updated: DESIRE, COMPLEXES, ASSEMBLAGES: Deleuze and Jung

Cross-blogged from a comment on Daniel Coffeen’s very interesting blog:

All desire is a complex: this says the same as all desire is an assemblage, except that “complex” is often understood as pathological, in terms of psychologistic reductionism. Jung, who did much work on complexes and integrated it into psychoanalysis both pluralised the concept (not just Oedipus) and gave it a positive function (not just negative, as in the repression hypothesis). For Jung a complex was a node capable of orienting, facilitating, and inhibiting libido. Jung had far more influence on Deleuze than is commonly admitted, and I think that the positive, constructive, pluralist conception of desire is one example of that influence.

Jung was on the way to developping a pluralised but nevertheless still structuralist vision of the unconscious. This was interrupted by a contained schizophrenic interlude that lasted several years. His later psychology was post-structuralist. It was developped out of this schizophrenic experience, but he chose to express his reflections on this experience only indirectly. So conceptually I would say TWO ESSAYS ON ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY or ON PSYCHIC ENERGY give an idea of his orientation. But the experiential element is the key, as he often declared, and that is to be found in MEMORIES,DREAMS AND REFLECTIONS and also more lengthily in THE RED BOOK. I actually think that Deleuze and Guattari allow one to better understand Jung than proceeding historically in order, as he created a false historical continuity by maintaining a surface “academic” style to express his reflections. This continuity has been ruptured by the advent of post-structuralist thought and the publication of THE RED BOOK.

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2 Responses to updated: DESIRE, COMPLEXES, ASSEMBLAGES: Deleuze and Jung

  1. dmf says:

    I’ve been trying to rework Jung’s early work on complexes (which was a far more useful line of research that his later more philosophical/speculative forays into the structuralistish dead-end of archetypes) along the lines of cognitive-biases and habits, if only he had been more taken with William James than Freud who knows…


  2. dmf says:

    I don’t have the library access these days but maybe someone in the vast twitterverse (matt of footnotes2plato’s school may carry it) can get you a copy of this article by my old prof David Miller which I think is along the lines of what you are working on here:
    “The `Stone’ which is not a Stone: C.G. Jung and the Post-Modern Meaning of `Meaning,'” Spring 49 (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1989): 110-122


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