Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Without You I Am Nothing"

From The Psychoanalytic Field, and Fadi Abou-Rihan's running commentary on Anti-Oedipus: his two most recent posts, Disjunction
and Fetish.

I found these held particularly strong resonance for me to the question of the place of the literary magazines in my previous post, opening the question to to a dimension I hadn't anticipated, but find in retrospect, to be its real object.

What else are writers looking for when we expend so much time and anxious effort (and it is exactly that, anxious effort, on a pursuit with so little objective benefit?

This is the fetish that looms over any writer seeking publication, one that will be accommodated (fatally), resisted (futilly), ignored (equally impossible), or passed through... like Britomart through the fire guarding Busyrane's castle, while the brave knight Scudamour (Spenser's Dudley Doright--overwhelmed by Good Intentions!) flops about on the ground in a seizure of panic at the conjurer's illusion.

To put it bluntly, the logic of the fetish here is the intolerant and singular logic of the “without me, you are noting” that one party fosters and with which another colludes. Author and reader, teacher and student, analyst and analysand, parent and child, ruler and ruled; these are some of the structural couplets that breathe in the stagnant air of resentment without which, and in an ironically doubled and nested move, the corresponding institutions of Literature, Pedagogy, Psychoanalysis, Family, and State would not exist.

“Without me, you are nothing” is the logic of quasi-causes, of boundaries and restrictions, of confinements and regulations, through which the leak is construed as a threat and the crossing is supposedly a crossing into illegitimacy, chaos, fragmentation, and disintegration. But it is precisely the impermeable boundary itself that divides, consolidates, and reifies the functions of dictator, father, and super ego. Often enough, the crossing is not into chaos but into a more liveable and freer sanity. Instead of health or truth, it is territoriality and power that are the fundamental concerns of the institution and its fetish.

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