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“In a world full of violence, destruction and death, or “madness in every direction,” as Kerouac would have said, the subject becomes nothing but a projector of the evil within society.”
Cengiz Erdem

The Nihil Solipsist: a being that knows neither its own nothingness nor the dark self-cannibalizing force of all those others within; trapped within the introjected prison-house of an impure fear, bound to the cross of a symbolic gesture, tormented by the thought of its own paranoid-schizoid position this Nietzschean subject relishes the hunt as a repetition of the life-death drives it seeks to unleash at the hands of all those non-others within its own panopticon of deliriums. Cengiz Erdem in his essay The Nietzschean Subject tells us that the “paradoxical nature of the contemporary Nietzschean subject is a result of the turning of self into the other within in the process of becoming. The self of the present has not only become a prison-house of the others within itself but also it itself has become a self-contained monad with no relation to the outside and no awareness of the external world populated by the others’ selves.”

Erdem tells us that today everything has been reduced to the pure or impure exchange value of Capital; even the invention of subjectivity, which no longer touches the oldest of criteria: use value. Instead we have always already become a cog in the machine, a machinic subject, a zombified cogito serving the greater good of Capital itself. Like somnambulists in a dream matrix we have become the illusory beneficiaries of an inhuman thought:

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

Consuming machines that we are we have been reduced to eating our own… shall I say it: shit! Instead of difference we have all become entrepreneurs of the self-same identity of Capital: trending our way to the avant-garde in our latest designer outfits we speak the local lingo like the good netizens we are, forging identities in a spurious masqueradism of conformity to the latest fashion boutique or philosophical blog, hip-hopping or rapping along to life’s happy nihilism like black metal fetishists apotropaically defending ourselves against the encrustations of an artificial slime world where the gods of filth and dionysian ecstasy infuse us with the abyss of the inhuman. Or, as Erdem defines it: “With the advance of global capitalism this herd-instinct can be said to have become nothing but a result of the exploitation of the life and death drives to reduce life to a struggle for and against life/death. The subject no longer has to carry the burden of being different. In this light and in this time we can see global capitalism creating not only the conditions of possibility for the subject to forget itself but also the conditions of impossibility for a remembrance of self, producing the non-knowledge of self as the counter-knowledge.”

Nietzsche‘s Ecce Homo has become for the new trend setters the glorious cookbook for ‘healthy living’, and all those pesky little ghosts of our forbears otherness has suddenly surprised us as the unmasking of our daily selves in the present. Erdem in a final colloquy relates that ”the the non-reason inherent in reason has become the reason itself, and yet the questions remain:

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

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

Those two questions could and should fill volumes, but being a small blog report upon the workings of such a fine mind we can only hope that Cengiz Erdem will be answering these either fully or partially in his upcoming book?

Addendum: Cengiz published another essay just after the previous one, Barbaric Regress and Civilised Progress contra Deconstruction and Affirmative Recreation, which offers some further reflection on the above topic.

via Dark Chemistry

Somebody dying under the MRI.  

The Immortal Subject Beyond The Life Drive

In our daily lives we create little worlds of our own and invest them with various meanings. These worlds have their own logics, orders repetitively staged every day; this gives us a sense of continuity in time and hence a sense of security. Objects and subjects surrounding us, everything fits in its proper place in this microcosmic self-consciousness of ours.

The thought of being a tiny spot in the middle of nowhere, however, or somewhere in the vast universe is too unbearable to be thought through for many people because it reminds us of death. If one thinks this thought for too long all meaning collapses and life falls apart, the established symbolic order of object relations become disorganized. This is when the journey of the subject towards nothingness begins. If the subject manages to maintain integrity throughout the passage from self-consciousness to an impersonal consciousness reconciliation of self with life and the world takes place. With the advance of this macrocosmic impersonal consciousness in time everything symbolic loses meaning and credibility only to lead to an opening up of a space for the emergence of a new meaning. The new is not independent from the old. But is that which had hitherto been unseen, unrealised, unthought as a new possibility of a progressive movement.

Authentic fidelity is the fidelity to the void itself—to the very act of loss, of abandoning or erasing the object. Why should the dead be the object of attachment in the first place? The name for this fidelity is death drive. In the terms of dealing with the dead, one should, perhaps, against the work of mourning as well as against the melancholic attachment to the dead who return as ghosts, assert the Christian motto “let the dead bury their dead.” The obvious reproach to this motto is, What are we to do when, precisely, the dead do not accept to stay dead, but continue to live in us, haunting us by their spectral presence? One is tempted here to claim that the most radical dimension of the Freudian death drive provides the key to how we are to read the Christian “let the dead bury their dead”: what death drive tries to obliterate is not the biological life but the very afterlife—it endeavours to kill the lost object the second time, not in the sense of mourning (accepting the loss through symbolization) but in a more radical sense of obliterating the very symbolic texture, the letter in which the spirit of the dead survives.[1]

So, neither the work of mourning nor melancholia are progressive. It is the work of death drive to kill death, to cause a loss of loss, to destroy the symbolic texture causing death to take place; death drive is the only weapon against death in life. Rather than symbolizing and then accepting death, the subject as death drive contemplates death as nothingness and fills the space of death within the symbolic with nothing. Zizek points out that there is a great difference between willing nothing and willing nothingness.

What we are implicitly referring to here is, of course, Nietzsche’s classic opposition between ‘wanting nothing’ (in the sense of ‘I don’t want anything’) and the nihilistic stance of actively wanting Nothingness itself; following Nietzsche’s path, Lacan emphasized how in anorexia, the subject does not simply ‘eat nothing’ – rather, she or he actively wants to eat the Nothingness (the Void) that is itself the ultimate object-cause of desire. (The same goes for Ernst Kris’s famous patient who felt guilty of theft, although he did not actually steal anything: what he did steal, again, was the Nothingness itself.) So – along the same lines, in the case of caffeine-free diet Coke, we drink the Nothingness itself, the pure semblance of a property that is in effect merely an envelope of a void.[2]

The object that takes the place of the Real is what Lacan calls the objet petit a. The objet petit a is that which the master-signifier causes to be signified. There is nothing to signify the objet petit a, it is that signifier itself. The master-signifier signifies the objet petit a as its own signifier. Without the objet petit a the nothingness behind the master-signifier would become manifest. Master signifier generates signs that signify their own autonomous existence. That is, they hide the latent content of the master-signifier which is nothingness.  By manufacturing the illusion of its own non-being the master-signifier signifies itself as the transcendental signified. It does this through signifying the objet petit a as the transcendental sign, (signifier and signified at once). The sublime object which stands in for nothingness behind it is the object of desire of masses who fantasize that they are drinking something good, when in reality they are drinking the void and their own life/death.

One simply cannot conceal from oneself what all the willing that has received its direction from the ascetic ideal actually expresses: this hatred of the human, still more of the animal, still more of the material, this abhorrence of the senses, of reason itself, this fear of happiness and of beauty, this longing away from all appearance, change, becoming, death, wish, longing itself—all of this means—let us grasp this—a will to nothingness, an aversion to life, a rebellion against the most fundamental presuppositions of life; but it is and remains a will!… And, to say again at the end what I said at the beginning: man would much rather will nothingness than not will… [3]

In The Fragile Absolute, Slavoj Zizek gives the example of Diet-Coke as a symptom of will to nothingness inherent in contemporary society.

So, when, some years ago, the advertising slogan for Coke was ‘Coke is it!’, we should note its thorough ambiguity: ‘that’s it’ precisely in so far as that’s never actually it, precisely in so far as every satisfaction opens up a gap of ‘I want more!’. The paradox, therefore, is that Coke is not an ordinary commodity whereby its-use value is transubstantiated into an expression of (or supplemented with) the auratic dimension of pure (exchange) Value, but a commodity whose very peculiar use-value is itself already a direct embodiment of the suprasensible aura of the ineffable spiritual surplus, a commodity whose very material properties are already those of a commodity. This process is brought to its conclusion in the case of caffeine-free diet Coke – why? We drink Coke – or any drink – for two reasons: for its thirst-quenching or nutritional value, and for its taste. In the case of caffeine-free diet Coke, nutritional value is suspended and the caffeine, as the key ingredient of its taste, is also taken away – all that remains is a pure semblance, an artificial promise of a substance which never materialized. Is it not true that in this sense, in the case of caffeine-free diet Coke, we almost literally ‘drink nothing in the guise of something’?[4]

By drinking Diet-Coke, the subject, rather than being really healthy, is being merely less ill, since Diet or not, Coke is itself unhealthy.  Coke as we know it is miles away from its medicinal uses for which it was invented in the first place. The measure of health is not Coke without caffeine and sugar. So the Diet-Coke cannot be a sign of healthy living. Worse than being unhealthy, it is death disguised as an object of desire, that object of desire being healthy living. So we can see the process through which the Real of the subject’s desire, which is the death-drive, is turned into desire for healthy living. As the subject thinks he/she is moving towards greater health, he/she is in reality moving towards death. We have to be clear about where exactly the life-drive and the death-drive become separated from themselves and hence their roles are reversed, turning them into their opposites. It is precisely at this point of separation- unification of the life-drive and the death-drive that the conflict-event takes the place of the place itself.

This place is a playground on which this conflict-event between the life-drive and the death-drive is played out as a confrontation between the therapeutic society and critical theory. If the aim of psychotherapy is to adapt the subject to the environment, then it is by definition a normalizing practice. But asks critical theory, what is the definition of health? On which grounds are we talking about health? What are the values that make health? All these questions may lead down to the big question of ontology: “What is the meaning of life?” There is no meaning of life. It is my actions and words that invest my life with a particular meaning. What determines the meaning of objects surrounding me is the use I put them into. In this context, progress in therapeutic procedure is signified by an increase in the subject’s ability to use the objects surrounding him/her.

But critical theory says: you are confusing use-value and exchange-value. You are forgetting the need to remember that in your world the exchange-value preceeds the use-value. You are always already born into the world of objects with their values attached to them, how can you say that you are healing these people by telling lies to them concerning the cause of their desire and the Real of the objects they choose to put to use. Isn’t their choice already determined by the pre-dominant symbolic order?[5]

Critical theory agrees with psychotherapy that it is the use value of the object that is important. But what critical theory wants to say is that what psychotherapy presents the subject with, as the use-value, is already the exchange-value, so psychotherapy is presenting the subject with death disguised as life. It is there that there has been a shift in the gears, where Nietzsche conceived of himself as the stage of confrontation between Christ and Dionysus, as the conflict-event that shifted the gears at a certain moment in history. At this precise moment in time negation and affirmation change roles for the very reason that negating the symbolic order becomes the same as affirming the Real. One creates a fantasy which negates the symbolic and affirms the Real as it is, that is, with all its inconsistencies, internal conflicts, imperfections, and incompleteness. Something in the symbolic order is caused to fail by these interventions of the affirmative subject. Here a question awaits us: Does that mean that for creation to take place destruction is necessary? The answer to this question is a yes and a no at the same time. Because destruction causes a split in the order and yet this split’s consequence depends on the future of the response to it. Destruction is not essential to creation but is an inescapable result of it. [6]  So there may or may not be cases where there is something in the process of being created without anything being destroyed. For when one thinks about it, creation is not a subtraction from nature, but quite the contrary, an addition to it. For subtraction to become creative it should be a subtraction from culture, that is, from knowledge, or from the already existing symbolic order. Badiou’s subtraction opens a void within the already existing symbolic order and through this void a new truth flows. It is only in so far as the mortal human animal chooses fidelity to this truth-event that it becomes a subject, that is, an immortal indifferent to death.

André Kertész     Window, paris     1928

The Immortal Subject Beyond The Death Drive

The creature called human can cease being a passive non-being and become an active being only insofar as it produces love against the negative power of the already existing capitalist law. As we all know, the laws’ negative impositions give birth to the vicious cycle of the life and death drives, which is in turn exploited in the way of more money.

With the domination of nihilist global capitalism all over the world social life has become a masquerade. The silence diminishes and noise pollutes the lives of all. This noise is what Nietzsche calls “the noise of the marketplace.” The subject neither questions its being in itself nor its being for itself. The system provides the subject with innumerable facilities to keep boredom at bay so as to sustain the conditions for the possibility of the non-being of thought to take place. The subject simply does not feel the need to think and in time the subject loses the ability not only to think but also to act consciously. It all becomes an empty and meaningless spectacle to live. Every subject takes on a role, or an identity in accordance with the demands of the show business and hides behind this role turning into a solipsistic monad acting itself out in the way of satisfying the big Other. Just like Judge Schreber who had to endure inordinate measures of suffering to satisfy the demands of those cruel gods he populated himself with… And Schreber, satisfied as he was with the mere pleasure of sharing the high profile mission of satisfying cruel and invisible gods, becomes a madman when in fact he was a woman enduring privation.[7]

In the banality of ordinary social reality the subject forgets to think of its death as its own. Absence of the thought of death brings with it the presence of the thought of being, which means that the subject has lost his/her sense of self/other distinction, and is governed by his/her unconscious drives. This leads to the subject’s ignorance of an external world, or perhaps an unintentional neglect of an external reality other than the one it imagines, for it has itself become exterior to itself.

When death is thought about, this thought never takes place in terms of the death of the self. It is always through the death of the other that the subject thinks of death. It is always a “they” who die. Death is conceived as a symbolic incident. The reason of that reductive attitude towards death is the will to preserve the banality of ordinary reality and sustain the conditions for the possibility of an illusory sense of oneness with the world. All this, of course, is done to keep the Real of the external world at bay.

Global capitalism produces subjects who cannot stand the thought of the outside; they cannot conceive the absence of an external world within them. The fear of death is so strong that with the force of its negativity it totally negates death in life, erases the slash in life/death, and vainly erects statues to attain immortality.

It is a strange subject, however, with no fixed identity, wandering about over the body without organs, but always remaining peripheral to the desiring-machines, being defined by the share of the product it takes for itself, garnering here, there, and everywhere a reward in the form of a becoming an avatar, being born of the states that it consumes and being reborn with each new state. “It’s me, and so it’s mine…” Even suffering, as Marx says, is a form of self-enjoyment.[8]

Today the purpose of life has become keeping the subject busy for the sake of the business of not thinking death. The subject is bombarded by objects of introjection to such extent that it has no time for feeling anxious about its own death. The objects form a transparent sheet between the subject and its death. As inorganic substances the objects fill the space of death within life. What we witness in this time is life turned into a project aiming at erasing the silence necessary for thought; and not only erasing but also replacing it with an unceasing noise causing nausea.

The infinite, then, is within finitude, so in order to think the infinite we have to think the finite, that is, the thought of death. Although the thought of death has a high price which the subject pays by a loss of mental and physical health, it is nevertheless useful in opening up the way to limit experiences. The death drive devastates the predominant conceptualisations of the “good” of civilized progress and the “bad” of barbaric regress. The subject of the death drive situates itself as the traitor on the opposite pole of belief and faith in immortality. In the place of statues representing immortality, it erects nothing. That way it confronts the promised land of total security and harmony with a world governed by the anxiety of the feeling of being surrounded by nothingness. In this world there remains no ground beneath the symbolic order. Death is in the midst of life; it is life that surrounds death.

How would our lives change if we were to become capable of imagining ourselves as immortal beings? If we keep in mind that we are always already locked within the vicious cycle of the life and death drives governed by the law of capital, it becomes easier to understand why we need to break this vicious cycle of Capitalism and its governor, liberal-democracy, based on unjust representations, in order to create, produce or present the realm of love beyond the rotary motion of drives. But it must also be kept in mind that when we say beyond, we are talking about a beyond which is always already within the pre-dominant symbolic order and yet not within the reach of mortal beings. It is a beyond only from the perspective of the present state. In our scenario, immortality is not something to be attained, rather, it is a virtual potential or an actual capacity within every mortal being, awaiting to be realised. The realisation of the immortality within us, or the realisation of the infinite potential that life contains, depends on our proper use of our powers of imagination. Let us imagine ourselves as immortal beings then, which we already are, but cannot enact because of the finitude imposed upon us by the already existing symbolic order. Would we need to get out of this order to become immortal? Yes and no. Yes, because the within which we said infinity resides is a within which is exterior only from the point of view of the already existing order. No, because only from within the already existing order can we present an outside of this order, “an outside” in Deleuze’s words apropos of Foucault and Blanchot, “which is closer than any interiority and further away than any exteriority.”

