2017 has just started, and I’m going to write a Manifesto for this new year. I open my Manifest with two issues: first, the shame I feel due to the fact that I belong to the human species, the most deadly and terrifying species ever created by Nature. How ashamed am I! That’s why I’m begging my friends to introduce me to an animal, a plant, a rock, an invisible being, so that I can escape this overwhelming loneliness that surrounds me. I want to get married to any being which doesn’t belong to my own species, my shameful human species. Schizophrenic people know better about these inter-species marriages, because they’re able to marry the moon, the stars, the cosmos. Just the Oedipal folks, the normalized ones, they don’t know a thing about such kind of marriage. Oh, God, please, give me courage to cope with them!
It’s discouraging to say that, but I’m not original in putting this idea forward. Carl Jung predates me in more than a hundred years. In the foregone second decade of the twentieth century, he proposed the marriage of “the moth (animal)” to the “Yucca (plant)”. An absolutely happy marriage, absurdly tuned. Nature co-creating itself in pure happiness. Deleuze and Guattari propounded — and I believe they were inspired by Jung, even though they never admitted that — the inter-species marriage between the Wasp (animal) and the Orchid (plant), which they contended to be pure happiness, pure harmony. I don’t know if you’ve already read it, if you haven’t I urge you to read it as a recommendation from this Manifest/2017 that I’m writing right now: China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station (published in Brazil by Boitempo/2016). China is a British left-wing anthropologist. He opens his novel by sensually describing an inter-species marriage: a college professor, infamous in the academy, and a gorgeous artist-grasshopper-woman. The grasshopper-woman’s little legs turn on the professor, through and through. Oh, those little legs swinging, opening and closing!!! Oh, I want that too, please, an animal, another species! I would hate anybody from my species—especially a man!
Don’t joke with me, please…
Now, the second issue in my present Manifesto: I feel so much embarrassed for having approached Psychoanalysis! It has done me good, indeed, so I’m residually grateful to it. However, psychoanalysis provides fine contours, tries to cure and reconstruct, offers a new narrative, and guess whom for? For the human species! A species that today, on the first day of 2017, embarrasses me so much. If you don’t believe me, just read Davi Kopenawa’s book The Falling Sky. That book has made me kneel ashamed of the human race — mostly the white European — and also of the discipline called psychoanalysis. So, I just want to make use of this occasion and seek forgiveness from all my patients, from all my readers, and from all my students because I offered them, year after year, the theory and the practice extremely pretentious in relation to the most disgraceful species on the planet, the human species.
In conclusion, in 2017 I intend to let psychoanalysis go, at least partially; I intend to open myself more and more to the Indians’ shamanism, and to the healing processes that assume the inter-species connections — those connections that don’t bet on man as the king of creation! Because it helps us endure, psychoanalysis turns out to be very interesting for this embarrassing species who we are. Despite this fact, we need to walk, very quickly, towards another direction, for it isn’t just the human species that’s matter, it’s life as a whole! What do you think? Those who are also ashamed of belonging to the human species, send me some response, please…
Many of us are experiencing some crossings to which only Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy/ontology might offer some appreciation. For his ontology, it is from the pre-individual order that emerge all the individuals—and, be it clear, not only the human individuals!
Such crossings, which Simondon called individuations, are long, and last years, many years, and the best metaphor for them is the metaphor of death and rebirth of that thing our ancestors used to call soul, but something that we can relate to the psyche, to the emotions, to the mental and, above all, to the body, as well.
One world comes to its end as another, slowly, looms on the horizon.
I’ve already tried to think of it, of the signs of a world that’s coming to the end, a kind of entropy translated into a stiffening of the defenses, into petrification, lack of vitality. Existence becomes a heavy burden: the metaphor of the Nietzschean camel is necessary right now. Today, I want to describe the dawning time of a new day, when the child — another Nietzschean metaphor — announces herself.
Before the first chords of a new morning, the whole comprehension trove that once embodied us and allowed for our living, stops displaying any vitality. It is as if, suddenly, we were reduced to an endless misery; our narratives, about ourselves and about the world, start losing force in the/to the action. We become apophatic. The words fail us, and all that’s left is the silence and an enigmatic contemplation of life. Miserable, poor, empty, insufficient…reduced to a meaningless state.
The only chance of envisioning the other, an existing field, the Simondonian pre-individual reality, another unsuspected order, something that strongly constitute us, but also something that was hidden behind sense and meaning; hitherto, that something, which constituted us and we used to call “the true reality”, because it was shared, we had the confidence, and the guarantee of its unbreakable strength. Just then, the identity monad splits itself, revealing its weakness. This nothingness of ours is going to go through a long time, before the emergence of a child who, hopefully, we’ll come back into being, once again.
The exception and the absurd have become normal. There isn’t any more reason for amazement, there isn’t any feeling of the tragic in the contemporary world. People from my generation, as well as a few young people, still get amazed, and still are able to keep a sense of indignity, but the majority behaves as if we weren’t living a tragic time, and there seems to be no more place for wonder. In the majority, predominates a suffocating normalcy. I think that is the reason why I’ve come back to my favorite film this week, Louis Malle’s Damage (1992), featuring Jeremy Irons as Stephen, and Julliete Binoche as Anna.
Damage is a tragic film, in the Greek sense. From such tragic perspective, we don’t control our lives — maybe the gods do — and then we live the absolute opposite of our egoic aspirations. However, it isn’t just the tragic flavor in Damage that draws me to it, for the film also preserves a touch of amazement towards the lived experiences. The genuine tragic carries awe. Could that be different?
Stephen is a happy, married man, with two children. He is a government minister for the environment, and loves his family. Martyn, one of his children, meets Anna. Once Stephen catches a first glimpse of Anna, something happens, an unconscious communication, without words, then he is irresistibly attracted to the girl. Stephen, indeed, is drawn by Anna’s pulsating drama: her brother, Aston, had fallen in love with her, and one day, when she was at a party, he killed himself. In her bloodstained nightgown, Anna asks Peter, with whom he had been that whole night, to make love to her. Since then, she had gone on her way, with a “pulsating trauma” in her soul, seeking a reenactment. Stephen (father) and Martyn (son) are sufficiently naïve so that they’re going to stage, once again, Anna’s trauma. They know her story, but they’re unable to connect the dots, they know without knowing, or they know not knowing. As a matter of fact, that’s typical of tragic drama. On the eve of his wedding ceremony, Martyn kills himself when he catches his father and Anna having sex.
What’s interesting in the film is the silent and unconscious communication that makes Stephen get entangled in a game not of his own design. Possibly, he might be somehow implicated in Anna’s drama, but the pulsating trauma is definitely hers. First question: why, not infrequently, do we accept to take part in somebody else’s traumas?! Stephen loses everything: his position as a state minister, his marriage because his wife leaves him, Martyn kills himself, and Anna because she goes back to Peter. That was the outcome of the trauma, which Anna had lived in the bizarre love triangle with her brother and Peter. As the biblical Job, left without anything else, Stephen, nonetheless, keeps his dignity and takes responsibility for what crossed his life. Then he goes to a little town, lost in the world, from where he contemplates, on a big poster, Martyn, who is beside Anna, who is beside Peter. And, of course, he contemplates without representation, his silent and invisible drama among Anna, Martyn, and Peter. There, Stephen tells himself, then us: “What makes what we are is unattainable, inconceivable”. The tragic allows him to contemplate and to experiment awe. We have lost these two feelings in late modernity, at a banally neck-breaking speed.
JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU AND DAVI KOPENAWA
Lévi-Strauss, on his book Totemism Today, says that Rousseau is one of the avatars of the wild thinking in the West. The anthropologist always made clear that the Genevan philosopher was one of his major affective and intellectual influences. Nowadays, the largest star in the indigenous thinking, in the wild thinking, is Davi Kopenawa. As a matter of fact, there are some affinities between the Swiss philosopher and the Yanomami thinker. Both of them think the world before its separation between nature and culture.
Rousseau thought that there was an identification of the man with the cosmos, through passions, self-love, and pitié. Rousseau’s good man is dissolved in nature, in the natural environment, and identifies himself with his surroundings and with every and each being. Because it happened before the cleavage nature/culture, the man may come to think of everything that exists in function of the identification that predated his thinking.
By his turn, Kopenawa states that, before such separation, in the myth, there was a super-communication going on between the man and every and each one of the all the other beings, and that it is replaced, from time to time by a diplomat-shaman, once the shaman can have access to the humanity of the non-humans, so he can join once again what was separated.
It is precisely because both Rousseau and Kopenawa are able to take their thinking to the point in time that was previous to the separation nature/culture that they can function as a sort of thermometer for the present culture and, in a visionary fashion, they can warn us. Both of them are pessimist and prophetic. Rousseau felt, step by step, the being’s loss of what we now translate as progressive loss of the cosmic identification of man with nature and with the other beings. In the place of the that identification, the appearance gained relevance in the modern society, which is immersed in a sinister narcissism. The virtual has replaced the real. Modern society, over time, would head to destruction, and that’s why Rousseau said, around 1950, “unfortunate are those who will come after me!”.
The Golden Age, when men were happy, had long gone and was irrecoverable. As the statue of the god-sea Glaucus, on the coast, the man’s soul turns into an unrecognizable monster. Kopenawa, drinking from the myth, is aware of the loss in the relation between man and the environment, a relation that should be thought of as a possible communication between all and every being. He also calls our attention to the fall of the sky when the shaman disappears, making impossible the mediation between men and spirits, consequently stopping the essential invigorating of the integration of all the things. With the destruction of the forests, and the Earth’s entrails being totally devastated by the ore-devouring machines, the cosmos’ foundations will collapse and the sky will terribly fall down over all the living beings. That has already happened before, says Kopenawa, and it’s going to happen again.
The few, but great “avatars” of the wild thinking, grant us with acute perceptions of what is about to come.
PROJECTION AND SYNCHRONICITY IN CARL GUSTAV JUNG
For Jung, modern man is collective in two senses: he loses himself and mimics a modern culture, mechanized by a sort of calculus-reason and by an extroversion-merchandise-of-buying. But, man is also collective because he is undifferentiated from the collective’s unconscious fantasies. In the process of individuation, the task implies differentiating oneself from both collectives in order to conquer the singularity. This task is quite hard.
