1. Life and Death – Chaosophy
The process of life and death is the story of individuation and the unfolding of the virtual into the actual. Life is division and capture – the striation and stagnation of forms escaping or detaching themselves from the infinite chaos of atemporality. At the quantum level, physicists cannot determine the position of the fundamental particles of matter – they can only map their probability to manifest in a measureable space-time continuum out of the wave form of pure energy. A wave of pure energy is organized into particles of matter which we take for “solid.” Light is warped into photons. Classical physics and mathematics constitute an art and science of life – as do shamanism, magic, and psychoanalysis – which depend first on what can be conceived. The relationship between what we call mind and body – or psyche and matter – cannot be grasped by logico-bivalent thinking alone.
Death puts an end to life. Death is our word for the end of an individuated form which had at one time been born into the actual out of the possible. This concrescence dies when the sovereign singularity of its particular organization ceases to be. Whether a concrescence will return to the entropy of nondifferentiated chaos or recognizably mutate into another organized concrescence through its momentary journey into chaos and thus transmit or communicate transversally something from one form to another depends on a number of factors. The virtual totality outside of time-space configurations is chaos. But neither life nor death exist as essences – and neither do order or chaos. They are rather two poles of a movement of chaosmosis which evokes the being and becoming of all forms living, dying, mutating, and recurring in the actually becoming yet virtually existing.
Subjective and objective are similarly two poles which can be approached asymptotically yet never attained. To experience death as the end of a concrescence and possible mutation is to experience it objectively. But our subjectivity responds differently. Immediately, faced with death, we believe in it. We fear it. We fall prey to the anguish of loss that is the flip side of our joy in this sovereign existence – this life story which is ours. We could through consciousness learn to detach ourselves from this belief which leads to our ecstasy and our anguish. We could recognize that – yes – all desire is illusion. We could – were we capable – cease to glorify our story – cease to identify with the concrescence which we are and view it objectively as a thing which happens. In a sense this consciousness leads toward the destruction of the physical body. As it decontextualizes the momentary traps and territorializations of life forms, it brings about deconstruction, transformation, and change. But infinite questioning is formlessness and the absence of belief itself which – were it possible to attain absolutely – would be nothingness – nirvana. Evidently being also is becoming – the unfolding of limited forms and beliefs unaware – unconscious – of the homogeneous indivisible totality which is nothing and out of which they arise.
The search for knowledge – for absolute consciousness – leads to an impasse. Most often it is only false consciousness which remains propped up by unconscious – unquestioned – beliefs. The true discovery of groundless consciousness can lead to mystical states of ecstasy or to madness depending on the circumstances. Those who do not pass over entropically into the chaos of death or madness bring back a map of the movement of life and death – a map of psyche and matter being and becoming – which forms a pragmatics – an art and science of life. Returning to chaos or mutating into another form may be one’s choice – one’s arbitrary assent – one’s act of faith. If the choice is to live the particular set of concrescences forming humanity and one’s own singular existence, then the art and science of life is a pragmatics of chaosmosis which is both conservative and radical. The deconstruction and reconstruction of new forms of subjectivity – especially those imposed from outside – takes place against the preservation and optimalization of singular subjectivities and organized concrescences which have developed a sovereign richness through time and tradition. Across these isolated sovereign concrescences – each of which invokes infinite possibilities – links of communion or communication can be established transversally – either through the objective pole of consciousness or through the subjective pole of empathy, seduction, and belief – desire, love, and faith.
Paradoxically the realm of cognition and consciousness and the realm of emotion and belief lead – in different ways – to similar transversal linkings – the ultimate of which would be non-differentiation. But the immanent interlinking and omni-communication resulting from belief or consciousness is always offset by the stubborn individuation of isolated concrescences – sovereign forms, beings, events, and processes which – self-organizing and autopoetic – refuse to give up their measure of singularity and dissolve into “the anonymous mass of the irrevocable.”
2. Ecosophy and Sovereignty – A General Economy
In the end, desire and thought do not exist. What exists is our way of organizing or experiencing chaos or the homogeneous indivisible totality. Desire and thought organize order through dividing and mapping – they are part of our subjectivity. Drive, perception, sensation, affect, emotion, cognition, consciousness, and meaning are bound up in complex relations which construct “reality.”
A variety of theories within philosophy, psychoanalysis, psychology, neuroscience, and ethnology add complementary elements to a complex map of the psyche. Transformative practices of a therapeutic, pedagogical, mystical, ecological, or physical nature serve to reorganize our subjectivity – our experience of the world within the complexity of these maps – which is always initially constructed for us through our phylogenetic and ontogenetic development as embodied beings in the world.
