N. O.

Brown
FROM POLITICS TO METAPOLITICST

My 6rst response to the inyitation of this honorable company and to the wishes of Frederick William Atherton "a topic related to ethical or social criticism', was that it would be a pleasure to present my kind of
radicalism iu this enyironment - Since then I have been wondering about radicalism and wondering about myself These are times of great uncertainty and doubt as well
anguish.

as

Starting out

in the Thirties

Wl-ren to be yourg was to be a Marxist I ask myself What has happened since then? What have I leamed in my bizarre psychedelic trips

I mean my books? What news is there that might be useful to the citizens
the young citizens

who are starting out now? You have a right to ask how much, or how little.
So much has changed perhaps the message is instability permanent instability in the mind couesponding to the permanent revolution

in

things

, FreiTick William Atherton
zo, tg67

lecture, Flarvard University, March

instability to be accepted as an etemal truth like Heraditean fux

- -

Those Iower classes, lower depths, are the depths an underworld repressed by the bourgeois ego a cauldron of energy and violence with the lid on an anoDymous mass, or social id

of

depth

psychology

But iu this Heraclitean fux, or fire, there is for me also a Heracliteao Logos the Logos, the word is O:re, or oneness unity
uni6cation the unification of the human race. Intelleetualsr for me the word still spells a voeation _ intellecruals who have been mrsted with the word, the Logos, are called to work for unity. If, as Blake said the Fall is into Division the yocation of the intellectual is to oyercome the consequences of the Fa1l. I don't know abour the proletadar, but the intellectual, as such, has no fatherland or, to use anothet metaphor, there is a heavenly city.
Logos seeks uniflcation; and the fact it faces is Division Alienation, in the old Marxist vocabulary the rents, the splits, in the newer Freudian vocabulan the schisms the schizophrenia.

- -

you take the psychoanalytical idea of projection seriously the proletadat (if and when \4,e pe:ceive one) is us projected a collective proiection a collective dream, or nighnrrare (the dream is in the language (and the language is acted upon (saying makes it so) If you take the psychoanalytical idea oI projection seriously the ego constructs itself by projecting the other the ego constructs itself by drawing an imaginaty line between inside and outside an imaginary boundary-line And this imaginary boundary-line is the reality-principle The reality-principle is the distinction berween inner world and extemal rcality and it is a false distinction. "The false reality-principle" This is to take psychoanalysis more seriously tlran dre psychoanalysts do

If

Now

alienation

- if I may mahe a Crect Leap For.r,rard _ is schizophrenia

the outcome of the collision between Marx and Freud is their unification the perception of the analogy between the two the analogy between social and psychic society and soul body and body politic.

oi to

pass beyond psychoanalysis

Beyond the reality-principle is poetry taking metaphors seriously (metaphors and analogies)

that way madness lies.

Irr the mythology of Marxism, the reyolution is from below:

is the disintegtation of the

The disintegration of the boundary-line betwee[ inner and outer self and orher
ego

To perceive that it all really takes place in one body js to transva]Lle the old political uategories
to pass from politics to metapolitics or poehy, The proletariat is dead but the proletariat is us long live the prcletadat. There is an inner Bastille to be captured to release the prisoners
or rather, the inner ard the outer Bastille is the same Bastille or mther, the distinction befieen inner and outer is the Bastille the false reality-principle the government of the reality-principle, to be overthrown And the revolution is a visionary break-through

the &sintegration of the ego of the ego-psychologists in Ma*ist terms, the disintegration of the bourgeois ego of bourgeois individualism or, alienafion ovetcome - The split between inside and outside is the primal split is the origin of alienation. Already

in

Marxism
masses

the intellectual was to go to the

Ma*ist thought
Bur

be drowned in rlre p.olelarian orern
substitutes

bourgeois individualism, the separate self, was to

for the reality of individuals the
mutually

classes, as external realities,

",.,J"r1lt?r""I,ilT::;
eiiher

or Poetry or madness.

