Desubjectification

My friend, Ryland, asked me a great question tonight:
Every time you talk about desubjectification in yr popOp, I don’t understand what you mean. What do you mean by desubjectification?”

In reponse:

I think a great place to look would be in Foucault as this is where Agamben (from whom I learned the term) gets it. He gives a fairly good account of it in an interview in 1978 with Le Bitoux (Mec, 1988, trans. Savran, 1992). The idea seems fairly similar to D&G’s discussion of the BwO – a zone of intensity, no longer a representation of an ontic being.

Foucault states, in that interview:

[in the bath houses] you meet men who are like you, who are like what you are for them….You cease to be imprisoned in your own face, in your own past, in your own identity.”
So desubjectification can be an affirmation of non-identity. A means by which to become a multiplicity, a communal being.

Immediately I don’t feel much of a resonance with the idea of an emancipatory strategy in this sort of situation, it seems a bit too much plaisir and less jouissance. But then I read this article “Overcoming Masturbation” by Light Planet, a mormon proselytizing organ. Now I see why desubjectification as a strategy would be of use to someone.

I’m fairly surprised that 1) these people think there is something wrong with masturbation 2) the problem will be “cured” by not “admiring oneself” nor touching one’s body, and 3) one strategy for overcoming the problem of enjoying oneself a-sexually is to eat a snack “even if you’re not hungry” and finally 4) don’t even pray about it.

Seriously? You believe that prayer, the direct means of access to the Lord of all Creation (including masturbation, mind you!) is actually a bad thing when you’re trying to overcome what God created us to do?

I’m with you, Foucault:

It is regrettable that such sites of erotic experience do not exist for heterosexuals. Wouldn’t it be a marvelous state of affairs for them to be able to, at any hour of the day or night, enter into a place furnished with all the comforts and with all the possibilities they could imagine…?

I am writing this week’s popOp about addictions (even masturbation, I guess) and the centrality of this concept to the very notion of how we think of the universe. I’m referencing, of course, Plato’s Phaedrus and the discussion of pharmakonpharmakeiapharmakeus-(pharmakos); thanks, Derrida!

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