An ethics of jouissance advocates an action of sovereignty, autopoesis, and non-intervention. The experience of sovereignty frees one from the need to control others or to manipulate the organization of reality for the purposes of production itself. It recognizes the sovereignty of each entity, system, event, or concrescence to organize its experience of the world according to its own metabolic mutations and limitations. It also however recognizes the mutually-limiting interdependence of all systems and the impossibility in the end of absolute non-intervention. Sovereignty within multiplicity is something to be striven for, but obviously all entities and their subjectivities are interwoven at certain points. Sovereignty within complex ecology – or general economy – is an uncertain process in itself – a pragmatics maintaining awareness of the relations between order and chaos.
Transdisciplinary transformative practices surpass the role of specific indoctrinations in teaching, healing, and sacred experience by offering the very tools for reconstructing and reorganizing meaning and reality. The construction of subjectivities takes place among a multiplicity of possibilities drawn from other space-time configurations in history, mythology, and ethnography, while initiating the invention of new as-yet-inconceived forms. By gathering as many examples of subjectivity as possible, we can avoid the impasse of unity which denies difference. Concrescences emerge, live, and die, but their events can be recuperated in new combinations. Despite the hierarchy of stability, vulnerability, and functional optimization, each form is in itself incomparable – irreducible to any general equivalent. Respect for subjectivity can extract the sovereign essence from each event regardless of its objective limitations in the complex web of nested hierarchies.
The sovereignty of any subjective concrescence denies the larger systems within which it is embedded by seizing its jouissance at the expense of others, yet the broader complexity of structually coupled systems denies sovereignty through the continual movement of chaosmosis. Thus sovereign subjectivity limits ecosophic objectivity just as objective ecosophy limits subjective sovereignty in a circular refrain which mutates eternally while remaining constant in a process which – like imaginary topological forms – cannot be measured or grasped by classical models but nevertheless can be understood by the complex psyche.
Throughout human history individual and collective subjectivities have organized their experience in disparate ways. It is only recently that human science has come to recognize these experiences within their subjectivity rather than evaluating them as if they were objective. Through quantum physics, the most “objective” of sciences have come to recognize the subjective limitations of all objective measurement in which the absolute predictability and determinacy of classical science is only a probability which appears for our practical purposes to be a certainty.
The next step in the recognition of the subjective “state-dependent” knowledge of quantum physics, psychoanalysis, hypnosis, ethnography, ethology, spiritual science, and bioenergetic medicine is the reintegration of transdisciplinary subjective “state-specific” sciences including the science of subjectivity itself in which the complementary objective and subjective poles will become part of a self-reflexive and self-conscious lucidity (Tart 1975, Rossi 1993, Gerber 1996).
3. New Maps of the Psyche – Psychoanalysis and Science
The human psyche is a complex system which has barely begun to be modeled by the many maps of it which currently exist. Scientific knowledge usually has ignored the dynamic temporal nature of systems. Even the human sciences – in which the subjectivity of the observer is paramount in affecting the mapping of knowledge – have focussed primarily on devising static maps of human experience. While psychoanalysis has differed from this by orienting its research and theory on the empirical clinical observation and analysis gained from processes, the subjective differences of human experience are often confined to atemporal categories. The increased understanding of complexity and complementarity within the natural sciences should aid in modeling the dynamic nature of psyche and subjectivity in full recognition of the process-oriented nature of human events.
A time-space oriented “field” theory of the psyche can help us understand human experience more fully – including the many integrated levels of our subjectivity which can be tapped into as well as the symptoms they might give rise to if such psychic systems become paralyzed in a particular area. At the core of subjectivity is an experience of fusion and original unity which evokes and perhaps precedes the biological event of being in the womb, and which can be evoked in religious and group-trance experiences of an “oceanic” type. Becoming “hung up” at this level can result in extremely isolated autism or in various types of narcissism.
