Ktismatics

28 June 2007

Confessions of an Unprincipled Weakling

Filed under: Psychology — ktismatics @ 7:04 pm

Trying to bootstrap myself back into the realms of the psyche, I’m pulling forward a bit of discussion with Jason on my Free Play post, written while I was still in France. In this post I summarized Derrida’s proposition that the structures of our late-modern Western culture have been decentered. Jason, for whom Christ is the center of all structures, agreed that secular decentering has occurred but didn’t share Derrida’s cautious optimism about the potential for free play inherent in structures without centers. Jason referenced the family structure:

But I think its important and “natural” that a man HAVE a “father figure” at all and in the first place in his life. I would actually maybe say that the whole issue is that everyone has the same shitty and impersonal Father Market…and everyone is either stressed out (the “squares”) or pissed off (the hippies) about it.

To which I responded:

As a father I’ve found it important to be able to adapt the way I interact with my kid as she matures. The whole era of “wait till your father gets home” would have forced me into a more rigid disciplinarian role than I’d feel comfortable with, or than seems necessary… Am I a source of security? Sure, I suppose so. But I think a child is also a source of security for its parents: a focus of attention, effort, amusement, etc. So it’s mutual. By the way, in my experience with other parents it’s mostly the mother who’s the authority figure. Dads are just too goofy to be taken seriously.

Jason replied:

So far as the whole father and family thing goes…I resonate with what you are saying… But I do think that some sense of hierarchy and authority, however it plays out (and I’m not entirely sure about that) is basic and foundational to the way God set up the cosmos… A father and mother “gather around” a child, and focus on the things on which it focuses, so to speak, but they don’t “need” the child for “security,” I don’t think (?)… So in that sense, God follows our gaze, and is also the reason for our gaze in a particular direction.

And then through our physical dislocation I lost track of the conversation. But today, in Zizek’s The Fragile Absolute, I read this passage that brought me back to the thread:

The ultimate paradox of the strict psychoanalytic notion of symbolic identification is that it is by definition a misrepresentation, the identification with the way the Other(s) misperceive(s) me. Let us take the most elementary example: as a father, I know I am an unprincipled weakling; but, at the same time, I do not want to disappoint my son, who sees in me what I am not: a person of dignity and strong principles, ready to take risks for a just cause — so I identify with this misperception of me, and truly ‘become myself’ when I, in effect, start to act according to this misperception (ashamed to appear to my son as I really am, I actually accomplish heroic acts). In other words, if we are to account for symbolic identification, it is not enough to refer to the opposition between the way I appear to others and the way I really am: symbolic identification occurs when the way I appear to others becomes more important to me than the psychological reality ‘beneath my social mask,’ forcing me to do things I would never be able to accomplish ‘from within myself.’

We usually regard the Other (with a capital “O”) as occupying the central position, defining everything and everyone else in the structure. Our job as peripheral members of the structure is to identify with the Other’s definition of who we are, even if this identification seems to bely who we think we “really are.” In this excerpt Zikek names his son as the Other; Zizek the father comes to occupy the central heroic position by identifying with his son’s (false) image of him. Zizek is prepared to regard this mask he puts on, this Other-imposed image, as who he “really is.”

Where I diverge from Zizek is that I’m more prepared to acknowledge to my daughter, both in words and in deeds, what Zizek wishes to conceal from his son: I really am an “unprincipled weakling.” If my daughter insists on seeing me as a hero it’s her own fault.

Advertisements

147 Comments »

  1. There must be some good in this mechanism. In trying to achieve goals that we thought we couldn’t, we might grow along the way.

    Like

    Comment by Odile — 28 June 2007 @ 8:46 pm

  2. Lol…I’m not sure how I got to be the catalyst/gadfly for a reflection on strong principles (and Lacan/Zizek and Deleuze/Neitche)…but OK.

    Anyway…sounds to me like you might be having the “natural” fears of a man about to start a psychotherapy practice. Dude…its going to be fine…probably.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 28 June 2007 @ 11:06 pm

  3. Thanks for the words of support… I guess.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 11:23 pm

  4. …by “probably” i meant that you seem more than qualified, but nothing is guaranteed…

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 28 June 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  5. Perhaps, if the client views me as competent, I can, per Zizek, identify with the client’s (mis)representation of me and adopt the persona of the competent therapist. I do believe this sort of thing happens.

    In Christianity the believer first takes on God’s representation of him as a sinner, then he takes on a second representation of himself as having “put on Christ.” So both the old man and the new man are self-representations placed on the believer by the Big Other.

    Through Zizek’s and my experiences as fathers, one might wonder whether God takes on his followers’ representation of him as an Almighty Father.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  6. Technical note: I just changed the time zone for my blog, which means that for the next few hours new comments will jump ahead of already-posted ones… like this comment and the one that preceded it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 8:34 pm

  7. Firstly, Hesiak’s shotgun-statements really need to be published and put into print someday. Classic:

    …everyone is either stressed out (the “squares”) or pissed off (the hippies) about it…

    Secondly, the Zizek comments are along the lines that I was exploring in regards to Paris Hilton. As I was fumbling around, in a crude and primitive way, the general idea of symbolic identification seemed to be the direction of my thinking: that even though celebrities are the epitome of losing themselves in their own artificial symbol the same concept applies to each one of us. We all transform ourselves into symbols and metaphors. What others see is not me, but an image. But my image changes my self, such that we can never dichotomize our self and our image. We get lost in the “crowd” (Kierkegaard) or we prostitute ourselves to the “They” (Heidegger).

    Ironically enough, losing one’s self in an image or metaphor and continuing to transform our selves into symbols is often the better way. The road less traveled is harsh and threatening. After all, who really wants to look in the mirror everyday? Who wants to explore the self? This kind of thing is exhausting and drives many to madness.

    …for a self is the last thing the world cares about and the most dangerous thing of all for a person to show signs of having. The greatest hazard of all, losing the self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all….
    Kierkegaard The Sickness Unto Death

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 29 June 2007 @ 7:50 am

  8. John, I recall that you wished to ‘territorialize’ your practice in a non-standard setting. Now that you have starte to settle in, how o the possibilities look?

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 29 June 2007 @ 7:55 am

  9. “We all transform ourselves into symbols and metaphors. What others see is not me, but an image. But my image changes my self, such that we can never dichotomize our self and our image.”

    I agree. I’m trying to learn Lacan’s exploration of this paradox. He proposes the idea of the Symbolic Order, where we find our place in human society by taking on the images and descriptions projected onto us by others, and especially by the father. When we start questioning our image it’s hard to know what there is to take its place. There’s no way of knowing who the “real me” is, because we’re always embedded in a world of symbols (especially language) that mediates our raw experience of ourselves. We can identify instead with an idealized image of ourselves, to which we aspire but from which we always fall short. This idealized self is part of the Imaginary Order, a fantasy image we create of ourselves that’s no more real than the image projected onto us by others through the Symbolic Order.

    So are you (like Zizek, apparently) proposing that we adopt the images projected onto us as our own self-image, or are you (perhaps also like Zizek) being sarcastic? What’s strange in Zizek is that he proposes adapting himself not just to his son’s projection, but to an idealized projection, a hybrid between the Symbolic and Imaginary Orders. Should we aspire to become what others see as our ideal selves?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 June 2007 @ 9:54 am

  10. You ask a good question for which I have no definitive answer right now.

    I think there might be something of a dialectic relationship at work. We cannot discover self without reference to Other/s because we are, by nature, embedded and contextual. However, as noted the self can develop inauthentic layers of symbols.

    But perhaps the “ideal selves” projected upon us by the Other sometimes line up with an authentic exploration. In Hebrews the author exhorts his readers to “encourage one another daily, so that you are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” This is suggests that relating with other authentic selves acts as a safeguard from slipping into an inauthentic existence.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 29 June 2007 @ 10:12 am

  11. Interesting that my statements have now achieved the status of “classic.” Truly, they should be published, alas, lol. Am I being not-me and sarcastic? Lol.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 29 June 2007 @ 10:29 am

  12. If I am (at least in part) an agglomeration of images projected onto me by others, then I am virtually many selves — a self for each of these projections. And presumably there’s also an ideal version of each of these other-projected selves.

    I know when I interact with someone I tend to tune into some version of that person that I resonate with and want to connect with. At the same time, if I know this person a little bit I’m aware that s/he projects other selves in other contexts. I tend to believe that I’ve tapped into the “real” self of the other, and that if I continue to draw this real self out then the various false selves of the other will recede or slough off. Almost always I’m mistaken and disappointed — the other presents to me the version of self that I’m attuned to, but others tune in to other versions. And so there’s no way to know which, if any, version is the “real” self of the other.

    Maybe an advantage of participating in a community is that there’s a convergence of image projection — everybody wants to draw on the same version of yourself. This I find can also be a disadvantage of community — you realize that you could be something else, perhaps even something better, than what others want and expect from you.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 June 2007 @ 11:06 am

  13. Fascinating thoughts. just going back a bit to what you said about God:
    the believer first takes on God’s representation of him as a sinner, then he takes on a second representation of himself as having “put on Christ.” So both the old man and the new man are self-representations placed on the believer by the Big Other.
    Through Zizek’s and my experiences as fathers, one might wonder whether God takes on his followers’ representation of him as an Almighty Father.

    A more incarnational approach calls a lot of the traditional pigeonholing into question. God becomes man, identifies with man, embraces man as and where s/he is and then proceeds to demand conformity with the new Adam! The self is to be drastically made over!

    The role of any others is apparently blocked. In the extreme case, any other can only be of service if this other can point the way more clearly to the authentic new Adam – Paul’s follow me as I too follow Christ comes to mind.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 29 June 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  14. “God becomes man, identifies with man, embraces man as and where s/he is and then proceeds to demand conformity with the new Adam! The self is to be drastically made over!”

    It makes you wish Jesus had written an autobiography. Did he experience any kind of inner conflict about who he was? Did he consciously suppress his God-nature in order to be fully human, or did he cultivate Godlikeness as a self projected onto him by the Father? He seems to have distinguished at an early age the physical father (Joseph) from the Big Other, what Lacan calls the Master Signifier of the Symbolic Order.

    You also wonder how much Paul struggled to understand what Jesus had done, and what Jesus really expected of him. He seems to vacillate between a moralistic rule-based religion that’s directly continuous with the Law, and a much more mystical dual-nature theory. Maybe none of this quite captures what it means to come into one’s own fullness of being in a way that fulfills and dies to the Law rather than conforming to it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 June 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  15. Jesus self consciousness is an interesting topic. Some clues we have in the debates on who he was that erupted with various groups of hecklers. Another is John’s extended meditation, but few today take John at face value (a shame).

    I’m wondering whether Jesus identification of his mission to bring ‘mankind’ into God’s kingdom was so complete, so inclusive, that the distinctions between self-other has become blurred, something that would then lead (naturally) to a charge of being mentally unbalanced, as his own family concludes.

    It is something that Buber took as a major theme, but today seems to be a bit ignored.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 29 June 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  16. Ktismatics, under the pressure of Reich sympathizer Warszawa I’m thinking why it’s hard for people to understand that Lacanalysis wasn’t about the discourse of the Master, but about getting rid of the Master’s discourse. Which I think is ultimately the message of the Bible as well, much as dr. Sinthome’s probably getting a headache right now as we speak – for the Bible says ”a man is judged by his deeds, not his words”. Similarly the end of Lacanalysis is supposed to allow you the freedom to construct yourself the way YOU wish, instead of under the authority and/or for the sake of the Other’s desire. The encounter with the Void need not be nihilistic. It can be a portal – a new opening.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 29 June 2007 @ 9:11 pm

  17. There;s also something in the Christian narrative that tallies with Lacanalysis – that dialectic of losing yerself in order to ”find yerself”, namely. If you just replace the find yerself with ”construct your subjectivity in accordance with your own desire”, hey presto! (Dr.Zizek wrote about this a lot, although as you know until that Slovenly seccessionist bastard is prepared to subjectively destitute himself, I’m not buying ANYTHING he says.)

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 29 June 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  18. There’s no way of knowing who the “real me” is, because we’re always embedded in a world of symbols (especially language) that mediates our raw experience of ourselves.

    There’s no way of knowing it because according to L. it doesn’t exist. But be careful, this does not have to be an exasperating thought as in Nikki Grace in the psychotic labyrinth. L. felt that the illusion of selfhood is a necessary illusion, and therefore did not propose abolishing ourselves into some kind of a consensual psychosis. One doesn’t walk out of Lacanalysis without a personality, as the Marxian scorpio imagines because she’s read too much Derrida. Rather, Lacan thought that the knowledge (that we are constructed) would give us the freedom to construct our own life – uninhibited by Imaginary fears and other people’s desires.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 29 June 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  19. And at least in Orthodox Christianity, I understand that their theology also sees the self as decentered: evil is not IN man, but in Satan. Etc. In ourselves we are but dust!

