Friday, November 23, 2007

Government Buildings



What I noticed today at the Learning Disability Centre. These government buildings have a sort of ostentation, not at all in their decor, but in the extension of their space. It's plausable that rather than the cramped sensation that typifies the ordinary relay* being consistant with society's ultimate possibilities, they could instead be consistant with this "depth".

Piranesi's Imaginary Prisons are intelligible this way; that they are constructed in recognition of the principle that this indefinite extension of the social sphere is truly feasible. But secondarily this impression is made distasteful, conventionally blackened. Psychoanalysis seems to have half recognised that ideology quite often appears this way, with the superimposition of contradictory impulses. It's here again in this sort of invective.

*the relay of capital through consumption etc

17 comments:

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dejan said...

The Marxist criticism of psychoanalysis is a dead end street because it presupposes an ideal subject called ´´the worker´´ or ´´the proletar´´ who is immune to the workings of the Unconscious. We´ve been through this before, Luke. This pristine vision of proletariat being pure nonsense, one ends up talking to ghosts of Freud. However already the Lacanian revision of psychoanalysis abandoned the topographic Freudian model referenced in your text and replaced it with a topological one. We need an updated Marxism, one that doesn´t pretend it is immune to ´´burgeois´´ insights into the human being Luke.

catmint said...

this is in relation to D.G. Garan?

"As we saw, the emotions and experiences of the neurotic are aftereffects of past exaggerations. They are pure phantoms having no reality of their own. They are like the curved world seen by the subject who takes off the glasses that curved everything in the opposite direction. If opposite causation is not understood, this world of phantoms must seem miraculous indeed. It is as rich and varied as was the previous positive exaggeration. The causal connection between the two is never suspected because as oppo­sites they are different in every respect.

Psychoanalysts have discovered this ghost world, and have explained it with an equally ghostlike theory. The negative phan­tom emotions recur as ingeniously and persistently as the neurotic exaggerates his positive emotions. Therefore only an intervention by person-like agencies, such as the Id or Superego, can explain it all. Psychoanalysis agrees perfectly with the experimental ap­proach of recording observations and explaining them by sufficient logical causes. Psychoanalysis offers the only complete expla­nation that there is, in modern psychology, of the inner world of neurotics. It is unattackable as long as present psychology cannot offer any better explanation.
In truth psychoanalysis has as little basis in reality as had the beliefs in devils and spirits in the age of alchemy and witchcraft.

Personification is typical of all prescientific disciplines. Where the simple mechanistic causes are not understood but the desire to find some sufficient cause behind the varied phenomena persists, only an assumption of person-like agencies can do. The psycho­analytic causal agencies are like persons inside the person."

catmint said...

...I was curious if you'd heard about his work. It seemed in line with your ghost research. I believe Garan was a solid bourgeois type, a traditional sort of reactionary.

catmint said...

Marx's economics, consistant with economic per se, deals with aggregated social behaviour on the basis that one can usefully abstract from individual idiosyncracies at this level. In bourgeois civillisation economics and psychoanalysis subsist side by side in perfect tranquility. What would put existing forms of economics in question is a meta-level psychoanalysis: the "mass hysteria" sort of thing; or, from another perspective an effective restatement of the "Great Men" type of historical criticism.

The apparent indifference of the working class as to the necessity of class conscious organisation, where we find Marx's theory contradicted by experience, though only the experience of the "imperial core" in a particular phase of development, can't be assigned a particular reason according to psychoanalytical theory operating on its normal individualistic axis, since we are dealing with the aggregate of various reasons. One could just as usefully talk about a coefficient of noncommunication.

catmint said...

"We need an updated Marxism, one that doesn´t pretend it is immune to ´´burgeois´´ insights into the human being"

if I recall the endless discussion about this at the Parody Centre, Lacan's psychoanalysis was criticised for being consistant with typical features of the dominant ideology of the capitalist era, i.e. "bourgeois ideology", rather than Lacan being criticised as a "bourgeois" himself.

How are these features manifested? Precisely in proposing an "ideal subject" divorced from present social/political forces, from life as ongoing activity in irreversible time, open to the infinite scrutiny of an impenetrable "science of man" etc

catmint said...

...if there's something precious in psychoanalysis its that it does chime in with objections you could reasonably make to being cast as "the worker", in reality and not in some theory

dejan said...

Precisely in proposing an "ideal subject" divorced from present social/political forces, from life as ongoing activity in irreversible time, open to the infinite scrutiny of an impenetrable "science of man" etc

Luke how can you adumbrate after all those discussions that psychoanalysis proposes an ideal subject divorced from social and political forces when Lacan´s very definition of socialization includes a subject that submits to language and in doing so, to the social relations as carried by the language, thusly also the sociopolitical forces, where the goal of psychoanalysis would be to make him aware of those forces as much as possible so that he can be (at least relatively) free and do things not because other people tell him to do them, but because he wants to?

What would put existing forms of economics in question is a meta-level psychoanalysis: the "mass hysteria" sort of thing;

What are you talking about - Wilhelm Reich?

or, from another perspective an effective restatement of the "Great Men" type of historical criticism.