Evolving out of this phase and building on it, human subjectivity develops its primary individuation from fusion through splitting, projection, introjection, and other pre-signifying object relations. With any human being, this level of subjectivity continues to operate and form the basis for cathexes with friends, partners, and loved ones as well as for judgments and values. What is termed a paranoid-schizoid phase or position by Klein only demonstrates the degree to which these immediate relations and connections – without the benefit of stable structures of distance and mediation which come from rituals, rules, language, and the symbolic – are experienced with feelings of fear and danger. Paranoia is often described as heightened awareness and indeed the consciousness of multiple connections which plunge one into oceanic unity accompanies reports of both schizophrenic and religious experience. Even at the physical level, those who take large amounts of stimulants to heighten awareness often suffer from “chemically-induced schizophrenia” (Snyder 1996). Psychological or physical traumas can induce a schizophrenic breakdown in those who were seemingly stable before, and subjectivity can become stuck at this level irreversibly.
The depressive position which resolves the primitive schizoid splitting of human subjectivity depends on integrating contradiction and embracing ambivalence. This may be the highest achievement of the human psyche, and it may be that few are able to resolve this ambivalence before entering into the symbolic realm of weaning. Lacking certain rites of passage to adulthood found in communities of the past, the individual of modernity has relied on identification and competition within the family to develop a “normal” or “neurotic” relation to others. But the breakdown of the nuclear family and other social institutions and the increase of communication through the growth of technology and the media has left the symbolic realm as an increasingly uncertain and chaotic experience which is currently in the process of fundamentally altering human subjectivity and its symptoms.
Freud’s “neuroses” were somewhat stable character types, but the symptomatology of today reveals an increase in borderline states of derealization, depression, and delusion. Traditional therapeutic methods are increasingly abandoned as ineffectual in comparison to pharmacology. Yet the current state of the individual and collective psyche may be able to reveal the truly complex nature of human subjectivity poised vulnerably between order and chaos. If we free ourselves from outdated approaches to the psyche, we may be able to grasp the complexity of subjectivity and to develop new methods of teaching and healing which in a generative and preventive mode will decrease the need for ineffectual and time-consuming methods of treating symptoms which are only the outward manifestation of a deeper imbalance.
4. Thinking and Feeling – Abstract Expressionism
The link between emotional and cognitive processes has not been adequately mapped out. Questions of desire, love, and affect are dealt with by psychoanalysts, but they usually steer clear of cognitive concerns. Those who study thought, cognition, and consciousness usually ignore the affective element of such functioning. The separations between emotional and cognitive realms is taken for granted, yet human subjectivity is a complex system in which no fine line can be drawn.
We could consider human subjectivity to be a form of abstract expressionism. All art and language is a re-presentation – an abstraction from immediate action or instinct. But abstraction can reach a level in which the element of desire or affect is no longer embodied. That does not mean that it is not there, and it is this emotional plague or unrecognized unconscious desire which accounts for much confusion in human relationships. Many psychotherapeutic approaches aim to bring to consciousness the unconscious affective or emotional forces which operate in determining human experience. They seek to integrate emotional and cognitive experience – desire and thought – in the way that abstract expressionist art seeks to integrate the immediate drive to act and to create with the abstract conceptual forms which will express, embody, and contain these drives.
Contemporary neuroscientists describe the relationship between emotion and cognition as the juxtaposition and linking of our of perceptual mapping of the world with the somatic states that accompany it. The satisfaction of need and drive which requires cognitive mapping, discrimination, and memory brings about somatic sensorial attraction and repulsion through pleasure and pain which are stored, linked, and recalled through further cognitive reorganization. This is the foundation of conditioned learning. Higher-level learning and consciousness – self-consciousness – in human beings is the result of the robust complexity of its ability to map and reorganize perception/action in the world.
Rather than concentrating on the neurological foundations of emotional-cognitive experience, psychoanalysts have focused on the affective and un-conscious aspects of our subjectivity which elude a purely objective rational approach to understanding the psyche. The ontogenetic development of the individual is interlinked with his social development in the world of meaning and signification. The subject moves through a journey in which he comes to translate or abstract his immediate experience through symbolization. Along this journey any number of aberrations can occur as a result of either differences inphysical bodily processing or differences in the social construction of one’s subjective experience of the world. Physical development is somewhat predetermined by genetic codes, but even this can be altered by physical and environmental conditions of ontogeny. And even given the optimum biological development, the differences in the social construction of the psyche are profound – especially across different cultures.