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 29 June 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  20. Dejan

    to allow you the freedom to construct yourself the way YOU wish

    Is this really possible? Granted that it is, and that the ‘orthodox’ reformed Christian view would be that we choose to construct ourselves in satan’s image while go intervenes to pull us out and remake us in the image of his son.

    the selfhood that go creates in us is what ifferentiates us from dust. we are selfish dust.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 29 June 2007 @ 10:39 pm

  21. Dejan

    to allow you the freedom to construct yourself the way YOU wish

    Is this really possible? Granted that it is, and that the ‘orthodox’ reformed Christian view would be that we choose to construct ourselves in satan’s image while god intervenes to pull (some of) us out and remake us in the image of his son.

    the selfhood that god creates in us is what differentiates us from dust. we are selfish dust.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 29 June 2007 @ 10:41 pm

  22. sorry for the ()ouble post – trouble with ‘d’ for the last couple of days

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 29 June 2007 @ 10:42 pm

  23. Is this really possible?Granted that it is, and that the ‘orthodox’ reformed Christian view would be that we choose to construct ourselves in satan’s image while god intervenes to pull (some of) us out and remake us in the image of his son.

    It’s never fully possible, but that’s the catch – we must strive for the impossible (and then it becomes possible)! Lacan’s dictum was ”to die for something”. Now of course analysis is no religion, so Lacan never envisaged this intervening Jesus. However I’m just trying to say I don’t see his teaching as being in dire conflict with religion.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 June 2007 @ 7:23 am

  24. “Lacanalysis wasn’t about the discourse of the Master, but about getting rid of the Master’s discourse. Which I think is ultimately the message of the Bible as well.”

    It requires some deconstructive reading to regard the Bible as an injunction to abolish the Master’s discourse — or, perhaps better, to acknowledge that there is no Master behind the discourse, no Absolute Signifier guaranteeing the efficacy of the Symbolic Order. My reading of Genesis 1 works in precisely this way. In an act of unconstrained creation elohim imposes his own symbolic order on the Real, which is the raw universe. He separates light and darkness, earth and sea and heavens — categorizing, structuring, assigning names. Then, instead of imposing his symbolic order by fiat and demanding submission to it, elohim teaches it to the witness, who writes it all down in Genesis 1.

    Is it possible to pursue a deconstructive reading of the rest of the Bible that does away with the Big Other territorialization that the sons have imposed on the Father, castrating his freedom to create something new? That unveils the Law and the holy wars as all-too-human constructs, justified in the name of a Father who has been strapped into his throne by those who demand that he tell them what to do? That turns Jesus and all of us who follow into a son of man AND a son of God, because these seemingly paradoxical opposite poles have always already been one and the same?

    “The encounter with the Void need not be nihilistic. It can be a portal – a new opening.”

    Excellent point. Again in Genesis 1 we see the Creator creating the Symbolic Order from inside the Void. Dejan, have you read some of my Genesis 1 stuff by any chance? I hadn’t realized until recently the resonance of Lacan with some of this exegesis. That the unfillable hole in the self is transformed from a loss/lack into the protean source of virtual/potential difference and creation. Now that I’m in place I’ve ordered Fink’s book on Lacan from Amazon, so I can get further up to speed.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 7:48 am

  25. “If you just replace the find yerself with ”construct your subjectivity in accordance with your own desire”, hey presto!”

    Part of find-yourself is recognizing your own desires, no? So that you can consciously create a self that doesn’t turn out to be repressive and self-destructive?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 7:51 am

  26. “until that Slovenly seccessionist bastard is prepared to subjectively destitute himself, I’m not buying ANYTHING he says.”

    Well he does acknowledge being an unprincipled weakling, which is at least a start.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 8:01 am

  27. In contemporary Western culture the Big Other isn’t even God any more, but Capital. This was Deleuze & Guattari’s contention: that the market establishes a symbolic order which effaces all distinctions other than market value; that lack/loss is market-stimulated demand which ig guaranteed not to satisfy desire; that the phallus is the illusory fetish-value of the commodity. Jacques-Alain Miller (Lacan’s son-in-law, I believe) contends that the market inverts the symbolic order, creating a superego-like injunction to enjoy and a bad conscience that feels guilty for not enjoying enough. When the market co-opts the desire-fulfillment circuit in this way it becomes especially difficult to find one’s way out of the labyrinth.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 8:29 am

  28. “sorry for the ()ouble post – trouble with ‘d’ for the last couple of days.”

    Doubling is a recognizable sign of portalic transport. And your loss of the “d” turns “god” into “go” — which dramatically emphasizes dynamic force rather than static entity.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 8:32 am

  29. Then, instead of imposing his symbolic order by fiat and demanding submission to it, elohim teaches it to the witness, who writes it all down in Genesis 1.

    Haven’t yet read your Genesis analysis, so this reading is new to me, but from my Orthodox perspective, if God’s love is all-enveloping (ref. to Corinthians) and doesn’t force, then it’s only the sinner’s fault that he doesn’t see it and embrace it. Such a God is therefore very close to this notion of the protean source (of creation): a source of infinite freedom and potentiality. I think because Christian fundamentalists essentially speak the lingo of the Old Testament, people are upset about this sadomasochistic aspect of faith, but I think the New Testament was supposed to have dispensed with the ressentiment discourse?

    Consider also that the Bible repeatedly (also) defines the self as an illusion!

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 8:35 am

  30. “ouble post” sounds like a conjugation of the French verb “oublier” — to forget. So maybe your keyboard is enticing you into confronting repressed unconscious matter that you “forgot.”

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 8:37 am

  31. That the unfillable hole in the self is transformed from a loss/lack into the protean source of virtual/potential difference and creation

    Lacan didn’t himself and concretely go that far – he was content allowing analysis to construct a more realistic and flexible self – but using common sense, emptiness/Lack need not be defined negatively, or laden with notions like pessimism (note Lacan didn’t sympathize with existentialists, which you can find in his essay on the mirror stage). If something is empty, then it can be filled, instead of being a condemnation to Hell.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 8:39 am

  32. that lack/loss is market-stimulated demand which ig guaranteed not to satisfy desire;

    well but isn’t that exactly what Satan does?

    that the phallus is the illusory fetish-value of the commodity

    accent on: NECESSARY illusion. This is where L and Deleuze part: Deleuze believed you can just skip the phallus, the Oedipus narrative, and get direct access to jouissance. There is abundant clinical evidence to the contrary, but I think at this point Deleuze was simply being a Marxist, forgetting the original context of analysis, which is clinical practice.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 8:44 am

  33. Part of find-yourself is recognizing your own desires, no? So that you can consciously create a self that doesn’t turn out to be repressive and self-destructive?

    yes the knowledge that ”self” is only a construct should help you not to cling so desperately to the Imaginary, in other words. Letting go of the illusion that perfection is attainable, you will be more able to deal with loss. Beyond that analysis doesn’t offer any deliverance, or comfort.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 8:48 am

  34. the selfhood that god creates in us

    But what is this selfhood, S.? The way I see it, it has more in common with some transpersonal notion (say Deleuze’s Affect) – each individual soul reflects God’s transcendent one – than the ”inner self” you find in humanist psychology of the Marxist variety, or in cognitivist-behavioral approaches. Anycase its center is clearly ex-centric.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 8:53 am

  35. http://www-class.unl.edu/ahis498b/parts/week5/mirror.html

    This is what Lacan had to say about existentialists:

    At the culmination of the historical effort of a society to refuse to recognize that it has any function other than the utilitarian one, and in the anxiety of the individual confronting the ‘concentrational’ ‡ form of the social bond that seems to arise to crown this effort, existentialism must have indeed resulted from it; a freedom that is never more authentic than when it is within the walls of a prison; a demand for commitment, expressing the impotence of a pure consciousness to master any situation ; a voyeuristic-sadistic idealization of the sexual relation; a personality that realizes itself only in suicide; a consciousness of the other that can be satisfied only by Hegelian murder.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 8:56 am

  36. Dejan, I agree, ex-centric it is. The Calvinistic reading has God doing everything including electing the persons that he wants to ‘save’, salvation being to be remade in the image of God’s son. As you point out the narrative of the NT though still having a number of voices does indeed lead to an extroversion of the self even if it is as simple as ‘what YOU do is what counts’. The Master bows out quite effectively in the incarnation and he bows back in as the servant. If thee is a Christian view of the self it must begin with this dialogue of servant and servant.

    I don’t know Deleuze or Lacan well enough to follow all of your and John’s allusions, but there is certainly a sense in which the market, the ideal of ‘the good life’, has taken center stage in our selves, telling us in essence who and what we are and what we must do. I’m not sure if Capital is the best term for this tho, it’s too loaded for one thing.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 30 June 2007 @ 10:03 am

  37. “accent on: NECESSARY illusion. This is where L and Deleuze part: Deleuze believed you can just skip the phallus, the Oedipus narrative, and get direct access to jouissance.”

    Regarding the Oedipal discourse: if the position of Big Other is occupied by Capital, then what does the Oedipus conflict signify? Is it still basically the same operation as in Freud/Lacan, with the father as central participant in the marketplace serving as spokesman of capital’s symbolic order to the child?

    Deleuze & Guattari’s deterritorialization dismantles the symbolic order imposed on the self by the Other. Only after this work of destruction is accomplished can the desires flow freely — so I think there is direct correspondence with Lacan’s program.

    However, D&G also contend that the self continually imposes its own order on the free flow of desire. This reterritorializing can take the creative form of artistic expression or scientific experimentation — or the tyrannical imposition of will to power on self and others. So the self repeatedly has to “castrate” itself in order to restore free flow.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 10:09 am

  38. if the position of Big Other is occupied by Capital, then what does the Oedipus conflict signify?

    the position of the Big Other is a structural one, it can be occupied by Capital, a man, a woman, Brad Pitt or Spongebob Squarepants. The Oedipus conflict signifies what it usually does in Freud. Now Deleuze (I think) thought that since this narrative is produced by the burgeois family which belongs to the capitalist order, it’s fictive/produced. But what did he present as evidence? Some really funny queer performances. I’m not buying yet – especially since the hippie commune didn’t seem to take over the nuclear family.

    Only after this work of destruction is accomplished can the desires flow freely — so I think there is direct correspondence with Lacan’s program.

    But to get to that point, you need to PASS THROUGH the Oedipal narrative. In Deleuze, or so I surmise from what you and dr. Sinthome write about him, we can just skip it.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 10:41 am

  39. but there is certainly a sense in which the market, the ideal of ‘the good life’, has taken center stage in our selves, telling us in essence who and what we are and what we must do.

    Tsja was it ever any different? In feudalism, your landlord told you who you are…before that your slavemaster… I agree with Christianity in that I don’t think the world will ever be good and right, except maybe after the Second Coming (but we’re not going to find out in this lifetime I guess – nor do I believe we are supposed to find out). The annoying thing with Marx is that he claimed he could set us free of the bondage, which is what the Devil also claimed.

    For me Marxism can perform a vital function in curbing capitalism, such as take care of health insurance for everyone, but I doubt it will ever return as a full-fledged alternative. Maybe I’m just too religious to believe such a thing.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 10:47 am

  40. “the position of the Big Other is a structural one, it can be occupied by Capital, a man, a woman, Brad Pitt or Spongebob Squarepants.”

    Well if Big Other is only the name for the central space in the structure of the Symbolic Order, then the placeholder for the Big Other (God, Spongebob, whoever) is assigned by the Symbolic Order itself. D&G’s deterritorialization amounts to a destruction of these seemingly fixed assignments of position in the symbolic order. The most important deterritorial act is to cut the Big Other off from the central position as master signifier of the system. This sounds like an Oedipal overthrow. It’s not clear that D&G acknowledge the importance of the Master Signifier or the Big Other, though. Perhaps that’s why they end up with the eternal return of territorialization — there is no center, no hole, no filler of the hole which, once recognized and killed off, can never again tyrannize the territory. Everything in their system is already distributed and decentered by capital.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 11:03 am

  41. Everything in their system is already distributed and decentered by capital.

    Yes well I doubt that on the basis of clinical evidence. There is a lot of evidence for all kinds of disorders stemming from the insufficiency/lack of the ”father figure”.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 11:09 am

  42. And this ”deterritorialization” is interestingly only en vogue in the West – in Russia or in Serbia, for example, the belief in the traditional society (with the central role the family ties play) is nowhere nearly as ”deterritorialized”.

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 30 June 2007 @ 11:10 am

  43. “There is a lot of evidence for all kinds of disorders stemming from the insufficiency/lack of the ”father figure”.”

    I agree that a good father is better than a bad or absent one. However, I’m not persuaded that the evidence supports much of a connection between the fathering one receives and one’s psychological state. As long as the father is “good enough” — i.e., not abusive or grossly neglectful — his lasting impact on the child’s psyche is going to be almost entirely genetic, at least insofar as is measurable. If as Lacan suggests there is no Big Other, then the psychological influence of father on child must be revealed as an illusion, a fantasy. The father never had It, the father never took It away from the child — It never existed in the first place.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 June 2007 @ 10:42 pm

  44. One could look as parenting as a more generic function, where except for cases of an unusual nature, tha actual fathering/mothering may be always within a framework of equivalence within which the self can adjust itself as needed.

