Twin Reversed Arterial Perfusion

“Then it's her. And I'm nothing.”

- Welt am Draht by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

On The Unspeakable - This Dream Is Not Me - Cinematography

Too precious. Too precious. The four corners.

Some of the victims remain spellbound forever (at least, so far as we are told), but others are destined to be saved.  Brynhild was preserved for her proper hero and little Briar-rose was rescued by a prince.  Also, the young man transformed into a tree dreamed subsequently of the unknown woman who pointed the way, as a mysterious guide to paths unknown.  Not all who hesitate are lost.  The psyche has many secrets in reserve.  And these are not disclosed unless required.  So it is that sometimes the predicament following an obstinate refusal of the call proves to be the occasion of a providential revelation of some unsuspected principle of release.

Willed introversion, in fact, is one of the classic implements of creative genius and can be employed as a deliberate device.  It drives the psychic energies into depth and activates the lost continent of unconscious infantile and archetypal images.  The result, of course, may be a disintegration of consciousness more or less complete (neurosis, psychosis: the plight of spellbound Daphne); but on the other hand, if the personality is able to absorb and integrate the new forces, there will be experienced an almost superhuman degree of self-consciousness and masterful control.  This is a basic principle of the Indian disciplines of yoga.  It has been the way, also, of many creative spirits in the West.⁠1  It cannot be described, quite, as an answer to any specific call.  Rather, it is a deliberate, terrific refusal to respond to anything but the deepest, highest, richest answer to the as yet unknown demand of some waiting void within: a kind of total strike, or rejection of the offered terms of life, as the result of which some power of transformation carries the problem to a plane of new magnitudes, where it is suddenly and finally resolved.

See Otto Rant, Art and Artist, translated by Charles Francis Atkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1943), pp. 40-41: “If we compare the neurotic with the productive type, it is evident that the former suffers from an excessive check on his impulsive life. … Both are distinguished fundamentally from the average type, who accepts himself as he is, by their tendency to exercise their volition in reshaping themselves.  There is, however, this difference: that the neurotic, in this voluntary remaking of his ego, does not get beyond the destructive preliminary work and is therefore unable to detach the whole creative process from his own person and transfer it to an ideological abstraction.  The productive artist also begins … with that re-creation of himself which results in an ideologically constructed ego; [but in his case] this ego is then in a position to shift the creative will-power from his own person to ideological representations of that person and thus render it objective.  It must be admitted that this process is in a measure limited to within the individual himself, and that not only in its constructive, but also in its destructive aspects.  This explains why hardly any productive works gets through without morbid crises of a ‘neurotic’ nature.”


cite pp. 63-65

I alight on the deeeeesire to skate my furrows.


In other words, either you are a hunter, or you become the prey.  Since animals and plants have specific routines, you must be careful not to become predictable yourself.  Personal history may be your own greatest danger.  Personal history makes you a routine individual, the prey or victim of life.  If you are not careful, even learning to hunt can make you predictable and heavy with all that you have learned.  You might think, “Now I am a shaman, a psychologist, a meditator, a spiritual person, or someone who is going to help others or the world,” but these labels are only the identity and may become overly predictable and rigid.

I too lose my freedom.  When I was beginning this book, I kept thinking, “Now I am writing a book!” In such moments, my inadvertent self-importantance created more seriousness than I needed.  It was as if I were overeating.  Suddenly I felt heavy, like a duck sitting in front of a hunter’s gun.  I was the prey I was stalking, not the hunter I wanted to be.

I can now laugh about this heavy state of affairs, but being in it was no fun.  The danger of becoming like the states you are studying was called in analytic circles in the beginning of the twentieth century “falling into the unconscious,” becoming depressed, inflated, or crazy.  Prey for these analytic versions of ancient shamans was an image from the so-called unconscious: the gods and goddesses, the devil, the fool, and so on.  My teachers implied that one had to lead a tight life, study, become knowledgable, and fear the unknown, lest you become inundated or identified with it, becoming a Christ or a devil.

But the danger for the early students of the unconscious may have been in the very paradigm that they used: the belief that you could use the unknown or the unconscious as if it were an infinite resource that did not need anything in return.  Psychology certainly has shamanistic roots, but it has somehow forgotten the ritual of honoring its resource.  Psychology, without respect for the unknown, looks just like modern technology, which takes from the environment without giving back to it.  It may be dangerous to delve into the unconscious for one’s personal edification, to use dreams as if they were one’s own.

