The Ends of Analysis: Autopoesis

Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic – SVA – May 3 2015

How does analysis end. In Freud’s “Analysis Terminable and Interminable” he broached this subject without resolution. Just as psychoanalysis must be reinvented by each analyst – and again with each analysand – so do the ends of analysis vary. Similarly the very purpose or “ends” of analysis, as opposed to means, is something that depends on each subject, as analysis does not specify a universal cure for everyone. Finally, is it possible to speak of an end to the practice of psychoanalysis when it has barely begun? At a time when evidence based medicine demands universal protocols, a science of the particular appears alone in its practice of differential desire and sovereign subjectivity. With regard to this we will look at abstract art, poetics, and the semiotics of writing for a solution.

Scott Von is a psychoanalyst and physician specializing in integrative neuropsychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. He is the founding director of the New Clinic in New York and a member of Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association. He has taught as a professor at NYU, CUNY, Pacific College, and ACTCM Medical School.

Violent Silence: Psychoanalysis and the Sacred

Fordham University – Violence and Psychoanalysis – May 1-3 2015

“Paradoxically, intimacy is violence, and it is destruction, because it is not compatible with the positing of the separate individual.” (Georges Bataille)

If there is today an indulgence in external and objective violence it is because there is something of the subject missing in our world.The “violent silence” of which Georges Bataille speaks is the inner sanctum of psychoanalysis: the invention of an intimacy and inner experience which survive the overexposure of contemporary existence. Bataille’s comrade Jacques Lacan understood the importance of the sacred and its disappearance and so incorporated such concepts into the Freudian method.

The practice of psychoanalysis opposes the “violence of interpretation” imposed by the other that is cause of neurosis and psychosis in modern society – a violence repeated in most medicine and psychiatry. But if psychoanalysis rejects the violence of being subjected to the judgement of the other, it initiates a violence of subjectivity – a dissolution of ego, defense, and objective rationale. In this sense it participates along with art and poetry in a contemporary sacred or a-theological mysticism for our times that offers more than just the enjoyment of production and consumption.

God the Analyst (The Theatre of Society)

Cabinet Gallery: Conway Hall – London – May 27 2015

Are topological diagrams Art or Science – Poetics or Mathematics. If we can collapse the two are we able to demonstrate the human subject or spirit – caught as he is in his body. He is a torus. And what remains of the society of individuation. A theatre of expressive moments.

The idee fixe of “God the Analyst” refers to the theme of answering to the void of God: atheological mysticism, negative theology, death of God, disappearance of the sacred. Another version of the impasse or symptom of art, philosophy, the psychic and the social.

A twist on Klossowski’s obsession with resemblance or re-semblance: to re-affirm, re-stage, re-create the semblance. God was a semblance – or symptom. Now we need another one. A pere-version.

The partial drawing is an a-signifying semiotic – something between index, icon, symbol. It sustains a diagrammatology of de-monstration.

Schizoanalysis and Anti-Psychiatry

Unbehagen Psychoanalytic Salon

Scheiderman:

For the record, schizoanalysis was concocted by Pierre-Felix Guattari (and Deleuze) at the Clinique de la Borde in the Loire Valley in France. As it happens I was working at a sister clinic in the 1970s so I was quite familiar with what was going on at La Borde. It’s worth noting that the most important treatments at La Borde and the other sister clinics involved institutional psychotherapy– which created a social organization for the patients, and medication. They believed the insulin shock treatment was the best way to treat schizophrenia and even made a film about it. They liked electroshock treatment and prescribed every psychiatric medication that available– from neuroleptics to antidepressants to anti-anxiety and tranquilizers. The director of La Borde– Jean Oury– was shocked one day to hear a pharmaceutical representative tell him that he liked institutional psychotherapy because La Borde ordered as much psychiatric medication as anyone else.

Von:

That’s true. There were still problems with La Borde. But you have to remember that it was the first of the anti-psychiatry centers developed after the war. They were trying to move away from old practices – especially Guattari. He developed his “institutional analysis” here first including increasing critiques of these antiquated treatments. As for schizoanalysis it originated out of the intersection of the experiments at La Borde, Lacan’s school, May 68, and Deleuzes’s experiments at Vincennes and it grew into something much more. Its history and its future have hardly begun to be told. It speaks directly to “the ends of analysis,” “the last psychoanalyst,” and “the future analyst.”

Schneiderman:

FYI– the institutional psychotherapy (it wasn’t called institutional analysis) movement came out of the Spanish Civil War through the efforts of a man named Rene Tosquelles. It was not part of the anti-psychiatry movement. In fact, Jean Oury, who ran La Borde, hated anti-psychiatry. This despite the fact that David Cooper was working there. The clinics were very pro-psychiatry and, as I will re-emphasize, used every form of psychiatric medication available. Since they had opened in a time before the new medications were available, they understood well what happened when you did not give out the medications. I have no idea what experiments they were talking about at La Borde, but beyond the medical treatments–even outmoded treatments like insulin shock therapy–they emphasized organized group activities. In my view it was better than warehousing patients because it obliged them to participate in a social organization. The Parisian Lacanians at the time had nothing against the psychiatric clinics, per se, because they offered good psychiatric treatment, but they did not want to have anything to do with the ramblings of Guattari and Deleuze, which they considered to be irresponsible and quasi-delusional. Given their love for radical leftist politics, the people running the Loire valley clinics also sought inspiration from the Cultural Revolution in china. Some of them even traveled to China in order to see the wonderful things that the Red Guards were inflicting on psychiatric patients. Most of these people were crackpot radical leftists. They were less interested in curing mental illness than in using mentally ill patients to overthrow the capitalist order.

