Irrational Rationalism

As Freud would see me, I am either in a pendulum swing towards neurosis, in which I am repressing my desires in order to acquiesce to the real, or I am swinging towards psychosis and actualizing my desires, notwithstanding the real. Am I sitting in the midst of a straight line, a vector, in which I can swing one way or another? Or, rather am I a vertex of a triangle and I can choose either one path or the other, notwithstanding that my departure only brings me closer to the opposing extremity.

Either I am destined to feel a lack for not actualizing my desires, or I feel a lack from disengaging from the real. Or, I can remain at the tip of the triangle and feel the partial lack and a repression of both my Id and Superego…what am I to do with this Lack? “On the one hand [I am] the desiring machine and on the other hand [I am] the Oedipal-narcissistic machine.” [i] But, nonetheless, a machine?   Freud would go further to say that this desire, this lack, was deeply entrenched within my unconscious mind and it is a human condition— a constant, as evidential in mythology and his observation. Is this so? Am I so transparent and just a Zombie crawling through life in search of reconciling my desires to the desires of the collective in a process that serves at nothing but to be a yo-yo that coils and recoils, ad infinitum, and at every metaphorical X,Y coordinate I desire the opposite, the non-self, the other. My object petit a is merely everything that is not me at every moment in time— petulant desires, perpetual lack and, subsequently, perpetual neurosis and psychosis. I am the tripartite. I am screwed.

Daddy is the train, and mommy is the station. I sit within the circular course and thrust the train around, and around— in and out of the station/mommy.[ii] Over and over and over and over and over and over, oh wait— Does this make me God?   Zarathustra swoons!

Does not the young Siddhartha lament near a riverbed at the sight of his own reflection[iii] and ponder what can only be seen as the same? Is it I that is truly attached to desiring, or is it the world that asserts this upon me, of which I can’t decipher as my reflection, although rippled and cloudy, is me and in the process of becomingI am, I was and I will be. Is one of these incarnations of me incomplete, is there a lack, of which drives me to desire and be. Can I discover the moment in time where my reflection becomes I, and I become it and I reconcile and negate— the positive one, upon the negative one, that balances to none. My authenticity, alas, I have negated to nothing and like a cracker-jack box filled with the void, the nothingness, I discover the prize, my Dasein.[iv]   But, you know, Heidegger be damned, this was all just a joke. As if Dasein is true, it can only exist, logically so, in two possible modes: either there is a lack that, from pure petulance we desire and, hence, desire qua desire and henceforth my desire is an infinite regression of vacillating desire and Dasein is merely an illusion, a dreamanalogous to Wittgenstein illustrating that a finite perspective will always be perceived as infinite[v]; or, rather, there is no lack and henceforth there is no reconciliation needed and we all achieved Dasein by merely thinking ourselves into existenceDescarte for the win!

Who is, as they say, the prankster? Who found the lack and sent Heidegger down the rabbit hole in search of a finite replacement for the infinite void— comically this could be envisaged as chasing your own shadow in a room without light.

As a child I persistently played with trains, as to foreshadow my career as a train engineer— but, now, as my life spins in chaos the analyst tells me that my desire to play with trains had nothing to do with my proclivity towards the mechanical, but rather my unconscious proclivity towards my Oedipal desire— I situate within the tripartite as I lust for my mother and despise my father. Like a tether ball I swing around and around in search for solvency and only end up being wound up tightly in neurosis for a bit, then I retract and recoil and spin freely until wound up in psychosis.   And Freud says this was in me the whole time. Voila! Now I know, now I see. I shall stand back and recognize this tethering ball and learn how to grab it, stop it, contain it, isolate it— alienate it? Existential crisis ensues.