Without an ancient and indigenous respect for the environment and its power, you identify with it and think you must be wise instead of following its wisdom.  Hence, the greatest danger for helpers of all ilk is becoming possessed by the unknown and acting wise or powerful.  There are too many therapists and shamans who act as if they are better than others.

This self-inflation is similar to the way in which you use the natural environment, picking out what you need instead of respecting it as the source of life.  Without your respect for its awesome nature, without thanks, the environment seems to rebel and threaten you.  Everyone touching any aspect of shamanism faces the danger of self-importance: Nature rebels by terrifying you and by gobbling up your humanness, leaving you as nothing more than an inflated blimp, fearing your death.

As a tight hunter, you are wary and retain the possibility of not being like the prey you are after.  Zen refers to this fluid and free state of mind as beginner’s mind.  The beginner is humble, open, and aware of what is happening, experiencing life without preconceived judgements.  A beginner’s mind is not the same as an empty mind, though.  Keido Fukushima of Kyoto, a Zen master, understands this state of mind as being the creative mind: free, fluid, and unpredictable.  The warrior is not full of routines, nor is he empty, except perhaps of his own personal history.  He is free in the sense of being open to whatever is happening. 

You know that you are free from routines and the importance of your personal identity and history when you laugh.  Laughter can be a mixture of humor, craziness, and wisdom.  In any case, when you are able to laugh, not only are you looking for life, but you are living it.  With this sense of freedom, you can track certain processes that have no routines.  They are the magic that makes life worth living.  Unexpected events are the shaman’s key to life, the mystical, incredible animals that break their own routines and that may even stop in the midst of their flight from an indigenous person so he can shoot them.

cite pp. 67-69

Pasture on the fall. A certain nowhere here. The inverse of several dots on the mind’s optic galaxy. A galaxy reduced to a single line. Call it time, perhaps. Or desire. Swim within the channels of our dear wrought selfs, a lowing perponderance of the apple tongs of huge desire claws. I maek a servpent of my own comfort and I float skin pillows into the light of dawn over the image of Rusiaa held in my mind I was not there I was not there I was not there. I make angel beings over the crest of my own. I test this is how I type. I can hand over the function.

This is what the Lacanian notion of the psychoanalytic act is about – the act as a gesture which, by definition, touches the dimension of some impossible Real.  This notion of the act must be conceived of against the background of the distinction between the mere endeavour to ‘solve a variety of partial problems’ within a given field and the more radical gesture of subverting the very structuring principle of this field.  An act does not simply occur within the given horizon of what appears to be ‘possible’ – it redefines the very contours of what is possible (an act accomplishes what, within the given symbolic universe, appears to be ‘impossible’, yet it changes its conditions so that it creates retroactively the conditions of its own possibility).  So when we are reproached by an opponent for doing something unacceptable, an act occurs when we no longer defend ourselves by accepting the underlying premiss that we hitherto shared with the opponent; in contrast, we fully accept the reproach, changing the very terrain that made it unacceptable – an act occurs when our answer to the reproach is ‘Yes, that it is precisely what I am doing!’

In film, a modest, not quite appropriate recent example would be Kevin Kline’s blurting out ‘I’m gay’ instead of ‘Yes!’ during the wedding ceremony in In and Out: openly admitting the truth that he is gay, and thus surprising not only us, the spectators, but even himself.  In a series of recent (commercial) films, we find the same surprising radical gesture.  In Speed, when the hero (Keanu Reeves) is confronting the terrorist blackmailer partner who holds his partner at gunpoint, he shoots not the blackmailer, but his own partner in the leg—this apparently senseless act momentarily shocks the blackmailer, who lets go of the hostage an runs away…. In Ransom, when the media tycoon (Mel Gibson) goes on television to answer the kidnappers request for two million dollars as a ransom for his son, he surprises everyone by saying that he will offer two million dollars to anyone who will give him any information about the kidnappers, and announces that he will pursue them to the end, with all his resources, if they do not release his son immediately.  This radical gesture stuns not only the kidnappers – immediately after accomplishing it, Gibson himself almost breaks down, aware of the risk he is courting…. And finally, the supreme case: when, in the flashback scene from The Usual Suspects, the mysterious Keyser Soeze (Kevin Space) returns home and finds his wife and small daughter held at gunpoint by the members of a rival mob, he resorts to the radical gesture of shooting his wife and daughter themselves dead – this act enables him mercilessly to pursue members of the rival gang, their families, parents, friends, killing them all….

What these three gestures have in common is that, in a situation of the forced choice, the subject makes the ‘crazy’, impossible choice of, in a way, striking at himself, at what is most precious to himself.  This act, far from amounting to a case of impotent aggressivity turned on oneself, rather changes the co-ordinates of the situation in which the subject finds himself: by cutting himself loose from the precious object through whose possession the enemy kept him in check, the subject gains the space of free action.  Is not such a radical gesture of ‘striking at oneself’ constitutive of subjectivity as such?  Did not Lacan himself accomplish a similar act of ‘shooting at himself’ when, in 1979, he dissolved the École freudienne de Paris, his agalma, his own organization, the very space of his collective life?  Yet he was well aware that only such a ‘self-destructive’ act could clear the terrain for a new beginning.

In the domain of politics proper, most of today’s Left succumbs to ideological blackmail by the Right in accepting its basic premisses (‘the era of the welfare state, with its unlimited spending, is over’, etc.) – ultimately, this is what the celebrated ‘Third Way’ of today’s social democracy is about.  In such conditions, an authentic act would be to counter the Rightist agitation apropos of some ‘radical’ measure (‘You want the impossible; this will lead to catastrophe, to more state intervention…’) not by defending ourselves by saying that this is not what we mean, that we are no longer the old Socialists, that the proposed measures will not increase the state budget, that they will even render state expenditure more ‘effective’ and give a boost to investment, and so on and so forth, but by resounding ‘Yes, that is precisely what we want’.  Although Clinton’s presidency epitomizes the Third Way of today’s (ex-) Left succumbing to Rightist ideological blackmail, his healthcare reform programme would none the less amount to a kind of act, at least in today’s conditions, since it would be based on the rejection of the hegemonic notions of the need to curtail Big State expenditure and administration – in a way, it would ‘do the impossible’.  No wonder, then, that it failed: its failure – perhaps the only significant, albeit negative, event of Clinton’s presidency – bears witness to the material force of the ideological notion of ‘free choice’.  That is to say: although the great majority of so-called ‘ordinary people’ were not properly acquainted with the reform programme, the medical lobby (twice as strong as the infamous defence lobby!) succeeded in imposing on the public the fundamental idea that with universal healthcare, free choice (in matters concerning medicine) would be somehow threatened – against this purely fictional reference to ‘free choice’, any enumeration of ‘hard facts’ (in Canada, healthcare is less expensive and more effective, with no less free choice, etc.) proved ineffectual.

As for the subject’s (agent’s) identity: in an authentic act, I do not simply express/actualize my inner nature – rather, I redefine myself, the very core of my identity.  To evoke [Judith] Butler’s often-repeated example of a subject who as a deep homosexual ‘passionate attachment’, yet is unable to openly acknowledge it, to make it part of his symbolic identity in an authentic sexual act, the subject would have to change the way he relates to his homosexual ‘passionate attachment’ – not only in the sense of ‘coming out’, of fully identifying himself as gay.  An act does not only shift the limit that divides our identity into the acknowledged and the disavowed part more in the direction of the disavowed part, it does not make us accept as ‘possible’ our innermost disavowed ‘impossible’ fantasies: it transforms the very coordinates of the disavowed phantasmic foundation of our being.  An act does not merely redraw the contours of our public symbolic identity, it also transforms the spectral dimension that sustains this identity, the undead ghosts that haunt the living subject, the secret history of traumatic fantasies transmitted ‘between the lines’, through the lacks and distortions of the explicit symbolic texture of his or her identity.

