1/12/2009

___________________________His Shizo~ phrenic. Others retort: ...


Artaud (1947):
So, society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastiness.
(...) And this is how modern life maintains its old atmosphere of debauchery, anarchy, disorder, delirium, derangement, chronic insanity, bourgeois inertia, psychic anomaly (for it is not man but the world which has become abnormal), deliberate dishonesty and notorious hypocrisy, stingy contempt for everything that shows breeding, (...) in short, of organised crime.





It is correct to measure established literature against an Oedipal
psychoanalysis, for this literature deploys a form of superego proper to it, even
more noxious than the nonwritten superego. Oedipus is in fact literary before
being psychoanalytic. There will always be a Breton against Artaud, a Goethe
against Lenz, a Schiller against Holderlin, in order to superegoize literature and
tell us: Careful, go no further! No "errors for lack of tact"! Werther yes, Lenz
no! The Oedipal form of literature is its commodity form.

We are free to think
that there is finally even less dishonesty in psychoanalysis than in the established
literature, since the neurotic pure and simple produces a solitary work,
irresponsible, illegible, and nonmarketable, which on the contrary must pay not
only to be read, but to be translated and reduced. He makes at least an economic
error, an error in tact, and does not spread his values.

Artaud puts it well: all
writing is so much pig shit—that is to say, any literature that takes itself as an
end or sets ends for itself, instead of being a process that "ploughs the crap of
being anits language," transports the weak, the aphasiacs, the illiterad te. At least
spare us sublimation. Every writer is a sellout. The only literature is that which
places an explosive device in its package, fabricating a counterfeit currency,
causing the superego and its form of expression to explode, as. well as the
market value of its form of content.

But some reply: Artaud does not belong to the realm of literature, he is
outside it because he is schizophrenic.


Others retort: he is not schizophrenic,
since he belongs to literature, and the most important literature at that, the
textual. Both groups hold at least one thing in common; they subscribe to the
same puerile and reactionary conception of schizophrenia, and the same
marketable neurotic conception of

(134)
literature. A shrewd critic writes: one need understand nothing of the concept of
the signifier "in order to declare absolutely that Artaud's language is that of a
schizophrenic; the psychotic produces an involuntary discourse, fettered,
subjugated: therefore in all respects the contrary of textual writing."

But what is
this enormous textual archaism, the signifier, that subjects literature to the mark
of castration and sanctifies the two aspects of its Oedipal form? And who told
this shrewd critic that the discourse of the psychotic was "involuntary, fettered,
subjugated"?
Not that it is more nearly the opposite, thank God. But these very
oppositions are singularly lacking in relevance.

Artaud makes a shambles of
psychiatry, precisely because he is schizophrenic and not because he is not.
Artaud is the fulfillment of literature, precisely because he is schizophrenic and
not because he is not. It has been a long time since he broke down the wall of the
signifier: Artaud the Schizo. From the depths of his suffering and his glory, he
has the right to denounce what society makes of the psychotic in the process of
decoding the flows of desire (Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society), but also
what it makes of literature when it opposes literature to psychosis in the name of
a neurotic or perverse recoding (Lewis Carroll, or the coward of belles-lettres).
Very few accomplish what Laing calls the breakthrough of this
schizophrenic wall or limit: "quite ordinary people," nevertheless. But the
majority draw near the wall and back away horrified. Better to fall back under the
law of the signifier, marked by castration, triangulated in Oedipus. So they
displace the limit, they make it pass into the interior of the social formation,
between the social production and reproduction that they invest, and the familial
reproduction that they fall back on, to which they apply all the investments. They
make the limit pass into the interior of the domain thus described by Oedipus,
between the two poles of Oedipus.


 They never stop involuting and evolving
between these two poles. Oedipus as the last rock, and castration as the cavern:
the ultimate territoriality, although reduced to the analyst's couch, rather than the
decoded flows of desire that flee, slip away, and take us where? Such is neurosis,
the displacement of the limit, in order to create a little colonial world of one's
own. But others want virgin lands, more truly exotic, families more artificial,
societies more secret that they design and institute along the length of the wall, in
the locales of perversion. Still others, sickened by the utensility (I'ustensilite) of
Oedipus, but also by the shoddiness and aestheticism of perversions, reach the
wall and rebound against it, sometimes with an extreme violence. Then they
become immobile, silent, they retreat to the body without organs, still a



. Then they
become immobile, silent, they retreat to the body without organs, still a

territoriality, but this time totally desert-like, where all
desiring-production is


territoriality, but this time totally desert-like, where all
desiring-production is arrested, or where it becomes rigid, feigning
stoppage: psychosis.



These catatonic bodies have fallen into the river like lead weights,
immense transfixed hippopotamuses who will not come back up to the
surface. They have entrusted all their forces to primal repression, in
order to escape the system of social and psychic repression that
fabricates neurotics. But a more naked repression befalls them that
declares them identical with the hospital schizo, the great autistic one,
the clinical entity that "lacks" Oedipus. Why the same word, schizo, to
designate both the process insofar as it goes beyond the limit, and the
result of the process insofar as it runs up against the limit and pounds
endlessly away there?

Why the same word to designate both the
eventual breakthrough and the possible breakdown, and all the transitions,
the intrications of the two extremes? In point of fact, of the three
preceding adventures, the adventure of psychosis is the most intimately
related to the process: in the sense of Jaspers' demonstration, when he
shows that the "demonic"—ordinarily repressed—erupts by means of
such a state, or gives rise to such states, which endlessly run the risk of
making it topple into breakdown and disintegration.
We no longer know if it is the process that must truly be called


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