‘Sin your way to heaven and get slaughtered: A byzantine general problem of the self’ (part seventeen)

Filed under:Sin your Way to Heaven and get Slaughtered — posted by Schizostroller on December 26, 2018 @ 3:30 pm

However whilst Deleuze and Guattari acknowledge Lacan when they talk of the discovery of a fertile domain of a code of the unconscious incorporating the entire chain – or several chains – of meaning, they then state that this domain is indeed strange due to its multiplicity – “a multiplicity so complex that we can scarcely speak of one chain or even one code of desire. The chains are called ‘signifying chains’ (chaines signifiantes) because they are made up of signs, but these signs are not themselves signifying. The code resembles not so much a language as a jargon, an open-ended, polyvocal formation. The nature of the signs within it is insignificant, as these signs have little or nothing to do with what supports them.” (p.38).
what supports these signs is the ‘body without organs’. “These indifferent signs follow no plan, they function at all levels and enter into any and every sort of connection; each one speaks its own language, and establishes syntheses with others that are quite direct along transverse vectors, whereas the vectors between the basic elements that constitute them are quite indirect.” (p.38). There is a materialist understanding of the unconscious here that is worth comparing with Freud’s understanding on the unconscious in the Interpretation of Dreams, however first it is worth noting that although Deleuze and Guattari acknowledge Antonin Artaud as the source of their theory of the Body Without Organs, reference to bodies without organs goes back to Schopenhauer. This is important as Schopenhauer had a major influence on not just Nietzsche but also Freud and Bergson, both of whom influenced Deleuze, although to fully get the ‘phenomenology’ here, we must understand that Spinoza brings the materialism in here. So, to recap, in Deleuze, there is an anti-Hegelianism that goes back to Difference and Repetition (Schopenhauer famously was a contemporary at the same university as Hegel) that is influenced by a combination of Schopenhauer’s vitalism and Spinoza’s materialism. So, to look at this understanding of the unconscious we can trace historical roots that go back thus far (and further to Greek atomism) but to do so we will use Freud for the Schopenhauer influence, and Antonio Damasio for the Spinoza influence. However in doing so we will compare and contrast with the influence of Hegel, at least the influence of machines, to Marx’s theory in the Grundrisse.
Firstly though it was in World as Will and Idea, Book 2, Section 23 that Schopenhauer wrote: “It remains only for us to take the final step, and to extend our thesis to all those forces which in nature act in accordance with universal, immutable laws under which all bodies move, being wholly without organs, are not susceptible to stimuli, and cannot perceive motive.” And it is with this in mind that we delve into Deleuze and Guattari’s picture of the unconscious: “The disjunctions characteristic of these chains still do not involve any exclusion, however, since exclusions can arise only as a function of inhibiters and repressers that eventually determine the support and firmly define a specific, personal subject. No chain is homogeneous; all of them resemble, rather a succession of characters from different alphabets in which an ideogram, a pictogram, a tiny image of an elephant passing by, or a rising sun may suddenly make its appearance. In a chain that mixes together phonemes, morphemes, etc., without combining them, papa’s moustache, mama’s upraised arm, a ribbon, a little girl, a cop, a shoe suddenly turn up. Each chain fragments of other chains from which it ‘extracts’ a surplus value, just as the orchid code ‘attracts’ the figure of the wasp: both phenomena demonstrate the surplus value of a code. It is an entire system of shuntings along certain tracks, and of selections by lot, that bring about partially dependent, aleatory phenomena bearing a close resemblance to a Markov chain. The recordings and transmissions that have come from the internal codes, from the outside world, from one region to another of the organism, all intersect, following the endlessly ramified paths of the great disjunctive synthesis. If this constitutes a system of writing, it is a writing inscribed on the very surface of the Real: a strangely polyvocal kind of writing, never a biunivocalized, linearized one; a transcursive system of writing, never a discursive one; a writing that constitutes the entire domain of the ‘real inorganization’ of the passive syntheses, where we would search in vain for something that might be labelled the Signifier – writing that ceaselessly composes and decomposes the chains into signs that have nothing that impels them to become signifying. The vocation of the sign is to produce desire, engineering it in every direction.” (p.38-39).
If we first go over dreams as the ‘royal road to the unconscious’ for Freud. Freud states quite specifically that “Dreams are not to be likened to the unregulated sounds that rise from a musical instrument struck by a blow of some external force instead of by a player’s hand; they are not meaningless, they are not absurd; they do not imply that one portion of our store of ideas is asleep while another portion is beginning to wake. On the contrary, they are psychical phenomena of complete validity – fulfilment of wishes; they can be inserted into the chain of intelligible waking mental acts; they are constructed by a highly complicated activity of the mind.” (p.122). This seems to be the very obverse of what Deleuze and Guattari are claiming. Freud is claiming that there is indeed a chain of signification, even whilst we are asleep. The difference for Deleuze and Guattari relates both to the body (albeit a body without organs – there is a reason for this) and the introduction of machines into human artifice, especially as a product of the industrial revolution. One that made its way into psychology via cybernetics (such as Bateson).
But to have a point of contrast, let us familiarise ourselves with Freud’s concept of dreams and their relation to the unconscious. For Freud, perhaps the entire structure of his book the Interpretation of Dreams can be premised on the question of “if, as we are told by dream-interpretation, a dream represents a fulfilled wish, what is the origin of the remarkable and puzzling form in which the wish-fulfilment is expressed?” For some, including behaviourists, not too much is to be read into dream interpretation, nor for that matter the unconscious, what matters is observable behaviour and how this can be adapted or persuaded. Deleuze and Guattari do not want to jettison the unconscious, but they do want to make it more ‘machinic’. Freud continues asking “what alteration have the dream-thoughts undergone before being changed into the manifest dream which we remember when we wake up? How does that alteration take place? What is the source of the material that has been modified into the dream? What is the source of the peculiarities that are to be observed in the dream-thoughts – such for instance, as the fact that they may be mutually contradictory? Can the dream tell us anything new about our internal psychical processes? Can its content correct opinions we have had throughout the day?” (p.122-123).