Now I can also answer the obvious counter-argument to this Lacanian notion of the act: if we define an act solely by the fact that is sudden emergence surprises/transforms its agent itself and, simultaneously, that it retroactively changes its conditions of (im)possibility, is not Nazism, then, an act par excellence?  Did Hitler not ‘do the impossible’, changing the entire field of what was considered ‘acceptable’ in the liberal democratic universe?  Did not a respectable middle-class petit bourgeois who, as a guard in a concentration camp, tortured Jews, also accomplish what was considered impossible, in his previous ‘decent’ existence and acknowledge his ‘passionate attachment’ to sadistic torture?  It is here that the notion of ‘traversing the fantasy’, and – on a different level – of transforming the constellation that generates social symptoms becomes crucial.  An authentic act disturbs the underlying fantasy, attacking it from the point of ‘social symptom’ (let us recall that Lacan attributed the invention of the notion of symptom to Marx!).  The so-called ‘Nazi revolution’, with its disavowal/displacement of the fundamental social antagonism (‘class struggle’ that divides the social edifice from within) – with its projection/externalization of the cause of social antagonisms into the figure of the Jew, and the consequent reassertion of the corporatist notion of society as an organic Whole – clearly avoids confrontation with social antagonism: the ‘Nazi revolution’ is the exemplary case of a pseudo-change, of a frenetic activity in the course of which many things did change – ‘something was going on all the time’ – so that, precisely, something – that which really matters – would not change; so that things would fundamentally ‘remain the same’.

In short, an authentic act is not simply external with regard to the hegemonic symbolic field disturbed by it: an act is an act only with regard to some symbolic field, as an intervention into it.  That is to say: a symbolic field is always and by definition in itself ‘decentered’, structured around a central void/impossibility (a personal life-narrative, say, is a bricolage of ultimately failed attempts to come to terms with some trauma; a social edifice is an ultimately failed attempt to displace/obfuscate its constitutive antagonism); and an act disturbs the symbolic field into which it intervenes not out of nowhere, but precisely from the standpoint of this inherent impossibility, stumbling block, which is its hidden, disavowed structuring principle.  In contrast to this authentic act which intervenes in the constitutive void, point of failure – or what Alain Badiou has called the ‘symptomal torsion’ of a given constellation – the inauthentic act legitimizes itself through reference to the point of substantial fullness of a given constellation (on the political terrain: Race, True Religion, Nation…); it aims precisely at obliterating the last traces of the ‘symptomal torsion’ which disturbs the balance of that constellation.

One palpable political consequence of this notion of the act that has to intervene at the ‘symptomal torsion’ of the structure (and also a proof that our position does not involve ‘economic essentialism’) is that in each concrete constellation, there is one touchy nodal point of contention which decides where one ‘truly stands’.  For example, in the recent struggle of the so-called ‘democratic opposition’ in Serbia against the Milosevic’s anti-Albanian nationalist agenda, even accusing him of making compromises with the West and ‘betraying’ Serb national interests in Kosovo.  In the course of the student demonstrations against Milosevic’s Socialist Party falsification of the election results in the winter of 1996, the Western media which closely followed events, and praised the revived democratic spirit in Serbia, rarely mentioned the fact that one of the demonstrators’ regular slogans against the special police was ‘Instead of kicking us, go to Kosovo and kick out the Albanians!’.  So – and this is my point – it is theoretically as well as politically wrong to claim that, in today’s Serbia, ‘anti-Albanian nationalism’ is simply one among the ‘floating signifiers’ that can be appropriated either by Milosevic’s power bloc or by the opposition: the moment one endorses it, no matter how much one ‘reinscribes it into the democratic chain of equivalences’, one already accepts the terrain as defined by Milosevic, one – as it were – is already ‘playing his game’.  In today’s Serbia, the absolute sine qua non of an authentic political act would thus be to reject absolutely the ideologico-political topos of the Albanian threat in Kosovo.

