Henry Miller and me, schizo-dreaming

What are dreams if not universal production?

The last thing I read before going to bed last night was the part of Plexus where Henry and his friend O’Mara were having a conversation, in which the latter was complaining about the time he spent in an orphanage. Henry is “insensitive” to this story (he’s heard it a thousand times), and tells O’Mara that he needs to get over it, to forget it, to move on. O’Mara is stuck: he can’t help blaming everything — his brother’s incarceration for a barroom fight that ended in murder, for example — on this childhood event. He works himself into a stupor, blaming his stepfather, and decides he’s going to ‘sleep it off’, make it go away…

Henry, on the other hand, doesn’t sleep off anything. His dreams are vivid and alive, and this one involves his recently rekindled interest in bicycles, after finally leaving the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company — I believe this is first dream sequence I’ve read of his though he is frequently caught in reverie. It’s filled with motion and contact, tired cyclists massaging one another’s sore muscles, tending to a bicycle after a long ride etc.

I too am often a vivid dreamer (Henry and I are both Capricorns, something I never considered until reading his Big Sur…), and I wonder if his account jumpstarted my dreaming machine last night. For I had a long convoluted dream, involving something like an airbnb stay with a rich and odd middle-aged couple, perhaps on a houseboat: the man was treating me like a son, the woman was beautiful and when I was snooping around for a slinky negligee or something of hers, I found his stash of ice cold beer and helped myself to one…later he came in my room to talk about Aristotle and I hid the beer.

Shortly thereafter I must have left, for there were videos they sent me, inviting me back. In his it looked as if he were water-skiing slowly, without the skis and rope. He talked calmly of big ideas before falling into a vertical wall of water…She did the same, though much more delicately…I must have returned for the body of water served as the setting for a few daytime crossings with my brother and a female friend of his — I’m not sure. Next I must have returned to the couple and met their children (my peers) and their social circle, but we were temporarily on land. I was videotaping their everyday life, which felt so civilized, so inviting.

And then, the denouement, the slow unaccompanied floating/flight that marks about one dream of mine every couple of months. I was looking down on the couple’s houseboat at night (I almost always fly at night) and the group of my peers were glowing and swimming out into radiating patterns. I released myself from my floating and began falling to them, constantly reorienting my path so as not to fall on anyone. As I got closer, I removed my glasses (in waking life I just got new glasses about two months ago), folded them up and held them to my side as I plunged into the water. I came up and a young woman (the couple’s daughter?) asked, “can I have him?” I looked at her, in the moonlight, and felt calm. Then a caption came up telling me her name: Emilie Zuite-Ici.

And that was it.

I’ve often said I was I had an affect (meaning affection in the Spinozist sense)-recorder, but then I realize again that this is exactly part of what I am. That is actually why I’m writing this — so I can get back to that place…

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A few points concerning ideology and D&G

When sketching out arguments that purport to use Deleuzoguattarian ideas, please refer to these passages from A Thousand Plateaus before invoking ideology:

“Literature is an assemblage. It has nothing to do with ideology. There is no ideology and never has been. All we talk about are multiplicities, lines, strata and segmentarities, lines of flight and intensities, machinic assemblages and their various types, bodies without organs and their construction and selection, the plane of consistency, and in each case the units of measure” (4).

“Nowhere do we claim for our concepts the title of a science. We are no more familiar with scientificity than we are with ideology; all we know are assemblages. And the only assemblages are machinic assemblages of desire and collective assemblages of enunciation” (22).

Thus one misconstrues the nature of language, which exists only in heterogeneous regimes of signs, and rather than circulating information distributes contradictory orders. It misconstrues the nature of regimes of signs, which express organizations of power or assemblages and have nothing to do with ideology as the supposed expres- sion of a content (ideology is a most execrable concept obscuring all of the effectively operating social machines). It misconstrues the nature of orga- nizations of power, which are in no way located within a State apparatus but rather are everywhere, effecting formalizations of content and expression, the segments of which they intertwine. Finally, it misconstrues the nature of content, which is in no way economic “in the last instance,” since there are as many directly economic signs or expressions as there are noneconomic contents. Nor can the status of social formations be analyzed by throwing some signifier into the base, or vice versa, or a bit of phallus or castration into political economy, or a bit of economics or politics into psychoanalysis” (68-9).

“Subjectification is simply one such assemblage and designates a formalization of expression or a regime of signs rather than a condition internal to language. Neither is it a question of a movement characteristic of ideology, as Althusser says: subjectification as a regime of signs or a form of expression is tied to an assemblage, in other words, an organization of power that is already fully functioning in the economy, rather than superposing itself upon contents or relations between contents determined as real in the last instance. Capital is a point of subjectification par excellence” (130).

There are many more passages with a similar flavor. I’m not necessarily endorsing this perspective (yet), but I’ve seen enough mentions of Althusserian ideology in conjunction with Deleuze and Guattari, that I wanted to point out some of the latter’s thoughts. Of course, if anyone has thought or read deeply on the D&G’s relationship to this concept, I’d love to hear about it.

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AAG 2015 CFP: Revisiting Entrepreneurialism: the logics of urban governance in systemic crisis

Call for Papers: AAG 2015

Revisiting Entrepreneurialism: the logics of urban governance in systemic crisis

Harvey’s (1989) outline of entrepreneurial urban governance remains a staple of urban theory. Consensus is that cities – as constrained by neoliberal institutions – must pursue growth above all else, even at the cost of the well-being of some of their citizens (Merrifield, 2014). Urban governance is therefore seen to rely on technocratic or speculative experiments that are designed to make the city a better enabler of market processes (Gibbs, 2013; Karvonen & van Heur, 2014; MacLeod, 2011; Swyngedouw, 2011). Yet we constantly see that urban growth initiatives are not coherent nor bear predicted results. Over time, speculative initiatives can be subject to regime changes and capitalist crisis that render them something other than what was intended. In addition, political actions are now being taken at the municipal level that appear to contravene entrepreneurial dictates. Can such changes make our urban politics something other than entrepreneurial and/or neoliberal?

In recent years a number of significant urban economic and political events have occurred which appear to demand a revision of popular theories of urban governance. They highlight the limits to entrepreneurialism coordinated according to the logics of growth and, paradoxically, the resilience of entrepreneurial practices despite their inability to deliver growth. Entrepreneurial practices appear to be tearing away from their neoliberal justifications, becoming more apparent manifestations of ideological practices. Such events include the raft of municipal bankruptcies that have shaken the financial ordering of cities by ignoring the governmental rules of financial capitalism. They also include events that seem to cast doubt on the strength and scope of neoliberal dictates; where significant increases in city-based minimum wages are now accepted as politically possible and broad-based mobilizations are challenging who has the authority to govern cities.  The logics of entrepreneurialism therefore appear less constraining and/or more easily transcended, even in our so-called post-political times.

This session therefore revisits the political economic condition of urban governance. It examines how urban politics can and have diverged from its entrepreneurial neoliberal condition, and what the implications of such divergences can and might be. Potential topics of papers to be included in the session might include:

  • Theories of urban governance that develop ideas of entrepreneurialism
  • Studies of urban events and processes that challenge dominant understandings of urban governance
  • Attempts to understand urban governance in times of (permanent) political and economic crisis
  • Studies and theories of political confrontation and change in contemporary cities
  • Attempts to comparatively understand the varied experiences of cities in times of crisis

Authors are invited to submit 250 word abstracts to John Lauermann (jlauermann@clarku.edu) and Mark Davidson (mdavidson@clarku.edu), by October 6. Likewise, please feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss potential paper topics.

References:

Gibbs, David, Krueger, Rob, & MacLeod, Gordon (2013) Grappling with smart city politics in an era of market triumphalism. Urban Studies, 50(11), 2151-2157.

Harvey, David (1989) From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: the transformation in urban governance in late capitalism. Geografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography, 71(1), 3-17.

Karvonen, Andrew, & van Heur, Bas (2014) Urban laboratories: Experiments in reworking cities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38(2), 379-392.

MacLeod, Gordon (2011) Urban politics reconsidered: growth machine to post-democratic city? Urban Studies, 48(12), 2629-2660.

Merrifield, Andy (2014) The New Urban Question. London: Pluto Press.

Swyngedouw, Erik (2011) Interrogating post-democratization: Reclaiming egalitarian political spaces, Political Geography, 30(7), 370-380. 

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lover’s spit

this should be shared far and wide

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The Will to Knowledge: What matters that to us, philosophers?

Keith Harris:

excellent morning read after a night of reading Henry Miller.

Originally posted on ~ S c h i z o s o p h y ~:

Nietzsche 1875. Photography by F. Hartmann in Basel.

Nietzsche 1875. Photography by F. Hartmann in Basel.

In the case of Nietzsche nothing about his thought was a question of scrupulous skepticism or moral belief, but a matter of fact to be affirmed, not even confirmed: the event of sense in him has nothing to do with beliefs but with the values which are immanent to it, outside it.

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‘Hellenistic Ethics from Nietzsche to Foucault’ – Warwick, 25-27 September 2014

Originally posted on Progressive Geographies:

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Prospects for an Ethics of Self-Cultivation: Hellenistic Ethics from Nietzsche to Foucault, University of Warwick, 25-27 September 2014 – full details here

Philosophical interest in the ethical ideal of self-cultivation has increased in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as philosophers have sought alternatives to deontological and utilitarian theories. This interest has been most evident in the widespread revival of virtue ethics, although contemporary virtue ethicists tend to focus on Aristotle’s account of character formation. Philosophers in the modern European tradition, however, have been influenced by other views on self-cultivation from the Hellenistic period. Nietzsche’s account of self-cultivation, for instance, is closer to Epicurus’s than Aristotle’s, while Foucault draws extensively on Stoicism and Cynicism for his account. The insights of these thinkers suggest that we may deepen and expand our understanding of self-cultivation by reassessing the merits of the Hellenistic tradition.

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Phantamasgoric Capitalism by Jim Fearnley.

Keith Harris:

Evokes Kenneth Surin’s excellent paper at the Deleuze Studies conference last month.

Originally posted on synthetic_zero:

“Velocity runs through any consideration of capitalist development, from the carrier birds used to share information that Benjamin mentions were in use in the 19th century, to the edge provided by hyper-fast fibre optic cabling used for high-speed transactions (HSTs) in the current period. Further speed is added by the use of software algorithms for financial market decisions, eliminating time wasted on human hesitation and reflection. Conversely, in the sphere of consumption, time spent on purchase is reduced by the replacement of barter, arguably a social interaction. Whatever its purpose, to barter has a social dimension missing from, e.g., making an automated purchase in a supermarket.

Bourgeois history is envisaged as a vast accumulation of things or facts or events, and Benjamin notes the extent to which velocity affects the nature of perception. To slow it down sufficiently is to be able to view life as an inter-connected process, rather…

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