Man. who, lil,e Freud. is a genius

it ctl really takes place in one body.
r,rbo surpasses his own limitations, or:ce said:

Revolution really is

madaess

"The head of this emancipation is philosophy, irs heart
He-means ego and id.

rhe

at the word, must

of course proleraiia,, also be genital,

if ro., l';1"'o'iut'

political revolutions The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution Ten Days that Shook the World The Great Cultural Revolution All the pathology of the twentieth century the madness of the millennia breaking out,
as Nietzsche prophesied

At any rate, it all tales place in one body one body that has beel mysteriously dismembered
to koit again

It

and needs to be remembered these broken limbs into one body. must be sorne kind of enbrace

The problem really is madoess There is a point where Marat and de Sade are one, Wlrat to do with madness The political solution to the problem of rnadness
divide and conquer
segregation anal repression

-

f,merson used to

s:y,

overcoming alienation.

is

After Emerson, what happened, on the American continent, to
this inruition)
l0

There is only.one Man

(lite in

asylums)

perpetual con{lict

the political revoludon is a temporary break_clown followed by the reinstirution of repression a cycle of explosion and repression activity and passiviry
eternal reoccurence Perperuel confict is rhe rule o[ polirics the reality_priociple

To

save the

revolution it must be given a metapolitical
meaning
as madness, or poetry

in

unintemrpted poetry:
surrealism, to stamp out reality. Madness and Civilization

fs there any altemative)
would

the world as we know

it

A metapolitical solution to the problem of madness
see politics as madness and madness as the solution to politics.

a very serious question Ilere I differ from one of your sages B. F. Skinner, Waldln Two (zou ): "Nothing comes from general frothing at the mouth"

Brea}ing down the boundaries is bteaking down the realityprinciple unificadon Iies be)ond rhe rellity-principie the communion is Dionysian. Madr, ess is eyen the solurion to the prcblem of madness it is sanity that needs to be saved (I don,t mean, save your sanity) it was the greahess of Freud to see throrrgh, to bore tlr.ough, the wcll sepirating s.rnity and insnoiry it is all a problen of communication the poet says, Madness is oDeness lost
oneness

I have done some frothing in my time Madness is an etemal truth lnd some shaking or quaking is testimony to the need for liberation to the uncomfortableness of culture It is possible that the futuE is a contented humanity without neutotics like me
but

I don't think so I don't think the future is behavioral
is

engineering

getting rid of unhappiness, maladjustrnent, madness

A{y utopia

But

regained is nadness

also.

Can we liberate inste.td o[ reoress Ccn r,re find a way of being peonanenlly unsrable _ _ Emerson says: "Whenever man comes, there comes revolution,,

It is the idea of pemanent revoludon

there is drat great flame

But pelmanent revolution cannot be political revolution permanent political revolution is fratricide, or suicicle, it is the situation we are in now the situation we ate trying to escape from

an environment that lvorks so well that we c.rn run wild in ir anarchy in an envircnment that works tlle environment works, does all the work a fully autom..rtic cnvironment all public utilities or communicarion-networks (the engineering contribution to unilication; uniEcation is also a matter ol engineering) NIy teache$ in utopian enginee ng are John Cage and Buclminster Fuller l)Lrt wasn't there a divinely absurd anticipation in Marx, or l3

Engels, saying that the government of persons

will Le replaced by the adrainistration of thiuos _

_

political divisions, boundaries

but, at a deeper level, the reality-principle
the boundary betq,een Self and Other the logic which divides which most people thinli is reason itself, or mtionality Ilationality and the realiry-principle are obstacles to unification

The environment can do all the work
Serious drought, thought as r,vork,

in pr1isuit ol Wirklichkeit,

Wirklichkeit, thc Gennan word for reality, ,,r"

ti"ll",i-'

