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Tag Archives: Pleasure

What Larval Subjects Loves to Hate

An Economy of Hatred

Larval Subjects, in his usual unconscious fashion, presents a very interesting twin of “hatreds”, a twining that perhaps reveals something about the economy of hatred itself…

[A post titled “Two Things I Hate”]

First, users who reduce others to vehicles of their own jouissance or enjoyment. I don’t care whether it is the sadistic serial killer that reduces the other person to their flesh (Dexter excepted), evacuating their own subjectivity, turning them into a vehicle for their own jouissance, or the child predator, the politician who cynically manipulates his flock evoking religion or nationalism, or Bernie Madoff, or the player. They’re all equivalent as far as I’m concerned. There is something horrifying in this evacuation of subjectivity.

Second, the creatures of ressentiment  who seem to delight in tearing others down, in finding ways to torture them, who have orgies of hate together when they get ignored seeing themselves as victims rather than being the assholes that they are. Racists, jilted white men, insecure nationalists, misogynists and homophobes, trolls, Christianists and religious zealots of all sorts that are convinced they’re victims, gossips, etc., etc., etc. All of them stink with the stench of ressentiment, filled with a hatred of all that is affirmative and great, doing all they can to tear these things down. In all these cases they seem obsessed with tearing down others in the spirit of revenge for their own unrealized and unactualized desires, functioning as police to those that would do what they dream of doing but are too fearful to pursue.

The Whiff of Sulfur

What is interesting, or what strikes me as significant is how the performance of the second hatred, the way in which Larval Subjects delights in essentializing others who veritably “stink” carries out the program of the first. That is, by seeing a near animal class of “ressentiment” kinds, Larval Subjects makes these types “vehicles of [his] own enjoyment”. While he does not manipulate these types as his “flock”, the investment is in making all these kinds odiferous to the palate of his nose. This is what hate does, it designs pockets of an imagined-to-be  deposited enjoyment in the body of others. What Larval Subjects hates (in the second class) are the hidden enjoyments ressentiment-kinds are able to vampirically draw out of “what is affirmative and great”. When we hate the homophobe, we are hating that they enjoy their own hatred of other kinds. When we hate the nationalist, we are hating the enjoyment they have in their nationalism. When we hate victim-types, we hate the enjoyment victims have in being a victim. But ever when we hate what we are hating is not only how, in what form, but even more so, the inappropriate intensity of the enjoyment of others. It is that transgressive intensity that produces the “stench” that Larval Subjects abhors, expressed by the body itself. In short, when we hate we hate that the others enjoy.

And in so doing, in the very framing of our hatred, we insure that we are able to secret enjoy ourselves through the vehicle of these “others”.

What is interesting about this “I hate the enjoyment of others” is that one often works unconsciously to make sure that our hatred deposits are ever perpetuated. There MUST be ressentiment others in order for us to continue our secret (from ourselves) extraction of enjoyment. Not only do we invest in imagining them, seeing their kind (or as it were smelling their kind, everywhere), most inordinately, we work unconsciously through real actions to, in feedback fashion, construct these kinds to insure our opposition to them. When we hate what we are opposed to we work to make sure that our hatred can be maintained.

Now is there room for hatred of a kind? The most religious and philosophically minded of us might say no, that hatred is a passive and unconscious relation. And with this I am inclined to agree. Yet through the powers of hatred much can be organized and put into action. What is important perhaps is realizing the economies that are employed in hatred, and the investments we have in what we hate (how we perpetuate both the fantasy image and the real situation). Futher, perhaps, there are ways to tap down into the thymotic forces upon which hatred draws so that what customarily has been classified as hatred can be seen in another, more retributive light. The way in which our thymotic sense can act forcefully without the reactive and unconscious jealousies of the pleasures of others.

Addendum [Larval Subjects responds]:

Larval Subjects has reposted his once deleted post, and I can say to this little bit about “class”:

It is very “classy” for Kvond to copy a post I deleted a half an hour before he wrote it and post it on his blog, but such is the nature of the internet.

Of course I have no control over when or where authors decide to delete their material once sent out to the public in an attempt to resculpt their message. Heavens, Harman chose to delete an entire blog”s worth of material in order to reconstruct his e-past. But I will say that I had copied Larval Subject’s post and began commenting upon it before Larval Subjects decided to delete it (obviously), and that by the time I had posted my thoughts on his hatreds for the Madoffs and internet trolls of the world, I then, subsequently, found that he had deleted it. Was it my responsibility or “class” (interesting choice of word) to then delete my commentary on the gentlemanly threshold of Larval Subject’s sensitivities? I felt that the post had revelatory value beyond even Larval Subject’s person, and retained it.

