Monday, January 5, 2015


routine |roōˈtēn|
a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program : I settled down into a routine of work and sleep | as a matter of routine a report will be sent to the director.
• a set sequence in a performance such as a dance or comedy act : he was trying to persuade her to have a tap routine in the play.
• Computing a sequence of instructions for performing a task that forms a program or a distinct part of one.
performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason : the principal insisted that this was just a routine annual drill.
• monotonous or tedious : we are set in our dull routine existence.
verb [ trans. ] rare
organize according to a routine : all had been routined with smoothness.
routinely adverb
ORIGIN late 17th cent.(denoting a regular course or procedure): from French, from route ‘road’ (see route ).

1 his morning routine procedure, practice, pattern, drill, regimen; program, schedule, plan; formula, method, system; customs, habits; wont.
2 a stand-up routine act, performance, number, turn, piece; informal spiel, patter, shtick.
a routine safety inspection standard, regular, customary, normal, usual, ordinary, typical; everyday, common, commonplace, conventional, habitual, wonted. antonym unusual.

[ Our
concept here ]

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Theory 4 (Email 15)

Hi Jake

  Thanks for this inquiry, which is indeed relevant to our conversation.
Lacan is slippery as we know, so to some extent my account is heuretic and not scholarly, meaning that my reading is in the interests of grammatology and framed by apparatus theory.  In that context, by definition, the digital apparatus emerges from but is not confined to the accomplishments and limitations of the previous apparatus.   Electracy has its own limits but that is not our concern now.  A key to the "optimistic" attitude towards psychoanalysis as ontology for electracy is the provenance of gaze out of existential phenomenology, specifically Merleau-Ponty (and Sartre).  You and I talked a bit about "Flesh" and Lacan's references to M-P's Visible and Invisible, pubished posthumously just at the time of Seminar XI.  M-P argued explicitly that his account was ontological, replacing conceptual or literate "substance" with "element" in the classical sense of earth air fire water.  He overcame cartesian dualism with Flesh, to name the human as within the world in our materiality and sensorium:  we see from one position and are looked at from everywhere.  What attracted me most to M-P is the relevance of his ontology for electracy, in that he insisted that the metaphysics of Flesh exceed the reach of linguistics and language, of discourse (literate metaphysics), so he turned to painters, especially  Cezanne, and then Paul Klee, whose works "authored" so to speak versions  of Flesh as ontology.  As we discussed, Proust was his (and nearly everyone else's, include Deleuze later) prototype or touchstone, referring to his involuntary memory. But he noted that Proust in his novel is composing a hybrid philosophy, and not working directly with Flesh. 

The consistency of M-P's claim is measured relative to Heidegger, for example, who reminded us that Being appears in and is possible for thought only in writing (just as Lacan observed that the Unconscious appears only in Analytic therapy).  The related point from an earlier lecture is that the purpose of therapy is to bring the excluded Real into representation, in order to relieve the suffering you mentioned:  to transform suffering into symptom, as Freud said (into ordinary unhappiness).  We noted in our readings (and my lecture) that Lacan describes a register of drive now accessible that is beyond the pleasure principle.  There are two pleasures (as Barthes noted in Pleasure of the Text also:  pleasure  and bliss).  The apparatus argument is that the tracking of the two pleasures is a map of the discovery or emergence of electracy out of literacy.  The Symbolic (and Imaginary) orders are covered by  literacy, the operations of language and discourse, the defile of the signifier, alienation (in short). That is indeed the locus of the other provoking the emergence of the subject.  The desire of the other.
There is another order, the Real, excluded (until now) from discourse, from appearance, from consciousness, withdrawn completely.  Here is the workings of @ (objet petite a), partial objects, circulating around the void, the hole of lack, the Nothing, the gap between need and demand.  The interest of Seminar XI for us is the account of gaze as one of the partial objects, and how it may be brought into representation, at least as image, but in principle in any aesthetic procution.
What is confusing and important to clarify (to the extent possible) is that the @ proper is nothing in itself, but is only a relation for the libido, the lamella of erogenous zones:  the part objects are the objects cause of desire (as you know), and any particular item or "thing" that is desired, any "object" in the literate sense, is an ambassador for the object cause.  The drive and the @ are best considered together (in fact we are aware by  now of the interdependence of the 4 fundamental concepts in general and all the subfeatures articulated in the lectures to explain them).  The drive includes four operations (source, impetus, object, aim... something like that?).  These four correlate fairly well with Aristotle's four causes:  material, efficient, formal, final.  What interests Lacan early in the seminar is to explain the Unconscious as the "unrealized" dimension of Limbo between potential and actual:  what interrupts living?
So  in class on Wednesday we will discuss how or in what way the camera and the various practices of photography invented in the arts and popular culture support and enable an ontology of the Real in Lacan sense.  Your spotlight is an excellent test case, but to direct the poetics and its test in an experiment, we will want to correlate the CATTt inventories with some clarity.

Theory 4 (Email 14)

Hi Kendra

  "Fetish" is a good anchor for gathering the CATTt.  It is useful even at the basic level of heuretics proper, reminding us to pay attention to terminology.  Psychoanalysis, like any inventive methodology, dealt with the challenge of naming its new areas of inquiry by appropriating some existing vocabulary.  This vocabulary  is catachrestic, meaning that it is a figure for something that does not have a literal sense.  If we keep  in mind the original source of "fetish" we recognize that the term is eloquent, even if Freud used it pejoratively to some extent.  I discuss this in Internet Invention (Marx and Freud both using fetish negatively to name features of the industrial city, versus artists who somewhat later used it positively).  It concerns promoting some ordinary item of everyday life to a position of symbolic power. 

"Castration" is similarly evocative:  a source of much misunderstanding of course, but also eloquent in naming a condition of limit, disempowerment, control, threat--and reminds us of stakes in desidero.  The most relevant thing for us in the discussion is the description of operations and logics associated with fetish and castration.  You picked up on the practical value of Metz's conversation.  He is drawing upon Lacan of course, applying Lacan and psychoanalysis  in general to cinema.  He is using the theory to articulate the match between theory and practice that concerns us also:  that there are features of the camera and photography that correlate with the theoretical account of human primary process (the Unconscious). 

We need cameras to write with or through the Unconscious so to speak.  For  example, the logic of fetishism in the psychoanalytic context is that of denial, disavowal (defense)--the child's denial of sexual difference.  This scene must be generalized to the logic, which persists in adult experience, allowing a person to maintain two conflicting positions simultaneously:  "I know, but all the same" (or, the translation I prefer, "I know, but still...").  I know (= science); but still (= belief).  These two version of reality are on different planes.  We have to assume in the context of grammatology that there is a use value for this operation of primary process.  The "still" has choral functionality (it is conductive). 

Theory 4 (Email 13)

Hi Aaron

    A good way to situate your deferred participation in the email back-channel conversation about process.  One's first impression of a week's email could easily be that there is no pattern or tendency, in that each post picks up on a different piece of the elephant, so to speak, and then the response may or may not get around to reminding all that we are talking about a camel (?).  Your primer is a reminder of this gee and haw dimension of the exchange.  The first point always is just regarding heuretics, the logic of invention, and the CATTt , its chief heuristic.  We are indeed appropriating Lacan rather than attempting to be scholars of psychoanalysis (and certainly not wanting to be clinicians of neuroses).  Nor are we repurposing him entirely either, of course, since the proviso is that he is describing a Real for our metaphysics, whose ontology we intend to test and explore in our experiments. 

Next step then is to come to some agreement about what the theory has to offer, and it would be good to be more or less on the same page about this, the same screen, even though each experiment can and should be specific and partial (necessarily), and all the better for it, since an apparatus is not invented in a day by a solipsist.  We left off the week you missed (for a very good reason) with a clear (hopefully) statement of what we needed to get from Lacan:  an idea central to the theory about the nature and operation of the  Unconscious + an example or collection of examples helping locate how the Real of the theory is manifested in experience, such that  we might be able to work with it in our own projects (returning to the Wide Image). 

This past week the concluding lecture, following a productive and creative Band, clarified our purpose, as extracting or extrapolating a pedagogy for general electracy from the procedures of psychoanalytic training analysis, considered as a transitional practice moving from literacy to the new apparatus (from medicine, even from science, to something else, concerning how to enjoy.

Theory 4 (Email 12)

Hi Asmaa

   A wonderful post (worth waiting for!).  You have the feel for Lacanian style (and its Chinese cousin) in working through a theoretical issue by means of an art (or other materialized) example.  Potentiality is the central issue as we know, with the Unconscious located in an interval gap of Limbo between Potential and Actual (central and fundamental theme of metaphysics).  Relevant to the lessons of your case example is Lacan's description of the Unconscious as an alternating current, or as a fish net that opens and closes, a "trap" in this respect, whose rhythms one must learn to notice.  In his  famous talk given at the Johns Hopkins Symposium that kicked off poststructuralism in America, Lacan evoked the Unconscious as a figure, as Baltimore in the early morning, before sunrise, with the neon lights of the city blinking on and off.  I appropriated that image to develop a version of conduction that I characterized as reasoneon.  
We may recognize the Tai Chi symbol referencing the alternating rhythm of yin-yang, closed and broken lines stacking up into sets of 6, a hexagram as two trigrams, moments of time flowing constantly, frame grabs of process, positions as we know--of Shi.  It is the 0/1 F/T off/on switch constitutive of computing (the invention streams converging).  Leibniz who developed the binomial number system was shocked when he learned about the I Ching from a Jesuit friend returning from mission work in China.  He saw that the 64 hexagram configured the first 64 numbers in a binomial system.  Finally, Lacan made the connection with Electracy explicit when he explained this operation of the Unconscious with reference to electricity itself, and the physics of an electric light (having to do with the properties of current). 

But all of that , as in your case also, is to understand this Real, known as the Unconscious, in order to be able to live with it and thrive in that rhythm.

Theory 4 (Email 11)

Hi Jake
    This post, too, remains connected with the spirit as well as the letter (!) of the seminar.  To the extent that familiarity with  context promotes understanding, it is useful to orient the path Lacan has charted for himself by noting its emergence out of existential phenomenology -- not only Heidegger, but also Merleau-Ponty and Sartre (as we discussed).  As you know from Avatar Emergency, early Sartre -- Nausea and Being and Nothingness-- is important for my approach to French theory.  Sartre learns (ruefully)  that being and meaning (as Lacan termed it) are irreducibly split and may not be synthesized syncretized or any other version of completeness.  The absolute is impossible, or, it is the  Real.  Sartre declares, after numerous  failed attempts, that  one must either live, or tell, they  don't happen together.  One has the cake, or eats it, perhaps.  Benjamin's terms were Erlebnis (living) and Erfahrung (telling).  Now as I said it seems that Lacan agrees and shows why it is so, and his situating of what resists the absolute as the male/female division makes his case all the more convincing.  Nonetheless, he also indicates that a characteristic of the human is striving for completion.  Advertisers have mastered the showing of  completion that provokes the  evil  eye and whose nature was recognized in Christianity  as Mary with Baby Jesus (except she should be nursing for it to be precise). 

This striving is life (being), Aristotle's Entelechy, Leibniz's Monad, Spinoza's Conatus, Heidegger's Dasein.  What prevents well-being (is it a fatal resistance?) is that this striving is captured, trapped in the gaze. This aphanisis, this coming and going, place and temporality of the Unconscious, of the  Subject in its split, its dimensions of meaning or being, that is the issue. The "or" is the  vel (Latin or), in Lacan's updating of Tuché, the choice of decision.  So it is evident that numerous motifs are wrapped up in the topic you  pose.  What we need to sort out, perhaps in the band, is that there are two pleasures, two vectors or dynamics, in the circulation of drive.  Everything is interrelated in Lacan's model (the Borromean knot, the R S I rings), but perhaps we may risk a simplification justified in our context, by saying that literacy ontologized meaning in the register of the Symbolic via the (semiotic) signifier. That is the way of alienation.  The other way is opened through  the other beginning, passage through the Real, littered with part objects (letters), whose writing becomes possible in the digital apparatus, by means of a camera. This way becomes Sinthome (in late Lacan), when Lacan apprenticed himself to the littoral litter of Finnegans Wake (Joy/ce).

Theory 4 (Email 10)

Hi Adam

  Here is the Adam-theorist as ordered by master ulmer!  There was nothing "wrong" in itself with the  jazz reference last week, except  that  it was an interpretation treating Lacan as object of study when heuretics (game that it is) requires us to treat him as method of study.  He tells us what to do, not vice versa (although like  the good courtier or the Chinese sage we also manipulate our resources to suit our invention).  You get a lot of value  out of this example, nicely and explicitly supporting an important aspect of the theory.  We know from the Lacan's (local) Contrast that Freud is the anti-Descartes.  The interesting point for the new dimension of electracy (supplementing the introspective consciousness of literacy) is to describe what  happens beyond the cogito (I think, therefore, I am), that is, when you include the body (which Descartes abjected as mere meat, with dire consequences, according to many).  The Unconscious (as Jacob observed) turns out not to be "ours," or in us -- or rather, the map of our  positioning relative to the unconscious is a moebius strip, a topological figure showing us that the Unconscious functions as an "edge."  It is the edge of inside/outside, with effects Lacan characterized as "extimacy."

Your poem gives a more elegant variation on Freud's alternative cogito (the desidero), "I think where I  am not, and am not where I think."  This aniti-cogito takes into account the split Subject.  That the subject is split within (the split is not subject-object, or me in here vs the world out there, but I/me/other).  The gaze is a field theory of Subject (bringing psychology into line with the other sciences shifting from reference to field relationality of system networks).  The point is central to electracy regarding added value for Google Glass:  we need not only GPS, but EPS -- existential positioning system.  The split between meaning and being is involved, and what we want to learn from Lacan is how to gather all our informing parts (this gathering we have rightly identified  as montage of a surrealist collage sort for example).  Lacan works hard to help us, suggesting one way to characterize our experiment, as learning how to locate and triangulate to take into account the position from which we are regarded, as well as and along with the position from which we look. Note the "French" term:  regard.