by Terence Blake
Latour attempts to give us a phenomenology of the original experience of emotion that underlies the mode of existence of invisible psychogenic beings, or “divinities”. He declares that with the emotion and the impression that it comes from outside there is
the suspicion that there is something else, something other in this trial, that he or she has made a mistake as to the attribution, the target, the goal: “I’m not the one targeted”
This seems to be phenomenologically wrong. He talks of a “suspicion”, a cognitive aspect to the emotion. One feels there is “something else”, “something other”, the emotion comes from outside and affects me. But what is all this talk about “targets”? I am not the one responsible, I do not command my emotions, but this has nothing to do with “I am not the target”. This is monistic language: the “I” is not a given, it is a monotheist fantasy. For Deleuze and Klossowski, the death of God means the dissolution of the ego. The multiplicity of invisible beings is described by Deleuze and Klossowski in terms that do not presuppose an “I” as given. There is no primary phenomenon of “targeting”, but there is transiting and transforming.
The psychic mode of existence means that the self is just one psychic figure amongst the others. For James Hillman in RE-VISIONING PSYCHOLOGY the invisible figures inspire, protect, guide, influence and constitute us, they do not just “target” us.
Latour’s description of this mode of existence seems pre-oriented by his later description of religion. The gods “target” us, and mistake us for another, yet somehow produce our psyche as composite interiority. God “addresses” us and does not mistake us for another, and institutes us as a unified person. The psychogenic description concords with thinkers as different as Deleuze, Hillman, and Dreyfus and Kelly (despite the restrictive use of ego and targeting). The religious description seems to be just pasted on, in contradiction to the rest, but this contradiction is neutralised by the protective manoeuvre of decreeing that two different modes of existence are involved.
The article is taken from:
Speculating Freedom: Addiction, Control and Rescriptive Subjectivity in the Work of William S. Burroughs
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