The primitive secondary proto-semiotic object relations of “mirroring” or “mimetic desire” create an intensely “expressionistic” form of subjectivity which in the contemporary society of rationally mediated behaviour is seen to be aberrant and may or may not cause suffering for the subject depending more on his social relations – the way he is perceived and received by others – than on any internal state. On the other hand, what is accepted as normal behavior in contemporary society through the development of “abstract” tertiary symbol-formation may mask a deeply dissatisfied psyche despite its ability to provide optimum functional survival, success, and even pleasure. An introduction into the symbolic world of others may offer only a false sense of community with no emotional intensity. The evocation of core levels of intensity found in the oceanic-autistic fusion state of amorous and religious rituals are as necessary as the abstract embodiments which we inhabit to function pragmatically. While most civilizations have provided rituals for the integration of emotional-cognitive experience, our society has become so dominated by rationality and abstraction that the emotional core only erupts in the form of murder, abuse, and oppression. Without understanding the larger picture of individual and collective subjectivities integrated within complex systems, clinical and cultural practice cannot hope to transform these processes.
5. The Social Psyche – Subject, Object, and Other
The distinction between subject and object in Lacanian psychoanalysis parallels the distinction between subject and substance in Hegelian philosophy as well as evoking the quantum self-reflexive approach to scientific measurement. The subject is a part of the substance, but in the process of substance removing itself from itself in order to become conscious of itself, it changes itself. The scientist who measures the world is a part of that world. To map the substance through science, language, or any form of “knowing” is to re-present it. Thinking or mapping homogeneous indivisible totality – or substance – carves it up and organizes it in a way which alters it. The act of thinking, knowing, and mapping is a perception/creation.
Both the Hegelian and the Lacanian notions of the subject are profoundly social in that they demonstrate the inseparability of subject, object, and other. Alfred Korzybski’s (1921, 1933) rules of distinction between map and territory apply equally well to the Hegelian-Lacanian notion of the subject divided from the world and from himself. The map is not the territory indicates that the subject is not the substance. Substance is symbolized or expressed by the subject – which is why the subject is always determined by the Other. The map is (some but) not all of the territory expresses the fact that even though every map maps some of the territory, the map can never represent all of the territory. Every subject is a part of the substance, but there will always be some substance left over. This leftover is what drives the subject. Subjectivity is radically social. Even if the subject can free himself from having his subjectivity constructed by the Other of truth, morality, or abstraction – he will never free himself from being determined by the other of desire. Finally, the map is self-reflexive indicates that the mapmaker is included in the map he is making, and thus there will always be a vanishing point or blind spot which cannot be mapped. Similarly the subject will always contain a blind-spot or “unconscious” which cannot be seen by himself – only by another.
Lacan maps out the social construction of the subject by describing how the symbolic social world comes to construct the way in which the subject will experience the world from the beginning. But Lacan goes even further by considering the recognition of this self-reflexive blind spot to be the true nature of the subject. For even when we have freed ourselves from the fundamental construction of our subjectivity by the Other, there remains the fact that our subjectivity is essentially divided, unfullfilled, and unconscious by virtue of the self-reflexive blind spot which only the other can see for us. We need one another. This is the radically social and and radically psychoanalytic nature of human experience.
Psychoanalysis does not concern itself with cure. To analyze is to untie the knots of an autopoetic organism – to listen to that which determines subjectivity. For the analyst, the symptom – and the demand for a cure – contains a message which the desire to cure would eradicate. Freud built the psychoanalytic approach around the fact that the treatment of the symptom would simply convert it into another symptom – the core process would remain out of balance and unconscious. The process of analysis – like various pedagogical and mystical practices – is a journey of transformation toward consciousness of unconscious processes. It gives the subject the pragmatic tools to organize his own psyche and to enjoy his symptoms. The transformative practice of analysis is an art and science of life in which the construction and expression of subjectivities serve as an ongoing ecology of mind which is in itself a generative and preventive therapy. Pathology is no longer judged as lack with respect to a norm – rather difference is celebrated. Desire no longer revolves around lack but becomes desiring production – the active creation of ways of experiencing life – of subjectivities. This is not to say that the request to relieve suffering is ignored. On the contrary, to simply treat a symptom from a predetermined diagnostic category would be to ignore the call from the other which is the subject. Instead this call initiates a pragmatic process of transformation within a general economy of subjectivity composed of biological, social, symbolic, and noetic matrices.