 In his Theoretical Writings Alain Badiou attempts to separate himself from the Romantic understanding of infinity, and the pursuit of immortality. According to Badiou, contemporary mathematics broke with the Romantic idea of infinity by dissolving the Romantic concept of finitude. For Badiou, as it is for mathematics, the infinite is nothing but indifferent multiplicity, whereas for the Romantics it was nothing more than a “historical envelopment of finitude.” Behind all this, of course, is Badiou’s strong opposition to historicism and temporalization of the concept. It is in this context that Badiou can say, “Romantic philosophy localizes the infinite in the temporalization of the concept as a historical envelopment of finitude.”[9]

Mathematics now treats the finite as a special case whose concept is derived from that of the infinite. The infinite is no longer that sacred exception co-ordinating an excess over the finite, or a negation, a sublation of finitude. For contemporary mathematics, it is the infinite that admits of a simple, positive definition, since it represents the ordinary form of multiplicities, while it is the finite that is deduced from the infinite by means of negation or limitation. If one places philosophy under the condition such a mathematics, it becomes impossible to maintain the discourse of the pathos of finitude. ‘We’ are infinite, like every multiple-situation, and the finite is a lacunal abstraction. Death itself merely inscribes us within the natural form of infinite being-multiple, that of the limit ordinal, which punctuates the recapitulation of our infinity in a pure, external ‘dying.’[10]

The political implications of the move from Romantic infinity to mathematical infinity can be observed in Badiou’s Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. In this little book Badiou criticizes the hypocrisy of human rights for reducing being-human to being a mortal animal. Of course Badiou admits that what is called human is indeed a mortal animal, but what he objects to is the exploitation of this state of being. Against this deprecative attitude, Badiou pits the immortal subject, or rather, the subject who is capable of realising his/her immortality.[11]

Badiou says that “being is inconsistent multiplicity.” As an advocate of immanence, unlike Heidegger, he doesn’t think that there is an ontological difference between Being and beings. As a matter of fact, he altogether refuses that there is such a thing as Being transcending the multiple beings, or beings as inconsistent multiplicities. To understand where Badiou is coming from we only need to look at his critique of Heidegger’s equation of being in the world and being towards death. For Badiou there is no such thing as being in the world, because for him there is not one world but multiple worlds and consequently being in the world as being towards death is a rather impoverished idea doomed to result in the mistaken assumption that consciousness of human finitude is self-consciousness. And I agree with Badiou that consciousness of human finitude merely serves to justify a life driven by death.

 I therefore propose a consciousness of infinitude rather than of finitude for a sustenance of the conditions of possibility for an ethical life and for an ethical death. For when you think about it, if we were immortal, that is, if our lives were eternal, we wouldn’t be so destructive of the environment, not so harsh on nature and one another, because no one would want to live in such a hell eternally. Since it is obvious that as humans we have been turning the world into a hell in the name of progress for a while now, and since death has been the end from which we have come to think we have been striving to escape in this progressive process, it is obvious that a forgetting of death, or rather, a remembering to forget our mortality would make us fear an eternal life in hell, rather than a finite life in an illusory heaven.

If we keep in mind that the global capitalist system, as we have tried to explicate, takes its governing force from its exploitation of life and death drives, that it is based on our fear of death and consciousness of finitude, it becomes clearer why a subtraction of death from life not only shakes, but also annihilates the foundations of capitalism.

To What End Last Words? To What End Suffering…

Throughout this article 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 article 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 engagingly 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.[12]

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 Badiou 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 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 to, 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.

Memory Void-Fallen Leaves By Yellowbagman

lawgiverz posted this

[1] Slavoj Zizek, Organs Without Bodies (London: Routledge, 2004), 13

[2] Slavoj Zizek, The Fragile Absolute (London: Verso, 2000), 23

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, On The Genealogy of Morality, transl. Maudemarie Clark and Alan J. Swensen (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998), 118

[4] Zizek, The Fragile Absolute, 22

[5] Marcuse, Herbert. One-Dimensional Man: Studies in Advanced Industrial Society (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964)

[6] Alain Badiou, InfiniteThought, trans. and ed. Oliver Feltham and Justin Clemens (London: Continuum, 2005), 132

[7] Sigmund Freud, Psycho-analytic Notes On An Autobiogrophical Account Of A Case Of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoids), trans. Strachey J. (London: Hogarth Press, 1986)

[8] Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia I, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane (New York: The Viking Press, 1977), 16

[9] Alain Badiou, Theoretical Writings, trans. Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano, (London: Continuum, 2006), 38

[10] Badiou, 38

[11] Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, trans. Peter Hallward (London: Verso, 2001), 41

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


Here is Dark Chemistry’s rather generous and no less rigorous reading of my doctoral dissertation The Life Death Drives…

“Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there.”
      – Italo Calvino

“We shall defend the complications of our theory so long as we find that they meet the results of observation, and we shall not abandon our expectations of being led in the end by those very complications to the discovery of a state of affairs which, while simple in itself, can account for all the complications of reality.”
     – Sigmund Freud

“Visibility is a trap.”
     – Michael Foucault

Read More

Here is another nice post from Dark Chemistry on Graham Harman as smasher of objects, which he opens with a fine quote from one of my articles on Artaud, Deleuze, will to nothingness and literature.

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

Here’s another ENCHANTING POST from D.C., referring to a bit of my stuff, and a bit of Badiou, Žižek, and Brassier. … Read More

via Object-Oriented Philosophy

Buradaki yazıların kimi önemli başlıklarında, özellikle insan doğası, siyasetin olanakları, bilginin geçerliliği ve toplumsal yapının anlamı üzerine olanlarda, farklı görüşlerden arkadaşların tepkisi yer yer söylemeye çalıştığım şeyin nihilizm olduğu; ya da sonuç olarak nihilizme vardığı/varacağı şeklindeydi. Nihilizm dendiğinde de bir sınıra gelinmiş olunuyordu açıkcası; tamamen olumsuz anlamlarla yerleşik hale gelmiş nihilizm düşüncesinin belirlediği bir sınırdı bu ve bir anlamda artık söyleyecek bir şey kalmadığını, tartışmanın sürdürülmesinin anlamlı olmadığını gösteriyordu. İşte, bu dediğin şey bizi nihilizme götürüyorsa orada durmak ve geri dönmek gerektir, denmiş oluyordu.

Nihilizmin latince nihil’den (hiç’ten) geliyor olması, açıkca hiç’e ya da hiçliğe giden bir düşünceden sakınmak gerekliliğini daha bu noktada bile anlaşılır kılıyor gibidir. Ancak bu anlaşılırlık kendi başına bir sorundur, çünkü hiçten hiç çıkar gibi bir yaklaşımla kaba saba bir inkarcılık meselesine indirger nihilizmi. Bu tartışmalarda “Dikkat!Nihilizm!” uyarısı yapıldığında, ister kabaca bilindiği haliyle her şeyi yakıp yıkmaktan ve değerlere saldırmaktan başka niyet taşımayan hınç politikaları kast edilsin, isterse kendi karamsarlığına ve melankolisine yenik düşmüş siniklik kast edilsin, bundan sıkıntı duymuş değilim! Gönül ferahlığı içinde de olmuyorum, fakat o sınırda nihilizmi üstlenmek bana sorun olarak görünmüyor açıkcası! Yakın tarihimizin ürünü olan, fakat kökleri düşünce tarihinin başlangıcından itibaren süregelen kuşku ve itirazlara bağlı olan nihilizm, sanki yerleşikleşmiş bu algılardan ibaret bir şey değildi ve nihai olarak olumsuz/yıkıcı eğilimleri ve topluma karşı kötücül girişimleri etiketlemek için kolayca kullanılıyor olmasında temel bir yanlışlık bulunmaktaydı.… Read More

via Mutlak Töz

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In Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel attempts to write a mythology of creation and a creation of mythology in one simultaneous movement in two opposite directions at once. Intimately implicating the process of creation in error and misrecognition, Phenomenology of Spirit is a narrative of the subject’s endless process of negotiating with the world and with itself; in this context the subject is a process of settling accounts without end.

Hegel’s first object of thought is the thought of the object itself. For the negotiation of thought with the self and the world to begin taking its course, the subject has to take its own thought as that which is the other within itself, that is, as its own object. Through this separation between the subject and the object the subject becomes capable of seeing itself through its own thought and its own thought through itself. The thought of the subject is at the same time the object of thought. Thought as the subject and the object at the same time journeys through consciousness towards the unconscious. As soon as the subject becomes conscious of its own division within itself it becomes the Unhappy Consciousness. The Unhappy Consciousness is a consciousness that is conscious of its own unconsciousness. It is not only conscious of itself as the unconscious inherent in consciousness, but is itself that consciousness in which it inheres as the unconscious. It is a consciousness that knows itself to be other than what it thinks itself to be and yet being conscious of itself as always already other than itself it is never present to itself. It is a (w)hole in its own consciousness.  

But although the Unhappy Consciousness does not have the enjoyment of this presence, it has at the same time advanced beyond pure thinking in so far as this is the abstract thinking of Stoicism which turns its back on individuality altogether, and beyond the merely unsettled thinking of Scepticism—which is in fact only individuality in the form of an unconscious contradiction and ceaseless movement. It has advanced beyond both of these; it brings and holds together pure thinking and particular individuality, but has not yet risen to that thinking where consciousness as a particular individuality is reconciled with pure thought itself. It occupies rather this intermediate position where abstract thinking is in contact with the individuality of consciousness qua individuality. The Unhappy Consciousness is this contact; it is the unity of pure thinking and individuality; also it knows itself to be this thinking individuality or pure thinking, and knows the Unchangeable itself essentially as an individuality. But what it does not know is that this its object, the Unchangeable, which it knows essentially in the form of individuality, is its own self, is itself the individuality of consciousness.[1]

The Unhappy Consciousness consists in and of two separate but contiguous parts: Stoicism and Scepticism. Knowing itself to be both and none of these at the same time, the Unhappy Consciousness turns towards the Unchangeable, of which Hegel identifies a particular manifestation appropriate to the stage of the Unhappy Consciousness. What the Unhappy Consciousness wants is to see itself as part of the Unchangeable, to realize that there is something unchangeable for itself and in itself. But the only unchangeable is the perpetually changing way of change itself and so the Unhappy Consciousness, to become the Unchangeable itself, turns against itself and changes; it becomes for and against itself, which it always already was, thus actualizing the Unchangeable which is its state of being divided against itself. Perpetually changing, it is unchangeable, and again changes itself and becomes changeable to remain unchangeable.

The middle term is self-consciousness which splits into the extremes; and each extreme is this exchanging of its own determinateness and an absolute transition into its opposite.[2]

Each self-consciousness is divided within itself. It is divided within itself, against itself and the other self-consciousness. For it to be able to actualise its self-consciousness it has to be recognized by the other self-consciousness. But the other self-consciousness is itself in the same situation. Without one another none is self-consciousness. To proceed from consciousness to self-consciousness they need the other which is always already within themselves. What they need to do is to recognize the other within themselves for them to be recognized as they are to themselves. For the self to be what it is for itself it first has to become what it is for the other, that is, one loses itself in the other within itself in order to find oneself dismembered.

Such minds, when they give themselves up to the uncontrolled ferment of {the divine} substance, imagine that, by drawing a veil over self-consciousness and surrendering understanding they become the beloved of God to whom He gives wisdom in sleep; and hence what they in fact receive, and bring to birth in their sleep, is nothing but dreams.[3]

Hegel’s is a way of writing that proceeds through sustaining the conditions for the possibility of a productive interaction between the conscious and the unconscious. His narrative process is driven by forces that Hegel himself produces out of an activity creating and sustaining a tension between the conscious and the unconscious forces within himself. Hegel never stops writing against himself. And yet this writing against himself of Hegel is at the same time his writing for himself. By writing not for the other but before the other he becomes capable of keeping an eye on himself through the eye of the other within himself. The eye of the other that keeps an eye on the eye of the self is simultaneously interior and exterior to Hegel. By being addressed to himself in such a way as to be addressed to the other Hegel’s writing becomes the fragile contact and a simultaneous separation between the self and the other.

As he puts it in his On the Genealogy of Morality, for Nietzsche, too, there are masters and slaves, which he calls active and reactive forces, but those who play the role of the masters are in fact the slaves and the slaves the masters. So what Nietzsche wants to say is that the slaves dominate the masters because of the false values upon which human life is built. Reactive forces are the slaves who occupy the master position and active forces are the masters who occupy the slave position. It is always the reactive forces who win because their reactions are contagious and it is extremely easy for them to multiply themselves and degenerate the others. The active forces, however, although they are the strong ones, are always crushed under the false value system created by the reactive forces. If Hegel is saying that everything eventually turns into its opposite and the roles are reversed only after a struggle to death, Nietzsche is saying that the roles are always already reversed and the way to set things right, rather than passing through reversing the roles, passes through a revaluation of all values on the way to a new game.

Now I will attempt to think through the separation between Hegel and Nietzsche by imagining the way in which Nietzsche could have possibly read Hegel now. These words by Nietzsche are addressed directly to Hegel:

“Will to truth,” you who are wisest call that which impels you and fills you with lust?

A will to the thinkability of all beings: this I call your will. You want to make all being thinkable, for you doubt with well-founded suspicion that it is already thinkable. But it shall yield and bend for you. Thus your will wants it. It shall become smooth and serve the spirit as its mirror and reflection. That is your whole will, you who are wisest: a will to power—when you speak of good and evil too, and of valuations. You still want to create the world before which you can kneel: that is your ultimate hope and intoxication.[4]

Nietzsche reads Hegel in terms of the disintegration between Hegel’s actions and intentions. In a way Nietzsche implies that Hegel is the very unhappy consciousness he is trying to overcome. Hegel himself is interpreting the unhappy consciousness as a split subject whose actions and intentions do not form a coherent unity. This means that Nietzsche is trying to criticize Hegel with Hegel’s very own logic of conceptualization of the subject as split.

In both Hegel and Nietzsche the relationship between the subject and the object is problematized. In both cases the resistance to contamination by the object of thought through its introjection is not only hand in hand but also drives and is driven by the fear of being contaminated by the object. There is, however, no fear of contaminating the object through projecting onto it that which is always already introjected from it, namely that it is a narrative of the processes of projection-introjection mechanism.

As the narrative of the relationship between the subject and the object, Phenomenolgy of Spirit, against which, according to Deleuze’s reading of Nietzsche in Nietzsche and Philosophy, Nietzsche was writing, is itself written for and against itself, and is indeed a narrative of the unhappy consciousness’s difference from itself.

For Nietzsche, the subject’s creations with and through the objects surrounding him/her is driven by a movement towards self-destruction in that the subject relates to the objects it creates in a way that is against itself. An example of that at present would be in terms of the relationship between humanity and technology. If the subject is being governed by fear he/she will see technology as bad in itself, hence taking on a paranoid attitude towards technology, ignore its good uses, reject it completely, and eventually actualize what he/she was not even afraid of; death. But the opposite is equally true in that if the subject has no trace of fear within, then he/she will lose himself/herself in what he/she creates and actualize what he had no fear of.

Negativity gives birth to negativity. Negativities form an infinite chain chaining the subject to an infinite process of regress. Aggression is negative and as it multiplies itself it destroys both the object and the subject. Reactive attitudes are produced by and produce aggression. It is very easy for aggression to dominate the world and/but it is very difficult to sustain the conditions for the possibility of channelling aggression towards healthy conflict without antagonism.

In Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel presents Stoics and Sceptics as the two constitutive parts of the unhappy consciousness. Now let us try and imagine a subject as defined in the subtitle. Situated in the present context, a subject as the two sides of the same coin that contained a sceptic and a stoic side at the same time would be the Nietzschean/Hegelian subject par excellence in that it would see everything in terms of a dualism, or a struggle between the forces of good and evil. In fact he would himself become the stage on which a confrontation between good and evil takes place. He would read every sign in the external world in terms of this struggle to the point of replacing the external reality with his internally constituted reality. What he introjects would be always already his own creation, which he would still consider to be what’s really going on outside, and consequently would himself become the nodal point of the conflict between the internal and the external, the psychic and the somatic.

 The sceptic exhausts the projection-introjection mechanism to the point of turning against all claims to know the truth, whereas the stoic refuses to take part in the projection-introjection mechanism. It is not that the sceptic sees evil everywhere but that he projects the evil within and onto the evil without that he has introjected from the external world in the first place. As for the stoic, he is so indifferent that he thinks there is no gap between the internal and the external worlds and so there can be no such thing as a projection-introjection mechanism that would simultaneously be the cause and the effect of a struggle between good and evil.

On one pole of this interactivity which constitutes contemporary nihilism is the reactive sceptic and on the other the indifferent stoic. Neither of these are satisfying for themselves nor satisfying in-themselves to produce reconciliation which would be called an intersubjectivity. A reactive force sees everything against itself and an indifferent force sees no point in engaging in an intercourse in the way of an interaction with a reactive sceptic who sees stoics as nihilists.  

Sceptics and stoics are, by being against one another, feeding neither themselves nor the other, but contributing to the production of otherness as negativity, hence taking part in the setting of the very vicious trap in which they find themselves against each other and out of which they both come dismembered. They are both finding themselves locked in an agonizing process, which is destroying both of them. It is impossible for one to survive without the other. Although the problem is the projection-introjection mechanism inherent in them, they are looking for the source of their maladies outside themselves. We are projecting all our bad qualities onto the others and then accusing them of being negative towards us. In turn they are giving birth to the negativity of the other, or otherness as negativity. The source of the negative within and without us is being created by us since we introject what we have projected and inversely.                                                       

[1] Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: OUP, 1977), 130-1

[2] Hegel, 112

[3] Hegel, 6

[4] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, from The portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufman (New York: Viking Press, 1954), 225 

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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Sceptic:  For me Nietzsche is one of those who do philosophy departing from a wound, from a deep-seated internal problem… The wound is internal to Nietzsche but the source of this wound is external, so you see, he is in-between. He attacks both sides at the same time, there is a profound neither/nor relationship, an endless struggle between the life drive and the death drive in Nietzsche’s books. As for Hegel, I’m not so sure what kind of a man he was. His philosophy doesn’t seem to give me “the kicks” as you say. But to me Hegel is sobering, and that is what I require. In Kant’s books you see everything divided and subdivided into sections and subsections. And you see Kant’s idea is there in three books. I find the life philosophy-academic philosophy distinction ridiculous and luxurious for our times. It deprives us of many great philosophers. Nietzsche’s is neither academic nor life, but a kind of open philosophy; philosophy without the final judgment. Nietzsche has never said and will never have said his last word.

Stoic: Never?

Sceptic: And that there is no such last word or final judgment is itself Nietzsche’s last word and final judgment. It is with Nietzsche that we come to realize this paradoxical situation, this vicious cycle, within which we have come to be entrapped.

Stoic: But Nietzsche also makes us ask, what would be the price paid to escape from this vicious cycle?

Sceptic: That’s indeed another thing that he does. It is precisely because of these endless questions leading to one another, each question the answer of another, and this incompleteness of his philosophy is only one of the reasons that make Nietzsche attractive for many. The second is this: Nietzsche has four-five teachings, the first one is, which for me is the most important, that “knowledge is perspectival by nature.” As soon as he says this, his philosophy becomes an opening up to a new field for thought and life. Everyone can enter Nietzsche’s new space and take what they want, it is like a toolbox. There is something for Hitler in that work, something else for Bataille, for Heidegger, Freud, so you see how clear it all becomes in this context, what he means when he says on the title-page of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “A book for no one and everyone.” You can translate this as a book for everyone who will understand but at the same time for no one, since no one can completely understand what exactly Nietzsche means. This formula is applicable to his philosophy as a (w)hole, a philosophy for none and all at the same time. And there is no (w)hole of Nietzsche’s philosophy to be comprehended as a (w)hole anyway. This attitude would reduce “Nietzsche” to its bare bones when in fact it is a very fleshy writing. It wouldn’t be fair on Nietzsche. Mine is a stance from which I try to justify Nietzsche, save him. It is the tendency of most readers of Nietzsche to be his advocate. And yet I now realize that this attitude, too, is not so true to the spirit of Nietzsche. And this is the reason why I distanced myself from Nietzsche, after witnessing what has been happening in the world for the last one hundred years, since Nietzsche’s death. You might as well read “there can be no poetry after Auschwitz,” as “there can be no philosophy after Auschwitz.” Or you at least become compelled to admit, “after Auschwitz it becomes very difficult, almost impossible to unconditionally affirm Nietzsche’s philosophy.” You might, and you should, feel the need to introduce a distance between yourself and Nietzsche.

Stoic: Another paradoxical situation emerges here, for Nietzsche is himself against himself in this respect and on this subject.

Sceptic: Yes, he is indeed.

Stoic: And this indicates a self-deconstructive reading at work, that is, you are already deconstructing your own reading as you read Nietzsche.

Sceptic: But isn’t this a natural outcome of philosophical thinking? I think Nietzsche’s grandest illusion was his excessive self-assurance, a pathological self-confidence which led him not to use his critical eye in relation to himself as much as he did in relation to others. He perspectivizes truth but he never situates himself in the nineteenth century as a priest who had been influenced by the likes of Wagner and Schopenhauer; he never comes to terms with his finitude, and so he never manages to reconcile himself to life.

Stoic: In 1889, when his passage to the other side is semi-complete he is about forty-five.

Sceptic: Yes.

Stoic: The most interesting aspect of his work is its posthumousness. He left behind a multiplicity of texts in complete silence and yet all his work, this multiplicity of texts, is itself an unceasing and singular voice at times causing nausea. When one is looking at this oeuvre one wonders what kind of a will to power is Nietzsche’s, it’s not clear, some say it should be translated as will towards power. I think will to power and will to nothingness are one and the same thing. Will towards power and being towards death are the two constituent parts of becoming what one always already is. And what use of a will to truth if it is not in the service of becoming true to one’s being. Perhaps if his work had not been interrupted by illness, he, and we with him, would have been better able to make sense of these circular movements of thought.

Sceptic: Nietzsche’s working method involves taking notes as he walked… And then revising those notes…

Stoic: …Organize those thoughts, put them in order? But it’s different when Zarathustra speaks. He wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra locked in a room, sitting in a chair in front of a table on the mountains after his devastating Lou Andreas-Salomé experience. There is a close relation between aphorisms and steps, fragmentary writing and walking. It is the same in the case of other aphorism writers, there are flashes of insight involved, always fragmentary, little thoughts complete in themselves and yet to be formulated in relation to one another. Nietzsche’s process of thinking is itself discontinuous, fragmentary; it’s an attempt to give birth to partial objects without relation to an external idea of wholeness. As soon as something strikes him he feels as though if he doesn’t put it down immediately he never will. And since he thinks about the same thing from different perspectives through a period of time, the result is a plurality of partial objects all somehow linked to one another rather than to a whole outside them. He didn’t have time to make sense of all he thought. His thought was larger than his life. He used to write so rapidly but still his infinite speed of thought always left his writing behind.

Sceptic: If only he had lived longer and thought with less speed.

Stoic: Perhaps he could have finished the work of his life in a much more precise way. If he were able to write a second Ecce Homo at sixty years old, he could have survived his thought. But of course I’m assuming too much here.

Sceptic: Actually it is good to throw some light on where Nietzsche is coming from and where he is heading towards. It makes visible the great potential of Nietzsche’s thought; explicates the possibilities of new ways of thinking and living it has to offer.

Stoic: In a new light everything becomes other than itself.

Sceptic: Plato criticized his own concept of the Idea later in life. Perhaps if Nietzsche had lived longer he would have had a critical look at his earlier work.

Stoic: The other day I had a look at On The Genealogy of Morality as a preparation for our conversation. In it I saw Nietzsche thinking about two hundred years ahead of his time. And this prophetic stance is not very common among philosophers. Usually poets tend to tell of the future.

Sceptic: Poets do tend to have messianic expectations.

Stoic: Yes, poets too operate at messianic levels but Nietzsche is assured that what he thinks will take place in the future will actually take place; he believes in the truth of what he assumes. And worst of all, we now see that what he thought would happen is really happening. Have a look at what he says:              

What meaning would our entire being have if not this, that in us this will to truth has come to a consciousness of itself as a problem? … It is from the will to truth’s becoming conscious of itself that from now on—there is no doubt about it—morality will gradually perish: that great spectacle in a hundred acts that is reserved for Europe’s next two centuries, the most terrible, most questionable, and perhaps also most hopeful of all spectacles…[1]

He sees the rise of Nihilism. And we see him say this in Genealogy published in November 1887. It has been 117 years and we can say that his prophecy has proved to be true for the first 117 years out of 200. On this account we can bet that this truth will increasingly maintain its truth status in the remaining 83 years. Looking backwards he tells of the future. With a messianic force he writes Ecce Homo in which he proclaims himself Christ and Dionysus. What he means by that self-fashioning is that he has passed across the Nihilism, went through the will to nothingness and reached the point after the fantasy is traversed where Christ and Dionysus confront one another. But Nietzsche never says that he is the overman. Nietzsche, in Ecce Homo, fashions himself as the one who remains the man who wants to die. In Gay Science we see the theme of God’s death merging with the story of a madman wandering around with his lamp, looking for God. He distinguishes two forms of Nihilism: one is an active nihilism he associates with destruction, the other is an exhausted and passive nihilism he identifies as Buddhism.

Sceptic: Perhaps it’s true; today we know the West is turning towards the East.

Stoic: He sees not one, but two distinct futures of a Nihilist Europe. But I don’t really get what he means when he says he has himself overcome nihilism. Has he really overcome nihilism or is it just wishful thinking?

Sceptic: I don’t know whether he has or he has not overcome nihilism, but what I can say concerning why he thinks in that way is this: In a nut-shell nihilism is the absence of “where” and “why,” or “direction” and “intention.” Nietzsche is convinced that he is showing humanity a new direction towards which to head. His project of revaluing the values is itself an attempt at overcoming nihilism, but this attempt only partially overcomes nihilism, for even after all the values are devalued there remains the new values to be created out of the ruins of the old. Revaluation cannot be completed unless destruction is left behind and creation takes its course.

Stoic: Absolutely. Nihilism is necessary for the devaluation of values, but should be left behind before revaluing the values. So nihilism is a useful tool in turning the existing order against itself but when it comes to creating the new it is nothing other than an enemy. Nietzsche’s discourse is almost a Marxist discourse without Marxist terminology. To see this aspect of Nietzsche more clearly let me give you a brief account of the master-slave relationship in Hegel and Nietzsche. For Hegel everyone is a slave and some slaves, out of a dissatisfaction with slavery, fight to death for mastery, win the fight, and through recognition by the slaves as the masters, become masters, and dominate the slaves. Dialectical process, however, does not end there and in the next stage, and “as history has shown us” in Marx’s words, since in time everything turns into its opposite, slaves eventually become masters. Whereas for Nietzsche from the beginning there are masters and slaves, which he calls active and reactive forces, but the ones who play the role of masters are in fact the slaves and the slaves the masters. So what Nietzsche wants to say is that slaves dominate the masters because of the false values upon which human life is built. Reactive forces are the slaves who occupy the master position and active forces are the masters who occupy the slave position. It is always the reactive forces who win because their reactions are contagious and it is extremely easy for them to multiply themselves and degenerate the others. The active forces, however, although they are the strong ones, are always crushed under the false value system created by the reactive forces. If Hegel is saying that everything eventually turns into its opposite and the roles are reversed only after a struggle to death, Nietzsche is saying that the roles are always already reversed and the way to set things right, rather than passing through reversing the roles, passes through a revaluation of all values on the way to a new game. How would you respond to that?

Sceptic: Well, Nietzsche looks at things otherwise. Through eternal recurrence everything is continually inverted into the spotlight and everything turns into something other than itself in time. So he comes to the conclusion that everything is so reversed that the weak wins. That’s what he sees as the outcome of nihilism. In Nietzsche’s world what everyone understands from improvement is in fact the opposite of the real meaning of improvement. Look what he says, 

One should at least be clear about the expression “be of use.” If by this one intends to express that such a system of treatment has improved man, then I will not contradict: I only add what “improve” means for me—the same as “tamed,” “weakened,” “discouraged,” “sophisticated,” “pampered,” “emasculated” (hence almost the same as injured…)[2]

Stoic: I admire him for what he achieved but at times doesn’t he become more than self-confident. I occasionally feel that he saw himself as a prophet.

Sceptic: Well, it is obvious that he suffered from a certain megalomania. No doubt he lacked self-critical eyes.

Stoic: Does he give you the feeling that he regarded himself a prophet from time to time? Could he have thought he was revealing the word of God?

Sceptic: The thinker talking through Zarathustra’s mouth has that prophetic quality. Zarathustra is himself a prophet. There are various speculations concerning Nietzsche’s entry into the realm of madness. When it occured and so on. Some say when his books are read with a clinical intent there is no trace of madness in his work. I don’t agree with this. Already in Zarathustra there is a deterioration of his thought processes. An exaggerated self-confidence appears in Ecce Homo. But to be considered a prophet is what Nietzsche dreaded most. He says it in Ecce Homo: “I have a terrible fear that one day I will be pronounced holy.”

Stoic: One still wonders whether he is the first prophet without a God, if he thought himself to be the first prophet without a God, and with this thought he went off the rails?  

Sceptic: Are you listening to what I’m saying? 

Stoic: He also sees himself as the disciple of Dionysus.

Sceptic: Have you heard what I’ve just said?

Stoic: He signed Dionysus the last letter he wrote to Strindberg.

Sceptic: And Crucified at the same time. Nietzsche’s thought is full of paradoxes. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why it is a philosophy for everyone. On any topic, on this or that subject, there is this perspective and there is that. You can choose whatever works for you and ignore the others. But that’s not what I’m really concerned with. The contradiction at the heart of Nietzsche is that his theory of eternal return and the becoming of overman cancel each other out. There are two distinct layers of time at which Nietzsche’s teaching operates. First is the linear time of history, the time in which animals live, it is a measurable time. Birth, reproduction, internalisation, metabolism, dissolution all take place in this time; it is the time of life and death. The exact opposite of this time is the circular time of the spirit. It is a time that transcends the linear time and the physical world. It is a product of man’s dissatisfaction with the physical world; a will to go beyond the physical and/or outside time. He conceived of both of these forms of time (Aeon and Chronos) and he existed in both at the same time. He was a man who knew that there is nothing outside physical time and/but who still strived to go beyond this time.

Stoic: How agonizing is that? I think it is none other than himself he is talking about when he says,

Precisely this is what the ascetic ideal means: that something was lacking, that an enormous void surrounded man—he did not know how to justify, to explain, to affirm himself: he suffered from the problem of his meaning. He suffered otherwise as well, he was for the most part a diseased animal: but the suffering itself was not his problem, rather that the answer was missing to the scream of his question: “to what end suffering?”[3]                 

All his life he tried to make sense of the inordinate measure of suffering and privation he had to endure. In vain he looked for a way of exposing “the vanity of all human wishes.” He was dissatisfied with his life and he hated himself for that. He kept resisting the Stoic within himself. But his Sceptic side was incapable of putting something other than the teachings of Socrates in the place left empty by the demolition of his Stoic side. He equally resented having remained under the shadow of Socrates. To escape from Socrates he attacked Plato’s metaphysics of presence and did this with the tools he borrowed from Heraclitus; a pre-Stoic philosopher who has deeply influenced both the Zeno of Citium, who was the founder of Stoicism, and the Zeno of Elea, who explained how it could be possible for a tortoise to pass Achilles in a race. If you look at the latter Zeno’s paradox carefully you see that what he wants to say with all his arrow business is that there can be no motion out of immobility. Yes, the arrow is at rest at every instant and the mind unites those individual instants each a picture in itself. What the eye receives is already what the mind’s synthesizing force creates. We see the arrow in motion when in fact it is, at every instant of its existence, at rest. You see where Zeno is coming from there. He is coming from Heraclitus’ idea that “one cannot step into the same river twice.” The river which is stepped into is a different river at each instant of its flow. You can see that Heraclitus is making a distinction between the flowing water and the bed in which it flows. It is Heraclitus who first splits time. So Zeno finds himself in a split time and can say that before rational thought unites time there is no movement to be perceived.

Sceptic: But this means that Zeno thinks reason creates something out of nothing, or movement out of immobility.

Stoic: And this is very similar to the foundational truth upon which Epictetus builds his therapeutic philosophy. Epictetus says that we create our history, our past, present, and future. It is up to us to change the way we perceive things, put them in a new light, see ourselves differently, and act in way which would be in harmony with nature, in accordance with reason, and for the benefit of all. Epictetus doesn’t see the care of the self as other than the care for the other, he reconciles the interior and the exterior of the subject. So knowledge is a construct of the synthesis of the internal and the external; we project what we have introjected. Between projection and introjection there is a synthetic activity that unites the internal and the external, or the psychic and the material. And a balance between the truth of what’s really going on outside and how the subject perceives this truth is a sign of health. An internally constituted external authority, the truth of universal humanist rationalism, governs the subject in harmony with nature. Listen to what nature says to you and you will know the right thing to do, truth is of nature, say the Stoics. But Plato says: “I, the truth, am speaking.” How megalomaniac is that?

Sceptic: It is quite megalomaniac indeed. And that is the Platonic side of Nietzsche, an exaggerated self-confidence.

Stoic: But with the thought of eternal return Nietzsche is shattered. He realizes how random and chaotic life is and I think his thought of eternal return is a response to his fragmentation at the time he was in Turin. The contingency of all things led him to formulate the eternal return, a circular time with no beginning or an end. In this circular time “a throw of the dice will never abolish the chance,” as Mallarmé put it. So after the nihilistic fantasies and Dionysian hallucinations are traversed the new age of bliss begins for the ones who have learned to learn from what happens to them in this life and rather than fall into the wound pass across it and affirm life as it is. Amor fati is both the driving force and the outcome of the eternal return. Everyone is born free. One who loves one’s fate whatever happens is free. It is a very Stoic thought; as long as the mind is free who cares about the body in chains. But this is not to despise the body, on the contrary, Stoics do care about their bodies; cleanliness, appetite, health, good behaviour, humour, kindness, affirmative attitude; it is a very naturalist social philosophy.