More than once Larval Subjects has seen fit to try to control the message by deleting material that I have written, and more than once I have had to repost on my own blog space comments that he has censored (and he has subsquently appologized for at least some of his deletions). He has this right of deletion, but of course I have my own right of expression. That he now invokes “class” as the order of his attempt to restrain my expressed thinking about his hatreds, is perhaps significant. As for the “energy” I have expended in writing about Larval Subjects (these Object-oriented types are very concerned about “energy”, both in terms of expenditure and suckage), it seems only fitting to the community of blogged philosophy that when some persons ally themselves upon an ethic of the essentialization of others (trolls, vampires, minotaurs), and then raise that ethical opposition to the level of “hatred” as Larval Subjects clearly does, some “energy” really does seem in order to be expended. While I do not “hate” high-minded hypocrites (not even close), I do sometimes enjoy unmasking them (knowing, in fact enjoying, full well that when I am hypocritical the favor should be returned). 

At least now, as Larval Subjects has been somewhat forced into reposting his hatreds, and owning up to them a bit, others can decide the appropriateness of Larval Subject’s “warrior class” contempt for the weak, no doubt not even a psychoanalytic source for his hatred of trolls and others, as he apparently sees himself as something of a contemptuous positive “warrior”…

“[a] warrior that has contempt for the weak because of an affirmation of his own qualities of strength, prowess in battle”

As for Larval Subject’s mystification why…

“At any rate, I am thoroughly baffled as to why Kvond would want to defend all those sad soles that gnash their teeth at others, striving to make the lives of these others miserable, drawing self-worth only from the way in which they make these others cower through brute force, politics, or rhetoric”

Where Larval Subjects sees the “gnashing of teeth” of so many condemned, weak souls, attempting to draw down his greatness, I see only interested parties, each with their own “projects”, some of which we will mix with well, some less so. I do not see, or try not to see essentialized types, and I do not when I can, engage in hatred.

Addendum Deux [Larval Comments on Comments]:

Larval continues his defense of his hatreds of others, something he feels well-justified in. But what I find of interest in his update is how the master prevaricator tries to sidestep his embrace of his contempt for others (what he also calls his hatred). This is how it is with Larval, whether one is talking about Kant or Bateson, or talking about his own words, he continually tries to perform slight of three-card-monty hand. Here he claims that in the above I have simply quoted him out of context:

I do not endorse the warrior as a model, but cite Nietzsche’s example of the warrior from the first essay of the Genealogy. Someone else, Alexei, had argued that Nietzsche does not give an account of negation coming from a place of affirmation, and I cited this as evidence to the contrary. Nietzsche complicates this significantly in his genealogy, but nonetheless holds that negations can be based on affirmation.

What he neglects to mention was that the reason that Nietzsche came up on the first place was that Alexei, rather perceptively, reinforced my point that Larval Subjects was acting as a passive resenter when building his list of hated persons, and it was to Nietzsche that Alexei turned. When Larvus then jumped in to claim that indeed Nietzsche embraced a kind of hatred as affirmative, that of a warrior who has contempt for those that tug at his cape, it was rather explicitly clear that Larvus was taking refuge in this image against the criticism that he was merely passive and reactive and (jealous) in his hatreds. In affirming the activity of Nietzschean contempt, he was effectively renaming his own hatred.

So we are left with one of two consequences.

1. Larval Subjects indeeds sees himself as a Nietzschean warrior who can affirmatively hold contempt for those below him (and he was not simply playing the good professor, as he loves to do, and making a textual point, a textual point that matters very little since Alexei was talking about Larval Subject’s “hatred” and not “contempt”).

2. Or, Larval Subjects has returned to the original position, and simply hates some folks because he thinks hatred is justified (in such a case Alexei’s Nietzsche’s point is re-engaged: only the resenting slave can hate).

Larval Subjects again repeats his mystification at why I resist his (delicious) hatred…

What Kvond neglects to mention is that the pathetic souls I am referring to are rabid nationalists, homophobes, misogynists, racists, etc… Namely all of those who seem to take delight in causing misery to and in hurting others. I fail to see why these should be hatreds one is ashamed of owning up to. I continue to find it baffling as to why Kvond or the person who wrote me offline would want to defend such people. Is this really where we’ve arrived with the project of critique?

