DHL's "Ideas" and "Ideals"...

Hi, David W.!

For me, the main point of _Fantasia of the Unconscious_ is that raising any
"idea" to an "ideal" is wrong, which comforts me when he then goes on to
says some of the stuff that makes me roll my eyes. Love is *always*
individual for DHL, which of course is very anti-Freud, because Sigmund
loved his generalizations. This also ties in with his favorite philosopher
in college, William James, whom he also calls upon in _Apocalypse_ with
such (perhaps) anti-Foucaultian beliefs as trees sharing the same ground.

Again, I am not a Deleuze scholar, so... cool. De-center me. Can we do it
through the vortex of _History of Sexuality, Volume One_ (God, I had that
all marked up and ready to go!) or _Madness and Civilization_ (I have those
marked up)?

> We do know this much: that the pushing of the ideal to any further
>lengths will not avail us anything.

Yes. That is exactly what DHL questions in _Fantasia..._. (I'm more familar
with it than _Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious_.) What ARE the "ideals"?
Who set them up? DHL says "ideas, yes; ideals, no." This ties in with the
*best* of Foucault, to me. Wrong?

One thing about DHL, James, Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, Jesus, and more... they
had heart. Romanticists? Or... humane? Or... more than words can express,

No, I'm not a Paul Simon "believer". I actually think he's a horror of a
man. Dictatorial, egotistical to the max, and... don't get me going on
Paul! Parts of _Graceland_, from what I've heard, are quite nice, though.

>My point here is that your critique of F's separation of sex and love,
>and your critique on Deleuze are related, in that according to Deleuzian
>thought it is the confusing of the two which is ultimately dangerous.

I also find Foucault's usage of the word "soul" as yet another... mere
power ploy?... offensive, and typical, although needs more exploring. He
seems to think "we" are merely constructions of various times and places.
It's all power ploys to Michel, at times, right? And slaves and masters can
easily change places in S&M? *Sometimes*. I mean, we should all be
ambidextrous, too. But, you see, Foucault stands at the extremity of
constructions, and....

Am I being Jungian reactionary, or maybe the trade routes set up by Marco
Polo, or... what IS it about the stigma of being left-handed, seemingly
*world-wide*? "Dieu et mon droit." Gauche. Sinistra. I think it's an
anti-Dionysian conspiracy, which William James as well as Nietzsche and
Jesus were out to subvert. The Islamic world... and did Japan import it,
too? (One of my best friends is Japanese, and had her left hand basically
tied behind her back, growing up in the 1960s, it was that bad.) Glad that
the "bottoms" in Gary Leupp's _Male Colors_ of Tokugawa Japan weren't
stigmatized like they *often* are in Brazil, though.

But... what is it about Thai bedspreads that remind me of Guatemala, too?
Serendipity? Or did they have contact? Palm trees around the equator,
around the world. We all BLEED (Shylock, _Merchant of Venice_)......

And, sure, *most* crows are black. But... but... where's the *white* crow?

We go from place to transition to place to transition to place, and find
that it is not the same "place" that we left. Something about "novelty"...?

>"The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands and
>feet Proportion." (Blake)

Yes. You have to take the bitter with the sweet, and many other things in
between, with Blake. He is ALIVE. By the way, does anyone else think that
the "Clod" is a masochist setting itself up for abuse by that sadistic
"Pebble"? Or is it just The Odd Couple for Eternity? Jesus operated on
sheer impulse, you know ("Marriage of Heaven and Hell"). A Dionysian?

>A few days ago you proposed to supplement F's materialist troika
>(Marx, Nietzsche, Freud) with a holy trinity (James, Emerson, and ?).

John Stuart Mill was the third to which I alluded on that day, and for him,
I really need only "On Liberty". To which my other half, an historian,
accuses me of being "Anglo-American centric", just as I can accuse people
who are too heavily reliant on Marx/Nietzche/Freud as being too
"Euro-centric", I suppose. And to which I reply, "Well... it wasn't a
*conscious* decision on my part to realize that Hegel was... messed up." (I
love some of James's Hegel bashing.) Also, please note that I still also
LIKE much of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. Freud, for example, still has
support for his Id/Libido/Id/Ego/Super-Ego construct in the psychiatric
community, I've heard. Ever read "The Self" chapter of _Principles of
Psychology_, by W. James? It says much the same thing, just not in sexual
terms. But I personally find Emerson and James to be much more up my alley,
yes. I think they're "undervalued" in academia, at least in the States. And
I wonder why, to tell you the truth. I'd rather be "an individual" compared
to a "SuperMan". I'd rather realize that "concepts" are merely like bubbles
on top of "perceptions" than have to go through this... strange history out
of which Foucault seems to give me no exits, whereas James gives HOPE. Kind
of a retort to Julian Jaynes's suggestion in _The Origin of Consciousness
in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind_?

I think you find *ideas* like ETHICS in Emerson, Mill, and James. James
believes we can make progress, whereas at the end of _History of Sexuality,
Volume One_, it feels to me like a very Nietzschean despair conclusion.
And, as I've been trying to show with real life, in *some* ways progress IS
being made. Perhaps in part to people like Michel Foucault.

And really, for Stanley Cavell to fret about "Fate" and what it meant
during the Civil War... it just seems silly to me. (_Philosophical
Passages: Wittgenstein, Emerson, Austin, Derrida_). Emerson had already
clearly made his anti-slavery stand, and this is "Fate" essay functions
very well in 1998 as well as *in* its time.

But the best way to describe W. James is as an agnostic, in my opinion (I
mean, there COULD be a God... then again, there may NOT be a God... but the
question remains: what are you going to DO with your life?) Where does
anyone find him saying such stuff as "absolute"? He fought against
"monistic superstition" his entire adult life (he had it crammed down his
throat by Daddy Dearest), beginning with _Principles..._, and credits
Renouvier, in particular, for helping him to overcome it. He was strongly
tolerant of the *varieties* of religious experience. (And has anyone else
noticed that they're all... uh... very NON-dogmatic experiences, to say it
mildly?) "Truth" for James, as for Nietzsche, is subjective, or open to
perspective. James is known for *insisting* that these so-called scientists
realize that they are part of the picture as they collect these "facts". In
this sense, he too understands what Nietzsche was saying with that _Thus
Spoke..._ paraphrase: "I don't ask whether you are free, but where you are
coming from."

For example, Foucault neglects to mention in his usage of Nietzsche's and
Van Gogh's "insanity" at the end of their lives that they were both
afflicted with venereal disease at the end of _Madness..._. He picks and
chooses, as do we all, in our use of language and in his use of argument.
How much was VD a factor in the later years of Nietzsche and Van Gogh,
though? I happen to think it was a very BIG factor, sadly.

-----Randall Albright

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