Sunday, January 22, 2006

E-tutoring and Me

Tutoring a junior college student during the training programme for E-tutors organised by an American 'essay editing outsourcing' company, I wrote: "If it's a real life incident, I'm sure you were actually writing the essay when you were going through the experience, which means, experiencing and writing are not two different things for you. That's really great!" The essay was about recalling an incident in which you found yourself at discomfort with your friend. The student wrote the essay with too much involvement and it seemed that he really experienced it.

What was that I wanted to convey through my comment? If experiencing and writing are no two different things, why does he need an editor at all? Can any of my experience be edited the way it is done in writing? And now the tragedy, While I was writing this post, and when I completed the first paragraph and started the second, the chief-editor called me to her cabin and told me expressing her concern that the American company has informed her that they will not be able to take me along with their training programme anymore. Howzzaat!!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Becoming-animal, Becoming-woman

Deleuze says, Literature stands for 'becoming-animal'. Literature also represents 'becoming-woman' and 'becoming-molecule.' What does 'becoming-animal' mean? Is it the traditional way of representing 'animality' as something which lacks restraint to biological impulses. Of course not. I understand 'becoming-animal' as something which is incapable of symbolizing anything other than what is present. For me 'animality' is incapable for symbolization and hence which is in presence always. Animal accepts what has presence and that which is not debated for being absent.

One may ask, why has Deleuze chosen only Literature among the multitude of texts which also deserves attention. Why didn't he say that those feminist writings are more like 'becoming-woman' than their less-hyped counterparts? My understanding goes like this, Deleuze's statement appears to be problematic for us when we first try to define 'woman' and then look for correspondences in literature. The pitfalls of such traditional methods of literary criticism are quite predictable; they configure texts as Feminist, Marxist or the like. Instead it should be through the activity of literature that a woman should be born. Alternatively if we try to symbolize woman, it becomes exactly the opposite of literature.

Literature is also 'becoming-animal' in the sense that it is beyond representation. For me, the 'becoming-animal' character of literature primarily has a footing on the non-judgemental nature of it.

A survey on Deleuze's philosophy:


Monday, January 16, 2006

The relevance of Jung

There has been a major shift in the realm of knowledge production with the advent of post-structuralism. Many of the concepts and methods of Psychology were also under attack when the monopoly of the knowing, perceiving subject was called into question. Psychoanalysis, in its Freudian way, faces criticism of its fundamental concepts of repression, unconscious, and the decisive role it gives to infantile sexuality. The general framework of psychology is shifting in a number of ways which in effect will be the future trajectories of Psychoanalysis. The shifts have taken shape in the following ways:

a) from neurosis to 'schizo' ('schizoanalysis' instead of psychoanalysis by Deleuze & Gutttari)
b) Many of the concepts like Oedipus Complex have been criticized for anchoring themselves in patriarchal culture. These concepts, which helped bringing in the whole discourse of Psychoanalysis itself, are undergoing a serious revision with new thinkers. (Luce Irigaray, …)
c) Language is now understood as the cultural constitutive factor of the 'self' (Lacan).

Without underestimating the initial endeavours of Psychoanalysis, it is important for us to read Jung in its Eastern philosophical underpinnings. Unfortunately, this is one of the efforts Indian psychology academia has long forgotten. Unlike Freud, for Jung, the time immemorial tradition of religion, spiritual and mystic experience of mankind is not a neurotic deviation. Nor for Jung, man is someone to be defined from the point of view of maladaptive behaviour. Thus, the crucial task of an encompassing explanation of human behaviour begins and progresses subscribing itself to different philosophies. Take for example the practice of Free Association whose genealogy has been located in the Christian practice of 'confession' by Michel Foucault. The never ending process of defining "who I am" is a play between knowledge and pleasure constituted by 'power'. But when Jung places confession as a fundamental tenet of psychopathology, it is about an originary relationship of the self to the "collective unconscious" of humankind.

I have in mind two projects:

1. Locating the two different philosophies of Psychoanalysis and Analytical Psychology, the former as a function of "capillary mechanisms of power" that attribute subjectivity and identity for the self, and the latter in relation to a "collective unconscious" that functions as a curative truth of the self.

2. Developing the concept of "collective unconscious" in order to reach out to the 'other'. I wish to develop this idea in order to read the post-structuralist texts. The fundamental question in this regard would be, is it possible to explain with the idea of 'collective unconscious,' the efforts of many of the post-structuralist thinkers like Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida to reach out to the 'other'? Is the idea of 'collective unconscious' a relationship to the 'other' beyond all moral and ethical structures of human knowledge?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Dreams as Omens

Has Freud mentioned somewhere in his 'Interpretation of Dreams' that dreams are not to be interpreted as omens? For Freud, dreams are good study tools which must be utilized to study human sub-conscious. In his framework, the role of an individual person is greater since many of the variations in one's dreams are decided by the person's wishes and fancies and the dream itself is felt to him personally. But if we consider dreams as a kind of archaic writing, the role of individual person is less. No matter who sees a dream, it is the kind of writing that decides the dream; a writing of the world with communicative symbols. In this way, although an individual is free to decide whether his dream must be considered an omen or not, the fact that dreams are involuntary and that they have the characteristics of writing restricts any kind of individual intervention with it. And if it is decided by communicative symbols, the dream is not for the individual. A dream is an omen for reason that, and in the sense that, it is existent only as an archaic writing which is supplemented with the meaning shared by the 'other' in a community.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Of truth and other demons

Can the concept of truth claim an innocent history alongside human existence over centuries? Foucault has some insightful reflections on it. He has always challenged the idea of gradual unveiling of truth with human growth along history. According to Foucault, man has always created truths to exclude, homogenize, standardize and normalize the variety of discourses that occur around him. Truth has always been an instrument for veiling power. However, this idea will never be clear to us unless we consider the triangular reinforcement that has existed between power, pleasure and knowledge. Foucault, in his History of Sexuality: Part 1 uses a beautiful phrase to represent the mutual reinforcement that knowledge and pleasure makes: (correct me if I am wrong) The pursuit of power has always been "...knowledge of pleasure, a pleasure that comes out of knowing pleasure, knowledge pleasure." As far I can see there is not philosophy in it because the concepts he uses to establish his point is already known to us, knowledge, pleasure and power. And the parameters he sets, the meaning he assigns to each concept is taken from a common man's understanding.

If the concept of truth is discussed philosophically we will be taking a different approach altogether. Let's think about the division / the binaries that prevail in philosophy and sciences. Thought and judgement has always been divided between reason and madness, between truth and follie, between good and bad etc. Notwithstanding their possibility to attain meaning only through an interplay of their own absence and presence in language and discourse, these concepts have undergone a serious division among themselves. This divide is the 'author', it is also the history of logos. With the author everything has undergone a division. Life and death, pain and relief, stagnation and motion, sovereign and his subjects stare at each other with a new strangeness unknown to them.

Preserving Life

Anything that preserves life can be said to be poetic. If craving for aesthetic feeling is the only justification of life, what is the poetics of anti-poetic? Who will participate in this discussion, in a business point of view? Is rationality opposed to aesthetics, if yes can it be considered party to this blog, anti-poetic? If grammar of language itself has a poetics, how is writing possible in an anti-poetic blog? These are some of the concerns we will address in coming days.

New Ideas!!

New ideas are taking shape. It seems I have found my words at last...You will get to see new writings in the next few days///