A Digital Death Drive? Hubris and Learning in Psychoanalysis and Cybernetics

  • Colin John Campbell York University/OCAD University

Sažetak


This paper offers a critique of the fetishisation of ‘the digital’ in Western culture by bringing together Freudian and Marcusian psychoanalytic theory with Gregory Bateson’s cybernetics. In particular, it correlates the cybernetic concepts of analog and digital information with the psychoanalytic conceptual pair of Eros and Thanatos. The psychoanalytic concept of the ‘death drive’ appears through the cybernetic lens as a fetishistic tendency towards freezing or regressing to lower levels of complexity and sensitivity of learning. With the help of Marcuse and Bateson, I understand the contemporary prevalence of a ‘digital death drive’ as an inhibition of learning in terms of the nature of the digital and its severing from the analog context. By contrast, by reading Marcuse’s concept of Eros as having multiple logical levels (Eros1,2,3) in the cybernetic sense and by comparing these levels with Bateson’s multiple logical levels of learning (Learning1,2,3), we come to see Marcusean ‘erotic liberation’ or ‘revolutionary love’ not as resulting from simple acts or statements of rebellion against repressive socio-political norms, but rather as being profound, lifelong learning processes, fraught with complexity and difficulty.

Biografija autora

Colin John Campbell, York University/OCAD University
Colin J Campbell is a sessional lecturer at York University and OCAD University in Toronto, Canada.

Reference

Adorno, T. (2005). Minima Moralia. New York: Verso.

Aristotle (1963). Politics and Poetics (Jowett and Twining, trans.). New York: The Viking Press.

Bateson, G. (1971). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bateson, G. (1978). Beyond the Double-Bind: Communication and Family Systems, Theories and Techniques with Schizophrenics. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. New York: E.P. Dutton.

Bateson, M. C. (1991). Our Own Metaphor. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Bateson, M. C. (2014). Cybernetics in the Future: Introductory Lecture. Accessed 18. 11. 2016. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXQraugWbjQ.

Bell, S. & Horowitz, G. (eds.) (2016). The Book of Radical General Semantics. New Dehli: Pencraft International.

Freud, S. (1908/1989). Character and Anal Erotism. In Gay, P. (ed.), The Freud Reader (pp. 293–297). New York: W.W. Norton.

Freud, S. (1920/1989). Beyond the Pleasure Principle. In Gay, P. (ed.), The Freud Reader (pp. 594–626). New York: W.W. Norton.

Freud, S. (1925/1989). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (6th edition). In Gay, P. (ed.), The Freud Reader (pp. 239–93). New York: W.W. Norton.

Freud, S. (1929/1989). Civilization and Its Discontents. In Gay, P. (ed.), The Freud Reader (pp. 722–771). New York: W.W. Norton.

Heidegger, M. (1993). The Question Concerning Technology. In Basic Writings. San Francisco: Harper.

Horowitz, G. (2016). Springing the Trap of Repression from the Inside: Lacan’s Marcuse. C-Theory, April, 2016. Accessed 18. 11. 2016. URL: http://ctheory.net/ctheory_wp/springing-the-trap-of-repression-from-the-inside-lacans-marcuse/.

Korzybski, A. (1948). Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. Lakeville: The International Non-Aristotelian Library Publishing Company.

Marcuse, H. (1955). Eros and Civilization. Boston: Beacon Press.

Marcuse, H. (1964). One-Dimensional Man. Boston: Beacon Press.

Marx, K. (1990). Capital. New York: Penguin.

Pickering, A. (2010). The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of another Future. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ramachandran, V. (2009). The Neurons that Shaped Civilization. Accessed 18. 11. 2016. URL: https://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization?language=e.

de Saussure, F. (2011). Course in General Linguistics (Baskin and Meisel trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.

Stern, D. (1990). Diary of a Baby. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Tiqqun (2001). “The Cybernetic Hypothesis.” Accessed 18. 11 2016. URL: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/tiqqun-the-cybernetic-hypothesis.

Dopunske datoteke
Objavljeno
2016/12/26
Rubrika
Originalni naučni članak