Law changes its object and is in turn changed by that object, my critical apparatus, too, changes and is changed by its objects, in this case cultural products, be they filmic, literary or philosophical texts. It is such that this theoretical narrative moves on in such a way as to cut itself from its own past and unite with its own future at the same time, that is, in one simultaneous movement in two directions at once.

Hence it becomes clear why I pay attention to “what happens when” and “how that thing happens,” at the same time. For this I am indebted to Edelman who shifted the perspective of cognitive neuroscience from “how the brain makes sense,” to “when the brain makes sense.” If one reads the writings on film and literature in this thesis with the conscious naivety of their plot based critique in mind, one can sense the underlying current of humour and the erratic undertone of irony, both of which knock down the serious tone of the critique based on a linear reproduction of a circular plot – as we see in the investigation of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive for instance.

In his Critique of Judgement, Kant distinguishes between the determinative and the reflective modes of judgement.

If the universal (the rule, the principle, the law) is given, the judgement that subsumes the particular under it… is determinative. If, however, only the particular for which the universal is to be found is given, judgement is merely reflective.[2]

If we keep in mind that the reflective mode of judgement reflects on particulars in such a way as to produce universals to which they can be subjected, and that the determinative mode of judgement determines a particular by subjecting it to a universal, it becomes understandable why among these two I shall be using the reflective mode which splits as it unites the subject of enunciation and the enunciated subject. But it must be kept in mind that the subject of enunciation which refers to the universal is itself a constitutive illusion, or a regulatory idea necessary for the emergence of the immortal subject as the enunciated content. It is only in and through a position of non-mortality within and without mortal life at the same time that the exploitation of mortality can be brought into the spotlight. A critique of the exploitation of mortality inherent in particularly exemplary cultural products will be achieved through putting them in a perspective that analyzes the life death drives in such a way as to expose the exploitation of the fear of death as the driving force inherent in them. The point is that it is indeed necessary to fantasize being what one is not, in our case being non-mortal, to be able to become self-conscious of one’s self-reflexivity in the way of creating an order of signification not caught up in the rotary motion of drives locked in Klein’s projection-introjection mechanism,  but rather one which breaks this vicious cycle and at least attempts to subtract death from life in a counter-act to the post-structuralist idea of life as a process of dying and death as an absent presence in the midst of life. It is only through such a subtraction of the absent presence of death within life that the productive interaction between Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, Foucault’s bio-politics, Badiou’s theory of infinity, and Kant’s reflective mode of judgement give birth to the immortal subject as the womb of a new thought, a new life, and a new mode of being, free of the exploitation of mortality and engagingly indifferent to this mortal, all too mortal life.

Let us imagine a subject who finds himself in a certain situation which appears to have no escape route; a situation which nails him to a painful existence and brings him closer to extinction with every move he makes. What he needs is Bion’s theory of creative process and the emergence of new thought from within the dominant projection-introjection mechanism. In his Theory of Thinking Bion says that dismantling is as important in creative process as integration, that is, introjection and splitting are as necessary as projective identification and unification. Bion pays special attention to the process of introjection and projective identification and recreates Klein’s paranoid-schizoid position as a way of showing that it has two forms; one is healthy and the other is pathological. For Klein it was only with the attainment of the depressive position that the formless experience was given a form, the thoughts were invested with symbolic meanings. Bion sees introjection and projective identification as the two separate but contiguous halves and the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions as the complementary parts of one another in the creative process. Now, if, following Bion, we think about Klein’s introjection and projective identification in the context of Derrida’s technique of deconstructive reading, we see that deconstruction is a mobile and dynamic mode of critique which moves between fragmentation and integration of the meaning of a text. Although deconstruction, as practised by Derrida himself, adapts itself to the internal dynamics of the text as the object of critique, it still lacks the affirmative and immanent fluidity which is necessary to open up holes, or passages, through which a new truth in touch with the requirements of the present situation can slip. This is because Derrida’s practice of deconstruction is still a negating activity and a transcendence oriented practice, which remains within the confines of the antagonistic relationship between the life drive and the death drive. To become affirmative, deconstructive practice needs to produce and incorporate its own difference from itself, that is, it has to become immanent to itself and the text it interprets.

As a mode of thinking, deconstruction attempts to erase the gap between the life drive and the death drive, but always fails, and this failure eternally confines deconstructive practice to the domain of antagonism between the life drive and the death drive. And if we keep in mind that deconstruction as a mode of thinking has become the dominant way of being creative we can understand why a critique of deconstruction is a critique of contemporary culture.

In this thesis I try to expose the workings of the deconstructive practice in certain works of art, literature, and cinema, which, consciously or unconsciously, exploit the ambiguity of the relationship between the life drive and the death drive, hence oppressing the one or the other. Needless to say this oppression of the one or the other necessarily exploits the one or the other, for oppression of the one requires exploitation of the other. As a consequence of this dynamic inherent in contemporary nihilistic culture projected onto the subject, the reader/spectator is removed out into the transcendental world of unconscious drives, leading to an illusory sense of omniscience on behalf of the reader/spectator.

The difference between deconstruction and affirmative recreation is that in the former an interaction between the destruction of a structure based on metaphysics of presence and creation of an opening, production of a void within the meaning of the text based on logocentrism is at work, whereas what is at work in the latter is a simultaneous dismantling of meaning, opening up of a void in the context of the text, and sustenance of the conditions for the possibility of the meaning’s flow in and through this void and out into the outside of the dominant context.[3] Derrida’s well known proposition that “there is nothing outside the text” is not the basic assumption of affirmative recreation; quite the contrary, a hole is opened within the context, and the meaning of the text flows through this hole. The meaning of the text is made to move on progressively, not just left without any foundations on which to stand and consequently fall. Deconstruction is concerned with exposing the rigidity and the solidity of rigid structures and solid constructions as is clear from its name. In a nutshell this is what Derrida’s self-reflexive reading strategy called deconstruction does: the socially and historically constructed and generally accepted dominant meaning of the text is explicated. And then this meaning is shown to be self-contradictory through the opening of a gap between what the author intended to say and what he has actually said. In affirmative recreation what’s at stake is a melting of the meaning and its continuous reshaping like a sculpture. The text is turned from a solid state into something like lava or clay and kept hot for further and perpetual reshaping, not into another completed sculpture. For me sculptures are products of an attempt to freeze life and/but a frozen life is no different from death.    

 2. To What End Last Words? To What End Suffering…

Throughout this thesis I have tried to develop a mode of critique in and through which nothing is excluded and/or determined. This reflective mode of critique itself enabled me to situate myself in the middle of the reflective and the determinative modes of judgment. The critical mode employed in this thesis is still context-bound to a certain extent, and yet it tries to restrictively dissociate itself from the predetermined context, rather than freely associate within it. A new field is opened, the conditions are created for the possibility of a decision beyond the Law of Militarist Capitalism and the Welfare State driven by and driving the exploitation of mortality on a massive scale. There is this transcendental field that requires a non-mortal mode of being in the world, neither for nor against it, but indifferent to it in such a way as to turn its own alienation from mortality into its driving force in its attempt to demolish the faculty of finite judgment and create the conditions of possibility out of the conditions of impossibility for an infinite judgment to take place beyond the subject/object of a Law that is mortal, all too mortal.

A truth comes into being through those subjects who maintain a resilient fidelity to the consequences of an event that took place in a situation but not of it. Fidelity, the commitment to truth, amounts to something like a disinterested enthusiasm, absorption in a compelling task or cause, a sense of elation, of being caught up in something that transcends all petty, private or material concerns.[4]

The immortal subject within and without the pre-dominant symbolic order is not only the cause, but also the effect of its own alienation from mortal life. This regulatory idea of immortality, which is also a constitutive illusion, is inspired by the post-structuralist theme of becoming non-identical as we see in Deleuze and Derrida. If one could become non-identical, why would one not also become non-mortal? If one could become alienated from one’s identity, why would one not also become alienated from one’s mortality?  Why not become immortal so as to become capable of criticizing the exploitations of this mortal, all too mortal life? But what motivated me to take immortality as a virtual mode of being was Badiou’s theory of infinity which aimed at secularizing the concept of truth. Badiou’s technique of secularizing the truth is inspired by the 19th century mathematician Georg Cantor’s technique of secularizing the infinite. As Badio claims, the secularization of infinity started with Cantor who stated that there was not one, but many infinities varying in size and intensity. From then onwards it became possible to link Deleuze’s concepts of impersonal consciousness and transcendental empiricism with Badiou’s theory of infinity and Kant’s assertion that for reflective judgement to take place and turn the object into a subject a transcendental ground is necessary.  Now I can say that for me a transcendental ground is necessary only to the extent that it enables the subject to shake the foundation of its own mode of being and opens a field for immanent critique to take place. In other words, the untimely indifference of immortality is required in order to actively engage in an exposition of the exploitation of mortality in this time.

I don’t know if it is worth mentioning that in this time we are all slaves and yet some slaves dominate the others. Where time goes no one knows. There are necessary illusions in this life, some for life, some not. Both the extreme belief in civilized progress and barbaric regress are good for nothing. These two are now in the process of being left behind. A third possibility of developmental process is emerging in the form of a becoming-reconciled which is based on the recognition of the otherness of the other as it is, that is, prior to the additions and the subtractions imposed upon the self and the other, nature and culture, life and death. For a non-normative and progressive universality to work it is necessary for the participants to become capable of making distinctions between their natures and cultures, their cliniques and critiques. It is a matter of realizing that theory and practice are always already reconciled and yet the only way to actualise this reconciliation passes through carrying it out and across by introducing a split between the subject of statement (the enunciated) and the subject of enunciation.

It is indeed true that sometimes it takes a long journey to get there, where one eventually got at, and realise that one is other than one thinks itself to be. Apparently the numbers indeed start with zero and continue with two, but it takes time to realise this actuality and become capable of actualising this reality. Perhaps we should indeed know that absolute reconciliation is impossible and yet still strive to reconcile ourselves as much as we can to all the living and the dead.  

 Cengiz Erdem, The Life Death Drives (Lulu: London, 2009)


[1] Gerald Edelman,  A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination (New York: Basic Books,  2000), 49 

[2] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. James Creed Meredith (London: Wilder Publications, 2008), 13

[3] It is important to note that here context signifies the dominant projection-introjection mechanism. To go outside this projection-introjection mechanism requires what Bion calls “the binocular vision.” Binocular vision means that the subject is still within the dominant context and yet he is also in touch with another mode of being which he is able to project onto the present and future. Binocular vision is the first step towards creating a new situation out of the present situation. Wilfred Bion,  A Theory of Thinking, Second Thoughts, (London: Karnac Books, 1984).

[4] Peter Hallward, “Introduction” in Alain Badiou, Ethics (London: Verso, 2002), x

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Badiou, Alan. Deleuze: The Clamour of Being, trans. Louise Burchill (Minneapolis:
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Badiou, Alan. Dissymetries: On Beckett, eds. Alberto Toscano and Nina Power (Manchester: Clinamen Press, 2003)

Badiou, Alan. Infinite Thought, trans. and eds. Oliver Feltham and Justin Clemens (London: Continuum, 2005)

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Bion, Wifred. Learning From Experience (London: Karnac, 1962)
 
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University of Minnesota, 1993)

Burgoyne, Bernard and Sullivan, Marry (eds.) The Klein-Lacan Dialogues (London: Rebus Press, 1997)

Butler, Judith. Psychic Life of Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997)

Copjec, Joan Karen. Apparatus and Umbra: A Feminist Critique of Film Theory   (Michigan: Dissertation Information Service, Microfilms International, 1986)

Copjec, Joan. (ed.) Radical Evil (London: Verso, 1996)

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Deleuze, Gilles. Pure Immanence: A life, transl, Anne Boyman (New York: Zone Books, 2001)

Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense, transl. Mark Lester (London: Athlone, 1990)

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Donzelot, Jacques. The Policing of Families, trans. Robert Hurley (London: Hutchinson, 1980)

Elliot, Anthony and Frosh, Stephen (eds.) Psychoanalysis in Contexts: Paths Between Theory and Modern Culture (London: Routledge, 1995)

Epictetus. The Encheiridion: The Handbook, trans. Nicholas P. White (Cambridge: Hackett, 1983)

Field, Nathan. Breakdown and Breakthrough: Psychoanalysis in a new dimension
(London: Routledge, 1996)

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

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents, and Other Works, trans. ed. James Strachey (London: Penguin, 1985)

Freud, Sigmund. On Metapsychology, trans. James Strachey, ed. Angela Richards (London: Penguin, 1984)

Freud, Sigmund. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, trans. James Strachey, ed. Angela Richards (London: Penguin, 1976)

Hallward, Peter. Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation (London: Verso, 2006)

Hamilton, Victoria. Narcissus and Oedipus: The Children of Psychoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1982)

Hegel. Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: OUP, 1977)

Klein, Melanie. The Psychoanalysis of Children, trans. Alix Strachey (London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1975)

Klossowski, Pierre. Nietzsche and The Vicious Cycle, trans. Daniel W. Smith (London: Athlone, 1997)

Kristeva, Julia. Melanie Klein, trans. Ross Guberman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001)

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

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

Laplanche, Jean. Life and Death in Psychoanalysis, trans. Jeffrey Mehlam (Baltimore and London: John Hopkins, 1976)

Lawson, Hilary. Reflexivity: The post-modern predicament (London: Hutchinson, 1985)

Lecercle, Jean-Jacques. Philosophy through the Looking-Glass: Language, non-sense, desire (London: Hutchinson,1985)

Lorraine, Tamsin. Living a Time Out of Joint, from “Between Deleuze and Derrida,” eds. Paul Patton and John Protevi (London and NY: Continuum, 2003)

Nietzsche, Friedrich. On The Genealogy of Morality, transl. Maudemarie Clark and Alan J. Swensen  (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998)

Poster, Mark. Foucault, Marxism and History (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984)

Riley, Denise. The Words of Selves (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000)

Riley, Denise. Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2005)

Sanchez-Pardo, Esther. Cultures of the Death Drive: Melanie Klein and Modernist Melencholia (London and Durham: Duke University Press, 2003

Winnicott, Donald. Playing and Reality, (London: Tavistock, 1971)

Žižek, Slavoj. The Ticklish Subject (London: Verso, 1999)

Žižek, Slavoj. The Fragile Absolute (London: Verso, 2000)

Žižek, Slavoj. Organs Without Bodies: On Deleuze and Consequences (New York and London: Routledge, 2004)

Zupancic, Alenka. Ethics of The Real: Kant, Lacan (London: Verso, 2000)
 

(c) CengizErdem, 2009.

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 1. Freud ve Einstein 

1931 yılında Uluslararası Entelektüel İş Birliği Enstitüsü birtakım entelektüelleri dünyayı bekleyen sorunların çözümünü düşünmek ve tartışmak amacıyla bir araya gelmeye davet etti. Birinci Dünya Savaşı sonlanmış ama ikincisi kapıya dayanmak üzereydi. Orta Avrupa’daki gelişmeler yaklaşmakta olan felaketin işaretleriydi. Einstein enstitünün iletişime geçtiği entelektüellerden biriydi ve Freud’u da katılımcı olarak enstitüye öneren kişiydi. 1932 yılında Einstein Freud’a bir mektup yazmış ve insanlığın savaşa, yıkıma ve şiddete eğiliminin, şayet aşılabilirse, nasıl aşılabileceğini sormuştu. Einstein Freud’un pratik çözümler sunmasını bekliyordu. Einstein devrim istiyordu, fakat büyük bir Darwin hayranı olan Freud evrimden bahsediyordu.   