    I think the Israeli experiments with group upbringing and surrogate ‘parenting’ do try to indicate something like this but I am not entirely convinced that the process is entirely neutral. Group think is something that we see associated with very linear models, like one finds in Islamic Madrassas and in Hindu Gurukullam, and the Israeli variety may not have been objectively tested out for diversity.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 30 June 2007 @ 10:53 pm

  45. I meant to also include Catholic Convents in that list! It will be interesting too to see whether the homeschooling environmenet achieves something similar from a totally different method!

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 30 June 2007 @ 10:56 pm

  46. at least insofar as is measurable

    it’s not necessarily measurable because we’re talking about the symbolic order here, and so the fathering function can be played by a woman or an idol, but I do also remember quite clearly tons of research in psych school where a literal/empirical connection was also established between mental disorders and absent/abusive fathers. But apologies I should not have brought the research up because it’s beyond the scope of a blog to get into such details.

    Also let’s not get deeper into this Lacanfest before you have read the Fink book; there are other subjects, such as your Genesis essay, and I keep wanting to go back to Orthodoxy and theological issues as well !

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 July 2007 @ 12:47 am

  47. Everything in their system is already distributed and decentered by capital.

    Something there is not entirely logical for me: if this condition is so alien to humans, why does the heterosexual/”heteronormative” (burgeois) order persist – and so long – in different forms? why is the nuclear family still the predominant organization, if as deleuze apparently believes, there’s a multitude of other, and better, non-repressive options out there? Howcome the sexual revolution of the 1960s crashed, where most other forms of bonding, transgression and group sex have been commodified, or relegated to the margins? Finally, we might turn the whole thing upside down and ask ourselves, what if all these new forms (as opposed to the burgeois/Oedipal/nuclear family) are produced by capitalism? It’s certainly conspicuous as I said that queer lifestyles don’t flourish as easily in countries outside the Euroatlantic world – why doesn’t the islamic world adopt these new concepts? You’d have to be pretty cynical to surmise that humans WANT to be oppressed so badly, they didn’t already discover the beauty and freedom of transpersonal orgasm.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 July 2007 @ 1:10 am

  48. and no I’m not buying chabert’s explanation that that’s because the owners own the goodies and dictate their own styles of bonding. the working class also forms families, namely!

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 July 2007 @ 1:12 am

  49. The nuclear family is most dysfunctional (from appearances) amongst the ‘rich and famous, and most normatively stable and functional in the middle class and lower stratas, though there is a trend towards increasing single parenting amongst the poorest. This could be viewed as being by imposition from market forces, a part of the overall delusion, and promoted for it’s tendency to tie people to their productivity and jobs.

    But in another sense, strong households can themselves be forces of decentralization, so the the more recent trends away from promoting the nuclear family by the market may be a move to remove theis last potential hurdle of iniviuality – I am again reminded of the homeschooling phenomenon.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 1 July 2007 @ 1:46 am

  50. Samlcarr, I do not have the statistics at hand, but I’m taking an educated guess that all over the world, people still predominantly form pairs with multiple children. Even if same-sex couples formed such families, they’d still be nuclear families. There must be a reason other than masochism that this form has been so widespread for so long. Mind you I’m not saying this from some far-right / homophobic / conservative mindset, I’m merely stating the obvious. You can always argue that we are at the very beginning of a new trend, and so a long time has to pass before the traditional society is fully deterritorialized. But then I think – what I see in real life is that people busy themselves with group sex in their 20s, and then reaching a certain age, suddenly turn almost pious in their pursuit of intimacy and protection that only a pairing can afford – even if it’s polygamous, or what you’d call an ”open relationship”. Could it really be that this is solely the effect of the market? I don’t know, seems doubtful.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 July 2007 @ 2:06 am

  51. Parodycenter, I think there is certainly evidence of synergy in the past between the culture of nuclear family – monogamy, and what the market wanted.

    I think this may be breaking down now for two reasons. First, in comparing families in Euro-America and those in the rest of the world, the obvious lack of extended family ties, had obviously been substituted by ‘the market’ (in western culture). I think that this entails a huge cost for the market that it would like to shed. This is compounded by the second trend and that is the emptying of symbolism. As the new anuclear family starts to become difficult to uniquely define, the concommitant difficulty of culturally sustaining (finding territorial space for) a nonsystem, i.e. one without ‘handles’ like symbols, boundaries, norms and mores makes the cultural transmission, the enculturation itself, difficult to sustain.

    The idea of ‘family’ is now emptying and we are left with vague stuff like being “pious in their pursuit of intimacy and protection that only a pairing can afford” – pairing!.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 1 July 2007 @ 6:52 am

  52. pairing!.

    by that I just meant two people living together

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 July 2007 @ 9:41 am

  53. “One could look as parenting as a more generic function, where except for cases of an unusual nature, tha actual fathering/mothering may be always within a framework of equivalence within which the self can adjust itself as needed.”

    There’s evidence in support of this position, Sam, even outside the context of communal childrearing situations. E.g., identical twins reared in separate homes grow up to be just as similar to each other as if they were raised together. It’s evidence in support of Lacan’s idea that the father is a kind of placeholder and role-player. The individual father performs a generic socialization function that incorporates the child into the larger culture, of which each of us is a representative and a carrier. Men occupying roughly the same demographic category in a particular society are in effect interchangeable as fathers.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 July 2007 @ 11:39 am

  54. “I do also remember quite clearly tons of research in psych school where a literal/empirical connection was also established between mental disorders and absent/abusive fathers.”

    As you say, this might not be the place, but the evidence has been reinterpreted in light of other work. Yes, abusive parenting leaves psychological scars. An absent father typically results in a financially distressed situation for the mother and child, and poverty definitely has adverse consequences for children. Asshole fathers are 50% likely to pass on their asshole genes to their children, so in most childrearing situations there’s a perfect confound between nature and nurture. That’s why twins-raised-separately studies are so valuable: they show that paternal genetics have a far more potent impact on children than the father’s parenting.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 July 2007 @ 11:45 am

  55. “why is the nuclear family still the predominant organization, if as deleuze apparently believes, there’s a multitude of other, and better, non-repressive options out there?”

    I agree that Deleuze overstates the case for the socio-economic impact on family structure and dynamics. We have a genetic predisposition to assemble into biological family units. What I question is whether a poor childhood relationship with one’s parents is the primary cause of psychological disorder in adulthood.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 July 2007 @ 12:00 pm

  56. Sorry Parodycenter, I got what you were getting at, but it also did illustrate my point. While there is continuity, there are also some important changes that seem to be gathering force. Culture itself seems less monolithic and more PoMo! Now, where it’s heading is the question. This may be a ‘blip’ and after a gyration or two things might settle back into a variation of what was, or not.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 1 July 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  57. “Doubling is a recognizable sign of portalic transport. And your loss of the ‘d’ turns ‘god’ into ‘go’ — which dramatically emphasizes dynamic force rather than static entity.”

    Oh the wisdom here! The mistake is the fuel for the truth that always was before the mistake.

    “to allow you the freedom to construct yourself the way YOU wish”

    I agree with sam. We are selfish dust. To go to the void is the loss of the selfish self and the finding of the true self that was given to the Real Big “Other.” I guess I’d agree that psychoanalysis doesn’t necessarily contradict the Bible. I guess it would depend on how far we take our own wishes. Where do they come from; what does it mean to have our own wishes in the first place?

    I would agree that the Bible decenters the self. “Letting go of the illusion that perfection is attainable [BY AND WITH ONE’S SELF], you will be more able to deal with loss.”

    “I’m not sure if Capital is the best term for this tho, it’s too loaded for one thing.”

    My free-market loving Republican Christian friends really adore that term “capital.” I actually like it, myself…being an architect and all. The capital is what the whole structure is rising toward, and then it “caps” it in the end, holding the whole thing together. It really seems to speak to that idea of our own replacement of our selves at the center; we seem to enjoy it immensely.

    “the position of the Big Other is a structural one, it can be occupied by Capital, a man, a woman, Brad Pitt or Spongebob Squarepants.”

    But Brad Pitt and Spongebob both seem to do a good job of serving Father Market, no?

    “The annoying thing with Marx is that he claimed he could set us free of the bondage, which is what the Devil also claimed.”

    Uuhh…wow. “Jump off this roof…you know you won’t hurt yourself.” “Bow down and serve me, and I will give you everything.”

    “It’s not clear that D&G acknowledge the importance of the Master Signifier or the Big Other, though. Perhaps that’s why they end up with the eternal return of territorialization — there is no center, no hole, no filler of the hole which, once recognized and killed off, can never again tyrannize the territory. Everything in their system is already distributed and decentered by capital.”

    This seems to speak to their “body without organs” thing, no?

    “Yes well I doubt that on the basis of clinical evidence. There is a lot of evidence for all kinds of disorders stemming from the insufficiency/lack of the ‘father figure’.”

    Alas, our bodies have organs.

    “And this ‘deterritorialization’ is interestingly only en vogue in the West – in Russia or in Serbia, for example, the belief in the traditional society (with the central role the family ties play) is nowhere nearly as ‘deterritorialized’.”

    Very interesting. Anyway…and alas, everyone doesn’t eat lunch on their bedroom floor, as I sometimes do. In Kenya, in the desert region, they eat around a coffee table together…although the table and chairs themslves sit on the dirt, interesetingly.

    “It never existed in the first place.”

    “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

    “I do also remember quite clearly tons of research in psych school where a literal/empirical connection was also established between mental disorders and absent/abusive fathers.”

    This, though, doesn’t contradict what The Doyle said? The issue isn’t whether a sense of self is imparted froma regular old father relationship, one that isn’t abusive or neglectful or absent…?? But maybe I should listen…a blog isn’t the space to get into all the research. But anyway, that whole thing is interesting to me.

    “I keep wanting to go back to Orthodoxy and theological issues as well !”

    Sounds like fun…still.

    BTW…I never explained “techtonified eschaton.” At least not where Dejan was in the audience, I don’t think. I was referring to the Marx-like idea an end-point of escape…handed to him partially from Hegel, I think. The previously-in-this-thread referenced notion that Marx offers a “way out.” Where I mentioned it previously, the Beatles came up. “Imagine there’s no heaven; its easy if you try.”

    “‘Everything in their system is already distributed and decentered by capital.’ Something there is not entirely logical for me: if this condition is so alien to humans, why does the heterosexual/’heteronormative’ (burgeois) order persist – and so long – in different forms? why is the nuclear family still the predominant organization, if as deleuze apparently believes, there’s a multitude of other, and better, non-repressive options out there? Howcome the sexual revolution of the 1960s crashed, where most other forms of bonding, transgression and group sex have been commodified, or relegated to the margins? Finally, we might turn the whole thing upside down and ask ourselves, what if all these new forms (as opposed to the burgeois/Oedipal/nuclear family) are produced by capitalism?”

    Well, sheesh…read the conversations of smart folk, and you learn something new every day. That was darned interesting. I must say, I think I like it. Deleuze doesn’t really sit well with me anyway…from what I know of him.

    Although I so resonate with the original statement, though! The “explosive” force of the modern market isn’t exactly “natural” like diarreah, lol. It seems to me that part of the problem is that free-market global capitalism creates a situation in which we are all one family, all one house, all one “oikos.” The unasked question seems to be, “what then?” The asked question seems to be, “Is the construct of ‘capital’ ‘natural.’?”

    I guess my point is, of course the family is “nautral,” on some level (that seems obvious). But to which family do we owe our allegience…the global one produced by capital (so the “homo” who lives on the other side of the city, maybe), or my mother and father in the house I grew up in?

    General note: this has been a really interesting conversation. Among other things, I think I finally learned the meaning of the term “masochism.”

    “What I question is whether a poor childhood relationship with one’s parents is the primary cause of psychological disorder in adulthood.”

    What WOULD be the cause? Genuine question, BTW. Although considering the rest of the conversation, it should probably be obvious. I sort of lost my train of thought…one of the bosses just arrived.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 July 2007 @ 11:44 am

  58. I just had one of those Einsteinian firecrackers, lol. You guys were arguing over whether capital produces the centrality of the Bourgoisie Pig (a cafe name in Hollywood) at the top of the structure (ladder) or the decentraliztion of the marginalized ones. Or maybe whether the capital and the marginal is produced by the bourgoisie. Whatever. Obviously, the two are related. A fact probably missed by no one.

    However, my little firecracker (probably/maybe also not new to anyone) is that – if Capital really is an imaginarey rather than a Real other (back to Crosby, it is REPRESENTATIVE anyway: https://ktismatics.wordpress.com/2007/02/02/crunching-the-numbers-crosby-continued/) – then it would produce the decentering of those at the top/center of the construct as well as those at the bottom/margins of it.

    That, of course, does not mean that the family has no foundational meaning. In fact, it might mean that the family really is central, whereas capital is not.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 July 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  59. “The mistake is the fuel for the truth that always was before the mistake.”

    That’s deep. Is that a Hesmaniak original?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 July 2007 @ 3:59 pm

  60. The sentence – yes. The idea – no, of course not.
    :)

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 2 July 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  61. “if Capital really is an imaginarey rather than a Real other”

    I believe you’re right. Capital isn’t real, nor is there any Big Other that holds Capital at the Center other than the economic system itself. Market value isn’t the same as real value; it’s an artifact of the system, of an economic system that assigns the value of everything relative to the value of everything else.

    Now that we arrive at this insight, what can we do about it? Can we ignore Capital and assign/discover value according to some alternative reality? Or must we dismantle the system before we can see any other system emerge?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 July 2007 @ 3:29 pm

  62. “That, of course, does not mean that the family has no foundational meaning. In fact, it might mean that the family really is central, whereas capital is not.”

    Surely sexual reproduction is about as real as it gets. Whether the family stays together or not, there is something irreducibly solid about the man-woman-child triad as foundational to individuation and perpetuation of the species. Dejan’s contention is evocative — that all these alternative sexual and childrearing arrangements might be an artifact of Capital. This thesis would need further elaboration — what benefits would Capital gain from communal living, or divorce, or gay marriage?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 July 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  63. “Dejan’s contention is evocative — that all these alternative sexual and childrearing arrangements might be an artifact of Capital. This thesis would need further elaboration — what benefits would Capital gain from communal living, or divorce, or gay marriage?”

    Well, what benefits did Capital gain from the porn industry before Capital’s excesses made room for one? Maybe not be best parallel for Dejan’s point…but it seems to point in the same direction, no? I guess, thogh, when you say “would need further elaboration,” you are referring to empirical evidence, for which there is not room on a blog, no?

    “Surely sexual reproduction is about as real as it gets. Whether the family stays together or not, there is something irreducibly solid about the man-woman-child triad as foundational to individuation and perpetuation of the species.”

    I suppose I would agree. But I would say that there is something foundational on the other side of the veil, so to speak…concerning intimacy and union…the whole “one flesh” thing that is about more than just evolutionary survival, I think.

    From an encyclical by the new Pope: “eros is somehow rooted in man’s very nature; Adam is a seeker, who ‘abandons his mother and father’ in order to find woman; only together do the two represent complete humanity and become ‘one flesh’. The second aspect is equally important. From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfil its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love. This close connection between eros and marriage in the Bible has practically no equivalent in extra-biblical literature.”

    :)

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 July 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  64. I don’t need empirical validation until I have a theory. Why would variation in sexual expression benefit the marketplace? I suppose you’re right, Jason — any new societal niche of any kind immediately opens up a new market niche that can be exploited. I acknowledge that any difference that can be exploited will be exploited. A lot of the “alternative lifestyle” advocates were trying to find some sort of heterotopia outside the constraints of monogamous heterosexuality that seems to serve as the engine for capital. So were these people unwittingly being duped by an economic system that was actually encouraging this sort of transgressive exploration of the margins? I doubt it.

    But then again… some of it was driven by pleasure-seeking and the desire for free expression, and the marketplace is always in favor of this kind of activity as long as it can attach a meter onto the flow. So I don’t know… it makes for a pretty cynical and depression situation.

    “But I would say that there is something foundational on the other side of the veil, so to speak…concerning intimacy and union…the whole “one flesh” thing that is about more than just evolutionary survival, I think.”

    Intimacy and union promote evolutionary survival. Or, put another way: intimacy and union had survival value in the evolutionary environment. We value intimacy and union at an instinctive level because those who were equipped with this instinct survived while the loners got eaten by the saber tooth tigers.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 July 2007 @ 5:51 pm

  65. “From an encyclical by the new Pope: “eros is somehow rooted in man’s very nature.”

    Quoting the Pope on eros is like Erdman quoting C.S. Lewis on sexuality in marriage.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 July 2007 @ 5:53 pm

  66. “Intimacy and union promote evolutionary survival. Or, put another way: intimacy and union had survival value in the evolutionary environment. We value intimacy and union at an instinctive level because those who were equipped with this instinct survived while the loners got eaten by the saber tooth tigers.”

    Well, that’s fine…but of course…considering that I think that intimacy with God is essential to what it means to be human…I think that intimacy with humans as well is part of how we are “made.”

    “Quoting the Pope on eros is like Erdman quoting C.S. Lewis on sexuality in marriage.”

    I don’t understand? Really and genuinely. Are you referring to Lewis’ singleness (which obviously applies to the Pope, lol), which I think was the case?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 July 2007 @ 6:34 pm

  67. …more on capital, ect later probably…

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 July 2007 @ 6:35 pm

  68. On capital…ultimately I too would like to hear more from Dejan. However, you said:

    “I don’t need empirical validation until I have a theory. Why would variation in sexual expression benefit the marketplace? I suppose you’re right, Jason — any new societal niche of any kind immediately opens up a new market niche that can be exploited. I acknowledge that any difference that can be exploited will be exploited. A lot of the ‘alternative lifestyle’ advocates were trying to find some sort of heterotopia outside the constraints of monogamous heterosexuality that seems to serve as the engine for capital. So were these people unwittingly being duped by an economic system that was actually encouraging this sort of transgressive exploration of the margins? I doubt it.”

    My point was simply that the unnaturalness of capital…its being an extended representation of some forgotten measure of value that might originally have had something to do with something natural (not itself something you would agree with, I don’t think)…might just lend itself to what Romans 2 describes as “unnatural.”

    As a false center, it lends itself to the decentering of those at the top of its structure. As a signifier with no foundational signified, so to speak, it lends itself to supporting things that are “unnatural” (Romans 2). At least I could see how that would make sense. I mean, I could see it as if the gold/silever standard was like an Ariadne’s thread leading to the family’s dining room table. Break that “embillical chord,” so to speak, and there’s no more relation to that table, which is where the “natural” family gathers.

    Now, that brings up whether homosexuality is genetically “natural” or not. I haven’t the foggiest. I have no answer there. At the same time, however, I’m not willing to really accept the argument that it is “natural,” and therefore “good.” My lesbian friend who lef the church (a pretty darn good friend)…trust me…she likes dudes too. At the same time…I’ve directly heard stories of gad men subjecting themselves to shock therabpy…that did not help. So, I dunno.

    My point is simply that there is something “natural” about the family construct. It not just a human artifact, I don’t think; and nor do I think that it is only a survial mechanism.

    ??

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 July 2007 @ 10:12 pm

  69. The Christian Religion has a fundamental problem. The easiest way to grow numerically is to claim that kids are de facto little xtians and therefore to encourage the production of as many kids as possible, wheras in origin the ‘religion’ itself definitely forbids this particular deconstruction of the concept of salvation.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 3 July 2007 @ 10:20 pm

  70. “…the production of as many kids as possible…”

    Catholocism, dude. No condoms + No misfires = big families back in the day!

    :)

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 July 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  71. Doyle – on C.S. Lewis – or are you referring to Lewis’ modern bent?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 3 July 2007 @ 10:53 pm

  72. “Are you referring to Lewis’ singleness (which obviously applies to the Pope, lol), which I think was the case?”

    Yes — see series of comments by Erdman, Sam and me early in the “Children of America” discussion.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 4:37 am

  73. “the unnaturalness of capital”

    Advocates of free market capitalism contend that it’s the most natural economic system there is. It’s a self-organizing emergent system based on unimpeded flows of desire and fulfillment, with no intermediaries deciding what shall be produced or consumed or what prices shall be charged. I suppose the two main categories of critical vulnerability for capitalism:

    (1) The naturalness is an illusion. The market drives desire-fulfillment away from interpersonal relationships (natural) and into commodities that can be bought and sold (unnatural), away from creating and discovering fulfillment of desire (natural) and into buying and consuming fulfillment (unnatural). Away from following your own desires (natural) and into “mimetic desire” — having desires instilled in you by others through competition and marketing (unnatural). Away from fulfilling desire (natural) and into stimulating insatiable desire (unnatural).

    (2) Nature isn’t always the best model to emulate. Pursuing satisfaction of natural desires is selfish and base, keeping people from pursuing higher values. The winner-take-all competitiveness of nature is inequitable and cruel in its distribution of benefits.

    The “sexual revolution” was in part an attempt to open up the free flow of natural desire. The market diverts the natural flow of libido into the urge to buy and to produce. If everybody had more sex more often the perversions of capitalist striving and consumption would just sort of dry up. The question is partly whether it works — can people overcome their “bourgeois prejudices” that favor monogamous heterosexual unions, and does more sex result in less buying and selling? Or is this desire for more sex with more partners itself a manifestation of the free market, which thrives on more more more?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 5:09 am

  74. “I’m not willing to really accept the argument that it is “natural,” and therefore “good.””

    There are “queer theorists” who have no interest in debating the naturalness of homosexuality or whether gay people are born that way. Art isn’t necessarily natural; neither is personal identity and self-expression. Rigidly dichotomizing everyone into male/female, straight/gay, etc. is to limit the possibility of difference in the world. Queerness becomes a general term for the marginalized, the socially unacceptable, the disruptive, the unnatural, the creative, the different, the revolutionary.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 5:19 am

  75. “My point is simply that there is something “natural” about the family construct. It not just a human artifact, I don’t think; and nor do I think that it is only a survial mechanism.”

    So, in light of the above, you have to decide whether “natural” always means “good” while “unnatural” always means “bad.” And you have to decide whether natural instincts aren’t being manipulated into complicity with capitalist production and consumption. I strongly believe that the desire for family/home stability drives a huge and unnecessary amount of spending, and keeps people doing crap jobs in order to pay for it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 5:24 am

  76. “The easiest way to grow numerically is to claim that kids are de facto little xtians and therefore to encourage the production of as many kids as possible.”

    That sounds like capitalist thinking, doesn’t it? But so too does evangelism sound like marketing, which is an even quicker and more efficient way of building a marketplace than reproduction. It’s hard for anything to think about itself in ways that haven’t been coopted by capitalism.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 5:27 am

  77. Increase via reproduction is Jewish and Catholic thinking, which corresponds roughly to traditional socio-economic arrangements. Increase via evangelism and conversion is Protestant, corresponding to modern global capitalism. But evangelism and conversion are New Testament. So is global capitalism an inevitable byproduct of Christian thinking? Or even from the beginning has Christianity always been a tool of global capitalism, a means of extending Roman financial reach into uncivilized territories?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 5:33 am

  78. On Lewis and the “Children of America” discussion. For one thing, to me it seems more relevant the fact that Lewis had a modern bent than that he was single. No one is asexual. Only the cogitified ones can play it.

    Regardless, quoting the Pope to support the notion that eros has something to do with man’s “nature,” as well as to support the notion that marriage is “iconic,” is no great stretch for Biblical hermeneutics. Its all over the Bible. Hosea, dude. Not to mention Song of Solomon, although that, taken at face value, is more about a man and a woman.

    “The “sexual revolution” was in part an attempt to open up the free flow of natural desire. The market diverts the natural flow of libido into the urge to buy and to produce. If everybody had more sex more often the perversions of capitalist striving and consumption would just sort of dry up. The question is partly whether it works — can people overcome their ‘bourgeois prejudices’ that favor monogamous heterosexual unions, and does more sex result in less buying and selling? Or is this desire for more sex with more partners itself a manifestation of the free market, which thrives on more more more?”

    For me the question is, what does “bourgoise prejudices” mean? Is bourgoise society our purely contextualized trace of the idea of “family” that we have come to know, or are all of its pretentions and sicknesses the corruption of something good and natural, which is, namely, the family?

    Regarding your questions, though…it seems to me that the original logic of the revolution was off. And on top of that, it seems like kind of a funny turn of logic. Everyone wants to have sex. Father Market says to buy and sell whatever you want instead of having sex. So then, we should have more sex, and maybe people won’t concentrate on buying and selling whatever they want. Uumm…yeah…is anyone surprised that buying and selling sex is where we ended up?

    “Or is this desire for more sex with more partners itself a manifestation of the free market, which thrives on more more more?” I’d say that everyone has always probably had the urge to have lots of sex with lots of folks. As a practical expression of it, Solomon had…how many? wives. I’d say if late free market capitalism CHANGED anything in that regard, it simply made it more possible or viable for more folks. If even that. I’d venture to guess that there were some poor Medieval villagers who had sex despite their bad smell.

    “Rigidly dichotomizing everyone into male/female, straight/gay, etc. is to limit the possibility of difference in the world. Queerness becomes a general term for the marginalized, the socially unacceptable, the disruptive, the unnatural, the creative, the different, the revolutionary.”

    Thanks for explaining that (seriously). I was kind of wondering if that was actaully an argument for gaydom. But…sorry but that doesn’t strike me as a good argument for gaydom. I mean, I can be straight, a proponent of straight sexualities, and still be quite the fan of difference, even still viewing the liminal distinction(s) between you and I as what gives (maybe even “produces,” to a degree) the “you” and the “I.”

    Then, on top of that, I can be stright, a proponent of straightness, aggrevated with capitalism’s subsumption of all into one, and view both the problem and the solution diffently. By “solution” there I just mean “change,” or “revolution.” More on that in a moment. But my point is, if there’s a “personal” God who loves us “personally,” then, obviously…He’s cooler than Father Market of the subuming sameness in this regard.

    All that to essentially say that, just because contemporary capitalism tends toward a certain unhealthy view of the gay/marginalized, that isn’t an arguement for the validity or goodness of gaydom.

    On “revolution.” “Revolution” isn’t “freedom” but “liberation.” From what? From what I’ve noticed, the arguments that capitalism subsumes us into a sameness usually come from the viewpoint of that existentialist notion of event that is an “impersonal transcendental field.” It sets its own trap, and then tries to find a way out.

    I myself, however, am not such an existentialist, and yet I still observes such susuming sameness. That just means that I view the “problem” and the “solution” differently, I guess.

    “I strongly believe that the desire for family/home stability drives a huge and unnecessary amount of spending, and keeps people doing crap jobs in order to pay for it.”

    Good point. This seems to be a root issue here. I’ve noticed that myself. I haven’t fully thought through all the causes and implications of this scenario, ect…so here I’ll be sort of shooting from the hip. I’ve only recently sort of noticed or admitted to myself that the reason that folks do things they hate is to support the family’s that they (supposedly) love.

    Anyway…my point would be that if the family is natural…and capital is not…and that if when you look at history and find that the moment capital really lost its Ariadne’s thread to something “natural” was the moment the family fell apart…well, the family ain’t to blame or change for our conumdrum, and nor is the family’s eradication the conundrum’s fixing.

    I mean, just because “natural instincts [are] being manipulated into complicity with capitalist production and consumption”, that doesn’t mean that we should do away with nature. On the contrary, I would think it means that we should change or adjust that thing that is badly manipulating what is natural.

    BTW, I’m not buying the typical argument for the “naturalness” of capitalist economics…especially not the contemporary version. I would add another argument against it. To quote myself from previously: “…the shift from ancient to modern involved one that fundamentally dwarfed and made irrelevant the human body, which was previously so central to man’s understanding of who and how he was in the world. The modern body is dwarfed and made irrelevant (relatively) precisly because of the ‘explosion’ [to reference McLuhan] that occured as the defining moment of the start of modernity. The human body has no ‘real’ rational relationship to the globe, and yet the globe sets the field of play, defines the location and/or deliniates the limits of modern life.”

    Of course “modern life” there can be extended to the conditions of capitalist economics, just as the “explosion” that occured at its beginning was in reference to capitalistic specialization.

    “So is global capitalism an inevitable byproduct of Christian thinking?”

    I’m going with “no.”

    “Or even from the beginning has Christianity always been a tool of global capitalism, a means of extending Roman financial reach into uncivilized territories?”

    This would depend on who you view the real Master to be.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 4 July 2007 @ 10:32 am

  79. “Lewis had a modern bent.”

    Lewis was a medieval scholar by trade, and the way I read him he seems pretty medieval (Aristotelian-Thomistic) by inclination. So there you go.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 10:59 am

  80. “Regardless, quoting the Pope to support the notion that eros has something to do with man’s “nature,” as well as to support the notion that marriage is “iconic,” is no great stretch for Biblical hermeneutics. Its all over the Bible.”

    Okay fine, the Pope, it just struck me as kind of funny. I think historic Catholicism is more “erotic” than Protestantism; Dejan would say that the Orthodox church is even more so, and he might be right. In this context here’s an observation from Dejan’s nemesis Zizek:

    In the history of Christianity we have, in the unique spiritual moment of the twelfth century, two interconnected subversions of this opposition between eros and agape: the Cathar version of Christianity and the emergence of courtly love. It is no wonder that, although opposed, they are part of the same historical movement — they both involve a kind of short circuit which, from the strict Pauline perspective, has to appear as illegitimate. The basic operation of courtly love was to retranslate agape back into eros: to redefine sexual love itself as the ultimate, unending ethical Duty, to elevate eros to the level of the sublime agape. The Cathars, in contrast, thoroughly rejected eros as such — for them, the opposition between eros and agape was elevated into a Gnostic-dualistic cosmic polarity: no ‘moderate’ permissible sexuality is possible; every sexual act, even with a legitimate spouse, is ultimately incestuous, since it serves the propagation and reproduction of terrestrial life, and this world is the work of Satan — for the Cathars, the God who, at ther very beginning of the Bible, says ‘Let there be light!’ is none other than Satan himself.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 11:19 am

  81. The reason the marketplace is the totalizing discourse of our age is that it can put a price tag on anything: natural or unnatural, free love or monogamous nuclear family. In fact it’s easier for the marketplace to exploit things we’re naturally inclined toward, which I’d say includes both sex and love, both freedom and security. So whether capitalism itself is natural or cultural, good or corrupt, it’s going to work its magic on everything.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 11:31 am

  82. “Lewis was a medieval scholar by trade, and the way I read him he seems pretty medieval (Aristotelian-Thomistic) by inclination. So there you go.”

    One of my Republican Christain friends took pains to make the same point. “Mere Christianity” is in the form of modern apologetics, with lots of Medieval knowledge in it. And his mythical stories have a certain Medieval superstition to them, but superstition plays its role as a nostalgic commodity…in an odd collage of clashing mythical characters from different places, no less, as if as a cogito-modern he had the right to do that. So there you go, lol.

    “I think historic Catholicism is more “erotic” than Protestantism.”

    I would agree.

    “Dejan would say that the Orthodox church is even more so, and he might be right.”

    Based on the small bit that I know about the Eastern Orthodox Church (about Florensky, for example), I would agree. But I don’t know much on that front. Tarkovsky and Florensky are drawing me in quickly.

    “…for the Cathars, the God who, at ther very beginning of the Bible, says ‘Let there be light!’ is none other than Satan himself.”

    Are you baiting me, lol? Anyway, we seem to live in a similar time. You have the “liberalizing” sexual revolution coupled with the Protestant/Puratinistic “liberals.” A fact probably not lost on the courtly Sir Zizek. Let me guess that such reflections lead him to the 12th century?

    “…which I’d say includes both sex and love, both freedom and security”

    As per Dejan’s good friend Zizek.

    “So whether capitalism itself is natural or cultural, good or corrupt, it’s going to work its magic on everything.”

    Yes, but that doesn’t change the relation ship between what is natural and artificial. If in fact there is such a thing as “natural,” then it will endure. If the natural is lost sight of in favor of something artifically made by the selfish tyrant knights seeking to overthrow the good king, then, well, that’s bad…however depressing. This is why I really identified with and was moved by the theme of SUFFERING in Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev.”

    I’ll admit it…I cried at the end when the choral music and the the mystical colors from other-where came to bear upon my senses. “St.” Andrei was “able” to console the tearful bell maker because of the GOODNESS of the king.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 4 July 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  83. “St.” Andrei…Tarkovsky or Rublev…??
    :)

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 4 July 2007 @ 12:21 pm

  84. “Are you baiting me, lol?”

    I think Zizek overstated the anti-erotic position of the Catharists. As I understand it only those who underwent the “consulamentum” ritual entered into the celibate life. But because the material life had nothing to do with spirituality, it didn’t matter much to the Catharist soul what sort of carnal activities the body partook of. So most Catharists didn’t undergo the ritual until they were practically on their deathbed.

    “Let me guess that such reflections lead him to the 12th century?”

    Actually Zizek is talking about Law versus grace in Paul in the context of the difference between Judaism and Christianity. The question is whether Law creates sin as “its obscene underside.” So he’s wondering whether Paul regards agape as erotic, in the sense of a spontaneous flow, or as a force for overcoming the excesses of eros to which humanity is inclined. This is the question of Christian desire, which we’ve discussed previously — and which will come up again in Galatians.

    “If in fact there is such a thing as “natural,” then it will endure.”

    The strange thing about human nature is that man “naturally” makes artifacts, and man acquires his human nature less through instinct than through learning — which is also an artifact. What we want are good artifacts.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 12:41 pm

  85. “I’ll admit it…I cried at the end when the choral music and the the mystical colors from other-where came to bear upon my senses.“

    That was very moving scene, as was the bell-maker’s victorious struggle in pulling beauty up out of the dirt and suspending it in the sky. As was his inspiration of Rublev to get back to painting icons despite the corruption and base crassness of mankind.

    On a related note, I recommend “Ratatouille,” the latest Pixar animation, as artistic inspiration amidst the Philistines.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 12:47 pm

  86. I must reluctanctly go to a barbeque to try and be fixed by my Tolstoy loving friend…I’ll be back. But probably not today…maybe tonight. BTW…speaking of barbeques…HAPPY FOURTH…PATRIOTS…lol.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 4 July 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  87. Thanks, you too. We already had hot dogs (one apiece), corn on the cob and baked beans for lunch today.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 July 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  88. I am a simple man. Give me a cheeseburger and a hot dog, each with a bit of ketchup, and a drink of sorts, and I’m happy. Some, however, want it more interesting:
    http://codepoetics.com/poetix/?p=431#comment-25425
    which was in response to:
    http://codepoetics.com/poetix/?p=421

    Anywhoo…

    My knowledge of the Cathars is pretty much that I’ve heard of them. They sound like the kind of group with which I wouldn’t associate my identity. Were they considered Catholic…by themselves or by the Church?

    “As was his inspiration of Rublev to get back to painting icons despite the corruption and base crassness of mankind.”

    And despite the curruption of himself. Part of his vow of silence was to “expiate” his own sins…for killing a man. And…did he go participate in that erotic witchcraft thing, or did he really get stuck in some thorn bushes?

    “Ratatouille”…OK, thanks for the recommendation. I myself am generally not animated enough to enjoy anime reality. Upon your recommendation I may, however, suspend my disbelief.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 10:36 am

  89. Jason –

    I read your exchange on Poetix last night. Sort of a predictable outcome. Will you continue pressing your point, or will you step away? I’ll go back later and see.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 11:02 am

  90. I’ve stopped pressing at this point. I just wish he would have answered my actual question/point. It makes me think I actually had a good point. Either that or I’m not intelligent enough in his eyes to warrant a response.

    What makes you say “predictable” in regards to the outcome? That too makes me wonder. Are you referring to mine and Dominic’s differing positions in relation to Christianity and science and knowledge ect? Was I being naive in my hopes of an actual conversation with him?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  91. Or I guess maybe he just wasn’t interested. Maybe he just wanted to talk about porn instead.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  92. …or different models for how sex and/or “home” might relate to politics…

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  93. It sounded from his post as though Dominic has already heard the arguments for tempering intelligence with wisdom. So he’s probably more interested in hearing from people who agree with him. I suspect he’s not all that concerned about interacting with everyone who comments on his blog — only if it helps him clarify his own thoughts. That’s an okay way to go I suppose.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  94. The Cathars — didn’t I talk on this blog about the town where the locals brought the heretics into the cathedral with them for sanctuary, but when the Cardinal showed up he told the troops to kill everyone rather than trying to separate good from bad? “God will know those who are his,” was the Cardinal’s argument, and they killed something like 10,000 people. The heretics were the Catharists. They were a peace-loving group that rose to prominence in southern France in the area generally centered around Toulouse. They were the first to translate the Bible into French (or Languedoc, which was the language of the south at the time). The Pope wanted their obedience, so when he couldn’t get that he wanted their land and wealth. The campaign against the Catharists — and also against the Knights Templar, who also had their strongholds in southern France — was the First Inquisition, launched on a Friday the 13th, giving that date a bad vibe ever since.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 1:29 pm

  95. Well then why a whole other post that says: “Whenever I’ve suggested that intelligence is better than unintelligence, there has always, always, always been someone who has found it necessary to remind me that intelligence is not the same as ‘wisdom’. Now why is that, do you think?”

    That strikes me as “interacting.” And a particular form of intereacting as well, which involves a certain intellecutal elitism. No? I don’t really get it.

    On top of that, I’d actually be interested in hearing how how sees “wisdom,” which he dispargingly puts in quotation marks, relates with “intelligence” in his mind. As it stands now, though, I’ve just been ignored. I mean, based on our interaction, he never claimed not to agree with me. How would I even know? I was sort of guessing based on the contents of the first poast on intelligence/wisdom. Hence my question(s).

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 1:29 pm

  96. I suspect the “why do you think” question was looking for people who generally agreed with him — people are afraid of sheer brilliance, wisdom is just another name for caution, etc. He probably figured he already knew your argument. Or maybe he’s just an arrogant prick.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  97. “The heretics were the Catharists. They were a peace-loving group that rose to prominence in southern France in the area generally centered around Toulouse.”

    Oh yeah…that was when we talked about Eco and The Name of the Rose. Eco seems to make reference to that group in that book. I don’t know a lot about the history of it, though.

    Sounds like that’s one of those events by which people reason out separation of church and state!

