Postcards:

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d63
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 »

Here I get to what I most like to do on here as my process tends to straddle both the philosophical and the political: apply continental philosophy to a political issue. It just opens up what places I can post in.

(And I would apologize to the admins of my philosophy board. I know they try to avoid the political. And my tendency to blur the line between the philosophical and the political might seem like an open act of defiance. I assure them it's not.)

That all said, Joe Hughes (speaking through Deleuze), in his reader's guide to Difference and Repetition, points out that as an object of sensibility is reduced to a more finite thing, it becomes more general....

But here I have to backtrack in order to explain. Take a singular raindrop. It is a raindrop like a lot of other raindrops. However, were we mere mortals capable of the god's-eye/infinite capacity of tracing that raindrop back to the moment it was absorbed from an ocean, or lake, or stream, or whatever, we would know that raindrop as a perfect individual due to its individual matrices of causation. Unfortunately, we are limited to the finite. And the more we understand that raindrop as finite, the more general it becomes for us. It becomes little more than a representative of raindrops in general.

And whether it's minorities, or immigrants, or members of the LGBTQ+ community, isn't this exactly what the right is doing? It's like they're incapable of seeing such individuals as anything more than the blocked concept, the finite concept they are working with. And is it any wonder Deleuze would hate representation like he did? A product of that blocked concept?
d63
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 »

"In short, it is a question of causing a little of Dionysus' blood to flow in the organic veins of Apollo. This effort has always permeated the world of representation." -from the conclusion of Gille Deleuze's Difference and Repetition

It's like I've always said about Deleuze: the creative act is never that far from his mind. Here we can see him making the same complaint that the surrealist movement as a whole (given their embrace of pure improvisation (made against Dali: that he was too beholden to classical values.

At the same time, I can see Deleuze actually going deeper than the surrealist insistence on improvisation and into John Cage's argument that even improvisation (as we generally know it (is not as spontaneous as we would think. It is, rather, a matter of repeating familiar riffs in the hope of getting beyond them: something more superficial than it pretends to be and nowhere near the level of pure difference that Deleuze proposes: his Avant Garde sensibility.

The problem with this approach is something a famous designer pointed out: people tend to attract to the familiar as well as the novel. And while that may seem superficial, you have to ask what good Deleuze's or Cage's agenda of pure spontaneity and pure difference is if only a handful of people can appreciate it. In other words, while it is useful for people like Deleuze and Cage to go for the kind of pure difference they did ( a way of breaking us from the same old), there is nothing wrong (that is within the domain of Difference and Repetition (with embracing the familiar while adding touches of novelty to it.
d63
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 »

In terms of Deleuze’s understanding of “difference”, one of the main philosophers he takes issue with is Hegel. He mainly criticizes Hegel for offering a false movement (or expression of difference (in his dialectic that consists of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. And as I have posted before:

If only things were as neat as Hegel makes them seem.

What Deleuze is mainly rejecting here is Hegel’s inclusion of the negative in the form of the antithesis or contradiction (a symmetrical dialectic) –that is as compared to the vice-diction that Deleuze champions. Deleuze, rather, sees the dialectic as asymmetrical as is suggested by the chapter in Difference and Repetition: ‘Asymmetrical Synthesis of the Sensible’.

But first a disclosure: I have yet to get to that chapter in this particular immersion in Difference and Repetition –in either the original text or the secondary. However, I feel like this particular discovery may offer a little foresight into what Deleuze is on about in that chapter. And I base this on Deleuze’s embrace of Levi-Strauss’ bricolage. Bricolage is basically a dialectic that builds off of itself without a need to contradict itself; it has no need for negation, therefore, it is positive in nature. If any oppositions arise, it will be in terms of the disjunctive synthesis of the unconscious that Deleuze and Guatarri describe in Anti-Oedipus.
d63
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 »

In a footnote from Ian Buchanan's guide to Jameson, he describes how a public health campaign in 1990's Australia went horribly wrong when they put up grisly images of car wrecks on billboards in order to discourage unsafe driving practices. What resulted was a kind of romanticism among young men of making it seem glamorous. And, no doubt, the romanticism coming from America in terms of James Dean's death played some part in that. And I can't help but feel there is some kind fundamental relationship at work here... But I'll that explain below.

