A Situationist How to Use on Reich's _Character Analysis_

here's a lil tidbit

In the nineteenth century, with the complete opposition between individual life and species life (everyday life versus automatic commodity circulation), all hopes were allowed (those of Hegel, those of Marx[, etc.]). At that stage things were clear: everyday life was nothing, circulation was everything.The nothingness of everyday life was a visible moment of the all-encompassing circulation. Fetishism scarcely deceived anyone but the ruling class and its toadies. Several times the proletariat launched an assault on the totality, and the publicity of misery [the proletariat's visible, active misery; revolt] came very close to triumphing over the misery of publicity [the current system of human relations being mediated by images; Public Relations culture].

Today things have changed considerably. The modernization of the struggles of the oppressed, and above all their incompletion, have brought about the rapid modernization of fetishism by the ruling class and its state since 1930. The rise of scientific fetishism was striking: Bolshevism, National Socialism and the New Deal appeared almost simultaneously. This modernization consisted essentially of depriving everyday life of what was left to it: its negativity, i.e. the publicity of its misery, the publicity of its nullity. The secret of the misery of everyday life is the real state secret. It is the keystone completing the edifice of separation, which is also the edifice of the state.

The spectacle — the scientific development of fetishism — is simply the private property of the means of publicity, the state monopoly of appearances. With it, only the circulation of commodities remains public. The spectacle is nothing but commodity circulation absorbing all available means of publicity, thus condemning misery to invisibility.

http://www.bopsecrets.org/PS/reich.htm

 

 

perhaps you will want some background or pre-requisite readings, since this presupposes knowledge of reich's early contributions to p-a and of debord's critique of capitalism in modernity

http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/character_analysis.pdf

 

http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/tsots01.html

 

not sure i agree with some of the author's dismissals of reich's work, (the claims reich actually makes are scientific and would have to be repeated experimentally,) but this is an interesting piece nonetheless. and it's more difficult than u might imagine to find anything decent concerning this material.

 A day will soon come when all the potato chips of the earth will no longer be able to smother the meeting of the theory of publicity and the publicity of theory.

good point thanks for your thoughtful input as always

thats a shame

 

I had a lot of faith in potato chips too

 

>old men excusing themselves from engaging with the actual, weighty, argumentative content of the piece

 

Our thesis is as follows. The quantitative reigns. All human relations are governed by the relation of quantity to quantity, though they appear as purely human relations — the deceived gaze only meets things and their prices. We have briefly reviewed the spontaneously spectaclist effect of the “natural” invisibility of value. For all that, value never ceases to be lived by each person as the inescapable necessity of his daily life. We have seen that this lived secret fulfilled the spectaclist tendency of commodity circulation. What is it that Reich clinically detects which he labels “character”? We contend that it is value, as inhuman necessity and otherwise invisible, that is grasped by this approach. It is even, up till now, the only concrete way of approaching value as secret misery of individuality. Under this form Reich tracked down the unconscious, its misery and its miserable repressive maneuvers, which only draw their force and their magical pomp from the dominion of value over everyday life. Because human relations have been globally socialized exclusively in terms of value, which is their negation, authentic human relations, validated by pleasure, are preserved(11) within this socialization as natural relations (and thus illicit and clandestine ones), since all sociality, all humanity, is occupied (in the colonialist sense) by value, the only officially validated socialization. Whatever tends to escape the law of value thus takes the form of the natural,i.e. that which by definition escapes the mastery of humanity.

In his third Philosophical Manuscript, Marx measures the humanity of man, his socialization, by the degree of socialization of that “immediate, natural and necessary” human relationship: the relationship between man and woman. Value as universal socialization, as sole and inverted form of humanity, is also in fact the impossibility of socializing this relationship; which relationship remains, therefore, the “most natural,” that is to say the most frustrated by the reigning social organization. Within a world of universal socialization by value, this naturalness becomes increasingly equivalent to its degree of decay,(11) just as the degree of naturalness of the Nambikwara Indians within our civilization tends to equal the degree of their extermination. This degree of decay — psychosis, neurosis, character — as index of the nonsocialization and nonhumanity of man, is the realobject of psychoanalysis. That old swine Freud went so far as to identify naturalness with “savagery,” and value-inverted socialization with “civilization.” Psychoanalysis was and will remain the paleontology of this prehistory.

We support out thesis, still purely theoretical, with the following clinical observation: If, for one reason or another, an individual’s character is dissolved, the phenomenal spectacular form of the totality is dissolved in its pretension to pass for the absence of value. Thus we have established, negatively for the moment, an identity between character and the spectacle effect. Whether the subject sinks into madness, practices theory or participates in an uprising,(12) we have ascertained that the two poles of daily life—contact with a narrow and separate reality on one hand and spectacular contact with the totality on the other—are simultaneously abolished, opening the way for that unity of individual life which Reich unfortunately labels “genitality.” (We prefer individuality.)

The works of Reich are the first since Marx that concretely shed light on alienation. The theory of the spectacle is the first theory since Marx that aims explicitly at being a theory of alienation. The synthesis of these two methods leads to some immediate consequences which we will develop in our forthcoming work.



You seem a bit "ruffled." 

ba-da-ting

>tfw zyphex only read the first and last bits and his attention was monopolized by the shiny potato chips quip and literally nothing else

>tfw zyhphex's shitposting-in-response was predicted by the author, and probably this foresight was the reason why the author added that last little quip in the first place-- to throw off people who are attracted only by shiny things and who only read the first and last bits

how hilarious of u 2 post pictures of Lay's potato chips in this thread which links to an article that calls out (1) this sort of mindless circulation of commodities u physically cannot step outside of , and (2) on a more micro-level  the moving images that masquerade as ur thoughts

yeah wow ur so witty and clever and funny zyphex and u always have been

Dammit, you mean to tell me that I was manipulated by the author of a terrible writing sample and  now you are calling me out in front of the entire forum?! Fuck me, am I embarrassed or what.

no ur not but u definitely should b

 

>i posted a really funny potato chip joke and once again demonstrated my inability to engage with material that i think's outside my wheelhouse in front of the entire forum 

Back on topic, kettle cooked chips are probably my favorite of all chips. Jalapeno, bbq, and salt & pepper are probably my favorite flavors. Do you eat chips? What are your favorite?
kill urself
Error: Not a valid flavor of potato chip.

it's coming soon

 

But are they kettle cooked?
i wish u were kettle cooked

Retitle the thread "PM's Playpen"

We don't want you getting out and mingling with the adults. Good day, child.

Holy shit I'm dying. 
Even armed with a dictionary that was difficult for me to read and comprehend. I read it all, but I'm afraid I'm just so out of my depth that the points flew over my head. Is it possible for you to rephrase it in a way that's more accessible to someone who is, you know, out of his league? Or would doing that either defeat the purpose or not convey the author's intent clearly etc.?

Even armed with a dictionary that was difficult for me to read and comprehend. I read it all, but I'm afraid I'm just so out of my depth that the points flew over my head. Is it possible for you to rephrase it in a way that's more accessible to someone who is, you know, out of his league? Or would doing that either defeat the purpose or not convey the author's intent clearly etc.?

yeah when i get some free time tomorrow i'll see what i can do

to give some context to my next post:

 

reich took up freud's earliest and most revolutionary formulations (for instance, his 1898 formulation of the sex-aetiological basis of hysteria) and criticized freud's later formulations, which he saw as reactionary (these formulations would include ideas put forth in f's later works like _beyond the pleasure principle_; _inhibitions, symptoms, anxiety_; _civilization and its discontents_, and so on) insofar as they merely constituted and continued a pattern wherein the psycho-analytic movement could misrecognize the real or actual source of neurosis and hysteria (viz., sexual energy stasis) with the express intent of securing the psycho-analytic movement's rapid popularization and bourgeois significance.

 

keep in mind that it was around the time that freud began positing things like an inexhaustible death drive that other world-historical events began taking shape ww1had ended and ww2 was looming; hitler was lurched into power in that very country soon thereafter, riding a wave of massive public support; the new deal took shape on this side of the atlantic; the military-industrial complex was just coming into being and a new modus operandi for world-economic flows (together with its juridico-moral rationalizations and legal codes) was beginning to come manifest; edward bernays (a nephew of freud) was peddling his ideas to american corporations and transforming the public relations industry and our very notion of individuality and the person-- bernays himself working to set in motion the “society of the spectacle” which debord will critique back across the atlantic some 30 yrs later, etc.

 

so again, reich saw the revolutionary importance of freud's early work. . . if it were the case that hysterias, neuroses, and psychoses were results of (or like phenomenologically parallel to) actual disturbances of flows of energy within the organism, then there is a prospect for dissolving hysterias. neuroses, and psychoses IFF the organism's blockages and dammings-up of flows of energy (themselves) can be dissolved-- unhealthy people can become healthy if the actual material-historical bases of their illnesses and disturbances/detours are taken into account, and if their reactionary formations to said bases are taken into account, in the therapeutic process itself. in order to effect the dissolution of these dammings-up of flows in his patients, reich developed bodily (somatic) techniques to free up the bound energy in his patients (this in contradistinction to the freudian method of talking and listening to-- in different and privileged states of elevation from-- the patient).

 

this basic conviction (that neuroses and bound-energies and that which makes an organism have “character” can be dissolved if actual material and historical circumstances are taken into account) lead reich to a number of biophysical discoveries (this around the same time as the manhattan project was nearing completion) which i don't have the means to reproduce/disconfirm, and which the federal government literally legally banned other clinical scientists from attempting to reproduce or disconfirm as it jailed reich in 1956. (tptw had rather funded what they'd hoped to be a science of mind-control in ewen cameron's horrifying electrode experiments than a science which purports to understand the mechanisms of biogenesis).

 

this is from the preface to the third edition of _character analysis_, which i linked in the op:

The character-analytic technique was clinically worked out and tested between 1925 and 1933. At that time, [that is, during the development of the character-analytic technique, my idea of] sex-economy was still in its infancy. The individual and social importance of the function of the orgasm had been recognized only a few years earlier

the function of the orgasm is the title of one of reich's other books. in it, he lays bare the historical development of his idea of “sex-economy”-- the “sex-”economic laws regulating flows and interruptions of flows of sexual energy in the organism.

reich's early idea of character (laid out in the piece the author quotes) morphed into that of character-armor when he discovered certain predictable biophysical laws and organizations-- for instance that the musculature of the organism literally binds (stocks) and redirects energy (say, away from the sexual zone at inappropriate times/places or with regard to inappropriate objects-- say, after having been properly educated and scolded and shamed for not having redirected that flow in a certain, prescribed way sometime prior). we can elaborate on this point and add that this is what constitutes “muscle-memory”, and (if you follow cultural anthropologists from here,) that muscle-memory itself is what perpetuates community-- in other words, that ritual and myth only function in tandem with the wave-like movement of the social body, of the social organization of social-bodies (and cannot function without it). has a society of organically ill people with chronic pains and impasses built for themselves a machinic social-body that runs on gas and sucks the space up in front of it, a high horse-power machine that has minimal relations to and means of being impeded by anything like a natural environment, or has this machinic body built them?

 

the author of this piece, regrettably, i think, has < 0 interest in these clinical, biophysical observations and predictions made by reich. but that's outside the scope of this thread. instead our author wants to view the reichian concept of “character” through debord's thick lenses.

 

but so a little more symbolic violence will be necessary on my part to introduce the debordian or situationist framework in a short space and in simple terms. debord is most famous for his film/book _the society of the spectacle_ wherein he identifies the material basis of alienation in the lives of contemporary people under our prevailing system of production (viz., why people are miserable in and within our so-called culture). what our author calls the publicity of misery (viz., what is kept invisible by the spectacle of misery)  is the existential despair and material alienation and estrangement from the body of society, this pain that modern man feels in his life, but which he literally cannot see there existing, since all that is visible is that which is kept visible by the spectacle of misery. modern man can only see the  moving images involved with the meaningless and mindless-- automatic-- circulation of commodities, in the movement of everything [even the formulations of a hegel, or a marx, what have you] as a commodity. what debord calls the "spectacle" is itself this immense accumulation of images which mediate our relationships-- commodities which commodify our relationships-- and which penetrate our very person so as to  prevent us from transgressing one another in a deeply human way, or even feeling anything at all at times even at those increasingly rare moments when humans are forced anymore to interface. 

it's this something which makes sense of marx's concept of alienation  under prevailing relations of production that i want to lay bare itt.

 

To find love in Paris, one has to descend to the classes where the struggle with real needs and the absence of education and vanity have left more energy. To reveal a great unsatisfied desire is to reveal one’s inferiority, an impossibility in France, except for those beneath everything. . . . Hence, the exaggerated praises of young women in the mouths of young men afraid of their hearts.

—Stendhal, On Love

why is stendhal saying that those who don't struggle with “real needs”-- the same people who've an education and who're vain-- have no energy left? in order to say that people whose energy goes into avoiding anxiety (the distraction of "the thirst for knowledge" and constructing something illusory so as to admire it in place of oneself are pretty good means by which to do so), and those people in contradistinction to those other people who don't have the material-historical basis to even consider having such an option in the first place, have none left over for love. love being the total surrender or the unification of two organisms unto one another, their potentially dissolving into one another, their being  (each independently) capable of uninterrupted streamings and flowings-out of affect, and capable of the "genital embrace"

Reich expanded on the concept throughout his career. In his 1942 scientific autobiography The Discovery of Orgone, Vol. 1: The Function of the Orgasm, Reich provided the following summary of his findings regarding orgastic potency: it is an outcome of health, he argued, because full orgastic potency can only come about if a person is psychologically free of neurosis (pleasureanxiety absent), physically free from "body armor" (chronic muscular contraction absent), socially free from compulsive morality and duty as imposed by authoritarian and mechanistic ways of life, and has the natural ability to love.[28] According to one source, Reich held that the vast majority of people do not meet these criteria and thus lack orgastic potency.[29]

Reich retained the idea of a sexual energy and the concept orgastic potency as central elements in sex-economy, a general Reichian theory of health dealing with an organism's energy household.[30] Reich progressively called this energy libido, sexual energy, emotional energy, bioelectric energy, biophysical energy and, finally, orgone ("life") energy. In terms of this theory, an individual lacking in orgastic potency is unable to fully discharge energy in orgasm, and thus remains in a constant state of tension, both physical rigidity and mental anxiety, which constitutes neurosis.[31]

anxiety-avoidant people would fear such a thing (as love, as the total momentary surrender of economic controls over the organism's sexual energy) as a potential for loss, and invest in fortifications and siege-weaponry instead (planning for conquest). this implies a number of things about love, number one being that a man cannot find it if he continues to develop reactionary character formations so as to avoid anxiety. “[C]haracter [is] a defense against communication, a failure of the faculty of encounter. This is the price paid for the primary function of character, its defense against anxiety.” and why is the author quoting stendhal to introduce reich's notion of armor? to say that a man who invests and re-invests in his particular character-formations, who rigidifies into and dons his character-armor so as to avoid anxiety, is taking the default path, the path of least resistance, and thereon taking up what is nothing more than his prepared place as such-and-such a marked “individuality”, content to deal in appearances and to appear as people do in a registry, in their proper places. to become an analyzable character, such that would appear in a book on character analysis.  to appear as nothing more or less than that and to mean nothing except for that-- for what is preformed by the circulation-- its value, value being that which defines the movements in/of that circulation. the organism becomes an individuality when it takes on a presumed value for the other (vis-a-vis the presumed value of the other) by displaying its value by simply entering into the mass circulation of commodified individualities. but i'll get back to this point later.

 

what reich calls “the emotional plague” is in other words the viral reproduction of the neurotic individual, taken altogether with the whole of the systems of relations in which any neurotic individual finds himself entangled and through which (s)he is in fact re-produced as a neurotic(, psychotic, or hysterical) individuality. that is to say, as some certain bundle of resistances to communication, human touch and transgression. so the author writes that “[t]he discretion of this arrangement explains why it is not recognized as a social plague[. ...] This setup produces damaged individuals, as stripped as possible if intelligence, sociability and sexuality, and consequently truly isolated from one another; which is ideal for the optimum functioning of the automatic system of commodity circulation. The energy which the individual could use to recognize and be recognized is harnessed to his character, i.e. employed to neutralize itself.” employed to neutralize itself-- meaning that the organism (through some socio-economically imposed bastardization of his life-affirming and -reproducing functions) comes to habitually channel his energy w/o conscious intent into being misrecognized as such-- or to put it differently, into being recognized only as something that is dead, neurotic (fixed, an image, or a type) and alien to himself (being as he is a complex bundle of potentialities).