Leonardo Da Vinci

Bir ay kadar sonra Freud Einstein’a cevap yazdı. Mektup boyunca Freud, Einstein’ın beklediğini yapamayacağını, insan doğasının içsel saldırganlık sorununa pratik çözümler getiremeyeceğini vurguladı.   

Einstein’ın mektubuna cevap olarak Freud, insan doğasındaki saldırganlık dürtüsü ile toplumun örgütlenmesi arasındaki ilişkiyi araştırdı ve toplumsal düzenin örgütlenişinde saldırganlığın kaçınılmaz olduğu sonucuna ulaştı.   

Mektubunun ikinci kısmında Freud dürtülerin insanların iç dünyasında oynadıkları role değindi ve kendi dürtüler teorisini özetledi. Freud’a göre, Einstein’ın da bir fizikçi olarak yakından tanıdığı çekici ve itici güçler arasındaki karşıtlık insan aklında da bulunuyordu. Bu güçlerden birisi, kendini korumayı ve bir bütün olmayı hedefleyen yaşam dürtüsü, yani Eros tarafından temsil edilen erotik güçtü. Diğer güç ise yıkımı ve parçalamayı amaçlayan ve Thanatos tarafından temsil edilen ölüm dürtüsüydü.    

Fakat iyi ve kötüye dair etik yargılar sunarken çok da aceleci davranmamalıyız. Bu içgüdülerin hiçbiri bir diğerinden daha temel değildir; yaşam olayları, her ikisinin de koşut zamanlı ve karşılıklı direnen eylemiyle ortaya çıkar. Şimdi öyle görünüyor ki, bir tür içgüdünün tek başına işlemesi pek de mümkün değil; bir içgüdüye, her zaman onun amacını değişime uğratan ve bazı durumlarda da onun amacına ulaşmasını sağlayan diğer içgüdünün bir payı eşlik eder—ya da, bizim ifade ettiğimiz şekliyle, bunlar daima alaşım halinde bulunurlar. Böylece, örneğin, kendini koruma içgüdüsü elbette erotik bir içgüdüdür, ama yine de amacına ulaşabilmek adına saldırganlığı kullanmak durumundadır. Benzer bir biçimde, sevgi içgüdüsü bir nesneye yöneltildiğinde, eğer o nesneye şu veya bu şekilde sahip olmayı hedefliyorsa, hâkimiyet içgüdüsünün katkısına ihtiyaç duyar. Bu iki içgüdü sınıfını gerçekten açığa çıktıklarında birbirlerinden ayırmanın zorluğu aslında bizim onları tanımamıza uzun süre engel olmuştur. (1)   

Freud’a göre ölüm dürtüsü canlı organizmayı hedef alıyor ve organik olanı inorganik olana dönüştürmeyi amaçlıyordu. Yaşam dürtüsünün içerdiği kendini koruma gücünün müdahalesi sayesinde, ölüm dürtüsü bir zihinsel işlem aracılığıyla dış dünyaya yöneltiliyor ve böylece organizmanın kendi kendini yok etmesi engelleniyordu.   

Bu noktada ölüm dürtüsünün kendi kendini yok etme durumuna tekabül etmediğini kavramamız gerekiyor. Ölüm dürtüsü, saldırganlığı dış dünyaya yönelterek ve böylece kendini koruma içgüdüsüne katkı koyarak, organizmanın kendi kendini yok etmesini erteliyor. Kendi kendini yok etme dürtüsü kendine karşı çıkıp, şiddetin ve saldırganlığın başkalarına yöneltilmesiyle ortaya çıkıyor. Özne kendini öldürmemek için başkalarını öldürüyor. “Ölüm dürtüsü, özel organların yardımıyla dışarıya doğru, nesnelere yönlendirildiğinde, yok etme dürtüsüne dönüşür. Organizma yabancı bir hayatı yok ederek kendi hayatını korur.” (2)   

Bu senaryo sayesinde burada bir ayırıcı sentez etkisinin olduğunu söyleyebiliriz. Gilles Deleuze tarafından türetilen ayırıcı sentez (disjunctive synthesis) kavramı, bir aygıtın, bizim konumuza göre zihinsel bir aygıtın, iki bileşeninin, aynı şeyin iki, farklı kavranmış unsuru olarak görünmesini sağlayan işlemi tanımlıyor.   

2. Ölüm Dürtüsü Olarak Özne   

Nietzsche’nin hiçlik istenci ve sonsuz dönüş kavramlarının Freud’un daha sonraki çalışmaları üzerindeki etkisi çok güçlüdür. Freud’un metapsikolojiye dönüşü ve akabinde ölüm dürtüsü kavramını yaratmasının temel nedeni, Darwin’e çok şey borçlu olan bilimsel ve ampirik olarak gözlemlenebilen teorilerindeki boşlukları bir şeyle doldurmaya ihtiyaç duymasıdır. Freud ölüm dürtüsü kavramından, bilimsel olmayan doğasından ötürü, rahatsız oluyordu, ama yine de haz ilkesinin ötesine geçebilmesi için yaşam dürtüsüne karşılık ölüm dürtüsünü kavramsallaştırması gerekiyordu. Bir nörobilimci olarak eğitim gören Freud kendi kendisiyle çelişkiye düştüğünün ve hatta ölüm dürtüsünün her şeyin başlangıcı olduğunu, yaşam dürtüsünün yalnızca bir sonuç, ölüm dürtüsüne karşı bir savunma olduğunu göstererek insan zihnine dair önceki çalışmalarında sergilediği tavra karşı çıktığının farkındaydı.   

Uygarlığın Huzursuzluğu adlı eserinde Freud okyanus hissinden, kişisel olarak hiç tecrübe etmediğini kabul ettiği dünyayla bir bütün olabilme duygusundan bahseder. Belki de hayli spekülatif bir kavram olan ölüm dürtüsünü yaratması Freud’un okyanus hissinden yoksun olmasından ötürü açılan bir boşluğu doldurma çabasıydı.  

Yazma, kökenine bakacak olursak, namevcut bir insanın sesiydi; ve ikametgâh, insanın büyük ihtimalle hep hasret kaldığı ve içinde güvende ve huzurlu hissettiği ilk meskenin, anne rahminin yerine geçmekteydi. (3)     

Psikanaliz Üzerine adlı eserinde, Freud dürtülerin duygular ürettiği ve bu yüzden her eylemin kökünde dürtülerin bulunduğu fikrini ortaya attı. Dürtülerin başlangıçta her eylemin temelini oluşturduğu konusunda Freud’la hemfikirim, fakat Freud’un söylediğinin tersine, ben duyguların yalnızca dürtülerin tezahürü olduklarını düşünmüyorum. Böyle olmaktan çok, duygular dış uyarıcıların yoğunluk seviyelerindeki değişikliklere tepki olarak ortaya çıkarlar. Dış uyarıcılar nesnelere karşı duygular yaratırlar ve dürtüye denk gelmek üzere üretilen nesnelerin duygusal niteliği sayesinde dürtüler doyuma ulaşır. Ama bir nesneyi arzulamayı üreten tam da bu denk gelme sürecidir, ki böylece bilinçdışı dürtü “bilinçli” arzuya dönüşür.   