"'"-

The realityTrinciple is about over Thought as work can be buriccl in machines and computers rhe wotk.lefr to be d^ne is ro Lrrry thoughrr qrrire
-lo put thought urdergrounJ

principle

ajub

llut fortunately thero is a disturbance in the house of reason llyer since the age of reason something like a collective breakdown has been taking place

as (ommunication nenvork, sewnge 5ystem. power iines So that wr'lduc.s can con.e rbovc eround Technological ration.rlity .rn be pur to .l"ep so that something else can awaken in the human mind something li}e the god Dionysus something which cannot be programned

a destruction of

reason

'l'hc logos of

a destruction in which intellect rnust immere ln order that the disittegration of the ego may be the birth of some kind of collective consciousness ln order that the logic of division may give way to the logos of union

union

whose name is, or one of whose names is,

The ordering of the physical environment will

ever since the time
release

of Hegel,

The future, if there is one, is machines and madness What men ot gods are these? What maidens lothl What mad pursuit) What stNggle to escape) The stmggle should not be, i. no lorrge; really, tlie struggle

unparallelled quantities and forms of human disorder

dialectics.

\\/c are still Hegel's
even

contemporades

Ior

existence.

in America, as Emerson knew living in the last days, the end of history the age of revolution and apocalypse And therefore in drat No Man's Land between reason anal
madness which is dialectics Relolutioa is really Reason and Madness l)iulectics is the rcvolt against rationalism rlrc discovery that self-contradiction is the essence of reality tfic op..1.* to the absurd l)iirlectics is intellect seeking union with energy in Marx, phiiosophy see}ing union with the proletariat in Freud, ego seeling union with id Reason

Mcl-r,han is talicn by some to mean rhrt rechnolos). is bringing us into a global vilJaqe Buckminster Fuller is raken by some ro mcan rl)rl rcchnolosy is Drmgrng us a glol,al network of public scrvites But there is some obsuuction There is some obstacle impetling the free flow of unifrcation
14

P:, y"ll"jlt"" is not only l\4.rrshrll

a matter of engineering.

a

d,

In

dialectics

nothing is stable, movement is all a logic of passion
Mandelstam

:ud

so

did Freud;
worship flexible

in

Russia

in rgzr
a

lrt Ieast the Freud whom the Psychoanalytical Associations Systems, Marxist, Freudian, can be, as they

(Mar:delstam, not Leniflj a poet not politician): "A new heroic era has
opened

say,

is fesh and bread. It shares the fate of bread and flesh: su$e ng.,,

in the life of the word. The

Ilut flaribility is not enough

worcl

Dialectics is a dialectic of life against

death

Mind, or qririt, or life, must learn how to die it must go under nll these systems have imrnortal longings on them that is why they are dead

- -

dearh is a part of life like Freud, Hegel says the goal oI all life is death: "The nature of the finite lies in this, that it dissolves itself,, it must go under

bom dead
rcpresenting {rom the hour of their birth the dead hand oI

the past
'T'he flexibility is wriggling to avoid death

rhe Ufe rhat suEers dearh nnd preserves itself in death is tie lil'e of the-Spirir. Spirir gaios irc truG by finding itsell in absolute dismemberment (Zerissenheii)." Dismemberment, absolute disrnemberment

Td.f:"1.

rr in prcctice, in action _ _ tJege.l, Phenomenolog.yj ..Not the life thot shrinl<s [rom t]crth itself undefiled by devastation (Velwiistung), but
sel

this is

f-con rradictio

rvhat they mean by rarionality

is,

don't die

'llrc rule o{
is uot

be consistent
die-in-order-to-live

- -

d.iese

Stirb' und Waile
metamorphosis

fexibility but

is noi political but poetical,

the Spirit of Dionysus, Ge god who is <lismembcred
Dionysus, or schizophrenia schizophrenia is spirit in absolute disraemberment
d6ch.ir

'lhe real acrion in Lore's Body
(you cao tell by the creaking) is to flnd an alternative to systematic Iorm
systematic, frnds refuge in aphoristic fonn Aphorism: the word smells of literary self-consciousness rLc reality is bro]<enness woids in absolute dismemberment

Dionysus is also union, comrnuuioa Dialectics is the dissolution of all parrr.al srarements till rhcy are lost in the whole .,the rruth is in tl.re whole,, And the union or communion is madness dialecdcs is drunkenness or dancins the Baccharralian revel oI dre cafegories in which nnr one member is sober.

ement o nt ol o gi qu e

l)ialectics,

in flight from the

or even, absolute self-contradietion,
We have been told that the medium is the message Aphoristic forrn has political or rather metapolitical implications * l)olitics is systerns 'l'here is a hiddcn nrrth or secret

Hegel nevetheless made a Hegelian system and Marx also made a system

that is \rhat the Unconscious is all about cannot be put into systematic, reified, permanent form Systematic reified permanent form creates ,r, lvho por."..

But

it

Nietzsche says

"iir"

(Platonic academn occult order, ,oliri"rl no.,r, the repository of the secrer)
Mass-mysticism is poetry an open sccret

'h"

t""'"'

"He does not negate any more" At any rate intellectuals should watch their language
'.[

he critical judgement

which
r

separates the sheep from the goats

We and They
r:itical judgement is party or sect-fomation is scissior of the one body

__

"The truth is in the whole,, But the whole is in any part, not in the system _ infinity in a grain
Aphorism

anil projection of part of ourelves
lrrtellect as protest

or great refusal
(Hawthorne-Melville's No in Thunder)
gets us nowhere

is

and in an instant the whole is here or nowhere instant dialectic

Only

so do we have a form

Arrd so perishable that it cannot be hoardcd by any elite or storcd in any ilstihrtion A form oI dialectics, therefore, uneguivocclly on tbe "ide of freedom or madness.

the instantaneous flip instead of the elaborate system of intellect that is so easy that any child could do it or, only a child can do it

irr this mess, rcctitude or righteoumcss is unobtainable and will not save us. What kinil of language might be helpful?
Instead of morality, metaphor

to {elly us

across

the language which unifies The language of healing, or making whole, is not

|(,{rtry is the

And tnally
(using Hegel again as my landmark) The Hegelian dialecdc is the simuitaneous total affirmation of this world and its total negation

psychoanalysis, but poetry. visionary form, or explosion which overthrows the reality-principle and transforms dre vvorld, iust the way it is, without changing a thing the transformation is the unifrcation. I lrcse are the fragmentaly moments which briug sorrething new

into the world
li,,rgrnentary mornents: there isn't anything we can count on or
accumulate.

Both the right-wing Hegelians and the left_wing

H"g"lioi.

*"
it

Both the Marxian change the world and the Ni"tzs.hea;n everything always the same The hard thing here is the Nietzschean aftrmation _ _ l8

l"iclry is the solveut which

dissolves

the vigorous stereotypes of political ideology

i9

the numb automatism of political reflexes the somnambulist grardty of literal believers These are the obsauctions to be dissolved to be loosened up _ _ Poetry is the transforming spirir of play metapho cal play Begin today no place needs the transforming spirit of play
more

that Bastille of litemlism

than the llniversity

especially that Bastille inside the Basrille

in

ra,hich

I

The great revolutionary inteuectual

"u"l;:

:':",r"Jl#ll^"r".

a tr.anftiln that is accomplished not by linguistic analysis but by poetry,

who reduced all that solemn nonsense to ,,or."r.r.Jo'"" leading us in the path to which Wittgenstein directed us from disguised nonsense to patent nonsense

The primal Logos is rhe poeric Logos and lhe fogos of uniEcation is poetry The intellecrual, to r,1hom was entrusred the rvorcJ, wcs given the power to unify the world this way a1g also enginee*, to whom is given the power to unify lhere the world in anorher way. Tbere are also politicians. It is the tale of Shem and Shaun
who turn into Shem, Ham, and Japheth or Tom, Dick, aad Harry.