Sceptic: I didn’t know that you were so off the rails. If I understood you correctly, in eternal return there is no room for Darwinist linear evolution. Evolution is peculiar to linear time. Nietzsche is after finding a new form of progressive movement in complicity with the circular movement of time. The idea of eternal return is a very vague formulation of what he was really after. It is Bergson who came closer to saying what Nietzsche wanted to say. In his Creative Evolution Bergson investigates Zeno’s paradox and comes to the conclusion that Zeno’s idea that there can be no movement in-itself because time is infinitely divided within itself is not sufficient to theorize a practical and creative evolutionary process other than a linear progress. Bergson says that cinema achieves what Zeno thought was impossible. By creating motion pictures out of pictures at rest at every instant he introduces mind as a projection-introjection mechanism just like a camera. “But while our consciousness thus introduces succession into external things, inversely these things themselves externalise the successive moments of our inner duration in relation to one another.”[4] Bergson doesn’t differ from Zeno as much as he thinks he does, in that, it was Zeno who said mind projects what it had introjected. And this projection-introjection mechanism is a binding-splitting force at the same time. It binds the subject to the social as it splits the subject within itself, right?

Stoic: Well, almost. It is a matter of working through ways of dealing with history, with the contingency of every event and the randomness of what happens to us in time. Stoics look down on death and suffering. They say that which has happened cannot be changed in linear time, but in circular time everything can be changed in perception and then projected onto the present so as to leave behind the traumatic incident and move on towards becoming present. So, you see, you are always already present and yet this presence is always changing in relation to your past and future, and hence while you are always present you are never present, you are always a non-presence becoming present. So the way in which you relate to your past, the way in which you read your history, determines your actions at present, so why don’t you read your past in such a way as to enable yourself to become self-present. It is about creating the self so as to create itself as a perpetually renewed self-presence. It is not out of nothing that something is created, there never is nothing for the self. You can see that it is all very closely related to the thought of death in Stoics. “Let death and exile and everything that is terrible appear before your eyes every day, especially death; and you will never have anything contemptible in your thoughts or crave anything excessively.”[5] It is one of his principal doctrines always to start from sense-experience. Life is a process of breaking down and remaking the sense of experience. 

Sceptic: And after his intense sense-experiences Nietzsche dies, leaving behind words that have long ago ceased to be his. Writing is a process of transforming the sense-experience to make it visible for the others. But at the same time writing is itself a sense-experience. And in Nietzsche we very occasionally see writing about the experience of writing. There is an intense meditation on the affective quality of language in Nietzsche.   

Sceptic: But he is partly blind to what’s going on not only inside him but also outside him.

Stoic: He gets too excited about the affect of language. And together with the will to experience more of it he falls on the side of total dissolution. He pushes his thought to its limit after which there is nothing, but he goes on and in utter dismemberment he finds himself. But when he finds himself he is already dismembered and so finds that there is no self outside the social. To find that out he had to push his thought to its limit and pay the price with the loss of his mental health. Perhaps he was a bit too aggressive towards the Stoics who could have shown him a way out of his dilemma: “Remember that what is insulting is not the person who abuses you or hits you, but the judgement about them that they are insulting. So when someone irritates you be aware that what irritates you is your own belief. Most importantly, therefore, try not to be carried away by appearance, since if you once gain time and delay you will control yourself more easily.”[6] But Nietzsche was busy with struggling with Stoics for their rationality and universality.

Sceptic: Well, Nietzsche’s aim has never been to write therapeutic prescriptions for the ill. He sees this as taming. And yet this is what he is doing. With Nietzsche therapy and critical theory confront each other. “With priests everything simply becomes more dangerous, not only curatives and healing arts, but also arrogance, revenge, acuity, excess, love, lust to rule, virtue, disease; though with some fairness one could also add that it was on the soil of this essentially dangerous form of human existence, the priestly form, that man first became an interesting animal, that only here did the human soul acquire depth in a higher sense and become evil—and these are, after all, the two basic forms of the superiority of man over other creatures!…”[7]  Here he is talking about Christianity and Buddhism, but you can imagine the same criticism directed against not only Plato but also the Stoics. Nietzsche’s sees the Jews as the beginners of “the slave revolt in morality.”[8] You see, he is after an attitude to life that would be neither Jewish nor Greek. And the common ground on which both the Greek and the Jewish civilizations are built is an assumption that man is superior to other animals. It is not difficult to see where he is coming from if you remember that Christians thought Jews to be as inferior as animals. As for Buddhism, it is passive nihilism, a will to nothingness, for what is Nirvana if not a mystical union with God, with nothingness. After dissolving all these belief systems in a universal cesspool Nietzsche moves on to a revaluation of all values in the light of the Genesis in The Old Testament: “At the beginning was the word.” But what God is, for Nietzsche, is precisely this: nothingness. It doesn’t start from nothingness, it starts with language, and everything comes from language which has neither a beginning nor an end.

Stoic: But I think you are missing Nietzsche’s point there. For there is a pre-linguistic domain which is not nothingness, but something in between nothingness and everything that there is, that space between is the realm of partial objects which serve the purpose of relating to the world even before the language is acquired. And with this he comes back to what Zeno was saying. At the beginning there is no-motion, but that state of the being of things is not perceivable, for the mind unites partial-objects to form a sequence of events, before which there is nothing perceivable. Zeno says, movement in-itself and for itself is impossible because there can be no movement prior to the synthesis of the individual states of being at rest. But with cinema we see that motionless pictures are put one after the other in a particular sequence and when the film revolves a continuity of images, a flow of pictures is created. There is the illusion of one continuous motion of events when in fact each event is a motionless picture in itself.

Sceptic: But if it cannot be perceived how can you say that at the beginning there is nothing and immobility?

Stoic: Well, that’s not what I’m saying. There is nothing at the beginning precisely because nothing can be perceived before the beginning. You see, there is the absence of something, there is nothing as the object of perception. You have to assume that beginning itself has no beginning so that you can begin living, acting, and doing things. Otherwise how can you live with the thought of being surrounded by nothingness and death at all times? Death is where you cannot be. It is absolutely other to you, its presence signifies your absence and inversely. Perhaps we should have said there is nothing before the beginning and after the end. That fits in better with everything.

Sceptic: Yes, and with this sentence the riddle is solved to some extent; it is not a matter of beginning or ending; everything is in the middle, and nothing is before the beginning and after the end. The eternal return has neither a beginning nor an end.

Stoic: Even when you die your body is still in the process of dissolving; you dissolve into other things and become something else. It is not resurrection I’m talking about here. Nor is resurrection what Nietzsche attempted to theorize with the thought of eternal return, but a very materialist understanding of nature and its relation to man. Nietzsche never says what exactly the eternal return means but from what he says we come to a grasp of what it might mean. Let me quote Nietzsche at length. In this one of the best descriptions of what the eternal return might mean we see Zarathustra talking with a dwarf about time, the moment as a gateway to possibilities, and the passage of time.

 ‘Everything straight lies,’ murmured the dwarf disdainfully. ‘All truth is crooked, time itself is a circle.’

‘Spirit of Gravity!’ I said angrily, ‘do not treat this too lightly! Or I shall leave you squatting where you are, Lamefoot—and I have carried you high!

‘Behold this moment!’ I went on. ‘From this gateway Moment a long, eternal lane runs back: an eternity lies behind us.

‘Must not all things that can run have already run along this lane? Must not all things that can happen have already happened, been done, run past?

‘And if all things have been here before: what do you think of this moment, dwarf? Must not this gateway, too, have been here—before?

‘And are not all things bound fast together in such a way that this moment draws after it all future things? Therefore—draws itself too?

‘For all things that can run must also run once again forward along this long lane.

‘And this slow spider that creeps along in the moonlight, and this moonlight itself, and I and you at this gateway whispering together, whispering of eternal things—must we not all have been here before?

‘—and must we not return and run down that other lane out before us, down that long, terrible lane—must we not return eternally?’[9] 

You see, what renders the eternal return possible is saying yes to difference in repetition. The eternal return is Nietzsche’s grand conception which excludes all binary opposition and defies the binary logic of being and non-being. You can see that it is far away from what Diogenes Laertius was saying concerning the relationship between absence and presence. For Laertius where there is absence there can be no presence and inversely. But Nietzsche thinks that being and non-being, presence and absence are intermingled, are the two constitutive parts of becoming. One side of becoming accomplishes its movement while the other fails to accomplish its movement. So the persistence of being can only take the form of becoming. It is the becoming of being that counts as the immaculate conception of the eternal return. The eternal return is not a metaphysical concept, rather it renders possible attachment to the material world, the world as it is before turning into a fable in and through a linear narrative of history. The eternal return is a tool for interpreting the world in its infinity and finitude at the same time, and its legacy lies in its rejection of both a purely transcendental and a purely immanent interpretation of the world. When Nietzsche makes the dwarf say “everything straight lies[…] all truth is crooked, time itself is a circle,” he is pointing towards an ethical imperative, namely, that one must give free rein to the unconscious drives so that in time, as these drives are let to manifest themselves in and through language, it becomes apparent that it is ridiculous to repress them for it is repression itself that produces them; so the more one represses them the more one contributes to their strengthening. As you see what at stake here is a way of governing the self in relation to others. Eternal return is will to power and will to nothingness at the same time, it is the name of the process of becoming through which the subject becomes other than itself. This becoming other than itself of the subject is in the form of an emergence of the new out of the old, that is, realization of an already existing possibility and will towards its actualisation through this realization. So the subject assumes what it was in the past and upon this assumption builds its present as already past and yet to come. It is in this context that Foucault says genealogy is “a history of the present.”

Sceptic: Very interesting. You seem to have figured out the ways of passing across the avenues Gilles Deleuze opened in the way of explicating the meaning of eternal return and its use. Look at what he says in a passage, perhaps the most lucid articulation of Deleuze’s conception of time and its passage in Nietzsche and Philosophy:

What is the being of that which becomes, of that which neither starts nor finishes becoming? Returning is the being of that which becomes. “That everything recurs is the closest approximation of a world of becoming to world of being—high point of the meditation.” [Will to Power, 617] This problem for the meditation must be formulated in yet another way; how can the past be constituted in time? How can the present pass? The passing moment could never pass if it were not already past and yet to come—at the same time as being present. If the present did not pass of its own accord, if it had to wait for a new present in order to become past, the past in general would never be constituted in time, and this particular present would not pass. We cannot wait, the moment must be simultaneously present and past, present and yet to come, in order for it to pass (and to pass for the sake of other moments). The present must coexist with itself as past and yet to come. The synthetic relation of the moment to itself as present, past and future grounds its relation to other moments. The eternal return is thus an answer to the problem of passage. And in this sense it must not be interpreted as the return of something that is, that is “one” or the “same.” We misinterpret the expression “eternal return” if we understand it as “return of the same.”[10]

Stoic: It is true. Let me explain. With the big-bang a substance of infinite intensity begins its still ongoing process of expansion-contraction. And this process must always already be complete for it to even begin taking its course of becoming; everything happens at present and for that reason there is neither a beginning nor an end of time. The force combinations are infinitely repeated but because of its previous repetition the quality of the forces themselves change and give birth to its becoming different from itself through repetition of what it assumes itself to be in relation to time. So the subject always already is what it strives to become and yet the only way to actualise this becoming what one is is this: one has to realize that what one is striving to become is already what one is. All the configurations have to repeat themselves eternally for the return of the same to take place. But when this same returns one sees that it has never been the same but always already different from itself. When the future comes it becomes present, the subject is always at present and can never know what it would be like to exist in another present. There is nothing and the present.

Sceptic: Eternal return is the first conceptualisation of the death drive. It is not death drive but it operates the way death-drive operates, and since none of these have any existence outside their operations they are the two different forms the same content takes. The subject of the eternal return wills nothingness and this willing nothingness always returns as a will to power. You can see that Nietzsche uses this grand conception of the relationship between creation and destruction to invert destructive and reactive Nihilism into the spotlight; he turns Nihilism against itself through the thought of eternal return as the thought of becoming other than what one thinks one is. What was repressed and locked into the unconscious once turns into its opposite and becomes the order of the day in a new light and in another time. In this light time is itself the fourth dimension of space. That is how Nietzsche can see the rise of Nihilism in its material, historical conditions. We all come and keep coming from inorganic substance and will end up there. Nietzsche’s confrontation with truth was the confrontation of brain with chaos. And out of this confrontation emerges the truth of the death drive, the will to nothingness disguised as the will to truth, the internally constituted external governor of a Nihilistic Europe.

Stoic: Yes. They are in our midst and yet exterior to us. We are surrounded and governed by nothingness and death which have neither a beginning nor an end. Well, at least not for us, who are those governed by them. For when we die we are nowhere to see our dead bodies or experience death as our own. Death occurs where there is the absence of my self’s sense-experience, all the rest is a process of being towards death, dying, becoming-dead. When death finally arrives even my name ceases to be mine, or rather, it is realized that even my name has never been mine. There remains no one to carry out my life in my name once death is here.

Sceptic: Death and nothingness are interior and exterior to us at the same time. Most of us, however, keep the thought of death at bay at all times; those of us are the ones who live their lives without thinking about death, for they think, in a Spinozan fashion, that “he who is free thinks of nothing less than of death and his meditation is a wisdom not of death but of life.” This is the time of good-sense where everything is identical and everything can be substituted by something else.

Stoic: The will to power and the will to nothingness reverse the roles. We break down as we go along the way towards the completion of passing across the field of partial objects.

Sceptic: Precisely. You told me what I was trying to tell you.  And what is thought worth if it is not in the service of the present? Sacrificing the present by scarfacing yourself for the sake of a better future face is itself the worst thing that can be done to your face at all times. In vain is he/she who strives for immortality.

Stoic: Let us move on to the subjects of finitude and infinity, then. Here is a question for you: Are we finite becomings or infinite beings?

Sceptic: We might as well be neither or both of these. It’s a matter of taste depending on whether you see being alive as a process of dying or a process of living.

Stoic: I think we who are alive, or at least think we are, are infinite beings by nature, but turn into finite becomings in and through our cultures. I say we are infinite beings because infinity has no beginning or end, so it’s impossible for an infinite entity to be a becoming, only a being can be infinite, whereas a finite entity has a beginning from which its becoming starts taking its course and comes to a halt at the end. Since the concept of time is a cultural construct imposed on nature by human beings, because we see other people die, we have come to imagine that we are limited by finitude and surrounded by infinity, when in fact it is the other way around; that is, we are infinite beings and death constitutes an internal limit to our being in the world, giving birth to our idea of ourselves as finite becomings. Do you understand?

Sceptic: Yes I do. We don’t have to strive for immortality, for we are always already immortals who are incapable of realising their immortalities.

Stoic: Shall we leave it at that, then?

Sceptic: Let’s do so.

Stoic: No last words?

Sceptic: None at all.

Stoic: No worst of all words.

Sceptic: None worse than last words.

Stoic: Well then, the end to which we are all devoted shall be to raise our glasses to this worsening suffering!

Sceptic: To what end last words?

Stoic: To what end suffering?

Stoic and Sceptic: Oh, dear!  

[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, On The Genealogy of Morality, trans. Maudemarie Clark and Alan J. Swensen (Cambridge: Hackett, 1998), 117

[2] Friedrich Nietzsche, On The Genealogy of Morality, trans. Maudemarie Clark and Alan J. Swensen (Cambridge: Hackett, 1998), 103

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, On The Genealogy of Morality, trans. Maudemarie Clark and Alan J. Swensen (Cambridge: Hackett, 1998), 117

[4] Henri Bergson, Time and Free Will, 228

[5] Epictetus, The Encheiridion: The Handbook, trans. Nicholas P. White (Cambridge: Hackett, 1983), 16

[6] Epictetus, 16

[7] Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genalogy of Morality, 15-6

[8] Nietzsche, 17

[9] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 178-9

[10] Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 48


Special commissioned writing by Ben Woodard

A Nature to Pulp the Stoutest Philosopher: Towards a Lovecraftian Philosophy of Nature

The possibility of Lovecraftian philosophy (and a philosophy of nature) is at least a threefold weirdness:

1-Lovecraft’s own philosophical views were bitingly materialist following in the footsteps of Hugh Elliot, Bertrand Russell as well as Nietzsche and Schopenhauer while making dismissive remarks about Bergson, Freud and others. Lovecraft’s enthusiasm for Nietzsche was actually more Schopenhauerian than it appeared as evidenced in his piece Nietzscheism and Realism.[i]

2-Lovecraft’s reception ‘among the philosophers’ has been fairly limited with only a few scattered remarks from Deleuze and Guattari and philosophical-literary treatments by Michel Houellebecq, ST Joshi, and others. Though it seems to have begun to change with Speculative Realism and other connected thinkers – as even Badiou has expressed his appreciation for Lovecraft.[ii]

3-This relationship of Lovecraft to philosophy and philosophy to Lovecraft is coupled with Lovecraft’s habit of mercilessly destroying the philosopher and the figure of the academic more generally in his work, a destruction which is both an epistemological destruction (or sanity breakdown) and an ontological destruction (or unleashing of the corrosive forces of the cosmos). These demolitions are a result of a materialism which border on supernaturalism in Lovecraft’s cosmos, a materialism which operates within an onto-epistemological indistinction. This indistinction, which runs throughout weird fiction on the whole, means not only that being and knowing are indistinct and cannot be pre-determined by thought, but that it is difficult to separate being and thinking formally from one another.