 

but this is the meaty bit of the author's piece:

What is important to us is neither the individual structure of our character nor the explanation of its formulation, but the impossibility of applying it toward the creation of situations. Character is thus not simply an unhealthy excrescence which could be treated separately, but at the same time an individual remedy in a globally ill society, a remedy that enables us to bear the illness while aggravating it. People are to a great extent accomplices in the reigning spectacle. Character is the form of this complicity.

the author isn't so interested in biophysical questions concerning the muscular retension of energy or how neuroses, etc., are actually formed but rather how he might be able to put these observations to use given his particular field and milieu. jean-pierre (that is the author's name) is a situationist and as such holds to the notion that, in order to effectively critique the spectacle, to crack it and show its destructibility (and in order that one does not simply unfold it as part-and-parcel of that hurricane of movement itself) we must practice theory in our everyday lives. that means to live tactically. if we know that the rigged arena, the mass interpenetration of images taken up by the hurricanic movement of commodity  culture, the official culture that confronts us in our conversations with a co-worker-- if we know that thing that presents itself as life is simply a representation of life, if we know it is gamed, then we know that our movements can count-- and in fact every smart movement must alter the outcome. it should hardly come as a surprise then that jean-pierre sees "character" as the resignation of the organism-- the ready-made resignation of the organism-- since, to miserably and regrettably take up such and such a position in the reigning spectacle is to have never known what all this circulation makes invisible  in the very first place (viz., realization of the organism's potential to realize authentic movements and to make its own lines of flight).

Debord shows the ways in which ‘authentic’ human social relations have been displaced by their false representations. “The spectacle,” he writes, “is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images” (Debord, 1983, Thesis 4). Analogous to this (and preceding it in the social logic of capitalism) is the notion that genuine social relations are rendered impossible by the production, circulation, and objective relations of commodities. Debord moves beyond the explicitly material commodity to the commodity of the image (appearance-as-commodity) and the amalgamation of image-human relations that comprisethe spectacle: the process and resultant condition of the sets of images that function to regulate and shape the form of all human social reality into uncritical, complicit, and alienated.

Debord’s grounding begins with the assumption that there is a kind of genuine mode of social relations being simulated by images. His project seeks to expose this counterfeit mode of social relations and reveal the objective processes of material production that lie beneath them. Where more traditional ideological Marxian analysis intends to expose ideology that obscures exploitative processes of production, Debord wants to expose the ideology of the image-centered society and reveal the real materiality beneath—a materiality of production which creates culture-as-commodity and commodity-as-culture: the consumption of and relation to images as a falsification and ultimately a refutation of social life itself. At the same time, he wants to uncover the layer(s) of ideology produced by those very productive and consumptive processes that hide, pervert, or make impossible real relations of human beings behind the relations of commodities of images and images of commodities. The spectacle, then, is the ideological conglomeration and proliferation of images that de-politicize and pacify human subjects rendering them productively impotent (in the social sense). The spectacle makes falsely permanent the transient present, disallowing human connectivity as a basis for the production of actual life because of its inherent manufacture of alienation.

alienation: the immediate material fact of existence, the slicing of the umbilical cord, the separation from the mother-whole; the immediate material fact of authoritarian-patriarchal social assemblages, the spiritual separation of man from his own blood and flesh, a relationship governed by dominant images of the family and tribe; the immediate material fact of capitalist relations of production, the separation of man from what is actually created by his life's work-time; the immediate material fact of the spectacle, the hyper-pornographic proliferation of images and images of images, the replacement of thought by moving images and the counterfeit production and market-recuperation of feeling and sexuality itself, the separation of man from what is left of his authenticity

 

 

 

https://vimeo.com/60945809

 

 

 

ewd

to give some context to my next post:

 

reich took up freud's earliest and most revolutionary formulations (for instance, his 1898 formulation of the sex-aetiological basis of hysteria) and criticized freud's later formulations, which he saw as reactionary (these formulations would include ideas put forth in f's later works like _beyond the pleasure principle_; _inhibitions, symptoms, anxiety_; _civilization and its discontents_, and so on) insofar as they merely constituted and continued a pattern wherein the psycho-analytic movement could misrecognize the real or actual source of neurosis and hysteria (viz., sexual energy stasis) with the express intent of securing the psycho-analytic movement's rapid popularization and bourgeois significance.

 

keep in mind that it was around the time that freud began positing things like an inexhaustible death drive that other world-historical events began taking shape ww1had ended and ww2 was looming; hitler was lurched into power in that very country soon thereafter, riding a wave of massive public support; the new deal took shape on this side of the atlantic; the military-industrial complex was just coming into being and a new modus operandi for world-economic flows (together with its juridico-moral rationalizations and legal codes) was beginning to come manifest; edward bernays (a nephew of freud) was peddling his ideas to american corporations and transforming the public relations industry and our very notion of individuality and the person-- bernays himself working to set in motion the “society of the spectacle” which debord will critique back across the atlantic some 30 yrs later, etc.

 

so again, reich saw the revolutionary importance of freud's early work. . . if it were the case that hysterias, neuroses, and psychoses were results of (or like phenomenologically parallel to) actual disturbances of flows of energy within the organism, then there is a prospect for dissolving hysterias. neuroses, and psychoses IFF the organism's blockages and dammings-up of flows of energy (themselves) can be dissolved-- unhealthy people can become healthy if the actual material-historical bases of their illnesses and disturbances/detours are taken into account, and if their reactionary formations to said bases are taken into account, in the therapeutic process itself. in order to effect the dissolution of these dammings-up of flows in his patients, reich developed bodily (somatic) techniques to free up the bound energy in his patients (this in contradistinction to the freudian method of talking and listening to-- in different and privileged states of elevation from-- the patient).

 

this basic conviction (that neuroses and bound-energies and that which makes an organism have “character” can be dissolved if actual material and historical circumstances are taken into account) lead reich to a number of biophysical discoveries (this around the same time as the manhattan project was nearing completion) which i don't have the means to reproduce/disconfirm, and which the federal government literally legally banned other clinical scientists from attempting to reproduce or disconfirm as it jailed reich in 1956. (tptw had rather funded what they'd hoped to be a science of mind-control in ewen cameron's horrifying electrode experiments than a science which purports to understand the mechanisms of biogenesis).

 

this is from the preface to the third edition of _character analysis_, which i linked in the op:

The character-analytic technique was clinically worked out and tested between 1925 and 1933. At that time, [that is, during the development of the character-analytic technique, my idea of] sex-economy was still in its infancy. The individual and social importance of the function of the orgasm had been recognized only a few years earlier

the function of the orgasm is the title of one of reich's other books. in it, he lays bare the historical development of his idea of “sex-economy”-- the “sex-”economic laws regulating flows and interruptions of flows of sexual energy in the organism.

reich's early idea of character (laid out in the piece the author quotes) morphed into that of character-armor when he discovered certain predictable biophysical laws and organizations-- for instance that the musculature of the organism literally binds (stocks) and redirects energy (say, away from the sexual zone at inappropriate times/places or with regard to inappropriate objects-- say, after having been properly educated and scolded and shamed for not having redirected that flow in a certain, prescribed way sometime prior). we can elaborate on this point and add that this is what constitutes “muscle-memory”, and (if you follow cultural anthropologists from here,) that muscle-memory itself is what perpetuates community-- in other words, that ritual and myth only function in tandem with the wave-like movement of the social body, of the social organization of social-bodies (and cannot function without it). has a society of organically ill people with chronic pains and impasses built for themselves a machinic social-body that runs on gas and sucks the space up in front of it, a machine that has minimal relations to and means of being impended by anything like a natural environment, or has it built them?