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 1:34 pm

  98. “people are afraid of sheer brilliance, wisdom is just another name for caution, etc.” That in itself sounds a bit “arrogant prick” to me. Although I would say that there is obviously some truth to both.

    In my mind…”Nothing new under the sun” combined with the “wonderous awe” that is so closely associate in Solomon’s mind with “discipline” to me seems to mitigate the central occupance of “fear of sheer brillinace” and “bourgoise uptightness” as central concerns.

    Anyway…thanks for conversing with me about it. I think I at least don’t feel like I’m in a fog on the whole thing now.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  99. At your “Joining the Sorry Parade” post, in the comments conversation you said to Dominic: “I presume you know more about the emergings than I do since, based on your post at an und fer sich, I presume you characterize yourself as Christian.” But when I go to “un der sich” link, I find a bit of a rabbitt hole in finding where Dominic may have characterized himself as Christian? This is compounding my confusion. Even the often less-than-friendly sounding Fallwell I don’t think generally just arrogantly ignored people. Although that’s a different kind of elitism, I suppose.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 1:46 pm

  100. I went back through the rest of that conversation, and it left me even more confused…as it did before. I think the following was his last comment there: “‘How do you approach Christianity intellectually?’ The glib answer is that Christianity is always already there in my intellectual approach, being a formative influence and so on. But I basically regard it as this mad, untranslatable excess that I have to keep failing to translate into more philosophically stable terms.”

    Strikes me as a new “Protestant Liberalism,” in which I have no interest. I say that hesitantly, knowing that the statement is open to the whole “Hey stupid Jason, Paul did NOT engage in expository preaching” critique. But at the same time, why is he TRANSLATING Christianity into “more philsophically stable terms”? That’s essentially what I was asking him at the recent conversation at his blog, too!! My mentioning of Aristotle and “wonder” even seems to mean that he is translating “Christianity” (if that?) into some PARTICULAR contemporary philosophically “stable” terms that leave “wonder” a bit out in left field.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  101. I think everyone who posts at an ind fur sich is Christian, so when D. Fox posted there I made the assumption. Most of them post at The Weblog, led I think by Adam Kotsko, with whom I’ve not interacted but who seems pretty cantankerous on other blogs. I think they’ve banned Dejan, for example — who also can be pretty ornery. I think these guys are consciously trying to establish blog personae that violate the presumed link between “christian” and “nice guy.” Probably postliberal is right, though I’m not sure how they define their theology. I think generally they’re more interested in philosophy than in theology.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  102. Check out this exchange at Larval Subjects. I see that Dejan had the last word.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  103. I am in the middle of the thing…just got to Dejan’s first comment. He is good at saying interesting stuff. He said: “Furthermore it’s nearly ridiculous for someone who believes in Lacan to have such a distrustful view of religion. Lacan studied Kabala vigorously, for God’s sakes!” I suspected as much. I am now wondering why I am just now hearing about it. Actually, my suspicion was that he had studied a more explicitly Greek mysticism, but it works.

    Generally…its a rather enlightening conversation…in regards to a whole sub-culture I enter when I comment on Dominic’s blog…of which I previously had no idea. But some things seem to be coming together there.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 4:59 pm

  104. Dejan just made something clearer for me again: “that analysis was never meant as priesthood, or a method of deliverance. While many people who don’t dig analysis see it as a form of confession. But analysis won’t save you. Once you’re rid of the neurosis, it’s up to you what you do with your life.
    So Lacan’s remark this way makes perfect sense.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  105. Well, that was entertaining. You have an atheist who says he doesn’t believe in essences saying that much intellectualism is idealized and sails right on past the practical reality of our ecclesiology and/or our politics. Then you have a really rude liberal Christian who claims the atheist to be a dick for saying he’s a Nazi while it also appears that his point of contention is his Nazi environment in which he was raised. Then you have “Adversary,” whose personal link is to the msn news front page, putting in his two cents and saying that the religious types are inherently feidist “anti-intellecutals” and have never read anything worthwhile that is secular. The funnyness of the “anti-intellectual” claim should be illumed by the original claim for intellectualism’s missing of the practical boat. Then, of course, in the end Dejan cums in the face of the whole thing by saying that none of them have enough sex. Fodder for a Saturday Night Live skit, I’d say.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 5 July 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  106. I thought it was entertaining too.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 July 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  107. I plead time pressure, and having to prioritize. Also, a fairly typical Brit sense of humour which for some reason tends to play to Yanks as aggressivity (this alongside some real aggressivity, which I don’t mean to disavow).

    The first thing I’d have to say in response to Jason’s question as to whether it was really correct to characterise intelligence as “what’s best” for someone is that I was kind of joking when I said that. Then I’d have to explain in what sense I was joking, and to what purpose…

    Like

    Comment by Dominic Fox — 6 July 2007 @ 5:12 am

  108. Dominic…good to hear from you. Thanks for “pleading.” I can certainly understand time constraints. As for the Brit sense of humour, A) Sorry, I didn’t know you were Brit, and B) I usually think, when I know they’re trying to be funny, that Brits are WAY funnier than Americans…but I’m not usually the butt of the joke…in Monty Python, in Pink Panther. And anyway…if you wanted to explain in what sense you were joking, and to what purpose…seriously…I would love to hear it. Seriously, I’m assuming that its worth at least hearing. Either here or at your blog.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 6 July 2007 @ 9:42 am

  109. “Also, a fairly typical Brit sense of humour which for some reason tends to play to Yanks as aggressivity.”

    How DARE you sir! I’ll have you know that Jason is Virginia born and bred and assuredly NOT a Yankee!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 July 2007 @ 10:27 am

  110. Thanks Doyle. Bloody Brits. Don’t know the difference between a Yank and a Cracker. That’s the problem here. Yanks are gruff to each other, whereas Crackers are always whipping on the poor slaves of society (Bush being a good example). Then the Yanks don’t notice when they’re whipping other Yanks, whereas the Crackers don’t notice when they’re shoving a piece of industrial capital up the ass of those in the slave house that sits on that piece of the plantation that no one sees.

    Just kidding. I’m not a Cracker. In a couple different senses am I not a Cracker. I’m not from Georgia. And I think “colored” folks are cool.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 6 July 2007 @ 10:45 am

  111. Folks, I’ve been to busy scheming parodies of Chabert (all the better to provoke her into getting back into our endless debate series) to notice that a whole discussion developed here. I will try to pick up on some threads and if I fail, I can always try again.

    Thank you in any case for noticing that I have turned quite a few places in the blogosphere into a tawdry philosophic soap opera; there’s no real malice behind it, just the fact that philosophy without humor is like Christianity without wine.

    Jason and Ktismatics, my arguments on the family are also in part based on experience. As you might have guessed, being bi-curious, I also dated men, and this is how I know much about the gay scene. There’s one thing you notice over time: 1) gay men are curiously attached to their mums, lending a lot of credibility to the psychoanalytic explanation of this sexual choice in contrast to the Deleuzian/Foucaltian one and 2) as gay people grow older, and much as they will like to deny it and convince you that they still want to party as in their twenties, they do tend to seek partnerships that provide emotional security primarily and good sex only secondarily. In their 20s, much like our young Marxists, they will go out of their way to convince you about the value of free sex theories and ”the gay sauna as the model of egalitarian bonding” (courtesy of Deleuze’s disciple Hocquenghem)…but I’m afraid this is something that passes with the passage of the next fad, which sadly also often applies to the academic scene.

    Anyone who claims otherwise is either blind, or irresponsible, or doesn’t want to see reality because it’s too unpleasant and his academic record might be compromised due to holding some ”conservative” or ”moralistic” position (these labels have been slapped on my butt when I tried to open the subject over at Comrade Dominic Fox’s blog).

    This is not about the social acceptance or rejection of queerness, it is not a sociological issue at all, and I really really hold no especially conservative views, it’s just the empirical observation that even people who choose for poligamy in their youth usually end up wanting a stable relationship – whether sealed on paper or not.

    Even in theory they can’t ALL be masochists in need of a master/slave dynamic. There must be something intrinsically FITTING about a family.

    Next subject: how would a broken family benefit capitalism? Easy – just as temp jobs, consumerist fast-paced fast-changing attitudes and views, and pornography, perfectly fit capitalism, so is ”flexible romance” a much better model for it, than a stable emotionally healthy family.

    There won’t be any long-term benefit of course, because in the end a society of broken isolated individuals won’t sustain the economy, but I think capitalism isn’t about serving humanity, it’s about serving the God of money.

    On the other hand, I’m not so totally sure capitalism can and will annihilate the family entirely, for this is something that I believe comes from God.

    (imporant disclaimer: a ”family” does not either have to be burgeois, or nuclear, or straight even = I am talking about that binary or triad that Lacan envisaged in the symbolic order)

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 July 2007 @ 6:45 am

  112. parodycenter –

    You’ll observe that we talk about you in mostly glowing terms even in your absence.

    “Anyone who claims otherwise is either blind, or irresponsible, or doesn’t want to see reality because it’s too unpleasant and his academic record might be compromised due to holding some ”conservative” or ”moralistic” position… it’s just the empirical observation that even people who choose for poligamy in their youth usually end up wanting a stable relationship”

    I believe that’s true. As I observed at Rabbit Eater, sexual libertinism seems overblown (so to speak) as a desire, a repulsion, a societal repression leading to fascism, whatever. Certainly family can be exploited economically, but if it wasn’t so foundational to human instinct and values it wouldn’t be so easily manipulated. So too of course with sex, of course.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 July 2007 @ 9:05 am

  113. “1) gay men are curiously attached to their mums, lending a lot of credibility to the psychoanalytic explanation of this sexual choice in contrast to the Deleuzian/Foucaltian one…”

    Interesting. Something on which I wouldn’t have the inside scoop.

    “2) as gay people grow older, and much as they will like to deny it and convince you that they still want to party as in their twenties, they do tend to seek partnerships that provide emotional security primarily and good sex only secondarily. In their 20s, much like our young Marxists, they will go out of their way to convince you about the value of free sex theories and ‘the gay sauna as the model of egalitarian bonding’ (courtesy of Deleuze’s disciple Hocquenghem)…but I’m afraid this is something that passes with the passage of the next fad, which sadly also often applies to the academic scene.”

    Also interesting. I had pondered this series of phenomenon…or possible series of phenomenon. I had noticed that the gay scene seems quite the party scene. But then I had also heard talk of gay families and settling down, ect. I was wondering about the disparity and/or the relationship there.

    “…it’s too unpleasant and his academic record might be compromised due to holding some ‘conservative’ or ‘moralistic’ position (these labels have been slapped on my butt when I tried to open the subject over at Comrade Dominic Fox’s blog).”

    Good to know. I guess its all relative. I’m a heathen liberal to some.

    “Even in theory they can’t ALL be masochists in need of a master/slave dynamic. There must be something intrinsically FITTING about a family.”

    I had mentioned a film around here recently…”Smokin’ Aces.” Not necessarily the best film, but it illustrates a lot of “PoMo-talk” quite well. There is this lesbian couple. One among two is Alicia Keys (so hot!). The other is less sexy, but far more boistrous (“wears the pants,” so to speak). The sexier one, however, seems a bit less interested in the relationship throughout the movie. At the end, as everything goes up in flames, the boistrous one sees some tall sexy bearded man carrying the sexy one out of the building amongs all the ambulances and police cars, ect. She “looses it.”

    “There won’t be any long-term benefit of course, because in the end a society of broken isolated individuals won’t sustain the economy…”

    I think that’s the “moralists” warning. I myself have been learning a lot lately about brokenness/wholeness and isolation/intimacy. I think one thing those on the “moral high ground” could do MUCH better at is getting down off their 10-story platform, and talking about their “moral high ground” in much more human terms, which do exist and are true, such as this whole “borkenness and isolation” thing. People might actually hear them…somewhat…instead of their having to speak AT people.

    “…but I think capitalism isn’t about serving humanity, it’s about serving the God of money.”

    Yeah. Argh.

    “On the other hand, I’m not so totally sure capitalism can and will annihilate the family entirely, for this is something that I believe comes from God.”

    Dejan…you are an interesting character. I bet you are quite frustrating to talk to amongs many less-philosophically-inclined who do not know you very well personally. They probably think of you as an intelligent alien. But then they probably just don’t understand where you’re coming from.

    “..philosophy without humor is like Christianity without wine.”

    Amen. But don’t say that to the southern Baptists. They won’t find it funny.

    Doyle…”I believe that’s true. As I observed at Rabbit Eater, sexual libertinism seems overblown (so to speak) as a desire, a repulsion, a societal repression leading to fascism, whatever.”