I don´t know what type of historical criticism this is

catmint said...

"I don´t know what type of historical criticism this is"

I was just listing some things that would be inconsistant with economic theorising:

I suppose, yeah, the Wilhelm Reich mass psychology, or the "madness of crowds", or from a different perpective, traditional history where you have "charismatic leaders" emphasised rather than social factors.

I wasn't recommending these things

catmint said...

Doesn't it strike you that while Lacan may have really noticed some important things about the human being, he sought to disguise the holes in his operative theory in order to set himself up as a bourgeois "Dr Miracle"? Isn't his borrowing from Tel Quel style semiology ultimately a contrivance to hold together a theory that requires a charismatic basis because it isn't open to real verification?

dejan said...

Doesn't it strike you that while Lacan may have really noticed some important things about the human being, he sought to disguise the holes in his operative theory in order to set himself up as a bourgeois "Dr Miracle"? Isn't his borrowing from Tel Quel style semiology ultimately a contrivance to hold together a theory that requires a charismatic basis because it isn't open to real verification?

No I don´t think that because having had clinical experience I know that Lacan´s findings are based on clinical observation. One could legitimately say that psychoanalysis isn´t yet a science, but on the other hand Lacan never claimed that it was, and left the project of it becoming a science for the future.

But for a Marxist I think it is much more interesting that psychoanalysis gets the same treatment from capitalism that Marxism does.

For the rest, dr. Sinthome just put it rather well in his new post on PA and Marxism:

It is indeed interesting that those that chirp the loudest about Marx seem to be the most remote from Marx in terms of Marx’s style of analysis. One could even go so far as to say that both Badiou and Zizek have inverted Marx, making consciousness determine the world rather than material conditions of production determining consciousness. On the other hand, Lacan introduces desire into Marx, giving us the means to account for ideological formations and the structuration of desire in and through the social field in a way that is woefully underdeveloped (though virtually present) in Marx himself.
It is indeed interesting that those that chirp the loudest about Marx seem to be the most remote from Marx in terms of Marx’s style of analysis. One could even go so far as to say that both Badiou and Zizek have inverted Marx, making consciousness determine the world rather than material conditions of production determining consciousness. On the other hand, Lacan introduces desire into Marx, giving us the means to account for ideological formations and the structuration of desire in and through the social field in a way that is woefully underdeveloped (though virtually present) in Marx himself.

catmint said...

"It is indeed interesting that those that chirp the loudest about Marx seem to be the most remote from Marx in terms of Marx’s style of analysis."

verily the first shall be last and the last first!

isn't it relevant that these nightingales of marxianism possess properties of advancedness and retardedness, together, in an unresolved ambiguity. They're like Lego bricks in this respect. As I wrote in the previous post at least I am not a marxist:

"This contrivance of ambiguity where none is necessary compliments and reinforces what one supposes to be the background impression of Marx and his work as evoked through the wider cultural and educational apparatus, as fundamentally ambivalent, both validated and discredited. This ambivalence seems to be often indicated, where our ideology "crystallises" into the form of the individual. And it is surely in this respect that Marx announces Lacan."

catmint said...

"One could even go so far as to say that both Badiou and Zizek have inverted Marx, making consciousness determine the world rather than material conditions of production determining consciousness"

yes, you said yourself Dr Zizek's mass psych. was "uberhaupt"

what else Dr S means I do not know

catmint said...

...it would probably be more correct to say that Marx introduces factors other than desire into economics

dejan said...

I am a total nobrainer when it comes to math and economics, only my right hemisphere works to full capacity, so if you will translate your article to the language of pop culture you´d have a much better chance of me understanding it and being able to respond. I always had an F in Marxist theory because it was full of ´´surplus value´´ being ´´extracted´´ from something.

But I get a hunch that indeed both Lacan and Marx and Deleuze had an awareness of the fact that capitalist ideology produces its own subject and this is the reason PA and Marxism have now joined hands, which doesn´t necessarily have to be through Dr. Zizek, in an attempt to liberate the subject from the ideology towards something you could call a free and positive subject as opposed to a slave. And this I find the legacy to which we must cling.

dejan said...

...it would probably be more correct to say that Marx introduces factors other than desire into economics

this returns us to another marathon debate with Colonel: what is Capital? I subscribe to the kpunkish theory which sees Capital as something similar to the petit objet a, something that operates on a spectral promise, and possessing magical or shamanic qualities. To the extent that Lacan didn´t experimentally prove the existence of the petit objet a, you could say this theory is also a form of shamanism. In this context the economic is run by an immaterial force, though from the perspective of ´´transcendental materialism´´ you can also see it as a material force, albeit of an alchemic variety. K-punk wrote somewhere that this is substantiated by Marx´s ´`Capital´´, which I haven´t read due to my poor grasp of economics, but Cobra countered that strongly in previous discussions. I don´t have enough knowledge to judge, but everyday experience makes me think all this (see my article on BLING BLING) as well as my belief in the Christian parable of the Golden Ox.

catmint said...

I especially liked your articles about Legoisation and Swarovski Crystals. Anyway, I'm about to go out to wander round H&M etc. Good bye friend!