Psychoanalysis is aware of a whole series of ‘false acts’: psychotic-paranoiac violent passage à l’acte, hysterical acting out, obsessional self-hindering, perverse self-instrumentalization – all these acts are not simply wrong according to some external standards, they are immanently wrong, since they can be properly grasped only as reactions to some disavowed trauma that they displace, repress, and so on.  What we are tempted to say is that the Nazi anti-Semitic was ‘false’ in the same way: all the shattering impact of this large-scale frenetic activity was fundamentally ‘misdirected’, it was kind of gigantic passage à l’acte betraying an inability to confront the real kernel of the trauma (the social antagonism).  So what we are claiming is that anti-Semitic violence, say, is not only ‘factually wrong’ (Jews are ‘not really like that’, exploiting us and organizing a universal plot) and/or ‘morally wrong’ (unacceptable in terms of elementary standards of decency, etc.), but also ‘untrue’ in the sense of an inauthenticity which is simultaneously epistemological and ethical, just as an obsessional who reacts to his disavowed sexual fixations by engaging in compulsive defence rituals acts in an inauthentic way.  Lacan claimed that even if the patient’s wife is really sleeping around with other men, the patient’s jealousy is still to be treated as a pathological condition; in a homologous way, even if rich Jews ‘really’ exploited German workers, seduced their daughters, dominated the popular press, and so on, anti-Semitism is still emphatically ‘untrue’, pathological ideological condition – why?  What makes it pathological is the disavowed subjective libidinal investment in the figure of the Jew – the way social antagonism is displaced-obliterated by being ‘projected’ into the figure of the Jew.

So – back to the obvious counter-argument to the Lacanian notion of the act: this second feature (for a gesture to count as an act, it must ‘traverse the fantasy’) is not simply a further, additional criterion, to be added to the first (‘doing the impossible’, retroactively rewriting its own conditions): if this second criterion is not fulfilled, the first is not really met either – that is to say, we are no actually ‘doing the impossible’, traversing the fantasy towards the Real.

cite pp. 121-127

see: also

If I had you completing me, I would love the fuck out of you.

Our theory would appear less daring if the reader would only free himself from an intransigent utilitarianism and would cease to imagine prehistoric man as being automatically subject to misfortune and necessity. It is in vain that all travelers tell us about the carefree life of primitive man: we nevertheless continue to shudder at our mental picture of life at the time of the cave man. Perhaps our ancestor was more receptive to pleasure, more conscious of his happiness in proportion as he was less sensitive to suffering. The warm sense of well-being arising from physical love must have been transferred into many primitive experiences. To set fire to the stick by sliding it up and down in the groove in the piece of dry wood takes time and patience. But this work must have been very agreeable to an individual whose reverie was wholly sexual. It was perhaps while engaged in this gentle task that man learned to sing. In any case it is an obviously rhythmic kind of task which answers to the rhythm of the worker, which brings him lovely, multiple resonances: the arm that rubs, the pieces of wood that strike together, the voice that sings, all are united in the same harmony and the same rhythmic increase in energy; everything converges on the one hope, on to an objective whose value is known. As soon as one engages in the action of rubbing, one experiences a pleasant objective warmth at the same time that one has the warm impression of an agreeable form of exercise. The rhythms are mutually supporting. They are mutually induced and continue through self-induction. If we accepted the psychological principles of rhythm analysis of M. Pinheiro dos Santos, who advises us to give temporal reality only to that which vibrates, we would understand immediately the value of the vital dynamism and of the psychic totality attached to such a rhythmic task. It is really the whole being that is engaged in play. It is in this play rather than in some form of suffering that the primitive being finds self-awareness, which in the first place is self-confidence.

cite pp. 27-28

the gaggle of lovers says: I hope to breathe, this breath, this very air - oh oh wish that this air came in through the skin, wish that each pore its own lung, this fish-woman of the air: me

In a traditional system, culture exists only in the act of its transmission, that is, in the living at of its tradition.  There is no discontinuity between past and present, between old and new, because every object transmits at every moment, without residue, the system of believes and notions that has found expression in it.  To be more precise, in a system of this type it is not possible to speak of a culture independently of its transmission, because there is no accumulated treasure of ideas and precepts that constitute the separate object of transmission and whose reality is in itself a value.  In a mythical-traditional system, an absolute identity exists between the act of transmission and the thing transmitted, in the sense that there is no other ethical, religious, or aesthetic value outside the act itself of transmission.