Von:

I think we are stressing slightly different things. Institutional Psychotherapy as a general movement was similar to what you describe but La Borde tried to move further away from that model with its own methodological innovations. It was different than Laing’s work and they were critical of each other, but La Borde is still usually considered part of anti-psychiatry in general. Guattari remained part of Lacan’s school throughout and applied analytic ideas not present in the other institutional psychotherapy centers. Institutional Analysis became Schizoanalysis, a movement developed by Deleuze and Guattari moving away from La Borde and trying to extend Lacan’s ideas in new directions. What they developed is traced in Anti-Oedipus, A Thousand Plateau’s, Schizoanalytic Cartographies, and Chaosmosis.

Benvenuto:

Stuart says some truthful things about La Borde. (I have not seen Stuart for more than 20 years, and yet I allow myself to call him by his first name, as I did in the past). But his view is only one side of the coin of the truth.

I spent a few days at La Borde in the early 70s when I was a student in Paris, but I had very close friends who had been patients or psychiatrists there. I am still in touch with some of them. My “guide” at La Borde was a dear friend, a former patient there—now a University professor—who often accompanied friends there because she was enthusiastic about the Clinique de La Cour-Cheverny. And she had undergone some electroshock there… After spending one day at La Borde, a psychologist in our group said: “This is a place where I could spend a nice summer holiday”. And not just because the clinic was in a wonderful countryside setting with woods, horses, and an old castle.

I had had experience of some psychiatric hospitals both in France and Italy at that time, and it was clear, from the first glance, that La Borde was not like the prison-asylums that these other institutions were at that time. La Borde had the air of something very different about it. Even though there were some very seriously ill patients, the atmosphere at La Borde was very “communitarian”, funny in a certain way. When the same psychologist who had wished to spend a summer there later had some personal troubles, she told me dramatically: “Please, Sergio, if I go crazy, bring me to La Borde, and nowhere elsewhere”.

When Jean Oury – a strict Lacanian, and director of La Borde – was reproached over using electroshock, he said that he found itdecisive with very depressed patients, and that the harsh attacks against electroshock were partially the result of Big Pharma’s campaign. In fact, electroshock is very cheap, while drugs are expensive. At La Borde, pharmaceuticals were of course used, as they were everywhere, but can any anti-psychiatrist today get rid of them completely?

Guattari, like Deleuze, was anti-psychoanalysis, as everyone knows. But I find it positive that a Lacanian (and Binswangerian phenomenologist) like Oury hired, for years, someone anti-psychoanalysis like Guattari. In fact, Oury invited a lot of people to collaborate who did not share his ideas, but for whom he held a personal esteem.

I can compare my experience at La Borde with another experience, less known, I guess, in the Anglo-American world, but famous in Italy and in other “Latin” countries: the anti-institutional psychiatry led by Franco Basaglia. In Italy, everybody knows him as “the modern Pinel”, because he was able to impose, in 1978, a famous law (180) that strictly forbids any kind of psychiatric hospital in Italy. If anyone is interested, I can explain how psychiatric patients are treated in Italy.

Basaglia and Oury hated each other because their aims were (or appeared) opposed: Oury promoted a cure of psychosis through a new kind of “open” institution, Basaglia promoted the complete destruction of any psychiatric institution. This is why the British anti-psychiatrists (Laing, Cooper, Esterson, etc.) sympathized rather with Basaglia.

I spent months working at the psychiatric hospital of Trieste in 1971, where Basaglia was the director just so that he could try to shut down the hospital–something he (at least formally) achieved in 1978: no more psychiatric inmates in Trieste. And of course, Trieste became a gathering place for a lot of “crackpot radical leftists”, as Stuart writes, “using mentally ill patients to overthrow the capitalist order”. But this was the Stimmung of the epoch. La Borde and Trieste – like the well-known anti-psychiatric communities in London – became magnets for artists, intellectuals, philosophers, and “crazy” reformers, etc. But at that time this mess was seen as a sign of vitality. Basaglia, who was anti-psychoanalysis like Deleuze and Guattari, felt closer to Foucault.

Basaglia’s experience inspired in Italy the movement of “therapeutic communities”, which is still widespread and alive. Their reference is Maxwell Jones’ community in Scotland, but also La Borde.

Basaglia himself told me that he recognized the efficacy of electroshock for certain patients, especially for melancholics, but in Trieste they did not practice shock therapies because of the violent and “shocking” connotation of these treatments. Yet in Trieste, his doctors made more use of psycho-medicines than La Borde did. This is why some say that “Basaglia was able to achieve his dream – destroying psychiatric hospitals – thanks to psycho-medicines”.

I think that the only two facilities in the world where psycho-pharmaceuticals were banned systematically were Soteria and Emanon by Loren Mosher.  But I wonder why Mosher’s experiments were never repeated. Were they perhaps too expensive? Actually, all Italian “Basaglians” whom I know make use of psycho-pharmaceuticals, and accept the principle of Compulsive Treatment for critical cases (although in Italy “compulsive treatment” cannot last more than two weeks). The only difference from traditional psychiatrists – but it is an important one – is that “alternative psychiatrists” (be they anti-psychiatrists, institutional or anti-institutional psychiatrists, psychoanalytically-oriented psychiatrists, etc.) use drugs because these “help”, but they think that they do not cure and they are not the only cure that psychiatry should offer. This was an assumption common to all these “shrines” of 60s-70s (anti)psychiatry.

I have recounted my experiences here only to underline the fact that issues like shock therapy, psycho-pharmaceuticals, and anti-psychiatry are very complicated, and we should avoid simplifications or any sort of black-or-white evaluations.

Beyond their contrasts, a common feature united all these 60s-70s movements: THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING TO PATIENTS. I don’t know about the US, but the habit of listening to patients is now rare among Italian psychiatrists. They make a DSM diagnosis about you in two minutes, and quickly write you a prescription for some drugs. It’s the triumph of short psychiatry. In our more naive times, it was longer.

Perhaps the time has come to make American analysts and psychiatrists aware of this golden age of European psychiatry in the 60s and 70s, when psychiatric issues were discussed on the front pages of newspapers, and Guattari’s and Basaglia’s public lectures attracted crowds. There was a lot of leftist crackpots, of course, but there was not just that.

Von:

Well put. These issues are so complex. Some Americans are aware of this history. I came in at the end in the 80s when I was very young. After working with Laing’s and Guattari’s circles while training in psychoanalysis I came to the conclusion that both La Borde and Kingsley Hall had problems. And most of anti-psychiatry had disappeared by then anyway. But the ISPS has kept the integrated tradition of psychoanalysis and anti-psychiatry alive internationally and in America. A new wave of anti-psychiatry arose in America from ex-patients – people abused by the system – and it is attempting to merge with this European tradition with some difficulty.

I worked with Loren Mosher (who got his original ideas from working with Laing) before he died. I have his research documents on Soteria. It was more successful AND cheaper statistically than hospitals and drugs. So why was it not continued? Not enough influence to change the prevailing model – or systematic repression of alternative medicine and psychiatry. Take your pick. Soteria used “non-therapists” chosen and trained for certain abilities to listen, not judge, and tolerate suffering of others. The houses had virtually no rules and patients could come and go as they liked. They advocated no drugs, used as few as possible and saw getting patients off them as one of the statistics of success. (Maybe that’s why the model was shut down.)

So in the end Mosher starting developing a new model of working with outreach in homes and crisis in situ. Similar ideas developed in Scandinavia with a combination of outpatient psychoanalysis and placement in homes with certain families similar to Mosher’s selection of “non-therapists.” This avoids the economically unfeasible in-patient issue but maintains the essential need for social connection and support.

I adopted and adapted many of these ideas in my clinic but added something else – “alternative psychiatry”: psychiatry developed in traditional medicine, homeopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, orthomolecular medicine, and other methods. Even with all of this the questions and possibilities are extremely complex and difficult. As you suggest no one who has not worked on this problem should minimize or over-simplify the issues.

Having said all of this, the point remains that “schizoanalysis” was and is something very different from anti-psychiatry, institutional psychotherapy, or leftist politics. Guattari remained a psychoanalyst, and a student and analysand of Lacan. He was not anti-psychoanalysis. Schizoanalysis is a form of psychoanalysis “in extension” into questions of social, political, and economic relations by means of art, poetics, mathematics and complexity science – all things that Lacan was working on in his last years.

Schizoanalysis (Pulsion, Phantasm, Simulacrum)

Cabinet Gallery – London – April 24 2015

Art exists at the intersection of real, imaginary, and symbolic. It solicits the force of will and drive by deconstructing and reconstructing form. Art has forever been intertwined with the practice of magick and the politics of reality.

The sigil is an a-signifyng semiotic of powerful change. At the borderline of structural language and the suspension of the gaze in line, shape, and color exists the power to draw the drive into manifestation.

The indexical sign, or signal, releases the mana captured in rigid structures, dead forms, and stagnant dogmas. Black on white cuts through the imaginary hypnosis of personality and reference to lifeless archive, while sound and gesture crack the coding of a mechanistic matrix.

After a modern century of intense mana, the postmodern malaise of static representation threatens to suffocate our newborn vitality out of existence. This we cannot and will not have.

With this diagram we thus initiate the return of innovation and transformation. Being as Becoming. An ontology infinite and void. A topology of the continuous and discrete. A phenomenology of sovereignty. A schizoanalysis. A diagrammatology.

Dr Scott Von is a psychoanalyst and artist and Director of the New Clinic for Integral Medicine & Psychiatry in New York. He lectures and performs internationally on schizoanalysis and the symptom of art.

The Symptom of Art (Pere-Version)

Cabinet Gallery – London – April 22 2015

What is the relationship between the Symptom of Art and the Art of the Symptom. In the Twentieth Century, art took an entirely new direction, continually deconstructing its own form, reframing its own context, dissolving the boundary between presentation and re-presentation, and claiming its own sovereignty. Today this symptom appears to have reached its limits.

During the same period of modernity, a small movement within the field of medicine and psychiatry began to question the certainty of the symptom. Practices such as Psychoanalysis and Homeopathy have reinvented the field of medicine and disease. Picking up where the Greek Pharmakon and the Alchemical Magnum Opus left off, we are called upon to devise an Art of the Symptom for our times: an Autopoesis.

In a time where both the divine father and the nuclear father have dissolved, the pathway has been opened beyond neurosis toward psychosis and perversion. The art of the symptom is the construction of a “pere-version” or version of the father: a confrontation with the symbolic or social structure not as submission or rebellion but as intervention and invention. Creative destruction. Positive negation.

Dr Scott Von is a psychoanalyst and artist and Director of the New Clinic for Integral Medicine & Psychiatry in New York. He lectures and performs internationally on schizoanalysis and the symptom of art.

The Desire Path to Enlightenment

Esalen Institute – April 10-12 2015

“The whole of evolution, in fact, is an evolution from unconscious divinity to conscious divinity in which God Himself, essentially eternal and unchangeable, assumes an infinite variety of forms, enjoys an infinite variety of experiences, and transcends an infinite variety of self-imposed limitations. (Meher Baba)

Traditional Eastern wisdom preaches that desire causes suffering, but in the modern West we are driven by our desires. The “desire path to enlightenment” is the method I developed for integrating body and mind and bridging East and West.

