Surrealpolitik

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There were 31 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Madness'.

  1. "But what is one to say to an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in fact, mad? Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch as you cannot placate it either by threats, persuasion, or bribes...The attack must have all the shocking senselessness of gratuitous blasphemy. Since bombs are your means of expression, it would be really telling if one could throw a bomb into pure mathematics. But that is impossible."

    Source: The Secret Agent, p. 23
  2. 'There is me, there are the others. You know, with the LSD, we're finding, the distinction begins to vanish. Egos lose their sharp edges. But I never took the drug, I chose to remain in relative paranoia, where at least I know who I am and who the others are. Perhaps that is why you also refused to participate, Mrs Maas?' He held the rifle at sling arms and beamed at her. 'Well, then. You were supposed to deliver a message to me, I assume. From them. What were you supposed to say?'

    Oedipa shrugged. 'Face up to your social responsibilities,' she suggested. 'Accept the reality principle. You're outnumbered and they have superior firepower.'

    Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 104
  3. 'You know what a miracle is. Not what Bakunin said. But another world's intrusion into this one. Most of the time we coexist peacefully, but when we do touch there's cataclysm.'

    Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 91
  4. Down Below is as much a work of paranoiac theory as a memoir of Carrington's nervous illness; its paranoia is characterized not only by its unconscious production of symptoms (interpretive delirium, persecution mania) but also by its auto-analysis and its self-conscious ties to surrealist discourse...Indeed, Carrington's narrative of "inner experience" is in dialogue with the writings on paranoia that form a central part of surrealist thinking in the 1930s and again in the mid-1940s...[and] show Carrington in the process of redirecting paranoiac theory toward contemporary surrealist thinking about collective social myths.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 218
  5. After all, the affair of Pliefger's birthday cake had been extremely serious, and as for Father -- he was already dreaming of flying saucers descending on him and Käthe, now he was even scared of birds since that business with the duck and since old Kortschede had gone completely around the bend at the click of a lighter. And there had been that terrible business with Plotetti's cigarette package.

    Source: The Safety Net, p.
  6. Carrington's primary concern while ill is the possibility of intervening against Hitler’s influence [. . .]; after her recovery, however, the index that she uses to chart her trajectory into madness is her loss of ability to recognize or to gauge the significance of historical realities. Thus, while Down Below plays quite deliberately with the abstract peculiarities of perspectivism and madness, Carrington remains deeply concerned with the issue of how to perceive and articulate historical and political fact.

    Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 101
  7. During the course of the group's relationship with Minotaure, the surrealists shifted their efforts from theorizing the validity of revolutionary violence to finding strategies for deriving paranoiac knowledge. The surrealists, in other words, strove to create an atmosphere that did not so much constitute "revolution" as it was conducive to the knowledge represented obliquely in Nouge and Magritte's drawing: the means -- moral as well as material -- are at hand. By calling surrealism's period of political and epistemological reassessment both a noir period and a period of negation, I have argued, first, that the group's poetic and political aims in 1933 were not limited to revealing irrational forces at work within exterior reality. Rather, the surrealists studied how such forces were organized as coherent structures of motive, causality, and perception in a way that revealed their contiguity with existing structures of political and ideological logic. Second, I maintain that this noir period enabled rather than performed the group's political work. The theoretical experiments of this era provided the basis for a new "morality of revolt" that advocated a massive collective restructuring of society on diverse fronts -- from mental institutions to literature to family structure to political parties -- instead of the merely destructive violence of Aragon's "Red Front."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 197
  8. Effie, meanwhile, went off the rails, and when this was pointed out to her in so many words, she said 'What rails? Whose rails?'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 362-363
  9. For Crevel, Lacan's thesis was promising to the left for its understanding of paranoia as a psychotic structure that systematically accuses the very ideological forces signified by Freud's notion of "culture." This culture was repressive not simply because it beat back the death drive but because it represented the full force of bourgeois social conditioning which in the France of the early 1930s, was beginning to take on a frighteningly discernible shape: an attachment to so-called family values that sanctioned patriarchal privilege and a rampant homophobia; and an ever-present xenophobia and anti-Semitism whose deep roots in twentieth-century French culture only strengthened what Crevel and the surrealists considered to be a growing fascist sympathy among the French bourgeoisie.

