Starting at GCAS June 8 and running through June 29: “An Object That is Not Oriented: Lacan’s 10th Seminar”. Seminar 10: Anxiety is among his most thorough explorations of objet a, the object-cause of desire, and contains rich discussions of subject, desire, drive, language, embodiment, affect, anxiety, and the Other. This course will explore issues of drive, desire, objet a, subjectivity, ego, and anxiety as one, among many, of the capitalist affects. Beginning with Søren Kierkegaard in the 19th Century and throughout the 20th century, anxiety has become an increasingly important affect in philosophy. Accompanying this rise of interest in philosophy, the 20th century has seen an explosion of anxiety disorders in the clinic. Within philosophy, anxiety has generally been seen as a privileged affect signalling our relationship to death, our status as a subject, and so on. In the clinic, theories of affect have ranged from organic causes pertaining to neuro-chemistry to an affect signalling repressed childhood traumas as in the case of phobias. However, the historical timing in which anxiety arises as a particularly significant affect for both philosophy and psychotherapy is symptomatic. Kierkegaard is writing on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. Capitalism, tracing its unfolding trajectory from the 15th century to present, has come into full bloom. As Nietzsche would later note in his lament about the death of God, the Enlightenment has progressively eroded all points of stability found in authority, kings, beings such as God, truth, and so on. Might it be that there is something about capitalism that is particularly conducive to the production of anxiety as an affect? Might it be that this affect pertains to a very special kind of object, the objet a, that both disorients and that is no object at all, and that is deeply wedded to or that becomes particularly prominent with respect to the meanderings and délire of capital? Could it be that there’s a specifically capitalist subject that is perpetually accompanied by affects such as anxiety and depression? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this course through a close reading of Lacan’s 10th seminar. No prior familiarity with Lacan is required. Requirements: Reading Lacan’s 10th Seminar. Information for registration is available on GCAS’s website.
April 17, 2014
April 16, 2014
March 31, 2014
For anyone who’s interested, here’s an interview (.pdf) with me conducted by Graham Harman on Onto-Cartography.
March 26, 2014
What is a theism? Any transcendence of the One over the many. This is why humanism, patriarchy, monarchies, companies governed by managers and CEOs, racisms, nationalisms, and so on are as much theisms as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other monotheistic religion. Wherever there is a sovereign or a father there is a theism. Or as Deleuze and Guattari put it,” [W]erever there is transcendence, vertical Being, imperial State in the sky or on earth, there is religion and there is Philosophy only where there is immanence… only friends can set out a plane of immanence as a ground from which idols have been cleared” (Quoted in LeRon Shultz, Iconoclastic Theology, .pdf, 1). It matters not if that theism is secular, without anything divine or supernatural. It is no less a religion for all that (as Compte well saw in his humanism). It is for this reason that atheism is a synonym for anarchism. Atheology targets this structure wwherever it might occur.
March 22, 2014
For anyone who’s interested, the .pdf of the introduction to Onto-Cartography can be found here.
March 20, 2014
March 14, 2014
Scattered thoughts that will probably get me in trouble, but here goes. In preparation for the three-part GCAS course on Atheology I’ll be teaching in the coming months, I’ve found myself reading Schmitt’s Political Theology. One of the things I hope to do with this course is show how theism is far more pervasive in thought than figures like the work of the vulgar new atheists would suggest. This is a point I’ve made for a long time, beginning with my first published article “The Politics of the Virtual”, throughout my work on masculine sexuation in Lacan’s graph of sexuation, and in my discussion of flat ontology in the final chapter of The Democracy of Objects. “Flat ontology” is basically synonymous with “atheism”, “naturalism”, and “materialism”. The point is that theism is not simply the thesis that a divine, supernatural being exists, but is rather a structure of thought that can come in both religious and secular variants. For example, despite his avoid atheism, I take it that Laplace’s thought is a variant of theistic structure due to the position he grants to the observer in his imaginary thought experiment designed to defend determinism. In imagining a completely deterministic universe, Laplace invites us to imagine an ideal observer that is above and outside of all being and that knows the trajectory, velocity, and position of every particle that composes existence.