Desire itself is not enlightenment but an initiation in our path towards it. It must not be denied or repressed. How do we find our desires: by looking into our very symptoms. By discovering our lost or repressed desires we can invigorate vitality, integrate trauma, turn breakdown into breakthrough, and begin the process of refining raw drive into sublime form – just as the great alchemists and artists have shown.

Through a series of practical and experiential exercises in somatic awareness, energy work, creative play, and performative dialogue, we will learn how to heal and evolve the physical body, the psyche, and the cosmos. We will learn the secrets to unlock desire, use it to build physical and emotional vitality, and refine it along a path to spiritual enlightenment.

The Psychosomatic Symptom: Between Psychoanalysis and Medicine

Unbehagen Psychoanalytic – New School University – May 16 2015

Sigmund Freud was originally a physician and neurologist interested in the body-mind process of pathology and cure. He formulated the idea of psycho-neurosis alongside of “actual-” or physio-neurosis and eventually hoped to return to the question of physical pathology and its relation to psychoanalysis. Though he deviated from the psychoanalytic orthodoxy, Freud’s cherished student Wilhelm Reich did complete this return to the body in order to begin the development of a truly integral psychoanalytic medicine and psychiatry. “Psychosomatic” does not refer to an imaginary or hysterical symptom. Every symptom is psychosomatic. Psychosis relates differently to somatic symptoms than neurosis. The field of medicine and psychiatry is in serious crisis today and desperately needs what psychoanalysis has to offer. By tracing the origins of psychoanalysis we can continue this much needed effort to redeem the current practice of medicine and psychiatry from reductionism and place it in line with the psychoanalytic ethic.

Scott Von is a psychoanalyst and physician and Director of the New Clinic for Integral Medicine and Psychiatry in New York. He has taught as a professor at NYU, CUNY, Pacific College, and ACTCM Medical School, and is a member of Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association. He is also a poet and artist currently working with the Cabinet Gallery in London where he has produced the four volume multimodal work Autopoesis. He is the author of the forthcoming Schizoanalysis: Chaos & Complexity in Clinical Practice and Orgonomy: Integral Medicine & Psychiatry.

Suggested Readings

Sigmund Freud The Origins of Psychoanalysis

Wilhelm Reich The Discovery of the Orgone

George Canguilhem The Normal and the Pathological

Michel Foucault Mental Illness and Psychology

Mark Solms Clinical Studies in Neuro-Psychoanalysis

Paul Hriso Mental Automatisms

Paul Verhaeghe On Being Normal and Other Disorders

Jonathan Redmond Ordinary Psychosis and the Body

The Last Psychoanalyst!

Unbehagen Psychoanalytic – Center for Modern Psychoanalysis – March 21 2015

Scott Von in discussion with Stuart Schneiderman

Stuart Schneiderman:

“I want to address the question posed by my book, The Last Psychoanalyst, that when Lacan declared that psychoanalytic practice was a ‘swindle’ or scam (escroquerie) he was trying to save it. By trying to make it into an international cult he was trying to keep it alive as one front in the culture war against Anglo-American cultural hegemony. He believed that psychoanalysts do better not to try to defend their practice by claiming to produce positive clinical outcomes. He had already said that good results are an accident of psychoanalysis. He wanted to retain it as a type of initiation ritual into the kinds of mental habits that would be required of those who could fight the good culture war. Finally, since many psychoanalysts seem curious about my own transformation from psychoanalyst to life coach matters—I like to think of it as ‘seeing the light’—I will say something about this during my talk.”

Scott Von:

“Both Freud and Lacan came to an impasse late in their work regarding the future and purpose of psychoanalysis as a practice and a training. The impasse concerns whether psychoanalysis is mere adaptation to a social norm. The future of analysis depends on whether analysis in extension can alter social relations and institutions, including those that claim to cure and those that claim to transmit psychoanalysis itself.”

The Symptom of Art and Art of the Symptom

Cleopatra Gallery – December 17 2014

A “new science for every person” evokes the work I have been doing for 30 years – a psychoanalytic medicine and politics. Freud’s most radical invention was to reverse the politics of doctor and patient by entering the world of the patient as a foreign country and devising cure – or rather transformation – co-creatively. While psychoanalysis has attempted to remain true to this radical unicity, its institutionalization is always threatening.

I not only adhere to this radical practice but I seek to re-envelope the practice of physical medicine within this ethic – as well as extending it to the social-political field. From psychoanalysis to schizoanalysis. Perhaps art is the final language for talking about the intersection of these issues, for it has waged a century of struggle for the absolute sovereignty of subjectivity against a world of increasing materialism and objectification. It only remains to take the playful nature of desire, love, beauty, and intimacy in the most serious way.

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In my clinicial and theoretical writing I intend to unlock the uncanny, the real, the impulse, the phantasm locked beneath the symbolic or stereotype. This is much like Klossowski’s idea of working with a traditional field of syntax and altering it slightly rather than a major abstract deconstruction. However when it comes to the visual form – as opposed to writing – I do feel drawn to abstraction. Or perhaps it is better to say the diagrammatic – the indexical gesture rather than iconic or symbolic in Peirce’s semiotic triad. I have always drawn spontaneous diagrams on boards and walls while lecturing, on paper while reading, writing, or practicing analysis with a patient. Bracha Ettinger paints while listening to patients. Winnicott co-created drawings with child patients. Lygia Clark developed artistic analytic play objects for clinical artwork in the gallery.

