Monday, September 11, 2006

Impacted (BwO)el: A Suppository Interlude

Maggot: “The Enlightenment thinkers created alternatives to the following values and methods, which had predominated in Europe for many centuries:

1. Introspection, as a way of being and a source of knowing, as the integral and essential way of experiencing, and of being and living ones’ self as self.

2. The willingness to spend ones’ life in the attempt to change human nature and ones’ own nature… The attempt to mold oneself, perfect oneself, as the essential human project. “Working on oneself” as the essential form for producing knowledge about oneself.

3. The attempt at totalization… of the self, of knowledge, of society or the social structure… totalization understood in terms of such projects as the creation of encyclopedias and universities, the conception and creation of the modern STATE, the conception of any one human individual as a ‘master,’.... or, incredibly, the conception of any one human individual as a 'subject.' The intellectual as a totalizer... the Universal and pursuit of the Universal as an effort of totalization... working to create a totalization, as essential form, project of producing knowledge.

I see each of these as related to each of the others, reinforcing the others. I also think that any return to these, for example a return to introspection as a way of being or of creating knowledge, is a counter-enlightenment move."

Maggot (going a bit further ): “ I am attempting to disclose each of these as repressive, and what I am seeking is a technology of the self, a way of acting upon the self or others-- a way to produce, transform, and manipulate subjectivity and subjectivization-- which is not repressive. I would like to show that, contrary to all appearances, what I am seeking is an extension of the Enlightenment project and not a rejection of it.”

Cyber-boy: “ You are also interested in the relationship of repression of the individual and the existence of domination within society…. In showing how both exist and continue as dominant forms at least in part because, even to this late date of history, no workable psycho-technic or socio-technic alternatives to repression or domination have been conceived.”

Maggot: “ Thanks, Cyber-boy. That is also what I am interested in doing.”

Cyber-boy: “ What do you make of this tendency to see as the essential Enlightenment stance the valorization of rationality above all else? Is it possible to have a practice of rationality but without the particular “ascetic cost to oneself ( self) ” so firmly associated with rationality ? Is or is it not, this timbre of somberness, of detachment, of the morose, in other words – the ‘affect of the enlightenment’ a part of the enlightenment project per se?”

Maggot: “ You see, Cyber-boy, this ascetic cost one charges to ones’ emotions, to ones’ feeling of being alive, etc. when one 'practices rationality,' when one ‘thinks’ and when one wishes to be appreciated for thinking – these are part of the mysterious counter-flow to the Enlightenment which turn the emancipatory practices of the Enlightenment into quite the opposite. They MUST NOT be seen as essential elements of intelligence or thinking or ‘being good.’ Creation of rationality, and not ‘rationality itself,’ (if there is such a thing as ‘rationality itself’ – I don’t think there is,) is the enlightenment project. Really asking: what are these breaks in the creation of rationality, which cause rationality to become a THING (of some sort) rather than continuing to be a process. Kant created rationality-assemblages … several centuries have lapsed since the creation of other rationality-assemblages. Why?

Father Gilliam: "Breaking of some associations ( connections ) and the creating of others – concept creation. What we are trying to break are the connection of the “ ascetic cost to oneself” to the practices of rationality. We are not trying to break rationality itself… but then again, we do not believe in the existence of a 'rationality itself.' "


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