An Epoch of the Unconscious and Its fatality

Light of truth

We live in an age of Freudean Psychoanalysis, which is dominated by the unconscious. It is a direct borrowing of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. Freud considers Oedipus’s incest fears as the statement of a psychological fact, and any man’s incestuous desires is common occurrence than rare. What then of that fateful riddle? Even the strongest will succumb, Teiresias the prophet taunts. This was an epoch of the mechanics of the patricidal unconscious. “If the world is to be lived in, it must be founded,” said Mircea Eliade, but founded on what? On a faith is fatality?

Lacan says that the Oedipus complex is unusable and that it is a product of Freud’s dream. If it is a dream, Lacan says, it can no longer be a theoretical construct that is to be unpacked, dissected, and rebuilt; it can no longer be the bedrock of psychoanalysis. This dreamy acceptance of the unconscious has wide and far reaching consequences in society. The unconscious has become an institution, it brings with it the disquieting atheism of its origins. The idea of a totalising, even totalitarian, consciousness participates in a foundational myth of capitalist subjectivity.

Freud suggests that Sophocles’ tragedy made “a voice within us ready to recognize the violence of fate.” It is substitution of Lex for Rex as revealed in Freud’s famous saying, “where id is, there ego shall be.” According to him, religion is a system of wishful illusions coupled with a disavowal of reality, such as we find nowhere else but in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. In the myth of the Fates, Freud concludes, we find the wish by which we could somehow choose our “inevitable fate.” Sophocles’ play causes to recognize the violence of fate within. We live in a violent society ourselves, concludes Freud in the interpretation of the play by referring only to “the inevitability of fate.” “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” We are condemned to our repressed emotions which come back endlessly. So Freud with extreme unwillingness admits, “that man gives up his claim to an exceptional position.” He is like any brute fixated to his emotions. We are simply desiring machines. For Oedipus complex is not a mere psychoanalytic construct. Oedipus is the figurehead of imperialism, “colonization pursued by other means, it is the interior colony, and we shall see that even here at home … it is our intimate colonial education.” For anti-oedipalists, the ego, like Oedipus, is “part of those things we must dismantle through the united assault of analytical and political forces… Oedipus is belief injected into the unconscious, it is what gives us faith as it robs us of power, it is what teaches us to desire our own repression. Everybody has been oedipalized and neuroticized at home, at school, at work. If desire is repressed, it is because every position of desire, no matter how small, is capable of calling into question the established order of a society: not that desire is a social; on the contrary. But it is explosive; there is no desiring-machine capable of being assembled without demolishing entire social sectors.” It takes away ethical responsibility. A society of mutual respect of freedom is subverted and a mob who return to old repressed emotional outbursts comes into force. The consumer market becomes a natural product of the desiring machine, which is man. The thrust is on Capital, which ruthlessly disregards and destroys particular life-worlds, threatening the very survival of humanity. Under capitalism we can’t have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Fascism is an instrument of big business. Since the nature of postmodernism in its current form lies in a process of late-capitalist globalization, our continuing collective delusion is that globalization is a competition between countries. In 1932, Mussolini declared that the fascist state had not created its own god, as Robespierre had done, but it had recognized ‘the god of ascetics, saints and heroes, and also the God which is seen and worshipped by the primitive and genuine heart of the people.’ There is a desperate need for a religion, and there is undoubtedly a widespread religious feeling, but there is ecstatic paganism of the Holy Communion of war asking for generous sacrifice and no sign of religion of responsibility. The essence, foundation and aim of political activity are summed up by the key word in religious language — faith. Only faith can create a new reality, which is the restoration or return to Ulyssian home of continued war. There is fear in the spines when religious feeling as a movement has risen from the entire soul of the nation. They observe the commandments of their morality and to obey orders without question. A religion without prophetic spirit. As Freud wrote, “Religion’s eleventh commandment is ‘Thou shalt not question.’”

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