On dealing with the legacy of a Schlemiel good conscience wrecking crew

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on December 18, 2018 @ 12:56 pm

O little Panopticon town of Bethlehem
Where Charity stands watching
And faith holds wide the door
Like Maggie Smith says about a penis
It’s a perfectly fine thing for one to have
But wave it in my face and we have a problem.
Or, otherwise, as Mudhoney sang
They say you got it
I’ll say you got it
You got it
You got it good
You got it
You can keep it
That’s right
I don’t want it
You give it away like free samples
But I don’t want what anyone can have
You got it
Yeah, you got it
So what?
Keep it outta my face.
And so finally, as Larry Grayson said on Family Fortunes,
Shut that door!
Were you born in a barn?
We have our own household wealth
We have our own Lares
And like 5,000 years of David Graeber’s Debt
Since the time of Gilgamesh
We can’t afford the emotional fee
Of expected discipline and renunciation
To an illegitimate authoritarian concept of Other in crisis
A judgmental focus so antipathetic to good attachment
That one can never be good enough
For the illegitmitate sin of merely being fallible
That it’s more like a Gargamel.
LIke a Karpman Drama
A Leviticus denial of Greek tragedy
You try to oust me like Azazel
And attack and judge us
For saying no to your rescuing.
It has already damaged the earth of the mother of my children
And so this household’s law of this father
Won’t let it damage my progeny
Unlike a bitter pill
It’s not ironic, it’s symbolic
We please Demeter
But we never metaphor!


What’s Behind the Mask? Scooby Doobie Doo! – A Poem so Pony it’s Pi-bald.

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on @ 12:34 pm

Whilst Pythagoras expounded
From behind his screen
On mathematical concepts
To his hairless hairshirt disciples.
The wry Baldrick Roll expounded
On lewds qua lewds
As his stoned disciples chanted
“Quick! send nudes!


A higher what a fear – or a working theory of the dry orgasm (to be red allowed)

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on @ 11:25 am

With her eyes raised
to God,
she was not impressed
with his wry Baldrick.
She liked neither
Black Adder
nor Black Jesus.
But wry Baldrick
said unto him
Esu now long fella.
She is but
an erotophobic vampire,
a Grand Inquisitor
beseeching her
preaching brother
to carry ma’s off
to the pearly white gates,
God’s teeth!
The gate in
the white picket fence,
trying to enclose
Baba Yaga’s hut
in, a love of, order to
stop her chicken drumsticks
from keeping on keeping on
don’t stop, no.
She wants her love
to bathe us
in the light as a pearl-feather,
putting a small pox
on our wake
in dreams.
But she is afear’d
of the T-Bone stake
so she wants Trump
to drain the swamp.
But the man grove
loves the salt
(doesn’t hurt
unless you’re already
whipped raw)
water that breeds
the crocodile,
going Tik Tok,
the coloured maroon,
cumming for her
Captive Hook.
So the mumbo jumbo
will carry on
moaning and groaning
despite her.


The burden of proof

Filed under:Brief arguments — posted by Schizostroller on November 17, 2018 @ 10:18 am

With regards logical fallacies, the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof has a relation to discourse, it is not in itself an excuse for a fallacy of personal incredulity


Driven by the Golem

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on @ 9:43 am

During a period of apophenic flight.
To geschmad
like a meshuggah.


What’s your problem?

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on November 13, 2018 @ 5:01 pm

What’s the fuss?
Why won’t you accept
Our contradictory
Common sense?
We’re not authoritarians,
It’s just that you
Have to put up with it.
Poor us.
Getting upset
When the snowflakes
Answer back.


Who is Sisyphus Bellerophon Part 1: The improvisor’s wicked problem – or why all play is Sirius. (section i. )

Filed under:"Who is" series — posted by Schizostroller on November 5, 2018 @ 5:17 pm

“What is the sentence?” the Traveler asked. “You don’t even know that?” asked the Officer in astonishment and bit his lip. “Forgive me if my explanations are perhaps confused. I really do beg your pardon. Previously it was the Commandant’s habit to provide such explanations. But the New Commandant has excused himself from this honourable duty”. Franz Kafka, The Penal Colony

“…Ancient life was all silence. In the 19th Century, with the invention of machines, Noise was born. Today, Noise is triumphant and reigns sovereign over the sensibility of men.” Luigi Russolo, the Art of Noises.