An inadequation, a gap between the act of transmission and the thing to be transmitted, and a valuing of the latter independently of the former appear only when tradition loses its vital force, and constitute the foundation of a characteristic phenomenon of nontraditional societies: the accumulation of culture.  For, contrary to what one might think at first sight, the breaking of tradition does not at all mean the loss of devaluation of the past: it is, rather, likely that only now the past can reveal itself with a weight and an influence it never had before.  Loss of tradition means that the past has lost its transmissibility, and so long as no new way has been found to enter into a relation with it, it can only be the object of  accumulation from now on.  In this situation, then, man keeps his cultural heritage in its totality, and in fact the value of this heritage multiplies vertiginously.  However, he loses the possibility of drawing from this heritage the criterion of his actions and his welfare and thus the only concrete place in which he is able, by asking about his origins and his destiny, to found the present as the relationship between past and future.  For it is the transmissibility of culture that, by endowing culture with an immediately perceptible meaning and value, allows man to move freely toward the future without being hindered by the burden of the past.  But when a culture loses its means of transmission, man is deprived of reference points and finds himself wedged between, on the one hand, a past that incessantly accumulates behind him and oppresses him with the multiplicity of its now-indecipherable contents, and on the other hand a future that he does not yet possess and that does not throw any light on his struggle with the past.  The interruption of tradition, which is for us now a fait accompli, opens an era in which no link is possible between old and new, if not the infinite accumulation of the old in a sort of monstrous archive or the alienation effected by the very means that is supposed to help with the transmission of the old.  Like the castle in Kafka’s novel, which burdens the village with the obscurity of its decrees and the multiplicity of its offices, the accumulated culture has lost its living meaning and hangs over man like a threat in which he can in no way recognize himself.  Suspended in a void between old and new, past and future, man is projected into time as into something alien that incessantly eludes him and still drags him forward, but without allowing him to find his ground in it.

cite pp. 107-108

You just meta-murdered me.


Not until 1980 were we able to read in the Sunday Times how Stalin’s son, Yakov, died. Captured by the Germans during the Second World War, he was placed in a camp together with a group of British officers. They shared a latrine. Stalin’s son habitually left a foul mess. The British officers resented having their latrine smeared with shit, even if it was the shit of the son of the most powerful man in the world. They brought the matter to his attention. He took offense. They brought it to his attention again and again, and tried to make him clean the latrine. He raged, argued, and fought. Finally, he demanded a hearing with the camp arbiter. But the arrogant German refused to talk about shit. Stalin’s son could not stand the humiliation. Crying out to heaven in the most terrifying of Russian curses, he took a running jump into the electrified barbed-wire fence that surrounded the camp. He hit the target. His body, which would never again make a mess of the Britishers’ latrine, was pinned to the wire.


Stalin’s son had a hard time of it. All evidence points to the conclusion that his father killed the woman by whom he had the boy. Young Stalin was therefore both Son of God (because his father was revered like God) and His cast-off. People feared him twofold: he could injure them by both his wrath (he was, after all, Stalin’s son) and his favor (his father might punish his cast-off son’s friends in order to punish him).

Rejection and privilege, happiness and woe — no one felt more concretely than Yakov how interchangeable opposites are, how short the step from one pole of human existence to the other.

Then, at the very outset of the war, he fell prisoner to the Germans, and other prisoners, belonging to an incomprehensible, standoffish nation that had always been intrinsically repulsive to him, accused him of being dirty. Was he, who bore on his shoulders a drama of the highest order (as fallen angel and Son of God), to undergo judgment not for something sublime (in the realm of God and the angels) but for shit? Were the very highest of drama and the very lowest so vertiginously close?

Vertiginously close? Can proximity cause vertigo?

It can. When the north pole comes so close as to touch the south pole, the earth disappears and man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall.

If rejection and privilege are one and the same, if there is no difference between the sublime and the paltry, if the Son of God can undergo judgment for shit, the human existence loses its dimensions and becomes unbearably light. When Stalin’s son ran up to the electrified wire and hurled his body at it, the fence was like the pan of a scales sticking pitifully up in the air, lifted by the infinite lightness of a world that has lost its dimensions.

Stalin’s son laid down his life for shit. But a death for shit is not a senseless death. The Germans who sacrificed their lives to expand their country’s territory to the east, the Russians who died to extend their country’s power to the west — yes, they died for something idiotic, and their deaths have no meaning or general validity. Amid the general idiocy of the war, the death of Stalin’s son stands out as the sole metaphysical death.

cite pp. 243-245

REgional fallling. Line of finger tangent. An air within the folds of air. Another air. Certain pillows. Make meaasels in the mark shift after hours public club. Fall havern, tastes sweet in the first swallow brain. Digest. Make more turkish fillbrain. I ate over the lunch of the blue gone dune self. Hot in this here town. I make a mean master. My face don’t got no more pillow powerder. Over the taste tube present

HRP:  Do you find beauty in violence?

