And another other place…

by Arran James

Blogs are supposed to be practice. I haven’t been practicing very much. That is why I am rebooting myself over at Catastrophic Edge. It will be focussed on expanding on some of the darker aspects to what I’ve produced on here and left underdeveloped. It is part of a project in post-nihilistic thinking but heading into those shores that look at what happens when coping is pathological. Specifically it is a notepad or a rehearsal space for thoughts on suicide and suicidality, post-traumatic symptoms, self-harm, anorexia, psychopathy, dysempathy, addiction (to drugs and as a concrete metaphor for the will to live). It will also feature more things on extinction, pessimism, nihilism,  bleak theory, depressive realism, gnosticism and all those shades of horror and despair that are generally not seen as part of coping. However, this doesn’t mean the renunciation of the syntheticzero project. In fact, insofar as it means a reactivation of an exploration of coping & its discontents it is also a return to thinking about these things at all.

I’ve also gotten pretty dissatisfied with my writing so this might be a place- after the two posts already up- where I try to change it up a bit. On the one hand I want to write more stuff in the style of the hallucination and psychoclimate communique. On the other hand I also share Colin Feltham’s aspiration in his Keeping Ourselves in the Dark:

‘I want to write in a way that can be understood by my sons; that is somewhat philosophical but not too dessicated in the manner of professional academic philosophers writing or talking to each other about minutiae…wander from opinion to theory to description…to some extent reflect the messiness of life itself’ (Feltham 2015, 13).

If he doesn’t mind, I might actually use this blurb from Levi as a fun ‘about’ page…because I hate writing that shit, and because when you feel like an illegitimate voice at the table these kind of words are worth keeping hold of…

I’ve only come to know Arran James’s blog in the last year– and apparently we met when I was at Dundee earlier this year –but it is one of the best blogs I’ve encountered in years.  James works within the world of psychotherapy and this is reflected in his posts.  Thoroughly grounded in Freudo-Lacanian theory, as well as concrete patients, his writing is characterized by a passion for the problems of the clinic, a deep sense of ecology and politics, and a pervasive attentiveness to the relationship between theory and practice.

Those words were written at a time when I spent about 12 hours a day in the library and my anxiety about a lack of intellectual qualifications- having to read the right things and to read them well enough- was much more pronounced. The optimism of my politics belies a default position of  depressive realism and deflationary nihilism, and so it is that I’m returned to the position where I quit the yearning to play at the subject-supposed-to-know or measure against that holder of apophatic knowledge. We are each of us stumbling around in the blind darkness, dragging ourselves forward like Melancholia’s Justine trying to push through dense and heavy growths that grab and wrap themselves around us, pulling us down into the cold earth. We are all just trying to cope- the revolutionary and the schizophrenic, the poet and the milkman. Every one of us, so far as we do anything at all, is engaged in the project of trying to cope with life. From this perspective there is as much worth in getting through the day as there is in getting through a life as there is in having written Being and Time as there is in partaking in emancipatory struggles. I’ll end this brief post with yet another quote. This one was brought to my attention by my friend over at autodespair a few years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. I’ll leave you with the words of Frank Sinatra then…

I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle.