thirty-second part, called “subjective powers XXXII,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subjective powers

We have identified three subjective powers, of poverty, chastity and obedience. They correspond to the three figures given for the dramas of analysis: to poverty corresponds castration; to chastity corresponds the phallus; to obedience corresponds Oedipus. Recall these dramas were narratives of violence and metamorphosis. They left no physical evidence. They tell the tale of the violent metamorphosis resulting in the subject.

It was to a monastic rule that subjects were submitted. That rule is no less productive of subjects. Subjects who don’t, who did not, pre-exist it. The rule was beside the point. Just as we might say the figures of psychoanalysis are. What mattered were the actual practices of which the rule gives only the negative image. Working, as it were, by omission.

The powers are equally practices of which either the psychoanalytical figures or the items in the monastic oath provide an image that is negative. They are positive. In this they are like the depths of inner turmoil with which we commonly associate the subject, who is wrong about most things; whose depths and repressions and involutions, inversions, perversions, condensations and displacements, projections and introjections, give rise to what are no more than phantasms. Phantasmatic representations it is the job of the structures and systems of social organisation further to suppress. But they keep bursting out!

And not only that they reproduce, as if injunctions on their existence were the most conducive environment, producing the conditions making them possible; as if the sociopolitical obstacle to their existence were the horizon of that existence. And the politically constituted socius gets the phantasms it deserves. In its institutions. In depth.

Everywhere politically instituted social arrangements are productive of forces that undo these institutions. This is the meaning of deconstruction. Institutions like texts are about the forces always already working to pick them apart from the inside.

Institutions are complexes of freedoms and repressions, which is not the same as saying you can’t keep a good symptom down. Institutions, having the depths we also associate with subjects, like them, are wrong about most things. They are fraught enterprises, facing irreconcilable difficulties, to which they bring ever more defensive strategies: they incorporate failure. Not by inoculation but by synthesis, where recognition, of their internal contradictions, is never sufficient that they change. Self-recognition is another fail, because there remains in them what is irreconcilable and contradictory.

Where does change come from? The change that is repressed, that sublimates violence, suppressing metamorphosis. It comes from the surface.

It comes at and on the surface where change had poor excuse for being, since it did not come from the deep, from the inside of analysis and what came down the genealogical tree was only its negative image. And how did it get there? It stepped out onto the void.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

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