Or, in other words, the horrorific entities and forces of Lovecraft’s fiction (while rigorously materialistic and part of a real nature) simultaneously test the limits of knowing on a small scale – ‘do I know what X is?’ – as well as on a large scale ‘can I know what X is?’ as well as ontological limits, of questioning the very possibilities of is such as in the horrific phrase ‘what is that?.’[iii]

 … Read More


Olay ve Hakikatin Bozguna Uğrattığı Fantezi Makineleri - Emre İleri   Cengiz Erdem “Fantezi Makinesinde Hakikat Sızıntısı”nı yazdığından beridir, defalarca okudum desem yalan olmaz. Kitabın etrafında bir Kızılderili çadırı kurup ateş yaktığım, hatta dans ettiğim bile söylenenler arasında! Söylenenler arasındadır arasında olmasına ama, kitap da benim etrafımda ateş yakıp dans ve de raks ederekten beni bilmediğim yerlere sürükleyip kendimi defalarca kez kaybetmeme ve bulmama vesile olmuştur. Bahis konusu kitabı  okuduğumu ve yorumladığımı sanırken aslında kitap beni birtamam okumuştur, karıştırmış, sayfalarıma dokunmuş, yazma eylemine sürüklenmiş bulmuşumdur kendimi adeta. Bu paramparça yazı, ya da yazılar, ne kadar bu roman ya da başka bir şey hakkında olur biliyorum. Fakat insan mevzubahis romanı okuduğu ve onun tarafından okunduğu zaman, ekran ve insan, kitap ve insan arasında tek taraflı bir görme, algılama ve düşünme eyleminin vuku bulup bulmadığını sormaya başlıyor kendi kendine. Amacımız kesinlikle mevzubahis roman hakkındaki “hakikatler”i ortaya çıkartmak değil, onu yeniden yazmaktır. Yani, kafamızda roman hakkında oluşan imgeleri yeniden simgelere dönüştürmektir niyetimiz. Ama bizim niyetimizin ne olduğunun pek de önemi yok. Biz de yokuz ki zaten, bir “biz” olmaktan çıktığımızdan beri… Read More

via Fantezi Makinesinde Hakikat Sızıntısı

Word from Urbanomic that Volume III of Collapse has sold out and is now available for free online. It includes the much-cited original Speculative Realism conference. Find it here.

via Speculative Heresy

Collapse III contains explorations of the work of Gilles Deleuze by pioneering thinkers in the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, music and architecture. In addition, we publish in this volume two previously untranslated texts by Deleuze himself, along with a fascinating piece of vintage science fiction from one of his more obscure influences. Finally, as an annex to Collapse Volume II, we also include a full transcription of the conference on ‘Speculative Realism’ held in London in 2007.

The contributors to this volume aim to clarify, from a variety of perspectives, Deleuze’s contribution to philosophy: in what does his philosophical originality lie; what does he appropriate from other philosophers and how does he transform it? And how can the apparently disparate threads of his work to be ‘integrated’ – what is the precise nature of the constellation of the aesthetic, the conceptual and the political proposed by Gilles Deleuze, and what are the overarching problems in which the numerous philosophical concepts ‘signed Deleuze’ converge?


Editorial Introduction [PDF]
In Memoriam: Gilles Deleuze 1925-1995 [PDF]
Responses to a Series of Questions [PDF]
“I Feel I Am A Pure Metaphysician”: The Consequences of Deleuze’s Remark [PDF]
Subtraction and Contraction: Deleuze, Immanence and Matter and Memory [PDF]
Blackest Ever Black [PDF]
Mathesis, Science and Philosophy [PDF]
Malfatti's Decade [[PDF]
Chronos and Aion: Deleuze and the Stoic Theory of Time [PDF]
Matisse-Thought and the Strict Ordering of Fauvism [PDF]
Unknown Deleuze [PDF]
Another World [PDF]
Speculative Realism [PDF]

Bir mum alevinin sönmeden önce dayanılmaz bir biçimde son bir kez parlaması gibidir bazı ilişkilerin bitişi. Son bir kez karşı konulmaz bir arzu duyarız sevdiğimize karşı, ama bu arzu çok geçmeden yerini aynı derecede karşı konulmaz bir kayıtsızlığa bırakır her ne hikmetse. Mum sönmüştür artık ve artık tekrar karanlıktayızdır bir süreliğine, yani ta ki hiç beklenmedik bir anda karşımıza bir başkası çıkıp da sönmeden önce gözlerimizi neredeyse kör edecek kadar parlayan söz konusu mum ışığına yeniden hayat verene kadar.

“İnsan yanmayı ve küllerinden yeniden doğmayı bilmeli,” demişti Nietzsche. Küllerinden yeniden doğan anka kuşu misâli yeniden doğmaya benzer adına aşk demeyi alışkanlık hâline getirdiğimiz duygu durumu. Ama genellikle dürtüsel bir etkilenimden, veya bilemediniz tutku tabir edebileceğimiz bir yakınlık hissinden başka bir şey değildir adına aşk demeyi alışkanlık hâline getirdiğimiz o duygu durumu. İlişkinin bittiği kesinlik kazanınca, yani artık yaşadıklarımız bizi ne üzer, ne de mutlu eder hâle gelince, bir başka deyişle kayıtsızlık zuhur edince işte, “ben aslında bu insanı hiç sevmemiş, ona hiç aşık olmamışım ki,” diye geçiririz içimizden, ki nitekim geçirmemiz de gerekir zaten. En kötüsü de aşkla acıma hislerinin birbirine karıştırılmasıdır ama bence, zira bu hem bize hem de sevmek yerine acıdığımız ama acıdığımızın farkında olmak yerine ona aşık olduğumuzu sandığımız kişiye zûldür.

“Ne insanlar gördüm üstlerinde elbise yok, ne elbiseler gördüm içinde insan yok,” sözünü hepimiz duymuşuzdur. Kimin, ne zaman söyledği bile belli olmayan bu son derece özlü sözle biraz oynarsak onu şu hâle sokmamız mümkündür: “Ne aşıklar gördüm aşkın zerresinden haberleri yok, ne aşklar gördüm aşıklarının yaşayacak bünyesi yok.”

Yıllar önce bir sevgilim bitirmekte oldukça zorlandığımız o dillere destan ilişkiyi bitirebilmek için dahiyâne bir sözle hadiseye noktayı tereyağından kıl çeker gibi koymuştu: “Kalplerimiz bu sevgiyi kaldıramayacak kadar küçüktü.” Adı lâzım değil, hakikaten doğru söylemişti bence söz konusu sevgili, zira gerçekten de söz konusu aşk o yaşta ikimizi de aşan ve artık kontrolümüzden çıkan bir hâle gelmişti. Biz aşkın özneleri değildik artık, bilâkis aşk bizim öznemiz, bizse aşkımızın nesnleriydik. “Aşkın kölesi olmak” lâfı biraz anlam ihtiva ediyorsa, söz konusu aşkın nesnesi olma durumu buna harika bir emsâl teşkil eder niteliktedir kanımca. Neticede aşkımız bizi aşınca biz de onun içinde boğulmamak için benim de katkılarımla “kalplerimiz bu aşkı sığmayacak kadar küçüktü,” sözünü ilişkimizin bitişini mümkün kılan söz olarak lânetlenmiş kalplerimize kazımış ve yollarımızı ayırmıştık. Bazen ayrı yollardan gidenlerin de aynı yere varabileceklerini nereden bilebilirdik ki?! Kalplerimiz büyüdü artık ve aşkımız tanınamayacak hale geldi belki şimdi, lâkin ikimizin de bildiği bir şey var işte hiç değişmeyen; insan doğru hayatı yanlış yaşayabilir, ezberler bozulmak içindir, çünkü insan hayatı boyunca sadece tek bir kez, sadece tek bir kişiye aşık olabilen ölümlü varlıklara verilen addır, gerisi ise teferruattır…   

I’m hungry, I shall consume flesh.             

"Where would I go, if I could go, who would I be, if I could be, what would I say, if I had a voice, who says this saying it’s me?" (Beckett - 2)

Expulsion of the Negative and Affirmation of Life are Mutually Exclusive

Purgatory, purification, extraction of the positive, expulsion of the negative, projection, introjection… Throughout his discursive life Deleuze conceived of purification of the self as the goal of literature. He believed that through an exposition of the evil within one was healing the society. But this theory can only produce otherness as negativity and that is almost exactly the opposite of what affirmative critique ought to be. Nietzsche’s project of “the expulsion of the negative” is a recurrent theme in Deleuze’s writings. Like Nietzsche he thought that it is only through regression that one could be purified and get outside the confines of the Cartesian cogito. Deleuze’s attempts at escaping from the Cartesian dualism, however, can only cause an interruption of the splitting process and slides towards overcoming the split to attain oneness. Giving a voice to the other creates the conditions of impossibility for the other’s finding his/her own voice.

With Deleuze it is always one dies rather than I die, or as the Cynic saying goes, “when there is death I am not, when I am there is no death.” Instead of accepting the state of being wounded as a perpetually renewed actuality, instead of affirming death within life, the other within the self, Deleuze climbs over the walls of his wound, and looking down on the others, he loses the ground beneath his feet, and eventually falls into the split he was trying to get rid of.

Affirming the mutual inclusiveness of introversion and intersubjectivity means preferring an a-sociality, what Blanchot calls “being in a non-relation,” to the symbolic order. Blanchot’s attitude is exactly the opposite of the symbolic market society that dissolves the most fundamental questions of being human in a pot of common sense. The subject of the market society is continually in pursuit of increased strength and self-confidence. And for that reason governed by what Nietzsche called the herd instinct, the will to nothingness, this subject becomes a reactive and adaptive subject. The symbolic order loses the ground beneath itself when and if the majority starts to see living with the thought of death not only as a natural necessity, but also as something to be affirmed.

 Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.[16] 

We continually have to work on turning everything that happens to us in this life into “for the good.” For everything good or bad to become for the good we have to affirm that which has happened to us. But how are we going to affirm something so terrible that nails us to a painful existence indefinitely? First of all, we have to accept that, that which has happened is not changeable, it has already taken place and we cannot go back there to unlive it.  But at the same time the meaning, value, and significance of what has happened is never fully established. Only death accomplishes the event’s significance, only through death is established the truth of what has happened to us.

For the Stoics one has to have a perfect understanding of the workings of cosmos and nature to be able to live in harmony with the world surrounding one. It is such that everything is a cause and an effect at the same time and everything is linked to one another. Everything that happens causes other things to happen. To a certain extent what happens to us is not in our control but at the same time if we know what the consequence of a certain action would be we could choose what to do, and so what happens to us, to a certain extent, becomes our own doing. We have to figure out how to act, which words to use in the way of affecting the external world so as to maintain ourselves as an active agent in any circumstance.[17]

Let us imagine an example. If we have done something so terribly wrong that it is causing us great distress, before drowning in our sadness we have to find a way of reading it in such a way as to turn it into something that was necessary for our present and future happiness. If we let ourselves go after a disappointing incident, if we let things happen to us and not do something to change the course of events we might as well find ourselves in an irresolvable situation at the end, which would lead to madness and death.

At every moment throughout our lives we are confronted with obstacles that keep us from accomplishing certain desired ends. And yet there is also always a certain potential of accomplishing something even better because of the very obstacle that caused the desired end to become unattainable. The Stoic solution to this problem is simple and yet sophisticated.

What we have here is not a total negation of desire but a rejection of certain objects of desire that one must know from past experience are bad for us to desire. If we want something to happen to us, something that would satisfy a certain desire, and if the desired event cannot be accomplished through our actions then there is no point in striving for the attainment of an unattainable object of desire. Instead one should make the best of what is at hand and accomplish other events that render possible the attainment of objects of desire that are within reach. If we don’t know what and how to work for, we get nothing out of life, find ourselves locked in a room on the door of which death continually knocks.

Paintings by Andy DenzlerTitle: Bertolt Brecht People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart - but does it float

Painting by Andy Denzler
Title: Bertolt Brecht

Epictetus’ philosophy is a very practical one. In it we find ways of coping with the difficulties of life. And it is adaptable to the present state of the human condition in which we find ourselves face to face with the exploitation of the life drive and the death drive through a manipulation of the mutual dependence of these two based on the ambiguous, because a-symetrical, conflict inherent in the relationship between them.

If we know not how to choose what to desire, if we allow the objects of our desire to be shaped by the capable hands of the big Other represented by the global capitalists, we also let the ways in which we desire be determined by a source other than ourselves, hence become puppets trying to satisfy an external force rather than ourselves and our lovers. We have to know what to desire and how to make it happen, otherwise nothing happens and where there is nothing happening there can be neither creativity nor communication; for what is one to create or communicate if there is nothing to create and communicate.

Once it is realized that there is nothing other than nothing to be struggled against, it becomes clearer how it would be possible to detach oneself from external circumstances and act in the way of maintaining an impersonal vision of what happens around us. One dissociates not the events themselves, but dissociates oneself from the events surrounding one. The Stoic indifference requires a subject in the form of an impersonal consciousness who maintains its dissociating function at all times. For this dissociation to take place, however, the subject has to know how to associate events that have led to the present, that is, one has to immerse oneself in the plurality of the past events, and extract from this multiplicity a combination of events so as to enable oneself to constitute oneself as an autonomous, free agent. This attitude emphasizes the importance of each instant. At every instant we have to act in such a way as to make the future better than the past. And this brings us to Nietzsche’s eternal return. According to Nietzsche, we have to act at every present moment in such a way that we will regret nothing in the future. Every present is an eternal moment in-itself and it is at times in our control to turn the present into for-itself, and at times it is not.

So, at every present we have to consider the possibilities from different angles and decide which way to go and which way not to go as if we were immortal. What Epictetus seems to be suggesting is that once a choice is made the only way to make it work for us is to push it to its limit where it either turns against us or against itself and creates another possibility of choice. Epictetus is not in favour of an individuality that would be constituted through moderation, but in a subject that would be indifferent to lack or excess. In Epictetus’ world there is no lack or excess; what there is lacks nothing and nothing in what there is is excessive. If one is satisfied by what there is with its lacks and excesses one needs no moderation of one’s actions, for there is nothing lacking or excessive to be moderated in one’s actions. Lack or excess can only be determined by a whole external to the already existing. But there is only that which is, which never lacks anything in relation to something outside itself. The concepts of lack and excess belong to the world of metaphysics which exists only in imagination.

So I eventually arrive where I could possibly have arrived; the end of this voyage, which is at the same time the beginning of another one. And here I find out that the more affirmative one’s attitude towards life gets the more fragile the contact with the other becomes. But as the contact becomes more fragile and affirmation more difficult, maintaining the conditions for the possibility of a perpetually recreated affirmative cont(r)act becomes more essential to the continuation of healthy life of self in touch not only with its own death but also with the death of the other.

Sometimes the only way to keep affirming is to affirm the fragility of the affirmative cont(r)act itself. It is only by affirming a broken and irregularly beating heart in its broken irregularity that one can relate to it. But to affirm this heart one must detach oneself from it, not identify with it, not become broken and irregularly beating itself, so that one can find in oneself the strength to undertake repairing the broken heart. Affirmation of life as it is, I think, is only the beginning of a fragile and yet beautiful friendship… Read More

 via senselogic

la mort - death

The Pre-Socratics: A Case Study

The fate of the pre-Socratics has often taken two routes, that of either complete dismissal due to inescapable primitivism or as purveyors of deep esoteric truths completely lost to our time. As is often the case however the truth lies somewhere in tension between the two. For examination of these founders of philosophy can provide two illuminating roles. Firstly we can conceive the ideas of these pioneers in the context of their ultimate evolution… Read More via An Excavation of Ideas

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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.

• Philosophy as Biography •
• Alain Badiou •

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

• VIDEO Version •


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

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

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

via Mutlak Töz

(via dubmode, fakefuneral)

Zamanın uçurumundan ve ötesindeki karanlıktan başka ne görüyorsunuz? – William Shakespeare

Kanlı bir yumurta sarısı. Bir çarşafa yayılan yanmış bir delik. Herkesi açmakla tehdit eden öfkeli bir gül. – May Svvenson

Dipsiz bir uçurumun içine baktığınız zaman, o da sizin içinize bakar. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Baktıkça bakıyorsunuz kendinize, Yetişir! Bu da hiç konuşmayan adam yapıyor sizi. – Edip Cansever

Yazmak mutsuzluğun nedeni değil, sonucudur. – Montaigne

Mutsuzluk dünyanın en komik şeyidir. – Beckett

İşler daha kötüye gidemeyecek hale gelince daha iyiye gitmeye başlar. – Kafka

Ben sahiden Rosie’yim, Ve ben Gerçek Rosie’yim, Bana inansanız iyi olur, Ben çok çok önemliyim. – Maurice Sendak

Bir deliyle başedebilmek için normal rolü yapmanız gerekir. – Herman Hesse

Gülün dikene katlanması onu güzel kokulu yaptı. – Mevlana

Her gün yeniden doğmalı. – Yunus Emre

 Zeno: Filozofun Bir Ölümlü Olarak Portresi – “Zeno” Kimdir, Kim’(ler)in Hikâyesidir?