Again we find the ever slippery Larvus attempting to prevaricate. In his list of those evil types are “rabid” human beings (of course), but also he LEAVES OUT internet “trolls” which he had included in the original list of those he has hatred for. In fact, the presence of trolls in the list was the very reason why Levi claimed that he took the post down in the first place (when he could have just as easily deleted the word “trolls”). One should know that Levi had been for some time talking about internet trolls, and Grey Vampires and Minotaurs, joining Graham Harman in seeing them as a kind of diseased sort:

I took the post down because of the reference to trolls and because I did not care to have a repeat of arguments over trolls and what constitutes trollishness.

This is the original list of people Levi hates:

Racists, jilted white men, insecure nationalists, misogynists and homophobes, trolls, Christianists and religious zealots of all sorts that are convinced they’re victims, gossips, etc., etc., etc.

This is the new, cleaned up list:

rabid nationalists, homophobes, misogynists, racists, etc…

This is classic Levi, ever shifting where he stands, sometimes it seems because he can’t keep track of it himself.

That being said, even in qualifying this new, abridged list of hated persons, even the “rabid” types…No, I do not hate these persons, nor do I advocate other people hating them for very much the same reasons that I originally posted. Hatred is something to be avoided, if possible.

The Limb-loosener of Rilke: The Torso of Dis/Integration


In my last post on the limb-loosening powers of Eros discussion flowed in two directions, over at Complete Lies, and then a bit in my comments section. The principle question is whether jouissance as an unbearable pleasure, something that would turn to pain if sustained, is the model for what the drive is. My sense is that just qualified “pleasure” is a sign of intensity beyond the limits of the system, so to speak, but that these are or can be modulated. What came to mind was Rilke’s terrific (literally) poem of Apollo’s torso that is fittingly limbless (and paralyzed). It calls to mind the Thymos (and its correspondent deinos) that burning core physiological ember that Greeks felt in their breast, and Sloterdijk’s Thymotics [written about here]. What happens beneath limbs that have been loosened:

Archaic Torso of Apollo

 We cannot know his legendary head

with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso

is still suffused with brilliance from inside,

like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,


gleams in all its power. Otherwise

the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could

a smile run through the placid hips and thighs

to that dark center where procreation flared.


Otherwise this stone would seem defaced

beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders

and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:


would not, from all the borders of itself,

burst like a star: for here there is no place

that does not see you. You must change your life.

The poem is nearly unspeakable. Commentary, like hanging cloth on marble. Yet I came across this odd animation of Rilke himself reading the poem, culled from the past of voice and photograph, uncannily brought to life with over-modern software now at the hands of memory. Talk about ghosting the poem, itself a kind of singing torso:

Wir kannten nicht sein unerhörtes Haupt,

darin die Augenäpfel reiften. Aber

sein Torso glüht noch wie ein Kandelaber,

in dem sein Schauen, nur zurückgeschraubt,


sich hält und glänzt. Sonst könnte nicht der Bug

der Brust dich blenden, und im leisen Drehen

der Lenden könnte nicht ein Lächeln gehen

zu jener Mitte, die die Zeugung trug.


Sonst stünde dieser Stein enstellt und kurz

unter der Shultern durchsichtigem Sturz

und flimmerte nicht so wie Raubtierfelle;


und brächte nicht aus allen seinen Rändern

aus wie ein Stern: denn da ist keine Stelle,

die dich nicht sieht. Du mußt dein Leben ändern.


Some alternate translations offered here.

And another animation of Rilke’s “Der Panther” by the same fellow here.

Foucault’s Tortured Text, and the Ars Erotica

I recall that despite Chomsky and Foucault’s famous disagreements, Chomsky admitted that Foucault did have some very signfiicant ideas, but he was at a loss to explain why he expressed them as he did. There is something in this. There is form which characterizes Continental expression, which perhaps even more than its conclusions, rankles those who long for clarity. Foucault, in a way, at the level of form, expresses the very aspect of the Real that he argues for, and it is this more than anything else, I would suggest, that qualifies his rejection, by some.

Foucault’s Ars Erotica in the Field of Knowledge

In reading Foucault as a sociologist, one has to come to grips with his other projects, some of which can be summarized as “philosophical,” and even more broadly as “writerly”. The aims here is to briefly contextualize Foucault’s critique of Western epistemologies of sex within a larger world project, that of turning knowledge itself into pleasure, and beyond that, pleasure into pleasure-for-its-own-sake. It is through Foucault’s contrastive analysis, the comparison between Western scientia sexualis and a largely Eastern ars erotica, that Foucault seeks to subsume Western attempts to identify, categorize and discipline sexuality, within a more complete and totalizing view of Power as pleasure. It is in this philosophical move, brought about through textual imbrications (opaque vocabularies, serpentine sentence and thought structures taking up specific historical reference points), that Foucault presents in form, the very thing that he reveals in content.