Drawing on the techniques of a variety of analytic practices, we can develop a complex ecosophical approach to analysis in which the questions of desire, jouissance, and sovereignty are confronted by the structural coupling of autopoetic systems. Within a transformative practice of analysis, the reconstruction of subjectivity finally leads to the conciousness of this construction by the Other which has been determining subjectivity all along. A full transformative practice consists of several integrated components:
1. The engagement of desire, cathexis, and communication in the transference
2. The dialectical, dialogical, and narrative process of consciousness.
3. The containing-holding environment of transference and community.
4. The interventions of deconstruction, reframing, and transcontextualization.
All therapeutic and pedagogical practices actively engage in some form of containing and/or intervention, but few consciously integrate elements of both. However, while all such practices serve to transform the psyche in some way, only a full process of consciousness unfolding over time can endow the subject with the ability to practice his own analysis. The elucidation of psychoanalysis as such a total transformative practice in line with ancient techniques of consciousness and the sacred was the essence of Lacan’s project. Bion, Winnicott, and Laing introduced and elucidated the full nature of the holding environment through the care of the practitioner within the collective psychotherapeutic community as an alternative to unwanted treatment. Finally, the recent approach of cybernetic and systems therapists has added a series of interventions and techniques which move beyond traditionally stagnant models of therapy and confront the unconscious assumptions implicit in all transformative practices and within therapists themselves.
The process of transformative pragmatics sets up a multi-dimensional field or grid by which the intersubjective event of intimate dialogical therapy takes place within a complex web of past, present, and future. In this dynamic process, the analyst is a guide within a field of multiple subjectivities balanced tenuously between order and chaos. Interventions are employed to break down stagnant routines and rigidities and to return them to the state of fluid processes, while holding environments act as a sanctuary or shelter within which to engage with such chaos and reorganize new subjectivities.
We never escape from our symptoms – we only transform them and/or embrace them. At the core of our existence is the arbitrary assent upon which all actions, justifications, and symptoms are based: “style is the man.” The ethical and symbolic elements of our life are based on the the aesthetic element of jouissance. The only true ethic is to act in accordance with this sovereign jouissance in full recognition of its implications with and for others. The recognition of consciousness which allows the embracing and enacting of desire requires the passage through a void of chaos in which all truths, morals, and forms which serve to embody drives and maintain order and stability are dissolved. In Rudolph Steiner’s (1911) language, only a passage through the Luciferian realm of ecstasy will lead one out of the neurotic control and repression of the Ahrimanian and into the harmonics of Christ-consciousness through metanoia. In order to pass from breakdown to breakthrough and to transform schizophrenic disintegration into the reorganization of multiple subjectivities of limited finitude, the subject must forgo the neurotic symptoms which provide relative stability and must seize the courage to confront the schizoid core of primal splitting as well as the depressive horizon of the real in which the ambivalence of life and death marks the limits of human experience.
6. Wild Analysis – The Clinic of Everyday Life
Freud’s new practice of psychoanalysis was invented outside of institutional dogma and fueled by a coterie of devoted explorers whom he initiated informally – sometimes in a matter of a few visits. The dogmatic institutionalization of psychoanalysis has betrayed the open exploration of a truly human science as well as the pragmatics of singular clinical events. Innovations which are at first radically rejected eventually become the very rigid norms which rejected such difference in the first place. Lacan’s attempt at experimentation within analysis was met with his excommunication. Through the formation of his own school, he extended analysis beyond the scope of a closed circle. He engaged poets, artists, philosophers, and scientists and extended the boundaries of analysis and its transmission into the culture at large.
Meanwhile the post-war decades saw the initiation of increasing numbers of experimental therapeutic communities both inside and outside official institutional frameworks. “Antipsychiatric” approaches spread through Europe and America, and teaching and healing practices from other civilizations were integrated with modern techniques. While these movements have primarily been abandoned in favor of increasingly rational and efficient methods of symptom treatment – most often through chemicals – there exist more possibilities than ever before for the integration of biological, social, and spiritual elements of mind and body in the understanding, healing, and sacred transformation of the psyche.
“Wild analysis” originally referred to the practice of analysis outside of conventional boundaries – whether it was a case of unwanted application or of open speculation. But to engage in analysis outside of the consulting room is to take the fruits of its lessons and integrate them into the ecology of everyday life. Guattari’s analytic practices in the experimental La Borde clinic included creative, dramatic, political, and material processes and an analytic approach to multiple fields of subjectivity which exist and insist themselves at every moment. His own political and ecological activism extended the analytic enterprise into the cultural, social, and functional subjectivities which are as much a part of the psyche as individual forms.