From the Jungian point of view, all of us — human and non-humans —are born and remain enmeshed in the collective unconscious, a kind of placenta, which surely nourishes us, but can also suffocate us. That is the reason why the word Jung uses most is differentiation. To differentiate oneself means to disconnect from the placenta: that’s the Jungian challenge.
Over the entire life, we are overpassed by the collective unconscious’ contents (Jung’s expression), whether it is in the form of projections, or in the form of synchronicities. This key for the understanding I’ve got from reading Marie Louise von Franz’s book Reflections of the Soul: Projections and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology.
What “reaches us”, what overpasses us is something untamed, something foreign in relation to our psychic fabric. If our emotions are insufficiently matured, those contents, oftentimes, will be unbearable. We are prone to project them on other people, on the society, on politics, etc. So, we have very little capability to choose, almost none. Let me mention some possibilities of such contents overpassing us: our trajectory may change suddenly because we come across a significant other, a teacher, an analyst, a perverse political leader, and so on.
When we are more familiarized with our emotional psychic processes, the contents that “reach us” are experienced as synchronicities. Or else, it’s not necessary to cast away the contents/images, because we’ve already conquered the ability to wait the right moment when that content will find something corresponding to it in the external world. Jung named such meaningful coincidence as synchronicity. With that emotional conquest, be become more human, so we learn how to take responsibility for the contents overpassing us. When there is synchronicity, there’s also numinousity: the numinous emotion is the “emotional proof” of the synchronicity!
POST-TRUTH IN THE COTIDIAN
The word post-truth came up in the end of the twentieth century. More or less a decade ago it started to be used frequently, and there was a peak in its usage in 2016, to the point that the word has become a defining one to describe our time. Mainstream media, Facebook, Twitter, and others, have been considered responsible for that practice which is defining us.
The press, which is traditionally responsible for checking the facts and building narratives based on the reality, started to act, here and everywhere, as a reality creator. Let’s not forget Saddam Hussein and the Iraq War. Before the USA attacks, the media persuaded many people of the need to hit first, otherwise that country, with its weapons of mass destruction, would wreak a havoc in the world. The attacks took place, but the deposits of WMD were never found. In Brazil, we counted with an elected president, with a popular government, but the big economic groups weren’t satisfied with that, and since a long time they started preparing — together with the mainstream media — an extremely antipopular coup. The elected president was ousted because she was found guilty of fiscal frauds, something that’s practiced by any administration. However, that’s not important because the denunciations and the factual objectivities don’t change the bets. Words don’t have density any longer, and they can’t sustain a true conversation. This is the new game! In it, the failure of words and of dialogue lead us to horror, and to an unexpected Babel Tower.
Donald Trump, naturally, represents the apex of post-truth in its more perverse facet: the outright lie. With him, we can clearly see how the appeal to emotion, to the personal bizarre creeds, weigh more, shaping the so-called public opinion, than objective facts, the reality and/or what we could call truth.
Well, if things stop right there, all that would be very sad, but still bearable, because the power elites, neither today nor ever, base themselves on the truth, according to Florentine Niccolo Machiavelli in his book The Prince. On the “Commentaries”, the acute master cites the tyrant Lorenzo de Medici: “People always look at their rulers—your example is for them a law”. That’s precise there where the catastrophe resides, because the post-truth is contaminating in a viral way all the relations, it’s entrenching itself a new way of sociability where the predominance of personal pre-concepts is upstaging the objective reality.
Words don’t uphold the objective facts anymore, conversely, they mask and overturn the game. I have witnessed that more and more in my relations more or less intimate and even in my clinic!
SIGNS AND SYMBOLS
I want think over a taboo issue in the territory of psychoanalysis, and one that is much more tolerable for the Jungian psychology.
I’m going to start off by the psychoanalysis and by W. R. Bion, the British psychoanalyst born in India and a disciple of Melanie Klein. In one of his monumental books Second Thoughts: Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis, he writes: the mind, in person, has two parts, one neurotic part which seeks the principle of reality and expresses itself through symbolic language, and another part, psychotic, which seeks the principle of pleasure and expresses itself by means of signs, the famous Bionian ideograms.
Creativity is the product of the circularity between two parts of the mind. When we are in a situation of intense tension, the psychotic part of the mind communicates through an ideogram, then several signs come together generating communication. At this point, we feel relieved because we found a solution to a problem that was vexing us.
Previously, I said that that is a taboo in psychoanalysis because, excepting Bion, the language of signs is a psychotic thing, so that the psychoanalysts neither think about it nor try to develop it theoretically. They simply don’t get interested about that.
Carl Jung and his followers, by their turn, value the language of signs which expresses itself through synchronicities. Synchronicities, here, are the product of “deadlock” and highly tensional situations. In this same fashion, for the Jungian school, a synchronicity yields a relief in relation to an “unsolvable” problem. Jung also sees the language of signs as a communication that reaches us deriving from the collective unconscious. Jungian psychoanalysts think a lot about synchronicities, they delight in this sort of happening, and they keep trying to develop the concept.
For both schools, the Bionian and the Jungian, once the communication takes place through and ideogram and/or a synchronicity, the next step is to relate them to the life trajectory of the person who lives such experience, then symbolize that communication, harvesting and assigning sense and meaning to it.
Which is my contribution to this debate? To value more and more the language of signs. Perhaps our cultural solution depends on that, because the symbolic language, from the neurotic part of the mind, in Bion’s expression, is largely captive and domesticated!
READING THE SIGNS
As it has already been said elsewhere, communication through signs—ideograms and synchronicities—can’t be made by the neurotic part of the mind, which makes uses of language as a mere symbol. The reading signs is, so to speak, the Nature’s language. In humans, the reading of the signs, currently, has been dismissed and relegated to divination practices. In ancient times, those practices were a sort of guidance, since the dangers were huge and people needed to continuously resort to oracles and signs. Nowadays, such practices are seen as superstitious, and anyone who claims to have the ability to read the signs is, almost always, ridiculed.
However, all it takes is to have a clinic in the psy area in order to find out how many people still make use of the reading of signs!
Most theories always downplay the signs, like the language of animals, because they consider such language to be the lowest degree of knowledge. Language of psychotic people, of the animals, of the ignoramus, of the superstitious people.
I think in a very different way. As I already wrote somewhere else, we need to revalue the reading of signs. I’m going to suggest three ways: see the documentary Where have the swallows gone to? directed by Mari Corrêa, which shows how the climate changes are interfering with the everyday life of the Xiguan Indians. Pay attention to the extremely rich reading of the signs that those people can achieve.
Their reading, however, starts to fail with the growing process of deforestation, the soy plantation, and livestock farming. The sign of singing cigars — which heralded the rain — no longer exists, because the heat has cooked those little insect’s eggs. The swallows don’t get together to signal the coming rain any longer, and the butterflies — which were so plentiful that they enter the Indians’ mouths — are also gone, making it impossible for the Indians to recognize a coming period of drought. Park Xingu has 6.500 Indians, and 16 different ethnicities. There, the reading of signs was, and still is, a master’s skill. In the absence of signs, the Indians anticipate the worst scenario: hunger. A hammering question unsettles all of them: where are we going to go once the whites finally destroy the forest?
Let’s go back to one of Jung’s most beautiful teachings and his valuation of religere, not of religare. Religere is a pagan practice, religare is a Christian one. For Jung, individuation comes about through religere; if we’re attentive to the signs, we keep going on the mystery of individuation, because we go on obeying to the numen sent by them. Individuation takes place in and with life, that’s why reading the signs turns out being so essential for the being that individuates.
Everyone who has experienced the “dark night of the soul” — Saint John of Cross’ precious metaphor — knows that in the crossing, they are obliged to develop certain psychic possibilities of an unusual sort. In deep attention, they await a sign, motionless. They listen, see, touch, smell, waiting. Attention focused on the detail, on the miniscule, an uttered word, a book, a dream, an unexpected encounter. The numen inhabits the detail. Sniffer dogs know that.
We need to read once again the controversial and extemporaneous Carlos Castañeda, writer and anthropologist, and the teaching of his master, Don Juan Del Peiote, the Yaqui shaman, who lived in the Sonora desert, in Mexico. In 1968, Castañeda published his master’s dissertation titled The Teaching of Don Juan: a Yaqui way of knowledge. Castañeda and Don Juan taught my generation the importance of reading the signs in order to reach the fundamental: the nagual. We need to go back to the instinctive, intuitive and animal language, which is the language of Life. Right away!
CHRISTMAS, AND EASTER, AND THE FAMILY LIFE
The worst days in my clinic are those subsequent to both Christmas and Easter days. My patients get there simply overwhelmed. They feel aversion at what has been experienced, and, once again, filled or guilt, a lot of guilt. Not everyone, because there are family who get along well and don’t lead, in the next day, to a feeling of abyss. I have a very good-humored patient who says: “I doubt, you’re making that up. Happy family just don’t exist!”. In fact, they exist, they’re rare, but they do exist.
I persuaded that most of my patients, the overwhelmed by the “following day”, they love their parents, their siblings, their very boring aunts and uncles. Then I ask myself: how to explain the “following day”? How to apprehend this feeling of abyss? How to explain the aversion and the guilt? I have a guess which I’ve been mentally condensing throughout my years as a clinician, and over my life experiencing my family life.
Have you ever performed something that’s currently fashionable called “family constellation”? Well, I did that with a psychoanalyst who lives in the neighborhood, and I got very impressed. I left the session with my chakras happily singing. In that “family constellation”, we have an experience of family structure, and of the place we fit in such structure; besides, something that struck me as very curious, we act and make gestures, we live affections related to the spot we fill in the family structure. The creator of such technique learnt them from the African Zulus, and I’m sure they knew pretty well what they were talking about.
The Lacanian school also taught me a lot about the family structure and about the place we occupy in it. They are very good at this thing. In a summary, what I got from them is: who owns the phallus in the family structure, etc.? But, shouldn’t the phallus be returned to the culture? It should be so, but, in most families, the phallus is withheld, and somebody takes possession of it. Ok, but, what does that has to do with the “following day”, after Christmas and Easter? I’m trying to say that we love our parents and our siblings as people, but we dislike the places that they and we occupy in the family structure! That’s there where lies the secret of the aversion to the “following day”.