Zeno -Filozofun Bir Ölümlü Olarak PortresiCengiz Erdem Cinius Yayınları İçe dönük infilâklardan medet uman garip bir düşünme biçiminin girdaplarında boğulan bireyin kendi yarattığı lâbirentte kayboluşunun ve çözümü sevgide bulmak suretiyle yeniden doğuşunun öyküsü…  Elindeki bu kitap hayatı kilitlenmiş bir adamın kendini içinde bulduğu ruhsal ve fiziksel durumlara karşı giriştiği amansız mücadeleyi anlatıyor sevgili okur.Kendini içinde bulduğu anlamsız rutinin pençesinde kıvranan bir akademisyen olan Zeno kendisine bir komplo kurulduğundan emindir. Çevresinde gelişen her olayı kendi kafasında kurduğu komplo teorilerinin süzgecinden geçtikten sonra gören bu kurban-kahraman adeta bir hiç kimse haline gelmiştir. Birbiri ardına yayınladığı kitaplar onu gittikçe daha yalnızlaştırmış. adeta şeffaf bir duvar örmüştür çevresine. Aşkta başarısız olduğu ve hayatta istediği noktadan çok uzakta olduğu için gittikçe nefretle dolmaya başlar Zeno çevresine karşı. Psikoz zuhur etmiş, kahramanımız paranoyak senaryolarla doldurmaya çalışmaktadır hayatındaki boşluğu. O kadar önemsiz hissetmektedir ki Zeno kendisini, ölmek isteyecek noktaya gelmiştir artık. Bu senaryolar ona kendisini önemli hissetirmekte ve ölümü uzak tutmaktadır hayatından. Yayın Yılı: 2007144 sayfa12,5x19,5 cmISBN:9944126816İLGİLİ KONULAR:Links > New Book-Fantezi Makinesinde Hakikat Sızıntısı 

Zeno -Filozofun Bir Ölümlü Olarak Portresi
Cengiz Erdem
Cinius Yayınları 

İçe dönük infilâklardan medet uman garip bir düşünme biçiminin girdaplarında boğulan bireyin kendi yarattığı lâbirentte kayboluşunun ve çözümü sevgide bulmak suretiyle yeniden doğuşunun öyküsü…

 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.


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

Catrin Welz-Stein – Unborn Ideas

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

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

I believe in spontaneous conjurations.

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

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


When you will have made him a body without organs,

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

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

as in the frenzy of dancehalls,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Droste/Escher (Thanks, Teresa!)

(Image: Antique Time Spiral, used by permission)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gilles Deleuze’ün felsefesi üzerine kaleme aldığı Theatrum Philosophicum adlı makalesinde, “belki de bir gün yüzyılımız Deleuze’ün yüzyılı diye anılacak,” demekte zerre kadar tereddüt etmeyen Michel Foucault’yu haklı çıkaran o kadar çok sebep var ki, bu sebepleri tek tek sıralamaya kalksak ne ömür yeter herhalde, ne de kâğıt. Lâkin yurdumuzdaki son derece düzeysiz, niteliksiz ve de niceliksiz gündelik siyasetin boğucu tahakkümüyle mücadelede yeni bir döneme girmek maksadıyla bu konuda bir şeyler söylemeye cüret ve teşebbüs etmenin ne denli gerekli olduğu göz önünde bulundurulursa, sanırım her şeyi olmasa bile en azından bazı şeyleri dile getirmek zarureti de yadsınamayacak bir gerçek formunda zuhur edecektir akıl ihsan olunmuş her fâninin zihninde.

Aklın sınırlarını zorlamanın gerekliliğine inanmış büyük bir filozof olduğunu düşündüğüm Deleuze’ün felsefesini kısaca özetlemeye kalkmayacağım bu yazıda, zira böyle bir çabanın Deleuze’ün düşüncesine son derece ters düşmekle kalmayıp, aynı zamanda faydasız da olacağını düşünüyorum. Özetlemek fiilinin literatürden kaldırılması gerektiğine inanmış olan Deleuze’ün felsefesi, özetlenmesi namümkün bir düşüncenin çekirdeğinin çatlamasıyla açığa çıkacak düşünce parçalarından oluşmakla beraber, söz konusu çatlama neticesine ortaya çıkması kuvvetle muhtemel yarılma hattı boyunca son derece tutarlı bir seyir izler kanaatimce. Konuya açıklık getirecek olursam diyebilirim ki Deleuze yaşamı boyunca sadece tek bir fikri geliştirmek için didinip durmuş ve bunu bir ölçüye kadar da olsa başarabilmiştir, ki o fikir varlığın farklılıkla, farklılığın da yaratıcılıkla aynı şey olduğudur. Bundan hareketle varlığın fark yaratmak mânasını taşıdığını söylemeye gerek olduğunu ise hiç sanmıyorum.

Bergson’un “her büyük filozof yaşamı boyunca tek bir fikir üzerinde düşünür ve sadece o fikri geliştirmeye çabalar,” sözüne sadık kalmayı seçmiş olan Deleuze, kariyerine Kant, Bergson, Leibniz, Nietzsche, Spinoza gibi filozofları tek tek ele aldığı kitaplarla başlamış ve Felix Guattari’yle beraber yazdığı Felsefe Nedir? kitabından bir süre sonra, trajik ölümündense çok kısa bir süre önce kaleme aldığı Katıksız İçkinlik: Bir Hayat kitabıyla noktalamıştır söz konusu kariyeri. Benim özellikle sevdiğim bu son kitapta Deleuze en başa dönerek Hume ve Nietzsche’yi yeniden, ama bu sefer farklı bir biçimde ele alır. Nietzsche ve Hume’un hayatlarıyla felsefeleri arasındaki derin ve karmaşık ilişkiyi gözler önüne sermek maksadıyla kaleme alındığı aşikâr söz konusu kitap, adeta Deleuze’ün kendi felsefesinin de bir özeti gibidir aslında. Yaşamı boyunca ele aldığı filozofları özetlemekten ziyade dönüştürmeye ve kendi felsefesine hizmet eder hale getirmeye cüret ve teşebbüs etmekten çekinmeyen Deleuze, bu kitabında da aynı yola baş vurur ve Nietzsche ile Hume’un yaşamlarını ve felsefelerini kullanarak kendi felsefesinin bir özetini sunmaya yeltenir okuyucularına. İtiraf etmeliyim ki benim kendime en yakın bulduğum Deleuze kitabı olan Katıksız İçkinlik: Bir Hayat bana “keşke ben yazmış olsaydım bunu,” dedirten bir kitaptır. Kitabın dili o kadar sadedir ki bir insanın bilincinin nasıl olup da bu derece berraklaşabileceğini sordurur bir başka insana.

Peki ama nedir Deleuze’ü yüzyılımızın filozofu kılan? Bu soruyu yanıtlayabilmek için belki de Deleuze’ün kendi eserlerini şimdilik bir tarafa bırakıp bir süreliğine Alain Badiou’nun Yüzyıl (The Century) adlı yapıtına atıfta bulunmalıyız. Bulunmalıyız ki Deleuze’ün, kıyımlar ve felâketler yüzyılı olarak anılagelen yirminci yüzyılla ilişkisini daha iyi idrak edebilelim.

Yüzyıl adındaki bu sıradışı kitabında Badiou yirminci yüzyılın sadece bir kıyımlar ve felâketler yüzyılı olarak anılagelmesine karşı çıkarak, söz konusu yüzyılın aynı zamanda bir yaratılar ve yeni yaklaşımlar yüzyılı olarak da okunması, okunabilmesi gerektiğinin altını çizerek, Brecht, Breton, Beckett, Pessoa, Mallarmé gibi pek çok büyük sanatçı, yazar ve düşünürün, “Gerçek tutkusu” diye nitelendirdiği bir tutkuya sahip olduğunu öne sürer. Jacques Lacan’ın Hayâli-Sembolik-Gerçek üçlemindeki Gerçek kavramını, yani bilinçdışını kasteden Badiou’ya göre Gerçek tutkusu, Lacan’ın da altını çizdiği üzere, bir nevi ulaşılmazın peşinde koşma eğiliminin hem sebebi, hem de sonucudur. Ulaşılmaz olanın insana çekici gelmesi ve arzunun kaynağını elde edilemeyene yönelik bir isteğin oluşturması ise Deleuze için geride bırakılması gereken bir arzulama biçimidir. Zira Deleuze’e göre arzulamak, ulaşılmaz bir arzu nesnesinin peşinde koşmaktan ziyade, doğrudan nesneler üreten etkin bir eylemdir. Bu hesaba göre bilinçdışının ulaşılmaz bir şey olmayıp, bilâkis üretken arzuyu üreten bir boşluk olduğunu bilmiyorum söylemeye gerek var mı, ama gene de söylüyorum işte, belki vardır diye.

Belli ki Deleuze pek çok kitabında arzunun kendine karşı dönüşünün nasıl gerçekleştiğini deşifre etmekle kalmamış, aynı zamanda arzunun üretici bir eylem olduğunun da altını çizmiştir. Özdeşleşmeye karşı duruşuyla tanınan, özdeşleşme nesneleri ve arzu nesneleri arasındaki ilişkiyi sıradışı bir yaklaşımla ele alan Deleuze arzunun ve bilinçdışının üretkenliği konusuna ilginç bir biçimde, en olmadık yerden parmak basar. Ona göre arzulamak nesnesini kendisi üreten yaratıcı bir eylem biçimidir. Deleuze varlığı yaratıcılıkla eş tutar. Yaratıcılık olabilecek her şeyi var kılandır.

Bu bağlamda sanat Deleuze için yaratıcılığın en radikal biçiminin yaşama geçirildiği bir etkinlik, değişim sürecinin en uçta yaşandığı bir eylem, sanatçı ise statükoya düşünsel dinamizmiyle direnen, kendi varoluş alanını kendisi yaratmak zorunda olan radikal bir varlıktır. Sanatçının görevi ise gerek geçmişi yeniden yazan, gerekse geçmişi ironik bir şekilde yücelten, geçmişte kullanılan dilin yapısını bozan, hem biçimsel, hem de içeriksel olarak yeni tarzlar deneyen, içerik-biçim ilişkisine yeni boyutlar katan, kısacası anlam aktarımında kullanılan araç gereci ve teknikleri değiştirmek suretiyle anlam kavramına da yeni anlamlar katan deneysel eserler üretmektir. Bu tür eserler bizi içinde bulunduğumuz mevcut-duruma hapsolmuşluktan kurtarmakta işe yarayabilir. Durum dışında düşünce üretip duruma dıştan müdahale etmek, ona içindekileri tersyüz ederek dışa dönmesini sağlayacak şekilde yaklaşmakla mümkün kılınabilir. Kendimizi kaybedene kadar kendimizden kaçmaya değil, bilâkis bu durumun olanaksızlıklarını birer olanak haline getirip değerlendirmek arzusuna meyletmeliyiz bence. İmkânsızlıklar elimizdeki imkânlardır, dolayısıyla da eldekini en iyi şekilde değerlendirmek bir sorumluluktur. Elimize baktığımız zaman gördüğümüz ise Slavoj Zizek’in Bedensiz Organlar adlı kitabıdır. Söz konusu kitapta Zizek’i Deleuze’ü yanlış okurken okuyoruz. Bu arada Zizek, Deleuze’ü zaten herkesin yanlış okuduğu Hegel’i yanlış okurken okuyor. Bu yanlış okumalar silsilesi içerisinde doğru kalan tek şey eleştirel teorinin ilk şartının yanlış okumayı bilmek olduğu ortaya çıkıyor. Zizek’in bir dizi histerik provokasyondan ibaret Deleuze eleştirisi Deleuze’ün felsefesinin temel emelini tespit ederek başlıyor işe. Zizek’e göre Deleuze’ün felsefesinin temel emeli yeninin ortaya çıkış sürecini teorik olarak açıklamaktır. Bu doğru tespitten sonra Zizek, Deleuze’ün felsefesini Deleuze I ve Deleuze II diye ikiye ayırıyor. Deleuze I, Deleuze’ün Guattari’yle birlikte yazdığı Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni adlı kitaba kadar olan dönemi kapsarken, Deleuze II, Deleuze’un Guattari’yle işbirliği içerisinde kaleme aldığı kitapları kapsıyor. Gilles Deleuze ve Felix Guattari iki ciltlik Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni (Anti-Oedipus ve Bin Yayla) adlı kitaplarında Marx-Nietzsche-Freud üçgeni içerisinde değerlendirdikleri geç kapitalizmin kendine karşı güçleri hem üretip hem de yok ettiğini yazacaklardır yetmişlerin sonlarına doğru. Her ne kadar şizofreninin sadece kapitalizmin bir ürünü olduğuna katılmasam da Deleuze ve Guattari’nin kapitalizmin ürettiği anormallikleri bastırarak canına can kattığını ve radikal anormalleşmeye götüren bir üretim-tüketim ilişkileri kısır-döngüsüne dayandığını itiraf etmek durumunda hissediyorum kendimi. Zizek, Deleuze’ün felsefesine siyasi bir bağlam oluşturmak maksadıyla kendi özgün felsefesini Guattari’nin politik anti-psikiyatri söyleminin süzgecinden geçirmek suretiyle kolaycılığa kaçtığını iddia ediyor. Zizek, Deleuze’ün felsefeyi siyasileştirme çabasına denk gelen bu ikinci dönemi bir talihsizlik olarak nitelendiriyor ve Deleuze’ün Hegel’ci diyalektiği aşma çabalarının başarısızlığa mahkûm oluşunun göstergesi olarak lânse ediyor. Zizek’e göre Deleuze hem Hegel’ci diyalektiğin ötesine geçemiyor, hem de Hegel’i olduğundan farklı gösterip çarpıtıyor. İşte bu noktada “farklılığın filozofu” olarak bilinen Deleuze’ün Nietzsche tarafından ortaya atılan etkisel güçler ve tepkisel güçler kavramlarını geliştirmek yönünde yazdığı Nietzsche ve Felsefe kitabının temel tezine değinmemiz bir zaruret hâlini alıyor.

Gilles Deleuze

Etkisel güçler söyleyeceklerini ötekinin söylediklerinden hareketle söylemek yerine kendi içlerinden hareketle söylerler. Yani etkisel güçlerin söyledikleri ötekine verilmiş bir tepki olmaktan ziyade öteki üzerinde yeni bir etki yaratmak maksadını taşır. Tepkisel güçlerinse aslında söyleyecek orijinal bir şeyleri olmadığı için tüm söyledikleri hep ve sadece ötekinin söylediklerine verilmiş tepkilerdir. Yani etkisel güçler içten belirlenen varlıklarken, tepkisel güçler dıştan belirlenen varlıklardır. Bu derece karmaşık bir sorunun çözüme kavuşması için gerekli bilgi ve beceriden yoksun olduğumuz için olsa gerek, işin içindeki bir yeniklerini bir süreden beridir ihmâl ediyoruz. Bilmediğimiz şeylerin ortaya çıkabilmesi için bildiklerimiz üzerinde boşluklar yaratmanın gerekliliği üzerinde durmak durumundayız. Söz konusu kitapta Deleuze’ün öncelikle değinmek istediği konu hepimizin yakından tanıdığı ünlü bir düşünür olan Nietzsche’nin felsefesinin günümüz dünyasını anlamlandırmak ve eleştirmek için kullanılabilir bir yanı olup olmadığı ve şayet böyle bir yan mevcutsa söz konusu yanın nasıl açık edilebileceği, nasıl görünür kılınabileceği konusudur. Yani Deleuze, Nietzsche’yi, Felix Guattari’yle birlikte yazdığı Bin Yayla adlı kitabın önsözünde belirtildiği üzere bir alet-edavat çantası olarak ele alır ve işine yarayan aletlerle baş başa kalabilmek için işine yaramayan aletleri çantadan çıkarır. Belli ki Deleuze bir nevi yaratıcı çıkarma işlemine tabi tutma niyetindedir Nietzsche’nin külliyatını. Bu bağlamda öncelikle Nietzsche’nin yazılarında işine yaramayan yerleri silerek işine yarayan kısımların kendiliğinden ortaya çıkmasına zemin hazırlayabileceğini düşünür Deleuze. Denebilir ki Deleuze’ün maksadı Nietzsche’yi kendini eleştirir bir pozisyona sokup kendi kendisini budamasına, veya psikanalitik bir terim kullanacak olursak kastre(hadım) etmesine olanak sağlamaktır. Deleuze’ün ilk bakışta vahşice gelebilecek bu eleştiri yöntemini kullanmasının sebebi ise Nietzsche gibi bendini sığmayıp taşmaya meyilli bir filozofun eserlerinden taşan pek çok genellemeyi bir tarafa bırakıp, teferrutlarda bile bulunamayacak fikirleri, yani metinlerde hâlihazırda olanlardan ziyade olmayanları okumaya teşebbüs etme niyetini taşıyor oluşudur.

Deleuze’ün Nietzsche üzerine yazdığı Nietzsche ve Felsefe adlı kitabı okumuş olan okuyucularımızın gayet iyi bileceği üzere orada Nietzsche’nin trajedisinin neşeden veya bilemediniz en azından kaynağı belirisiz bir sevinçten kaynaklandığını söylediği bir kısım vardır. Deleuze o kısmı, “işte trajik olan da bu neşedir zaten,” sözleriyle noktalar.

Nietzsche’yle ilgili kitabında Deleuze özellikle belirtir ki tepkisel güçlerin en belirgin özelliği tepkisel olduklarının farkında olmayışlarıdır. Onları zincire vuran da zaten işte bu kendilerine yönelik körlükleridir. Yaptıkları eylemlerin ve sarfettikleri sözlerin anlamından olduğu kadar etkisinden de uzaktırlar. Kendilerinden kopuk bir yaşamı anlamlı bir bütünlük oluşturuyormuş izlenimi verecek şekilde sürdürmeye çalışırlar. Ne var ki bu çaba sonuçsuz kalmakla kalmaz, aynı zamanda onları kendilerinden iki kat, üç kat daha uzaklaştırır. Gittikçe ne dediklerinin ve ne ettiklerinin farkında olmaktan uzaklaşarak son derece anlamsız ve yersiz sözler sarfederler. Niyetleri kötü değildir; onları şeytanın köleleri olarak göstermeye çalışmıyorum burada ve/fakat bu onların kötülüğe hizmet etmedikleri anlamını taşımaz. Kötü niyetli değildirler belki, ama idrak kabiliyetleri ve kendileri ile çevreleriyle ilişkilerine dair bilgi düzeyleri o denli cüzidir ki, tepkisel güçler kaçınılmaz olarak kötü yola düşüp hem kendilerine hem de çevrelerine zarar verirler. Çevrelerindeki hadiseleri okuma biçimleri son derece acayiptir tepkisel güçlerin. Tepkisel güçler etkisel güçleri her zaman için karalamaya ve yok etmeye çalışırlar. Onlar için etkisel güçlerin emeli iktidarı parça parça etmektir. Bu konuda haklıdırlar. Etkisel güçler iktidarın çözülerek öznelere dağılması ve pek çok daha başka güç merkezinin birbiriyle ilişki içerisinde ama birbirinin farklılığını manipüle etmeksizin sürekli değişim geçirmeyi varoluş biçimi haline getiren bir yapının varlığını sağlamak ve sürdürmek için didinip durur. Etkisel güçlerin bu emeli elbette ki tepkisel güçleri çok kızdıracak ve tepkisel güçler kızgınlık ve tedirginlik içerisinde bas bas bağırarak sinirden ne dediklerini bilmez bir hale gelecektir. Kızgınlık, sinir bozukluğu, bunalım, bunlar hep olumsuz reaksiyonlardır. Tepkisel güçler etkisel güçlerden nefret eder, etkisel güçler ise nefretten nefret eder. Tepkisel güçler nefret üzerine kurulu bir dünya düşlerken, etkisel güçler herhangi bir dünya düşlemek yerine farklı dünyaların dünyamız içerisinde bir arada var olabilmesi ve farklı yaşam biçimlerinin birbirlerini yemek yerine besleyecek şekilde iletişime geçmesini arzular. Bu arzu o kadar güçlüdür ki etkisel güçlerin bazıları içlerinden akan bu enerjiden ötürü zaman zaman zayıf düşer ve hastalanırlar. Ama etkisel güçlerin var oluş amacı zaten bu hastalanmalara, acı, keder, elem ve ıstıraplara karşı direnmek oluğu için bunun pek bir önemi yoktur onların gözünde. Onlar olumsuz şeyleri olumlu şeylere dönüştürmek için yaşar. Her türlü negatif tepkiye karşı direnç, umutsuzluğa, iktidarın merkezileşmesine, ölüme, hastalıklara karşı direnç etkisel güçlerin yaşam biçimidir. Etkisel güçler direnişi bir yaşam biçimi haline getirmiş, çürümeye yüz tutmuş bir dünya düzeninin karşısına yaşama sevincini, ölüme karşı hayatı ve nefrete karşı arzuyu diken, her türlü otoriter ve totaliter dünya görüşüyle son derece hayat dolu biçimlerde dalga geçen, yaşamın oluşum olaslıklarının çoğalımına yönelik eylem söylemlerle yaşamı kıstlayan ve kısırlaştıran iktidar akışlarının önüne set çeken birer enerji deposudurlar. Etkisel güçler daha güçlü olmalarına rağmen iktidarda olan hep tepkisel güçlerdir. Bunun sebebi tepkisel güçlerin yaşam olanaklarını kısıtlayarak, gücü bireylere yaymak yerine tek merkezde toplamasıdır. Birlikten kuvvet doğduğu doğrudur ama etkisel güçler militarist bir mentaliteyle birlikler kurup kendileri dışındakilere karşı bir kuvvet doğurmak düşüncesine hiç sıcak bakmazlar. Tepkisel güçlerin aksine etkisel güçler hep aynı renk ve aynı model elbiseler giyip kendilerinden farklı olanları yok etmek arzusunda değildirler. Etkisel güçler toplumun her yönde ve her şekilde sürekli değişim ve gelişiminin dinamosudurlar, tepkisel güçler ise bu dinamoların başındaki belâ… Nitekim Deleuze’e göre yaratıcılığın önündeki en önemli engel iktidar karşısında tepkisel düşünceler üreten bir öznedir. İşte bu tepkisel özne ölmeli ve etkin bir ölümsüz olarak yeniden doğabilmelidir ki yaratıcı özne içindeki sonsuzluk potansiyelini hayata geçirmek suretiyle bir ölümsüz haline gelebilsin.

Atıf Nesneleri

Badiou, Alain. The Century, trans. Alberto Toscano (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007)

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia II, trans. Brian Massumi (London: The Athlone Press, 1988)

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia I, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane (New York: The Viking Press, 1977)

Deleuze, Gilles. Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (London: Continuum, 1983)

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

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

 Michel Foucault Hapishanenin Doğuşu: Gözetim ve Ceza adlı başyapıtında mimar ve düşünür Jeremy Bentham’ın yeni bir hapishane modeli olarak tasarladığı ve Panopticon adını verdiği, zamanına göre (Ondokuzuncu yüzyıl) devrimci sayılabilecek gözetim ve denetim mekanizmasını modern zamanlardaki iktidarın işleyiş biçimini gözler önüne seren bir metafor olarak lanse eder. Foucault’ya göre Panopticon mahkûmların hareketlerini, davranış biçimlerini ve hatta düşüncelerini kontrol altında tutan bir aygıt, bir makinedir adeta. Panopticon iç içe geçmiş halkalardan oluşan bir binadır ve tam ortasında bir gözlem kulesi bulunur. Mahkûmların hücreleri bu gözlem kulesinden rahatlıkla görülebilecek şekilde dizilmiştir. O kadar ki mahkûmun kendisi ne kadar saklanmaya çalışırsa çalışsın hapishanenin mimari yapısı vasıtasıyla oluşturulmuş ışıklandırma düzeneği öyle bir tasarlanmıştır ki mahkûmun gölgesi rahatlıkla görülebilir kuleden. Sürekli gözetim ve denetim altında tutulmakta olduğunu bilen mahkûm şahsiyet zaman içerisinde kendisini kuledeki gardiyanın gözüyle görmeye ve o gözün beklentileri doğrultusunda hareket etmeye başlar. O kadar ki artık kulede bir gardiyan olup olmadığı bile önemsizleşir, zira zaten artık mahkûm hapishanenin gözünü, otoritenin bakış açısını içselleştirmiş ve otomatikman mahkûmluk rolünü benimsemiştir. Dolayısıyla çoğu zaman kulede bir gardiyan tutmaya bile gerek yoktur artık, ne de olsa zaten mahkûmlar sürekli kulede bir gardiyan varmış gibi hareket etmeyi alışkanlık haline getirmişlerdir.  

Çevrede halka halinde bir bina, merkezde bir kule; bu kulenin halkanın iç cephesine bakan geniş pencereleri vardır; çevre bina hücrelerle bölünmüştür, bunlardan her biri binanın tüm kalınlığını katetmektedir; bunların, biri içeri bakan ve kuleninkilere karşı gelen, diğeri de dışarı bakan ve ışığın hücreye girmesine olanak veren ikişer pencereleri vardır. Bu durumda merkezi kuleye tek bir gözetmen ve her bir hücreye tek bir deli, bir hasta, bir mahkûm, bir işçi veya bir okul çocuğu kapatmak yeterlidir. Geriden gelen ışık sayesinde, çevre binadaki hücrelerin içine kapatılmış küçük siluetleri olduğu gibi kavramak mümkündür. Ne kadar kafes varsa, o kadar küçük tiyatro vardır, bu tiyatrolarda her oyuncu tek başınadır, tamamen bireyselleşmiştir ve sürekli olarak görülebilir durunmdadır. Görülmeden gözetim altında tutmaya olanak veren düzenleme, sürekli görmeye ve hemen tanımaya olanak veren mekânsal birimler oluşturmaktadır. Sonuç olarak, hücre ilkesi tersine döndürülmekte veya daha doğrusu onun üç işlevi – kapatmak, ışıktan yoksun bırakmak ve saklamak— tersyüz edilmektedir; bunlardan yalnızca birincisi korunmakta, diğer ikisi kaldırılmaktadır. Tam ışık altında olma ve bir gözetmenin bakışı, aslında koruyucu olan karanlıktan daha fazla yakalayıcıdır. Görünürlük bir tuzaktır.[1]  

Panopticon denilen bu hapishane modelinin önemi modern toplumlardaki iktidarın işleyiş biçimini temsil eden bir yapıya sahip olmasıdır. Biliyoruz ki modern toplumla birlikte merkezi iktidar çözülerek bireylerin içine işlemiştir. Ölüm ilanı vermeye hevesli pek çok kişi merkezi otoritenin bu çözülüşünü iktidarın ölümü olarak telakki etmiştir, ama bu son derece yanlış bir yorumdur, zira iktidar ölmemiş, sadece şekil değiştirmek ve kendisini görünmez kılmak suretiyle gücüne güç katmıştır sevgili okur. Artık iktidar toplumu oluşturan bireylerin dışında değil, içindedir. Yani toplumu oluşturan bireyler kendilerini içinde buldukları sistem tarafından öyle bir kurulmuştur ki artık onlara ne yapmaları, nasıl davranmaları gerektiğini söylemek bile gereksizleşmiştir, zira onlar zaten sistemin aksamadan çalışması için oynamaları gereken rolü oynamaya dünden razı bir hale getirilmişlerdir.  

Beni Bu Dışarıdan Çıkarın!” adlı kitabım Panopticon adlı gözetim mekanizmasının bir kitap formunda zuhur edişinin ürünüdür sevgili okur. Dışarıdan içeriye, içeriden dışarıya, dışarıdan dışarıya ve içeriden içeriye geçiş noktasında konumlanmış, dışarıyla içerinin birbirine girdiği, içindekilerle dışındakilerin rolleri değiştiği bir kitap ve yazının hayata, hayatın da yazıya nüfûz ettiği o kırılma noktasını kendine mesken tutmuş bir yazma eylemi söz konusu burada. Kitapta ne yapacağını bilemez bir vaziyette ve şaşkınlık içerisinde bir o yana bir bu yana savrulan insanın tıpkı bir Panopticon içerisine hapsolmuş mahkûmları andıran traji-komik durumunu mizahi bir dille kaleme almaya çalıştım.  Yani bu kitap panoptik hapishane modelinde bir tımarhane, içindeki karakterler mahkûmları andıran birer akıl, ruh veya sinir hastası, kitabı oluşturan anlatılar da birer hücre oluyor. Bu hücreler karakterlerin hem içinde hem de dışında; yani işte içindedir karakterler hücrelerin, hücreler de karakterlerin… Bu da demek oluyor ki bu kitap iç dünya ile dış dünya arasındaki yerde, eşikte konumlanmış ve arada kalmışların durumunu anlatıyor. Her bir hücrede farklı bir bilinç oyunu oynanıyor ve karakterlerin zihinlerinde vuku bulan, iç dünyalarında sahnelenen bu oyunları birleştiren şey de zaman ve mekân. Zira tüm bu olaylar aslında aynı anda ve aynı binada, aynı zaman ve uzamda gerçekleşiyor. Bu panoptik mekanizma karakterlerin kollektif iç dünyasını ve toplumsal bilinçdışını temsil ediyor. Dolayısıyla karakterlerin kafasında sahnelenmekte olan tüm oyunlar ve onları oluşturan olaylar aslında çok daha büyük ve bilinmeyen bir kurgunun parçaları…Ve işte ben bu kurgunun bilinmezliği ve büyüklüğü karşısında neredeyse bir hiç olan insanın traji-komik durumunu dışa vurmaya çalışıyorum bu panoptik kitap vasıtasıyla. Beni bu dışarıdan çıkarın diyerek bu kitap hem kendisini içinde bulduğu, hem de içindeki karakterleri düşürdüğü duruma isyan ediyor sevgili okur.    

Dünyanın anlatılamayan düzensizliği ve hayatın  anlaşılamayan rastlantısallığı karşısında, dilin anlamı aktarmada ve iletişim kurmada yetersiz kaldığı noktada, yapılan tüm eylemlerin sadece ölüm süreci diye nitelendirilen yaşamı geçirmede insanlara yardımcı olan birer oyundan ibaret olmasına beni bu dışarıdan çıkarın diyerek isyan eden bu kitap insanın evrendeki yalnızlığını ve birbirinden kopan, uzaklaşan insanların bu yalnızlığı paylaşmada ne denli zorlandıklarını konu alıyor. Kitaptaki sıradışı ve marjinal karakterlerin gözleri ve bilinciyle aynı anda pek çok değişik pencereden bakıyorum dünyaya ve hayata. Böylelikle de algılama aşamasında karşılaşılan farklılıkların yarattığı göreceliğin insan ilişkileri üzerindeki etkilerini mercek altına almayı umuyorumby Polly Morgan

Beni bu dışarıdan çıkarın diye sessizce fısıldayan bu panoptik kitaptaki karakterler tanıyamadıkları ve tanımlayamadıkları bir dünyadadırlar. İçinde bulundukları bu dünya belirsizliklerle doludur ve şekilsizdir. Önem atfedilebilecek şeylerin, olayların ve olguların sayısı minimal düzeydedir, hatta hiç yoktur. Karakterlerin kafası karışıktır. Karakterlerin kafa karışıklığı çelişkili ve birbirini çürüten anlamların varlığından ziyade kişinin kendisini, varlık nedenini, varoluş amacını ve dünyadaki konumunu açıklayabilecek herhangi bir şeyin yokluğundan kaynaklanır. Neden-sonuç ilişkilerinde aksaklıklar vardır. Bunun sebebi gerçek hayattakinden farklı neden-sonuç ilişkileri yaratmak suretiyle bu dünyadan izler taşıyan farklı bir dünya yaratmaya çalışmış olmamdır. Emelim böylece gerçek ve sanal kavramlarını sorgulamaya kalkışmaktır. “Neredeyiz? İçinde bulunduğumuz bu dünyanın kuralları nelerdir? Neler olup bittiğinden, nasıl bir gerçeklikle karşı karşıya bulunduğumuzdan ve kişilerin davranış biçimlerinin anlamından emin değilken çevremiz üzerinde nasıl etkili olabiliriz?” İşte bu gibi soruların yanıtlarının gizli olduğu bu kitapta aşk, nefret, anlam, güzellik, hakikat ve gerçeklik kavramlarını insanın zaman ve mekândaki konumuyla ilişkileri bağlamında ele almaya çalıştım. Söylemeye gerek bile yok belki ama karakterlerin dünyayla ilişkileri sorunludur ve uyumlu olmak için harcadıkları tüm çabalar boşunadır. Kitapta adeta ne yaptığını bilmeyen birer palyaçoya dönüşen karakterler panoptik hapishane modelindeki bir tımarhanede olmakla beraber sanki kendilerini ıssız ve kurak bir çölün ortasında bulmuş gibidirler veya en azından öyle hissetmektedirler sevgili okur.  

Pink Floyd:  We don’t need no education We don’t need no thought controlNo dark sarcasm in the classroomTeachers leave them kids aloneHey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.We don’t need no educationWe don’t need no thought controlNo dark sarcasm in the classroomTeachers leave them kids aloneHey! Teachers! Leave those kids alone!All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.  (via nickdrake)  

Kahramanların, daha doğrusu kurban-kahramanların kendilerine güvenleri yoktur. Mantıklı düşünebilme, doğru karalar alma, cesaret gibi vasıflardan yoksun oldukları için kişisel değer yargılarını oluşturup kaderlerini çizebilecekleri veya geleceklerini yaratabilecekleri hiçbir yol yoktur. Sanki Takamuro Kootaro’nun dediği gibi “yol yoktur önlerinde ve onlar yürüdükçe yol arkalarında oluşmaktadır.” Ama onlar tüm bunların farkında bile değildirler. Tüm zamanlarını anlaşılmaz bir dünyayla umutsuzca mücadele etmekle geçiren karakterleri ayakta tutan tek şey kendilerini kurtaracağını ümit ettikleri ve/fakat ne olduğunu bile bilmedikleri bir şeyin veya bir kimsenin gelip onlara yardımcı olacağıdır. Durumlarını daha kötü kılan şey ise güvenilir bir hafızaya sahip olmamalarıdır. Hafızaları kötü olduğu için geçmişe bakıp, geçmişten dersler çıkarıp bugünkü konumlarını belirleyememekte ve sorgulayamamaktadırlar. Yaşamlarının tarihini, yani geçmişlerini anlatmaktan aciz olan bu kurban-kahramanlar dolayısıyla bugünkü durumlarının analizini de yapamazlar ve kim olduklarını kavrayamazlar. Kendilerini bile tanıyamayacak bir halde olan bu karakterlerin varoluşla ve anlamsızlıkla başa çıkma girişimleri ve başa çıkma biçimleri bu sıradışı anlatılarla zuhur eden doğaüstü hadiselerin izleğini meydana getirir. Anlatılarda “olay örgüsü” diye tabir edilebilecek pek bir şey olmaz. Egemen edebiyat anlayışında karşılaştığımız gibi anlatının başında bir sorunun varlığı üzerinde durulması, sonra kişilerin bu sorundan kaynaklanan bir dizi çatışma içerisine çekilmesi, sonra da sorunun şu veya bu şekilde çözümlenmesini sağlamak suretiyle çatışmayı ortadan kaldırıp kişilerin yaşamlarının normale döndürülmesi şeklindeki bildik senaryonun yapısı tamamen bozulmuş durumdadır bu panoptik kitapta.  Beni bu dışarıdan çıkarın! demekten başka seçeneği kalmamış bu anlatı kişileri bağımsız ve bilinçli hareket etmekten aciz oldukları için yaptıkları şeyler hep aynıdır: Birinin gelmesini, kendilerini bilgilendirmesini, varlıklarını anlamlandırmasını ve onları dışarıdan içeriye çıkarıp yönlendirmesini beklerler. Beklerken de çeşitli oyunlar oynarlar aynı anda hem iç hem de dış dünyaları olan hücrelerinde. Ne var ki oynadıkları bu oyunlar yaratıcı birer zekâya sahip olmadıklarından sadece zaman geçirmeye yönelik, işlevsellikten ve mantıktan yoksun oyunlardır. İçinde bulundukları bu hapishane dünyası onların gitgide daha da içlerine dönmelerine ve dışlarındaki hapishaneden kurtulmak için kendilerini tamamen iç dünyalarına hapsederek bu dışarıdan çıkmaya meylettirir. Ve/fakat iç dünyaları aynı zamanda dış dünyaları da olduğu için içe döndükçe kendilerinin dışına yönelmektedirler aslında. Böylelikle o kadar bir uzaklaşırlar ki kendilerinden artık tamamen körleşmişlerdir içnde bulundukları durumun gerçeklerine. Varlıkları sürekli kendilerinden kaçmak, kendi gerçekliklerini kendilerinden saklamak ve kendilerini aramak, gerçekliklerini bulmak arasında gidip geldiği için tek kişilik bir saklambaçtan farksızdır yaşamları. Beni bu dışarıdan çıkarın hepsinin hep bir ağızdan ama sadece kendilerine söyledikleri şeydir aslında; bağırarak değil ama, sessizce…  

maybeghosts:  under-the-stairs:  Caged lights by ~shadows-fang


[1] Michel Foucault, Hapishanenin Doğuşu, çev. Mehmet Ali Kılıçbay (İstanbul: İmge, 2006), 295-96  

Panoptik Kitap için bknz.  

(c) Cengiz Erdem, 2007.

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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(c) CengizErdem, 2009.


Diogenetic Banksy

 Ünlü Fransız düşünürü Michel Foucault’nun eserleri bizlere Modernizmin bazı yanlarının keskin ve köklü bir eleştirisini sunar.[1] Modernizmin veya Modern diye tabir edilen bakış açısının tıkanma noktalarını saptayarak, “bilgi nedir?” sorusundan hareketle “aydınlanma nedir?” sorusuna yönelen ve bu soruyu What is Enlightenment? (Aydınlanma Nedir?) adlı yazısında yanıtlamaya girişen Foucault önce Kant’a alternatif ve sonra da “Geç-Modern” Habermas’ın karşı çıkacağı eleştirel fikirler üretir. Aydınlanma’yı eleştirel bir bakış açısıyla yorumlayarak yeniden anlamlandıran Foucault, daha sonra kendisini “genç-tutucu” diye nitelendiren ve modern bakış açısını kullanarak Modernizm karşıtı bir söylem geliştirdiğini öne sürerek eleştiren Habermas’a karşı, yeni algılanış biçiminin ışığında ele alınması gereken Aydınlanma ile Habermas’ın sözünü ettiği Modernizmin çakışan noktalarını desteklediğini belirtir. Habermas’la Foucault arasındaki bu tartışma(karşılıklı sorgulama) daha sonra Foucault’nun ortaya koyacağı yeni tarih anlaşıyla beslenecektir.
İşe “aklı” sorgulamakla başlayan Foucault, böylece Nietzsche’nin açtığı yolda insanın kendi kendisini sorgulamasını sağlayan ikinci filozof olmuştur. Kendine yönelik bir yıkıcı güdü gibi görünen bu düşünce biçimi aslında kendini tanımaya ve yeniden yaratmaya yönelik bir uğraştır. Bu konuda Foucault şöyle der: 

Bence felsefenin ve eleştirel düşüncenin onsekizinci yüzyıldan beri merkezi
sorunu şu soru oldu, hala aynı sorudur ve gelecekte de aynı soru olacağını
umuyorum: Kullandığımız şu Akıl nedir? Bu aklın tarihsel etkileri nelerdir?
Kısıtlılıkları ve tehlikeleri nelerdir?[2] 

1970’li yıllarda yazdığı kitaplarında Aklın kullanılış biçimine göre insanlığın lehine veya aleyhine işleyebileceğini iddia eden Foucault, Modern Aklı sınırlayıcı, tanımlayıcı ve kurallar koyucu bir tahakküm aracı olarak gösterir. İlk yazılarıyla bilginin doğası gereği perspektival olduğunu teorik olarak kanıtlamaya girişen Foucault’nun teorileri modernizmin aklı, bilgiyi ve gerçeği nesnelliğe ve evrenselliğe ulaşma araçları olarak görmesini eleştirerek, bunların iktidarın gücüne güç katmaktan ve tahakkümü meşrulaştırmaktan başka bir işe yaramadığını iddia eder. Her türlü totaliter düşünce biçimini farklılıkları yadsıyıcı birer olgu olarak tanımlayan Foucault, Aydınlanma’nın maske takmış gerçekler yaratan aklı savunan ve böylelikle de uzlaşmayı bir empoze ve tahakküm kurma nesnesine dönüştürerek bireyselliği ve farklılıkları kontrol altına alma eğiliminde olduğunu öne sürer.
Evrensellikten ziyade yerelliğe, karşılaştırmalardan ziyade kıyaslanamazlığa, bütünlükten ziyade parçalanmışlığa büyük bir değer atfeden Foucault, nesnellik maskesi takmış indirgemeci ve baskıcı teoriler olarak yorumlar modern teorileri. Bu noktadan hareketle, şekillendirilmiş birer özneye indirgenmiş olan bireylerin belirli bir özden veya belirli bir merkezden yoksun olduklarının altını çizen Foucault, öznenin özgürleşebilmesi için “yapay merkezlilikten” kurtulması, yani “merkezsizleştirilmesi” gerektiğine inanır.
Bu noktadan hareketle Foucault tarihsel süreci sorgulayıp özneyi merkezsileştirme yoluna gidilmesini önermiş ve böylece tarih anlayışının sorgulanmasına da bizzat iştirak ederek önayak olmuştur.
Foucault, “tarihi” art-zamanlı olmaktan ziyade eş-zamanlı bir dönüşüm süreci olarak yeniden tanımlarken, kişilerin olayları ve metinleri algılayış biçimlerine göre farklı yorumlayabileceklerini ve dolayısıyla da bir birkimin ürünü olan “bilgi”nin göreceli bir kavram olarak oluşum süreci göz önünde bulundurulduğunda “doğası gereği perspektival” olduğunun görüleceğini ortaya atar. Bu vesileyle aslında doğruluk arzettiği iddia edilen bilgilerin kesinlikten uzak oluşunu akılda tutarak birbirleriyle ilişki içinde ama birbirlerinden farklı etkileşimler neticesinde ortaya çıktıklarından hareketle bilgi diye adlandırılan bakış açısı yansımalarının birbirleriyle bağlantılı olmakla beraber birbirlerinden bağımsız oluşumlar olduklarını anlatmak ister. Bilgiyi bu şekilde tanımladıktan sonra insanlığın belleği diye tabir edebileceğimiz tarihsel sürecin gelişime dayanmayan ve rastlantıların etkileşim sürecinden ortaya çıkarak çizgiselliği(linear) aşan bir yapıya sahip olduğunu dile getirir. İşte bu noktada bilgi ve tarih arasındaki ilişkiyi tanıtlamak maksadıyla bu tür bir sorgulamaya girişitiğini anladığımız Foucault “tarih”i, bilgilerin birbirlerinden kopuk olarak eklemlendikleri bir alan veya süreç olarak yeniden tanımlar. 

Kısaca tarih geleneksel olarak eskinin anıtlarını ezberlemeyle, onları
dökümanlara dönüştürmeyle ve sesi olmayan o izlere ses vermeyle uğraşırdı…;
zamanımızda tarih dökümanları anıtlara dönüştürmektedir…eskiden tarih insanlarca
bırakılmış izleri çözümlerken şimdi gruplandırılması gerelki bir yığın unsuru
bir plana göre yerleştirmekte, onları, birbiriyle ilintilendirmekte ve birlikte
bütünlükler sağlayabilecek bir şekilde onları yerlerine oturtmaktadır.[3] 

İnsanlık bir çatışmadan öbür çatışmaya geçerek hukukun üstünlüğünün savaşın
yerine geçtiği bir evrensel karışıklığa verıncaya dek adım adım ilerlemez;
insanlık uyguladığı her şiddeti bir kurallar sitemine yerleştirir ve bir
tahakkümden öbürüne geçer.[4] 

İşte yukarıda tanımlanan bu sürece dair bilgilerin üretim alanı olarak “tarih bilimi”nin de analizini mümkün kılarak tarih alanındaki bilgilerin gerçekliği yansıtmaktan uzak olduğunu savlayabilmemizi sağlayan Foucault böylece “gerçekliğe” ve gerçek kavramının içini dolduran öğelere öncellerinden farklı bir biçimde yaklaşarak Modernizm’den kopulduğunu ve içinde bulunduğumuz dönemin de bir kopuş dönemi olduğunu analiz eder. 

Bizim mevcut kesintilerimizi on dokuzuncu yüzyılın tarihsel ve aşkın geleneği
içerisinde konumlandırmayı sürdürebileceğimize inananlar ile kendilerini bu
kavramsal çerçeveden ilk ve son olarak kurtarmak için büyük bir çaba sarf
edenler arasında bir ayrım çizgisi çekmek zorunlu değil mi?[5] 

“Şimdi”yi geçmişten ve gelecekten bağımsız olarak ele almak suretiyle Kant’ın “Aydınlanma” tanımını yeniden anlamlandırmayı başaran Foucault, Kant’ın “Aydınlanma Nedir?” adlı metnini yeniden yorumlamak suretiylye “Aydınlanma”yı geleneksel algılanış biçiminden farklı bir biçimde anlamlandırarak ironik bir şekilde “aşkıncı” bir tavır olarak niteler. Böylece aydınlanmayı iktidarın karşısında yer alan muhalif bir tavır olarak ele alan Foucault, aklın iktidara hizmet etmekten ziyade iktidara karşı kullanılması gerektiğini ve işte ancak böylece aklın özgürleşip tahakkümün sınırlarını aşındırabileceğini öne sürer.[6]
Geleneksel anlamıyla Aydınlanma, “delilik, suç, ölüm, hastalık, cinsellik” gibi kavramların birer tahakküm aracı olarak ortaya çıkmasının sebebidir iddiasıyla insana “iktidar öldü” dedirtecek kadar ileri giden Foucault, modern iktidarı “bir çok kurumsal bölge ve pratikler boyunca yayılan bir yapıya sahip,sayısız noktadan hareketle icra edilen bağıntısal bir iktidar olarak tanımlar. Karakteri bakımından bir hayli belirlenmemiş durumdadır ve kazanılan, ele geçirilen ya da parçalanan bir şey değildir asla. İktidar’ın karşı çıkılabilecek bir kaynağı ya da merkezi olmadığı gibi, iktidarı elinde bulunduran özneler de yoktur; iktidar, öznelerin anonim oluklar ya da yan ürünler olarak rol oynadıkları arı bir yapısal faaliyet,”[7] olarak tanımlar.
Hem birer özneye indirgenmiş bireylerin şekillendirdiği, hem de bireyleri şekillendirip birer özneye çeviren işteş bir etkileşim alanı olarak karşımıza çıkan bu “iktidar” Foucault’ya göre “tahakkümün çok kapsamlı olmakla birlikte asla tamamen istikrarlı olmayan etkilerinin üretildiği çoğul ve akışkan güç bağıntıları alanı[8]dır.
Derrida, Foucault’nun teorileriyle paralellik arzeden bir biçimde merkezsizleştirme nosyonu üzerinde durarak dilin ve Batı felsefesinin yapısını bozmuştur. Metinleri birer bilgi aktarım nesnesi olarak gören post-yapısalcı yaklaşımın önemli temsilcilerinden olan Derrida “there is nothing outside the text” ( metnin dışında hiçbir şey yoktur) diyerek metinlerde “gerçek”le ilişkisi bulunan bir gösteren olmadığını, dolayısıyla tez-antitez-sentez kuramının, yani çelişkilere dayanan ve zıtlıkların birliği diye tabir edebileceğimiz, karşıtlıklardan ortaya çıkabilecek bir şey olan göstergenin varolması için “gereken” bir gösterilenin de olamayacağını öne sürer. Her göstergenin aynı zamanda bir gösteren olduğunu açığa çıkaran Derrida böylece anlamın sonsuz alternatifler yumağı şeklinde varolabileceğini ve dolayısıyla da gerçeğin sonsuz biçimlerde karşımıza çıkabileceğini ortaya koyar. “Metnin dışında hiçbir şey yoktur” demekle Derrida’nın kastettiği şudur: Yıllardır arkasında koştuğumuz bütün söylemler, ki bunlara büyük anlatılar diyoruz, birer metin şeklinde konulmuştur önümüze. Bu metinleri anlamlı kılan onların birbirleriyle olan ilişkileri ve birbirlerinden farklarıdır. Her metnin aynı zamanda hem bir gösterilen (signified) hem de bir gösteren (signifier) olduğunu öne süren Derrida, anlam, gerçek ve tarih kavramlarını işte bu post-yapısalcı perspektifle ele alır. Derrida’nın dilin işleyiş biçimi ve mutlak anlamın imkansızlığı hakkındaki teorileri sayesinde aklın ve tarihin sorgulanmasına Nietzsche’den sonra en önemli katkıyı koyan Foucault’nun Nietzsche’nin “bilgi perspektiftir” sözünden hareketle yarattığı “ratlantısal tarih ürünü merkezsiz iktidar” kavramını daha iyi anlarız. Gerek bireylerin, gerek kitlenin, gerekse iktidarın merkezsizleştiği bir dönemde “metnin dışında hiçbir şey yoktur” sözünün önemi Derrida’nın bu sözle yazarın iktidarını yazardan alıp metne vererek “her metin kendi kendisinden sorumludur” düşüncesine zemin hazırlamış olmasından ve metinden çıkabilecek olası anlamları çoğaltarak okuyucunun okuma eylemi esnasındaki etkinliğini arttırmış olmasından ileri gelir. Tıpkı Foucault’nun dışlanmışların dışarıdan çıkmasını teorik olarak mümkün kıldığı gibi… 



 Atıf Nesneleri 

[1] Michel Foucault, Nietzsche, Geneology, History, The Postmodern History Reader, ed. Keith Jenkins (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), 125-126
[2] Michel Foucault, What is Enlightenment?, The Foucault Reader ed. Paul Rainbow (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 249
[3] Michel Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge (Londra: Routledge, 1994)
[4] Michel Foucault. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, (alıntıyı çev. Mehmet Küçük)Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), 151 Kellner, Douglas – Best, Steven, Postmodern Teori, çev.: Mehmet Küçük (İstanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları, 1998)
[5] Foucault, 210
[6] Foucault, What is Enlightenment?, 101
[7] Kellner, Douglas – Best, Steven, Postmodern Teori, çev.: Mehmet Küçük, (İstanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları, 1998), 72
[8] Michel Foucault, Cinselliğin Tarihi, çev.: H. Tufan. (İstanbul: Afa Yayınları, 1993), 102


  (c) cengizerdem, 2000.


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