Grasping the nature of the psyche in emotional-cognitive processing, object relations, projection, introjection, jouissance, splitting, symmetrizing, translating, containing, and other elements of chaosmic dynamism can lead one to approach life in new ways. The rituals and relations of everyday life surround our every move. What is the purpose of transformative practices if not to reinvigorate the lived situation and to reinvent new subjective experiences of the sacred by any means possible? Human life is not a process solely determined by survival. Life is made up of desire and meaning and the shared experience of its communication. The collective communion of a life of meaning within consciousness depends on the transformation of the psyche from within the deepest levels of the individual, just as the possibility of individual and momentary sovereignty depends on the transformation of collective, social, and institutional embodiments of subjectivity.
Baudrillard’s challenge to subjectivity is that psychoanalysis itself has already passed into the cultural psyche. We have already passed the time when the psychoanalytic event with its foundations in the separation between real, imaginary, and symbolic can affect us. There is no real, for the apparent world of the imaginary-symbolic – of virtual reality – has taken over. Baudrillard calls this a return to the primitive form of the sacred – seduction without the delusion of truth. But a part of the seductive nature of any form is its truth – the truth of faith and belief that the one who is seduced experiences.
The return to primitive forms of seduction is not a regression, but Bataille’s “animal night” – the point at which absolute rational thought becomes what it always sought – the return to immanence of the animal in the world like water in water – yet with lucid self-consciousness intact. The practice of “apathy” in Sade is the absolute “objectivity” of the one who places himself at the level of the movement of matter and energy – organic and inorganic – organizing, individuating, transforming, adapting, evolving, dissolving. By this method, the Spinozist sage captures empathic understanding of the complex ecologies of the universe – a practice which is ultimately futile unless the limits of this objectivity in the subjectivity of singular concrescence are recognized. Sade seeks to free the energy of drive itself – before or beyond desire – as it plays through him, but this too is a futile goal in that the real is always organized into matter and its expression through forms which include the imaginary realm of the human psyche. But as Bataille and Blanchot have pointed out, it is only Sade’s plunge into pure jouissance which shows us the impasse of unconscious blockage and leads the way to the objective consciousness of the movement of matter, energy, and form throughout the universe.
This chaosmosis which describes the interplay of the real and the apparent is ineradicable. The real has not disappeared, but we have reached a state in which human subjectivity is split between the real and the virtual in a dual fashion – and where the virtual dominates. The imaginary may be perceived as the realm of the sacred in which the inner experience of affect and concept deepens the subjectivity of humanity in relation to the real. The virtual is not the triumph of the imaginary, but the denial of both imaginary and real in favor of a “spectacle” of hypnotic forms which only obliterates self-reflection and puts us to sleep rather than increasing subjective-objective consciousness of each event-concrescence within a complex ecology.
The symbolic faith or social contract which maintains order among the primal embodiments of sovereign subjectivities reaches an impasse before it is plunged into chaos. We seek a final realm beyond indexical, iconic, and symbolic which maintains lucid consciousness and yet approaches the chaosmic flow of the psyche. This would be the realm of the trace. Beyond index, icon, and symbol, lies the trace – the form which contains its own dissolution. The poetics of the trace constructs a semiotics which immolates itself leaving the ashes of memory free to be reconstructed again and again in the refrain. Free from the prison of exact repetition, we create and recreate within a tradition. Each manifestation will be different – and yet the same. This is Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence in which faith and the will to live are not undercut by the lies of truth but enacted through the truth of lies. Our energy to live is enacted in the faith of each moment free to be and to become in an endless process where the perception/creation/manifestation of each moment of individual and collective subjectivity is sovereign.
Mysticism – inner experience – the sacred – was for Bataille the end of life which the means served to make possible. For Bataille and Lacan the jouissance which already determines our beliefs, words, and actions was but an impoverished mysticism unless it could become consciously and fully embraced. We can – with Bataille – claim that each subjectivity is capable of experiencing the state of the mystic when jouissance reigns free of the calculating mind which fears death and denies immanence. There is in fact no other end than the dissolution of thought in the sovereignty of the lived moment. A restricted economy of survival, rationality, and efficiency eradicates such sovereign experience. A general economy recognizes the interplay between productive survival and the expenditure of excess. If this general economy is not acknowledged it will operate anyway leaving physical, social, and psychic symptoms which are misconstrued and treated as if they had come from outside. Without returning to the myths and rituals of the past, we can seek a communication of sovereignty within a consciousness of general economy – a communion and a community bound by mutual recognition and shared sovereignty – an inner experience in which what is sacrificed is the very calculating conscious mind which submits subjectivity to strategy and production. The experience of the chaosmic psyche which is lived to the fullest in the mystic and which awaits each one who seizes the moment of sovereign subjectivity is that of living desire at the limits of thought.