RA:  Yeah.  In violence and in dark elements, I find a sort of rigor and a vigor that is moving for me, therefore it’s beautiful.

HRP:  The Law of Remains confronts its viewers with so much information so rapidly that it seems impossible for one to process not only what is going on but what one is experiencing.  Is this intended?

RA:  I like my work to be very dense, and I like not to necessarily destroy but to question the validity of theatrical conventions that say you need to relent or make certain modulations at a certain point, or that you need to orchestrate something in a particular way in order for it to work or affect an audience.  All this accumulated wisdom from 2500 years ago, and I can either choose to accept it or to question it and dissolve it.  I often choose to dissolve it in my work.

HRP:  Does hate drive the work?

RA:  There’s…space for it but it doesn’t drive it.  It’s a longing for something more humane, and a longing for a dream, sort of, for something that is a model or paradigm that is more useful to a people for who the existing models do not suffice.

HRP:  Can showing the violent images and filling our image repertoire with negativity help us?  Do you think of the images as positive?

RA:  I don’t think of things as positive and negative, I just think of them as holistic, as part of the holistic framework, the holistic tapestry of our psyche, our universe.

cite pp. 27-28

There were six of us (lovers), in a circle/yes: a circle.

There is singularly nothing that makes a difference a difference in beginning and in the middle and in ending except that each generation has something different at which they are all looking. By this I mean so simply that anybody knows it that composition is the difference which makes each and all of them then different from other generations and this is what makes everything different otherwise they are all alike and everybody knows it because everybody says it.

It is very likely that nearly every one has been very nearly certain that something that is interesting is interesting them. Can they and do they. It is very interesting that nothing inside in them, that is when you consider the very long history of how every one ever acted or has felt, it is very interesting that nothing inside in them in all of them makes it connectedly different. By this I mean this. The only thing that is different from one time to another is what is seen and what is seen depends upon how everybody is doing everything. This makes the thing we are looking at very different and this makes what those who describe it make of it, it makes a composition, it confuses, it shows, it is, it looks, it likes it as it is, and this makes what is seen as it is seen. Nothing changes from generation to generation except the thing seen and that makes a composition. Lord Grey remarked that when the generals before the war talked about the war they talked about it as a nineteenth century war although to be fought with twentieth century weapons. That is because war is a thing that decides how it is to be when it is to be done. It is prepared and to that degree it is like all academies it is not a thing made by being made it is a thing prepared. Writing and painting and all that, is like that, for those who occupy themselves with it and don’t make it as it is made. Now the few who make it as it is made, and it is to be remarked that the most decided of them usually are prepared just as the world around them is preparing, do it in this way and so I if you do not mind I will tell you how it happens. Naturally one does not know how it happened until it is well over beginning happening.

To come back to the part that the only thing that is different is what is seen when it seems to be being seen, in other words, composition and time-sense.


This is unchecked desire. Or another thing. I love X. I felt them.

“The quotations in my works are like robbers lying in ambush on the highway to attack the passerby with weapons drawn and rob him of his conviction.”  Walter Benjamin, the author of this statement, was perhaps the first European intellectual to recognize the fundamental change that had taken place in the transmissibility of culture and in the new relation to the past that constituted the inevitable consequence of this change.  The particular power of quotation arises, according to Benjamin, not from their ability to transmit that past and allow the reader to relive it but, on the contrary, from their capacity to “make a clean sweep, to expel from the context, to destroy.”  Alienating by force a fragment of the past from its historical context, the quotation at once makes it lose its character of authentic testimony and invests it with an alienating power that constitutes its unmistakable aggressive force.  Benjamin, who for his entire life pursued the idea of writing a work made up exclusively of quotation, had understood that the authority invoked by the quotation is founded precisely on the destruction of the authority that is attributed to a certain text by its situation in the history of culture.

cite p. 104

direct vs indirect speech - foreclosure - the wall - includes maintaining various fictions

The cure would consist, therefore, in making explicit a situation originally existing on the emotional level and in rendering acceptable to the mind pains which the body refuses to tolerate.  That the mythology of the shaman does not correspond to an objective reality does not matter.  The sick woman believes in the myth and belongs to a society which believes in it.  The tutelary spirits and malevolent spirits, the supernatural monsters and magical animals, are all part of a coherent system on which the native conception of the universe is founded. The sick woman accepts these mythical beings or, more accurately, she has never questioned their existence.  What she does not accept are the incoherent and arbitrary pains, which are an alien element in her system but which the shaman, calling upon the myth. will re-integrate within a whole where everything is meaningful.