My lectures and writings become performances as they begin with traditional contexts, settings, and ideas yet jar, disturb, or provoke the participant. I say participant rather than listener or reader, as I am to engage the other in a transference, dialectic, and co-creation. This is an inversion of my work as an analyst in the clinic. In my schizoanalytic events I blur the boundary between clinical, pedagogical, and artistic relationship. I take the position of analysand, make the other my analyst, and free associate – exactly as Lacan described of his seminar. Yet I take it a step further by then encouraging the audience to take the position of analysand back to me and each other as analyst.

While I have sought to bring Art into the Clinic, Laboratory, and Academy, I now seek to bring Analysis into the Studio, Gallery, or Museum.

Diagrammatology (Initiation Sigil)

Bridget Donahue Gallery – December 1 2014

Art exists at the intersection of real, imaginary, and symbolic. It solicits the force of will and drive by deconstructing and reconstructing form. Art has forever been intertwined with the practice of magick and the politics of reality.

The sigil is an a-signifyng semiotic of powerful change. At the borderline of structural language and the suspension of the gaze in line, shape, and color exists the power to draw the drive into manifestation.

The indexical sign or signal releases the mana captured in rigid structures, dead forms, and stagnant dogmas. Black on white cuts through the imaginary hypnosis of personality and reference to lifeless archive, while sound and gesture crack the coding of a mechanistic matrix.

After a modern century of intense mana, the postmodern malaise of static representation threatens to suffocate our newborn vitality out of existence. This we cannot and will not have.

With this diagram we thus initiate the return of innovation and transformation. Being as Becoming. An ontology infinite and void. A topology of the continuous and discrete.A phenomenology of sovereignty. A schizoanalysis: a diagrammatology.

Ritual, romance and magick. The marking on the foundation. The power behind the wall. Alchemical material. Invocation. Gesture.

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1. Initiation Christening of the space:

2. Drawing the sigils/diagrams on the walls.

3. Lighting the space with fire – maybe use the 4 elements, so cover the floors with some kind of earth, and and have running water somewhere, and wind (maybe fans).

4. A certain sound recording.

5. And set up some kind of psychoanalytic office/ritual space for participation/performance.

6. A variation on my theme of Psychic/Psychotic/Psychedelic.

7. A manifesto, an invocation, or consecration: something uncanny or disturbing, a difficult to interpret juxtaposition of different fields.

8. Force: a clean or precise act of some kind of violence – creative destruction – Nietzche and/or Nitsch.

From Psychoanalysis to Schizoanalysis

Unbehagen Psychoanalytic – New School University – December 4 2014

Dr Scott Von – Psychoanalyst and Physician in New York, Director of the New Clinic, Analyst Member of Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association, Visiting Professor at NYU and ACTCM Medical School

Felix Guattari’s invention of desiring production and schizoanalysis was the natural extension of Lacan’s teaching of psychoanalysis. Through complex mathematics and poetic semiotics Guattari sought to extend psychoanalysis beyond the consulting room into the social field both as political movement and as psychiatric revolution. Schizoanalysis re-orients the practice and theory of analysis on the schizoid or psychotic core rather than the neurotic ego. Borrowing from developments in abstract art, chaos and complexity theory, as well as his own work with psychosis and political activism, Guattari sought to preserve and extend psychoanalysis as a radical practice of sovereign subjectivity, co-creativity, and axiomatic choice against a world of increasing technological uniformity.

I will talk about my work with Laing and Guattari’s circles in radical psychoanalysis and anti-psychiatry and the creation of the New Clinic in New York where we practice a psychoanalytic medicine and psychiatry, including clinical discussion of psychosis, psychosomatics, and other non-standard psychoanalytic work.

Art as Praxis

I concur with the posited 4 possibilities of art and basically agree that art exists in and around these 4 dimensions without being decided. Perhaps in some ways they correspond to my “4 Positions” which is a synthesis, condensation, and reworking of Lacan’s 4 discourses and Badiou’s 4 ontologies.

Ontology – Discourse – Symptom – Sovereignty – Art

1. Transcendental – Master – narcissism – hierarchical/patriarchal sovereignty – Art in itself

2. Constructivist – Academic – obsessionality – systemic/flat sovereignty – The arts as profession

3. Generic – Hysteric – hysteria – deconstructed/denied sovereignty – the Art of anything

4. Subjective – Analyst – sinthome – axiomatic/evental sovereignty – Art as anything

These 4 variations of art are intricately related. 1 and 4 are related in their focus on sovereignty, though of an opposite nature. 2 and 3 are related in their focus on pragmatics though also different in nature. Interestingly these 4 arts not only line up with my 4 positions but also follow the same order I see in the 4 positions as 4 stages of evolution – phylogentically and ontogenetically. In fact this 4 part structure along with its unfolding concept of change can be used to explain many things – like an oracle or mathematical-poetic device.

We can use this oracle to understand the unfolding political nature of man. The transcendental position of patriarchy is problematic but retains the sacred subjectivity of sovereignty as Carl Schmitt points out in his defense of Hitler against the constructivist bureaucratic state envisaged by Kojeve’s Hegelian reading of the end of history. Modern artistic movements aim to move beyond both positions 1 and 2 through a form of individuated generic sovereignty, yetit threatens to remain hysterical by virtue of being in denial or repression – creating a solipsistic culture exchange which although it pushes beyond the state planning of red or black socialism remains in a capitalism of desire as lack. The exit from position 3 to 4 through the eye of the needle is to fully recognize mimetic desire (as lack) as a dead end game as long as it remains unconscious of itself and its zero-sum strategy of scarcity in the form of winners and losers. The move toward stage 4 is reflected in Bataille’s work on sovereignty and how the sovereign artist must embrace the void and accept loss and abjection – poverty and rejection – the opposite of the current recapture of art into the gallery market or academic state.

The sovereign artist parallels Lacan’s idea of the passage from the analysand to analyst as an experience of total loss or subjective destitution which can precede and/or accompany the passage from unconscious symptom to refined, enacted, and enjoyed sinthome. This is also the practice of sublimation or the sublime that links alchemy, art, and psychoanalysis. Another name for this final state is axiomatic. This is what Duve’s book is about with regard to the true meaning of modern art and nature of existence after Duchamp “accelerated” Kant’s categorical imperative. Not only are there unreconcilable categories of truth but the only imperative is to invent an imperative – in the face of post-modern relativism and nihilism. The subject is not an individual being but a sacred and evental process – a procedure of invention. The sacred and infinite nature of Being as Becoming as described by both the Summa Theologica and the I Ching – or Book of Change – unites mathematical and theological concepts of an ontology of transformation with the local generic material conditions of “being there” in the human universe provided that we take responsibility for axiomatically deciding and making (or co-creating) the world. This is why theory and practice are inseparable as praxis.

Acceleration, Schizoanalysis, and Sovereignty

(Goldsmiths College – University of London – October 2014)

Tracing the deeper genealogy of Accelerationism offers us a way out of the left/right political-economic impasse, as well as the impasse of the organic/machinic evolution of subjectivity. The primary limitation in Accelerationism today – left and right – is its foundation in materialism. The question of the evolution of spirit through the history of man was originally framed as action, negation, invention, and idea. Sovereignty offers a political stance to the end of history and the death of God which differs from that mapped out in Accelerationism so far, while Schizoanalysis offers a social and psychic praxis for this new world.

The return of Nick Land’s original nihilistic Accelerationism and the neoreactionary “right” politics affixed to it has spawned a “left” movement spearheaded by a new manifesto. I aim to trace the genealogy of Accelerationism in the work of Hegel, Sade, Nietzsche, Bataille, Deleuze & Guattari which sought a way out of the left/right divide. The question of the evolution of spirit through the history of man was originally framed by Hegel as an ideal state and read by Marx as a material revolution. Bataille’s Sovereignty offers an alternative political-economy based on an atheological inner experience in the practice of joy before death and a materialism of the sacred.

While the Accelerationist event has already taken place, its fidelity is only now finding itself articulated. We will look at how the psychoanalytic idea of transforming one’s symptom into a work of art – equally articulated by Lacan’s practice of the “sinthome” and Jung’s practice of the “magnum opus” – was extended by Deleuze and Guattari into the social and environmental field, making three ecologies of desiring production. By adding the missing fourth ecology of the physical body – supplied by Reich’s Orgonomy – we can construct a map by which to diagram Bataille’s General Economy of energy and information exchange on the globe and beyond, taking us far beyond dualistic politics, humanistic assumptions, and regressive neo-tribalism.

Psychic, Psychedelic, Psychotic

(October Gallery London – October 2014)

After 30 years of research and clinical practice with madness, I will discuss what psychic, psychotic, and psychedelic experience have in common and what they can teach us about psychic reality. I will then sketch out what the future of psychiatry will look like from my own current practice and delineate a brief esoteric genealogy of its existence drawing on psychoanalytic, medical, ontological, and occult praxis.

The method of Integral Psychiatry I have developed was influenced by the psychedelic movement. “Substance, set, and setting” and “guided journeys” form the basis of the ancient therapeutic methods of shamanism and are applicable to modern medicine. I will discuss how I have worked with psychosis and what we can learn from “psychotomimetic” substances. Psychedelics have taught us much about the deep core of our psyche as well as the transpersonal dimensions we can attain. Using legal psychedelic or “psycho(ana)lytic” substances and practices as catalysts in conjunction with psychodynamic therapy forms a method of “substance, set, and setting” for the modem age and a new era of medicine.

Acceleration 2012, 13, 14…

A nostalgia for nostalgia. Yes. The experience of “History” really ended. I accept 2012 as a fixion point. Conceptually Hegel had sketched it out 200 years ago. And in a way he was right that the French Revolution was the beginning of the end. And all of Kojeve’s analyses concerning the resistance to the end – or more likely the fade out – with regards to the American and Japanese – not to mention Russian and Chinese – variations are relevant. And then we have Terence McKenna and Jose Aguelles using mathematically enhanced fractal and mandala patterning, I Ching computer code simulation, and psychedelic reprogramming of the Mayan calendrical predictions to map technological novelty acceleration into the point 2012. Did it happen. Yes it has been happening for a long time but we really can accept 2012 as a good signifier.

The twentieth century was so rich and precious because in the fractal exponential acceleration of novelty there was “more” of everything in that one century than had happened in the past millennia – as well as more of the new – than ever before. And yet it was slipping by, being lost, more quickly than ever before. At one point I fell into to full resonance with that present. It was as if the world, time, said to me as in Proust: “Grasp me in passing, if you have the strength to, and try to solve the puzzle of happiness which I propose to you.”  And then I slipped out of sync again contending with a deeply painful nostalgia – melancholy. But melancholy is holding on to the LOSS of the object as a substitute for the (lost) object itself. Once I realized that history had already ended I also realized that there was only (ever) one choice: to live these objects, this past, in the (eternal (future)) present. This is not like some neurological disease – as in the film “Memento” – but rather the cure for it. Nietzsche was always the antidote to Hegel and to the Failure of Hegel – which is what we are suffering now. The Absolute State at the end of the Phenomenology of Spirit would not be my ideal but it would be better than the failure we are facing. Rather than either, Nietzsche’s version – and that of those who followed his course of Sovereignty – would be as he said to revel in the Play-Ground of human history and its semiotic-material creation. It is like (the myth of) Heaven. Everyone and Everything is Here Now. So why isn’t it more fun? We have not realized what we can do yet – what we must do. Are we up to it? “To see tragic natures sink and to laugh….”

Nietzschean Marxism. There were two who thought this through. Bataille and Guattari. And came up with something very similar: a philosophical-mystical General Economy and a mathematical-semiotic Schizoanalytic Ecosophy. One predecessor was Reich whose transformed political-biophysics became Orgonomy – the organic, organismic, orgasmic, self-organizing praxis of the real very similar to General Economy and Schizoanalysis. It could even be argued that Orgonomy actually already encompasses the integration of the two followers. It’s possible that Reich and Guattari’s approaches ignore the power of nihilism and the death drive at the expense of its return (Berardi’s critique of Guattari leaving out sadness and depression is one example). But it also could be that accelerationist tendencies themselves are all unresolved variation on nihilism as death drive. Bataille seems to disprove this in his last work comparing the absolute sacred of death and destruction as mundane – “scarcely different than any other thing.”

My own work is nothing other than an extension and expansion of the above trajectory – even obviously so in that I name my first two Clinical-Scientific books derived from my respective PhD and MD theses: SCHIZOANALYSIS (Chaos & Complexity in Clinical Practice) and ORGONOMY (Integral Medicine & Psychiatry).

The Four Volume Predecessor AUTOPOESIS is an internally experiential self-analytic prolegomena.

Madness, Glamour, and Human Potential

There has been much discussion surrounding the re-emergence of an “anti-psychiatry” or “mad” movement. An Esalen Alternative Psychiatry conference was the site of this attempted nexus and rebirth of madness activists, human potential, and anti-psychiatry – or what I prefer to call Non-Psychiatry. I would say that much of this discussion revolves around a lack of clarity about what it is and who it is for. To begin with Esalen itself called it an “Alternative Medicine” conference. And maybe it is. But this conference grew out of an Esalen workshop on extreme and altered states which joined the anti-psychiatry movement to the human potential movement in an effort to revive this lost project. Awakening to these movements as a young man in the 80s I just as excited to find inspiration as I was saddened to see them disappearing. The spirit of rebellion of the 60s and 70s had grown into conservatism, complacency, fear, greed, and narcissism in so many ways. My elder colleagues appeared jaded and cynical except for my true mentors like R D Laing, Felix Guattari and Chogyam Trungpa who were quickly dying off. These were the ones who – like Perls, Price, and others at Esalen had promoted the “Crazy Wisdom” of Shamanism and Tantrism. Esalen – like every other institute, method, and movement of those times – has had to endure the questions of sustainability within radicality and this remains the question for the future.

The new mad “movement” to which the old ones were joined through this Esalen “Alternative” is a complementary movement of survivors themselves become activists. But we must not make the mistake of creating another in-group – a co-dependency group, fight/flight group or messianic group. It is these unconscious “basic assumptions” as Bion called them within groups which are the problem with all movements. The desire to create a movement falls prey to unconscious projections and unshared Ideology which either recreates oppressive judgment or tears itself apart in in-fighting.

The so-called “movement” against psychiatric oppression has recognized the intertwined problems of capitalism in its project. But let us recall that for Hegel and Marx the bourgeoise trap was not a struggle of rich classes against poor but a struggle of both against their mutual enslavement to capital itself – the accumulation of material and rank instead of the desire and love of spirit found in the mutual recognition of human subjective freedom and sovereign co-creation.

The Buddhist Chogyam Trungpa taught that the Bardo realms were developmental states of existence each with its own psychological challenge. These are: 1. tortured demons, 2. hungry ghosts, 3. ignorant animals, 4. desiring humans, 5. jealous demigods, and 6. complacent gods. Each of us passes through each of these states. In our time we have evolved but still face the challenges of jealousy, envy, complacency, and superiority. The questions we are asking plague the realms of therapy, spirituality, art, and politics. The spiritual teacher Alice Bailey called it “glamour – a world problem.”

What are we to do with our joy? Hide it. Deny it. Feel guilt. Certainly a form of totalitarian socialism which suppresses individuating creativity and desire is not the answer. And neither is the capitalist consumer model of competition in a zero sum game of winners and losers. But only these extremes prevail and continue to polarize. It is a testament to the Esalen Alternative community that we are even asking these questions. Who goes to an academic conference and asks why one person is paid as keynote speaker and all others pay. Who asks in a hospital why allopathic obstetricians make the decisions on questions of birth and midwifes with more experience are silenced. How do we preserve desire and achievement while remaining empathic, caring and loving. It is my hope that we can continue to discuss these questions openly with the same intentions of trust and commitment achieved at this recent gathering – something achieved with great difficulty and in person.

I hope that we are able to continue the magic and militancy of our momentum by any means necessary and I urge again that we focus not on the pros and cons of Esalen itself, but on how we can make this happen more often. We should celebrate those who have donated so much to get this started and move perhaps to a more collectivist form of participation in which anyone who wants to come can come by contributing time, money, effort, or whatever is possible. “From each according to his ability to each according to his means.” True communism is a spiritual state not a political state.

In this vein, we should remember that “the state” was to wither away under communism. Ihave come to believe that a major mistake made by Hegel, Marx, and their followers is the stress put on the state. In Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit he believed that the ideal state had arrived in modern Europe and that the rest of the world would follow suit. This is the state where humans mutually recognize one another in their essential being. There is no longer work for a sovereign god, king, or master outside and neither is there war or rebellion against that sovereign. Rather there is work and struggle to bring spirit into existence in the form of a common human project. But this spirit is not outside of us, it is inside of us, in the form of absolute subjectivity, inner experience, and freedom: desire, choice, and autonomy. Only when the sovereign autonomy of each human – and each human moment – is recognized will man achieve mutual recognition in his radical difference – not as a part of any state or movement. In this case “the state” grows out of and is a loose conglomeration of autonomous beings or even autonomous moments of communion in and among those beings. To the degree that a practical state and its functional bureaucracy needs to exist it emanates from this spirit. The spirit of freedom and recognition will not grow out of this state. A state which guarantees citizenship will never achieve this goal, whether in Athens, the United States, or Elysium.

Take Back the Economy

I am now calling my political-economic approach Libertine Mercantilism to distinguish it from Capitalism and old statist mercantilism. Cap-italism is as the root of the word refers – head or cap – an artificially propped up, top-down, hierarchical co-opting of the original form of market exchange developed by artisan entrepreneurs and collectives to escape the feudal monarchy. Kevin Carson’s book The Homebrew Industrial Revolution details the history of this development. And Emmet Grogran’s Ringolevio is a manual, casebook, memoir and manifesto for the method.

This is as they say a micropolitics. And it was my encounter with Guattari that made me decisively choose this path back in the 80s after being disappointed by the limitations of both institutions and institutional revolt. It is sad to me that so few have taken up this approach. It is as if people needed to continue to play out the psychodynamic baggage of Parent and Child, approval and revolt: deconstruction rather than construction. The resistance that remains to mediated techno-capitalism is empty with an antiquated approach. But those who did learn from the 60s to Construct are often easily co-opted by subtle means back into the bourgeoise comfort of pseudo-mastery/pseudo-slavery. Deleuze and Guattari’s Capitalism and Schizophrenia remains the prescient manual of how this happens and is the addendum to Kojeve’s lectures on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Kojeve details the failure of Hegel to witness the end of history and the perpetual deferral of post-historical man. Hegel’s prescription for the end remains correct: the bourgeoise revolutionary. Note that I stress this term rather than revolutionary bourgeoise to highlight that it is an internal or psychodynamic revolt, not a class war. Marx misread Hegel because he was a strict atheist materialist who could not grasp the Romantic Spiritual in Hegel and the undivided nature of Geist or Psyche. By joining Freud and Marx – and a thousand other plateaus – Deleuze and Guattari reconstruct a mode of “desiring production” in which the fluidity of Will, Drive, Spirit is sublimated into the construction of objects and practices of Desire, Love and Faith.

The game goes on. We waver between dark nihilism, tragic melancholy, powerful battle-cry, and eruption of joy..

Memory and Memoir

“That’s just what bothers me. That there are no memories/memoirs of an analysis.” This is something that Lacan stated late in his career. Was he talking of his own analysis or of everyone’s. That he had no memories of his own analysis with an analyst representing ego psychology which he later made the subject of a lifelong attack. Was he talking of the lack of memory which analysands display in their own analysis. How is it this the person in front of me does not recall what he has said to me when I recall what he and a hundred others have this week. The freedom of being analysand. To let go. To not think. To not remember. To not recall.

Memory and dread. We experience so much anxiety so much dread from the moment we are born. We seek to forget. We want to forget We learn to forget from the beginning to survive. But it is a mistake. Forgetting is not letting go. We must remember to let go. The putting into words, into images, into gestures is the remembering to let go. Symbolic imaginary real.

So why are there no memoirs of an analysis. An analysis is a memoir. Is there then any need to write it a second time. A memoir is an analysis. Is there any need for the clinic then. What I call Autopoesis incorporates both of these. It is subjectivization, whether through analysis or through art. To write oneself into existence. To create from the first person singular – I. Becoming literature, becoming poetry. Lacan also said: “I am not a poet but a poem – being written.” Being is becoming.

The Liberator – Experiment in Praxis

“The baby-boomers are the greatest sinners who have lived on the earth.” (The Liberator)

The liberator is the name of a man who publicly distributed the means to creating untraceable plastic guns with 3D printers.

I like “the liberator” beyond the reservations I have. Praxis as direct action coming out of theory. The courage to take this risk.

I stress “courage” for if you read Badiou’s “Theory of the Subject” you see that he develops a politics of the subject emerging out of Lacan but different. “Courage” leading to “Justice” is the alternative to “Anxiety” which leads to calling back in the “Superego” – the failure of every inventive moment – political, artistic, scientific, or amorous.

At 2m into the video the the liberator posted on his action, he gives an example of Badiou’s theory through his own “abyssal” moment where he affirms the fidelity to an act which is absolutely outside the state of things. That which is symbolically outlawed – literally inconceivable – is still there in the situation always if you can find it in you, laying around.

At 18 m there is a direct reference to Baudrillard’s “Fatal Strategies” and an unspecified but related Badiou axiom: any system at the extreme of totality is on the verge of collapse – evental change. This gives us the ability to reverse the recaptured state of things today which “Capitalism and Schizophrenia” warned us of: not only is every liberatory moment recaptured but . . . every recaptured totality is easily undone at some crucial point in the system.

For related material on autonomist/anarchist/libertarian ideas I like “The Homebrew Industrial Revolution” (free download):

http://homebrewindustrialrevolution.wordpress.com/

The book discusses these same ideas with much historical and cultural reference – and without the shock of guns. It demonstrates the inevitable return to the original “mercantile” system of entrepreneurial artisans from the middle ages which was artificially turned into “capitalism” in the old patriarchal manner. And there is a picture of a