The term ‘wicked problem’ was first diagnosed by Rittel and Webber in a paper in 1973. Wicked problems are particularly difficult to solve. They are more or less unique, they lack definitive formulations, they have multiple explanations, there is no test to decide the value of any response to them, no outcome measures, yet each response has important consequences, so there is no real chance to learn by trial and error. This means that wicked problems are interrelated, any wicked problem has complex links to others, any response to one may impact others.
There is a certain sense that intractable forms of psychosis are wicked problems. In worst case scenarios they get reclassified as personality disorders. Tractable at least with regards personality, though, is a synonym for docile, as Foucault described. What ideology, or as Deleuze discussed in his book on Foucault, diagram of power lies behind such disciplinary practices. Deleuze in his famous Postcript on the Control society described the constant remoulding of subjectivity required of modern semio-labour, the constant retraining, always prepared for the next job. Taking that subjectivity even in their relation to the means of production outside the workplace in their orientation to consumerism and commodities: ‘owning their choices’.
Freud says: “What has been called the dream we shall describe as the text of the dream or the manifest dream, and what we are looking for, what we suspect, so to say, of lying behind the dream, we shall describe as the latent dream-thoughts. Having done this, we can express our two tasks as follows. We have to transform the manifest dream into the latent one, and to explain how, in the dreamer’s mind, the latter has become the former.”
In ‘Who is Salome Bentham’ the question “who” became a “what”. Hannah Arendt in the book the Human Condition writes, “The problem of human nature, the Augustinian quaestio mihi factus sum (“a question I have become for myself”), seems unanswerable in both its individual psychological sense and its general philosophical sense. It is highly unlikely that we, who can know, determine, and define the natural essences of all things surrounding us, which we are not, should ever be able to do the same for ourselves – this would be like jumping over our own shadows. Moreover, nothing entitles us to assume that man has a nature or essence in the same sense as other things. In other words, if we have nature or essence, then surely only a god could know and define it, and the first prerequisite would be that he be able to speak about a ‘who’ as though it were a ‘what.” The perplexity is that the modes of human cognition applicable to things with ‘natural’ qualities, including ourselves to the limited extent that we are specimens of the most highly developed species of organic life, fail us when we raise the question: And who are we? This is why attempts to define human nature almost invariably end with some construction of a deity, that is, with the god of the philosophers, who since Plato, has revealed himself upon closer inspection to be a kind of Platonic idea of mine. Of course, to demask such philosophic concepts of the divine as conceptualisations of human capabilities and qualities is not a demonstration of, not even an argument for, the non-existence of God: but the fact that attempts to define the nature of man lead so easily into an idea which definitely strikes us as ‘superhuman’ and therefore is identified with the divine may cast suspicion upon the very concept of ‘human nature’. (p.10-11). Such an issue is indeed another kind of wicked problem.
In the therapy for voice hearers called voice dialogue, a whole panoply, a veritable pantheon of voice constructs are conjured up much as in a séance, each construct appearing as a ‘who’, in fact covers up for a ‘what’. Communication with such choruses are a means to work through such wicked problems, they can make tractable, but is there a method where instead of the personality becoming more docile, there is a possibility for the personality to make traction?
“Perhaps the most important new element in our music is our conception of free group improvisation. The idea of group improvisation, in itself, is not at all new; it played a big role in New Orleans’ early bands. The big bands of the early swing period changed all that. Today, still, the individual is either swallowed up in a group situation, or else he is out front soloing, with nothing but any of the other horns doing anything but calmly awaiting their turns for their solos. Even in some of the trios and quarters which permit quite a bit of improvisation, the final arrangement is one that is imposed beforehand by the arranger. One knows pretty much what to expect.
When our group plays, before we start out to play, we do not have any idea what the end result will be. Each player is free to contribute what he feels in the music at any given moment. We do not begin with a preconceived notion as to what kind of effect we will achieve.” Ornette Coleman.
Can we improvise with our voice constructs? However when such a group plays… do we know what the end result should be? A result that leads to freedom in an exploratory practice, but that outcome measures for costed auditing measures will always constrain, foreclose and limit.
I raised improvised music as it is a musical practice that gives possibility to more open possibilities in music. In the exploration of psychic phenomena it is not that unlike Freud’s theory of free association. However “Freely improvised music, variously called ‘total improvisation’, ‘open improvisation’, ‘free music’, or perhaps most often simply, ‘improvised music,’ suffers from – and enjoys – the confused identity which its resistance to labelling indicates. It is a logical situation: freely improvised music is an activity which encompasses too many different kinds of players, too many different attitudes to music, too many different concepts of what improvisation is, even, for it all to be subsumed under one name.” Derek Bailey
Derek Bailey’s argument here is akin to Michel De Certeau’s argument about the panopticon and minor practices: “the exceptional, indeed cancerous, development of panoptic procedures seems to be indissociable from the historical role to which they have been assigned, that of being a weapon to be used in combatting and controlling heterogeneous practices. The coherence in question is the result of a particular success, and will not be characteristic of all technological practices. Beneath what one might call the “monotheistic” privilege that panoptic apparatuses have won for themselves, a ‘polytheism’ of scattered practices survives, dominated but not erased by the triumphal success of one of the number” (p.48). When we put these together with Freud’s theory of a censoring apparatus in the dream and Lacan’s neutering Symbolic, we can find a portmanteau of practices to get to the latency beneath the manifest dream as a means to deal with this wicked problem.


The freedom of the bootlicker’s choice

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on October 31, 2018 @ 8:30 am

You can do what you like
As long as
You do what you are told,
And try to fit in.
And if you don’t…
It’s your own fault
You’re not free.


The poisoned charist

Filed under:poetry — posted by Schizostroller on October 23, 2018 @ 2:45 pm

The tyranny of conscience
stems form
the failure of the charist to heal themselves.
And therein lies a contradiction.
The preservation of which is is a spiritual plateau
Where everything is true
And nothing is permitted
An aporic koan
Based on contradictions in Entäusserung

In zen
There is a koan
A double bind
Where the master holds a stick over his student’s head.
He says
“If you move I will hit you.
If you don’t move I will also hit you.”
The enlightened student refuses his master this right
And moves the stick away and stands up.

One should be able to stand up
And say, “I do not need healing”

The tyrant refuses to move the stick.
The poisoned charist.
The original sin.

In such a situation.
There is no alternative
But to fight.
All other roads
Are shut off.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace