“ In a letter to Einstein, as well as in his New Introductory Lecures to Psychoanalysis, Freud proposed as a utopian solution for the deadlocks of humanity the “the dictatorship of reason”- men should unite and together subordinate and master their irrational unconscious forces. The problem here, of course, lies with the very distinction between reason and the unconscious: on the one hand, the Freudian unconscious is “rational,” discursive, having noting to do with a reservoir of dark primitive instincts; on the other hand, reason is for Freud always close to “rationlization,” to finding (false) reasons for a cause whose true nature is disavowed. The intersection between reason and drive is best signalled by the fact that Freud uses the same formulation for both: the voice of reason or of the drive is often silent, slow, but it persists forever. This intersection is our only hope.
“ Seductive and traumatic as it was, the forced introduction of the death drive could only provoke on the part of Freud’s heirs every conceivable variety of defence: a deliberate refusal on the part of some; a purely scholastic acceptance of the notion and of the dualism: Eros-Thanatos on the part of others; a qualified acceptance, cutting the notion off from its philosophical bases, by an author like Melanie Klein; and, most frequently of all, a passing allusion to or a total forgetting of the notion.
“ There is an oracle of Necessity, an ancient ordinance of the gods, eternal and sealed fast by broad oaths, that whenever one of the daemons, whose portion is length of days, has sinfully polluted his hands with blood, or followed strife and forsworn himself, he must wander thrice ten thousand seasons from the abodes of the blessed, being born throughout the time in all manners of mortal forms, changing one toilsome path of life for another. For the mighty Air drives him into the Sea, and the Sea spews him forth on the dry Earth; Earth tosses him into the beams of the blazing Sun, and he flings him back to the eddies of Air. One takes him from the other, and all reject him. One of these I now am, an exile and a wanderer from the gods, for that I put my trust in insensate strife.
Fragment 115 - Empedocles
Thanks to Ben Noys.
“ Who cannot see the distance that separates the unhappy consciousness - of which however strongly it is engraven in Hegel, it can be said that it is still no more than a suspension of a corpus of knowledge - from the “discontents of civilization” in Freud, even if it is only in mere phrase, uttered as if disavowed, that marks for us what, on reading it, cannot be articulated otherwise than the “skew” relation that separates the subject from sexuality?
“ Sometimes one seems to perceive that it is not only the presence of civilization but something in the nature of the function itself which denies us full satisfaction and urges us along other paths. This may be wrong, it is hard to decide.
“ I have found little that is “good” about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think.
“ Imagining that one is a king, a cardinal, a person in the godhead. Melancholy arising from an idea of moral worthlessness. Someone believes that when he urinates he floods a whole town; another that he is a grain of barley and the chickens will eat him; a third that his feet are made of glass and he has a little bell on his stomach, and so on.
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