Frames /sing

kvond

Theories of Lack and Capitalist Meaning Structures

Long title, short thought.

The reason why the theoretical affirmation of “lack” at the ontological level, even if it be the constitutive effects of an illusionary lack deemed to be necessary for language use or subjecthood, (something that can be said to have rigourously begun with Hegel), is  to be cautioned against, is that as these philosophies arise out of the reflection of the Capitalist values that pervade…the guiding purchase of THE completing object. The danger is to normalize these values of pur(chase) through the descriptive ontologies that assert lack as necessity. The attempted domestication of Capitalist-value lack through such descriptions works to entrench it as the only imaginable, part of the very grammar out of which we reason our freedoms. If I am stalwart on a Spinozist renunciation of lack, primarily in the pragmatic prescriptions for freedom, it is because only an ontological schematic which sees beyond this valuation of lack (rather than simply theorizing it into existence through an efficacy of reflection/expression), would open up the conceptual space for liberations outside of purchase, or the gritted embrace of a circulation existentialist jouissance amid desire (see how it burns).  Rather, it seems the pragmatic, constructive assemblages of affective bodies, ground-up articulations of bodies in assemblage, that seem most open to the kinds of imagined communities human beings may make possible, even at an asymptotic limit. Only by refusing the programmatic valuation of lack itself in the conceptual space we design is its surpass possible, in redescription…a redescription that only maintains its claim through performance.

This being said, I do NOT see Capitalism as an evil, or even a degredation (while acknowledging the cruelties specific to its forms), but rather the path open to community yet imagined through the increase in affects possible. Part of this possiblity is the critique of the fundamental value of (pur)chase as the engine of exchange. It is in reasoning out of one plentitude, to another plentitude that I believe such possibilities reside.

 

Advertisements

2 responses to “Theories of Lack and Capitalist Meaning Structures

  1. larvalsubjects December 11, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    I think this post brings to the fore a fundamental confusion between our respective positions and some claims you have– if I’ve read you correctly –attributed to me. You write:

    The reason why the theoretical affirmation of “lack” at the ontological level, even if it be the constitutive effects of an illusionary lack deemed to be necessary for language use or subjecthood, (something that can be said to have rigourously begun with Hegel), is to be cautioned against, is that as these philosophies arise out of the reflection of the Capitalist values that pervade…the guiding purchase of THE completing object. The danger is to normalize these values of pur(chase) though the descriptive ontologies that assert lack as necessity. The attempted domestication of Capitalist-value lack through such descriptions works to entrench it as the only imaginable, part of the very grammar out of which we reason our freedoms. If I am stalwart on a Spinozist renunciation of lack, primarily in the pragmatic prescriptions for freedom, it is because only an ontological schematic which sees beyond this valuation of lack (rather than simply theorizing it into existence through an efficacy of reflection), would open up the conceptual space for liberations outside of purchase, or the embrace of circulation existentialist jouissance amid desire. Rather, it seems the pragmatic, constructive assemblages of affective bodies, ground up articulations of bodies in assemblage, that seem most open to the kinds of imagined communities human beings may make possible, even at an asymptotic limit. Only by refusing the programmatic valuation of lack itself in the conceptual space we design is its surpass possible, in redescription…a redescription that only maintains its claim through performance.

    Lack is not a central category for me and is certainly not an ontological category for me, so there is nothing in this post with which I disagree. Despite my Lacanian influence, this is certainly not an aspect of his thought with which I work. For me the question is quite different. Rather than treating lack as ontologically constitutive, my question is instead how it is possible for people to come to think or conceive themselves in terms of lack or castration. This question is quite different than the one I think you consistently attribute to me.

    I find it useful to draw analogies in order to illustrate a line of thought, so perhaps you’ll permit me an analogy. As you will surely concede, for Spinoza there are only efficient causes and no final causes or purposes or goals in nature. On the one hand, this follows from God or substance’s affirmative nature insofar as God creates only according to the necessity of its being. On the other hand, were God to create to fulfill a goal or purpose, this would imply that God lacks in some way which would be contrary to the nature of substance. However, while all of this is true, humans, as Spinoza argues in the appendix to part 1 of the Ethics, are led to think nature in terms of final causes or goals due to their ignorance of true [efficient] causes. As Spinoza puts it, we reverse the order of cause and effects, such that we treat as effects what are causes. Thus, for example, we claim that humans have teeth (an effect) for the purpose of chewing (a cause). Spinoza, as you know, argues that this inverts the order of cause and effect relations. It is because humans have teeth (a cause) that we are able to chew (an effect). This “fallacy of inverted causation” would be analogous to what I refer to as a transcendental illusion.

    Now, my point here isn’t about Spinoza, but to draw your attention to an analogous phenomenon with respect to lack in how humans experience themselves. Being the Spinozo-Deleuzian that I am, I fully endorse the thesis that being is purely affirmative and without lack precisely as you describe it in this post. Yet nonetheless, humans somehow come to experience the world about them in terms of lack and castration. Two questions emerge here: First, how is this possible? What is it that leads us to think of ourselves in these terms? This is analogous to thinking of nature in terms of purposes or final causes, rather than efficient causes. Secondly, and more importantly, what strategies can be devised for overcoming this? Unlike one version of Lacan where the allegedly the aim of analysis is to accept lack and castration, under my model nothing could be further from the case. As you might put it, if I understand you correctly, the aim is to discern how there are possibilities of freedom everywhere and overcome the illusory and mistaken notion that we are lacking.

  2. kvond December 11, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I will let this comment lie (literally, no pun).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: