Becoming self-consciousness

Only out of distress or disharmony can the soul create. Indeed, this is in strong resonance with a previous post, Thinking the uncommon, in which I signalled, invoking Erdem’s treatment of Melanie Klein, that uncommon, novel creative thought emerges out of disorienting positions. This necessary condition for the possibility of new thought is delineated by Deleuze in his account of “Foucault’s eight-year break in book production after the first volume of The History of Sexuality—a period Deleuze describes as one of ‘general crisis’” (Thoburn, Deleuze, Marx and Politics, p. 42). According to Deleuze, the mark of disorientation for Foucault was a mode of inquiry, invention, crisis and probing concerning the reliance on ‘power’ and ‘resistance’ in his earlier years. We are told by Deleuze in Negotiations that Foucault had a sense of becoming “trapped in something he hated” and was in need of some opening (p. 109). In grappling with his sense of being in a cramped position, Deleuze sees Foucault overcome his stagnation in conceiving politics primarily in terms of resistance or mere reaction to power, offering instead, after the creative crisis, an as yet unseen argument centered around the problem of ‘subjectification’ and ‘techniques of the self’ in volumes II and III.

It is precisely at this time of ‘crisis’ that Foucault probelmatized his antecedent categories and founded new ones, albeit a very difficult, eight-year process. This disruption in the trajectory of Foucault’s thought was a violence whose victim was himself. However, his desire to break free from himself, though a perilous act, lead him to “invent new concepts for unknown lands” (Negotiations, p. 103). The point is that cultural invention is induced by cramped, complex and intense positions “that offer no easy or inevitable way out, and are packed full of disagreements, tensions, and impossibilities” (Deleuze, Marx and Politics, p. 145).

via Becoming self-consciousness « Indecent Bazaar.


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