Surrealpolitik

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  1. "A charade, with Andreotti, the then prime minister, helping to cover it all up, and those who ended in jail were minor players. The point is, everything we heard was false or distorted, and for twenty years we've been living a lie."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 204
  2. "But is it really all over, or are certain diehard groups still working away in the shadows? I think there is more to come."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 213
  3. "In other words, we have to say to our owner: this is how Domani would have been had it appeared yesterday. Understood? And, if we wanted to, even if no one had actually thrown the bomb, we could easily do an issue as if."

    "Or throw the bomb ourselves if we felt like it," sneered Braggadocio.

    "Let's not be silly," cautioned Simei. Then, almost as an afterthought, "And if you really want to do that, don't come telling me."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 32
  4. "Isn't that going a bit far?"

    "Suspicions never go too far. Suspect, always suspect, that's the only way you get to the truth. Isn't that what science says?"

    "That's what it says, and that's what it does."

    "Bullshit -- even science lies. Look at the story of cold fusion. They lied to us for months and then it was found to be total nonsense."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 49
  5. "It could be argued that conspiracy itself revolves around a contestation over the presence and/or verifiability of an explanatory, or causal point of origin. Paranoia, to use one obvious example, becomes a relative category of description based in part upon the question of whether in fact there is something 'out there,' or whether the paranoiac is simply delusional." In the domain of paranoia within reason that we are probing here, there is no question that there is something "out there." The paranoia arises from expert desire or duty toward knowledge in the absence of compass. With just enough of the facts missing, what is speculative in every project of reason, as Hunt's essay argues, becomes distorted, even playful, and stays this side of delusion. In paranoia within reason, more play is given to what is finally constrained in every reasoning process.

    From chapter: Introduction
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 5
  6. "It is signed by Veruccio Veriti. So, what's the point of this denial of a denial? Point number one, that the newspaper has received the information from sources close to Signor Perniketti. This always works. The sources aren't given, but it implies the newspaper has confidential sources, perhaps more reliable than Perniketti. Use is then made of the journalist's notebook. No one will ever see the notebook, but the idea of an actual record tends to inspire confidence in the newspaper and suggests that there is evidence. Lastly, insinuations are made that are meaningless in themselves but throw a shadow of suspicion over Perniketti. Now I don't say all denials have to take this form -- this is just a parody -- but keep in mind the three fundamental elements for a denial of a denial: other sources, notes in the reporter's notebook, and doubts about the reliability of the person making the denial. Understood?"

    "Very good," they replied in chorus.

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 67
  7. "Only in 1984 does an investigating judge, Felice Casson, discover that the explosive used at Peteano came from a Gladio arms depot...And you understand that if a military secret service has three policemen blown up, it won't be out of any dislike for the police but to direct the blame at far-left extremists."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 210
  8. "The point is that newspapers are not up there for spreading news but for covering it up. X happens, you have to report it, but it causes embarrassment for too many people, so in the same edition you had some shock headlines -- mother kills four children, savings at risk of going up in smoke, letter from Garibaldi insulting his lieutenant Nino Bixio discovered, etc. -- so news drowns in a great sea of information. I'm interested in what Gladio did in Italy form the 1960s until 1990. Must have been up to all kinds of tricks, would have been mixed up with the far-right terrorist movements, played a part in the bombing at Piazza Fontana in 1969, and from then on -- the days of the student revolts of '68 and the workers' strikes that autumn -- it dawned on someone that he could incite terrorist attacks and put the blame on the Left."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 194
  9. 'Elstree.' Harvey said it as if there was a third party listening -- as if to draw the attention of this third party to that definite word, Elstree, and whatever connotations it might breed.

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 335
  10. 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
  11. Why trust instruments anyway? A telling detail in Kim Fortun's essay on the Gulf War syndrome asks as much. The Department of Defense admits that their sensors for chemical warfare agents have a high rate of "false positives." This is a peculiar and murky observation. It seems to be an admission that instruments are as inventive in their identification of empirical certitude as humans. The sensor detects the invisible agents; however, we know that the sensor is mistaken. If indeed these agents are undetectable by human actors, how precisely do we justify that conclusion? It is difficult not to conclude that a "false positive" is the aporia that marks the limits of instrumental certitude. For what could be more conspiratorial than a scientific instrument that deceives?

    The conceptual black hole of the "false positive" is radically unthinkable; indeed, it is incommensurable with scientific reality. It is, I would argue, the aporia that produces the willies. Its incommensurability suggests an alternate reality, a different explanatory model. It is this radical doubt that fuels conspiracy and feeds the willies.

    From chapter: Jamer Hunt, Paranoid, Critical, Methodical, Dali, Koolhaas, and...
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 27
  12. After detours in many different directions, we are right back to Dali's notion of paranoia as a (delusional) style of interpretation. And so we alight one final time on the twin themes of proof and existence, delusion and reality. A shiver -- the willies -- is predicated on the suspension of certainty, or more accurately, the possibility of the existence of the uncanny as real. It is a rational interpretation of random occurrences ("objectifying facts") based on a delusional hypothesis. It is strangely reminiscent of the Paranoid-Critical Method. It is the possibility of a real, built by the rational, anchored by the delusional.

    From chapter: Jamer Hunt, Paranoid, Critical, Methodical, Dali, Koolhaas, and...
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 29
  13. All physicians are of one mind in recognizing the swiftness and inconceivable subtlety commonly found in paranoiacs, who, taking advantage of associations and facts so refined as to escape normal people, reach conclusions that often cannot be contradicted or rejected and that in any case nearly always defy psychological analysis.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
  14. An activity having a moral tendency could be provoked by the violently paranoiac will to systematize confusion.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
  15. Angel Face took no notice of these festive preparations. He had to see the general and make plans for his flight. Everything seemed easy until the dogs began barking at him in the monstrous wood which separated the President from his enemies, a wood made up of trees with ears which responded to the slightest sound by whirling as if blown by a hurricane. Not the tiniest noise for miles around could escape the avidity of those millions of membranes. The dogs went on barking. A network of invisible threads, more invisible than telegraph wires, connected every leaf with the President, enabling him to keep watch on the most secret thoughts of the townspeople.

    Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 39
  16. Breton...raises the stakes of Nadja's momentary recourse to cold-blooded murder in stating that "the simplest surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd."...The difficult part of revolution is not its violence; indeed, Breton suggests that violence is all too simple. What is difficult is the full realization of a project of emancipation that extends to all facets of life, and that places the most extreme demands on its practitioners. Revolution, Breton writes in the Second Manifesto, requires the kind of commitment to the overthrow of bourgeois capitalism that can be experienced only as a despair so strong as to render extremism imaginable...Breton's most notorious statement, in other words, invokes murder not as an extension of surrealism's alleged methodism into the field of political violence, but as the hypothetical extreme that Breton claims to be the measure of surrealism's refusal to operate simply as a method, whether aesthetic, epistemological, or political.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 149-150
  17. Connoisseurs of images, we have long ago learned to recognize the image of desire hidden behind the simulacra of terror.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
  18. 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
  19. Everything that allowed the genius of a people to assert itself bent more and more under the pressure of hostile forces, more or less disguised. Whatever could have been added to its assets -- the fundamental code of this people as, like it or not, it arose from its institutions -- was left in the shadows out of fear that the concept of liberty, which doesn't take well to resting, might become more demanding.

    Source: Arcanum 17, p. 125
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. harvey was a rich man; he was in his mid-thirties. He had started writing a monograph about the Book of Job and the problem it deals with. For he could not face that a benevolent Creator, one whose charming and delicious light descended and spread over the world, and being powerful everywhere, could condone the unspeakable sufferings of the world; that God did permit all suffering and was therefore, by logic of his omnipotence, the actual author of it, he was at a loss how to square with the existence of God, given the premise that God is good.

    'It is the only problem,' Harvey had always said. Now, Harvey believed in God, and this was what tormented him. 'It's the only problem, in fact, worth discussing.'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 341
  23. How long will we have to wait for a brand new laboratory where established ideas, no matter which, beginning with the most elementary ones, the ones most hastily exonerated, will be accepted only for purposes of study, contingent on an examination from top to bottom and by definition free from all preconceptions?

    Source: Arcanum 17, p. 61
  24. I believe the moment is drawing near when, by a thought process of a paranoiac and active character, it would be possible (simultaneously with automatism and other passive states) to systematize confusion and thereby contribute to a total discrediting of the world of reality.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
  25. In a 1966 magazine article celebrating the [Serie Noire's] thousandth title, Gilles Deleuze noted that this distance from the classic mystery novel is not only aesthetic or moral but epistemological as well. Abandoning the detective story's Oedipal search for truth, the stories supplant any such "metaphysical or scientific" quests with an economic system of retribution based instead on the exchange of falsehood for falsehood, error for error. There is no metaphysical certainty, no definitive object to compensate for the proliferation of falsehoods: the hyperbolic economy of exchange is, in Deleuze's words, "a process of restitution that permits a society, at the limits of cynicism, to conceal that which it wishes to conceal, to show that which it wishes to show, to deny evidence and to proclaim the unrealistic." Deleuze lauds those novels in Duhamel's series whose formal elements embrace this representation of society "in the fullest power of its falsehood."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 253
  26. In the case of a sexual or murderous exhibitionism, how do we judge it, unless we go back to the repression at its origin? The beauty of certain assaults upon modesty, or upon life, is that they accuse, with all their violence, the monstrosity of laws and the constraints that make monsters.

    Source: Notes Towards a Psycho-dialectic, p. 266
  27. Indeed, we believe that there are at least two broad contexts or conditions of contemporary life that make the paranoid style and conspiracy theories an eminently reasonable tendency of thought for social actors to embrace. The first derives from the fact that the cold-war era itself was defined throughout by a massive project of paranoid social thought and action that reached into every dimension of mainstream culture, politics, and policy. Furthermore, client states and most regions were shaped by the interventions, subversions, and intimidations pursued in the interests of a global conspiratorial politics of the superpowers. The legacies and structuring residues of that era make the persistence, and even increasing intensity, of its signature paranoid style now more than plausible, but indeed, an expectable response to certain social facts. That is, the effects of decades of paranoid policies of statecraft and governing habits of thought define a present reality for social actors in some places and situations that is far from extremist, or disturbingly fundamentalist, but is quite reasonable and commonsensical...

    The other important and perhaps more subtle way to take note of the present paranoid style as a kind of pervasive cold-war legacy is to indicate the extent to which highly influential frameworks of social theory have this potential within their conceptual rhetorics. Frameworks that have at their core notions of game, self-interested motivation, fields of contest and struggle, and generally a valuation of cynical reason as the most reliable posture from which to interpret human action are ones in which the reality of conspiratorial activity is well within reach of their common sense.

    From chapter: Introduction
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 2-3
  28. 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
  29. It seemed to Edward that Harvey always suspected him of putting on an act.

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 336
  30. It seemed, it seemed, Edward thought; because one can only judge by appearances. How could Edward know Harvey wasn't putting on an act, as he so often implied that Edward did? To some extent we all put on acts.

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 340
  31. It's not the news that makes the newspaper, but the newspaper that makes the news.

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 60
  32. Job's problem was partly a lack of knowledge. He was without access to any system of study which would point to the reason for his afflictions. He said specifically, "I desire to reason with God," and expected God to come out like a man and state his case...Everybody talked but nobody told him anything about the reason for his sufferings. Not even God when he appeared. Our limitations of knowledge make us puzzle over the cause of suffering, maybe it is the cause of suffering itself...As I say, we are plonked here in the world and nobody but our own kind can tell us anything. It isn't enough. As for the rest, God doesn't tell.'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 418-419
  33. Lacan differentiates, in order to better understand their connection, what has been subjectively experienced from what might be objectively certified...Actually, it is a matter of throwing light upon the inside s well as the outside. There is no choosing one light over another, because neither has enough rays of its own against the darkness that has been cast around and at the centre of a vital problem for so long. The facts of this problem were not so much assumed, strictly speaking, as debated, in all their moving details, on the occasion of paranoiac psychosis, which affects the entire personality, prolongs it, develops it, and serves as its magnifying and clarifying mirror. Thanks to this highly sensitive microscope, we notice the interdependence of internal and external phenomena.

    Source: Notes Towards a Psycho-dialectic, p. 266
  34. Lacan suggests in "Aggressively in Psychoanalysis," "What I have called paranoiac knowledge is shown, therefore, to correspond in its more or less archaic forms to certain critical moments that mark the history of man's mental genesis, each representing a stage in objectifying identification" (1977, 17). In other words, we are all, to varying degrees, paranoiacs; we are all occasionally haunted by the sense that we do not necessarily know the reality that we claim as the anchor of our subjectivity. That reality is buzzing with the currents of desire and danger that recapitulate the subject's originary relationship to its other...Paranoia is...a radical uncertainty that compels the subject to search for the "objectifying souvenirs" that will verify experience as real or delusional.

    From chapter: Jamer Hunt, Paranoid, Critical, Methodical, Dali, Koolhaas, and...
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 28
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. Leroux's detective mystery appealed to the surrealists for its suggestion that the novel's mechanics were designed to manufacture evidence and false trails as forms of literary experience which the locked room apparatus set in play.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 44
  38. Most of the reporters were younger than Harvey. One, a bearded Swede, was old, paunchy. He alone seemed to know what the Book of Job was. He asked Harvey, 'Would you say that you yourself are in the position of Job, in so far as you are a suspicious character in the eyes of the world, yet feel yourself to be perfectly innocent?'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 417
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. The best-known development during this period [1932-ish, the Age d'or affair] was Dali's invention of paranoia-critique, a response to Bataille's critique of surrealism that was designed to counteract what Aragon identified as "the revenge of censorship on the unconscious." In Dali's paranoia-critique, Andre Masson's early notion of a "physical idea of the Revolution" found a new incarnation as a psychic mechanism whose "revolutionary" potential Dali advocated in an essay printed in the first issue of Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution in 1930, titled 'L'ane pourri" (The Rotting Donkey). Dali's theory of paranoia heeds Bataille's claim that it is through participation in spectacles of violence, rather than through grand ideals or "irons of intellect," that it becomes possible to overthrow existing ideological frameworks. Yet Dali strongly disagreed with Bataille's presumption that such spectacles were natural occurrences that could be experienced without idealism or fancy concepts. Dali argue that the Bataillean effect of spectacular participation could instead be produced through the capacity of paranoia for generating simulacra whose presence vies with other "images of reality"; as a result, one's ideologically overdetermined confidence in such images would begin to self-destruct.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 161
  44. The double image (an example of which might be the image of a horse that is at the same time the image of a woman) may be extended, continuing the paranoiac process, with the existence of another obsessive idea being sufficient for the emergence of a third image (the image of a lion, for example) and thus in succession until the concurrence of a number of images would be limited only be the extent of the mind's paranoiac capacity.

    I submit to a materialist analysis the type of mental crisis that might be provoked by such an image; I submit to it the far more complex problem of determining which of these images has the highest potential for existence, once the intervention of desire is accepted; and also the more serious and general question whether a series of such representations accepts a limit, or, whether, as we have every reason to believe, such a limit does not exist, or exists merely as a function of each individual's paranoiac capacity.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
  45. The new simulacra which the paranoiac thought may suddenly let loose will not merely have their origin in the unconscious, but, in addition, the force of the paranoiac power will itself be at the service of the unconscious.

    Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
  46. The only way to look at Man is as the victim of his mirrors.

    Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 43
  47. The Paranoid-Critical Method [of Salvador Dali] reasserts an often lost continuity between the delusional and rational -- retying the knot of their mutual genesis.

    From chapter: Jamer Hunt, Paranoid, Critical, Methodical, Dali, Koolhaas, and...
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 21
  48. The tension in Surrealism that is discharged in shock is the tension between schizophrenia and reification...The dialectical images of Surrealism are images of a dialectic of subjective freedom in a situation of objective unfreedom.

    Source: Looking Back on Surrealism, p. 230
  49. The ties between surrealism's politics and the problem of terrorist violence briefly became a public issue once more in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Recalling the surrealist movement's anti colonial and anti-Western rhetoric, which had been especially visible during the 1920s and 1930s, the prominent French curator Jean Clair excoriated the movement for its resemblance to al-Qaeda. In a newspaper editorial published in December 2001, Clair juxtaposed the destruction of the World Trade Center with Louis Aragon's 1925 rant against the "white buildings" of New York City, suggesting a causal (rather than merely analogical) relationship between fundamentalist terrorism and the interwar European avant-garde. In making this juxtaposition, Clair contends that "the surrealist ideology never stopped hoping for the death of an America it saw as materialist and sterile, and for the triumph of an Orient that served as the repository for the values of the mind." ore than simply a historical coincidence, Clair argues, surrealism's anti-Western and pro-"Oriental" ideology helped "prepare the minds" of European civilization -- yet prepared them not for revolution but for an anti humanism complicit with the forms of totalitarianism and state terror that would follow, from Stalinist purges to the Holocaust.

    Clair's polemic was an attack on avant-garde rhetoric, though, rather than a critique of the surrealist movement's actual political thinking, as represented in the many tracts, pamphlets, and speeches the surrealists produced throughout the movement's history. Indeed, Clair's own charge of surrealism's complicity in 9/11 -- a rhetorical gesture par excellence -- is a reaction, he claims, against the ideological stakes of surrealism's own intensified rhetoric, whose insults and violent polemics "are no different from those found in the fiery attacks of the fascist leagues or, on the other side of the political spectrum, those soon to be addressed to the 'mad dogs' in the Moscow trials. They signal an era." Violent rhetoric produces violent action, Clair maintains; and because surrealism spoke, and because its rhetoric thus served as the conduit between its artistic practices and the political sphere, surrealist appeals to violence and to the dissolution of Western humanistic ideals cannot safely be viewed as autonomous artistic utterances. In "seeking to conflate vita contemplativa and vita politica," Clair argues, the movements members become as subject to judgment and condemnation as any member of a political party.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 268
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. 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
  53. [Georges] Sadoul's essay is by far the most paranoid, arguing that the popular appeal of magazines like Detective extended the reach of the powerful right-wing police chief Jean Chiappe....For Sadoul, the law was merely the pretext for a conspiracy of police forces, whether professional, amateur, or journalistic...[H]is intent is to suggest the complicity of even this widely read magazine...with the ideological function of police activity. This function is fascist, Sadoul argues, to the extent that participation in the surveillance and pursuit of so-called criminals is less a question of desire than an automatic function of the state...the sensationalism Sadoul decries represented not a liberation of desire or an explosion of perversity but, as Aragon similarly expresses in his "Introduction to 1930," the "revenge of censorship on the unconscious."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 156-157
  54. [I]n this version of the crisis of representation the plausibility of the paranoid style is not so much in its reasonable ness, but rather in its revitalization of the romantic, the ability to tell an appealing, wondrous story found in the real.

    From chapter: Introduction
    Source: Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation, p. 5
  55. [Jean] Clair, the director of the Picasso museum in Paris and a national representative of French patrimony, first launched his attack in the form of a newspaper editorial published in Le Monde in November 2001, barely two months after the 9/11 attacks. In this editorial, as in the expanded book, Clair excoriates the surrealist movement for its complicity in the twentieth century's bloody history of terror and totalitarianism, from fascism and Stalinism to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In direct opposition to the group's own stridently leftist and anti-fascist political engagement, Clair's essay makes its baldest claim in condemning surrealism for its uncanny anticipation of the World Trade Center attacks, as well as for its violently anti-Western ideological platform that "prepared the minds" of Europe for such disasters. As Clair writes:

    "Surrealist ideology never stopped calling for the death of an America that was, in its eyes, materialist and sterile, as well as for the triumph of the Orient as a repository of spiritual values. Text after text, between 1924 and 1930, underlines this destructive imaginary. Here's Aragon, in 1925: '[...] We are Europe's defeatists . . . May the Orient you droad finally respond to our voice [... ] And may the drug traffickers hurl themselves at our terrified countries. May faraway America collapse from all its white buildings ...' On September 11, 2001, Aragon's reverie left the surreal in order to take place in reality. The 'white buildings' of the Twin Towers collapsed in flames, while the incredulous West discovered a somewhat forgotten country on the world map: Afghanistan. The outrageousness of the surrealists was not only verbal." (118-9, my translation)

    By collapsing the historical distance between Aragon's 1925 statements and the attacks upon the World Trade Center, Clair's essay engages -- perhaps unwittingly -- in the grand tradition of scandalizing rhetoric that characterized a large part of French intellectual debate between the wars. The irony here is that Clair employs such rhetoric as a reaction against what he considers the ideological stakes of surrealism's own intensified rhetoric, whose insults and scatological tones "are no different than those found in the fiery attacks of the fascist leagues or, on the other side of the political spectrum, those soon to be addressed to the 'mad dogs' in the Moscow trials. They signal an era" (124-5). Violent rhetoric produces violent action, Clair insists, even adding later that to use false or incorrect speech [mal dire or mal nommer] -- a tendency he extends toward "the grand illusion of modern language theory" (94) -- is tantamount to cursing [maudire], and to speaking evil [dire mal] (186). Surrealism, like other avant-garde movements before and since, refused to separate their artistic practice from the political sphere; in "seeking to conflate vita contemplativa, and vita politica," Clair argues, the movement's members become as subject to judgment and condemnation as any member of a political party (195 and 65).

    Source: Object Lessons: Surrealist Art, Surrealist Politics, p. 177-178
  56. [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