I derived I saw myself last night


Fifth Estate # 381, Summer-Fall 2009

“History,” Stephen said, “is a nightmare from which I’m trying to awake.”

To resist, that is to create, is this waking–in the sense of waking up from the nightmare of history: of the accumulation of capital, state power, the vast concentration of hierarchies and fields of power embodied through society–extended through colonization.

To resist is to become conscious of them, to tear asunder the forms which replicate and sustain the nightmare of history from which we wish to awake–and to constitute new forms of social life.

We perceive our desires painted on the walls, gestures and idealizations objectified and staring back at us. The gridded spaces shifting, dividing and reproducing the void between our body and desire: the space in which the lack is known apart from the sire, as a focal point where our disembodied desires are codified and projected back on to us as means of control–as the sire, the sovereign.

In spirals of projection and objectification, these disembodiments come to be perceived as natural. The products of our minds and bodies rule over us; alien objects, yet they are of us.

Tu deseos son parte de system: your desires are part of the system (as seen written on a storefront window). Our dreams and longings for transcendence are not opposed to the systems of control and powers of domination; they are very much part of them. The body and its desires may break free from the most blatant iron cages, forms of technocratic and bureaucratic control. But these moments of excess can be contained and recapitulated within systems of control.

Moments of desire beyond the limits of reason modulate the grids of control, but the rupture is not permanent–the bursting and rapture paradoxically maintains the very forms of control we yearn to shatter. We may strain to escape the handcuffs, but that only makes them tighter.

Where does that leave us? With no outside, no hope of breaking free from these nightmares of history and control that we have inherited? In the reflections of our desires, the processes through which we externalize ourselves, come to learn through the processes of relating to others–there is what contains a possibility of freedom through the rhizomatic unfolding of possible selves. Liberation from nightmares of history consists not of breaking beyond the boundaries of control, but withdrawing from the relations of them into an unfolding of new possibilities. In these constantly folding and unfolding acts of self-creation, both collective and individual, the refusal of working towards a unified unchanging self in opposition: the liberation from domination becomes precisely by refusal of the domination of liberation. consists not of breaking beyond the boundaries of control, but Withdrawing from the relations of them into an unfolding of new possibilities.