But wait Sigmund? Is it possible in the possible of the possible that I just like trains and have a proclivity towards the mechanical? Is it possible that you did not discover my Oedipal desire, but rather created my Oedipal desire?   As you said Mr. Freud, the malaise of the individual and the malaise of society run hand in hand, if this is so, how would we ever know if it is Siddhartha who sits upon the riverbed or is it Siddhartha who resides within the stream?   What a cruel joke you played on Heidegger to make him spend 800 pages trying to solve such a riddle— as if it was possible to squeeze the universe back into the tiny little kernel of space it occupied before the Big Bang

So regardless if Freud discovered or created the mode of lack-response, the lack, in of itself, remains the problem. But, how can a lack be? Does this not violate the law of partial objects? Is a donut complete, or is a donut a partial object that awaits the reconciliation of its lackthe donut hole? The only means of determining the completeness of the donut would be to know what donut is, in the ideal. Meaning, what is the true form of the donut? If it’s true form includes the hole, then it is whole and complete…no lack. But, how is this not just another paradox— is a donut defined by its definition or is the definition defined by the donut?   Kant, to this accord, would argue that our capacity to know donut is forever and infinitely limited by our own mediation and what we see will never be real or true— the true donut lives in the noumenal and thing-in-itself will never be known[vi].   If this was so, then all things, all knowledge would include the lack— the delta between the thing-in-itself and the thing-in-which-I-see. But, just as Heidegger did, Kant injects us in to the dilemma between everything is real or nothing is real.   Kant, as to perhaps avoid becoming God himself, removes the paradox by inviting all the metaphysics to a party and persists we can ask will the real pure reason, please stand up, please stand up. The bouncer, named Apriori, proceeds to boot the real pure reason out the door and, with that, alas, we know which metaphysics are reasonable and which are not— the line has been drawn. We shall be sensible and rely on our friend, Apriori, to maintain that divide. Although, I am rather perplexed, as to how reason can create Apriori, when we need Apriori to know Apriori in the first place, unless of course, as Kant argues— Apriori was born of a miraculous conception, and the only way we can really know this is by existing without existence, or knowing without any knowing— or, simply because Kant said so.

For those at home keeping score:

Freud discovered the lack in our unconscious.

Kant discovered the lack through reason.

Heidegger, as punch line, searches for this lack in his own shadow.

And me, the neurotic/psychotic train engineer, is still in malaise, as is the world around me.

Deleuze, as it were, would say that Mr. Freud did not discover the lack in the unconscious mind, but rather, discovered the conscious mind reflecting the lack that is necessary within the desiring-machine of what is capitalism. As, supply and demand would dictate, if capitalism implicitly and tacitly claims our world is our oyster and we can create, for what its worth, infinite supply, will we not develop an infinite demand/desire?   Although our supply, in actu, is not infinite, but as reasoned earlier by Wittgenstein our finite perspective will infinitely be perceived as infinite— so as far as we know it’s infinite and hence, our desire to demand shall know no limits. Our super-human strength is our infinite capacity to consume.   Delouse, notwithstanding his partial objects argument, is arguing in a paradox that amounts to this….

10 / 1 = 10   > 1 * 10 = 10

But, then again, maybe the math is not as simple as we perceive. As Deleuze claims,

we no longer know if it is the process that must truly be called madness, the sickness being only disguise or caricature, or if the sickness is the madness and the process is the cure, [but] the more the process of production is led off course, brutally interrupted, the more the schizo-as-entity arises as specific product.[vii]


Maybe this whole essay, this whole thought, this whole meditation has been an exercise in futility, as life and philosophy cannot be expressed in such neat packages, but it is, conversely, rather incompatible and hence: irrational. If life is irrational, then it may be expressed as √-1 — an irrational number.   Is the product of our persistent effort to solve this equation just creating an infinite string of non-whole numbers, fractions— incompletenesses. As Freud scratches his head in preponderance over the schizophrenic and induces that they most be animals[viii]— a body-without-organs, an inconsistent anomaly that does not desire, does not lacka incomplete fraction of existence. But, perhaps the schizo, the hyper rational, the animal as it were, was a human functioning on pure Id, a human without ego. A human without the need to reconcile their desires, henceforth, the only true rationalist is the schizophrenic created by the irrational desire to make sense of our world.


Kant & Freud lament.






[i] Deleuze, Gilles, and Fe Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1983. Print. Page 124

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Hesse, Hermann, and Hilda Rosner. Siddhartha. New York: New Directions, 2009. Print.

[iv] Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. New York: Harper, 1962. Print.

[v] Ek, Slavoj. Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. London: Verso, 2012. Print

[vi] Kant, Immanuel, and Norman Kemp Smith. Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Unabridged ed. New York: St. Martin’s, 1965. Print.

[vii] Deleuze, Gilles, and Fe Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1983. Print. Page 136

[viii] Ibid. Page 23


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