 

the author of this piece, regrettably, i think, has < 0 interest in these clinical, biophysical observations and predictions made by reich. but that's outside the scope of this thread. instead our author wants to view the reichian concept of “character” through debord's thick lenses.

 

but so a little more symbolic violence will be necessary on my part to introduce the debordian or situationist framework in a short space and in simple terms. debord is most famous for his film/book _the society of the spectacle_ wherein he identifies the material basis of alienation in the lives of contemporary people under our prevailing system of production (viz., why people are miserable in and within our so-called culture). what our author calls the publicity of misery (viz., what is kept invisible by the spectacle of misery)  is the existential despair and material alienation and estrangement from the body of society, this pain that modern man feels in his life, but which he literally cannot see there existing, since all that is visible is that which is kept visible by the spectacle of misery. modern man can only see the  moving images involved with the meaningless and mindless-- automatic-- circulation of commodities, in the movement of everything [even the formulations of a hegel, or a marx, what have you] as a commodity. what debord calls the "spectacle" is itself this immense accumulation of images which mediate our relationships-- commodities which commodify our relationships-- and which penetrate our very person so as to  prevent us from transgressing one another in a deeply human way, or even feeling anything at all at times even at those increasingly rare moments when humans are forced anymore to interface. 

it's this something which makes sense of marx's concept of alienation  under prevailing relations of production that i want to lay bare itt.

 

Qft 

fuck off

here's a lil tidbit

In the nineteenth century, with the complete opposition between individual life and species life (everyday life versus automatic commodity circulation), all hopes were allowed (those of Hegel, those of Marx[, etc.]). At that stage things were clear: everyday life was nothing, circulation was everything.The nothingness of everyday life was a visible moment of the all-encompassing circulation. Fetishism scarcely deceived anyone but the ruling class and its toadies. Several times the proletariat launched an assault on the totality, and the publicity of misery [the proletariat's visible, active misery; revolt] came very close to triumphing over the misery of publicity [the current system of human relations being mediated by images; Public Relations culture].

Today things have changed considerably. The modernization of the struggles of the oppressed, and above all their incompletion, have brought about the rapid modernization of fetishism by the ruling class and its state since 1930. The rise of scientific fetishism was striking: Bolshevism, National Socialism and the New Deal appeared almost simultaneously. This modernization consisted essentially of depriving everyday life of what was left to it: its negativity, i.e. the publicity of its misery, the publicity of its nullity. The secret of the misery of everyday life is the real state secret. It is the keystone completing the edifice of separation, which is also the edifice of the state.

The spectacle — the scientific development of fetishism — is simply the private property of the means of publicity, the state monopoly of appearances. With it, only the circulation of commodities remains public. The spectacle is nothing but commodity circulation absorbing all available means of publicity, thus condemning misery to invisibility.

http://www.bopsecrets.org/PS/reich.htm

 

 

perhaps you will want some background or pre-requisite readings, since this presupposes knowledge of reich's early contributions to p-a and of debord's critique of capitalism in modernity

http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/character_analysis.pdf https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm

 

not sure i agree with some of the author's dismissals of reich's work, (the claims reich actually makes are scientific and would have to be repeated experimentally,) but this is an interesting piece nonetheless. and it's more difficult than u might imagine to find anything decent concerning this material.

#neverforgetthe_oppressed_

updated my post
I am actually visiting this thread and reading (although I haven't gotten through both of your posts yet, I gotta move slowly since I have zero familiarity with this subject matter) and I just wanted you to know I didn't tell you to write up a bunch of stuff only to never visit again lol.
thx 4 the upd8. happy to clarify and answer questions if u got m. but as a disclaimer i don't have much free time til sunday.

Good thread, PM! Interesting approach and references. While under the influence with some friends a week ago we touched on Reich's and Debord's ideas.

How we got there: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/descartes/1639/meditations.htm 

Meditations on first philosophy, or critical thinking, should be taught (at least strongly emphasized) in school. The natural science oriented school system, with their PISA and TIMSS-tests, is fucking up. 