    I would love to hear more of an articulation of where you stand here. What do you see to be the measures of the validity of a more Focoultian stance on gaydom? And what do you see to be the specific measures of the validity of a more Lacanian/traditional stance on the family? And how do you see the two relating?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 9 July 2007 @ 10:38 am

  114. On the economics of families, the nuclear family is a fairly efficient arrangement, so if the market is benefited by waste one would expect that less family is a juicier marketing proposition. But then borderline poverty that’s common with single parenting can’t be such a good prospect either, though the trends also indicate that increasing age to parenthood and stronger cross-generational ties may actually be compensating.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 9 July 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  115. I think that’s the “moralists” warning. I myself have been learning a lot lately about brokenness/wholeness and isolation/intimacy. I think one thing those on the “moral high ground” could do MUCH better at is getting down off their 10-story platform, and talking about their “moral high ground” in much more human terms, which do exist and are true, such as this whole “borkenness and isolation” thing. People might actually hear them…somewhat…instead of their having to speak AT people.

    I don’t know what you are referring to specifically, but I can tell you that while preparing a certain TV series here we did some research and came to the conclusion that the Dutch society is increasingly opting for solo life in whatever form, and you can notice already from the drained feel of the country that there is enormous isolation. The bad consequences are not visible immediately, but in the past decade there have been increasing reports on a disastrous situation at the nursing homes, where there is not enough staffing or expertise to take care of elderly people. I am not whining for the nuclear burgeois family necessarily, but I don’t see that in its aftermath, those traditional bonds have been replaced with something more or at least equally effective. I think when taken to its logical extreme this would crash the system definitely – alhough I don’t think that’s highly likely because as I said I see the bonding ”instinct” as Ktismatic said as something intrinsic rather than constructed.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 July 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  116. Interesting. Something on which I wouldn’t have the inside scoop.

    Dr. Sinthome of Larval Subjects just posed the right question, while he was in his Weltschmerz-philosophic lament mode:

    How do you take a rural farmer and turn him into an industrial worker? What sorts of social institutions need to be in place for the production of these identities? What sort of family structure or kinship relations? What sorts of interactions need to be present among persons in order for this form of subjectivity to emerge?

    In order to test the post-psychoanalytic theses about the autonomy of homosexual (or queer) subjectivity, we would have to actually have a social institution that produces/generates such kinship relations, identities, subjectivities. Because communes have not provided an answer, I really doubt that one will be possible – or a very long time has to pass and humans need to build these institutions first. Until then, I believe the psychoanalytic interpretation because it derives from the known form of the family. Jason I notice you did not notice that when I said family, I was not addressing the nuclear family, or any existing form of it, but the structural / abstract binary or triad that being symbolic can be filled by any agent or individual. My idea of a family is not Lynchian white picket fence Americana, I am talking rather about the structural positions.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 July 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  117. “On the economics of families, the nuclear family is a fairly efficient arrangement, so if the market is benefited by waste one would expect that less family is a juicier marketing proposition.”

    I’m not so sure about this. The square footage of the average American home has DOUBLED in the last 30 years. I’d call that waste, especially since the number of people in the average American family continues to decline. And in America there seems no limit to the amount of money parents are willing to spend on their children. Parents are actually persuaded that through their efforts and spending they can shape their children. And toward what end are they socializing their children in this expensive fashion? So that the kids can afford even bigger houses than they grew up in, I suspect.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 8:11 am

  118. On brokenness/wholeness, this is a standard discourse of evangelical psychology. You need to be broken, to come to the end of your futile efforts to improve yourself, before you’re able or willing to allow God to re-create you from the ground up. There seems to be a kind of sadomasochistic glee associated with this praxis. However, if I were permitted to speak of the subject I might be able to find parallels with Lacanian jouissance and analysis. The difference, I suspect, is that in evangelicalism becoming aware of your own emptiness clears the ground for God to fill that emptiness while you more or less step aside and let Him do it. Whereas in Lacan emptiness becomes the starting point for creating — what exactly? A self of one’s own construction? A way of recognizing one’s real desires and finding ways to satisfy them?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 8:20 am

  119. Whereas in Lacan emptiness becomes the starting point for creating — what exactly? A self of one’s own construction? A way of recognizing one’s real desires and finding ways to satisfy them?

    A self that is free from inhibitions, fears, displacements, compulsions… that is free, shortly, and in this way you could say ”more flexible”. You get to realize that since you’re being played like a puppet anyhow by the social forces outside, the only real freedom is what you have in your head. For me this runs parallel to faith in the way you just described, and unlike dr. Sinthome and materialist Marxists I am not, erm, SCARED of the possibility that there might be divine intervention – because I know that there is one!’
    Or it could be that the shrink I used to visit also found that there were parallels here with Orthodoxy…
    though we never discussed it properly since at the time I didn’t read any Lacan.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 July 2007 @ 9:32 am

  120. Look at my blog under ”Solipsism 5”, that cocky Trotskian labelled me a nationalist and a bigot as soon as I expressed views that do not conform with his Marxist vision of opressed wimmin, queer rebels and jeopardized minorities! As soon as you say ”well I don’t think the family’s such a bad thing”, you’re automatically a Bushite redneck I guess. Really transparently MARXIST of him.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 July 2007 @ 9:35 am

  121. I’ve begun my readings of Fink.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 10:09 am

  122. The square footage of the average American home has DOUBLED in the last 30 years.

    There is a dynamic of efficiency that comes naturally to nuclear families that would promote e.g. savings and insurance as against what the same number of indiviuals might otherwise just spend. I think this essential conservativivity the market tries to subvert, biggetr homes, with a heated pool and many cars (multi-car garages) may be one somewhat successful subversion but it is the product of a tension. A bigger house is a bigger investment, that money doesn’t circulate, and it is one house for the whole family, one heating-maintenance bill etc. as opposed to what for a bunch of indiviuals?

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 10 July 2007 @ 10:28 am

  123. On brokennes as a starting point, John is right it is an SM sort of unholy glee that accompanies this undoubtedly traumatic experience.

    The other important point (as arises from John’s study of what Paul is actually saying) is that the reality is in fact liberating wheras the standard evangelical construction is of exchanging one (bad) enslavement for another (good) one. The joy is not that a sinner has been found (redeemed) as much as in the triumph of the destruction of the sin.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 10 July 2007 @ 10:35 am

  124. Here’s the very next paragraph in my reading of Fink’s book on Lacanian therapy:

    At an early stage in Lacan’s work, the goal in analysis was to eliminate the interference in symbolic relations generated by the imaginary — in other words, to get imaginary conflicts out of the way so as to confront the analysand with his or her problems with the Other. What are symbolic relations? One simple way of viewing them is as one’s relation to the Law, to the law laid down by one’s parents, one’s teachers, one’s religion, one’s country…

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 11:50 am

  125. “Jason I notice you did not notice that when I said family, I was not addressing the nuclear family, or any existing form of it, but the structural / abstract binary or triad that being symbolic can be filled by any agent or individual.”

    Dude…I noticed…I just didn’t say anything about it.

    “Because communes have not provided an answer, I really doubt that one will be possible – or a very long time has to pass and humans need to build these institutions first. Until then, I believe the psychoanalytic interpretation because it derives from the known form of the family.”

    Makes some sense to me.

    “My idea of a family is not Lynchian white picket fence Americana, I am talking rather about the structural positions.”

    Well…I’m an architect…so I’ll use that as a metaphor. I think the “strucutral positions” are “naturally” filled in with something.

    I think the following blows ass chunks:

    (Pompidu Centre, Paris)
    All you see is “structural positions.” You could put whatever you wanted as filler or covering around them. The intention of the architect was that it be comedic, but…well…I am becoming more able to laugh at it…but I wouldn’t do it myself, I don’t think…

    Whereas I like the following:

    The “structure”…not just mechanical/physical…is hidden and then filled in/covered over (with brick/”skin”). The structure could be spoken of as poured-in-place as well as blocked concrete. But more appropriate to our conversation is the sacred geometricla “structure,” which is “hidden” from appearance, but which governs what does appear.

    I think that this proper union of “structure” and “skin” points to the Incarnation.

    And I’m not a fan of the picket fence mentality, either. In fact, I think that the Pompidu Center means to laugh at the picket fence mentality. What else does a picket fence appear as but a bunch of dry bones stood up on end like crutches?
    http://jasonhesiak.blogspot.com/search?q=Solomon%2C+Crutch

    “You need to be broken, to come to the end of your futile efforts to improve yourself, before you’re able or willing to allow God to re-create you from the ground up.”

    Tarkovsky too…sort of.

    “The difference, I suspect, is that in evangelicalism becoming aware of your own emptiness clears the ground for God to fill that emptiness while you more or less step aside and let Him do it. Whereas in Lacan emptiness becomes the starting point for creating — what exactly? A self of one’s own construction? A way of recognizing one’s real desires and finding ways to satisfy them?”

    Here I would point again to the Incarnation…as a “filling”…or a “constructing.” A “being born.” I mean…I don’t think that you can just think of it functionally. Who does what? For me…its a question of the Alpha…the starting point? Where does my freedom, and on top of that my existence in the first place, originate? Slightly different from the question of meaning…but I think it applies. Alpha – means – Omega.

    “John is right it is an SM sort of unholy glee that accompanies this undoubtedly traumatic experience.”

    I’d say there is an element of that. But sheesh…can you discount encounters with the Void and the Cross? The unholy glee…I think…is when we are stuck in shame and guilt and forget about the Grace and Resurrection of it all.

    “As soon as you say ‘well I don’t think the family’s such a bad thing’, you’re automatically a Bushite redneck I guess. Really transparently MARXIST of him.”

    Umm…that’s funny. Humour and Philosophy…wine and Christianity.

    “The other important point (as arises from John’s study of what Paul is actually saying) is that the reality is in fact liberating wheras the standard evangelical construction is of exchanging one (bad) enslavement for another (good) one.”

    I’d agree. But not to the expense of making me the ultimate source of my own freedom. Although in a sense I’d agree with Sir Marley…”None but ourselves can free our minds.”

    “The joy is not that a sinner has been found (redeemed) as much as in the triumph of the destruction of the sin.”

    Sam…I’m not entirely sure what you mean here. Isn’t it both? Isn’t it personal? How can you separate them out? I mean…in our lives/experience…where or how do the two get separated out…being sought/found and the (communal, I guess) destruction of sin?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 12:02 pm

  126. “At an early stage in Lacan’s work, the goal in analysis was to eliminate the interference in symbolic relations generated by the imaginary — in other words, to get imaginary conflicts out of the way so as to confront the analysand with his or her problems with the Other. What are symbolic relations? One simple way of viewing them is as one’s relation to the Law, to the law laid down by one’s parents, one’s teachers, one’s religion, one’s country…”

    The Incarnation and Eucharist tells me that the symbols still point to something. And that the symbols and the substantial stuff to which they point have an intimate and inseparable connection/relation.

    “I think when taken to its logical extreme this would crash the system definitely – alhough I don’t think that’s highly likely because as I said I see the bonding ‘instinct’ as Ktismatic said as something intrinsic rather than constructed.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  127. That Fink thing looks like an interesting book.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 12:10 pm

  128. “The unholy glee…I think…is when we are stuck in shame and guilt and forget about the Grace and Resurrection of it all.”

    From Fink again: Certain people derive a great deal of pleasure from torturing themselves, from subjecting themselves to painful experiences, and so on. The French have a fine word for this kind of pleasure in pain, or satisfaction in dissatisfaction: jouissance. It qualifies the kind of “kick” someone may get out of punishment, self-punishment, doing something that is so pleasurable it hurts (sexual climax, for example), or doing something that is so painful it becomes pleasurable… The moment at which someone seeks therapy can thus be underdstood as one in which a breakdown occurs in that person’s favorite or habitual way of obtaining jouissance. It is a “jouissance crisis.” The jouissance-providing symptom is not working any more or has been jeopardized.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 1:36 pm

  129. Exactly. The emphasis of the NT is not on sin and in fact the ‘sin lists’ are mostly asides to cover those at the fringe who just have not yet got it. The concentration of the NT is always Jesus the Christ, the grace of God to us in Christ, the ministry of reconciliation in Christ and our sonship in and with Christ.

    What we do in religion is to put the spottlight on the sin and on the necessity for repentance that is biblical but it is only the first step an not the whole shebang. I’m generalising and this is not true of everything in Christian religion but it is I think the commonest aberration. The confessional renders the control that the organisation needs to maintain on its members.

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 10 July 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  130. “Certain people derive a great deal of pleasure from torturing themselves, from subjecting themselves to painful experiences…”

    Doubtless. At the same time, the world is a painful place. Its good not to have an illusion that its otherwise, eh?

    “What we do in religion is to put the spottlight on the sin and on the necessity for repentance that is biblical but it is only the first step an not the whole shebang.”

    I would say I’ve noticed this phenomenon. I would even say that individual moral sin and repentence is turned into the centeral, primary and only guiding light of a gospel that…leaves a lot out.

    “The confessional renders the control that the organisation needs to maintain on its members.”

    From what I’ve noticed…where my pastor has certain tendencies to focus on sin and repentence…or other pastors…I don’t think its a question of their own desire for control and/or poltical power. I do think they have control issues a lot of times, probably. But more in the sense of a fear of things falling apart than in the sense of gree and/or lust for power.

