A Field Guide to Getting the Lost Art of Unrecovery (part six)

Filed under:UnRecovery — posted by Schizostroller on August 1, 2018 @ 11:59 am

Another failed exegesis. Fail and fail better, pick yourself up and fail again.
With regards, not just Deleuze and Guattari and the Body without Organs , but also with respect to Foucault’s use of the idea of the body and its relation to the corps in his study on biopolitics , it is worth noting that trauma research seems to be centred in the body . Neuroscience prioritizes the emotions before cognition and language comes after that so in this sense there is a rationale to Lacan’s argument that the symbolic should be understood as being related to The Law . But here amongst the word salads (Radio Crazy as the Stones’ Voice Dialogue technique calls it ), alongside Wittgenstein’s unknowable or incomparable beetles, one comes across the frustration of Lacan’s Mathemes (we can also think of frustration leading to thought as described by Bion and his negative K – or the aspects of the partial object theory of Klein that also influenced Deleuze and Guattari ). This frustration seems to be why we get word salads as apophenic lines of flight, Deleuze and Guattari’s point was to use this embodied tendency of the mind to desire to escape for intentional practice, hence their honorific of the ‘artistic’ schizophrenic, but with regards psychology and the experience of dissociative states, these escape attempts of the mind, from knots as both Laing and Lacan called them, do indeed lead to lines of flight as the body, rather than the ‘will’ (it is worth thinking of the bodywork of Moshe Feldenkrais here where he distinguishes between ability and will. He claims ability is more important than will, he uses an example of having the sense of self and awareness to feel the fly land on the end of a feather (ability) something one cannot do at the end of an iron rod . Gregory Bateson discusses a similar thing with regards to “Samuel Butler’s insistence that the better an organism ‘knows’ something, the less conscious it becomes of its knowledge i.e there is a process whereby knowledge (or ‘habit’ – whether of action, perception or thought) sinks to deeper and deeper levels of the mind” . Again we can relate this back to the quote by Lefebvre above of primary and secondary nature), tries to work out and communicate, express, divulge, these unspeakable, unutterable, unmentionable feelings and the resulting verbal expression thus sounds like a word salad to someone they are communicated to who has a very different emotional subjectivity (Bateson argues this is the Ecology of Mind in his question and answer session with his daughter ) the language games are very different and the mental health professional trying to untangle them is playing, unavoidably, an often more institutionally hegemonic game, no matter the intentions of either party.
However, it is also in this sense that narrative becomes highly important in mental health recovery studies. But with respect to this import we still have the problem of normalisation and its relation to agency and the person in the subaltern position’s relation to the means of production within that and thus the complex problematic of their right to speak, or even the struggle, the fight to speak, for and as oneself, oneselves, themself, themselves.

Framing the experience

My own experience of voice hearing and dissociation leads me to enjoy the work of Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett as they chime with my own experience, some of which I have tried to convey by leaving this article as part word salad, one that has a social theoretic and cultural referential framing within which to situate it, that also creates vacuoles in what would otherwise be a standard academic text. So, therefore, I have left the example narratives without citations. As such I do find the theory of Deleuze and Guattari useful with regards my self-understanding, their theory of assemblages is one I find can be adapted to earlier theories of nexi, phantasms and constructs. Ron Coleman argued that the voices are real , this is the same argument Laing quotes Isaacs as proposing about phantasms , however assemblages have a more complex and dynamic morphology . I also find the communicative ethics of Jurgen Habermas and the recognition theory of Axel Honneth useful too, they have the possibility to ground the experiences of the psychotic and the theories of Deleuze and Guattari in a potential theory of recognition (accepting the challenges Foucault’s theories of power presented for Habermas ), and between these theories one can use the plethora of theories that have tried to reconcile Habermas, Foucault, Freudian, Weberian and Marxist theories of economic organisation (especially Frankfurt School) and from there is this well-trodden path seems to lead via autonomism outwards to semiotic theories of modern working relations (whether Hardt and Negri , Bifo Berardi , Silvia Federici and the affective body, or Kathi Weeks and the problem with work , especially after 7 years of austerity). I find the theory of recognition when combined with what Deleuze called microfascist reterritorialization especially useful, especially where Habermas’ use of the term Verstehen means less ‘consensus’ and more ‘mutual understanding’ , an understanding that allows for disagreement and refusal, respect and recognition in other words, whilst still supporting a right to be, to exist. But I do see with regards autonomism’s criticism of the problem of work (and David Graeber’s concept of bullshit jobs ) in Deleuze’s postscript to a control society an interesting reflection of middle class white collar aspirational subjectivity and its relation to the entrepreneurial side of mental health recovery, especially the idea of ‘recovery champions’- people whose exemplary recovery as peers are supposed to lead a path for others, but is often another career path for those with advantages.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace