More Thoughts in Response to Levi Bryant

My response: Freud is an outstanding example of mytho-poetic thought, and should be read as such outside his rationalist reductions and disguises. One of these reductions is his own monomyth of the Oedipus complex. Deleuze and Guattari’s ANTI-OEDIPUS can easily be seen as a deployment of the pluralist and polytheist mytho-poetic unconscious against Freud’s monist reductions. Lacan takes some steps towards de-theologising Freud but stops halfway. Levi Bryant’s naturalisation of Lacan is a theological move that neutralises the productive unconscious, placing all productivity on the side of a theological notion of « matter », whose referent is deliberately vague and changing, as are the epithets used to name its components (objects, machines, assemblages, units, etc.). Bryant’s problem should be political, not epistemological. It is in the institutionalisation of the mytho-poetic function of « fabulation » (as Deleuze calls it, following Bergson, but giving this term and the reality it conveys a positive valuation). This is of course yet another name for what Deleuze and Guattari called « desire », when their principle interlocutors were those contaminated by psychanalysm. This fabulation is described by Deleuze in the cinema books, which are noteworthy for making virtually no reference to psychoanalysis and its hermeneutics. Bryant actively espouses Lacanian hermeneutics, with which he uses doublethink to maintain it alongside his naive « naturalist » hermeneutic of science. Bryant’s pronouncements are religious in the sense of selective synchronic snapshots of the productions of the diachronic mytho-poetic unconscious (one can recall Deleuze and Guattari’s diagnosis of psychoanalysis as based on « photos » of desiring production. His « religious » (in the traditional sense) interlocutors can only be fundamentalists as that is all his critical hermeneutic is capable of handling. hence he must exaggerate with not a shred of proof the proportions of Christians who are naive literal-minded believers, as he himself is of such Lacanian nonsense as his mathemes and of a positivism relooked with more modern jargon (Luhmann, Badiou, Bhaskar). It is an exploit to condemn credulous Christians and to pose smirky questions about voodoo priests, when the Lacanian psychoanalyst is one of the closest things we have to a voodoo priest in our society, at least according to Deleuze and Guattari, but also to many others. just as it is an exploit for Bryant to knowingly discuss Latour, and then speaking in his own name to give an ideological picture of the « inevitable consequences » of contemporary science that regress back to prejudices dating from 50 years before Latour began to deconstruct and dissipate them.

Critical Fantasies

This time from his latest God and Mythico-Poetic Thought.

Rather than reject religion outright, how about rejecting the monotheism that requires inward directed souls/subjects to declare their belief in a perfect God? The internalized desire of the believer-subject is reproduced as well in Descartes who then can split himself from the external world of “Nature”, which is then in turn reproduced in the discourse of naturalist science. Both science and religion contain in their theories an ideal observer distinct from the external world; in one case an omnipresent God, in the other a complete world both external to the believer and total at once. Physics too has its religious pretensions in that elusive quest for the theory of everything.

The problem as I see it is rather in conceiving Nature as a whole and not working through its persistent aporias. We’re it not demanded to achieve a theory of…

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11 commentaires pour More Thoughts in Response to Levi Bryant

  1. Jason Hills dit :


    You’ve overlooked the most important issue: what IPA is that in the picture?!?!?!?!


  2. terenceblake dit :

    Trust you to ignore the texts and go for the objects!


  3. terenceblake dit :

    I must admit that I immediately thought of a futurist potion for learning the International Phonetic Alphabet by ingestion (as in Lem’s THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS).


    • Jason Hills dit :

      Actually, I learned all the French-related sections of the IPA years ago. I have the equivalent of a B.A. and M.A. in French, but since American colleges only allow a person to claim 1 degree on any given year of study, they never let me have them. I’d have 6-7 by now if they did.

      But seriously, accusing me of being obsessed with objects. The nerve! I am clearly obsessed with BEER!


  4. terenceblake dit :

    You are preaching to the converted. I am quite the fan of Belgian beers.


    • Jason Hills dit :

      I’ve never been a fan of the Belgian IPA though. I’m not sure what makes it different than a regular IPA. My favorite is Bell’s Two Hearted Ale from Kalamazoo, MI. On the other end of things, I really like the Ale-on-Lees style of Unibroue. But, in generally, is dislike British ales. Too harsh.


  5. Jason Hills dit :


    I was just thinking. If you’re so inclined, you can join me on Facebook. Since I graduated from a large class and like to meet people, I could introduce you to a very large and diverse group of philosophers. I know a ton of Americanists and a number of continentals (mostly phenomenologists and a few critical theorists), and you’re free to join us.


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