    The "accusation" performed by murderous exhibitionism thus does not canonize the psychotic as a revolutionary figure; insofar as the physical illness represents the moral illness that produces it, Crevel's structuralist notion of behavior as a representation allows his further ideas about political illness and oppression to be a matter of extension...Yet Crevel's version of political and psychological causality structured as a "fortuitous encounter" is particularly useful to surrealism insofar as it rethinks the causality not only of presumably legitimate revolution but of the most inexplicable, brutal, and regressive of events as well -- whether domestic murder or the growing domestic appeal of fascism.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 189
  10. Half in the world of reality, half in a dream, the Zany ran on, pursued by dogs and by spears of fine rain.

    Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 19
  11. If mere words, the language of public discourse, are debased, the writer may well wish to turn to more intuitive models of communication, the discourse of private symbolism and even madness.

    Source: Plotting Terror, p. 81
  12. It is clear that surrealism did not negate the objective world but in fact tried to sublate it in a dialectical manner: negating but also transmuting it in a new horizon of meaning. The iconoclastic sociologist Jean Baudrillard chides surrealism for remaining within the purview of realism, reinforcing it ironically by apotheosizing the imaginary. Refusing the antithesis between the real and imaginary by positing the "hyperreal," Baudrillard tries to outdo the surrealists by locating the unreal "in the real's hallucinatory resemblance to itself" (1984, 71).

    Source: Working Through the Contradictions: From Cultural Theory to Critical Practice, p. 124
  13. Lacan suggests...that the real effects of social relations on the subject -- so readily misrecognized, in the case of the Papin sisters, as direct class oppression -- become recognizable as motives for the crime only insofar as they become visible as motifs. Indeed his title, "Motifs du crime paranoaique," suggests that, in this sequel to his earlier article on paranoiac style, the French term motifs can signify both causal motives and stylistic motifs. That is, Lacan's study of motive stresses how the structure of psychosis involves a simultaneous interpretation and representation of lived reality; within this structure, social and material conditions are manifest not merely as the facts that a subject represents to herself, but also as the determining forces that the unconscious must represent to the consciousness.

    Christopher Lane has argued that this psychotic structure -- which is not political in itself, since the people involved are unaware of its meaning -- may be politicized insofar as its motifs, its exhibitionism, provide a reminder of "the fragile supports on which subjectivity is so reliant, and the way each precarious identification fosters an illusion of psychical stability."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 193
  14. Lacan's attention to the historical basis of psychiatry [in Minotaure I] is meant to dislodge the practice of diagnosis from questions of criminal responsibility or irresponsibility, which risked reducing definitions of insanity to a moral choice policed by the state...For Lacan, the disciplines brought together in Minotaure -- artistic, psychiatric, and theoretical -- were all necessary to the study of mental illness, since paranoia reveals the work of signification and imagery in the formation of subjectivity, and not just within the fields of cultural and artistic production alone. Lacan's work on the Papin sisters builds on his description, in the first issue of Minotaure, of paranoiac lived experience as an "original syntax," a mode of symbolic expression that could be at once intentional and yet still determined by real social tensions.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 190, 191-92
  15. Paranoia was...politically valuable for the way its auto-punitive structure systematically accuses the very ideological forces and "accepted formulas" that Carrington attempts to purge from her system in the opening pages of Down Below. For Crevel, as for Carrington, these accepted formulas, this "thick layer of filth," represented the full force of bourgeois social conditioning on which the spread of fascism throughout Europe was predicated. In this light, the cure for paranoia did not simply mean a reduction of the illness's symptoms...but, more significantly, required a recognition of the subject's self-punishing drive as having a social genesis.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 228
  16. Paranoia, Dali argues, systematizes a mental crisis which is analogous to hallucination, yet which expresses itself instead in terms of recognizable and empirically verifiable evidence. As paranoia calls on the exterior world to validate its obsessive ideas, its troubling power derives from its exacting particularity; as Dali writes: "Paranoia uses the external world to assert the obsessive idea, with its disturbing characteristic of making this idea's reality valid to others. The reality of the external world serves as illustration and proof, and is placed in the service of the reality of our mind." Dali notes the "inconceivable subtlety" of paranoiacs, who take advantage "of motives and facts so refined as to escape normal people" and thus "reach conclusions that are often impossible to contradict or reject." As a result, these "conclusions," in the form of simulacra, can at their most powerful compete with, and even displace, reality itself. "It is because of their failure to cohere with reality," Dali writes, "and because of the arbitrary element in their presence, that simulacra can easily assume the form of reality and that reality, in its turn, adapts itself to the violences committed by simulacra."

    Unlike what Breton would call the surrealism of its mid-1920s "rational phase," Dali's paranoia-critique no longer relied on accurate critique to expose the ideological excesses of contemporary society. Instead it mechanically -- yet critically -- misinterpreted reality in order to provoke a "crisis in consciousness" that would dislodge contemporary thinking from its ideologically overdetermined sense of the real.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 162
  17. Rene Crevel's 1933 essay "Notes toward a Psycho-dialectic" makes precisely this theoretical move [i.e., a surrealist theory that expands the fields of Marxist inquiry beyond its own orthodox presuppositions]. Published in the same issue of SASDLR as Eduard and Peret's review off the press coverage of the Papin sisters, Crevel's article uses Jacques Lacan's recent doctoral thesis on paranoia to articulate how psychotic crime could provide a means for better understanding political expression. Crevel thus revises Aragon's justification of violent insurrection as a function of "visionary" class awareness, instead describing proletarian revolution as a gradual process of increasing consciousness as a subject...

    Lacan's 1932 thesis on paranoia was appealing to Crevel because it allowed him to expound a materialist theory of unconscious development, which stressed the social rather than the constitutional, genetic, or even instinctual development of paranoia's delusional system. Lacan's study of paranoia stands in opposition to the two major French theories of the illness: the notion of automatism, which understood the mind as series of automatic functions, and of constitutionalism, which understood the mind as organically fixed in its irregularities. Lacan's theoretical breakthrough was to propose instead that paranoia is a delusional system with an emphatically social basis, a condition brought about through the dialectical interplay between the subject and other people. Lacan's theory of paranoia does not simply reject the patient's delusional structure, through which the subject strikes out against her own ego-ideal in the form of a persecuting enemy, as a false or alien theory of persecution; it understands the illness as already a synthesis of conscious perception and unconscious judgment. By studying the social conditions that contribute to paranoia, Lacan thus structures his own theory as a dialectical extension of the illness itself.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 185-186
  18. She could not bear to be only a terrifying dream.

    Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 14
  19. She heard him pacing around his office. Unearthly siren-sounds converged on them from all over the night. 'There is a face,' Hilarius said, 'that I can make. One you haven't seen; no one in this country has. I have only made it once in my life, and perhaps today in central Europe there still lives, in whatever vegetable ruin, the young man who saw it. He would be, now, about your age. Hopelessly insane. His name was Zvi. Will you tell the "police", or whatever they are calling themselves tonight, that I can make that face again? That it has an effective radius of a hundred yards and drives anyone unlucky enough to see it down forever into the darkened oubliette among the terrible shapes, and secures the hatch irrevocably above them? Thank you.'

    Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 103
  20. So it is that in order to reach it, one must first allow oneself to be possessed and led far away by temerity, madness and the unravelling implicit in human destiny. This would be a futile exercise if one did not begin by saying that the limits of my will are also, necessarily, the whole of human potentiality; the limits of my will are, of course, never to have limits.

    Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 63
  21. Staging paranoia's reflexive play of delusional identifications as an artistic problem, I argue, offered the surrealists a critical system for diagnosing the social forces that threatened to replicate themselves in the age of fascism...Salvador Dali's "Non-Euclidean Psychology of a Photograph," published in Minotaure in 1935, most succinctly illuminates surrealism's "paranoiac" strategy of overlooking an obvious threat in order to highlight broader, more latent evils.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 233
  22. The "great constructions of the intellect" -- whether concepts such as Revolution, Justice, "Decency and Integrity," or movements such as surrealism and communism -- are never truly revolutionary or shocking because their aim of imposing a conceptual order fails to indulge the "desire to see" that resurrects L'Oeil de la Police, and even X Marks the Spot, from their idealism. Whereas human life, Bataille claims, "always more or less conforms to the image of a soldier obeying commands in his drill," the inverse is true of spectacles of horror. The "sudden cataclysms, great popular manifestations of madness, riots, enormous revolutionary slaughters" all manifest an inevitable backlash against this image.

    In this context Sade becomes the true revolutionary to the extent that the "desire to see" which is exercised in his works is as cataclysmic and as unredeemable as the madness of crowds...[T]he Revolution was not the product of rhetoric or intentional political speech but the consequence of a collective desire to participate in Sade's scream...The screamer, according to Bataille, had truly stared into the darkest recesses of horror without seeking refuge in a "prison" of intellect, and this scream was itself seductive in turn.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 153
  23. The competition was now in full flow, and Fresia intervened once more. 'Why are aspirins different from iguanas? Because have you tried swallowing an iguana?'

    "That's enough," said Simei. "This is schoolboy stuff. Don't forget, our readers aren't intellectuals. They haven't read about the surrealists, who used to make exquisite corpses, as they called them. Our readers would take it all seriously and think we were mad. Come on, we're fooling around, we have work to do."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 72-73
  24. There is no question that Carrington was in need of some treatment; she had become convinced that parts of Europe were becoming hypnotized by agents of Hitler. Although this doesn't seem very far off the mark for the people who experienced it, Carrington believed that magical forces were at work and repeatedly singled out certain Nazi figures (a man named Van Ghent in Spain, for example) as targets for assassination. She was ultimately committed to an asylum for constantly badgering the British Embassy that Van Ghent should be eliminated.

    Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 100
  25. Unlike the more celebrated surrealist images of the early 1920s, this composition [the before & after juxtaposition of the Papin sisters] invokes, through absence, the disruptive violence of the Papin murders for analytical rather than affective purposes. Its aim is no longer to "disorient us in our own memory by depriving us of a frame of reference," as Breton wrote in 1921, but rather to orient. Indeed by 1933 disorientation and disillusionment were no longer simply the watchwords of surrealist activity but had instead become conditions of political life under the threat of the seemingly incomprehensible rise of fascism. In this context the surrealist image offered a new frame of reference for political judgment; yet its value as theory would derive less from philosophy or logic than from the clinical study of paranoia, whose challenge to the naive realism at the core of communist thinking would provide the epistemological grounds for a renewed surrealist commitment to political resistance, directed explicitly against fascism....[P]aranoia increasingly offered...a form of thought that "was both autonomous and critical," and "could destabilize a consensual understanding of the real."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 179-180
  26. Utopia makes us aware that what we have is not necessarily what we want and that what we want is not necessarily all we can have. Enlightenment thinking becomes open to criticism -- according to Bloch -- insofar as it reduces the rational to the real, and it remains blind to the unrealized utopian elements buried in magic, madness, childhood fantasies, and the like. Arguments can be made that he romanticized these states of mind, over identified with those who laud them, and overestimated their salience for utopian philosophy. But the critical moment of Bloch's enterprise is an attempt -- one that stands squarely within the tradition of critical theory -- to illuminate the ratio of the irratio. This is of importance not simply for making sense of magic and mysticism but for understanding the "false utopias" embedded in racism and other ideologies that privilege the intuitive and the irrational.

    Source: Critical Theory, p. 68
  27. What the children revealed now, that no image could ever reproduce, was its sublime and superb thingliness (again this word came unbidden). Perks had been merciful, I now saw, leaving me to ascend here in solitude, to permit me first contact unmediated. I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to share. Like Georgina, I fought an urge to shed my clothes.

    Time, among other things, was destroyed. I don't know how long I sagged there, feeling the cool plaster through the shoulders of my suit, a Saint Sebastian in continuous ecstatic surrender to the one ubiquitous and unceasing arrow of the chaldron streaming toward me from above....In the chaldron's holistic force I also saw that Perkus's apparently schizophrenic inquiries all led to the same place, whether I could follow them or not. They sprang from the certainty that a thing as splendid as the chaldron could be hidden, hogged, privatized by the mayor and other overlords. This theft in turn described the basic condition of Manhattan and the universe. Whatever Perkus mourned or beckoned from the brink of vanishing -- Morrison Groom and his fabulous ruined films, Brando, the polar bear and Norman Mailer, ellipsis, every thwarted gasp of freedom -- all were here, sealed for safekeeping, and at the same time so healthy their promise grinned from the container.

    Source: Chronic City, p. 333-334
  28. While Breton often locates this disruptive force in the mind's encounter with the feminine, Carrington places the disruptive force in mind and body alike, creating the space for a feminine experience that shifts Surrealist aesthetics away from mere male psychic liberation, while avoiding the trap of a universalized femininity. In so doing, Carrington makes history a central concern for surreal experience.

    Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 102
  29. Yet despite its primacy in contemporary politics there is a distinct lack of agreement on how to define terrorism...When Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the main suspect in the 2009 shooting of 13 army personnel at Fort Hood, Texas, was featured on the cover of Time magazine (23 November 2009), the word 'TERRORIST?' was emblazoned over his eyes. Jared Lee Loughner, accused of critically wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others in Tucson, Arizona, also made it to the cover (24 January 2011) but this time the headline focused on 'Guns. Speech. Madness'. The Wall Street Journal also treated the two incidents in very different ways: '[Sen. Joe] Lieberman Suggests Army Shooter Was "Home-Grown Terrorist" was how it covered the Fort Hood story on 9 November 2009 while on 10 January 2011 the WSJ's headline was 'Suspect Fixated on Giffords'. The line between acts of terror and insanity was drawn very tightly. It seems so obvious, after all, that a Muslim targeting American soldiers must be a terrorist while a 22-year-old white native of Tucson must simply be disturbed.

    From chapter: Introduction
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 6
  30. Yet whereas a paranoiac might claim to have an unmediated relationship with things-in-themselves, the disease itself could be read and understood as a representation of the aggregate factors that produced it, such as the subject's social conditions, case history, and structures of unconscious desire. As Jacques Lacan argues in the first of the two articles he published in Minotaure, paranoia's systematic distortion of a subject's relationship to the real provided a "new syntax," a system of representation that offered a model for better understanding the nature of causality in the first place. Paranoia's "new syntax," the surrealists suggested, was already a representation of complex structures of social and psychological determination that could be mobilized for the sake of political understanding.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 180
  31. [O]ur images of reality themselves depend on the degree of our paranoiac faculty, and that yet, theoretically, an individual endowed with a sufficient degree of this faculty, might as he wishes see the successive changes of form of an object perceived in reality, just as in the case of voluntary hallucination; this, however, with the still more devastatingly important characteristic that the various forms assumed by the object in question will be controllable and recognizable by all, as soon as the paranoiac will simply indicate them.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257