Edit: Don't know why the link isn't working by clicking on it. But if you copy and paste it works...

how'd descartes's meditations lead u guys n2 reich and debord ?

keep in mind that it was around the time that freud began positing things like an inexhaustible death drive that other world-historical events began taking shape ww1had ended and ww2 was looming; hitler was lurched into power in that very country soon thereafter, riding a wave of massive public support; the new deal took shape on this side of the atlantic; the military-industrial complex was just coming into being and a new modus operandi for world-economic flows (together with its juridico-moral rationalizations and legal codes) was beginning to come manifest; edward bernays (a nephew of freud) was peddling his ideas to american corporations and transforming the public relations industry and our very notion of individuality and the person-- bernays himself working to set in motion the “society of the spectacle” which debord will critique back across the atlantic some 30 yrs later, etc.

relevant: adam curtis's "century of the self" docu, https://vimeo.com/85948693

 

how'd descartes's meditations lead u guys n2 reich and debord ?


"Some years ago I was struck by how many false things I had believed, and by how doubtful was the structure of beliefs that I had based on them. I realized that if I wanted to establish anything in the sciences that was stable and likely to last, I needed – just once in my life – to demolish everything completely and start again from the foundations."

These opening words from Descartes may be the answer to your question.

We reflected on our beliefs, and tried to identify the underlying mechanisms of our beliefs.  We found out that Belief, as a term, is quite ambiguous. We more or less agreed that the beliefs of the individual depended on his/her material and social surroundings. I believe I've seen you refer to Bourdieu's Habitus in another thread (it was along the lines of that concept). And if you believe that Habitus is real, you believe that humans are confused. But the reasons for why humans are confused cannot be solely explained by his/her surroundings (we believed). So we believed that humans had a set of instincts/inner drives and we reflected on what that might be, and how they might define the individual's beliefs, behaviour and actions.  That being said, we were all fully aware of some Europeans that had constructed something called psychoanalysis. That being said, we were all fully aware how our beliefs about such ideas (inner drives/instincts) might be defined by these Europeans. After a while we started complaining about THE system, and that is where Debord comes in. 

I could have tried to explain myself in a different and better way. But Norwegian is my mother language, and I sometime experience that writing in English is a bit more time-consuming and second-guessingly-tiring than I prefer. I've also seen you nag fellow forum members about their writing skills. Or, that was at least my interpretation (belief) of your comment. For all I know you are just a kind hearted guy with a pedagogical mindset. 
 

For all I know you are just a kind hearted guy with a pedagogical mindset. 

that's me 2 a t. changed some words up in my second response 2 tuffy btw

 

thank you for the thoughtful posts lambee, and pls keep 'm coming. interesting that in my readings of reich/debord descartes might've been the absolute last name on my mind, i s'pose unless i was thinking about reich's maybe half-baked dualisms in some of his later stuff, but i c how you're connecting up their projects

It's always interesting to see Marxism as framework for analysis. I haven't seen the film you linked to, nor read the book by Debord, but I grasp his critique. And it's pretty spot on in my opinion.

It would have been funny to know Debord's reflections on the status of society today, with the impact of development of technology (social media etc.). It's said that Dawkins coined the term meme, but I believe Debord and other thinkers touched on that idea way before him (meme as a cultural unit). Dawkins said that he doesn't want to compare the internet use of memes to the original idea of memes, which comes from the theories of Darwin. Since the internet memes are consciously created by humans. But I think a large percentage of the memes we see floating on the internet today resembles the authentic (the paradoxal use of the word authentic) mindset and dialectical schemes for many people, i.e. walking around blindly, not aware of who is choosing their path. Many of the memes we see on the internet are sarcastic, ironic and humorous, I get that. And humor is important, especially when we are "trapped" inside the spectacle. But as I said, I think memes resemble the superficial little-to-no-awareness-mindset that inhibits many people.

Maybe connecting memes to Debord's ideas is sidetracking, but it's easy to connect a lot of references to his ideas. Especially when he touches on degradation of human life, critical thinking and so on. I've tried reading Heidegger, but understanding him in the original written form is quite strenuous. But you can find some of it rewritten in a pretty understandable form. I'm quite fascinated by this idea, and it's easy to apply to Debord: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/XP226.html