To recapitulate, Foucault operates from an understanding of how pleasure has been handled differently in past societies. One of these ways he presents with contrastive force is the erotic arts, ars erotica. In this approach to pleasure, truth is supposedly made subservient to pleasure; in the ars erotica it is through techniques that bring pleasure, that truth-as-pleasure appears:

In the erotic art, truth is drawn from pleasure itself, understood as a practice, and accumulated as experience; pleasure is not considered a relation to the permitted and the forbidden, nor by reference to a utility, but first and foremost in relation to itself (57)

As manipulations, positions taken and stagings are performed, as excitation is heightened by initiates, the ars erotica of the East and of the lost past, achieves a self-evident and self-redeeming “truth”.

Following this model as hidden template, there is for Foucault–with his acute nose for pleasures taken–in the historical movement from the traditional hierarchies of the Catholic Church and the confessional offices of the priest, to the investigative, enlightened, positivistic pursuits of the Western scientist, a move marked by the indelible pathways of pleasure production. Enlightenment processes, far from holding pleasure down, were simply making new forms of pleasure (ways of discussing and particularizing what did not historically exist before). Thus what Foucault recognizes is that in the 19th and 20th centuries as scientists took over for priests as confessional recipients of “truth”, they invented ways of pleasuring, multiplying them in discourse. Instead of finding out ‘sins’, observers were identifying perversions, repressions, symptoms, clinical hysterias, etc.; and in their tracking down the elusive excesses of sexuality, and seeking to express the “truth” that is hidden and resistant in pleasure itself, this very process was developing is own pleasure in Power. It was quietly an ars erotica:

And we must ask whether, since the 19th century, the scientia sexualis-under the guise of its decent positivism-has not functioned, at least to a certain extent, as an ars erotica. Perhaps this production of truth…multiplied, intensified and even created its own intrinsic pleasure…We have at least invented a different kind of pleasure: pleasure in the truth of pleasure (70, 71)


in short, the formidable “pleasure of analysis”…constitutes something like the errant fragments of an erotic art that is secretly transmitted by confession and the science of sex. Must we conclude that our scientia sexualis is but an extraordinarily subtle form of ars erotica, and that it is the Western, sublimated version of that seemingly lost tradition (71)

Putting aside the critical possibility that Foucault has romanticized this “lost tradition,” and simply projected it upon the history of the scientific West, (for that would point to the “truth” of his descriptions, and not their internal coherence), what is the consequence of turning truth in pleasure to pleasure in truth? 

The overarching result is that despite, or possibly because of, the increasing individuality of Western society, (emphasis on the self as an agent of choice, increasingly detached from traditions), the pleasure of Power, the subtle ars erotica of the investigative scientia sexualis can be seen by Foucault to be manifested upon the social body itself, a centerless circulation of effects, staged through manipulations and techniques of examination and inscription:

[an imagined interlocutor suggests of Foucault]…at bottom, when you point out phenomena of diffusion, anchorage, and fixation of sexuality, you are trying to reveal what might be called the organization of ‘erotic zones’ in the social body (151)

to this Foucault adds importantly that such zones are literally organized on “bodies, organs, somatic locations, functions, anotomo-physiological systems, [in] sensations and pleasures” (152); this is as if to compose a material super-body (the linking of bodies to bodies through knowledges), that is both socially constructed and physical. The ars erotica of the past which worked to give illuminative pleasure to a person, or a couple, the kama sutras of individual sexual excitements, become for Foucault the imagined Tantric excitations of an entire social body, wherein pursuits of truth becomes practices that produce “erotic zones” on that social body, such that the pleasure and power is held by no one. The transcendent effects of sexual disciplines, become the transcendent effects of the discipline of sexualities.

This leaves the final question of Foucault’s style, and the possibility that he is enacting the very circulation of pleasure effects he claims to uncover in both the “lost” ars erotica and Enlightenment scientia sexualis. As Foucault pauses over historic manifestations of power (symptoms), orbiting them with a slightly opaque discourse of combinative mental effects, is he not presenting the very indiscernible pleasure that knowing, locating and excitation entails? What Foucault reveals is an eroticized view of the world, but also of text, (one might say epistemology and texuality as sexuality), wherein in our attempts to master either the discourse or the phenomena, we implicate ourselves in the pleasure of knowing.


Work Cited

Foucault, Michael. The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, An Introduction. Trans. Robert Hurley. Vintage Books Edition. New York: Random House, Inc., 1990.