1920 yılında yayımlanan Haz İlkesinin Ötesinde başlıklı makalesinde, Freud dürtü kuramını gözden geçirmiş ve ölüm dürtüsü kavramını ortaya atmıştır. Bu gözden geçirilmiş dürtü kuramında, Freud yaşam dürtüsünün hem cinsel dürtüleri hem de kendini koruma dürtülerini içerdiği yönünde bir kavramsallaştırmaya başvurmuştu. Ölüm dürtüsünü ise bir kendi kendini yok etme dürtüsü olarak tanımlanmıştı. Böylece Freud başlangıçta cinsel dürtülerin sadist unsurlar da içerdiklerine değinmişti. Narsisizm Üzerine (1914) adlı eserinde geliştirdiği ilk dürtü kuramında Freud saldırganlığın yaşam dürtüsüne dahil olduğunu ima ederken, Haz İlkesinin Ötesinde adlı çalışmasında ele aldığı ikinci dürtü kuramında saldırganlık inorganik hale dönmeye yönelik bir istenç olduğundan benliğe karşı yöneltilmekte ve kendi kendini yok etmeye yardımcı olmaktadır. Bu resme göre, eğer adaptasyon hayatta kalmak için zaruriyse, o halde saldırganlık yaşama karşıdır ve ölüm dürtüsünün tezahürüdür.   

Şu anki durum karşısında, Lacan’ın özne kuramı ışığında Freud’un dürtü kuramı için birkaç değişiklik önereceğim. Düşünce beyinin bir ürünü olduğuna göre ve birçok psikanalistin doğrulayacağı üzere metafiziksel olaylar psikosomatik olaylardan oluştuğuna göre, beden (soma) ve akıl (psyche) arasındaki alanı doldurabilecek tek şey bir fantezidir. Bu fantezi (‘Ben’) bu ikisi arasındaki hiçliği temsil eder; onları ayırırken birleştirir. Dürtülerin kaynağı hususunda Freud’un kuramına katılmıyorum. Ama ben de bilinçli arzular ve bilinçdışı dürtüler arasında bir ayrım yapıyorum.   

Lacan’ın bu alandaki katkısı bilinçdışı dürtülerin dış koşullar tarafından şekillendirildiğini ve bilinçli arzulara dönüştürüldüğünü farketmesidir. Ne var ki, benim için Lacan’ın kuramı, Donald Winnicott’un sözleriyle ifade edecek olursak, tıpkı Hobbes’un modern iktidarı tasvir etmek için kullandığı Leviathan metaforu gibi, psikosomatik olayları sosyopolitik bir bağlama yerleştirmeye yarayan salt bir geçişken nesne (transitional object) olarak kalmaktadır.   

Şimdi, ölüm ve ölümün iktidar ile ilişkisi üzerine düşünceleri, dürtüler, dürtülerin kaynakları ve dürtülerin oluşum süreçleri gibi konular için uygun olduğundan Foucault üzerinden Hobbes’a döneceğim.   

3. Boşluk, Dürtüler, Otomatlar   

Hobbes’un Leviathan adlı eserinde söylediği en önemli şey —ki ben bunun hâlâ yeterince geçerli olduğunu düşünüyorum— ölümün mutlak efendi olduğu ve ölüm korkusunun özneleri mevcut toplumsal düzene uyum sağlamaya zorladığıdır. Leviathan bu ölüm korkusuyla beslenir ve zaten Leviathan’ın kendisi insanlara ölüm korkusunu aşılar. Eğer Batılı toplumlarda ölümün hiçlikle ilişkilendirildiğini aklımızda tutarsak, Foucault’nun Hapishanenin Doğuşu adlı eserinde merkezinde bir hiç/lik barındıran modern iktidar yapısını tasvir etmek için Jeremy Bentham’ın Panoptikon’unu bir metafor olarak kullanmasının nasıl ve neden yeniden önem kazandığı netlik kazanır.   

 

Çevrede, halka şeklinde bir bina; merkezde, bir kule; bu kule halkanın iç kısmına doğru açılan beyaz pencerelerle delinmiş; kuleyi çevreleyen bina her biri binanın genişliğince uzanan hücrelere bölünmüş; hücrelerin iki penceresi var, birisi içeride, kulenin pencerelerine doğru bakıyor; diğeri, dışarıda, hücrenin bir ucundan diğer ucuna ışığın girmesini sağlıyor. Tek yapılması gereken, merkezdeki kuleye bir gözetici yerleştirmek ve her hücreye bir deliyi, bir hastayı, bir suçluyu, bir işçiyi ya da bir öğrenciyi kapatmak. Arkadan gelen ışığın etkisiyle, ışığın tam karşısında durarak, çevrenin hücrelerindeki küçük tutsak gölgeler kuleden rahatlıkla gözlemlenebilir. Bunlar birçok kafes, her birinin içinde yalnızca bir aktörün oynadığı birçok küçük tiyatro gibi, tamamen bireyselleştirilmiş ve sürekli görünür kılınan hücreler. Panoptik mekanizma uzamsal birlikler yaratarak sürekli görmeyi ve anında tanımayı mümkün kılıyor. Kısacası, bu mekanizma zindan ilkesini ya da zindanın üç işlevini —kapatmak, ışıktan yoksun bırakmak, saklamak— tersine çevirir; yalnızca birincisini muhafaza eder ve diğer iki işlevi eler. Tam ışıklandırma ve bir gözeticinin gözü, korumaya yarayan karanlıktan daha iyi zapteder. Görünürlük bir tuzaktır. (4)   

Foucault, doğrudan ona referans vermese de, Hobbes’un canavarı Leviathan’ın bir makineye dönüştüğünü gösterir. Ben bu makinenin de bugün bir dönüşüm sürecini yaşadığını ve ne organik ne de inorganik, ne görünür ne de görünmez olup da hissedilen bir şeyin biçimini almaya başladığını düşünüyorum. Bu, duygusal güç olarak iktidardır. İktidar artık metaforlar aracılığıyla temsil edilemez. Çünkü metafor yalnızca bir fantezi dünyası olarak var olan metafiziksel dünyaya ait bir kavramken, günümüzde iktidar daha önce hiç olmadığı kadar maddi bir varlığa sahiptir ve maddiyatı deneyimin psikosomatik ve sosyopolitik alanlarını birleştirdikçe parçalanmaktadır.   

İktidarın otomatlaşması, yani iktidarın Hobbes tarafından gösterilen organik bir halden Foucault tarafından gösterilen inorganik bir hale dönüşmesi, Foucault, Marksizm ve Tarih adlı eserde Mark Poster tarafından farklı bir şekilde ve farklı bir bağlamda incelenmiş. Poster’in Markizm ile ilişkili olarak Foucault yorumundan etkilenerek ve söylem ile iktidar arasındaki ilişki bağlamında, ben, farklı bir şekilde ve farklı amaçlarla, Foucault’nun Panoptikon kavramsallaştırmasının, teknolojideki son gelişmeler göz önünde bulundurulduğunda, günümüzde iktidarın işleyişlerini anlamada faydalı fakat yetersiz olduğunu iddia ediyorum.   

Bu yeni durumda özneler Panoptikon tarafından tutsak edildiklerini biliyorlar, fakat Süperpanoptikon içerisinde serbestçe süzülüyormuş gibi yapıyorlar. Bunun sebebi ise Panoptikona daha derinden tutsak edilmeleridir; orada kendilerini parçalanmış bulmaları; kendilerini korkunç bir biçimde odalarının, hücrelerinin daha önce hiç keşfedilmemiş köşelerine itilmiş durumda bulup kendilerini kaybetmeleri.   

Foucault’nun biyo-iktidar kavramının yeni formülasyonu olarak Süperpanoptik söylem Eros ve Thanatos’un rollerini değiştirir; yaşam ve ölüm dürtülerine dair anlayışlarımızı ve yanlış anlamalarımızı suistimal eder; ve iç çatışmalarımızı yönlendirip bizi hasımlara dönüştürür. Bunu, yaşam ve ölüm, organik ve inorganik arasındaki zaruri sınırı silip hayali bir birlik hissi yaratmanın koşullarını olanaklı kılarak; yaşam biçimlerinin sürekli dönüşümünün ve çoğalmasının aynı anda gerçekleşmesi için birbirlerinden ayrı ve/ama birbirlerine bitişik kalmak zorunda olan cümle öznesi (sözcelenen) ve sözceleme öznesini birleştirerek yapar.   

Şimdi maddi üretim ve metafiziksel üretim arasındaki çatışmayı ele almanın pratik bir yolunu kuramsallaştırma yolunda bir adım atacağım. Dolayısıyla bu noktadan itibaren, bu çatışmanın nasıl ortaya çıktığını ve nasıl husumete dönüştüğünü göstermeye çalışacağım.   

Yeni Dünya üzerindeki organsız bedenin damarlarının içerisinde işleyip de dışlamaya çalıştığı eski Dünyanın bedensiz organını üreten bir yansıtma (projeksiyon)- içyansıtım (introjeksiyon) mekanizması bu sağlıksız çatışmanın iki kutbunu üretiyor. Biri toplumsal diğeri metafiziksel olup da birbirlerine karşıt olan bu iki kutup ne kendilerini ne de karşıtlarını besliyorlar, ama bir olumsuzluk olarak ötekiliğin üretilmesine katkıda bulunmaktan geri kalmıyorlar, ve böylece birbirlerine karşıt olarak konumlanıp her ikisinin de parçalanışına sebep olacak korkunç tuzağın kurulmasında önemli bir rol oynuyorlar. Her ikisini de yok eden husumet dolu bir sürecin tutsağı haline geliyorlar. Birinin diğeri olmaksızın hayatta kalabilmesi olanaksız olmasına rağmen, birbirlerini yemeyi tercih ediyorlar. Toplumsal üretim ötekinin dışlanmasını üretirken, metafiziksel üretim ötekinin hayali bir imgesini üretiyor. Ne zaman bu iki üretim tarzı beraber işlese, hayali olmayan ve husumet gerektirmeyen bir varoluş biçiminin imkansızlığının koşullarını yaratıyorlar.   

Şunu eklememiz gerekir; sorun yansıtma-içyansıtım mekanizmasının kendisinde olsa da, biz dertlerimize devayı dışarıda arıyoruz. Bütün kötü niteliklerimizi ötekilerine yansıtıyoruz ve bu şekilde onları bize karşı olumsuz olmakla suçluyoruz. Sonuçta, ötekinin olumsuzluğunu, ya da olumsuzluk olarak ötekiliği yaratıyoruz. İçimizdeki ve dışımızdaki olumsuz hep biz tarafından yaratılıyor, çünkü dışa yansıttığımızı içe, içe yansıttığımızı da dışa yansıtıyoruz.  

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  • 4. Özne ve İktidar  

    Özne ve iktidar arasındaki ilişki, Nietzsche, Marx ve Freud’dan beri Avrupa düşünce tarihinin yönünü belirleyen bir tema olarak çok önemli bir rol oynadı. Hem Horkheimer ve Adorno gibi Frankfurt Okulu düşünürleri, hem de Deleuze ve Foucault gibi post-yapısalcı düşünürler bu meseleyi farklı biçimlerde çalışmalarına konu ettiler. Bu tezin başlangıcından önce Adorno’nun Negatif Diyalektik ve Marcuse’nin Akıl ve Devrim adlı eserlerinden oldukça etkilenmeme rağmen, daha sonraları Deleuze ve Foucault’ya dönüp erken Frankfurt Okulu’nun bazı kısıtlayıcı etkilerini azaltacak araçlar buldum. Birçoğunun, örneğin Habermas’ın, düşündüğünün aksine, post-yapısalcılığın ve eleştirel teorinin birbirlerine sunabilecekleri ve özelde hâkim düzenin ve genelde nihilizmlerin pratik eleştirisi için kullanılabilecek birçok şey olduğunu düşünüyorum.   

    Her iki gruptan da almak istediğimi aldıktan sonra, hem post-yapısalcılık ve eleştirel teori, hem de teori ve pratik arasındaki ilişkiyi incelemek adına her grubu diğerinin bağlamına asimetrik olarak yerleştirdim. Bu iki düşünce tarzını birbirlerinin üzerine yansıttım. Amacım, günümüzün gerektirdikleri uyarınca eyleme dönüştürülmesi mümkün olan bir dünyaya pratik olarak bakma yolunu kuramsallaştırmaktı. Pratik Kleincı aynaları kullandım, ve gördüklerim çok tuhaftı ve hâlâ öyle. Thomas Hobbes’u ve Michel Foucault’yu bir hücre içerisinde kendi kuyruğunu ısıran yılan şeklinde buldum. Marcuse ise hücrenin dışında kendinden emin bir biçimde Reich’ın ve onun orgazm kuramının korumacı elinin altındaki bir gardiyan melek gibi durmaktaydı. İçsel tiyatromun sahnesinde zamanla şekil alan bu imgenin ortaya çıkması üzerine, sonunda çalışmamın yönünü ve amacını belirleyebildim.   

    Bu tezin hareket noktası, on sekizinci yüzyılda Aydınlanma ile birlikte ortaya çıkan iktidar üzerine geliştirilen modern söylemdir. Metafiziğe ve Hristiyan dogmatizmine bir yanıt olarak Aydınlanma kendini yalnızca evrensel akıl tarafından yönetilen bir düşünce sistemi olarak sunuyordu. Aydınlanmanın Diyalektiği adlı eserlerinde Horkheimer ve Adorno, Marx’ı ve Freud’u, ve kendilerini bu gelenek içerisine yerleştiriyorlardı. Ben Foucault’yu da aynı Aydınlanma geleneğinin içinde görüyorum.   

    Michel Foucault’nun Panoptikon yorumu ve Thomas Hobbes’un Leviathan’ı bu noktada çok anlamlı bir birliktelik içerisine giriyorlar, çünkü her ikisi de metaforlar aracılığıyla açıkladıkları modern iktidar yapısının ideal modelinin itici gücünü akıl (psyche) ve beden (soma), akıl (reason) ve akıl-dışı (non-reason), yaşam dürtüsü ve ölüm dürtüsü arasındaki çatışmanın sömürülmesinden elde ettiğini söylüyorlar.   

    Bu iktidar yapısı hâlâ baskın olmakla birlikte, aynı zamanda görünürlüğünü azaltırken hâkimiyetini artırıyor. Bunu, aslında haz ilkesi tarafından yönetilen özneleri gerçeklik ilkesiyle yönetildiklerine inandırarak yapıyor. Bu durum öznenin sağlık anlayışında bir değişime sebep oluyor. Buna ileride değineceğim. Öncesinde öznenin sağlık anlayışındaki değişimle yakından ilgili bir başka şeye değinmem gerekiyor.   