    And…I think…from this place of fear you have to point not to their big dreams of power and influence, but to the merely human goofballs who taught them a gospel of sin and repentence. Some, of course, have dreams of fame and power dancing in their heads. Maybe I’m underestimating…and its many who have such dancing dreams. I dunno. Either way, we’re dealing with merely-humans here!

    I’m reading Isiah now. He talks about that. “Why is Zion afraid of these kings of Symaria and neighbors? God will show you fear, bitches! The kings of Assyria and Egypt are on their way! One day, though, you might just learn to ‘fear’ God.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  131. Jason, very few people, even pastors, seem to be aware that ‘the organisation’ has its own agenda and that the rhetoric is in fact silently governed by organisational needs that are quite hard to detect.

    membership is a jealously guared thing an a lot of evangelism is more of a numbers game at heart tho the iividuals who do evangelism are certainly not phonies or cynical about their own motivations.

    If one looks at ‘rights of passage’ the extreme is infant baptism (a real oxymoron) but any child of a church member is consiered to be almost automatically a member of the church, though the bible would strongly imply something quite otherwise…

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 10 July 2007 @ 3:42 pm

  132. “Jason, very few people, even pastors, seem to be aware that ‘the organisation’ has its own agenda and that the rhetoric is in fact silently governed by organisational needs that are quite hard to detect.”

    Well, I would certainly agree with that. I think there is a correlation here to the programmatic and market-driven nature of our church “organizations,” too.

    “membership is a jealously guared thing an a lot of evangelism is more of a numbers game at heart tho the iividuals who do evangelism are certainly not phonies or cynical about their own motivations.”

    I am having this very conversation with Thomisticguy now. Everyone wants to focus so much on numbers, including those who critique the focus on numbers. But I don’t think numbers is the real critical issue.

    My latest comments to him, by which you can probably catch what’s happeing:

    ———————–

    T.G.,

    I wasn’t clear enough about something…AGAIN…argh…sorry.

    So…about “painting a ‘J.C.’ in a Superman logo”…(and Tillich)…

    I had quoted some of the research you provided as saying: “The bottom line for the numerical success of megachurches is that they attract and retain more persons over time than do other churches. This might be due to marketing savvy or seeker sensitive profiles of a target demographic…”

    Whether the “numerical success” of the megachurches is due to their “marketing savvy or seeker sensitive profiles of a target demographic” or rather from their ministerial excellence is a mute point, I think. The question of the study is what causes the growth of the megachurches.

    The question is not whether they have marketing savvy that targets a certain demographic or whether they are “seeker sensitive.” The question of the study is whether the growth is DUE TO the “marketing” and the “seeker sensitivity” of the megachurches.

    The QUESTION is UNDERSCORED by the FACT of their being “market savvy” and “seeker sensitive.”

    This FACT is what I mean in saying that you can’t take a Superman logo (the basic substance of being “seeker sensitive” and “market savvy”) and then “try to get past consumerism” (or stick a “J.C.” in the Superman logo). I think this is why Taize is so wildly “successful.”

    Blessings,

    Jason

    ————————–

    The power and draw of Jesus didn’t lie in his being a nice, congenial and “bright eyed young fella.”

    This was the root of my comment about the rose colored glasses being knocked off right around the age of thirty. Fiver years later, you’re no longer in the seeker sensitive market savvy church in which you had previously taken root. The line between it and the popcorn-bucket-tithing, bling-wearing, hip-hop-spouting preacher is too thin, I think for those people to stick around, I think.

    I’m not denying that the Holy Spirit is at work in Rick Warren. I’m saying it gets “lost in translation.”

    ————————–

    That was from:
    http://simplegodstuff.blogstream.com/v1/pid/237951.html?CP=&HP=1#TC

    Interestingly…a couple of quotes from some of the research on megachurches that Thomisticguy himself provided (supposedly in support of megachurches):
    “[T]hey are simply Christian neighbors with a different-looking STOREfront.” “The bottom line for the numerical success of megachurches is that they attract and retain more persons over time than do other churches. This might be due to marketing savvy or seeker sensitive profiles of a target demographic…”

    I don’t think the crux of the issue is numbers. I don’t think it ultimately matters so much whether a church has 2000 or 100 regular attenders. I think what matters is whether the church is guided by the “image” of a Superman logo with a “J.C.” that happens to be painted in it, or rather by the “image” that guides…say…a Tarkovsky film. And you could have churches of either numerical variety, I think, that are guided by either image.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 4:38 pm

  133. “the popcorn-bucket-tithing, bling-wearing, hip-hop-spouting preacher”

    http://potw.news.yahoo.com/s/potw/20253/jesus-laughed

    Taize:

    http://www.spiritualitytoday.org/spir2day/904234burke.html

    And I think the reason no one is aware of the “organizational” nature of church is because people aren’t really attuned to the cross. Sam spoke of “organizational NEEDS.” “Necessity”…in Latin…is “death”…”that which is inevitable.” But supposedly Jesus overcame that. But church “organizations” being “blindly” guided by their “needs” don’t seem aware of that fact, do they?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  134. “But more in the sense of a fear of things falling apart than in the sense of gree and/or lust for power.”

    Isn’t there something about the endless cycle of sin-repentance-forgiveness that feels like jouissance? Doesn’t this become the motive force/symptom by which many people live their Christian lives? Might it not be the case that there’s an unconscious desire to sin not just because it’s fun but also because there’s some reaffirmation of selfhood that comes with the experiencing of guilt, punishment, forgiveness and reconciliation? I’m not seeking to bash Christianity here — if I was a preacher I’d preach this to the faithful.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 5:21 pm

  135. “Isn’t there something about the endless cycle of sin-repentance-forgiveness that feels like jouissance? Doesn’t this become the motive force/symptom by which many people live their Christian lives? Might it not be the case that there’s an unconscious desire to sin not just because it’s fun but also because there’s some reaffirmation of selfhood that comes with the experiencing of guilt, punishment, forgiveness and reconciliation?”

    I’d say that happens in our Protestant envirnoment in which we think we have a “sin nature.” But me? I’d say that’s bogus. The whole point of Grace is that its an affirmation of our goodness. “The mistake beocomes fuel for the goodness that always was before the mistake.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 5:30 pm

  136. Wait…but I’d say I still do it. But that’s the whole battle that Christ fought and won at the Cross. Just cause Christ won doesn’t mean that I’m a numb-Gnut sometimes.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  137. OOPS…”doesn’t mean that I’m NOT a numb-Gnut sometimes.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 10 July 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  138. “But me?”

    No, I wasn’t talking about you specifically. And I’m not sure why you’d limit it to Protestantism, other than that it’s the source of your particular Christian jouissance. I do agree that the gospel, especially in Paul’s discourse, argues against the painful joy of this sin-repent-forgive-restore cycle that also characterized the Law.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  139. Oh. Well, I guess Catholics are famous for their guilt trips. But I thought you were talking about us Protestants, since we’re the ones with the “sin nature.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 11 July 2007 @ 2:46 am

  140. I think it was Paul who in Romans 5 introduced the sin nature, Augustine who systematized it, and Calvin who made it the centerpiece. Here’s Aquinas: in man, the power of desire is naturally ruled by reason. Desire is therefore natural to man in so far as it is subject to reason. But desire which exceeds the bounds of reason exists in him as something contrary to nature. Such is the desire of original sin… intellect and reason have the primacy where good in concerned. But, conversely, the lower part of the soul comes first where evil is concerned. For it darkens reason and drags it down. Original sin is therefore said to be desire rather than ignorance, although ignorance is one of its material defects. Here again Aquinas sounds Aristotelian, with the higher rational nature battling it out with the lower passions.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 July 2007 @ 7:21 am

  141. “…with the higher rational nature battling it out with the lower passions.”

    A) I’m not sure just how Thomist I am myself, but…

    B) That’s not what he said (sort of). Well, more precisly…he didn’t say that we get to do whatever we want, that life is about fulfillment, or not, of desire. Conversely, he didn’t say that desire itself, or that part of ourselves that has passions in the first place, has to be “restrained” because its bad, less, ect. He was speaking SPECIFICALLY of “desire which exceeds the bounds of reason.” Which to me sounds “reasonable.” And to me it desire is “exceeding its bounds” when it constitutes all of the meaning of life.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 11 July 2007 @ 10:47 am

  142. Just clarifying the idea that the two heavy hitters of medieval Christianity both subscribed to the original sin idea. I’m not sure why you say “that’s not what he said.” Clearly Aquinas doesn’t say that Christianity is about fulfilling desires, nor did I claim that Aquinas said that. All I did was quote Aquinas (from Summa Theologica) and offer the observation that the quote sounds Aristotelian — which isn’t a perspective unique to me. In the quote Aquinas explicitly says that desires are natural and that the power of desire is naturally ruled by reason. H further elaborates that both desire and reason, being natural, are good. Still, for Aquinas the natural order is that reason is man’s higher nature and desire the lower, so reason naturally rules desire. This is Aristotle’s hierarchy of the soul.

    Here’s some more Aquinas: Again, it was said in Art. 2 that all parts of the soul are deranged by original sin. Now the chief part of the soul is the intellect, as the philosopher [i.e., Aristotle] explains in 10 Ethics 7. Original sin is therefore ignorance, rather than desire.

    But then, in the next section: intellect and reason have the primacy where good in concerned. But, conversely, the lower part of the soul comes first where evil is concerned. For it darkens reason and drags it down, as we said in Q. 80, Art. 1. Original sin is therefore said to be desire rather than ignorance, although ignorance is one of its material defects.

    Maybe you’re assuming I’m a Deleuzian about desire. Just because I write about these guys, try to clarify them, and find potentially valuable things in what they say, that doesn’t mean I’m their disciple. In the blog I try to outline what they say, to link it to what others say, and perhaps offer an opinion. Then it’s a matter of commentary and discussion. I’m also trying to figure out what Paul thinks about desire, which will be the next post on Galatians. Lots of possibilities to consider.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 July 2007 @ 11:50 am

  143. …boss just showed up…i must abort mission…for now…

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 11 July 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  144. …I’m back…

    Oh OK. Well, I must say…as one might be able to chalk up drunken religious bar fights to the Irish spirit…I generally chalk up some of this “reason” focus to something inherent in philosophical speculation. I think…when you go WAY back to the beginnings of philsophy…philosophy was behind itself in its speculations at first. Then when Heraclitus declared that FIRE is the “first principle” or “prime matter” of the cosmos (rather than “boundless space” (Aniximander), or “earth” (forget the guy’s name), or “air” (forget his name too))…then philosophy caught up with itself.

    At the same time, though…Jacob’s ladder STARTED as a “revealation”…”from above.”

    So far as you and Deleuze go…you might not be his disciple…but would I be wrong in guessing that you and he get along fairly well. Maybe as well as C.S. Lewis and myself, at least? Or maybe even like Aquinas as myself…I am increasingly attracted to Aquinas…but weary and suspicious at his intense focus on “natural law” that lends itslef to being a contemporary excuse for evangelicals’ capituation to secular politics…?

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 11 July 2007 @ 3:44 pm

  145. The thing about Deleuze that appeals to certain Christians is that he’s not an out-and-out materialist. He might have Gnostic leanings, but he does envision some sort of elan vital that moves the universe, generates life, stimulates human activity, etc. So if you’re alternative is raw materialism, Deleuze is a step toward religion.

    What interests me in particular about Deleuze is that he’s trying to elaborate a theory of human creativity. Since my blog is ktismatics — the theory and practice of creation — I’m intrigued by what he has to say. I also agree with his and Guattari’s ideas about “deterritorialization,” which I think is also compatible with the Gospel and freedom. However, I also think it’s possible to slap new maps over the territory without tearing up the old maps.

    I’m less persuaded by Deleuze’s theory of desire as the source of all good things, but at least he doesn’t present it as a bad thing, an empty thing, a mimetic thing, a lacking thing, etc. Because I’m wanting to do a psychological practice it’s important for me to figure out what to think and do about desire. I’m still working on it. Today’s post on Galatians 5 is another variant on a theory of desire.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 July 2007 @ 4:41 pm

  146. Well, I’m not persuaded by Deleuze’s “elan vital.” Of course, I much prefer that over out and out materialism, but that’s like saying I prefer zuchini over cabbage. Give me pizza, please!
    :)

    And thanks for the explanation. I found the following interesting: “I also think it’s possible to slap new maps over the territory without tearing up the old maps.” That sounds like palempsest more the “trace”…??

    And the following makes sense, too: “I’m less persuaded by Deleuze’s theory of desire as the source of all good things, but at least he doesn’t present it as a bad thing, an empty thing, a mimetic thing, a lacking thing, etc.”

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 12 July 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  147. The boundaries must be loosened and broken free and then they are gently moved around as needed. Or, the territory is annexed and then chopped up as suits the whim of the new conquerors. Or, as in the present plan for Iraq, a ‘helpful’ force is left behind to permanently maintain security and territorial integrity!

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 13 July 2007 @ 12:26 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: