Yesterday, Matt asked a wonderful question about my theory of subjection in Empire and its relevance to Massumi’s use of “the grid” in the introduction to Parables For the Virtual.
Let me first preface this by saying that I believe Empire has already overcome the problem of the grid. It’s now just a problem for cultural studies and other disciplines that linger on old models of social analysis. In contrast to Empire, subjection in The Social State is absolutely indicative of a grid-type model of power, as are parts of the Modern State. ***Therefore: struggles against hierarchy and binary exclusion may benefit Empire rather than confront it.***
At the beginning Parables, Massumi claims that most cultural studies uses a social model premised on structural positions (“feminine,” “black,” etc). This is an application of an argument he inherits from Anti-Oedipus, where Deleuze and Guattari develop an elaborate critique of certain Fruedo-Lacanian psychoanalytic models that use a grid. They spare Lacan himself (Guattari was once the heir-apparent to Lacan’s ecole freudienne and remained under analysis even after the publication of AO), but are not so kind to his more dogmatic followers, such as Serge Leclaire.
The problem with the concept of ‘cynical reason’ is not that it gives us no hope but that it presumes that people are in the know and just don’t care. But really, the problem is that people don’t care to know. This means that there is still a power to knowing. Yet such a power has to be used as a weapon and not as a cure. For, if they don’t care to know, truth is only as good as it is more useful than illusion. [Because, the question is not why truth works but why illusion is so effective.]
[it really starts to get good at the 6 minute mark…]
Transversality was to replace transferrence. Why the replacement? Transference works by provoking change through coerced dialogue between analyst-patient. The patient, one-on-one, stuck in a room with nothing but the psychiatric gaze and the ambience of the room, has few options outside the give-and-take channeled through “the talking cure.” Compelled speech generates content that the analyst uses to place the patient on a psychoanalytic grid that charts out various structural positions. Is the patient a hysteric? Then the analyst must evacuate the position of the Big Other. The bottom line: the analyst is to induce the patient into clarifying their Subject position so a diagnosis and adequate counter-reaction be applied. The trouble is that this only works for neurotics – meaning slips for psychotics, preventing the analyst who holds meaning to get any traction. Continue reading “how to give lacan the boot”→
Lévi-Strauss’s structuralism was, therefore similar in motivation to psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and certain forms of Marxism and existentialism; all these movements depicted ‘man’ as the being who is _other than mere_ life, whose desire for what is not immediate and present separates him from all positive being and compels him to enter some structure of deferral of present desire for the sake of an anticipated and collectively recognized human end. Continue reading “picking the right midwife for the birth of the post-human”→