Now while I don't have the understanding to attribute it Brecht's "estrangement effect" (that will take a couple more readings), I can cite a similar experience in America. The anti-drug films we were shown in grade and middle school in the 60's and 70's attempted to scare us away from psychedelics with their nightmarish portrayal of the experience -that is with some really cheesy effects. What they failed to understand was that horror was the bread and butter of our entertainment given the limited options available to us. What they managed to do, ironically, was intrigue us with it.

What I suddenly realize is the connection of sensibility at work here between Australia and America. I have, for some time, noted that of all advanced nations, Australia seems to have some important overlaps in sensibility with America: most notably those currents of cowboy-like hubris. The question I have to ask is if there is any connection there with the fact that it has been America and Australia that have mainly continued to embrace Deleuze while western Europe has largely moved on. Perhaps it could have to do with how, as is described in the book, many continental thinkers moved from the collective approach to Marx and on to the individual anarchism that we see in D & G's Anti-Oedipus.
d63
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 »

"As Jameson observes in his seminal 1978 essay on psychoanalysis, 'Imaginary and Symbolic in Lacan', what is problematical about psychoanalytic criticism is not its insistence on the on the presence of 'Oedipal' complexes, but rather its failure to pay attention to 'the transformational process whereby such private materials become public. Jameson proposes that this transformational process, aestheticization process, as we might more properly call it, whereby the writer renders their private fancies publically can be understood in terms of Freud's analyses of the function of dream-work." -from Buchanan's guide to Jameson

Oh!!!! But it is more than that -as anyone knows who has had an addiction. Any physical withdrawal symptoms are understandable enough. There is nothing about them that should amaze us. What is amazing, though, is how those physical impulses can translate their selves into the kind of mind games that can take us back to our vices. I once managed to quit smoking for 3 years. But towards the end, I found myself having dreams in which I took a hit off a cigarette and found myself panicking in the dream. In other words, the latent content of my addiction (via aestheticization (managed to manifest in very well constructed/cognitive arguments for returning to my vice. You have to be amazed at the mind's capacity to translate something that base of the brain into something that diabolical.
d63
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Postcards:

Post by d63 »

As I have pointed out before, Lacanian Jouissance (as Žižek points out extensively throughout his writings (is ubiquitous throughout human experience in its recognition of the deep and intimate relationship between pleasure and displeasure. To summarize Lacan: when having sex we experience pleasure at a conscious level while experiencing displeasure at an unconscious one. This is why sex is always an experience of working toward a threshold that will take us out of a place that we’re really enjoying at the time. Lacan then reverses this to recognize that many of our psychological symptoms are the result of experiencing displeasure at a conscious level while actually taking pleasure in it at a subconscious one. And think about it: why else would we keep repeating behaviors that repeatedly give us displeasure unless they were, at some deeper level, actually giving us pleasure?

What I’ve recently come to realize, after reading the Life Explores issue Inside the Criminal Mind: Understanding How Bad People Think, is the extent to which the Jouissance dynamic plays in horror movies. Once again, we have to ask why we keep going back to something that on the surface gives us such displeasure. Why do we repeatedly put ourselves through this?

But the plot thickens when we consider a common trope in horror (an outright form of manipulation when we think about it). A character in the movie opens the basement door and proceeds cautiously down the stairs. We, of course, squirm and think:

YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We literally get angry at the character and may even feel a sense of justice served should that character get killed by whatever’s in the basement. Yet, at the same time, we feel fear for the character. It’s as if the trope manages to evoke hostility, which gives us displeasure at a conscious level, and converts that hostility into fear which also gives us displeasure. But you have to ask how, in the end, this all adds up to a desirable and even pleasant experience.
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