Oftentimes, the phallus has been retained by the mother, in alliance with the older son, or by the despotic father, and to the other children, especially the females, was assigned, since their first day of existence, “narcissistic collapses” after “narcissistic collapses”. The son, or the daughter, occupies a place of the helplessness in the structure: they don’t have voice, they don’t raise any interest, and they’re summoned to serve the who owns the phallus—mother, father, brother, sometimes a grandfather, sometimes the grandmother. Therefore, that feeling of aversion and guilt derive from the position ones occupies in the family structure.
How to solve that? Developing the immense courage necessary not to belong to that structure and to that place of affection anymore. Giving up the position in the structure is the only way to keep loving the people. Believe it or not, that’s how things can work out better!
THE SOUTH KOREAN FILM-MAKER NA HONG-JIN’ THE WAILING
Recently, I’ve seen a film that deserves a commentary. The Wailing is a film directed by the South Korean film-maker Na Hon-Jin. It’s one of the best metaphors for the contemporary world, and for our country, if not the best of all. Once the director didn’t make that film for the “sick Brazilian people”, there’s an indication that we are “planetarily sick”.
The Wailing is horror film that exceeds in bizarreness. It’s a long play (2h30min), but it’s breathtaking throughout. The plot is very impressive, woven from genres and narratives juxtapositions. The rhythm moves ruthlessly, and it doesn’t provide any key to understanding what’s really going on, not even at the end.
The film is a political and social — as well as a family and supernatural — that points to a world’s crackling in an exquisite and intelligent way, aesthetically different, featuring “characters” who don’t belong to the Western imagery.
Let me provide a few tentative tips: in a little town, people lead happily their simple lives, represented retroactively by a family, a father-policeman (Jong-Goo), and an eight-year-old girl, who worships her father-hero, the city protector, her protector, the order keeper. At once, people in the community start to go mad, triggering a series of chilling murders. The police—the State and its law-enforcers agents—start an investigation.
There’s something very curious and comparable to what’s going on in Brazil nowadays, for the representatives of the public order and the people from the community don’t think of anything, they aren’t able to articulate any kind of thinking. In place of the thinking process, there’s a sort of “sobbing idea” about what’s happening and, invariably, the person who has the “sobbing idea” is blatantly ignored by those who hear her.
The killings and the horror goes on. Science is called for: lab tests indicate that a tonic, sold in the village, contains hallucinogenic mushrooms, which are driving people crazy. Doctors try to cure the “possessed crazy people”, but to no avail. The Catholic Church associate with medicine and the laboratories—and they blame the hallucinogenic mushrooms used by the population as a tonic of life!
That is to say, reason is a stupid and impotent calculus; add to that the inexistence of thinking, the science and the religion which acts pathetically and aren’t capable of coping with what’s happening.
We’re left with the “odd characters”, likely responsible for the slaughtering in the small community. However, the characters—and that’s the single clue provided by the director, according to a suggestive understanding of a friend of mine who saw the film with me—in a very strange relation of alterity towards us, and may perceptible in Viveiros de Castro’s works, those characters have morphed themselves in what the people in the community projectively imagine they are. If that’s the case, the director withdraws any possibility of betting.
While I was trying to pay close attention to the film, my mind was incessantly crossed by Bruno Latour’s book We Have Never Been Modern. Perhaps we might say of the present moment in world: we’re progressively failing to be modern!
The only way out is the thinking, different from the reason-calculus, and the director offers us that all along. The Wailing is a powerhouse of “unthought thoughts”, beta-thoughts, which demand to be thought over, as Bion would say. There lies the grandiosity of this wonderful horror film, a creative mirror of our time.
MAY 1978’S STRIKES AND 2016’S SCHOOLS OCCUPATIONS
I’m almost sure you won’t recall, but I have these memories quite clear in my mind, and I’m going to tell you them. We lived, then, in plain military dictatorship. It was 1978. At that time, I lived close to the entrance of a slum, between Parque Bristol and Jardim São Savério, in São Paulo city. In May of the year, all at once, my friends, something very unprecedented started to take place. The workers “spontaneously” started to occupy the factories: the big car-maker companies, the metallurgical companies in general, all of them in the Great São Paulo metropolitan area, in the ABCD area.
In the first days, a couple dozen factories went on strike; the workers occupied them, hundreds of them, then thousands. The movement kept on, multiplying itself. Everyone, baffled, experienced surprise after surprise. Unions and political parties were left aside the strike movement, including the São Bernardo do Campo main union, which was led by Lula, who would become a Brazilian president years later. The Workers Party didn’t exist yet.
The strikes hatched as the results of the São Paulo’s union “ant’s work”, together with base ecclesial communities, the working districts. Add to that what was called “union’s base work”. None of that, however, explains the year 1978. In order for the occupying movement could spread, there was a leap of sensitiveness—as Michel Foucault would say. The strikes, the occupations, nothing was stuck to some specific person. There were numerous and strong factory commissions—neither connected to political parties nor to unions.
I plunged into what seemed to be a delightful ocean wave; a pouring movement, one that multiplied itself with the multiplication of desires. Many factories went on strike without even presenting a list of claims. Shining faces, cheer, pure joy in acting, in living a movement that only knew how to open new roads, without knowing exactly where to go. All the order of the capital—spaces and times—passed to other hands, the worker’s hands.
Less than two years later, the “spontaneous” strikes disappeared, and with them, the factory commissions. São Bernardo metallurgic worker’s union got stronger, centralized the movement, once it was restricted, it withered. The Worker’s Party was born. Many people, actually the majority of people saw in that outcome a “worker’s advance”. I didn’t go with the majority and I released a short book about the strike movement of May 1978 called The Refusal Strategy (A Estratégia da Recusa, in Portuguese), by Brasiliense publishing house. The book edition is sold out for a long time now. In that book, I told the story of that wave, the force of the stream of desires in their connections which don’t comply with authorities or representations. I described the shining faces, the existential excitement of “being together”, thinking and acting. Since then I’ve never been the same person again, and the death of that “spontaneous” movement also put an end to my career as a social scientist. I moved on to a new adventure.
I told all that story because I want say that the recent movement of occupation of state schools and federal universities, which we could gladly experience, had antecedents almost four decades ago! I also told the story because it seems unreal to me those lives who aren’t could appreciate the joy of being together, alive, happy, in an overflowing stream of desires.
Out Temer — Direct Election Now!
BURSTING THE SUBJECTIVE CHAINS:
DREAMING, INTUITING, ALLOWING ONESELF TO BE TOUCHED BY CROSSINGS
We’re all global prisoners, despite the fact that there aren’t any chains keeping us captive. Well, we know that it isn’t just so, don’t we? The chains do exist, but they’re invisible ones. It is our own subjectivity itself that has turned into chains, tool of the global capture. Let me give one example: our functioning depends on reason and calculus, and we aim at efficacy and productivity. In order for us to run free, we have to enable the blossoming of other subjective qualities such as the dreaming and the intuition. We have to forsake this normalized way of living, allowing for the event of crossings, which will pluck us out of sameness.
Since I was very young, I started to experience a certain discomfort as to my psychic functioning. Dreams and intuition were my action drivers. I would make up my mind about something as soon as a dream inspired me to do so. If it wasn’t the case, I would stay put, o wouldn’t do or decide anything, sometimes for very long periods. Efficacy and productivity were never my companions in this adventure. No doubt all of that has brought me much suffering; my singularity seemed to deserve fixing. Indeed, I admit to be somehow awkward. Bottom-line: I’ve valued so much my intuition that I’ve become a little visionary.
My dreams have become richer and richer, to the extent that everything I live is derived from a previous dreaming experience. Everything! Important things, not so important things, traumatic things, joyful things… every single thing I live my dreams tell me in advance. I have an internal companion, very friendly, who cares about me with a superior intelligence, infinitely superior to my conscience! Fascinated by that, I’ve learnt to follow my dreams, as if they were my gifts.
I’ve lost the interest in making money, in pursuing a winning career, in intellectual reputation. If something of the kind happened to me, it wasn’t sought for, because the only thing that really interests me is to keep on building mine, and help the other build theirs, hardly capturable subjectivities.
The distinctiveness of the intuitions, the dreams, and the crossings I’ve been experiencing not only have enchanted my world, but they also allowed a deeper critical outlook, before the emotional misery of the world and its unshackled prisoners.
SLAVERY DOESN’T GET ALONG WELL WITH PSYCHOANALYSIS!
Some years ago, during a lecture, a psychoanalyst who has a deep knowledge concerning the cultural and political Brazilian roots, asked a question that has never stopped resounding in my mind. He asked: “what if Sigmund Freud was Brazilian, in the turning of the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries, would he have developed his psychoanalytical theory?” The question hit me hard, and the answer even harder: “No, he said, there wouldn’t be psychoanalysis because the Brazilian elite is slavery-based and perverse!”.
A simple and very truthful reasoning: in a slavery-based country, where, instead of recognizing the other as other, we tend to turn her into an object, there wouldn’t have any base for the emergence of psychoanalysis! I was tantalized by such discussion.
When we witness, currently in our country, the perverse and slave-based elite reappearing, disguised as neoliberals, we understand how deep is the question formulated by the astute psychoanalyst.
Slave-owing and perverse people don’t think and don’t talk, they only know how to manipulate others, as they do with things. Isn’t precisely that what is taking place around here?
Well, the problem is that that question didn’t stop reverberating until the moment when something became audible, and this time around I take full responsibility: “but, would Freud, surely someone who’s known worldwide as one of the brightest genius in the twentieth century, escape such trap?!” The question stayed silent during a long time, without enough strength to come to light, and then it glared. Belonging to the European world, would Freud have managed to escape eurocentrism, or imperialism? It doesn’t seem so, because Oedipus was thought and told as universal for Freud in Totem and Taboo — published in 1914.
I want to point out that Totem and Taboo is a fabulous book, and the myth told by Freud could’ve worked as a regulative fiction in/for psychoanalysis. A regulative, thought-provoking fiction. Rousseau had also taken advantage of another regulative fiction to think the transition from nature to culture.
More than a century after the publication of Freud’s book, another one recalling the same theme was published: One Hundred Years of Totem and Taboo (2014), and the several authors who wrote it, insisted vehemently on Oedipus’ universality! The psychic imperialism was turned into law! The nuclear bourgeois family — European —, for the Post-Freud Freudian, is and will continue to be dominant, until (sic) the end of history! And all that after the civilizational criticism engendered by Herbert Marcuse, Wilhelm Reich, Carl Jung, Nietzsche, Simondon, Deleuze and Guattari!
That last book — One Hundred… — is delusional and, after having realized that, I revisited it countless times in order to, once more, make sure: yes, it really is a delusion! Taking into account other supporting references, I would modestly suggest the “Oedipus is a sort of particular subjectivity, temporarily limited, which is rooted in certain economic, social, and political conditions”. Anyway, this discussion is imperative, and if it doesn’t take place, we’ll die, all of us tied to the navel string of the Western civilization!
The other day I attended a lecture delivered by a good-humored Lacanian psychoanalyst. He wasn’t afraid of playing with the “sacred” in his own school, and following Giorgio Agamben approach, he enjoyed desecrating! The lecturer said: “If a patient doesn’t get along well with a Lacanian psychoanalyst, the psychoanalyst think it over and tell his peers: this one didn’t get along well with me because he is perverse, and perverse people don’t have any condition to make analysis! Naked truth, no mediations.
Owing to these and other reasons, I fell in love with Sandor Fereczi. In one of his famous articles, Confusion of Tongues, he makes clear the way psychoanalysis may drive us crazy as a consequence of the asymmetry imposed by the relation analyst-analysand. It happens because in the classic psychoanalysis, that is, the Freudian psychoanalysis, the psychoanalyst imbued of authority—no one knows who would have given him that—is always right and doesn’t have to talk with the patient over his interpretations when they’re mistaken. If the psychoanalyst makes a mistake, and he is vulnerable to make quite a lot of mistakes, still he’ll be right in his art and he’ll say: it’s just an interpretation. There’s no way out!
Well, I just said all that because I want to recall the Ferenczi apologized for his patient and tried not to traumatize him again, during the analysis sessions. Ferenczian humility in itself is healing. Christopher Bollas is very much Ferenczian and he maintains a symmetric setting, insisting on that and, whenever he provides wrong interpretations, he apologizes. I would say the same about Jung, whose setting is symmetrical, a one-to-one conversation, dialectics without synthesis, and very much respectful towards the patient. Donald Winnicott would say, at the end of his journey: I performed many interesting interpretations, and I regret them all! Quite reliable this psychoanalyst called Winnicott.
DANIEL PAUL SHREBER: LOUCO OU VISIONÁRIO?!
(DEZEMBRO DE 2016)
Daniel Paul Shreber (1942-1911) is considered the most important madman in the history of Psychiatry. The whole psy area has been scrutinized him and his ingenious book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (1903). In that book, the distinguished German legal expert, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, defended himself before the court and left the madhouse, as he managed to demonstrate that his reason had been kept intact throughout, although he devised a formidable delirium.
The main point of the delirium was: the end of the world had already happened and he, Shreber, would copulate with god to originate a new humankind. What was left of the world that had finished was just an illusion — “hastily-made” men, who occupied a position, for instance, in the madhouse, but shortly unmade themselves.
Suddenly, it seems to me, Shreber is the major contemporary political scientist! It’s a fact, we’re living the end of the world, and I, at least, hope that Shreber manages to copulate with god and generate a new humankind. It also seems to me that the jurist was right: there are only “hastily-made” men! Men whose words don’t mean anything anymore — inactive words. For the “hastily-made” men the facts don’t sustain themselves, and they undo themselves incessantly, as if they had never ever existed.
I’m convinced that this isn’t taking place just among the ruling and slave-owing classes. Words and facts, which aren’t sustained by “hastily made” men, are present all over the social fabric. I have a proposal: let’s go out with the Shreberian splitter, and let’s differentiate those “hastily-made” men, who unmake facts with their sandy words, from those “true men”, who still manage to sustain the facts and whose words still generate action. Let’s do that in our neighborhood, on our street, in our family, with our colleagues. I did that in the psy area and was taken aback: I virtually could only find “hastily-made” men—including women, lesbian, gays, transsexuals, do not leave anybody out, please.
Let’s hope that Schreber eventually manage to copulate with god and give rise to a new humankind, and that such newly-created humankind might compose with the few “true men” who still sustain facts and whose words still act. Men who don’t withdraw from all and any scenarios saying, as the slave-owing men who rules us: “It isn’t my business”, “I have nothing to do with that”, ‘I’m going to stay out because it doesn’t concern me”.
Long life to the Schreberian deliriums, which are still capable of providing us some hope!
ENVY, PROJECTIONS, AND INVERSIONS.
As everybody knows, we are experiencing a dark time, and the national as well as the international political arena echoes on the personal interactions. People don’t hesitate to lie, slander, defame, take advantage of the other, remain indifferent when you need help or solidarity. Envying wasn’t ever so fashionable, and two mechanisms we identify on the macro level keep repeating themselves on the micro level: projections and inversions. If someone commits an awful act against you today, on the following day things get turned over and you’re accountable precisely for the same act that victimized you, and you end up being responsible for the emotional misery of the other!
That’s quite maddening.
The anomy embeds itself in the social and cultural fabric, and I deem it very unsettling. I recall that, at the time of the military dictatorship, we used to mention a “we”, a collective that was worthwhile living. There were solidarity and good humor. Sure, it wasn’t so all the time, but… We’re not living this division anymore; they: the politics, the corruption, the manipulation, the inversions—and “we” with some quality, with a different emotional atmosphere. We are all suffering from the same anomie.
THE GENERAL UBERIZATION OF SOCIETY
There’s a marriage between two conceptions, two practices: the neoliberal minimum state and the self-made entrepreneur. The State discharges itself from providing health, education, social rights, pension rights, and does it by creating a new capitalistic figure, a new way of managing the affections: the self-made entrepreneur who works as a company. Lord and slave in the same person. We don’t need anybody to watch us anymore, we exert relentless surveillance over ourselves. We compete with ourselves, and every one competes more and more with oneself. The subjectivity is anchored on the impotency and on the insufficiency—always underperforming. Indebted subjects.
With that new figure came along the craze of apps. The self-made entrepreneur now and on has a growing range of apps available. It’s the uberization of the society as a whole. For instance, an unemployed person with a car in her garage is a potential self-made entrepreneur once she registers on Uber. From then on, the Uber driver will relate only to the app, not to the client/passenger.
Last week, when I was leaving Tomie Otake Institute, a friend of mine offered me a ride and called an Uber taxi. He provided his address in Vila Madalena. At certain point in the short itinerary, my friend asked the driver to turn away one block to leave me at my doorstep, in Pinheiros. The driver stopped the car and said: “I can’t. I’ll be downgraded by the app. I must follow the route indicated by the app”. Punch line: the Uber driver only relate do the app, not to the client. He doesn’t look around; his eyes are glued to the route preset by the app. A downgrade might cause the driver to lose his fabulous right to be self-made entrepreneur!
In the university, the professors relate with another app: Lattes*. Everyone has their eyes glued to Lattes, increasing their academic output, after all, that’s all that matters. The meaning of knowing and of being a teacher doesn’t interest much, what is interesting is production, production, production, and, once one fails to reach the desirable production, the app—by means of its inquisitorial and impersonal commissions—will dismiss you.
Last week I heard about an app for psychoanalysts. The advertising line for the app was: “Do therapy wherever you are”. The therapy is done through the mobile phone and the client pays $100 per month, and the psychoanalyst, self-made entrepreneur, rejoices at the horizon of limitless possibilities…
What does self-made entrepreneurship promote?
Tiredness, fatigue, because the person work more and more, usually without any social/labor rights, at a price more and more deplorable.
It’s empowering with radical impoverishment.
The social relations disorganize and cease to exist, because all of us, entrepreneurs, relate to impersonal, vertical, and above all, rating apps. It’s no accident that the neoliberals love to say: “There isn’t this thing called society anymore”.
*Lattes is a Brazilian virtual platform that integrates academic data from institutions, curriculum vitae, research group, etc.
JOAN OF ARC AND JESUS FROM NAZARETH
I have had many meaningful encounter throughout my life, and two of them were essential. The first encounter was too early, too precocious and infinitely incisive: when I was five years old my mother sent me to study in a Christian school named Externato Joana D’Arc. Arriving there, I came across Joan, riding her horse, leading armies. It was the most epiphanic moment in my life, and due to its earliness, it totally pervaded myself.
I like to joke that I “left my parents’ nest” when I was five, and that’s somewhat true: in a way or another, the petit bourgeois and conservative family project, with its oedipal identifications, laboriously woven for me, by my family, started to be experimented with increasingly resistance from my part.
Between the motherly fate and the adventure in the world generously offered by Joan of Arc, I didn’t hesitate. The virgin of Orleans abducted me, psychically and emotionally. I started to live, to dream, and have as a partner, this woman who was the biggest hybrid in history: masculine? Feminine? Bisexual? Transsexual? Visionary or crazy? Witch or an authentic Christian leader? Warrior or mystic? Feminist? All of that at the same time? Queer? Yes, a queer militant from several aspects.
The encounter with Joan of Arc was a kind of happening in my life which reverberates until today. Her multiple possibilities of being attracted me in very compelling way, for they revealed that any one of us can be multiple, can exercise oneself in the multiplicity. Joan not at us from the future!
The second encounter was with Jesus from Nazareth. I read the interpretation of Jesus undertaken by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau’s Jesus simply dazzled me. Archetype of the human, Jesus incorporates in himself two natural passions: the self-love and the pitié. These were his mysteries and the strength of his personality. Jesus taught me that all of us can take away our civilizational masks, which deform us, and re-propose on different bases the “living together”.
Rousseau has kept me company and inspired me for decades now. Humble and miserable, if we compare him to the civilizational masks, Jesus knew what happiness really is by reintegrating himself with the Cosmos! There’s a cosmopolitics in Rousseau that call as back again. This calling doesn’t aim at the harmonious reintegration through cosmic places any longer, but a different sort of cosmopolitics. Jesus not at us from the future!
I’ve understood, with them, that a bonfire and a crucifixion are trifles comparing to the cosmic realization of the self. Jung and Bollas taught me that the self is multiple; and it is cosmic, I believe, with the help of the authors mentioned, because we arrive to this planet Earth already in a mould—the multiple self—without knowing neither where we’ve come from, nor where we’re heading to, without having chosen that potential and, even though, we are summoned to realize it…My two friend, Jesus and Joan, have done that, and the realization in the was stronger than death!
Once again, such cosmopolitics comes to the foreground.
CREATIVITY AND ADAPTATION:
TALKATIVE AND CHEEFUL BODY
There are several conditions to make a body “talk”. The body only “talks” if and when the person is creative and integrated. Donald Winnicott believes that creativity takes place in life.
To be creative is to have a meaningful existence, a functional and actual life: to be a “world-maker”. The opposite of that is the submission, the adaptation to a certain state of affair: genitors, family, university, company, State, etc.
It isn’t hard to notice that in the contemporary culture people more adapt themselves than create new worlds.
Now, it has relevant political consequences. Who has creativity has a talking body; who is adapted and subjected has a sick body. It isn’t always like that, but, believe me, it is the possible gamble for us to understand our present reality.
In the “world-maker”, occasionally embarrassed due to the adaptations and submissions, the body withers, loses strength, and gets very, very sorrowful.
If you, reader, mainly you from the psy area, come across a “world-maker” with a withered body, read her on the reverse—once she knew potency and joy. As soon as she minimally recovers from the “bout of submission”, her body will reclaim its potency and joy.
This is a way of reading Spinoza’s maxim “what a body can”. An adapted and subjected person is a survivor, she has survived by adapting herself, her body also talks, but its voice is inaudible, for it speaks through illness/depression, impotency and sorrow. This is a political issue and I’ll come back to it.
Creative people — as understood by Winnicott and Spinoza — defend their bodies, with the bodily existence; it’s a liberated life, multiple, diversified.
ENVY AND GRATITUDE IN CONTEMPORARY TIMES.
One of the major contemporary source of suffering is the envy. People experience too much envy; we’re kept captive by it. On the list of the “numberless celebrities”, the envious person is outside, doesn’t belong, hasn’t make it yet, stayed below the average. Our inferiorities become huge. Melanie Klein, in one of her most precious books, Envy and Gratitude, provides us an essential key to grasp the feeling of envy. Which is this key that she grants us? The envious person always attacks! There we have the precious key.
If you, dear reader, compare yourself to somebody, and think that it would be nice to be on her shoes, but the comparison stops there, there is to say, you don’t attack the person, it means that you admire her, not envy her! The envy, for Klein, comes together with the attack: the envious person attacks what is good in the other, what constitutes — in André Green’s perception — the narcissism of life of the envied one. Everything that’s prime on you, dear reader, will be targeted by the envious person, in case you run into one. That’s why it’s so painful such attack, because it focuses precisely on the best part of the person who is victimized.
Let’s forget about Iago, in the Shakespearean play: he poisoned so much the relationship between Othello and Desdemona that led the Moorish to kill him. And what was it the Iago, whose actions are so paradigmatic of the envy, wanted from Othello? From Desdemona? Was he in love with her? No, he wasn’t. He, Iago, didn’t want anything neither from Othello nor from Othello’s loved fiancée Desdemona. He just wanted to attack what there was of prime in their relationship: the love!
- R. Bion wove a sentence that’s now and then taken up by his followers: “This thing you’re feeling, sir, is called ENVY”. It is necessary, as advises Bion, to name the feeling to the envious person, since she is very unaware of herself while feeling this emotion. She’s so unconscious of herself that she doesn’t know about her own feelings. Only the one who feels gratitude is able to think, suggests Klein. The envious individual doesn’t think at all. To think is to thank—as once put Martin Heidegger, but also Melanie Klein!
THE TYPICAL IN THE PSYCHOANALYSIS MAN: TRIEB X INSTINCT
During thirty years spent in college courses and psychoanalytical colloquiums I was obliged to listen to a distinction reckoned by the psychoanalysts as a definitive one: between trieb — pulsion, related to human beings — and instinct — related to animals. Psychoanalysis has always been the most anthropocentric of all the human sciences! That distinction, arrogantly stated in every meeting, embittered me so much, but nobody was ever allowed to raise any slightest objection.
Now, then, the psychoanalysts, at least the Lacanian ones, are trying to cope with this shocking reality and they want to change the pulsion into some sort of “cosmic drive”.
Of course, I think it interesting to witness, the problem is that they couldn’t give up, until very recently, the difference—precious for them—between men and animals; they couldn’t give up seeking what was “unique of the man”. And, surely, they didn’t apologize, because one of their foibles is exactly their inability to ask forgiveness. By the way, the only thing that’s lacking now is their claiming to be the owners of ideas that, definitely, they never had!
I’m going to cite a passage by Vladimir Safatle, philosopher, but also a Lacanian, in his pamphlet When the streets burn: a manifesto for the emergence: “…Pulsion is this impulse which drives my actions without my controlling of it, that’s what takes me out of my own jurisdiction, by making resonate the history of the wished desires that don’t reduce themselves to my history. To accept the existence of the pulsion is to accept that something in myself, which deprives me of the condition of uniqueness, of carrier of unique interests, of enunciator of a unique identity (…) I’m caused by something that is more than the sum of individual interests, something that doesn’t calculate with one individual, that has another time, that makes resonate multiple voices and that, being an ongoing resonance of multiplicities, configures subjects in infinite resonance, as if such subjects would carry in themselves a pulsion that compose and decompose them in a perpetual rhythm, that cast them into processes of continuous reconfiguration (…) Against that continuous composing and decomposing, modern politics invented the representation…”
When we finish reading this passage, we start to celebrate: to celebrate Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, to celebrate Gilbert Simondon, to celebrate Gilles Deleuze, to celebrate Carl Gustave Jung… because, definitely, such “cosmic pulsion” is so much more linked to these authors than to the authors who cares so much about the division between men and animals, as well as about the endless search for what was/is “unique of the man” in psychoanalysis!
GILBERT SIMONDON AND THE PRE-INDIVIDUAL REALITY
As far as I know, the entire modern thinking derives from the individuated reality. Only the already-constituted individuals may cause some interest in science, no matter if it’s the biology, the sociology, the medicine, the education, the psychology, and so on. Gilbert Simondon propounds a change from thinking the individuated reality to thinking the pre-individual reality. And that makes a huge difference. If my thinking, instead of approaching the individuals — no matter who or what they are — approaches the pre-individual, I’ll be focusing on the genesis of the individual, on what he calls the Apeiron, the Unlimited, the Infinite, as proposed by Anaximander, the pre-Socratic philosopher. Simondon sees the Apeiron as a synonym of Nature, then the Man doesn’t separate from nature, otherwise, he is the carrier of Apeiron, the Unlimited, and differs from himself, because he brings with him something that surpasses himself. He is continuously crossed by such field, by such placenta — forgive me the word — which goes from the tiniest to the cosmos.
A sort of — forgive-me, again — cosmic placenta, without neither time nor space delimitation. Or, as Peter Pál Pelbart puts it, we carry with us a reservoir of possibilities, a reservoir of future figurations.
That’s the way Simondon seems to understand the transitions, the individuations that are imposed on us every time we get routinized, or petrified. Moments like those allow us to figure out that we bring inside us the pre-individual, a Nature that, being Apeiron, enforces deaths and rebirths. It’s as if this stage — the pre-individual — would foreshadow the individual, and it’s only possible to explain individuation if one takes into account that pre-individual stage.
Peter Pál Pelbart says: “…the individual doesn’t exist as such, the individual that each of us is, is the precarious and provisional result of the process of individuation…” This is the case because, with a precarious and provisional individual, there aren’t fixed identities, nor the identifications are fundamental, for the individuals’ transformations derive from the pre-individual stage, and that’s why the subjectivity — my term — emergent from such process, is multiple, open to becomings that take it and cross it.
If you’re still with me, I suggest that one of the possible figurations of that precarious and provisional individual is what I called personality-source, and that’s also the reason why the strong point of the personality-source isn’t the production of territories. Territories belong to fixed individuals, finished ones, who transform themselves in a well-behaved fashion, by means of identifications, and only experience identifications.
MY FRIENDS FROM FACEBOOK
This morning I woke up asking myself: who are my friend from/in Facebook? Some of them, surely, I know. Most, certainly not. Who are they? I hardly invite someone to be “my friend” on Facebook. Usually I receive such friendship requests. Then it brought to my mind Goethe’ precious book, Elective Affinities. That book is markedly Spinozian. If we could bring Baruch Spinoza to our daily life, our experiences could easily be called “elective affinities”.
Carl Gustav Jung had a conception of synchronicity which reverberates Spinoza’s influence, and anchors itself on the Goethe’s book.
In this morning sequence of (free) associations of ideas, it dawned on me that my Facebook friends call me due to elective affinities, that is, I assume that they, unconsciously, look for people who merge with them, what will somehow contribute to increasing their potency. I believe I follow the same trend. Let’s all of us increase our potency together!
I wish everyone a productive and joyful morning!
INDIVIDUATION AND THE BORDERING BEINGS
Emilia Marty’s article on Gilbert Simondon’s philosophical thinking was published on Revista Multitudes, number 18, in October 2014. The article was titled “Simondon, a space to come”, and summons us to the future by reinterpreting the process of individuation and bringing up another figure: the bordering being, the inhabitant of the “generative source”. There’s an opening linking one space to the next, still to come, an opening that is inscribed in the very act of knowing, beyond the cleavage subject-object.
The Simondonian revolution comes about through a deviation in the thinking process: from the individuated reality to the pre-individual reality, Apeiron, the Unlimited. It has to do with deviating the individuals’ thought and redirect it to the pre-individual, at the service of the individuation. Simondon uses the words Nature and Apeiron interchangeably, in the sense of the Pre-Socratic philosophers. According to Anaximander, it is from the Apeiron that springs up all and every individuated form, and then, nature isn’t the opposite of Man, indeed it is the first phase of a being.
Following Simondon, Marty values the anguish as a “possible way for individuation”. However, Marty is radical and advances that, at the end of the deindividuation, boosted by anguish, there’s no re-individuation. There is, in her view, “the other who isn’t and individual”, the bordering being, which doesn’t make any transitions, or gain any new form. Hereinafter, what characterizes the being is the starting point—not any form, any individuation, or new individuation. Marty interprets Simondon’s: “It, the anguish, is the being’s starting point”. For Marty, “the being has become departure” through anguish. The being as departure is a being of the starting point. Inhabiting the border, angled toward the pre-individuated reality, he lives close to the “living source”, a point at which new worlds are created.
Thus, the nature of knowledge transforms itself. To know no longer presupposes just a subject and an object, rather, the knowledge equalizes with the artistic creation. Marty writes: “the thinking process here isn’t a means of dominion anymore, or of domination over the objects it studies. Thinking becomes an act of co-creation of the living being, followed by stages of individuation”. How does the thinking process/knowledge comes true in relation to what is external to us? It’s a thinking that goes together with the genesis of everything that there is, of the individuals as a whole, be they man, plant, rock, or thought.
At the end of her article, Marty renders a beautiful homage to Simondon: “…this work goes with us in our individuation path and, reciprocally, all of us, living beings from the present that we are in the path of co-individuation, let’s keep on individuating this thinking.”
I three big clashes since the beginning of October. Three friends told me: “your existential territory is this one!”. Oh, god, how that made me sick. If anybody understands what’s going on with me, please, help me. I can’t stand any professional, much less existential, naming. I am not a Jungian analyst, I am not a psychoanalyst, I am not an anthropologist, I am not a sociologist. I am NOBODY. I have a vocation to be NOBODY. People closer to me know that, but, now and then, someone comes close and territorializes me. I get very sick, claustrophobic, unhappy, tight, stagnated, imprisoned. It has always been like that. I always lived and felt like that. Nomadism is in the base of my personal idiom. It doesn’t take place just because I read Deleuze and Guattari; mu body and my soul are like that: nomads. Only in nomadic mode I enjoy what’s dearest to me: the freedom. I delight in knowing that I always ready to leave, once more. The hardest part for me is to understand how and why people appreciate affirming themselves, naming themselves, from a certain territory! As a matter of fact, they defend their territory fighting tooth and nail. How and why does that give them pleasure?
PERSONALITY- NOBODY II
I want to talk a little about the personality-nobody, which I also call personality-source. The basic trait in this type of personality is that it doesn’t territorialize itself, it neither arranges territories nor manages to fit others’ territories. The personality-source experienced a harsh life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, because those centuries were identity ones, fond of the identity processes.
The personality-source didn’t succeed; it was displaced, it experienced failure and developed the ugliest of the passions: the envy. It envied the territorialized people, it envied those who had — or just seemed to have — steel-forged identities, without any chinks, tight, strong, self-assured in the defense of their incredible specialized territories. No matter what sort of territories.
The personality-source, as the very name reveals, can only be happy if it is close to the source, it’s only happy where the world emerges, and it has an artistic soul, loves the new beginnings, loves to play with the uncountable possibilities coming out of the Source.
The personality-source exercises itself in the multiplicity, because its interests are multiple, and multiple is its playing. If the personality-nobody tries to structure itself in its own territory, but, if feeling envy, it moves into someone else’s territory, quite rapidly it petrifies, withers, loses its cheerfulness and rushes back to the source.
The personality-source only manages to feel comfortable when it embraces the way of functioning that best suits it, finally figuring out that it is the Guardian of the Source.
I have many patients like that, people with an artistic soul—because they’re multiple, bold, open to new beginnings. These people coming to my clinic have taught me a lot about the incredible possibilities that life has provided them to be Nobody.
In literature, Emily Marty is an author that frequently celebrates the personality-source. She celebrates the “bordering beings”, open to the pre-individual mode of life, as proposed by Simondon, whose work Marty comments on Magazine Multitudes, number 18.
Now the times are changing, and they’re changing in favor of the personality-nobody! It seems that the twenty-first century is much more moderate with the personality-source and no more disapproves of it. On the contrary, those in hot seats now are the carriers of rigid, petrified personalities, because they’ve forgotten what it takes to reach the Source.
Standard diving gears walking along the avenue, they only know how to dream of butterflies! The dreams tell the truth about the standstills.
Nowadays, the excessively territorialized ones tend to suffer the most because they believe too much in the collective, in the foundation of territories, in the identities, and in the identifying processes.
Now what? How are the divers going to get rid of their standard diving dresses?
WHICH IS THE DIVERGENCE BETWEEN FREUD AND JUNG?
Quite often I read three texts by Carl Gustav Jung: The divergence between Freud and Jung (CW, IV), The I and the unconscious (CW, VII/2) and Adaptation, individuation, and value creation (CW, XVIII). These texts are vital for us to apprehend the concept of individuation. I’m going to comment on one of them: which is the divergence between Freud and Jung.
From the Swiss psychologist’s view, one of the disagreements refers to Nicodemus’ question (John 3:4): “Can anyone returns to his mother’s womb and be born again?” (pr. 782) Jung hosts the question, and Freud succumbs to it. I think that here we got the core of the disagreement between these two geniuses of the area psy.
To be born again, I mean, to die and to be reborn, to individuate oneself is necessary to “return to the mother’s womb”: a metaphor of the collective unconscious or of the mode of pre-individual existence (Simondon), which, in a way of another, contains the individual, or the individuals, all of them: men, animals, rocks, plants, meteorological phenomena, etc. Just so, we will be able to think of the landscapes and deep transitions where the death and revival metaphor have some meaning.
It is necessary to “return” to the register from which we experience our first individuation. The register from where we have emerged. That is the difference between Freud and Jung. Freud thinks that what’s really important is the constituted individual. An already-constituted individual, thought as such, doesn’t have where to “return”! I mean, Freud and psychoanalysis don’t provide an answer to Nicodemus’ question, then, psychoanalysis can’t cope with the passages, transitions, in which the metaphor of death and rebirth might make any sense.
1) THE LISTENING IN THE PSY LAB+ORATORY
In the psy labor-plus-oratory very sensitive psychic processes come about. It is necessary to fine tune the listening skill so that one can welcome them and do not let them escape as if they were elusive light rays. It is absolutely essential to echo the patient on those moments, as Freud taught us.
Recently I had one of these experiences: a very smart patient-client, a winner in the collective, is going through a deep transition. For some time now she has experimented a process, unknown to her and to many people: she de-invest all her loved objects in the collective. More and more in a deeper way! The profession she used to enjoy, started to slip through her fingers like sand grains. Since she never considered the possibility of giving up her profession, this unwanted de-investment scares her. Of course, all that coincides with a loss of meaning that such dream used to represent. What does all that mean? Sometimes I say it is the “dark night of soul”. But, isn’t this night never going to end? A transition like that might be very long, might last years. Without faith in life, nobody can accomplish that.
In that desert, in that radical indetermination, something I call “self’s rehearsals” start to come up. The self, or multiple unborn parts of the self, look for new objects to express themselves. Jung believes that in the deep transitions the self begins to control the ego and give a new direction to life. Simondon is more radical and states that there isn’t ego to support us, there is just a germ/crystal/information, a form and action that sustain us; however, it is still necessary to afford the indetermination inscribed in the transition: after the de-investment, a new (re)configuration deriving from the pre-individual mode of existence.
In that session, my patient-client started to hear the first chords of a new existential sensibility: a new profession. “Amnéris,” she told me “I feel I have the right emotion for that profession”. Then, my patient, taken by this recent finding, inaugural emotion of a new beginning, added: “In this new profession I’m not going to write ten books about the subject and win all the prizes; I want to serve this emotion, I want to serve this thing that is coming to life!” This is the way a very special form of spirituality arises: the desire to serve an emerging emotion.
2) THE LISTENING IN THE PSY LAB+ORATORY
A psy clinic is a laboratory (lab+oratory, as the old alchemists used to call it) of the contemporary temporality, and we’re living passing times: individuals and collectives are engaging in disruptive, deconstructive, breath-taking passages.
My clinic has always sheltered those who are experiencing passages, transitions, ineffable happenings, but I swear, it has never, ever, been as it is nowadays!
Yesterday, during a session, I was quite affected by a patient’s speech. He is undergoing a deep transition: professional, emotional, intellectual. His attitudes, his way of loving, his way of being in the world, all that is changing. He is going through an individuation, and he’s springing up again, as Simondon would say. The patient told me: “Later on I’ll have to tell my children all that’s going on with me, they need to know everything.” After listening to him and thinking in a dreamlike way, I told him: “You don’t need to tell them anything. This transition you’re going through is going is to show off on your face, in your mind, in your emotions, in you psyche. From now on, each word you say, each attitude, each gesture, each encounter is going to resonate this transition. It’s going to pervade you”.
This is true for anyone who dares to live a big transition in life: it gets impregnated if it’s emotionally thought.
I appreciated that session very much. My patients teach me more and more, and more than individuate, we can also flourish, yet again.
NEON CUNHA AND THE CHALLENGES OF CONTEMPORANEITY.
(AGOSTO DE 2016)
The designer Neon Cunha, 44-years-old — 35 years working at São Bernardo do Campo city hall — demands, judicially, the rectification of her birth register. She demands that the baptismal name (Neumir) and the gender (male), which were assigned her, to be changed.
Neon is the third oldest child in a total of ten children of a humble family who has live in São Bernardo do Campo for many years. When Neon was two-and-half-year-old, her mother, a cleaning lady, says that she recognized herself as a girl. She has struggled with fear since then, but it has never paralyzed her. She decides to implant breasts. “But, if you have a penis, you’re not a woman” — the LGBT movement told her. However, she doesn’t flinch: “I’m a woman with penis”.
Neon’s demands could not be different from the other transsexuals’ ones, which, without surgical amputation of their male genitalia, they achieve, legally, the modification in their documents—but all of them underwent medical diagnose that attested their gender dysphoria, that is to say, they submitted themselves to a pathologization process.
According to the DSM-V, gender dysphoria implies: a) an incongruence between an individual’s anatomical sex and the gender to which one feels to belong to; b) anguish and discomfort, clinically meaningful as a consequence of such incongruence.
Now, Neon doesn’t want to undergo any surgery or be pathologized, because she says that she doesn’t feels any incongruence or anguish. Neon’s fight is a fight against power, because what makes her suffer is the social and cultural rejection.
More than that, Neon, by assuming a feminine gender despite having a penis, questions one of our thought categories: the dichotomy between nature (sex male x female) and the culture (gender masculine x feminine). This dichotomy, which is pivotal in our thinking process, used to find its “fate” through the notion of adequacy, something also deconstructed by Neon.
What does it have to do with analysis? What if it becomes fashionable? How many people feel boys in girl’s body? Or vice-versa? What if it is created, through Neon’s case, a favorable jurisprudence? Neon is questioning the adequacy between sex and gender. It is difficult to understand her position through psychoanalysis, which is binary, and thinks in terms of an adequacy between sex and gender. Only Judith Butler help us apprehend non-intelligible genders such as Neon’s!
The post “Neon and the challenges of contemporaneity” deals exactly with this topic and can be read in http://www.porquebollas.wordpress.com
I must say that I was fascinated with Neon Cunha because, concurrently, I was reading China Miéville’s novel Perdido Street Station. The first chapters in the book present us a very unusual couple: a scientist who’s expelled from the local university and a woman who’s an artist with a beetle’s head. Her little upward legs profoundly arouse her partner. It’s an insect-woman! It’s the first monstrous marriage, something akin to what Deleuze and Guattari once proposed, between a wasp and an orchid.
From that astonishing chapter on, we come across other hybridizations: birdmen, cactus-men, beings made out of different material pieces, being-gears. A whole range of hybrids that Miéville’s prodigious imagination presents us. In New Crozubon, in the planet Bas-Lag, the worlds interpenetrate themselves in weird marriages. There aren’t walls among the divine, the humans, and the hybrid beings. The author is an anthropologist and belong to the British New Left.
While I was reading that extraordinary scientific fiction, I fantasied that New Crozubon was inspired by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s anthropology and by the Amerindian perspectivism, and in it the interspecies marriages, where everyone is human as in New Crozubon.
It was in that context that I came across Neon Cunha’s story. She is our first hybrid, and with her a new world of hybrid announces itself. I liked the idea! Psychoanalysis works, since Freud, with a classic and modern ontology, in which the dichotomy nature x culture is central. Totem and Taboo explains such dichotomy.
Neon, as I said before, doesn’t want to amputate her penis and doesn’t admit to be pathologized. This position leads to a questioning of all the discourses, including the psychoanalytical one, which is anchored in the classical ontology to comprehend the gender considering the sexual difference—deriving from there a comprehension and interpretation of the making up of a subjectivity.
Judith Butler, the main representative of queer theory, discusses sex, gender, identity, and subjectivity from the perspective of the performativity, and this approach allows for the subversion of the binary description of gender, and comprehend the non-intelligible genders. Butler discusses and opposes the feminists—as well as the feminist psychoanalysts—once they cannot include the non-intelligible genders, and she also polemizes with psychoanalysis, especially the Lacanian school, questioning the notions of symbolic and the sexual difference in Jacques Lacan.
Going through the ontological questions, in the light of several authors, what Butler intends is “(…) find out a notion of subject and a notion of body which are tied by the language, which allow the integration in the culture, in a nonpathological way, the human beings who don’t fit the regular gender standard.” (Cult Magazine, 185).
NIETZSCHE, SIMONDON AND JUNG
Some metaphors translate thought schools, as well as a certain fraternity among authors who, not by chance, propose related ways. It’s the case of the figure of the tightrope walker narrated by Zarathustra, in the preamble of the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Such metaphor, central to Nietzsche, will be retaken by Gilbert Simondon, in the book The Individuation, and by Carl Gustav Jung, in an article titled Adaptation, individuation, and value creation (CW, 18).
Nietzsche tells that the tightrope walker falls during a performance and dies in front of the audience, who soon leaves the place. The crowd only respected the equilibrist in his social and artistic function. Contrary to the multitude, Zarathustra fraternizes with the dead artist precisely when he defects his social function—when he’s died, de-individuated, disconnected of his social role. Then, Zarathustra carries him on his back and provides him a burial.
Anyone who knows the Nietzschean thought will immediately recognize the metaphor in Jung’s article, published in 1916, already cited. For the Swiss psychologist, individuation “charges a price” from whom dares to undertake the transition: the loss of her social function—a sort of rupture with the energy that links the individuals to that function. The one who engages in the passage get absent, lives in solitude, and will only be able to “return” and insert herself in the social energy current when, and if, she is able to offer it a new value. That’s the way Jung reads the Nietzschean metaphor.
Gilbert Simondon revisits that metaphor in the book above mentioned, in the end of the 50s of the twentieth century: “…the trans-individual relation is the one between Zarathustra with the tightrope walker who squashed himself on the ground, in his front, and was left behind by the crowd; the crowd not only just considered him for this social function, but also abandons him when, dead, he stops performing it” (…) “it is with solitude, in the presence of Zarathustra, to a dead friend, forsaken by the multitude, that starts the proof of trans-individuality…” (p. 416)
It not casual that the author who, nowadays, try to build a bridge between Jung and Simondon, for instance, Pascal Chabot, in the book The Philosophy of Simondon, goes straight to Jung’s article, also previously cited here. As I already said, a (spiritual) school of thought ends up finding its peers because they have similar paths.
FATIGUE SOCIETY, BY BYUNG-CHUL HAN
Fatigue Society (2015) is a little extraordinary essay-book written by the South Korean author Byung-Chul Han. It is indispensable to read in the psy area, for it describes, in an acute way, the contemporary subjectivity and suffering. Han’s main interlocutor is Michel Foucault, and he studies the transition from the disciplinary society to the performance society, and, within that transition, the change in the individuals’ psychic structure. The transition was brought about by the rapid breakdown of three matrixes — alterity, interiority, negativity—in the subjects of obedience, who could still count on the external instance of control, which forced them to work, exploiting them; as an outcome of that transition, the performing subjects, who internalized both the figure of the lord and of the slave, indulge themselves to the free coercion of themselves!
There isn’t a clear distinction between perpetrator and victim any longer. Performing subjects wage wars against themselves in their attempt to conquer the impossible, and pathologies ensue—depression, feeling of failure, burnout syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and so on.
More performance is the new mandate in the post-modern labor society: to invent more, to create more, to deliver more productivity, more speed. More, more, more… It’s the violence of positivity that we can translate into super-communication, super-performance. The hyperactivity represents the massification of the positive. “Yes, we can,” is a kind of password in the performance society.
The performance society generates a tiredness that is synonymous with fatigue, and in it we redo ourselves in an isolated, autistic fashion. Tiredness leads, in the author’s intuitive expression, to “soul’s attack”. Tiredness without world, tiredness destroyers of worlds.
Han has an obvious Heideggerian influence, and he summons us to do anything possible to stop the war machine and, then… the performance machine in which we have changed ourselves into: the intermediary times, the intersperses, the interruptions, the pauses, the hesitation, the no, the deep boredom, the anguish, the fury, the mourning.
Everything that can contribute to delay the acceleration is well-come. Everything that invites us to a serene-not-doing. It’s also well-come what allow us to recompose the alterity, the being-together-with-the-other: the community, place of the true rest and relaxation.
WHERE HAVE THE SWALLOWS GONE TO?
Where have the swallows gone to? is an impressive documentary directed by Mari Corrêa, and it shows how the climate changes are messing the everyday life of Xinguan Indians. The film was exhibited in COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, and awarded as the best short film in the 18th International Environmental Film Festival of Canary Islands, Spain.
After seeing the documentary, I left the theater room asking myself how is it possible for us to go on indifferent towards what’s happening? How is it possible to lead our daily lives with such a catastrophe under our heels?
The film shows the Xingu Park from high above, and it looks like a green stain surrounded by deforestation, by soy plantations, and livestock farming. The vicinity is desert. In the park, there a few thousand Indians—6,500 individuals from 16 different ethnicities—who witness with sadness and suffering the coming tragedy.
We, in the cities, completely blind, surrounded by technology and by science don’t see anything, we don’t intuit or realize anything. But the Indians see the fire spreading and burning the forest; they see the trees that no longer blossom, the cigars that no longer sing and announces the rain, because the heat has boiled their eggs. The Indians notice that the butterflies, which used to harbinger the drought and until some decades ago they were so many that they entered the Indians’ mouths, disappeared. They remember that the swallow used to get together to announce the rain, and they realize that it doesn’t happen anymore… Where have the swallow gone to?
The celebration in which the children’s ear were pierced used to happen at the same time when the pequi fruit ripened, but now the pequi trees are dry and ready to start a fire, as much of the surrounding forest.
The fruits on the field are decaying and burning even before they grow up. Plagues keep coming from the soy plantation and devastating the forest all around. Xinguan Indians, sadly, ask themselves: how will be the future? Where are we going to go, when the whites destroy the whole forest? What will my grandchildren eat?
The documentary is a true alert. And a question cannot be silenced: are we going to remain insensitive to this catastrophe? Buy the documentary on ISA store and let’s share the Indians’ anguish, gaining with them a little bit of dignity.
And the gang who has taken control of Brazil in 2016 wants to deprive the Indians from the very little they were left with: Romero Jucá, in the Senate, debates a law bill that deals with the mining regulation on indigenous lands!
CHOCOLAT, BY FRENCH DIRECTOR ROSCHDY ZEM
Yesterday I went to the movie theater to see Chocolat, directed by the Roschdy Zem. The film deals with racism and Rafael Padilla’s (played by Omar Sy) failure, the first black clown in France. Padilla, ex-slave of Cuban origin, fled to France in the end of the nineteenth century. He gained popularity after forming a partnership with Tony Grice, another clown known as Footit (played by James Thiérrée, Charles Chaplin’s grandson). As a clown, Padilla conquered fame and wealth. Popularity, however, has a price tag: Chocolat gets kicks and slaps on the face, hit by the white clown, what amuses the white, rich and prejudiced Parisian elite. After being unjustly arrested, Chocolat eventually figures out the trap in which he was kept, and he terminates the partnership with Foottit, refusing to foster racism through laughter. On his last stage appearance, he is the one who beats the partner. From then on, Chocolat’s decadence and failure predominates.
I like to think about the theme of failure, and Chocolat’s is absolutely terrorizing. His failure isn’t just the result of discrimination in the French society when he refuses to serve the elite through laughter. Chocolat’s failure gain, step by step, contour, and is due to what I call “inner lock”—psychic and emotional—much present in those people called by an “fixed ideal” in a society — in Chocolat’s case, by the ideals of the French Revolution, namely, equality and freedom — find themselves trapped, unconsciously and trans-generationally, by another covenant: obedience and submission.
Let me explain myself: Chocolat’s “inner lock” responded to what was permitted and to what was forbidden by the black people in relation to the white people in slavery-based societies. Chocolat responded to the urges of the past, to that covenant, which many previous generations had respected before him: the place of the black isn’t the place of the white!
Being a bold man, Chocolat risked trespassing the “dividing line”, and, increasingly, his “inner block” restrained him, and he threw himself in binges, gambling, millionaire bets. Such behavior led him to spend and squander his fortune and fame. And he found himself ensnared in a cruel paradox: the “fixed ideal” of the French society, underpinned on equality and freedom, was, at least for him, a deceptive fiction. The “inner lock”, the “imaginary line”, the “trans-generational covenant” was, however, pretty real and, unaware of it, Chocolat managed to accomplish his self-destruction.
Many resounding failures are the “byproducts” of that “inner lock” and “imaginary line” that stablishes what we can or cannot do or cross… and the only way out for those who experience this—and there are many people—is to become conscious, then think the unheard-of power of that “imaginary line”.
DON’T CALL ME SON, DIRECTED BY ANNA MUYLAERT
I’ve just seen Don’t Call Me Son, directed by Anna Muylaert (she also directed The Second Mother, a film about a mother “who isn’t there” whenever her children most need her). This one is about a mother “who is there, too often”, an invasive mother. The film is based on a true story, the story of Pedrinho, who was stolen from the maternity clinic, a case widely covered by Brazilian media. The inspiration ends there, because the portrays Muylaert’s special view on that fact.
Dani Nefussi has two parts: as Aracy, the mother who steals children, and as Gloria, the stolen mother. Dani is very well in both roles: she’s the double invader, however, her mild and loving presence disguises the potential invader and these characteristics—surely, a signal of Anna’s skillful directing—are decisive to make up the figure of the “true” invader. An invader who shows herself as such, is easily demasked, but a mild, loving invader, this will steal our soul without our realizing.
As Aracy, the mother who steals children: it is the invader who steals identities, who causes an immense pain in the stolen parents, but as a mother, she, curiously, isn’t invasive at all. She’s a good mother, and the stolen children live rather well in a humble home, in a popular neighborhood. The children are left in peace by that mother. There is silence in the house and the children’s individuality is preserved to the maximum! Gloria, the mother, and the father (Mateus Nachtergaele) are the stolen parents, but they’re invasive to the limit, and then it is they who steal Felipe’s (hitherto Pierre’s) peace and identity (Naomi Nero). These parents are too invasive, they don’t respect the individuality, they don’t respect the most important thing: the silence. They’re noisy. Pierre/Felipe, tears himself in his problematic sexual identity.
Two more things about the film:
1) I loved the camera in Muylaert’s hand: she goes on portraying, in a slant way, there’s to say, she doesn’t invade, she suggests all the time, and that’s fantastic, because it retakes one of the characteristics of Second Mother; in Don’t Call Me Mother, there’s this “leering camera”, suggestive, that puts again the unsaid, that seems to qualify Muylaert’s direction. The camera doesn’t invade, just suggest; doesn’t denounce, just proposes. If I were to play with this issue, I’d say that the director is “the mother sufficiently good” in the film, a kind of third margin, or third mother who doesn’t invade;
2) Anna Muylaert is extensively fine-tuned with the social and cultural moment we’re living, and, I would say that this moment brings the invasion and the capture as some of her brands/characteristics, also in this moment the refusal of the tragic and the stultifying cheerfulness is the tonic. Now, this director deals with the invasion and the capture as silent protagonists, and enunciates the tragedy through the averse, that is to say, by making the characters refuse to realize the tragic in their lives — and in our — existences.
MURIEL COMBES AT THE COLLOQUIUM COLÓQUIO G. SIMONDON
(JUNHO DE 2016)
Muriel Combes, one of the most brilliant commentators on Gilbert Simondon’s works, as present at the Colloquium Simondon in UNICAMP, in 2012. In 1999, Combes published a book in French titled Simondon, Individu et Collectivité—translated into English in 2013 with the title Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual. Isabelle Stengers, in the Preface of Muriel Combes’ last book, La Vie Inseparée (2012), presents a very positive assessment of the author as to the rank of the Simondonian studies.
Combes comments on Simondon’s major work, The Individuation in the Light of the Notions of Form and Information, and in it, the third part that is dedicated to the psychic individuation—centered on the affective-emotivity—because that’s precisely there where one locates a criticism to the anthropology. She writes: “…the base of the Simondon’s criticism to anthropology aims at the fact that it, the anthropology, assumes an essence of man by subtracting him from the vital; there where exists the whole vital, including the man”. No one single living being is deprived of affective-emotivity, then, the psychic individuation cannot be conceived of as something specifically human.
However, there is, indeed, a problematic character in/of the human individual, since he, the individual, according to Simondon, is at the same time “individual and more than individual”, proving something—the pre-individual, the Apeiron—which exceeds his individuated being. This experience of excess is what would provide a distance in relation to the nonhuman forms of life, and, simultaneously, would be the very mark of spirituality.
Combes’s “speech” in the Colloquium invites us to think that the man doesn’t have anything of unique in comparison to the other living beings, contrary to what we assumed throughout the history of philosophy. Thus, her position adds up to the criticism of what Giorgio Agamben called “anthropological machine”. For that purpose, she revisits various authors, among them, Baruch Spinoza, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
PROF. LAYMERT GARCIA AND TALES AB´SABER:
ON THE COUP IN 2016
I read two interviews this week and I would like to quickly comment on them. The first one was granted by Prof. Laymert Garcia to Revista Caros Amigos, whose cover is black and is entitled After the Coup: What will be? The second interview was given by the psychoanalyst Tales Ab’Saber for Revista Brasileiros. Both interviews represent unmissable and true documents of our political moment, but not only of it, because twenty years from now, they’ll still be essential to explain our astonishment…
I start by Professor Laymert’s interview, The end of the world: 1) a disruption in the democratization process is nourished “due to a very strong desire for regression, on the part of the elites”; 2) this “desire for regression” was already inscribed in the public demonstrations in 2013; 3) Laymert shows an extensive pessimism with the (in)evolution in such disruption process and with that desire for regression; 4) because the legal system, the media, and the political class are well articulated, the quality of the coup is different nowadays; 5) the total inversion and corrosion of the values we’re living today; 6) a new human configuration starting from the reading of Simondon’s works, and in it, the possibility that the human individual and the technical individual relate to one another, deriving from the individuation of them both.
This is a lucid, courageous, visionary interview. However, professor Laymert’s grasp of the current political crisis doesn’t touch on the thorny topic faced by Tales Ab’Saber: the Workers Party’s and the leftist governments’ responsibility for the current crisis — they were 14 years in power.
The Workers Party (PT) used the very same elites’ strategies as soon as it reached the central power. The party insulated itself in the entrails of power with the same virulence showed by the elites and oligarchies during centuries. When the party was strong enough, it didn’t face a necessary political reform. The major communication companies remained on the hands of the elites, which, as long as they benefited from an alliance with the party, and with the leftist administrations, they didn’t attack, however, as soon as the alliance was broken, they became coup perpetrators.
If that elites’ “desire for regression” — denounced by Professor Laymert — is a reason for worries and disturbances, it is necessary to insist on the Workers Party’s administrations’ responsibility in everything that’s going on. Tales is very shrewd and courageous when talking about such thorny topic for the Left. I agree with Tales: to face that is hurtful, we feel even more distraught, but only following this way we will be able to face a truth, our truth, deeply indigested.
PAULO EMÍLIO AND THE PERVERSITY OF SÃO PAULO’S ELITE
Recently I put my hands on a unique book — fictional? — by Paulo Emílio Sales Gomes, Three Women of Three PPPs, first published in 1977 by Perspectiva publishing house, and republished in 2007 by Cosac Naify, and lately by Companhia das Letras, in 2015. The book was written in 1973 and published four years later, in the same year when the author died.
At that time, Paulo Emílio experienced a worsening of social tensions wherever he worked. José Pasta’s afterword is extremely valuable in the book because it shed newer light not only on the author, but also on the work. After the Institutional Act number 5, in 1968, a kind of coup inside the coup, Paulo Emílio became a target for the dictatorship. His name was on the black list of heads to be cut. Persecuted, he had his activities, both on the press and in the academy, closely watched and restrained. As a reaction, he becomes more and more communist — and not only in a partisan sense.
Now, in 2015, Paulo Emilio’s book is republished, and it doesn’t look like a coincidence to me, for, once again, we’re living gloomy days, with our thought categories insufficient to think, and again, the nameless horror with an even more perverse elite. All of that going on with a terrible background: a planetary crisis, where Gaia sending frightening and threatening signs.
On another time, when the historical background wasn’t a dictatorship — it was slavery — Machado de Assis undertook an equally hard task by writing Dom Casmurro. Three Women in one way or another pick up on Machado de Assis’ perspective on the Brazilian elite.
One of the things I’ve learnt in life, and relearnt by reading Paulo Emilio’s essay, is the psychic place we inhabit, and with it, the psychic place we compel the other to inhabit.
The elite, the three women, they inhabit a psychic place, one that they never doubt about. They feel entitled and they can do whatever they want with the other. They can shape him, kill him, trample on him, make any use of him as they wish. It explains why they’re able to behave so perversely. From this elite point of view, the other only exists to satisfy their hunger for a psychic place that makes the world available for them, as if the world was their private backyard.
Therefore, it’s quite meaningful that such debate, involving São Paulo’s elite, resurfaces nowadays.
English textual version: Liracio Jr.