    Aydınlanma, Büyük Öteki’nin otoritesinin dünyevileşmesini ve İncil’in mutlak otoritesinin yerine araçsal aklın inşa edilmesini niteliyor. Bu bakımdan Aydınlanma efendiler ve köleler arasındaki basit bir rol değişikliğiymiş gibi görünüyor; metafiziksel dünyanın temsilinin içerdiği sorun aynı kalıyor. Örneğin, Walter Benjamin öznenin içerisinde bir Leviathan yaratan panoptik mekanizmanın kurduğu bu tuzağa karşı bizleri uyarıyor. Mekanik Yeniden Üretim Çağında Sanat Eseri adlı makalesinde Benjamin sinemanın yanlış ellere düştüğü takdirde faşist bir propaganda makinesine dönüşebileceğini iddia ediyor. Benjamin hem politikanın estetikleştirilmesine hem de estetiğin politikleştirilmesine karşı çıkıyor. Benjamin’in makalesinde gözden kaçan nokta ise sistemin yapısının içerdiği sorunun ta kendisi olan akıl-dışının temsili ve metafiziksel kavranışlarının ideolojisidir.   

    Burada Herbert Marcuse ile hangi noktada farklılaştığımı söylemem gerek. Marcuse modern batı kapitalist toplumlarının hasta olduğunu düşünüyordu. Kendisini hasta toplumun dışındaki sağlıklı özne olarak gördü ve amacını hasta toplumun iyileştirilmesi olarak belirledi. Marcuse’nin bir terapi olarak siyasal felsefesi günümüzün gittikçe karmaşıklaşan sorunlarını anlamak için artık yeterli değil. Çünkü artık iktidar baskıcı/ezici olmaktan daha fazlası olmuş durumda.   

    5. Günümüzün Hapsedilmiş Yaratıcıları   

    Eğer günümüz elektronik müziğinin durumuna bakacak olursak görürüz ki yaratılan üç boyutlu sesler o denli temsili değillerdir ki sanki odada tuhaf organik sesler çıkaran ve başka bir boyuttan gelen bir organizma vardır. Elektronik müziğin önemine birazdan değineceğim, fakat öncelikle Herbert Marcuse’nin kapitalizmin hayatta kalabilmek için nasıl da karşı-öznelerin ölümüyle ve öznenin içerisinde dış etkilerce kurulan bir yaşam dürtüsüyle yönetilen baskın tüketici öznenin yaşamıyla beslendiği kuramına yeniden değinmemiz gerekiyor.   

    Özetleyecek olursak, Marcuse’nin Tek-Boyutlu İnsan adlı eserinde geliştirdiği kuramı, bütün karşı-kültür ürünlerini soğurup kendi unsurlarına dönüştüren, iki boyutlu olanı tek boyuta indirgeyen, ve böylece direniş güçlerini direnileni güçlendirme yoluna sevk eden bir tek boyutlu piyasa toplumu hakkındaydı. Marcuse’nin sorunu karşı-kültürel üretimin iki-boyutlu alanının dağılması ve tek-boyutlu ilişkilerin tahakkümü altında olmasıydı. Marcuse, mitolojik betimlemenin hem hâkim toplumsal gerçekliğin daha iyi anlaşılması hem de karşı-toplumsal gerçekliğin yaratılması, dolayısıyla var olan toplumsal gerçekliğin eleştirilmesi için kullanılmasını öneriyordu. Marcuse’nin söyledikleri bir bakıma hâlâ geçerliliğini koruyor, fakat bu kuramı kullanabilmek için onu günümüz durumunun getirdiklerine uyarlamamız gerekiyor. Bu yüzden ben Marcuse’nin kuramının ilgisiz olan kısımlarını yok sayıp benim incelemem için gerekli olan kısımlarını bulmaya çalışacağım. Günümüz Süperpanoptik toplumlarının sorunlarını anlayıp çözmek için Marcuse’nin kuramının yetersiz olduğu doğrudur. Yine de bu kuram günümüz psikosomatik ve sosyopolitik ilerlemesinin hizmetindeki gelişmeleri kavrayabilmek için olumlu bir potansiyel sunuyor.   

    Bugün Madonna’nın son albümü Confessions on the Dance Floor bile Londra’daki bir DJ’in odasında üretildi. Elektronik dans müzik ürünleri çoğunlukla insanların yatak odalarındaki kişisel bilgisayarlara yüklenen ve özellikle elektronik müzik yapmak için üretilen programlar tarafından üretiliyor. Elektronik dans müziğinin aygıtlarındaki bu son değişiklik elbette bugünün dijital ses makinelerinin sunduğu muazzam olanaklardan kaynaklanıyor. Bu makinelerin maddi bir varlığı yok; çünkü bilgisayarlara dijital veri şeklinde yükleniyorlar. Klavyedeki birkaç tuşa basarak bilgisayara bir stüdyo yüklemek bile mümkün. Bu bağlamda, müzik yapmak müzik yapmanın kurallarına dair bilgiye sahip olmak yerine üretim araçlarının teknik bilgisine sahip olmayı gerektiriyor. Söz konusu elektronik müzik olduğunda, sesler hâlihazırda bilgisayara yüklenmiş bulunuyor; bir müzik yapımcısı olmak için yapılması gereken tek şey, bu sesleri bir araya getirmek, onları düzensiz ama olumlu bir biçimde üst üste getirip yeni ve farklı bir şeyler üretmek.   

    Eğer Beethoven’in müzik yapmak için müziği önce orkestradan dinlemesi, müziği tamamıyla şekillendikten/yapıldıktan sonra bestelemesi gerektiğini hayal edersek, elektronik müziğin üretim sürecinde yapımcının ne denli paradoksal bir durumla karşı karşıya olduğunu anlayabiliriz. Bu durumun tuhaflığını anlamak için Beethoven’in kendi müziğinin notalarını, orkestranın çaldıklarını dinlediği sırada yazdığını farz etmemiz, yani Beethoven’in yaptığının tam tersini hayal etmemiz gerekiyor. Elektronik müzik yapımcısının aksine, Beethoven müziğini aklındaki içsel orkestra çaldıkça yapıyordu; maddi gerçeklikteki bir orkestra çaldıkça değil. Elektronik müziğin durumunda, o içsel orkestra artık yaratıcının aklında değil, bilgisayarda bulunuyor.   

    Bu alandaki bazı oldukça yaratıcı ve deneysel akıllar kendi bedenlerinin ya da başka hayvanların bedenlerinin içinden gelen sesleri kaydedip, bilgisayara yükleyip, sentezleyici ve efekt ünitelerinin yardımıyla bu sesleri müziklerinde kullanacakları birtakım ritimlere ve melodilere dönüştürüyorlar. Örneğin, kalp atışı bazı elektronik müzik çalışmalarında hem bateri hem de bas gitar yerine kullanılabiliyor. Bilgisayarın yardımıyla kalp atışının sesini silmek, yankılamak, geciktirmek, derinleştirmek, koyulaştırmak, hafifletmek, yavaşlatmak, hızlandırmak mümkün olabiliyor. Ve böylece uygun bir yapım sürecinden sonra ne tamamen organik ne de tamamen inorganik olan sesler ortaya çıkıyor. Bu ürünler hem internet üzerinden dijital olarak alınıp satılıyorlar, hem de benzer başka ürünlerle mübadele ediliyorlar.   

    Bu ürünlerin duygusal nitelikleri oldukça fazla. Beş en gelişmiş elektronik müzik türünün, yani Tekno, House, Elektro, Trans ve Breakbeat türlerinin üreticileri beden ve akıl arasındaki eşiğin sahipleri olduklarını ve inşa ettikleri ses duvarlarıyla bedeni ve aklı birbirlerinden ayrı ama birbirlerine bitişik olarak muhafaza ettiklerini iddia ediyorlar.   

    Bu dönemde tanıklık ettiğimiz Aldous Huxley’in Cesur Yeni Dünya’sının Kudurmuş Yeni Dünya’ya dönüşmesidir. Öyle bir dünya ki beden ve akıl, fantezi ve gerçeklik, doğa ve kültür, organik ve inorganik, hayat ve ölüm arasındaki o en bilindik sözde sınırların bulanıklaşmasından da öte, tamamen gözden kaybolması söz konusu. Ne var ki, aynı zamanda, bu sınırlar bir yeniden belirme sürecindeler.   

    Elektronik müzikteki son gelişmeler bize inorganik olanın nasıl da, en azından ses olarak, organikten daha organik olabileceğini örnekliyor. Ses üreten makinelerin hızla gelişmesiyle birlikte artık öyle sesler üretiliyor ki dinlediğinizde tuhaf bir şekilde tanıdık olan bir âlemden gelen canlı bir organizma varmış gibi hissediyor, hatta daha da kötüsü, bu seslerin kendi aklınızdan ve bedeninizden çıktığını düşünüyorsunuz. Bu tarz bir müziği dinlemek, zihinsel olan ile bedensel olan arasındaki net ayrımı anlamsız kılıyor. Özellikle CD’ler ve DVD’lerin sunduğu üç boyutlu ortamlar sayesinde sesi kitlelere orijinal, canlı kayıtlardan daha gerçek bir biçimde sunmak mümkün oluyor.   

    Birçok insanın sandığı gibi bu tür müziğin çok az dinleyiciyle buluştuğunu düşünmek yanlış olacaktır. Aksine, reklam yapımcılığı sektöründe bu tür müziğin hem dinleyicileri hem de üreticileri hâkim pozisyonlar elde etmeye başladıklarından ötürü, elektronik müzik, özelikle de underground minimalist tekno-elektro müzik, radyo ve TV’lerde gördüğümüz ürünlerin reklamlarının arka planında git gide daha fazla kullanılmaya başlıyor. Zihinsel ve bedensel ya da organik ve inorganik arasındaki ayrımın silinmesiyle birlikte, minimalist elektronik müziğin günümüz yoğun ve telaşlı yaşam biçimlerinin reklamlarında kullanılması, neredeyse tamamen küreselleşen kapitalizmin etkilediği ve etkilendiği çağımızın nihilist kültürüne özel yaşam/ölüm dürtülerinin sömürülmesine iyi bir örnek teşkil ediyor. Televizyondaki LG U880 ultra-ince cep telefonu reklamı yaşam/ölüm dürtülerinin sömürüsünün nasıl gerçekleştiğini çok sert bir biçimde ortaya koyuyor. Reklamda telefon içerisinde atan bir kalp gösteriliyor. Ya da, kalp etrafını çevreleyen şeffaf bir telefon varmış gibi gösteriliyor. Arka planda ne organik ne de inorganik olup da aynı anda organik ve inorganik olan minimalist tekno müzik var. Telefonun içinde atan kalp derin ve koyu bas sesini yaratıyor ve buna telefon içinden gelen aşırı derecede elektronik ama yine de organik sesler eşlik ediyor. Sanki de insanın kendi kalbi telefonun içinde atıyor; telefon sen oluyorsun, dolayısıyla telefon senin oluyor… Telefonun şeffaflığının, telefonu kaplayan damarlardan ötürü, ete benzer olduğunu aklımızda tutarsak, yaratılan kapsamlı etki çıplak kemiklerine indirgenen ultra minimalist yaşama dair oluyor. Halbuki aslında LG U880 cep telefonu ultra minimalist bir tavrın tamamen karşıtı olan bir ürün. Mesaj bu cep telefonunun sizi hayata bağladığı yönünde. Halbuki gerçekte ürün sizi hayatın kendisinden uzaklaştırıyor. Reklamın son sözleri “Hayat İyidir” benim bu reklama yönelttiğim eleştiriyi, inorganik bir nesne olan bu olağanüstü ses-imgenin canlı bir organizma kılığında görünmesine dair eleştirimi doğrular nitelikte. Burada, inorganik olan organik olanın yerini alırken ve yaşamın ortasında bulunan ölümün gerçekliği dışlanırken, yaşam/ölüm dürtülerinin sömürüldüğü ve baskı altında tutulduğu aşikârdır.   

    İçinde bulunduğum bu duruma bakacak olursak, Benjamin’in ve Marcuse’nin kuramları, tam da bu rollerin değişmesi politikasını geride bırakmak gerektiğinin farkına varmadıkları ölçüde, yetersiz kalıyorlar, çünkü Panoptikon ve Leviathan aynı anda hem öznenin içinde hem de öznenin dışında bulunuyorlar ve rollerin değişmesi bu tehlikeli zamanlarda hiçbir anlam ifade etmiyor.   

    Süperpanoptik toplumların gelişmiş yansıtma-içyansıtım mekanizmalarının açığa çıkardığı sorunların çözümü için, birçok düşünürün iddia ettiği gibi özellikle cevapsız bıraktıkları yanlış ve doğru sorular bakımından post-yapısalcılık ve eleştirel teorinin birbirlerini dışlamadıklarını göstermeye çalışıyorum. Eğer Adorno ve Foucault’nun çalışmalarına bakacak olursak, düşüncelerinin büyük bir kısmının teori ve pratiği nasıl uzlaştıracakları sorusu üzerine odaklandığını görürüz. Tıpkı teori ve pratik gibi, post-yapısalcılık ve eleştirel teori de her zaman hâlihazırda uzlaşmıştırlar, çünkü her ikisi de Nietzsche’den, Marx’tan ve Freud’dan gelmektedir. Her zaman hâlihazırda uzlaşmış olabilirler, fakat bu uzlaşmayı gerçekleştirmenin tek yolu ortak hedeflerini gerçekleştirmekten geçmektedir; teoriyi olağan yaşamın hizmetine sunmak, varoluşun koşullarını geliştirmek, ve özgürlüğü yaşamak.   

    Kulağa nahoş gelme ihtimali olsa da, yeni olan ancak ve ancak bazı insanların hain olup kendi varoluş tarzlarının temellerini sarsmalarıyla, ya da en azından ışığın herkesin üzerinde parlayabileceği ya da ölümün kendini gösterebileceği alanlar açmaya çalışmalarıyla ortaya çıkabilir. Birileri başkalarını gücendirme riskini almak zorundadırlar, çünkü her durum kendi ifadesine ihtiyaç duyar ve her sorun kendi içinde çözümünün en azından yarısını barındırır. Bütün mesele teoriyi ve pratiği birbirlerinin hizmetine sunmaktır. Kendi zamanının gerçeğine uymayan teori bir hiçtir. Önemli olan, olağan bir yaşamın banal kazalarıyla uğraşmanın pratik yollarını kuramsallaştırmaktır. Sanırım, bu söylediğim hem Foucault’nun hem de Adorno’nun hemfikir olabileceği bazı noktalardan biridir.   

    6. Nietzscheci Özne   

    Son olarak hastalığa yol açan kötü vicdan kavramını yaratan Nietzsche’ye dönüyorum. Bu kötü vicdan yol açtığı hastalık tarafından besleniyor ve memnuniyetsiz adamı (man of ressentiment) yaratıyor. Nietzsche’nin memnuniyetsizlik dediği, Klein’ın haset dediğine denk geliyor. Haset/memnuniyetsizlik ile hiçlik istenci/yaşam-ölüm dürtüleri arasındaki bağıntıyı daha iyi görebilmek için, başlangıçtan, yaşamın ilk yılından başlayacağım.   

    Özne için herşeyin yeni olduğu bir dünyada, hiçbir şey sembolik değildir. Özne sembolik düzenin içine doğar, ama yine de kendi doğduğu sembolik düzenden tamamen farklı olan başka sembolik düzenler de vardır. Özne, tıpkı bir göçebe gibi, bir sembolik düzenden diğerine geçer. Bu geçiş o kadar anidir ki adeta tanınmaz ve tespit edilemez bir durumdur. Yeni sembolik düzeninde özne herşeyi ilk kez tecrübe eder; tıpkı ilk yılını yaşayan çocuk gibi. Çocuk dış gerçeklik ve iç gerçeklik arasında arabuluculuk yapar. Henüz hiçbir şey iyi ya da kötü değildir. İç dünya dalgalanan betimleme parçaları olan kısmi nesnelerden, bir sefalet kütlesinden oluşur. Çocuk, eylemleri aracılığıyla hem sembolik düzeni çökertir, hem bir gerçeklik üretir. Çocuğun henüz nasıl soracağını bilmediği birçok soru vardır. Melanie Klein’a göre bu, çocuğun iyi nesneler ve kötü nesneler arasında ayrım yapmayı öğrenmesini sağlayan paranoyak-şizoid pozisyondur. Paranoyak-şizoid pozisyonun ardından manik-depresif pozisyon gelir; bu çocuğun mutsuz bilinç olduğu dönemdir, çünkü annenin memesinin hem iyi hem de kötü olabileceğini öğrenir. Lacan’ın ayna-evresi —Hayali tanımlamalar dönemi— çocuğun çevresindeki nesnelere göre davranmayı öğrenmesine yarayan birtakım Narsisist yanılsamadan ve hayali tanımlamalardan oluşan Klein’ın manik-depresif pozisyonunun bir versiyonudur.   

    Nietzscheci özne her zaman çevrededir ve sürekli olarak onu çevreleyen nesnelerle temas halindedir. Aslında yalnızca temas halinde değildir, çünkü kendisi bu nesneler tarafından tanımlanmaktadır. Bu özne tükettiği üzerinden üretilir. Özne bir şeyler satın alır ve sonra o şeyler öznenin kimliksiz kimliğini belirler. Özne tükettiği şey olur, içe yansıttığı şeyi yansıtır. Şiddet, yıkım ve ölüm, ya da Kerouac’ın diyebileceği gibi “her yönde delilik” dolu bir dünyada, özne toplum içerisindeki kötülüğün yansıtıcısından başka bir şey olmaz. Günümüz Nietzscheci öznesinin bu paradoksal doğası bir oluşum süreci sırasında benliğin kendi içerisinde bir ötekiye dönüşmesinin sonucudur. Günümüzün benliği hem kendi içindeki ötekiler için bir hapishane olmuştur, hem de dışarısıyla ilişkisi olmayan, dış dünyada ötekilerin benliklerinin yaşadığının farkına varmayan, başkalarına ihtiyaç duymayan bir tek hücreli organizmaya dönüşmüştür.   

    Bir öznenin kendisini çevreleyen nesnelerle olan ilişkisi bize öznenin ölümle olan ilişkisine dair bir şeyler gösterir. Kullanım değerinin mübadele değeriyle olan karşıtlığının büyük öneme sahip olduğu bir dünyada, özne nesnelerin ve ölümün doğasını daha derinden kavrar. Ama bugün kullanım değerinin kendisi mübadele değeri tarafından belirlenmektedir. Bugünün dünyası, hiçbir şeyin bir başka şeyin yerini alamadığı bir dünyanın nerdeyse tam tersi bir dünyadır.   

    Mübadele değeri üzerine inşa edilen toplumlarda özne ve nesne arasındaki ilişki paranoyak-şizoid pozisyona hapsolmuştur. Özne ile nesne arasında aslında olması gereken bir boşluk kalmaz. Herşey bir başka şeyin yerine geçebilir ve her şey mübadele edilebilir. Küresel kapitalizmin ilerlemesiyle öznenin kendisi bir nesneye dönüşür. Özne ötekinin arzusu ve tüketimi için bir nesneymiş gibi davranmaya başlar. Özne kendi kendisinin yerine geçer, kendi kendisini mübadele eder. Küresel kapitalizmle birlikte özne kendini bir makine gibi hissetmeye başlar; aslında esasen organikken kendi içinde inorganik olur. Bir başka deyişle, organlar organ değilmişler gibi işlemeye başlarlar, her türlü organiklik inorganiklikle, yaşam ölümle yer değişir, ve böyle bir tür toplumda herkes her zaman hâlihazırda ölüdür.   

    Küresel kapitalizm gerçekten de herkesi birbiriyle olan ilişkisinde eşitlemiş gibi görünmektedir. Herkes eşit tüketme hakkına sahiptir ama herkes hiçbir şekilde bunu yapabilecek araçlara sahip değildir. Öznenin basit bir tüketici olarak bu durumu özneyi bir tüketim öznesi olarak nesneleştirir. Özne (doğal olarak) tüketen-boşaltan bir makineye, ya da (kültürel olarak) bir içeyansıtma-dışayansıtma mekanizmasına indirgenir. Bu herkesin değiştirilebilir olduğunu gösterir; herkes birbirinin rolünü oynayabilir. Bir başka deyişle, fark edilmeyen bir hiç kimse olmak yerine, değiştirilebilir ve harcanabilir bir şey olmayı tercih ederler. Ve bu “kendini bir hiç yerine bir şey hissetme” durumu, bu “hiçlik olarak benlik” hissi, güvende olmak ve her şeyi bilmek için mücadele etmekten vazgeçilmesiyle birlikte gelir. Özne benliğinin bir hiçliğe indirgenmesini bir kazanç olarak görmeye başlar. Halbuki bu özne ve nesneye dair olması gereken tüm farklılığın kaybedilmesidir. Özne sıradan bir sembolik kişi olmak ister. Küresel kapitalizmin ilerlemesiyle sürü-içgüdüsü her özneyi kuşatır ve bu sürü-içgüdüsü yaşam dürtüsünün ölüme karşı mücadeleden ibaret bir yaşama indirgenerek sömürülmesinin sonucundan başka bir şey değildir. Özne artık farklı olma yükünü taşımak zorunda değildir. Bu şekilde bu zamanda küresel kapitalizmin hem öznenin kendisini unutmasını mümkün kılan koşulları, hem de benliğin hatırlanmasını imkansız kılan koşulları yarattığını, bir karşı-bilgi olarak benliğin bilgisizliğini (non-knowledge) ürettiğini söyleyebiliriz.   

    Nietzsche’nin Ecce Homo adlı otobiyografik kitabı onun önceki kitaplarının bir etkisi, bir belirtisi, Avrupa’nın birçok kısmında, ama özellikle Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nde ve Britanya’da onun külliyatının içindeki öteki olduğuna göre, bu kitap “sağlıklı yaşamın” en baskın biçiminin bir reçetesi olarak düşünülmelidir. Geçmişe dair içerdeki ötekinin bugünün benliği olduğunu, aklın içindeki akıl-dışının aklın kendisine dönüştüğünü söylemek kulağa hakaret gibi gelebilir, ama yine de sorular geçerliliklerini hâlâ korumaktadır:   

    1. Nietzsche’nin birçok yenilgiye sebep olmuş ve olmaya devam eden yenilgisinden ne öğrenebiliriz?  

    2. Ben ve öteki arasında husumete dayanmayan ve hayali olmayan bir ilişkiyi mümkün kılabilecek koşullar nelerdir ve bu koşullar nasıl sağlanabilir?   

    © Cengiz Erdem, Life and Death in a Raving New World, 2007.  

    Çeviren: Mehmet Ratip.  

    (EMAA Dergisi, Kasım-Aralık, 2008)  

    Resim: Leonardo Da Vinci   

    Notlar:  

    (1) Sigmund Freud, Civilization, Society, and Religion [Uygarlık, Toplum, ve Din], çev. Angela Richards (London: Pelican, 1985)   

    (2) Freud, 357   

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

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

     

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