Once the sick woman understands, however, she does more than resign herself; she gets well.  But no such thing happens to our sick when the causes of their diseases have been explained to them in terms of secretions, germs, or viruses.  We shall perhaps be accused of paradox if we answer that the reason lies in the fact that microbes exist and monsters do not.  And yet, the relationship between germ and disease is external to the mind of the patient, for it is a cause-and-effect relationship; whereas the relationship between monster and disease is internal to his mind, whether conscious or unconscious: It is a relationship between symbol and thing symbolized, or, to use the terminology of linguists, between sign and meaning.  The shaman provides the sick woman with a language, by means of which unexpressed, and otherwise inexpressible, psychic states can be immediately expressed.  And it is the transition to this verbal expression - at the same time making it possible to undergo in an ordered and intelligible form a real experience that would otherwise be chaotic and inexpressible - which induces the release of the physiological process, that is, the reorganization, in a favorable direction, of the process to which the sick woman is subjected.

In this respect, the shamanic cure lies on the borderline between our contemporary physical medicine and such psychological therapies as psychoanalysis.  Its originality stems from the application to an organic condition of a method related to psychotherapy.  How is this possible?  A closer comparison between shamanism and psychoanalysis - which in our view implies no slight to psychoanalysis - will enable us to clarify this point.

In both cases the purpose is to bring to a conscious level conflicts and resistances which have remained unconscious, owing either to their repression by other psychological forces or - in the case of childbirth - to their own specific nature, which is not psychic but organic or even simply mechanical.  In both cases also, the conflicts and resistances are resolved, not because of the knowledge, real or alleged, which the sick woman progressively acquires of them, but because this knowledge makes possible a specific experience, in the course of which conflicts materialize in order and on a level permitting their free development and leading to their resolution.  This vital experience is called abreaction in psychoanalysis.  We know that its precondition is the unprovoked intervention of the analyst, who appears in the conflicts of the patient through a double transference mechanism, as flesh-and-blood protagonist and in relation to whom the patient can restore and clarify an initial situation which has remained unexpressed or unformulated.

All these characteristics can be found in the shamanic cure.  Here, too, it is a matter of provoking an experience; as this experience becomes structured, regulatory mechanisms beyond the subjects control are spontaneously set in motion and lead to an orderly functioning.  The shaman plays the same dual role as the psychoanalyst.  A prerequisite role - that of listener for the psychoanalyst and of orator for the shaman - establishes a direct relationship with the patients conscious and an indirect relationship with his unconscious.  This is the function of the incantation proper.  But the shaman does more than utter the incantation; he is its hero, for it is he who, at the head of a supernatural battalion of spirits, penetrates the endangered organs and frees the captive soul.  In this way, like the psychoanalyst, becomes the object of transference and, through the representations induced in the patients mind, the real protagonist of the conflict which the latter experiences on the border between the physical world and the psychic world.  The patient suffering from neurosis eliminates an individual myth by facing a”real” psychoanalyst; the native woman in childbed overcomes a true organic disorder by identifying with a “mythically transmuted” shaman.

This parallelism does not exclude certain differences, which are not surprising if we note the character - psychological in one case and organic in the other - of the ailment to be cured.  Actually the shamanic cure seems to be the exact counterpart to the psychoanalytic cure, but with an inversion of all the elements.  Both cures aim at inducing an experience, and both succeed by recreating a myth which the patient has to live or relive.  But in one case, the patient constructs an individual myth with elements drawn from his past; in the other case, the patient receives from the outside a social myth which does not correspond to a former personal state.  To prepare for the abreaction, which then becomes an “adreaction,” the psychoanalyst listens whereas the shaman speaks.

cite pp. 197-199