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V 2009 by Semiotext(e) and Franco Berardi
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¯!L ÜLLL /¯ VLÍÌ
FROM ALIENATION TO AUTONOMY
Franco "Bifo" Berardi
ÎIOÍðCOby Jð8OnSmith
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Preface by Jason Smith U
Introduction 2l
1. Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1960s 27
ÿ, The Soul at Work
74
_. The Poisoned Soul lUC
¿. The Precarious Soul
lB4
Conclusion 2U7
Notes 22o
PreíaOe
Soul on Strike
The soul is the clinamen of the body. It is how it falls, and what
makes it fall in with other bodies. The soul is its gravity. This ten­
dency for certain bodies to fall in with others is what constitutes a
world. The materialist tradition represented by Epicurus and
Lucretius proposed a worldless time in which bodies rain down
through the plumbless void, straight down and side-by-side, until
a sudden, unpredictable deviation or swerve-clinamen-leans
bodies toward one another, so that they come together in a lasting
way. The soul does not lie beneath the skin. It is the angle of this
swerve and what then holds these bodies together. It spaces bodies,
rather than hiding within them; it is among them, their consistency,
the afnit they have for one another. It is what they share in com­
mon: neither a form, nor some thing, but a rhythm, a certain way
of vibrating, a resonance. Frequency, tuning or tone.
To speak of a soul at work is to move the center of gravity in
contemporary debates about cognitive capitalism. The soul is not
simply the capacity for abstraction, for the subsumption of the
particular. It is an aesthetic organ as well, the exposure of thought
to the contractions and dilations of space, to the quickening and
lapsing of time. To say the soul is put to work is to affrm that the \
social brain or general intellect (to use two of Marx's phrases that

Ü
have some currency in rhese debares) is nor rhe primary source of
value in rhe productJ. on process. Rather the soul as a web of
attachments and tastes, attractions and inclinations. The soul is

ot simply the seat of intellectual operations, but the afective and
libidinal forces that weave together a world: attentiveness, the
ability to address, care for and appeal to others. The contemporary
subject of cognitive capitalism-Bifo speaks of the cognitariat, but
perhaps there are other names-is not simply a producer of know Í-
edge and a manager of symbols. Capitalism is the mobilization of
a pathos and the organization of a mood; its subject, a field of
desire, a point of inflexion for an impersonal affect that circulates
like a rumor. The cognitariat carries a virus.
The Soul at Work calls itself an experiment in "psychopathology,"
and it describes how something in the collective soul has seized up.
The world has become heavy, thick, opaque, intransigent. A little,
dark light shines through, though. Something opens up with this
extinction of the possible. We no longer feel compelled to act, that
is, to be effective. Our passivity almost seems like a release, a
refusal, a de-activation of a system of possibles that are not ours.
The possible is seen for what it is: an imposition, smothering. With
the eclipse of the possible, at the point zero of depressive lapse, we
are at times seized by our own potentiality: a potency that, no
Ion in vectors of realization, washes back over us.
Depression ccurs, Franco "Bifo" Berardi argues, when the
spee and plexity of the flows of information overwhelm the
capacities of the "social brain)) to manage these flows, inducing a
panic that concludes, shortly thereafter, with a depressive plunge.
Depression is so widespread today, Bifo argues, because the con­
temporary organization of production of surplus-value is founded
on the phenomenon-the accumulation-of speed. In well-known
1 Ö/¯|1ôcOU| òl W0|ª
pages from the Grundrisse, Marx spoke of a tendency, a limit point
in the process of the valorization of capital: the impossible possi­
bility that capital might circulate "without circulation time," at an
infinite velocity, such that the passage from one moment in the
circulation of capital to the next would take place at the "speed of
thought." Such a capital would return to itself even before taking
leave of itself, passing through all of its phases in a process
encountering no obstacles, in an ideal time without time-in the
blinding fash of an instant without duration, a cycle contracting
into a point. No less an authority than Bill Gates restages this fan­
tasy-a limit point of capital, toward which it strains, its
vanishing point-in his Business Ú the Speed o/Thought, cited by
Bifo as a contemporary formalization of this threshold, sum­
moning the possibilit of the circulation of information that would,
Gates fantasizes, OCCut as "quickly and naturally as thought in a
human being."
There is speed and there is speed. It is not simply the phenom­
enon of speed as such that plays the pathogenic role here. The social
factoty is just as much governed by the destabilizing experience of
changes in rhythms, difrences in speeds, whiplash-like reorientations
imposed on a workforce that is flexible, precarious and permanently
on-call-and equipped with the latest iPhone. This organization
of work, in which just-in-time production is ovetseen by a per­
manently temporary labor force, is mirrored in the form of
governance characteristic of democratic imperialism, sustained as
it is by appeals to urgency, permanent mobilization, suspensions of
norms: governance by crisis, rule by exception. It is impossible to
separate the spheres of the economy and the political these days. In
each case, a managed disorder, the administration of chaos. The
social pacts and ptoductive truces of the old welfare states are gone.
Instability is now the order of the day. Disorder, a technique of
government. Depression starts to look less like a drying up of desire
rhan a stubborn, if painful, libidinal slowdown or sabotage, a
demobilization. The soul on strike.
The Soul at Work wants to answer this question: How did we get
from the particular forms of workers' struggle in the 1960s, char­
acterized by widespread "estrangement" of workers from the
capitalist organization of production, to the situation today, in
which work has become the central locus of psychic and emotional
investment, even as this new libidinal economy induces an entire
range of collective pathologies, from disorders of attention to new
forms of dyslexia, from sudden panics to mass depression? How, in
other words, have we passed from the social antagonisms of the
1960s and 1970s, when worker power was paradoxically defned by
a refusal of work, its autonomy from the capitalist valorization
process, and its own forms of organization-its defection from
factory discipline-to the experience of the last two decades, where
work has become the core of our identity, no longer economically
necessary, yet vital to the constitution of the self In short, from
feeing work to identifing W�
.
tf
.
.
Something happened in 1977. ifo hangs his story on this
mutation. It's the year when e refusal of work reaches a fever
pitch in the Italian autonomia movement, the year that the logic of
antagonism and worker neea-what Mario Tronti called the
"antagonistic will" of the proletariat-gives way to a logic of desire,
in which social productivity can no longer be accounted for in
strictly economic categories, and in which the insurrectionary
vectors no longer map onto the old imaginary of social war. The
centrality of the category of worker needs in the struggles of the
1 Z / 1|´ U| l
1960s primarily took two forms. In the sphere of consumption,
there was the form of direct democracy known as "political"
pricing, in which neighborhoods and entire sections of cities uni­
laterally reduced the costs of goods and services such as housing,
transportation and electricity, on the basis of a collective decision
that refused any economic rationality in the determination of
prices. At the point of production, the primary lever of antagonism
was the wage struggle, in which worker power was exercised in a
refusal to link wage levels to productivity, insisting the wage be
treated as an "independent variable." The mutation represented by
the events of 1977, in which the logic of needs and antagonism
gives way to desite and fight, is where The Soul at Wrk really
begins. For what is at stake in its story is the afermath of this mass
defection from factory discipline, this unilateral withdrawal from
the social pact drawn up by capital and its partners, the unions and
the worker parties, in view of "saving" the Italian economy afer the
war. It asks: how has the sphere of desire, the feld of the imaginary
and the affective, whose affrmation as the fundamental feld of the
political once led to a collective abandonment of the sphere of
work, been transformed into the privileged force in the contempo­
rary ordet of work, the privileged moment in the production of
value? Desire braids together emotional, linguistic, cognitive and
imaginary energies that afrmed themselves against the regime of
work in the 1960s and 1970s, a refusal that is then paradoxically
put to work by capital itself. This colonization of the soul and its
desire-the entty of the soul itself into the production process­
spawns paradoxical effects. It transforms labor-power into what
managerial theories call human capital, harnessing and putting to
work not an abstract, general force of labor, but the particularity,
the unique combination of psychic, cognitive and affective powers
I bring to the labor process. Because thl'
!
s contemporary refor
_�,¸
l1e
_¸¸¸i
l
ons throu
I
gh the incitement of my specific creative...
powers,
expenence
k h
in which I am
!
wor as t e segment of social life
most
ree, most
capable of realizing my de '
.
most mysel
Sltes.
The Sou! at Wrk
analyzes the contem
orar d '
'
.
its"
..
"
h
"
P y ynamlcs of capltal m
cogn1t1ve p ase using
h d
.
.
a met 0 It calls compositionism
Th' term lS used by B'£
'd
. IS
use f
.
1 0 to aVOl the
misco
nceptions induced by the
o
o
peratsmo-
worker'
d
current of
Marxism h b
ls¸-t
h
o
.
escribe the specifcally
Italian
e ot m ents and breaks
.
h Th h strictly speakin the h
.
Wlt .
oug
¿_
ö0s and end.
_ �se
d
�f classlcal operaismo
begins in the early
Wlt t e lssolutlOn of the g
J
(

ithin
which Bifo militated) in
¿_
__
. the lar
_
e
¸¸
eld
o

e Operaio
tlOnlSt thought remains very
active today, encompasn
CO

���
l_
A
range �f tend
encies represented by thinkers such as Paol`N
.
e
ntonw
Negri and M
" L
lrno,
On th
.
b"
aur1Z10 azzarato. This
tradition is founded
ree 1m
ncated theor
etical breakth
h
.
h
.
the primacy of wo k
'
roug s. t e axIOm asserting
d f h
r er s struggles in the development of capital th Stu y o t e chang'
, e
for
dec'ph
'
mg
composition of the working class, as the key
1 enng
novel
forms of Í Í
and M ' d "
.
po 1t1ca
organization and action,
"genera���te��
,
:�
o
s
n
a
(

n the G
f
rund
k
riSSe) of the emergence of the
rorm 0 wor er
h h
destroy the bases for 0
. .
power t at t reatens to
The f
rgantzmg Production to extort surplus-value
rst concept requires that every
analysis of the O
.
ture of capital be und
d
angmg struc-
erstoo
not on the basis of h
.
contr
adictions of capital itself. b .
t e lnteral
of
Í
'
Ut as a Certain response to and Use , pro
etanan aggression: worker
insub
ordination alone
'
.
"
restru
cturation on the
f '
ID1tlates
.
part 0 capltaJ. This response in which th organlc comp
osition of capital-the ratio of fxe
'
d
e
to variable
1 ÷/ J'B cOU|dI\0!K
capital-undergoes a mutation, induces a recomposltlOn of the
internal consistency of the working class. This axiom of the prior­
ity of worker refusal required, in turn, the development of a
phenomenology of proletarian experience. This phenomenology
described the changing internal composition of the various layers
of the working class, identifYing emerging strata that would assume
a dominant role in the immediate process of production: for exam­
ple, the increasing importance of the mass worker in the Fordist
factory, afer the hegemony of the skilled worker of earlier social
compositions. On the basis of this analysis of the different strata of
the working class, novel political forms of organization and
action-beyond the Leninist party and its revolutionary straregy­
adequate to this composition
.
Finally, the thesis on the "general
intellect," in which Marx sees the use of automation in the pro­
duction process reaching a moment when labor-time can no longer
be posited as the measure of value, implies both of the preceding
concepts: the move to an increasingly automated system of pro­
duction is seen as a response to worker struggles atound the
working day, while the positing of the intellect and knowledge as a
productive force implies a change within the composition of the
working class, with certain sectors (in Bifo's analysis, the cognitari­
at) emerging as the paradigmatic form of labor. Insofar as the
method of class composition is undertaken in view of seeking out
novel openings in the social war-its elevation to another level of
complexity and intensity-the specter of a labor process increas­
ingly founded on the production and management of knowledge
initiated, an erosion of the classical division of labor and its cor­
responding organizational diagrams. Placing pressure on Marx's
analysis of the general intellect allowed the militants of the
compositionist tradition to diagram a series of mutations in the
|lBldCB. cOU| 0|cl||KB/ 1Ü
dynamics of contemporary class antagonism. The collapse of the
distinction between conception and execution, between managing
Production and production itself, threatened to generalize the site
of confict to SOciety as a whole, diminishing the absolute privilege
accorded the factory as the unique point of production and
exploitation.
The Sou! at Work begins from these analytical premises. Using
the thesis of the general intellect as a starting pOint to describe the
dynamics of cognitive capital, it reformats this concept to include the range of emotional, affective and aesthetic textures and experi­
ences that are deployed in the contemporaIY experience of work, and gives it another name: soul. From there, The Sou! at Work
explains the emergence of the current regime of accumulation as a
reaction to the i
ntensifcation of prol
etarian
reflsal to work that
began in the 1960s and reached its peak-the point of mass defec­
tion from the factories and the wage-
relation
_in 1977,
with the
proliferation of areas of autonomy and the supplanting of worker needs with communist desire. And most importantly, it attempts to deCIpher the possible forms of politics opened by a new class com­
position whose paradigm is the cognitive worker. What mutations in the forms and vectors of politics are implied by the defnitive implosion of rhe Leninist schema of the Party and the revolution­
ary destr
uction of the bourgeois state? In other words, what are the
possibil
ities of co
mmunism
today, in a POst-pO
litical moment
when th
edassical forms of o
rganization
and action
corresp
onding
to an earher class c
omposition have withered away?
We're starting to talk about co
mmunism again these
days. We
don't
know yet what it is, but it's what we want. The enigmatic fnal lines
of The Sou! at
Work ask us to contemplate the p
ossibility of a
1 6/ J¯C cOU! o!`¨0|'
.
m that is no longer the "principle of a new totalization,
"
comm
un1
S
but an endless process of constituting poles of autonomy commu­
nicating via "therapeutic contagion.
"
Politics, Bifo suggests, still
belongs to the order of totality. Whether understood as the man­
agement of social confict through the mediation of the State
.
and
the forms of juridical equivalence, or as the praCtIce of an Irre­
ducible antagonism, the political has always been wedded to the
logical and metaphysical categories of totality and negation. Com­
munism means the withering away of the political. But the
post-political era opens not onto an administration of things, as
Engels once dreamed, but to what is here daringly called therap
y
that is, with the articulation of "happy singularizations" that defect
from the metropolitan factory of unhappiness.
The call-to-arms sounded by the Bolognese autonomo-punk
joural Atraverso (founded by Bifo in 1975) was "the practice of
happiness is subversive when it
'
s collective." This call still resonates,
however muffed. Today, we can add: happiness is collective only
when it produces singulatities. Bifo calls the contemporary organi­
zation of production in which the soul and its affective, linguistic
and cognitive powers are put to work the factoty of unhappiness
because the primaty function of the work the post-Fordist factory
commands is not the creation of value but the fabrication of sub­
jectivities-the modeling of psychic space and the induction of
psychopathologies as a technique of control. In a phase of capital­
ist development in which the quantity of socially necessaty labor IS
so insionifcant that it can no longer seriously be considered the
C
.
measure of value, the ghostly afterlife of the order of work IS an
entirely political necessity. Work is a matter of discipline, the pro­
duction of dOCility. When work becomes the site of libidinal and
narcissistic investment, spinning a web of abjections and dependencies
|´B!dCC. cOU| O|c!||KC/ 1 J
that exploits rather than represses desire-we become attached and
bound to our own unhappiness.
" Happiness" is a fragile word. In a book he wrote about Felix
Guattari, Bifo concedes that it can sound "corny and banal," to
which we might add rotten, having languished in the fetid mouths
of the planetary petit bourgeoisie long enough to be tainted for all
time. Our metaphysicians held it in contempt. Hegel identifed it
with dumb immediaCy, blank as an empty page. Kant was equally
clear, founding his moral philosophy on the premise that it is better
to be worrhy of happiness than to be happy-ethics opens in the
fault between the order of value and an order of affections struc­
tured by aesthetic textures and the contingencies of space and time.
Psychoanalysis taught us that happiness comes at a price: a tenun­
ciation of drives, which, far from banishing them, makes them that
much nastier, turned back against us in the guise of guilt and cruel
self-laceration. In the Grundrisse, Marx admonished Adam Smith
for confusing freedom with happiness and work with necessity, sac­
rifce and suffering. This is true, he thundered, only from the
perspective of the current regime of wor, wage-labor as "externally
forced labor." But if work is for us sacrifce, it can one day be "self­
realization)}� the construction and mastery of one's own conditions
of existence, freedom as self-objectifcation, the making of a world
H the production of the self itself. In a society in which work is no
longer organized by a small clique which has monopolized the
means of production through violence, crime and economic rea­
son, work will become seductive. Labor will be attractive, says
Marx following Fourier, because it is no longer work at all but its
negation and overcoming, the accumulation of joy and the collec­
tive composition of a commons. Such pleasure will not be mete
play or, God forbid, "fun," but what Mar clls "damned seriousness":
1 Ü / ¯C c0L| dl \Cl<
"R
ally free working, e.g. composing, is at the same time precisely
e
" (G
damned seriousness the most intense exertion run-
the m
ost '
d·isse,p.
611; my italics).
. .
The task of the communism to come is the constitutIon of
oles of autonomy whete what Marx calls the "individual's self­
p
}`
.
" and Bifo calls "happy singularizations" becom shared
rea lzatlOn
possibilities. The contempotary regime of work has produced a
perfect inversion of the scenario Marx proJects-work has become
the site of libidinal investment, but produces pathologies
.
and
depression rather than the damned serious practice
.
of happmess.
The creation of zones of therapeutic contagion reqUlreS not only a
defection from the atchaic form of the wage-in which we still pre­
tend to measure value with the time of work-but undertaking a
labot on ourselves, a working through of out attachment to work.
The great epoch of the refusal of work requited that we go on the
ffensive against outselves, that the proletariat destroY·itself as a
o
f '
class, as labor-power. Today, we are told, this politicS O destructiOn
is replaced by a therapy that is primarily aesthetic in nature: the
composition of a reain that constitutes a territory subtracted from
the social factory and its temporalities and rhythms. For Marx, the
privileged example of really free working-happiness itself-is
('composition," the construction of the communist score. Now �e
know: the aesthetic paradigm of the communism to come Will
consist in the singularization and elaboration of forms-of-life, a
communism whose song will free the space in which it resonates,
and spreads.
-Jason Smith
Introduction
"Those who maintain that the soul u incorporeal are talking
nonsense, because n woul not be abl to act upon or be acted
upon if it were of such a nature; but in actualit both these jnc­
tions are clearl distinguishable in the case of the soul. "
-Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, par. 67'
The soul I intend to discuss does not have much to do with the
spirit. It is rather the vital breath that converts biological matter
into an animated body.
I want to discuss the soul in a materialistic way. What the body
can do, that is its soul, as Spinoza said.
In order to describe the processes of subjection arising with the
formation of industrial societies, Foucault tells the story of moder­
nity as a disciplining of the body, building the institutions and
devices capable of subduing the body thtough the machines of
social production. Industrial exploitation deals with bodies, muscles
and arms. Those bodies would not have any value if they weren't
animated, mobile, intelligent, reactive.
The rise of post-Fordist modes of production, which I will call
Semiocapitalism, takes the mind, language and creativity as its
primary tools for the production of value. In the sphere of digital
Z1
production, exploitation is exerted essentially on the semiotic fux
produced by human time at work.
It is in this sense that we speak of immaterial production. Lan­
guage and money are not at all metaphors, and yet they are
Imatenal. They are nothing, and yet can do everything: they move,
dIsplace, multiply, destroy. They are the soul of Semiocapital.
If today we want to continue the genealogical work of Michel
Foucault, we have to shif the focus of theoretical attention towards
the automatisms of mental reactivity, language and imagination,
and therefore towards the new forms of alienation and precarious­
ness of the mental work occurring in the Net.
In this book I will examine anew the Marxist language which
was domInant rn the 1960s, trying to reestablish its vitality with
respect to the languages of post-structuralism, schizoanalysis and
cyberculture.
Despite the fact that the term "soul" is never used in the language
of that hlstoncal period, I want to use it-metaphorically and
e
.
ven a bit i�onicaIlY-in order to rethink the core of many ques­
tI�n� refemng to the issue of alienation. In the Hegelian vision
thiS Issue is defned by th l ' h ' b h
e re atlOns lp etween uman essence
and activity, while in the materialist vision of Italian Workerism
(Operais
"
o), alienation is defined as the relationship between
human time and capitalist value, that is to say as the reifcation of
both body and soul. In the Hegelian-Marist tradition of the 20th
Century,
.
the concept of "alienation" refers specifcally to the rela­
tion eXIstI�g betwee�
,
corporeality and human essence. For Hegel
the word alrenatlon (Entausserung) refers to the self becoming
other, to the historical and mundane separation existing between
the Berng and the existent.
ZZ/ ''B c0U|Bl\CíK
_ Marx, the concept of alienation signifes the split between life
and
labor, the split between the workers' physical activity and their
h
umanity, their essence as humans. Young Mar, the author of the
]8++Manuscripts who was the main reference for the radical philoso­
phy of the 1960s, attributes a pivotal role to the notion of alienation.
In Marx's parlance, as in Hegel before, alienation (Entausserung)
and estrangement (Entemdung) are two terms that defne the same
process from twO diferent standpoints. The frst one defnes the
sense of loss felt by consciousness when faced with an object in the
context of capital's domination; the second term refers to the con­
frontation between the consciousness and the scene of exteriority,
and to the creation of an autonomous consciousness based on the
refusal of its own dependence on work.
Italian Workerist thought overturned the vision of Marxism
that was dominant in those years: the working class is no longer
conceived as a passive object of alienation, but instead as the
active subject of a refusal capable of building a community starting
out from its estrangement ftom the interests of capitalistic society.
Alienation is then considered not as the loss of human
authenticity, but as estrangement from capitalistic interest, and
therefore as a necessary condition for the construction-in a
space estranged from and hostile to labor relations-of an ulti­
mately human relationship.
In the context of French Post-Structuralism, a similar over­
turning of the traditional vision of clinical alienation was fnding
its way: schizophrenia, considered by psychiatry only as the sepa­
ration and loss of self-consciousness, is rethought by Felix
Guattari in totally new terms. Schizophrenia is not the passive
effect of a scission of consciousness, but rather a form of con­
sciousness that is multiple, proliferating and nomadic.
||!|0CUC!¦C|/ZÛ
In this book I want to compare the conceptual framework of the
'60s based' on the Hegelian concepts of Alienation and Totalization
to the conceptual framework of our present, which is based on the
concepts of biopolitics and of psychopathologies of desire.
In the frst part of the book I want to describe the relationship
between philosophy and theories of labor in the '60s. In the wave
of a Hegelian Renaissance and the constitution of Critical Theory,
industrial labor was seen ftom the point of view of alienation, and
the rebellion of industrial workers against exploitation was seen as
the beginning of a ptocess of disalienation.
In the second part of the book I will account for the progressive
mentalization of working processes, and the consequent enslave­
ment of the soul. Putting the soul to work: this is the new form of
alienation. Out desiring energy is trapped in the trick of self-enter­
prise, our libidinal investments are regulated according to
economic fules, our attention is captured in the precariousness of
virtual networks: evety fragment of mental activity must be ttans­
formed into capital. I will describe the channeling of Desire in the
process of valorization and the psychopathological implications of
the subjugation of the soul to work processes.
In the third part I will retrace the evolution of several radical theo­
ries, from the idealistic concept of Alienation to the analytical
concept of psychopathology. I will also compare the philosophy of
Desire (Deleuze and Guattari) with the philosophy of Simulation
(Baudrillard), in order to underscore their differences but also their
complementarity.
Z¬ /'|C cOUl Bl ¹"OlK
In the fourth part of the book I will try to outline the effects of the
' . atl' on of labor-especially of cognitive labor-and the
pre
canz
.
effects of the biopolitical subjugation of language and affecnons.
In the conclusion, I will comment on the current collapse of the
integrated psycho-machinic organism that is the Global Econo�y.
The collapse of the Global Economy following the recent fnanCIal
crack could be the opening of a new era of autonomy and emanci­
pation for the soul.
Labor and Alienation in the philosophy
of the 1960s
Workers and students united in their fght
In the 1960s Marxism was a pole of attraction for different
schools of thought, such as structuralism, phenomenology and
neo-Hegelianism-and the great international explosion of 1 968
can be read as the point of arrival for a theoretical work that had
been developing on many conceptual levels, as the crossing of
different projects.
In the year 1968, with a synchronicity previously unheard of
in human history, we can see great masses of people all over the
world-workers and students-fghting against both the capitalist
moloch and the authoritarianism of the socialist world.
From this perspective, the 1968 movements were the frst phe­
nomenon of conscious globalization. First of all, internationalism
was present in the consciousness of its agents. At Berkeley you
would mobilize for Vietnam, while in Shanghai there were rallies of
solidarity with the Parisian students. In Prague students were fght­
ing against Soviet authoritarianism, while in Milan the enemy was
the capitalist state-but the positive meaning emerging from the
different movements was the same everywhere.
Z1
The meaning of those movements was the emergence of a new
historical alliance. It was an alliance between mass intellectual labor
and the workers' refusal of industrial labor.
Despite being deeply rooted in the history of the twentieth
century, despite being ideologically animated by diferent schools
of thought embedded in the twentieth century, 1 968 marks the
beginning of the e
'
it from industrial societies, the beginning of a
process leading to the disembodiment of the modern Nation-State.
Workers and students: this binomial marks a new quality in
the composition of general social labor and implies the articula­
tion of a new kind of innovative potentialiry with respect to
20th-century history.
The emergence of intellectual, technical and scientifc labor is a
sign of the decade: the political power of the 1 968 movements
derives from the students having become mass: they had become a
part of the general social labot force characterized by a strong
homogeneity at a world level.
In those same 1960s, the industrial working class showed a
growing estrangement towards the organization oflabor, until this
estrangement became open insubordination and organized revolt.
In some productive secrors, as for instance in the car production
cycle, labor had a mass depersonalized character: it is in these sectors
that the refusal of work exploded more signifcantly. In the mid
1 970s the entire European car production cycle was stormed by
waves of workers' fghts, sabotage and absenteeism, until a techno­
logical reorganization aimed at the reassertion of capitalist rule
defeated the worker's power. The technical restructuration implied
the substitution of human labor with machines, the automation of
entire productive cycles and the subjugation of mental activity.
ZÜ/ 1|B cOU' dI \OlK
"W
orkers and students united in their fght" is perhaps the most
signifcant slogan of the so-called "Italian Red Biennium." In 1 968
and 1 969 these words were shouted in thousands of rallies, meetings,
strikes and demonstrations: they were much more than a political
and ideological alliance or a superfcial form of solidarity. They
were the sign of the organic integration of labor and intelligence,
they meant the conscious constitution of the general intellect that
Marx had discussed in his Grundrisse.
The theoretical problems, the sociological imagination and the
philosophical critique articulated during those years are directly
implied in the social and cultural developments of the students'
movement-of its cultural and productive convergence with the
movement based on the refsal of industrial labor.
Italian neo-Marxism, ofen denominated "Workerism," is a
school of thought focused on the relation between working class
struggles and intellectual and technological transformations.
The modern intellectual
Today the word "intellectual" has lost much of the meaning it had
throughout the twentieth century, when around this word coa­
lesced not only issues of social knowledge, but also ethics and
politics. In the second half of the twentieth century intellectual
labor completely changed its nature, having been progressively
absorbed into the domain of economic production. Once digital
technologies made the connection of individual fragments of cogni­
tive labor possible, the parceled intellectual labor was subjected to
the value production cycle. The ideological and political forms of
the left wing, legacy of the 20th Century, have become inefcient
in this new context.
LdDO|d|C ¬|lB|Bl|O| ||I|CC|l'OSOC|vOlI|C 1';|¨ /´¬
In the context of the past bourgeois society, in the sphere of
modern Enlightenment, the intellectual was not defined by hislher
social condition, but as representative of a system of universa values.
The role attributed to intellectuals by the Enlightenment was to
establish and guarantee-by the exercise of rationality-the respect
for human rights, equality and the universality of law.
The modern figure of the intellectual finds philosophical justi­
fcation in Kant's thoughr. Within that context, the intellectual
emerges as a fgure independent from social experience, or at least
not socially influenced in the ethical and cognitive choices slhe
makes. As the bearer of a universal human rationality, the
enlightened intellectua can be considered as the social determination
of Kant's "I think." The intellectual is the guarantor of a thought
freed from any boundaries, the expression of a universally human
rationality. In this sense slhe is the guarantor of democracy.
Democracy cannot stem from any cultural roor or belonging, but only
from a boundless horizon of possibilities and choices, from opportu­
nities of access and citizenship for every person as semiotic agent and
subject, who exchanges signs in order to have access to universal ratio­
nality. In this sense the fgure of the intellectual is in opposition to the
Romantic notion of the people, or rather escapes from such a notion.
Universal Thought, from which the modern adventure of democracy
was born, is indeed an escape from historicity and the territoriali­
ty of culture. Democracy cannot have the mark of a culture, of a
people, of a tradition: it has to be a groundless play, invention and
convention, rather than an assertion of belonging.
Both historical and dialectical materialism assert a completely
different vision: the intellectual becomes the agent of a specific
historic message, destined to descend from the history of thought
to the history of social classes. In the eleventh of his Theses on
ÛÖ/ 1|C cOUld!\O´K
Feuerbach, referring to the role that knowledge must have in the
historical process, Marx wrote:
"The philosophers have onl interpreted the world in various
ways; the point, however, is to change it."!
Marxist intellectuals conceive themselves as instruments of a histori­
cal process aimed at producing a society without classes. The
Communist project makes theory a material power and knowledge
an instrument to change the world. Only insofar as slhe takes part in
the fght towards the abolition of classes and wage-earning labor does
the intellectual in fact become the agent of a universal mission.
The role of intellectuals is crucial in 20th-Century political
philosophy, specifcally in Communist revolutionary thought,
beginning with Lenin. In his book What is to Be Done? Lenin
attributes the task of leading the historic process to the intellectuals,
in the interest of the working class. The intellectual, being a free
spirit, is not the agent of a social interest but serves the emerging
interest, slhe identifes with the party which is the ultimate collec­
tive intellectual. For Lenin, intellectuas are not a social class, they
have no specifc interest to support. They can become agents and
organizers of a revolutionary consciousness stemming ftom philo­
sophical thought. In this sense, intellectuals are closest to the
pure becoming of the Spirit, to the Hegelian development of self­
consciousness. On the other hand, the workers, despite being the
agents of a social interest, can only move from a purely economic
phase (Hegel's self-consciousness of the social being) to the con­
scious political phase (self-consciousness per se) through the
political structure of the party, which embodies and transmits the
philosophical heritage.
|!|: 1
With Gramsci, the meditation on intellectuals becomes more
specific and concrete, despite the fact that Gramsci still thinks of
a fgure linked to the humanistic intellectual, estranged from any
dynamic of production. Only in the second half of the 20th cen­
tury does the fgure of the intellectual start changing its nature,
because its function becomes heavily incorporated in the techno­
logical process of production.
In Same's work, which is extremely important for the forma­
tion of the cultural atmosphere leading to 1968, the notion of the
intellectual is still bound to the perspective of consciousness, rather
rhan to a productive and social perspective:
"The intellectual is someone who meddles in what is not his
business and claims to question both received truths and the
accepted behaviour inspired by them, in the name of a global
conception of man and of society [ | . . J . I would suggest that
the scientists working on atomic scission in order to perfect
the techniques of atomic warfate should nOt be called 'intel­
lectuals': they afe scientists and nothing more. But if these
same scientists, terrifed by the destructive power of the
devices they have helped to create, join forces and sign a
manifesto alerting public opinion to the dangers of the
atomic bomb, they become intellectuals [ . ¤ . J . They stray
outside their feld of competence-constructing bombs is
one thing, but evaluating their use is another [ ¤ . ¤J . They do
not protest against the use of the bomb on the grounds of
any technical defects it may have, but in the name of a highly
controversial system of values that sees human life as its
supreme standard."2
ÛZ/ J|C '0U' 3IW¨rª
For Sartre the intellectual is slhe who chooses to engage in favor of
u
niversal causes, without being socially destined to this engage-
t But once intellectual labor becomes a directly productive
men .
fu
nction, once scientists become workers applied to the machine of
co
gnitive production, and poets workers applied to advertising, the
machine of imaginative production, there is no universal function
to be fulfilled anymore. Intellectual labor becomes a part of the
autonomous process of the capital.
In 1968 the shif in the problem was implicit, even if only a
tiny part of the movement was aware of it.
As a consequence of mass access to education and, the techni­
cal and scientifc transformation of production, the role of
intellectuals has been redefned: they are no longer a class inde­
pendent from production, nor free individuals assuming the task
of a purely ethical and freely cognitive choice, but a maSS social
subject, tending to become an integral part of the general process
of production. Paolo Virno writes of "mass intellectuality," in
order to understand the social subjectivity corresponding to the
massification of intellectual competences in an advanced industrial
society. In the 1960s, the rise of the student movements was the
sign of this change within the social scene on which the new fgure
of the intellectual was emerging.
The Itaia "Workerist" petspective
Pwe have said, the change of perspective maturing by the end of the
1960s is analyzed in an original way by the so-called Italian
Workerism (Mario Tronti, Raniero Panzieri, Toni Negri,
Romano Alquati, Sergio Bologna). I would prefer to defne this
school of thought as "compositionism," since its essential theoretical
contribution consists in the reformulation of the issue of political
organization in terms of sodal composition.
Compositionism redefnes the Leninist notion of the party as
collective intellectual, leaving behind the very notion of the intel­
lectual while proposing a new reading of the Marxist notion of
"general intellect." Marx had written of general intellect in a passage
of his Grundrisse known 9 the "Fragment on the machines":
"Nature builds no machines, no locomotives, railways, electric
telegraphs, self-acting mules etc. These are products of human
industry: natural material transformed into organs of the human
will over nature, or of human participation in nature [ ... ). They
are organs of the human brain, created b the human hand: the
power of knowledge, objectifed. The development of fed capi­
tal indicates to what degree general social knowledge has become
a direct frce of production, and to what degree, hence, the con­
ditions of the process of social life itself have come under te
control of the general intellect and been transformed in accor­
dance with it. To what degree the powers of social production
have been produced, not only in the form of knowledge, but also
as immediate organs of social practice, of the rcl life process.'"
At the time of the communist revolutions, in the frst part of the twen­
tieth century, the Marxist-Leninist tradition ignored the concept of
general intellct, therefore conceiving the intellectual fnction as exteri­
ority and as a political direction determined within the purely spiritual
domain of philosophy. Bur during the post-industrial transformation
of production the general intellect emerged as a central productive
force. At the end of the 20th century, thanks U digital technologies
and the constitution of a global telematic network, the general social
Û÷²|B c0 |
rocess is
redefned as "general intellct," and the Leninist idea of the

is forever put aside. Grasci's notion of the organic intellectual
also losing its concrete reference, since it is based on the intellectu­
als'
attachment to an ideology, while nowadays what is important is
the creation of a new social sphere, that we might want to call "cog­
nitariat," representing the social subjectivity of the "general intelect."
If we want to defne the crux of today's mutations, we must focus on
the social function of cognitive labor. Intellectual labor is no longer
a social function separated from general labor, but it becomes a
transversal function within the entire social process, it becomes the
creation of technical ad linguistic interfces ensuring the fuidity
both of the productive process and of social communication.
Subjectivity and alienation
In the 1960s, we could fnd three tendencies within the feld of
Marxist thought:
The frst emphasized the young Marx's thought, his humanistic
vocation, and the issue of subjectivity: it underlined its continuity
with Hegel, specifically with his The Phenomenolg of Spirit.
The second focused mainly on Capital, and on Marx's work
after his epistemological rupture with Hegelianism: this tendency
can be linked to structuraism.
The third tendency discovered and emphasized the importance
of Grundrisse, therefore the concept of composition and general
intellect, while maintaining conceptual links with phenomenology.
Karl Marx's early works were published and distributed by the
institutions assigned to their scholastic and dogmatic conservation
(mainly by the Institute fr Marxism-Leninism) very late. Marx
s
Manuscripts of 1d99were published only in 1957, in Karl Mal'
and Friedrich Engels' Werke, published by Dietz Verlag in Berlin.
This work was considered a scandal, as the revelation of another
Marx, different from the severe author of Capital. Economic
�aterialism was dilured by a consideration of the workers' subjec­
tlVlty that was absent from the geometric Structure of Marx's
major works.
The atmosphere created in 1956 by the twentieth Congress of
CPUS opened the way to a revaluation of the currents of critical
Marxism, radical Hegelianism, and so-called humanistic Marxism.
Beginning in the 1 950s, Same had led a critical battle against
dogmatism and determinism within Marxist studies, opening the
way to a humanistic formulation and a revaluation of subjectivity
against dialectic reductionism. Bur Sartre's philosophical point of
departure Was a radically anti-Hegelian existentialism.
Even within the Hegelian dialectical feld there had been
instances in favor of a revaluation of subjectivity. The new interest
in Hegel's thought, frst in the 1920s, then through the srudies of
the Frankfurt School and fnally with the Hegel Renaissance of the
1 960s, led to the emergence of the issue of subjectivity and of the
specifcally human Within the historical process.
In order to understand the progressive emergence of the theme
of subjectivity, we can start rereading Marx's early work, so relevant
during the 1960s in Marxist studies and, more generally, in the
feld of critical culture.
At the center of young Marx's thought-and signifcantly at
the center also of the political and philosophical problems of the
1960s-is the notion of alienation. Let's try to understand the
meaning of this word:
ÛÛ/ '´¹C `OUl d!\OlK
"The
worker becomes poorer the more wealth he produces,
h
his production increases in power and extent. The
t e more
k becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more com­
{OI er
d
.
, he produces The devaluation of the human world
ro mes
.
'n d,'rect proportion to the increase in value of the world
grows \
of things. [ . * . |The worker is related to the product of labour
as to an alien object. For it is clear that, according to this
premise, the more the worker exertS himself in his work, the
more powerful the alien, objective world becomes which he
brings into being over against himself, the poorer he and his
inner world become, and the less they belong to him.'"
Marx's attention is focused on the anthropological consequences of
working conditions within the structure of capitalistic production.
What happens to the human being trapped in a wage-earning pro­
ductive relation? This is what essentially happens: the more the
wage earner's energy is invested in productive activity, the more
slhe reinforces the power of the enemy, of capital, and the less is
lef for oneself. In order to survive, in order to receive a wage,
workers have to renOunce their humanity, the human investment
of their time and energies.
The concept of alienation derives from Marx's ongoing medi­
tation on the religion question and on the thought of Ludwig
Feuerbach:
"It is the same in religion. The more man puts into God, the
less he retains within himself. The worker places his life in
the object; but now it nO longer belongs to him, but to the
object [ » . . |. What the product of his labour is, he is not.
Therefore, the greater this product, the less is he himself. The
externalisation of the worker in his product means not only
that his labour becomes 8 object, an exteral existence, but
that it exists outside him, independently of him and alien to
him, and begins to confront him as an autonomous power;
that the life which he has bestowed on the object confronts
him as hostile and alien.'"
In the social situation of the !960s, with the full development of
industrial societies, mature capitalism produced goods in growing
quantities, created conditions of wealth for consumers, and kept
rhe promise of a more satisfactory economic life for all. But the
satisfaction of economic needs was accompanied by a progressive
loss of life, of pleasute, of time for oneself. Millions of people were
experiencing this in their life: the more powerful the economic
machine, the more the life of the worker becomes miserable. This
awareness spread largely in those years and Marx's early works were
able to interpret it. The concept of alienation defines this the­
matic feld and it came to Marx from the Hegelian conceptual
context, authorizing a Hegelian reading of the entire discourse.
The thematic scenery we can perceive behind the Manuscrits
of 1d99is that of Hegelian idealism. And indeed, the discovery of
this work in rhe 1 960s was accompanied by the large diffusion of
the critical thought of the Frankfurt School and of a humanism of
idealist derivation.
The conceptual scheme of alienation is idealist in so far as it
presupposes human authenticity, an essence that has been lost,
negated, taken away, suspended. Therefore communism is thought
by the young Marx as the restoration of an authentically human
essence that was negated by the relation of capitalist production. In
other terms: the communist revolutionary process is conceived as
ÛÜ/ '|C cOU| B!\O!K
O of an original identity whose perversion, temporary
the
restoratl n
.
, whose «alienation
)
) in other wordS-IS represented
ob
lite
ratlon-
,
by
the
workers' present condition.
"Communism therefore as the complete return of man to
himself as a social (i.e., human) being-a return accomplished
consciously and embracing the entire wealth of previous
development. This communism, as fully developed natural­
ism, equals humanism, and as fully developed humanism
equals naturalism; it is the genuine resolution of the confict
between man' and nature and between man and man-the
true resolution of the strife between existence and essence,
between objectifcation and self-confrmation, between free­
dom and necessity, between the individual and the species.
Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows
itsdf to be this solution,"6
The ideological vice of the young Marx's formulation resides entirely
in this presupposition of a generic human essence whose negation
would be represented by the concrete history of the conditions of
the working classes. But where does this presupposition find its
basis, if not in rhe idealisric hypostasis of human essence? Here
Marx's language reveals its conceptual continuity with Hegel's, and
its persistence within the idealistic problematic.
In order to better understand the idealistic function of the
concept of alienation, and the connected idealistic machinery
revolving around the notion of a generic human essence-and of
historic subjectivity-we need to refer to Hegel's work, to the very
dynamic of the Hegelian language:
|Bl`O| d'C ¬l¦C|Bl|O' || l|C Q|Jl'OSO[l\ O| l|C 1 ÜÛÖS Í ÛÜ
"Over against the I as absttact being-for-itself, there stands
likewise its inorganic nature, as being [seena. The I relates
itself negatively to it (its inorganic nature], and annuls it as
the unity of both-but in such a way that the I frst shapes
that abstract being-for-itself as its Self sees its Own form [in
it] and thus consumes itself as well. In the element of being as
such, the existence and range of natural needs is a multitude
of needs. The things serving ro satisf those needs are worked
up [verarbeitet] , their universal inner possibility posited
[expressed] as Outer possibility, as form. This processing
[ Vrarbeiten] of things is itself manysided, however; it is con­
sciousness making itself into a thing. But in the element of
universality, it is such that it becomes an abstract labor. The
needs are many. The incorporation of their multiplicity in the
Ï, i.e., labor, is an abstraction of universal models (Biler), yet
[it is] a self-propelling process of formation (Bilden)."7
The alienated character of labor is linked here explicitly (even if in
a very obscure, typically Hegelian language) to the becoming of the
Mind, and to the dialectic of being-for-itself and of being-for-the­
other. This way of thinking absorbs the entire (concrete, historical)
dialectic oflabor and of capiralisric expropriation wirhin the ideal­
isric dialectic of subject and substance. In Hegel's Phenomenology of
Spirit we read:
"Further, the living Subsrance is being which is in truth Sub­
ject, or, what is the same, is in truth actual only in so far as it
is the movement of positing itself or is the mediation of its
self-othering with itself This Substance is, as Subject, pure
simple negativity [ . . + |. Only this self-resroring sameness, Ot
¬Ö/1HCcOU| Bl\O0´
this r
efection in otherness within itself-not an original or
imm
ediate unity as such-is the True. It is the process of its
own
becoming, the circle that presupposes its end as its goal,
havin
g its end also as its beginning; and only by being worked
out to its end, is it actual."s
Despite his critique of idealist philosophy, in his Manuscripts of
T8++ Marx is still trapped in the Hegelian conceptual system,
when he proposes to think of communism as "resolution of the
strife
between existence and essence/) attributing a transcendent
and
eschatological character to communism, as if there were a
radical beyond representing the truth to be realized outside the
contradictions of the existing. This theological vision of com­
munism is not without consequences in the history of the
workers) movements.
Alienation between histor ad ontolog
The great success known by critical theory, whose foundations can
be found in the pages of authors like Horkheimer, Adorno and Mar­
cuse, can be understood in the context of this idealistic renaissance.
The issue of alienation is at the core of the critical thought of
the Frankfurt School, and also--although with a completely dif­
ferent infection-of the Existentialists' refection, especially in
Jean Paul Same, although from different points of view. Referring
to the twO most signifcant examples within existentialism and
critical thought, Same's and Marcuse's standpoints-though radi­
cally different-exist on the same terrain: the humanistic
foundations for the process of liberation from capitalism. Examining
these divergent positions will allow us to get to the heart of the
LBDO|d|C¬|lC|dliO| || ¹|B Q|l|OSO[|\Ol!|C 1 ÜÛÜS I ¬1
matter that is important for us: the vitality of the philosophical
notion of alienation and its exhaustion during the historical and
political battles of the 1960s. Alienation is considered by the exis­
tentialist formulations as an unavoidable and constitutive element
of the human condition, since otherness (condition of the social
relation) and reification (condition of the productive relation) both
imply a loss of self. In the social relation, in the presence of other­
ness, is implicit a certain form of alienation, of uneasiness. L�enfr
c'st les autres (Hell is other people), declares Existentialism. The
others are the hell of alienation, independently from the social con­
dition we are living in.
Hegel, Marx, and the Frankfurt School, on the other hand,
share the belief that alienation is not ontologically identifed with
otherness and reification, but constitutes instead a historically
determined form, and therefore it is possible to overcome it
historically.
On this matter, in his book on the Frankfurt School entitled
The Dialectical Imagination, Marrin Jay wrote:
"To Marcuse, Sarrre had erroneously made absurdity into an
ontological rather than a historical condition. As a result, he
fell back into an idealistic interalization of freedom as some­
thing opposed to the outside, heteronomous world. Despite
his avowed revolutionary intentions, his politics and his
philosophy were totally at odds. By locating freedom in the
pour-soi could become en-soi (being-in-itself or an-sieh),
Same severed subjectivity from objectivity in a way that
denied reconciliation even as a utopian possibility. Moreover,
by overemphasizing the freedom of the subject and ignoring
the constraints produced by historical condition, Same had
¬Z / J|C cOU| òI \O|¦
become an unwitting apologist for the status quo. Arguing as
d'd that men chose their fate, even if it was a homble
SarrIe \
one,
was monstrous [ . . . | . To Marcuse, the entire project of an
'existentialist' philosophy without an a priori idea of essence
'bl ",
was impOSSl e.
In Reason and Revolution, one of Herbert Marcuse's most important
textS, we read:
"The worker alienated from his product is at the same time
alienated from himself. His labor itself becomes no longer his
own, and the fact that it becomes the property of another
bespeaks an expropriation that touches the very essence of
man. Labor in its true form is a medium for man's true self­
fulfllment, for the full development of his potentialities.""
Here Marcuse links two vety diferent topics as if they were the
same one: the development of potentialities (concretely detetmined
in the social and technical histoty of the conflict between workers
and capital) and human self-teaization.
.
The first is a material and precise issue, while the second IS
instead a quintessentially idealistic, essentialist issue.
On the conttary, according to what Sattre maintains in his
Critique of Dialectical Reason, alienation is nothing other than the
intrinsic modality of a1terity, which is the constitutive form of the
social relation and human condition.
While Marcuse considets alienation as a historical form that
could be ovetcome historically, Sartre wantS to ground anthro­
pologically the historic condition itself: he locates history's
anthtopological roots in scatcity and alterity.
LdDO|oOC ¬||COo\¦OO |O \|C Q|||OSOQ|\O!I|C 1 ÜÛÜS /÷Û
Sartre situates himself outside the Hegelian field, since he
does not considet alienation to be an historical separation
between existence and eSSence. This is why he does not conceive
the idea of an overcoming, of an exit from the anthropological
dimensions of scarcity and alterity. He refuses the theological
vision of communism that dialectic materialism had built.
Scarcity, Sartte maintains, is anthropologically constitutive of the
historic relation.
Estrangement Þc7JH alienation
The philosophical style ofltalian Workerism-or, as I prefer to call
it, Compositionism-beginning with Panzieri and Tronti's works,
presents the issue of alienation in radically diferent terms than
those of humanism, freeing itself from both the neo-Hegelian and
Frankfurt School's vision and its existentialist Sartrian version.
According to the humanistic vision, that had developed in oppo­
sition to so-called diamat, the dialectic materialist dogmatism of
orthodox Marxism-Leninism, alienation is the separation between
human beings, the loss of human essence in historical existence.
Compositionism, even if in complete agreement with the cri­
tique of the Stalinist diamat, dialectical and historicist dogmatism,
does not anticipate any restoration of humanity, does not proclaim
any human universality, and bases its understanding of humanity
on class confict.
Compositionism overturns the issue implicit in the question of
alienation. It is precisely thanks to the radical inhumanity of the
workers' existence that a human collectivity C be founded, a com­
munity no longer dependent on capital. It is indeed the estrangement
of the workers from their labor, the feeling of alienation and its
¬¬/ 1|B cOU| dl \OlK
refusal, that are the bases for a human collectivity autonomous
from capital.
In the writings published in the magazines Classe operaia
(Working Clss), and then in Potere operaio ( Worker Power), the
word "estrangement" replaces the word ('alienation
'
" which
inevitably alludes to a previous human essence, lost in the historical
process, waiting for a synthesis capable of reestablishing it, of
calling it into being as a positivity. Lahar is no longer considered to
be the natural condition of human sociality, but a specifc historical
condition that needs to undergo a political critique. A critique of
"laborism" was already present in Marx's early writings:
"It [labour] is, therefore, not the satisfaction of a need but a
mere means to satisf needs outside itself. Its alien character is
clearly demonstrated by the fact that as soon as no physical or
other compulsion exists, it is shunned like the plague. External
labour, labout in which man alienates himself, is a labour of
self-sacrifce, of mortifcation. Finally, the external character of
labour for the worker is demonstrated by the fact that it
belongs not to him but to another, and that in it he belongs
not to himself but to anothet. Just as in religion the sponta­
neous activity of the human imagination, the human brain,
and the human heart, detaches itself from the individual and
reappears as the alien activity of a god or of a devil, so the
activity of the worker is not his own spontaneous activity. It
belongs U another, it is a loss of his sele'l l
Labor is an activity estranged from the existence of the workers that
is imposed on evetyday life by the construction of disciplinary
structures created over the course of the entire histoty of modern
LdDO|d|C¬||B|8I|O| l| !ÞB Q|||OSÇ|\ O| l|1B 1 ÜÛÜ3 / ÷C
civilization. Only the estrangement from labor makes liberatory
dynamics possible, shifing the flow of desire from (industrial) repeti­
tion towards (cognitive) diference. The concet of estangement
implies an intentionality that is determined by an estranged behavior.
Estranged from what? From all forms of labor dependent on
capital.
Workers do not suffer from their alienation when they Can
transform it into active estrangement, that is to say, into refusal.
"The working dass confronts its own labor as capital, as a hos­
tile force, as an enemy-this is the pOint of departure not only
for the antagonism, but for the organization of the antagonism.
If the alienation of the worker has any meaning, it is a highly
revolutionary one. The organization of alienation: This is the
only possible direction in which the party C lead the spon­
taneity of the dass. The goal remains that of refusal, at a higher
level: It becomes active and collective, a political refusal on a
mass scale, organized and planned. Hence, the immediate task
of working-class organization is to overcome passivity
,
) 1
2
The alienation Tronti discusses is not described in humanistic terms
(loss of the human essence) but a condition of estrangement from the
mode of production and its rules, as refusal of work. The Workerist­
Compositionist thinking style distinguishes itself for this overturning
of humanistic connotations: what is seen by the negative thought of
humanistic derivation as a sign of alienation, is seen by the Workerist­
Compositionists as a sign of estrangement, a refusal to identif with
the general interest of the capitalistic economy. That is to say, it is seen
as the condition of those who rebel assuming their partial humanity
as a point of strength, a premise of a higher social form, of a higher
÷Û/1|B `OU| d! \O´K
f humanity and not as the condition of those who are forced
Iorm 0
·
to renounce their essential
humanity.
Trond writes of the working class as a "rude pagan race,"
addr
essing Marcuse's idealism and the irrelevance of the humanistic
and
theological perspectives that it projects onto the reality of
prole
tarian social composition, its working conditions, but also on
the process of socialization and struggle that workers are able to
efectuate in metropolitan areas.
Tront and Marcuse
In one of his most influential books, One Dimensional Man, pub­
lished in the U.S. in 1964, Herbert Marcuse foresees for the working
class a destiny of integration into the capitalistic system. Conse­
quently, he sees the necessity, for those willing to change the social
order, of shifting their political attention towards the domain of
extra-productive marginalities and away from the direct domain of
the productive relation. Marcuse's analysis had consistent efects on
the youth culture of the time, since it seemed to anticipate the
student movements as a leading force of the anti-capitalistic struggle
in order to replace an already integrated working class that is already
irretrievable for the purpose of revolutionary conflict.
"In Marcuse's book, the youth of 1968 fund the topics and
the words needed to give defnite form to an idea that had
already been circulating in Europe for a while, but in a less
articulate way. It was the idea that European societies, only
twenty years after Fascism and war had ended, were already
blocked societies. [ . + µ |They were blocked even at the level of
hope for future changes, since youth considered the major
LBCO´ B|C ¬¦|B|d!|O| || !|B Q||lOSOQ|\ O| !|B 1 ÜÛÖS /÷1
part of the
working Í
h
.
b '
c ass,
WIt its repre
sentative
partie
h
elong1Og to the
traditional left, as being
already integr
ated '
s
t e eXlS tmg
social s
d
10
h
'
,
ystem, an therefore no longer credible
lStOtlcal sub"
bl '
a
Jeer mcapa e of imposing radical innov
ations. »13
It was from the
d
h
stu ents, w 0 were not involved '
h
process-r at least wh h h
1n t e prod
uct
ive
o t oug t so-that
h h
change that the working class had Í
.
came t
.
e ope
for
no
micism, improved m
.
Í
.
0
,
St, Stnce
unIOn
Ization, eco_
arena
conditlons
and
produced an effect of social int
'
.
Consumerism had
This idea wa Í Í
egratJon 1nto the capitalistic system.
s arge y
circul
ated in those y
d
students' conscio
usness.
ears an was part of the
The
working class has lost any ca
.
caught as it is in th
b f
paclty to be autonom
ous,
e we 0
consumer
.
h
described American
d E
SOc1ety: t us
Marcuse
h
an
uropean societies. In the last an Í w at Marcuse
forecasted in 1964
a YSlS,
peace, where the students
would
_,_a period of growing social
threatened hu
manistic
'
to act as the
bearers of a
conSC
IOUsness.
° c�m�Ortable, smooth,
reaso
nable,
demo
cratic
unfreedom
p�evalls 10
advanced
industrial
civilization a token
f h
fllcal prog
ress."14
·
0 tee -
Techn
ical
develo
pment and the ' Í . runCtIOna
principl
d SOCIal
integr
ation whose eff
.
h .
e pro liCe a
pote
ntially
revolutionaty d
ect 15 : e c
T
a
h
ncellanon of conRictual and
ynam1CS.
e society
f m
then perceived as a ha
.
f h
0 a uence was
rnesslng 0
uman
authe
nticity.
"Th
f
¸new te�hnological work-world thus enforces a weakening
o t e negatJve pOSition of the
working class
'
th Í
. e arrer no
†/ 'HCcOU|d!\O|K
l
onger appears to be the living contradiction to the established
s
o
c
iet
y
.
¡. . . |Domination is transfgured into administration."15
No
wadays, a few decades later, we can see important elements of
pref
iguration in Marcuse's discourse. The statement "domination is
tra
nsfgured into administration needs to be rethought in the new
light of the creation of a system of economical and fnancial automa­
tisms apparently without alternatives. Rereading Marcuse could be
useful today, but in the 1960s the difsion of his work had negative
consequences, at least from the standpoint of Mario Tronti.
First of all his thought separated in a mechanical way-in the same
way 3the Leninist tradition-wage struggles, described as implicitly
economicist and integrated, and a true political revolutionary fght.
Secondly it led to the exaltation of the separation of the srudent
fgure from the cycle of capitalistic production.
In the Workrist magazines of the 1960s, specifcally in Quadi rossi
(Red Notebooks), Clsse operaia ( Working Clss) and fnally Potere
operaio (Wrkers' Power), the wage struggle is valorized as a political
fght. The workers' movement is recognized as an a-ideological
movement able to destabilize the political equilibriums of capital.
The fact that the workers' struggle focuses on the wage,
according to the positions expressed in Potere operaio, does not
mean that this Ight is to be considered integrated and subaltern.
On the contrary: everything depends on the way in which the
wage struggle is conceived, organized and directed. If wages are
considered as a variable dependant on capitalistic development, a
variable that must be compatible with prollt, both on a Ilscal and
a political level, then of course they are not a lever that could
overturn or transform anything. But if wages are understood as
LdDO|dOC¬||B|d!|O| || !lB Ql||OSOQH\O|llB 1'ÛÜS /¬Ü
QoÌ¡t¡caÌ ¡nsttumcnts oIattackandtad¡caÌ tcd¡stt¡but¡on oIsoc¡aÌ
WcaÌth, ¡ÍWagcs atc cons¡dctcd a Iactot ¡n thc conÍÌ¡ct bcIWccn
Workcts and caQ¡taÌ (at thc ÌcvcÌ oIthc conÍÌ¡ct on thc cXchangc
vaÌuc oIthcuscvaÌucoÍthcÌabotIotcc), thcn thcycnd uQ bccom¡ng
thcma¡n ¡nsttumcnt¡naconu¡ct ¡n Wmch cconom¡caÌ andQoÌ¡t¡caÌ
d¡mcns¡ons atc aggtcss¡vcÌy Ì¡nkcd to thc QctsQcct¡vc oÍ Workcr
autonomyÍtom caQ¡taÌ¡st¡c dcvcÌoQmcnt and hcgcmony.
`otkct¡sI thcoty tcÍuscs thc not¡on oIconsumct¡sm, s¡ncc ¡t
cons¡dcts thc Wotkcts´ consumQt¡on ¡n a ¨Qagan´ and tudc Wayas
aÍotm oIaQQtoQt¡at¡ondcst¡ncd to oQcn aItontÌ¡nc oItad¡caÌ and
QoÌ¡t¡caÌ cÌash.
¬s Iot thc studcnts and thc¡t movcmcnts, `otkct¡st thcory
ant¡cIQatcsan ¡dcathatW¡ÌÌ bcatItu¡tsomc t¡mc Ìatct: studcnts atc
a scct¡on oI soc¡aÌ Ìabot, thcy atc Ìabot ¡n thc mak¡ng, a ccnttaÌ
Íactot¡ntUcchangcoIcaQ¡taÌ´sotgan¡ccomQos¡t¡on.JhctcIotc thc
studcnts´ sttuggÌc ¡snotccÌcbtatcdasan ¡dcoÌog¡caÌ nght, andcvcn
Ìcss as asubst¡tutc Íot thc Wotkcts´ hght. Ìt ¡s ccÌcbtatcd ¡nstcad as
sQcc¡hc movcmcnt ¡n a soc¡aÌ scctot ¡ntctaÌ to thc dynam¡cs oÍ
Qtoduct¡vcÌabot.
`h¡ÌcÍtomNatcusc´sQctsQcct¡vc studcnts Wctccons¡dctcd as
agcnts oIan act¡on W¡thout causcs ot d¡tcct conscgucnccs at thc
ÌcvcÌ oIsoc¡aÌ Qtoduct¡on, `otkct¡st thcotysccs thcstudcnts Ítom
thcvctybcg¡nn¡ngasQattoIthcgcnctaÌÌabotIotcc. ÌabotIotcc ¡n
Qtogtcss,cXQtoQt¡atcd oÍ¡ts knoWÌcdgc¡ustas muchas Wotkctsatc
cXQtoQt¡atcd oIthc Qtoducts oIthc¡t Wotk.
`h¡Ìc human¡st¡c thcot¡cs, sQcc¡hcaÌÌy Natcusc´s, bcÌ¡cvc that
¡t ¡s Qoss¡bÌc to ¡udgc thc sQontanc¡ty oÍWotkcts´ bchav¡ots ¡n thc
namc oÍaQt¡nc¡QÌc oIhuman un¡vctsaÌ¡ty, ot h¡stot¡caÌ tcÌcoÌogy,
Jtont¡ ansWcts that thctc ¡s no un¡vctsaÌ Qt¡nc¡QÌc Itom Wh¡ch
Wotkcts´ bchav¡ots dct¡vc, ot accord¡ng to Wh¡ch thc Wotkcts´
CÖ/ J|C cOU| d! \O|K
·
d
d ¯hc
Wotkcts´ QosItIon Is tathctoncoÍ
~
pqÇ
g
ÇDt
cou
ÌdbcJu
gc .
·
h Í ¡cand gcnctaÌ Intctcst
·
tIng ¡tscÌÍoutsIdc t c og
�sµa
n¿cm
c0i
sItu
a
µ
caQ¡ta|Ís
tIc
soc¡cty.
d
hc¡outnaÌ
Classeo¡e·ata,Wagcs
In
thc
d¡scoursc
dcvc\oQc

: th
scthat
¡mm
cd¡atccÌass
'q
daQ
oÌIt¡caÌ
WcaQ
on,

cscn
consI ctc

WIth
caQIt
aÌIst
otdct.
.
tcom
QaU
c
·
h
ocaÌ
)c
ha
v¡or
Isno

\
undcd on thc ¡dca
that In t c s
·__
c
\otkct¡stv
[
'
sIo

'
s
hc
o
Wotk
cts´
tcs¡stancctoca
Q¡taÌandthc
h
mcs
tstIst
h Ì u
}
to
ccssW
atco
th
c
\ oÌ¡t¡caÌ
aQQaatuscs, tcc no ogIc
k
Ïvcty mg sc Q
tchIs1Ì U Wot

th
| ` ns oIIotccbc
twccn cÌasscs.
po
drÌs)
dc
Qcn
ds on
ctcaOo
m
ad Da
Kjita|
Stru
ctur
Ism
.
Íboth
Natcusc´s
and ba
rcs
k
t thc
ccntcI O
.
|aI×s
carÌy
Wot
'
s a
Í h
dcvcÌoQ
¡n
d¡rcctIons
.
1 mcd¡tat¡on, cvcn I t cy
a
ntht
oQoÌo
gIca
'
Í Natcusc
statts Itom
an
Í Ì
QosItc
tcsu ts.
Í
bca
tIng
comQ
ctcy oQ
d h
tc con
ccIvcs thc
hIstotIca
Í h
sscncc an
t ctco
a
nthtoQoÌogy
O t c c
·
a nc
atcd
totaÌIty,
WhIÌc batttc statts
gto
ccss
2 thc
tcstotat
"
n oÍ
_
g
.
as thc anthto
QoÌo
g¡caÌ
_
.

herç
an
sca·ci ,
Itom thc con ton
a
d
both
thc
h¡stot¡caÌ
·
b

hc
consI cts
gtcm¡sc oÍ h¡sto
¹
caÌ
ccomI
¯
g

d
d to
a Ia¡Ìutc Itom
Wh¡ch

as
csOnc
and thc
cX¡stcnO
Qtoccsscs
d
ÍÍ sIon
a\Ity
WIÌÌbcsavc .
.
onÌy
thcmomcnt O u
k
h¡U¡n
NatX¡ststudIcs,
) F 1a·Xmat sancWs
Ïou¡s
1Ìthu
sscts o·
h
tÌy
Wotks to sttcss
·

Íat aWay
Itom t c ca
·
ÍocusIng Its
attcn
Oon
a\ b
k h t bt¡ngs
NatX´s thcoty~¤
·
ÌogIc
tca
t a
h
¡nstcad thc
cQIstcmo
I ¡Ì
¡n
Cu]t!uÍ-
outs¡dc
t c
N
xIsm
and
sQccI Ica y
matutc
at
¡cgcÌ¡an
sQhctc.
Ì
h
ma¡ottoÌc, s¡ncc It ¡s not
bttuc
tutc
thcn,nothIstoty,
Q ays t c
^
Ì
that
thc
Qtoccss oI
atthc
hIstotIcaÌÌcvcÌ, but at thc
sItuctut
onc
kno
WÌcdgc¡s Íoun
dcd·
.
| O!\ÌO
1 ÜÛÖ8
/ C1
LdDO'dOC
¬|lC|d\lO| |O !|C Q|llOSO|
y
For Marx is a declaration of war against Marxist Humanism,
at least against its idealistic implications. As a matter of fact
book gets rid of any pretence of considering Marx's theoty as
simple "overturing" of the Hegelian system.
If we want to exit the Hegelian feld of problems, we have
to
let go of the dialectic, we have to abandon the idea of an origin
al
truth to he restored, both on the level of the self-realization of the
spirit and of the self-assettion of radical Humanism.
Aer For Marx Althusset published Reading Cpital, a book
that proposes a structuralist method aimed at understanding the
capitalistic process and stressing the deep connection existing
between labor and knowledge.
First of all, Althusser reproposes to keep some distance from
the humanism of the young Marx:
"The Young Næ of the 1844 Manuscripts tead the human
essence at sight, immediately, in the ttansparency of its alien­
ation
.
Capital, on the contrary exactly measures a distance and
an internal dislocation (decalage) in the real, inscribed in its
structure, a distace and a dislocation such 2to make their own
efects themselves illegible j+ + + J the text of history is not a text
in which a voice (the Logos) speaks, but the inaudible and
illegible notation of the efects of a structure of structures.""
The concept of alienation shows the process by which the identical
is restored. Against its grain, we can then clearly see the traces of
Reason as it cleverly opens a way throughout the vicissitudes of his­
tory, as the history of the overturning of the alienated condition.
Overturing, overcoming, making true: an entire litany of
Hegelian terms that constantly refer to the possibility of reading
ÖZ/ ´C cOUl dI \OlK
The
oint is not that of overtur
ning or over-
through reason.
p
.
f the word
auf
hebun
g
,
.
f
Hege
han
sense 0

·r
the s
pecl c
. pable of
abolishing and


throu
gh a negatlon ca
.
d
vhKh
m
eans to re Ize
. ) The
point is
conc
eiving action
(an
the
same time .
Jaint
aining
at
.
) as
ptoduction, where ptod
ucing
means:
¡
etical
practices
als
o
eor
.
i latent, but
which really means
"M
aking
man
ifest
what s
.
pre�
existinO raw
material the
.
(in
ordet to gIve a T
ttansform
mg
d) som
ething which in a
]
obJ' ect
adapted to an en ,
form O
2
. ~¡/
sense
already eXIStS.
.
t the
rocess of visually registering
Knowle
dge, Althusser says, I� n
.
o

fex as
Engel's vulgate of
.
f
f us'
It IS
not a re ,
.
what comes U ront ¸

ledge is the con
struc
tion
of an
object:
m
ate
rialism
prete
nde .
OW
anize the idea we have of knowl-
"We must com
pletely reorg
.
hs of im
mediate
bandon
the
murors myt
edge, we
must a
. kn
wledge 9 a prod
uction
d
d'
and
con
ceIve
O
.
vision an rea
mg,
b h
'sible as its invi
sible, ID
¦. . . |The invisible is defned
y t e VI

+
Iy what is
h
.
.
'bl is not ther
erore
sImp
forb
idden
vision: t e mVlSI e
h
aria!
met
aphor) , the
h
. 'bl
(to return to t e sp
outside t e VIS! e
h
er drkness of
exclu-
d kn
of exclusion
-but t e znn
""
outer
r ess
d n d by its sttUcture.
.
. s'lde the
visible itself because e ne
ston, U
Ì i the d
eterm
ined
forro
that
cogni
tive
The stru
cture of the
vlslb e

d
d
properly epis
temic con-
.
n1y to Its
mo eS an
. d
prod
uction
gIves
not O
h
ld
that has been citcum
sctlbe
d
.
ely to t
e wor .
tenrs, but
also ±
preCIs
h
f the
visua
field
cutting
b
h
The
metap or O
and made
visible y t er.
h issue of kno
wledge
h . 'ble
world really alows us to grasp t e
out t e viSl ,
teory
.
h' h is
centtal to
Althu
ssers
.
as produ
ctIOn
w IC
\ll
1 ÛÛÜS / CÜ
C `' COO |O \l1C ¡\|lOSOµl(¹ C
LdDOldO �
¯o asscrt tnat knoWIcdgc nccds to bc undcrstood as Qroduc-
tion is a statcmcnt ricn Witn imQIications, not aII oÍ tncm
dcvcIoQcd by¹Itnusscr. ¯nc !irstisa mcrcIygnoscoIogicaI imQIi-
cation rcIativc to tncWay tnc mind adaQts to tnc WorId, making
it bccomc tnc `WorId oÍtnc mind.´
¨ÍtistncrcÍorc a gucstion oÍQroducing, intnc Qrcciscscnsc oÍ
tncWord,Wnicnsccmstosigni|makingmaniÍcstWnatisIatcnt,
but Wnicn rcaIIy mcans transÍorming (in ordcr to givc aQrc-
cxistingraWmatcrim tncÍormoÍan ob¡cctadaQtcdtoan cnd),
somctning Wnicn in a scnsc already eit, ¯nis Qroduction, in
tnc doubIc scnsc Wnicn givcs tnc Qroduction oQcration tnc
ncccssaryÍorm oÍacircIc, istncproduction ofknowldge.""
Ïcrc 1Itnusscr bcgins Witn Narx´s rcÍusaI to conÍusc rcaI ob¡ccts
and tncob¡cctsoÍknoWIcdgc(aconh1siontnatinstcadintcntionaIIy
and cxQIicitIydominatcs ÏcgcIs tncory).
¯nc cognitivc ob¡cct is tnc rcsuIt oÍ a sQcciHc and dctcr-
mincd activity oÍQroduction. ¯nc 1 857 Introduction to Narxs
Foundations ofthe Critique ofPolitical Economy (aIso knoWn as
Grundrisse) is tnc most imQortant rcÍcrcncc Íor anybody intcr-
cstcd in undcrstanding noW tnc conccQt oÍ knoWIcdgc as
QroductionWorks.
¨Ítsccms tobccorrcct to bcgin Witn tncrcaI andthcconcrctc,
Wim thc rcaI Qrccondition, tnus to bcgin, in cconomics, Witn
c.g· tnc QoQuIation, Wnicn is tnc Íoundation and tnc sub¡cctoÍ
tnc cntircsociaI actoÍQroduction. ÏoWcvcr, oncoscrcxamina-
tion tnis QrovcsÍaIsc.¯nc QoQuIation is an abstraction iÍÍIcavc
Out, Íor cxamQIc, tnc cIasscs oÍWnicn it is comQoscd. [ · . . |. Ín
C÷ / '|C cOU| dl \O|K
t
hisWay ÏcgcI ÍcII intotnciIIusionoÍconccivingtncrcaIastnc
QroductoÍtnougntconccntratingitscIÍ, QrobingitsoWndcQths,
andunÍoIdingitscIÍoutoÍitscI|byitscI!,Wncrcas tncmctnodoÍ
risingÍrom tnc abstractto tnc concrctcis onIytnc Way in Wnicn
thougnt aQQroQriatcs tnc concrctc, rcQroduccs it as tncconcrctc
in thc mind. but tnis is by no mcans tnc Qroccss byWnicn tnc
concrctc itscIÍcomcs into bcing. [ « & .|.¯ncrcÍorc, to tnc kind oÍ
consciousncss-and tnis is cnaractcristic oÍ tnc QniIosoQnicaI
consciousncss-ÍorWnicnconccQtuaItninkingisthcrcaInuman
bcing,andÍor WnicnthcconccQtuaIWorIdassucnisthustnconIy
rcaIity, tnc movcmcnt oÍthc catcgorics aQQcars as thc rcaI act oÍ
Qroduction-Wnich onIy, unÍortunatcIy rcccivcs a¡oIt Írom tnc
outsidc-Wnosc Qroduct is tnc WorId; and-but tnis is again a
tautoIogy-tnis is corrcct in so Íar astncconcrctc totaIity is a
totaIity oÍtnougnts, concrctc in tnougnt, in Íact a Qroduct oÍ
think1ng and comQrcncnding; butnot in any Way aQroduct oÍ
tnc conccQt Wnicn tninks and gcncratcs itscIÍoutsidc or abovc
obscrvation and conccQtion; a Qroduct, ratncr, oÍtncWorking-
uQ oÍobscrvation andconccQtion into conccQts.¯nc totaIityas
it aQQcars intncncad, as atotaIityoÍtnougnts, isaQroductoÍa
tninkingncad, Wnicn aQQroQriatcstncWorIdintnconIyWay it
can, a Way diÛcrcnt Írom tnc artistic, rcIigious, QracticaI and
mcntaI aQQroQriation oÍtnisWorId.¯nc rcaI sub¡cct rctains its
autonomouscxistcnccoutsidctnc ncad¡ustasbcÍorc; namcIyas
Iongas tncncadsconductis mcrcIysQccuIativc,mcrcIythcorct-
icm. Ïcncc, in tnc tncorcticaI mctnod, toO, tnc sub¡cct, socicty,
must aIWays bc kcQt in mind as tnc QrcsuQQosition.´´
Ïcrc, condcnscd in surQrisingWords,WchndadoubIcovcrturning
oÍQcrsQcctivcs.
ÏIrst Nar asscrts tnattnc concrctc IstncQroductoÍan actIVIty
oÍabstractIon. ¯nat Is to say nc asscrts tnat Wnat Wc conccIvc
as
concrctc Is notnIng but tnc actIvIty oÍ tnInkIng tnc concrctc, and
tncrcÍorc an actIvItyoÍtnc mInd.¹t hrstgIancc tnIs mIgnt aQQcat
to bc an IdcaIIst Way oÍrcasonIng. Üut tnIs Is not tnc casc, sIncc
Narx Isnot taIking oÍtnc rcIatIon bctWccn rcaI and ratIonaI Wncn
nc taIks abouttnc concrctc and tnc mInd. `nat Narx dchncs as
concrctc Is tnc totaIIty oÍtnc rcaI as Qro¡cctIon oÍmcntaI actIvIty.
¹ndWnatNarxcaIIsatnInkIngmIndIs nottncÏantIanQurcÏ,nor
cvcn tnc ÏcgcIIan oub¡cct tnat bccomcs oQIrIt. ¯nctnInkIng mInd
NarxIstaIkIngaboutIs tnatWorkWnIcnQroduccsrcaIIty, tnatIsto
sayWork as Qro¡cctIon.
¹t tnc samc tImc, Narx adds tnat `tnc concrctc sub¡cct´ (nIs-
torIcaI data, matcrIaI tnat Is dctcrmIncd In tnc Íorm oÍ sub¡cct)
rcmaIns hrmIy autonomous outsIdc tnc mInd.
¯nc ontoIogIcaI QrIorIty oÍmattcr Is not gucstIoncd by Narx
ncrc;ncWantsto sayInstcadtnatmattcr, InItsbccomIng (bIoIogIcaI,
nIstorIcaI, rcIatIonaI), Qroduccs a Qro¡cctIvc actIvIty, an actIvIty oÍ
tnougntsccrctIngWnatWccan caII a concrctc totaIIty, tnatIs to say
a Íorm oÍtnc WorId tnat docs not Qrc-cxIst tnInking QroductIvIty.
¯nc WorId Is tnc QsycnodynamIc IntcrscctIon bctWccn aII tnc
InÍnItc Qro¡cctIvc IcvcIs actIvatcd by mcntaI actIvIty In Its socIaI
and nIstorIcaI dctcrmInatIons.
¹Itnusscr dcvcIoQcda tncory tnat took tnc crItIguc oÍnIstorI-
cIsm and tnc IdcaIIst cIaIm Íor mcntaI rcQroducIbIIIty oÍrcaIIty as
ItsstartIngQoInt. Ïn tnIsWay,¹ÌtnusscrIctussccsomctnIngaIrcady
imQIIcIt in Narx´s tcxt: tnat tnc WorId Is hrst oÍ aII a Qroduccd
WorId, tncQroductoÍmansQastIaborasWcIIas oÍQastand Qrcscnt
mcntaI actIvIty.
Üut tncrc Is anotncrImQIIcatIon, onIy mcntIoncdand not ÍuIIy
¯!r × t! ×* À Î+~
dcv
cIo
Qcd by ¹Itnusscr, Wnosc cvIdcnt traccs Wc nonctncIcss hnd
m
ost
ccarIy In Narx´s Work, cvcn In tnc samc 1 857 Introduction.
¯nIs sccond ImQIIcatIon conccrns tnc QroductIvc cnaractcr oÍ
mcntaIIabor, tnat Is to saytnc Qassagc Írom tnc notIon oÍabstract
Iaborto tnatoÍgeneral intellect.
`nat docs `abstract Iabor´ mcan Íor Narx` `Itn tnIs cxQrcs-
sion
NarxrcÍcrs to Iabor sImQIyasQroduccroÍcxcnangcvaIuc, and
tnc
rcÍorc as Qurc dIstrIbutIon oÍ tImc matcrIaIIzcd In vaIuc. ¯nc
Íact tnat actIvIty dcQIoycd In tImc Qroduccs ob¡ccts QosscssIng a
concrctc usagc Is not at aII IntcrcstIngÍrom caQItaI´s QoInt oÍvIcW.
LaQItaI Is not Intcrcstcd In tnc Íacttnat tnc tImc Invcstcd In Iabor
Qroduccs bcautIÍuI snocs orQots to cookQotatocs. LaQItaI Is Intcr-
cstcd In QroducIng an accumuIatIon oÍ caQItaI tnrougn tncsc
ob¡ccts. LaQItaIIsIntcrcstcdIntncQroductIon oÍabstractvaIuc.¯o
tnIs QurQosc, caQItaI docsn´t nccd to mobIIIzc sQccIÍic and con-
crctc abIIItIcs to crcatc guaIItatIvcIy uscÍI ob¡ccts, but an abstract
dIstrIbutIonoÍtImcWItnout guaIIty.
¨ÏndIÍÍcrcncc toWards any sQccIhckind oÍ IabourQrcsuQQoscs
avcrydcvcIoQcd totaIIty oÍrcaI kinds oÍIabour, oÍWnicn no
sIngIconc IsanyIongcrQrcdomInant·¹s aruIc, tncmost gcn-
craI abstractIons arisconIyIn tnc midstoÍtnc rIcncstQossIbIc
concrctc dcvcIoQmcnt, Wncrc onc tning aQQcars as common
to many, to aII ¯ncn It ccascs to bc tninkabIc In a QartIcuIar
Íorm aIonc. Ln tnc otncr sIdc, tnIs abstractIon oÍ Iabour as
sucn Is not mcrcIytncmcntaI QroductoÍa concrctc totaIityoÍ
Iabours. ÏndiÍÍcrcncc toWardssQccIhcIabourscorrcsQonds toa
Íorm oÍsocIcty In Wnicn indivIduaIs can WItn casc transÍcr
Írom onc Iabour to anotncr, and Wncrc tnc sQccIhc kInd Is a
mattcr oÍcnancc Íortncm, ncnccoÍindiÍÍcrcncc.´¯
`c taIkaboutabstractIaborWncn IncWorkcrs gIvctncIr tImc Íor
QroducIngvaIucIncondItIons oÍcomQIctcIndIhcrcncc to Incusch:I
guaIItyoÍtncIr Qroduct.
¯nc abstractIon oÍIabor, tnat Is to say tnc transÍormatIon oÍ
numan actIvItIcs Into cmQty QcrÍormanccs oÍabstract tImc, Is Qro�
grcssIvcIy cxQandIng to aII QossIbIc Íorms oÍ socIaI actIvIty. ¯nc
hnaI QoInt oÍtnIs Qroccss Is tnc subsumQtIon oÍtnc QroductIvc
IaboroÍmcntaIactIvItyItscIÍtnc sQncrcoÍvaIuc-QroductIon,WnIcn
rcsuIts In Its uItImatc rcductIon and abstractIon.
¯nIssccond ImQIIcatIonQrcscntInNarx´s Grundrisse (notonIy
Intnc ÏntroductIon, butaIso IntncscctIonknoWnas"Fragment of
machines") bccomcs an csscntIaI cIcmcnt In tnc `orkcrIst and
LomQosItIonIst tncorIcs oÍtnc IV60s and IV¯0s. `nat hnds Its
groundIngncrcIstncQrchguratIonoÍtnc mostadvanccd tcndcncIcs
In tnc currcnt modcs oÍcaQItaIIst QroductIon. tnc subsumQtIon oÍ
mcntaI Iabor WItnIn tnc QroductIvc Qroccss and tnc QrogrcssIvc
rcductIon oÍmcntaI Iabor to abstract Iabor, Iabor WItn no uscÍuI
guaIItyandnomcanIng,mcntaItImcscrvIngonIyÍortncQroductIon
oÍcxcnangcvaIuc.
Genera|inte||ectand concrete totality in Grundrit:e
Ïntnc IV60s,LrItIcaI ÏumanIsm (gravItatIngaroundtnchgurcsoÍ
Narcusc and oartrc) nad Íound grcat cncrgIcs In Narx´s Earl
Writings. ÏumanorIgInaI autncntIcItyWas botn tncstartIngQoInt
and tnc tcIcoIogIcaI mcanIngoÍrcvoIutIonarycngagcmcnt.
¹Itnusscr´s structuraIIsm Is most oÍaII an InvItatIon to rcad
Capital, sIncctncstructurcoÍtncQroductIvcQroccss IsconsIdcrcd tnc
QIaccWncrcacrItIcaIcomQrcncnsIon botn oÍtnc cxIstIngWorId and oÍ
tnc rcvoIutIonaryQroccss IcadIngto ItsdcstructIonIsto bc acnIcvcd.
tH/Thp ,nlll ¤rVcl
ÏtaIIan Ìco-NarxIst `orkcrIsm InsQIrcd by LomQosItIonIsm
shIÍts
attcntIon to tnc Grundrisse, Narxs WorkI¡rstQubIIsncd In
ÏtaIy In IV6b. oocIaI comQosItIon and tnc ÍormatIon oÍrcvoIu-
tIonary
sub¡cctIvIty can bc cxQIaIncd ncItncr by tnc IdcaIIst
hyQostasIs oÍa numan naIurc to bc rcaIIzcd tnrougn nIstorIcaI
actIon nor by tnc anaIysIs oÍ tnc ImQIIcIt contradIctIon In tnc
structurc oÍQroductIvc rcIatIons. ÌcItncr tnc QrcsuQQosItIon oÍ
anumanIty nccdIng to bc rcdccmcd, nor tnc anaIysIs oÍcaQItaI
arc suU¡cIcnt to undcrstandWnat naQQcns on tncsccnc oÍz0tn-
ccntury nIstory, on tnc stagc oÍWorkIng cIass struggIcs and oÍ
caQItaI´s rcstructurIng.
`c nccd to adoQt tnc QoInt oÍ vIcW oÍ Iabor In Its most
advanccd manIÍcstatIons, it is necessar to assume the standpoint of
the resal to work, In ordcr to undcrstand tnc dynamIcs botn oÍ
QroductIvc transÍormatIon and oÍ QoIItIcaI rcvoIt. `ncn Wc do
tnat,WccanhnaIIyscctnatsocIaIcomQosItIonIsInconstanttrans-
ÍormatIon, aItcrIng tnc QroductIvc, tccnnoIogIcaI, cconomIc and
QoIItIcaIcontcxts.¯ncmotoroÍtnIs constant transÍormatIonIs tnc
dynamIc oÍsubtractIon oÍIIvcd tImc Írom tnc Wagc-rcIatIon.
LomQosItIonIsttncory QosItIonsItscIÍInan antI-IaborIst Qcr-
sQcctIvc: tnc ÏtaIIan Ìco-NarxIsts gatncrcd around tnc ¡ournaI
Classe operaia ( Working Class) Intcndcd to study tnc constIIutIon
oÍautonomouscoIIcctIvcactIvIty,startIngÍrom tncsubtractIon oÍ
IIvcd tImc Írom Iabor, tnc rcÍusaI to Work and tnc Qro¡cct oÍIts
cxtInctIon.
Ïrom tnc hrstQagc oÍCapital, Narxstatcs tnatIt Is ncccssary
to dIÍÍcrcntIatc bctWccn gcncrIc actIvIty, Wncrc numans rcIatc to
naturc and tnc socIcty oÍ otncr numans, and a sQccIhc Íorm oÍ
Wagc-carnIng Iabor, tnat Is to say tnc IcndIng oÍabstract tImc In
cxcnangc Íor aWagc.
LAhor and AlienAtion in the ohilosonrlV of lhfJ 1 9608 /CÛ
The refusal of work does not mean the erasure of activity,
the valorization of human activities which have escaped
labor's dom
ination.
In Capital, Ma defnes "abstract labor" in the following term
s:
"If then we disregard the use-value of commodities, only one
property remai
l
s, that of being products of labour. But even
the product of labour has already been transformed in our
hands. If we make abstraction from its use-value, we abstract
also from the material constituents and forms which make it
a use-value. The useful character of the kinds of labour
embodied in them also disappears; this in turn entails the dis­
appearance of the diferent concrete forms oflabour. They can
no longer be distinguished, but are altogether reduced to the
Same kind of Jabour, human Jabour in the abstract.""
/ an effect of capitalistic development, industrial labor loses any
relation to the concrete character of activity, becoming purely rented
out time, objectifed in products whose concrete and useful quality
does not have any interest other than that of enabling the exchange
and the accumulation of plus-value.
"Equality in the fuU sense between different kinds of Jabour
can be arrived at only if we abstract from their reaJ inequal­
ity, if we reduce them to the characteristic they have in
common, that of being the expenditure of human Jabour­
power, of human labour in the abstract.))23
The industrial worker (and more generally, as a tendency, the entire
cycle of social labor) is the bearer of a purely abstract and repetitive
ÛÖ/ 1HB cOU| Bl \OlK
Abstraction, this centripetal and at the same time uni­
kO�l
f
ed1
e.
traversing the modern period, reaches its perfection in
fing orce
. . .
al The labor of physical transformanon of matter has
t
he digit era.
. .
abstract that it is now useless: machmes can replace it
become so
} } At the same time, the subsumption of mental labor has
comp ete y.
.
d with it the reduction of mental labor itself to an
begun, an
abst
racted activity.
"Labour appears, rather, merely as a conscious organ, scattered
among the individual living workers at numerous points of the
mechanical system; subsumed under the total process of the
machinety itself, as itself only a link of the system, whose unity
exists not in the living workers, but rather in the living (active)
machinety, which confronts his individual, inSignifcant doings
as a mighty organism. In machinery, objectifed labour con­
fronts living labour within the labour process irself as the power
which rules it; a power which, as the appropriation of living
labour, is the form of capital."24
The worker appears overwhelmed, reduced to a passive appendage
producing empty time, to a lifeless carcass. But then, immediately,
the vision changes:
"The increase of the productive force of labour and the greatest
possible negation of necessary labour is the necessary tendency
of capital, as we have seen. The transformation of the means of
labour into machinery is the realization of this tendency. In
machinery, objectifed labour materially confronts liVing labour
as a ruling power and as an active subsumption of the latter
under itself, not only by appropriating it, but in the real
LBCO| B|C¬'lB|B!lO||| l|B [Hl|OSO[l\ O!\HB 1 ÜÛÖ8 / Û1
production process itself the relation of capital as value which
appropriates value-creating activity is, in fxed capital existing µ
machiner posited at the sae time as the relation of the USe
value of capital to the use value of labour capacity; further, the
value objectifed in machinery appeats as a presuppositi
on
against which the value-creating power of the individual labour
capacity is an infnitesimal, vanishing magnitude."25
Thanks to the accumulation of science and the general forces of
�Ocial intellect, Marx repeats, labor becomes superfuous. Capital,
Its purest form, tends U eliminate human labor in its immediate,
matenal form as much as possible, in order to replace it with the
technological use of science. The development of this trend virtuall
takes the productive global system out of the paradigmatic orbit
the modern capitalist system. 1 new paradigmatic system needs to
be found, if we Want to understand and, more importantly, liberate
the new constellation of human activity technologies, interfaces
and social interactions. But a paradigmatic shift has a different
timing from that of the technological and productive potentialities
of general intellect. It gets tangled in the slow time of culture, social
habits, constituted identities, power relations and the dominant
economic order. Capitalism, as a cultural and epistemic, as well as
economic and social, system, semiotizes the machinic potentialities
of the post-industrial system according to reductive paradigmatic
hnes. The heritage of the modern period, with all its industrial
clanking as well as with the clanking of its mental habits and of
its aggressive and competitive imaginary Weighs on the development
of new perspectives as an insurmountable obstacle preventing
the deployment of a redistribution of wage-earning labor and
its extension.
ÛZ/ J|C cOU|B!\O|K
"Capital here-quite unintentionally-teduces human labout,
ex
penditure of energy, to a minimum. This will red��nd to
the
beneft of emancipated labour, and IS the condltlon of
. .
"
26
its
ema
nCIpatlOn.
'he time of immediate labor becomes quantitatively irrelevant, if
d ro an elaborate automated system. The reduction of
compare
y labor time and therefore the progressive elimination of
necessar
workers, is seen by Potere operaio as a jolly perspective: in Compo­
. .
I·St discourse it translates into trusting the auto-assertive
SltlOn
capacities of rhe intellect against its capitalistic use.
''[soon as labour in the direct form has ceased to be the great
well-spring of wealth, labour time ceases and must cease to be
its measure, and hence exchange value [must cease to be the
measure] of use value. The surlus lbour ofthe mass has ceased
U be the condition for the development of general wealth, just
as the non-lbour ofthe jw, for the development of the general
powers of the human head. With that, production based on
exchange value breaks down, and the direct, material produc­
tion process is stripped of the form of penury and antithesis.
The free development of individualities, and hence not the
reduction of necessary labour time so as to posit surplus labour,
but rather the general reduction of the necessary labour of
society to a minimum, which then corresponds U the artistic,
scientifc etc. development of the individuals in the time set
free, and with the means created, for all of them.""
The alliance between technological power and general social
knowledge meets the resistant power of the capitalist model, which
LBDO!BGC¬||CGB!|OG lG I|C j|||OSOÇ|\O!I|C 1 ÜÛÖS /ÛÜ
dominatcs tnc sociaI, cuIturaI and QsycnoIogicaI cxQcctations
oÍa
QroIctarianizcd numanity.
¯nc cconomy, Iikc a gcncraI scmioticcagc, Íorbids tncdcvcI-
oQmcnt oÍ tnc QotcntiaI stiII cxisting in tnc matcriaI and
intcIIcctuaIstructurcoÍtccnnoIogy· !ct´srctum to Narx:
¨LaQitaI itscIÍ is tnc moving contradiction, jin| tnat it
Qrcsscs torcduccIabourtimcto aminimum,WniIcitQosits
Iabour timc, on tnc otncr sidc, as soIc mcasurc and sourcc
oÍWcaItn. Ïcncc itdiminisncs Iabour timc in tnc ncccssary
Íorm so as to incrcasc it in tnc suQcr¡Iuous Íorm; ncncc
Qosits tnc suQcrHuous in groWing mcasurc as acondition-
gucstion oÍ IiÍc or dcatn-Íor tnc ncccssary. Ln tnc onc
sidc, tncn, it caIIs to IiÍc aII tnc QoWcrs oÍscicncc and oÍ
naturc, as oÍsociaI combination and oÍsociaI intcrcoursc,
in ordcr to makc tnc crcation oÍWcaItn indcQcndcnt ¦rcIa-
tivcIy) oÍ tnc Iabour timc cmQIoycd on it. Ln tnc otncr
sidc, it Wants to usc Iabour timc as tnc mcasuring rod Íor
tncgiantsociaIÍorccs tncrcbycrcatcd, and to contnc tncm
Witnin tnc Iimits rcguircd to maintain tnc aIrcady crcatcd
vaIuc as vaIuc.´¯°
¯ncscQagcs-rcad andvaIorizcd bytnc LomQositionisttncorists in
tnc samc ycars tnat tnc Grundrisse bcgan to bc knoWn in JtaIy-
dcI¡nc Witn incrcdibIc Iucidity tnc dircction takcn by tnc
dcvcIoQmcntoÍz0tn-ccnturysociaI,QoIiticaIandcconomicaInistory.
¯nc conccQt oÍabstract lbor is tnc bcst QossibIc introduction
to an undcrstandingoÍtnc digitaIization oÍtnc QroductivcQroccss
hrst madc QossibIc and hnaIIy gcncraIizcd by tnc diÍÍusion oÍ
microcIcctronics.
Ñncn Natx sQcaks oÍ caQitaI as a moving contradiction, nc
prcn
gurcs tnc astonisning nistory oÍtnc z0tn ccntury, Wncn caQi-
taI itscIÍ dcstroycd tnc QotcntiaIitics it nad crcatcd Witnin tnc
tcchnicaI domain bccausc oÍtnc instinct to conscrvc its sociaI and
cconomic modcI. `ncn nc ÍorctcIIs tnc dcvcIoQmcnt oÍcrcativc,
artisticand scicntihc ÍacuItics, Narx anticiQatcs tncintcIIcctuaIiza-
tion
oÍIabor noWadays cnaractcristicoÍtnc Qost-Íordist cra.
1t a ccrtain Qoint in tnc dcvcIoQmcnt oÍtnc aQQIication oÍ
intcIIigcncc to Qroduction, tnccaQitaIistmodcI bccomcs aQaradig-
matic cagc, constraining intcIIigcncc in tnc Íorm oÍ Wagcs,
disciQIinc and dcQcndcncc.
¯nc conccQt oÍ Qaradigm Was not avaiIabIc to Narx, Wno
ÍoundasurrogatcÍoritWitnohcnambiguousconccQtsoÍÏcgcIian
dcrivation. ¯nc idca oÍ a diaIccticaI ovcrcoming to bc rcaIizcd
tnrougn ncgation, or tnc ovcrturning and Iibcration oÍa niddcn
nucIcus,isaIsodcrivationoÍtnc ÏcgcIianconccQtuaIsystcm.
1hcrtnccxQcricnccoÍtnctWcntictnccntury,Wcundcrstandvcry
WcII tnat modcrn nistory docs not Qrocccd toWards a Qositivc cxit
aIongadiaIccticaI Qatn, andtnattncrcis nodiaIccticaIovcrcomingon
tnc norizon. LaQitaI sccms ratncr to bc a Qatnogcnic mccnanism, a
sortoÍ`doubIcbind.´!rcgoryÜatcson¯uscstncconccQtoÍadoubIc
bind in ordcr to undcrstand a QaradoxicaI Íorm oÍcommunication,
Wncrc tnc rcIationaI contcxt is contradictcd bytnc mcaning oÍcom-
munication. LoubIcbindsarccontradictoryin¡unctions: Íorinstancc
tnoscordcrs, soIicitationsor rcgucstsWncrc tnc cnunciatingsub¡cct
askstnc mcssagc addrcsscc onctningWitnWords and anotncr, con-
tradictoryonc,Withgcsturcs,a cctionandintonation.1doubIcbind
dcrivcs Írom¡uxtaQosingtWoscmioticcodcs in arcIationaIcontcxtor
ÍromtncsuQcrQositionoÍtwodihcrcntintcrQrctivccodcs intncdcvcI-
oQmcnt oÍaunigucQroccss. !n tncnistoricaIIcvcI WcCasscrttnat
l n|¬nr¬ Þ|i=rnJcr ir r|= r|i|O'Or|vCl !|O 1¬rOs /Û!
caQitaIscmiotizcstnctccnnoIogicaIQroccssaccordingto acodc(tnat
oÍcconomicVaIor¡zation) tnatisinadcguatcU itsmatcriaI andsociaI
mcaning. ¯nc sociaI contcnt oÍcaQitaIist Qroduction contradicts its
oWn scmiotic ÍramcWork. ¯ncrcÍorc it Qroduccs a systcm oÍmisun-
dcrstandings, contradictory in¡unctions andQcrVcrsc¡uxtaQositions.
!ct´s tnink oÍ tnc so-caIIcd QrobIcm oÍ uncmQIoymcnt, Íor
instancc. ÏnrcaIity, tccnnoIogicaI dcVcIoQmcnttcndsto makc manuaI
Iabor uscIcss and its cVaIuation in tcrms oÍWagcs imQossibIc. Üut
sincc tnc rcIationaI contcxt Wncrc tnis mcssagc and tnis Qroccss arc
inscrtcd is tnat oÍ caQitaIism, Wnicn is Íoundcd on Wagc-carning
rcguIations andIabor´s ccntraIity, a doubIc bindstarts h1nctioning.
¯nc conccQt oÍa doubIc bind nas notning to do Witn diaIcc-
tics. LoubIc binds arc rcsoIVcd onIyWncn tnc rcIationaI contcxt is
rcdchncd, starting Íromtnc IcVcI oÍcnunciation.
Ìo totaI oVcrturning is QossibIc in tnc Íacc oÍ tnc caQitaIist
doubIc bind, sincc as a mattcr oÍÍact tncrc is no QositiVc or ncga-
tiVc totaIityin tnc sociaI nistoryoÍcaQitaIism.
Hans-Jiirgen Krahl's theory: science, work ad technique
Ïans-]í¡rgcn ÏranI dicd in a car accidcnt onc nignt in IV¯0.
¯nougnnotcVcn tnirty,ncWasoncoÍtncmostimucntiaI tninkcrs
oÍtnc anti-autnoritarian !crman moVcmcnt. ¯nc moVcmcnt nad
cxQIodcd in tnc strccts sincc IV6¯,Wncn ayoungstudcntagcdz6,
Ücnno!ncsorg,WaskiIIcd bytncQoIiccduringananti-imQcriaIist
raIIy against tnc Ïcrsian onan. ¹hcr tnat otncr studcnts raQidIy
¡Oincdtnc moVcmcnt, hgntingÍortnc dcmocratization oÍ!crman
socicty, Qrotcstingagainst tncNictnam`ar and dcnouncing, Witn
astonisningactions oÍrcVoIt, tncmcdiatic oVcrIoadingoQcratcdby
tncncWsQaQcrs bcIonging to tnc oQringcr grouQ.
ÛÛ/J|C cOUl ô\Oü´
Ïrom
itsorIgins, tnc!crmanmoVcmcnt-tncn mainIyorganizcd
aI
ong
tnc Iincs oÍtncoLo (Sozialisticher Deutscher Studntbund, !cr-
g¶ oociaIist otudcnt !caguc)-Was attractcd by to dihcrcnt
h
_otn
cscs: tnc `organizationaI´ and tnc `sQontancous.´ Ïn tnc ÍoI-
Io
wing
ycars tnc hrst WouId bc grouQcd in tnc Rote Zelen [Ïcd
(cIIs|
oÍNarxist·!cninist insQiration, tncsccond in tnc muItiÍorm
çQcricnccs oÍ tnc youtn moVcmcnts, tnc Jugendentren and tnc
Autonomen coIIcctiVcs.
ÏntnctWoycarsQcriod bcÍorcnisdcatn,Ïans-]ürgcnÏranIcIab-
oratcdtnc gcncn Iincs oÍaQost-!cninist rcVoIutionarytncory. Ïnnis
book
Konstitution und Klsenkamp (Constittion and Cls Strugl)
ncgucstions tncQossibiIity oÍrcducingtncncWsociaI comQositionoÍ
intcIIcctuaI Iabor to tncQoIiticaIand organizationaI catcgorics oÍtnc
traditionaI Workcrs´ moVcmcnts. Ïis mcditations start Írom tnc
Ïrankh:rt oCooI tncor¡cs,sQccihcaIIy¹domos,dcVcIoQingtncmWitn
psQcctD tnc QraxisoÍindustriaI aIicnatcd Iabor and anti-autnoritarian
struggIcs. ÏranI is rctninkIng tnc gucstion oÍtnc rcIation bctWccn
sociaI comQosition and aVant-gardc QoIiticaI organization. !cnin
ansWcrcd tncgucstion in tncsub¡cctiVistandVoIuntaristicWaytnat
was to dominatc tncrcVoIutionaryIandscaQcoÍtnc ccntury, but in
tnc IV60stnc moVcmcnts nadstartcdIookingÍorotncrsoIutions.
` ¯nc traditionaI tncorics oÍcIass consciousncss, csQcciaIIy tnc
oncsdcriVcdÍrom !cnin, tcnd to scQaratccIassconsciousncss
Írom itscconomiccIcmcnts. ¯ncy ncgIcct tnc mcta-cconomic,
constitutiVc roIc QIaycd by QroductiVc sub¡cctiVity in tnc
crcation oÍWcaItnandciViIization.`'
¯ncanaIyticaI scQaration bctWccn tncIcVcIsoÍtnc cconomyandoÍ
consciousncssnadaIcgitimatcgroundinginatimcWncnQroductiVc
labor was structurally separated from intellectual labor, but
it
to lose its meaning once intellectual work has joined the process
general production in a constiturive way.
Production is not to be considered a merely economic
ruled solely by the law of supply and demand; extra-economic
tors have their role in that process and they are all the more
when the labor cyde is intellectualized. Social culture, ul1req
en
imaginations, expecrations and disillusions, hatred and Wl1eUne.
all modif the rhythm and the fuidity of the productive prece
,, ;
Emotional, ideological, and linguistic domains condition
productivity. This becomes dearer the more those same enlOtio
tlal,
linguistic, and projective energies are involved in the process
value production.
Hans Jurgen Kralll succeeds in anticipating the on(vative
quality of the productive transformations characteristic of the last
decades, the period that marks the exit from the industrial model.
He anticipates this conceptualy, following the abstract categories
of critical Marxism.
"Working time remains the measure of value even when it no
longer includes the qualitative extension of production. Science
and technology make possible the maximization of our labor
capacity, transforming it into a social combination that, in the
Course of the capitalist development of machinety, increasingly
becomes the main productive force."32
In his "Theses on the General Relation Between the Scientifc
IntelligentSia and Proletarian Class Consciousness," published in
1969, in the journal Sozialistische Korrespondenz-Injo, Kralll
focuses on the essential core of the movement's political problems.
ÛÜ/ J|C cOUl d! \O!K
l
-
rh
,o
olo
gy is the central issue, understood as the determined form
relation between science and labor processes.
((
The
technological translation of science into a system of
m
echanisms constituring a fxed capital-which has been
Sys
tematically implemented since the end of the nineteenth
cen
tury-
and the tendenc towards automation have changed
what Marx clled the teal subsumption oflabor under capital
.
The
rel subsumption is diferent fom a purely fotmal one because it
m
odifes qualitatively even the technologicl structure of the
i
mmediate labor process. This happens through the systematic
application of the social forces of production and the separation
beteen labor and science. The labor procs then, understood as
the orgic exchange between man and nature. is socializd in
itsel£ One of the most remarkable traits of the tel subsuption
of labor by capital is, as Marx said, 'the conscious application
of science, which is a genetal product of social development, to
the immediate process of production.' Social combination
makes production increasingly scientifc, thereby constituting it
as a totalit, as a 'total' worker, but at the same time reducing the
working ability of the single indvidual to a simple moment:'"
These analytical considetations necessarily led the young theoretician
to postulate the decisive issue capable of tadically questioning the
organizational modalities and the political projects of the twentieth
century workers' movement: the anti-authoritarian groups in the
1960s made them uncertain, but were not able to get rid of them.
"The absence of a refection about the theoretical construc­
tion of class consciousness as a non-empirical category [ . + + |
l ¬lr¬rc Þ|ini�1¹iOi ll\|C Ol||OSOC|VO!\|C 1'ÛÖS /Û'
had the consequence, within the socialist movement, of
reducing the concept of class consciousness to its Leninist
meaning, which is inadequate to the metropolis."34
Leninism, as a model of organization and way of understanding the
telation between social consciousness and the general labot process
is incapable of reading the metropolitan condition.
Leninism is based on the sepatation between the labor process
and higher-level cognitive activities (that is to say consciousness).
This separation is founded on proto-industtial wotk, since the
workers have knowledge of their own abilities, but no awateness of
the cognitive system structuring society. The roots of this separa­
tion become more and more fragile when the mass wotkets, forced
into an increasingly patceled and alienating wotk activity, develop
their sociality in a dimension that is immediately subversive and
anti -capitalistic.
Finally this sepatation has no furthet grounding when we
discuss the mental fotms of social labor, since when each intellec­
tualized operator is the vehicle of a specifc form of knowledge, slhe
perceives-although in a fragmented, confused and tormented
manner-the social system of knowledge underlying the entite
productive cycle.
Digital Panlogism
In those same years, Marcuse was also addressing the issue of the
relation between forms of thought and forms of social production.
The productive fnalization of technology ends up subjugating
the thinking process from the standpoint of its own epistemological
structures.
JÜ/J| cOU| ð! \C|K
"The feature of operationalism-to make the concept synony­
gOU
with the corresponding set of operations-recurs in the
ling
uistic
tendency 'to consider the names of rhings as being
indicative at the same time of their manner of functioning,
and the
names of properties and processes as symbolical of
the apparatus used to detect or produce them' [4] This is tech­
nological reasoning, which tends "to identif things and their
functions)) (5) ." 35
Beg
inning with the idealistic frame pictured in works like Reason and
Re
olution and Hegels Ontolgy, which proposed a totmented vetsion
of Hegelian thought focused on negativity, processuality and
separation, Marcuse writes in his One Dimensional Man:
"The totalitarian universe of technological rationality is the
latest transmutation of the idea of Reason."36
In Eros and CiviliZtion, a book published in Italy in IV6¯,Marcuse
develops a discourse on the Iiberatoty potentialities represented by
technology, while in One Dimensional Man he denounces the reduc­
tion of these same potentialities by functionalism. Marcuse opposed
the dialectics of self-realizing reason to functionalist reductions. His
position remains an idealistic one, and there is no concrete reference
to social recomposition processes in his theory. He understands,
nonetheless, an essential point of the late capitalist process: he sees
the tendency towards a total integration of Logos and production
through technology. At the horizon of the tendenc described by
Marcuse we fnd the digitalization of the world: digitalization as a
paradoxical realization of Hegelian Panlogism in a non-dialectical,
disempowered and pacifed vetsion:
LdDOld|C ¬||C|dI|O| l| !|C Q|||OSOQ|VO!!|C 1 ÜÛÜS / 11
"The incessant dynamic of tecnical progress has become per­
meated with political content, and te Logos of technics has been
made into the Logos of continued servitude
.
The liberating
force
of technology-the instrumentalization of things-turns into
a fetter of liberation; the instrumentalizatlon of man."37
The use of algorithms in the productive processes, and their
mission through logical devices, isolates an operational kind
rationality. But in this way the world is subsumed (o'{erturn
irg
Hegel) in a digital and logical reduction, and therefore trapped
for­
ever in the capitalistic form embodied as technical Reason.
"Technology has become the great vehicle of reijcation-reif­
cation in its most mature and effective form."38
We can say that the essential question for Hegelian theory is the
reduction of reality to Logos and therefore the establishment of
the Same, the abolition of every diference and the foundation of
Identity. Throughout modern history we have witnessed a series of
attempts to restore Identity either through violence or homologa­
tion, whether by democratic or totalitarian regimes. Romanticism
tries to retrace the path leading to an origin where the premise of
identity can be rediscovered. Twentieth-centuty totalitarianism
stems from this obsession. The ethnic totalitarianism of Fascist
states pretended to realize the Same on the basis of the myth of com­
mon roots, while the totalitarian Communist state pretended to
realize the Same through the realization of the historical ideal of a
society without diferences.
But the reality of diferences could not be vanquishe. Even if
reduced and oppressed they are always reborn in violent ad resentfl
IZ/ 1|B cOUl dl \O!K
.
al life people are dominated on the contraty by inessen-
�»
. «
d ·
. .
al claims by nationalisms, regiOnalIsms an racIsms.
gd
eg
otiStiC '
f

.
hough realizes itself on another level, that O Imor-
Identity, t
,
h h b·
This level subsumes evety space of the uman a Itat,
.
h hisrorical perception of time with a digital one. The
ep
lacm
g t e .
r
.
f the Same is determined then as a program generating
rdu
ctlo
n O
d
.
_
p
.
of states that exclude the inessential by efnlng It.
Ü succeSSI
on
.
d
From
this point of view, compnterized SOCIety can be nn er-
qas
Panlogism realized.
stoO
• f
.
Il·
Absolute Knowledge is materialized in the universe O Illte \¬
h· "Totality is not History, but the virtual assemblage
gent
mac
meso
l he interconnections preprogrammed and predetermined by the
o � se of intelligent machines. Hegelian logic has thns been
umver . . .
made true by computers, since today nothing is true If It IS not
.
d by the universe of media machines. The tOtalIty generated
reg
stere
by computers has replaced Hegel's totality.
. .
We could even say that the global Net founds a TotalIty with-
out
Totalization.
The matrix is replacing the event. This is the fnal point of modern
Rationalisierung.
To be recognized in the networked universe one must become
compatible with the generative logic of the matrix. What does not
belong to a codified domain is not socially recognizable or rele-
} h h · t still existS in the domain of irrelevance, of
vant, a t aug !
.
d d
. .
d to VIO-
residuality. It then reacts with rage an espalr, In or er
lently reassert its existence.
Wen Histoty becomes the development of Absolute Com-
puterized Knowledge difference is not vanqUished, or resolved: It
becomes residual, ineffectual, unrecognizable.
Ê
The Soul at Work
Digital labor and abstraction
¯oday, Wnat docs it mcan to Work` ¹s a gcncraÌ tcndcncy, Workis
QcrÍormcd according to tnc samc QnysicaÌ Qattcrns. Wc aÌÌ sit in
ÍrontoÍascrccn andmovc ourhngcrs across akcyboard.`c tyQc.
!ntnconcnand, Ìabor nas bccomc mucn morc uniÍorm Írom
a QnysicaÌ and crgonomic Qoint oÍ vicW, but on tnc otncr it is
bccomingmucnmorcdiÍÍcrcntiatcdandsQcciaÌizcdWitnrcsQcctto
tnc contcnts tnat it dcvcÌoQs. ¹rcnitccts, travcÌ agcnts, soUWarc
dcvcÌoQcrs and attorncys snarc tnc samc QnysicaÌ gcsturcs, but
tncy couÌd ncvcr cxcnangc¡obs sincc cacn andcvcry onc oÍtncm
dcvcÌoQsasQccihcand ÌocaÌabiÌityWnicncannotbctransmittcdto
tnoscWno donotsnarctncsamccurricuÌarQrcQarationandarcnot
ÍamiÌiarWitn tnc samc comQÌcx cognitivc contcnts.
`ncn Ìabor nad a substantiaÌÌy intcrcnangcabÌc and dcQcr-
sonaÌizcd cnaractcr it Was Qcrccivcd as somctningÍorcign. ÏtWas
mccnanicaÌÌy imQoscd by a nicrarcny, and rcQrcscntcd an
assigncd task tnat Was QcrÍormcd onÌy in cxcnangc Íor Wagcs·
¯nc dchnition oÍdcQcndcnt Work and Wagc-carningWas adcguatc
Íor tnis kind oÍsociaÌ activity, Wnicn consistcd in tnc scÌÌing oÍ
onc´s timc.
LigitaÌtccnnoÌogicsoQcnacomQÌctcÌyncWQcrsQcctivcÍorÌabor.
Ïirst oÍaÌÌ tncy tra0sÍorm tnc rcÌation bctWccn concciving and cxc-
cuting, and tncrcÍorc tnc rcÌation bctWccn tnc intcÌÌcctuaÌcontcnts oÍ
Ìabor a0d its manuaÌcxccution.NanuaÌÌaborisgcncraÌÌycxccutcdby
automaticaÌÌy Qrogrammcd macnincry, WniÌc innovativc Ìabor, tnc
o0ctnatchcctivcÌyQroduccsvaÌuc, is mcntaÌ Ìabor. ¯nc matcriaÌs D
bctra0sÍormcdarcsimuÌatcd by digitaÌ scgucnccs. Íroductivc Ìabor
|Ìabor Qroducing vaÌuc) consists in cnacting simuÌations Ìatcr trans-
Ícrrcd toactuaÌmattcr by comQutcrizcd macnincs.
¯nc contcnt oÍÌabor bccomcs mcntaÌ, WniÌc at tnc samc timc
tnc Ìimits oÍ Qroductivc Ìabor bccomc unccrtain. ¯nc notion oÍ
Qroductivity itscÌÍbccomcs undchncd: tnc rcÌation bctWccn timc
andguantity oÍQroduccd vaÌuc is diUcuÌt to dctcrminc, sincc Íor
acognitivc Workcrcvcrynouris nottnc samc ÍromtncstandQoint
oÍQroduccdvaÌuc.
¯nc notion oÍabstraction and oÍ abstract Ìabor nccds to bc
rcdchncd.`natdocs `abstract Ìabor´ mcan in Narxs Ìanguagc` Ït
mcans tnc distribution oÍvaÌuc-Qroducing timc rcgardÌcss oÍ its
guaÌity, WitnnorcÌation to tncsQccihcandconcrctcutiÌitytnattnc
Qroduccd ob¡ccts mignt navc. ÏndustriaÌ Ìabor Was gcncraÌÌy
abstract sinccitssQccihc guaÌity andconcrctcutiÌityWascomQÌctcÌy
irrcÌcvant comQarcd to its Íunction oÍcconomic vaÌorization. Lan
Wcsay tnat tnis abstract rcduction is stiÌÌ activc in tnc cra oÍinÍo-
Qroduction`Ïn accrtainscnsc,ycs, Wc can, andWc can aÌsosaytnat
tnis tcndcncy is Qusncd to its cxtrcmcs, sincc Ìabor nas Ìost any
rcsiduaÌ matcriaÌity and concrctcncss, and tnc Qroductivc activity
onÌycxcrts its QoWcrs on Wnat is ÌcU. symboÌic abstractions, bytcs
and digits, tnc diUcrcnt inÍormation cÌaboratcd by Qroductivc
activity. `c can saytnat tnc digitaÌization oÍtnc Ìabor Qroccss nas
madcany Ìabor tncsamcÍroman crgonomicandQnysicaÌQointoÍ
¯IC ,: nL Ii �+:V·/:·l /J F
view since we all do the same thing: we sit in front of a screen
and
we type on a keyboard. Our activity is later transformed by a con_
catenation of machines into an architectural project, a televis
ion
script, a surgical operation, the moving of forty metal boxes or a
restaurants' provisioning.
As we have already said, from a physical standpoint, there is no
diference between the labor performance of a travel agent, a tech­
nician working for an oil company or a writer of detective stories.
But we can also say the opposite. Labat has become part of a
mental process, an elaboration of signs rich with knowledge. It has
become much more specifc, much more specialized: attorneys and
architects, computer technicians and mall vendors all sit in front of
the same screen and type on the same keyboards: still, they could
never trade places. The content of their elaborating activities is
completely different and cannot be easily transmitted.
On the other hand, also from a physical point of view, chemi­
cal, metal and mechanical workers do completely diferent jobs,
but it takes only a few days for a metal or mechanical worker to
acquire rhe operative knowledge necessaty to do the job of a work­
er in the chemical industry and vice versa. The more industrial
labor is simplifed, the more it becomes interchangeable.
Human terminals perform the same physical gestures in front
of computers and they all connect to the universal machine of
elaboration and communication: yet the more their jobs are phys­
ically simplifed, the less interchangeable their knowledge, abilities
and performance. Digital labor manipulates absolute abstract signs,
but its recombining function is more specifc the more personalized
it gets, therefore ever less interchangeable. Consequently, high tech
workers tend to consider labor as the most essential part in their
lives, the most specifc and personalized.
This is exactly the opposite of what happened with the indus­
tri
al
worker, for whom eight hours of wage labor were a sort of
temporaty death from which slhe could wal<e up only after the
alarm bells rang, announcing the end of the working day.
Enterprise and desire
In its humanistic Renaissance meaning the word enterprise refers
to an activity aimed at giving the world a human form. The "enter­
prise" of the humanistic artist enterprise is the sign of humanity's
independence from fate and even divine will. For Machiavelli,
enterprise is like politics in that it emancipates itself ftom fortune
and realizes the republic, a space where different human wills test
and compare their cunning and their ability to create.
In its capitalistic meaning, the word enterprise acquires new
nuances, although it never loses its sense of free and constructive
action. These new nuances all pertain to the opposition of labor
and enterprise. Enterprise means invention and free will. Labor is
repetition and executing action. Enterprise is an investment of
capital generating new capital, thanks to the valorization that labor
makes possible. Labor is a wage-earning service that valorizes capi­
tal but devalues workers. What is left today of the opposition
between workers and enterprise, and how is the perception of the
very notion of enterprise changing in the social imagination?
Enterprise and labor are less opposed in the social perception
and in the cognitive workers' consciousness, that is to say the con­
sciousness of those performing the highest level of productive labor
and valorization and who represent the general tendency of labor's
social processes. Those active in jobs with a high cognitive level,
therefore those who could rarely trade their places, do not oppose
¯! r 4 :t \|rrÌ / ¯¯
their labor to the creation implied by the word enterprise: on
the
contrary, they tend to consider their labor, even if formally depen_
dent, to be an enterprise where they can spend the best part of their
energy, independently from the economic and juridical condition
in which it expresses itself.
In order to understand this mutation in the perception of the
notion of enterprise, we need to consider a decisive factor: while
industrial workers invested mechanical energies in their wage­
earning services according to a depersonalized model of repetition,
high tech workers invest their specifc competences, their creative,
innovative and communicative energies in the labor process; that
is, the best part of their intellectual capacities. As a consequence,
enterprise (independently from the juridical relation between prop­
erty and labor) tends to become the center towards which desire is
focused, the object of an investment that is not only economical
but also psychological. Only if we consider this can we understand
why in the last two decades disaffection and absenteeism have
become a marginal phenomenon, while they had been the centra
l
element in social relations during the late-industrial period.
In the 1 980s (and even more, as we know, in the 1 990s) the
average labor time increased impressively. In the year 1 996, the
average worker invested in it 148 hours more than their colleagues
did in 1 973. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the
percentage of individuals working more than 49 hours per week
grew from 13% in 1 976 to 19% in 1998. As for managers, it grew
from 40% to 45%. The prevision that the development of com­
puterized technologies, favoring automation, would determine a
reduction of social labor time proved both true and false, but in the
flnal analysis we have to consider it false. It is true indeed that
necessary labor time decreases in the sphere of industrial production,
1Ü/ 1|C Soul dI \O|K
and
therefore it is true that a growing number of industrial jobs are
Í
'
.
ted
replaced by machines or transferred to areas of the world
e trtna *
where labor costs nothing and is not protected by unions. But it is
also true that the time apparendy freed by technology is in fact

rmed into cyber time, a time of mental processing absorbed
transro
into
the infnite production processes of cyberspace.
How is it possible to explain the workers' conversion from
disa
fection to acceptance? Certainly, one of the reasons is the
political defeat suffered by the working class after the end of the
1970s because of the technological restructuration, the consequent
unemployment and the violent repression inflicted on the political
avant-garde. But this is not enough.
In order to understand the psycho-social change of attitude
towars labor, it is necessary to consider a decisive cultural trans­
formation linked to the shift of the social core from the domain of
manual labor to that of cognitive labor.
What is happening in the domain of cognitive labor? Why does
this new kind of worker value labor as the most interesting part of
his or her life and therefore no longer opposes the prolongation of
the working day but is actually ready to lengthen it out of personal
choice and will?
To answer this question we need to consider several factors, some
of which are difcult to analyze in this context. For instance in the
last decades urban and social communities progressively lost their
interest, as they were reduced to containers empty of humanity and
joy in the relations they foster. Sexuality and conviviality have been
transformed into standardized mechanisms, homologated and com­
modifed: an anxious need for identity progressively replaced the
singular pleasures of the body. Books like Mike Davis' Cit ofQuart
and Ecolog
ofFear show that the quality of existence has afectively
and psychologically deteriorated, due to the rarefaction of COlnt
niry ties and the sterilizing obsession with securiry.
It seems that ever less pleasure and reassuranCe can be found
human relations, in everyday life, in affectiviry and ·!UUUDK-
tion. A consequence of this loss of eros in everyday life is
investment of desire in one's work, understood as the only
providing narcissist reinforcement to individuals used to perceivi'n
the other according to rules of competition, that is to say as
impoverishment and limitation, rather than experience, pllasute
and entichment.
In the last decades, the efect produced in everyday life is
of a generalized loss of solidarity. The imperative of co:mpetitiolo
has become predominant at work, in media, in culture at
through a systematic transformation of the other into a co:mpetitor
and therefore an enemy.
Weat?
But we still have not answered Out question: how did it happen
after a long period of social autonomy marked by the refusal
work, when social solidariry preailed over competition, and qualiry
of life over power and the accumulation of money, labor
regained a central position in the imagination, both in the scale of
socially recognized values and in the collective psychology? Why do
.
such a large part of workers today consider work the most interesting
part of their life, no longer opposing the lengthening of their werllng
day and instead spontaneously choosing to increase it? Of course,
this is also due to the dramatic worsening of social protections, deter­
mined by thirry years of deregltion and the elimination of public
structures of assistance, but this is only a partial reason.
On an anthropological level a determinant aspecr has been the
•••«"rti(ll of a life model totally focused on the value of wealth, and
red
uction of the concept of wealth to economic and purchasing
But in fact, rhe identification of wealth with properry is not
aÌÌ
self-evidenr.
To the question "What is wealth?') we can answer in twO com­
pletely
contrasting ways. We can evaluate wealth on the basis of the
c '
antiry of goods and values possessed, or we can evaluate wealth
on the basis of the qualiry of joy and pleasure that our experiences
are capable of producing in our feeling organisms. In the frst case
wealth
is an objectifed quantiry, in the second it is a subjective
quality of experience.
Money, bank accounts and economic growth are not the only
things driving this new affection for labor dominating the psycho­
logical and economical scene of the last twenr years. But they are
certainly a dominant factor. The economistic ideology is compul­
sively focused on the conviction that loving one's job means money,
and that money means happiness. This is only partially true.
Let's repeat the question: what does wealth mean? The only
answer available to this question is naturally an economic one:
wealth means possessing the means that allow us to consume,
namely the availabiliry of money, credit and power. Yet this is still
a poor answer, a partial, perhaps even completely wrong answer, pro­
ducing misery for all, even for those capable of accumulating a lot of
these things. This answer conceives wealth as a projection of time
aimed at gaining power through acquisition and consumption. But
One could instead conceive of wealth as the simple capaciry to enjoy
the world available in terms of time, concentration and freedom.
Naturally these two definitions of wealth are in conflict, and
not only as definitions. They are indeed two different modalities
¯|`O`OUlò\VCr| /Ü1
of relation to the world, time, and the body. The more time
spend acquiring means for consumption, the less time we have
enjoy the world available to us. The more we invest our ne.rvous ·'
energies in the acquisition of purchasing power, the less we
invest them in enjoying ourselves. It is around this issue-com_
pletely ignored by economic discourse-that the question
happiness and unhappiness in hyper-capitalistic societies is played
out today. In order to have more economic power (more money,
more credit) it is necessary to devote more and more time to
socially homologated labor. This means though that it becomes
necessary to reduce rhe rime for joy and experience, in a word, for
life. Wealth understood as enjoymenr decreases proportionally to
the growth of wealth understood as economic accumulation, for
the simple reason that in rhe latter framework menral time is des­
tined to accumulation rather rhan enjoyment.
On the other side, wealth understood as economic accumulation
increases in proportion with the reduction of the dispersive plea­
sure, causing the social nervous system to suffer contraction and
stress, without which rhere cannot be any accumulation.
But the two perspectives produce the same efect: the expansion
of the economic domain coincides with a reduction of the erotic
sphere. When things, bodies and signs become a part of the
semiotic model of rhe economy, wealth can only be experienced in
a mediated, refected and postponed way. As in an infnite play of
mirrors, what is really experienced is the production of scarcity and
need, compensated by a fast, guilty and neurotic consumption
because we can't wasre time; we need to get back to work. There­
fore wealth is no longer the ability to enjoy things, bodies and signs
in time, but the accelerating and expansive production of their loss,
transformed in exchange value and anxiety.
ÜZ/1|C cOUl d\ \Ol|´
NoW
we can fnally answer the question: how did it happen
tha
t
work
regained a cenrral place in social affectivity and why did
soci
ety
develop a new affection for work?
One reason is well-known: in a situation of competition workers
are
oblige to accept this primordial blackmail: work as much as
pos
sible or die. But there is another answer we c� give, concerning
the im
poverishmenr of everyday life and the relatIon to others, the
loss of eroticism in the communicative experience.
The reasons behind the new love of working are to be found
not only in a material impoverishment derived from the collapse of
social
warranties, but also in the impoverishment of existence and
com
munication. We renew our affection for wotk because eco­
nomie survival becomes more difcult and daily life becomes
lonely and tedious: metropolitan life becomes so sad that we might
3well sell it for money.
Labor, communication, community
The word "enterprise" that, in the industrial phase of capitalism,
merely meanr a capitalist organization with economical fnalities,
like the developmenr of human labor and the accumulation of
value, now means something infnitely more complex. Regaining
something of its original humanistic meaning, the word enterprise
refers to the responsible human initiative of transforming the
world, nature and ones very relation with others.
Of course, the enterprise develops within the frame of the
capitalist economy and therefore its limits are the same as those
chatacterizing essential capitalist forms: exploitation, production
of scarcity, violent imposition, and rules founded on force. But
there is an ambiguity that needs to be understood: enterprise is
1|C cOU|d\\O|K /ÜÛ
subdued to capitalist rule, the two are not at athe same thing.
desperate attempt to fnd freedom, humanity and happiness
the accumulation of value reigns rests on this potential diter,nce.<
The investment in desire comes into play at work, since
production has started to incorporate more and more sections
mental activity and of symbolic, communicative and
attectivd
action. What is involved in the cognitive labor process is
what belongs more essentially to human beings: productive
is not undertalcen in view of the physical transformation of
but communication, the creation of mental states, of <ccun:s,
and imagination.
Classical industrial labor and specifcally the organized form
the Fordist factory had no relation with pleasure. It had no lClamn
with communication either: communication was actually th1arted.
fragmented and obstructed as long as workers were active in
of the assembly line. Industrial labor was characterized mainly
boredom and pain, as is witnessed in metalurgist and mtchanics'
reports to sociologists who, in the 1950s and 1 960s, studied
workers' conditions of alienation and atomization.
Therefore industrial workers found a place for socialization in
subversive working communities, political organizations or UIltor". :
where members organized against capital. Workers' communism
became the main form of good life and of conscious 0'larlization :
for the class that capital forced (and still forces) to live a great part
of its existence in inhuman conditions. Communism was also
only form of knowledge for rhe class that capital forced (and still
forces) to live in conditions of mental passivity. Communism
the form of universal consciousness produced by the working com­
munity. In the communist organization workers could leave their
conditions of abstract lahor to rediscover concrete communication
ܬI '|CcOU| ol\O|l´
th
rougn a
common project, a shared mythology. This kind of
has nothing to do with the historical communism
con1I""0'"
im
po,eC throughout the twentieth-century by feudal, military and
bureaucracies. The only relation between the State
Com
munism imposed by the Leninist parties in the Soviet Union
elsew
here, and the autonomous communism of the workers, is
the
violence systematically exerted by the frst over the second, in
to subdue, discipline and destroy it.
Political communism was the power of backward and despotic
burea
ucracies that exercized repression and violence in order to
their own power from the globalizing dynamics of capital.
Once these same dynamics became stronger rhan the bureaucracies'
resistnce, political communism was fnally defeared by world cap­
italism and the economic power of capitalist globalization. The
autonomoUS communism of the workers underwent a different
destiny: parallel, to a certain extent, but still diferent. Workers'
communism has been partially subsumed by capital, by transform­
ing workers' opposition into innovative dynamics (refusal of work,
substitution of workers' labor with machines, and the production
shif towards digital cycles).
Partially, then, workers' communism has been reduced to a
sterile residue, always more marginal. There is no more workers'
communism, since workers no longer belong to a community.
Industrial workers have not disappeared from the face of the earth.
Globalization, in fct, greatly enlarged the ccle of industrial labor,
moving it to the poorest peripheries of the planet and degrading it
to a condition of semi-slavery.
But capital's deterritorialization has taken place rapidly, infi­
nitely more rapid than the time required for workers to build their
communities. Paul Virilio describes very well the function of
1|C cOUl ò\\O|K /ÜÜ
velocity in the relation between states and militaty blocs tnroU
Iou
t .
the modern period. But the velocity of class struggle, the war
between working class and capital, was even more decisive. Digital
technology and the fnancial character of the world economy
have
accelerated the pace of capital transfers, of changes in the organiza_
tion of work and the creation and dismantling of produ
ctive
centers all around the world. This acceletation obstructs the for_
mation of communities in the places where capital starts
the
productive process.
While industrial labor did not imply communication and did
not attract desiring energies, the opposite can be said for cognitive
labor. Info-workers can sometimes be described as craftsmen, since
they invest their knowledge and creativity in the process of pto­
ducing networks. Their energy is displaced from one point of the
productive network to rhe other: capturing fragments of infor­
mation in order to recombine them within a constantly changing
general frame.
The investment of desire, which for the craftsman deeply
connected to its local community and its needs used to have a
reassuring character, for me info-worker develops along very diferent
lines, producing anxiet incertitude and constant change. Flexibili
ty
is the necessity to displace, move, and constantly change perspec"
tives. This is the double-sided fulcrum of desire and productivit
y
for the info-worker. Experience, knowledge and fux are at the
same time the constitutive aspects of existence and the context of
active labor.
Cognitive labor is essentially a labor of communication, that
is to say communication put to work. Ftom a certain point of
view, this could be seen as an entichment of experience. But it is
also (and this is generally the rule) an impoverishment, since
ÜÛÍ 1|C cOU|d!\O|K
'O
JIln
lUJl
icatlon loses its character of gratuitous, pleasurable and
con
tact, becoming an economic necessity, a joyless fction.
Mor
eover, not all forms of work that could somehow be
de
fned as mental activities are linked to communication, inven­
tion and
creation. A characteristic aspect of info-labor is the fact
that it
cannot be reduced to any category, not even to deterritori­
aliza
tion or to autonomy or creativiry. The people who sit at their
term
inals in front of a screen, repeating every day the same opera­
tion
a thousand times, relate to their labor in a way similar to
indu
strial workers. What we need to understand, though, is the
new
element, the fact that creative labor in the network circle is
infnitely fexible, it can be assembled and disassembled, and that it
is precisely in this dismantling identifcation that we can fnd both
its desire and its anxiety. Within mental labor as a whole we need
distinguish properly cognitive labot, where intellectual energies are
engaged in a constant creative deterritorialization, and mental
labor of a purely applicative kind, which is still prevalent quantita­
tiv
ely. Even within the mental labor ccle, we can distinguish brain
workers from chain workers. But I'll focus on the most innovative
and specifc forms, since they represent the trend that is trans­
forming the whole of social production.
Cognitive labor in me network
In order to understand the transformation that social perception of
labor underwent during the past few decades and how it deter­
mined the workers' condition of cultutal and psychological
dependence, we need to analyze both the investments of desire
within rhe domain of info production and the formal aspects of
labor relations.
J|C SOUl d! \O|K /Ü1
The digital transformation started two diffetent but
processes. The frst is the capture of work inside the
netw((k.
is to say the coordination of different labot fragments in a
fow of information and production made possible by digita
l
structures. The second is the dissemination of the labot
into a multitude of productive islands formally autono
mous,
actually coordinated and ultimately dependent. / we
have
cognitive labot manifests itself as info labor, that is to say µ
infnite recombination of a myriad information, available
a digital support. When cooperation means transferring, elabot'at
and decoding digitalized information, it is evident that the
works as its natural frame.
The function of command is no longer a hierarchical
tion, localized in the factory, but a transversal,
function, permeating every fragment of labor time.
The non-hierarchical character of network
becomes dominant in the entire cycle of social labor. This
tributes to the representation of info-labor as an in,e)erdeJ
form of work. But this independence, as we have seen, is in fact
ideological fction, covering a new and growing form of
dency, although no longer in the previous formal hi,, archic
whose command over the productive action was direct and
tary. This new dependency is increasingly apparent
automatic fuidity of the network: we have a strict

nt,, dep,nreno
of subjective fragments, all distinct but objectively de.erlden
from a fluid process, from a chain of automatisms both extetl1a
and internal to the labor process which regulate every g"'tUI'e;
every productive parcel.
Both simple executing workers and entrepreneurial man" gers
share the vivid perception that they depend on a constant
ÜÜ Í 1|C cOU| ol \OlK
be
interrupted and from which they cannot step back
the
price of being marginalized. Control over the labor
is no
longer guaranteed by the hierarchy of bigger and
b
osses typical of the Taylorist factory, but it is incorporated
fu.
Cellular phones are probably the technological devices
illustrate this kind of netwotk dependency. The cellular
is left on by the great majority of info-workers even when
are not
working. It has a major function in the organization
as self-enterprise that is formally autonomous but substan-
depen
dent. The digital network is the sphere where the
and
temporal globalization of labor is made possible.
labor is the endless recombination of a myriad of frag­
that
produce, elaborate, distribute and decode signs and
nform
ati,n:l units of all sorts. Labor is the cellular activity where
network activates an endless recombination. Cellular phones
the instruments making this recombination possible. Every
inh-,orler has the capacity to elaborate a specifc semiotic seg­
that must meet and match innumerable other semiotic
fragments in order to compose the frame of a combinatory entity
that is info-commodity, Semiocapital.
But for this combination to become possible, a single, infnitely
flexible (and constantly reactive to the calls of Semiocapital) pro­
ductive segment is not enough: a device is needed, capable of
the single segments, constantly coordinating and
localizing in real time the fragments of info production. Cellular
phones, the most important article of consumption of the last
decade, provide this very function at a mass level. Industrial workers
had to spend eight hours daily in a specifc place if they wanted to
receive their wage in exchange for productive gestures performed
again and again in a specifc territory.
J|C cOU| oI \OlK /ÜÜ
The mobility of the product was made possible by
the
bly line while workers had to remain motionless in space
Info-workers, instead, constantly move all along
the
breadth and depth of cyberspace. They move to fnd
elaborate experience, or simply to follow the paths of
tence. But at every moment and place they are reachable
be called back to perform a productive function that will
serted into the global cycle of production. In a certain
cellular phones realize the dream of capital: that of ab:orbi
n! 0
possible atom of time at the exact moment the productive
needs it. In this way, workers offer their entire day to catitaH
are paid only for the moments when their time is made
Info-producers can be seen as neuro-workers. They prepare
nervous system as an active receiving terminal for as much
possible. The entire lived day becomes subject to a semiotic
tion which becomes directly productive only when necessaty.
But what emotional, psychological, and existential price
the constant stress of our permanent cognitive
imply?
The factor of unhappiness
Happiness is not a matter of science, but of ideology. This is
it should be addressed.
Even if in the public discourse it is not possible to
scientifcally based ad coherent discourse on happiness, we
fows of communication built on the idea of happiness. We
the circulation of fragmentaty and imaginary solicitations
are rarely justifed or coherent, yet remain extremely efective.
the 1990s, while the productive process was becoming lmmaml�
ÜÜI 1|C cOUl d! \O|K
rhetoric was all focused on happiness: to be happy is
'ble
but almost mandatory. In order to reach this
pOSS! )
.
have to follow certain rules and modes of behaViOr.
the
totalitarian and the democratic political discourse
ha
ppiness on the horizon of collective action. Totali­
im
posed mandatory behavior procedures and asked of its
to a
ccept them enthusiastically, lest they be marginalized
ers"
culea: slhe who's unhappy is a bad patriot and a bad
slhe is a saboteur, and so on and SO forth.
lemocracy does not expect an enthusiastic consent. On the
in a mature vision we conceive democracy as an endless
of a possible modus vivendi allowing individuals to identif
personal and public behaviors capable of capturing some
happiness.
:a"italisr is often (and with no reason) presented as the
companion of democracy (while we know that instead
prospers in the shadow of far from democratic regimes),
fact it is not tolerant at all, since it expects enthusiastic par­
in a universal competition where it is impossible to win
fully and convincingly deploying all of our energies.
Tot
a
litari'll regimes, like Nazism, Fascism and the authoritarian
states, denied freedom to their people in the name of a
and homologated happiness, thereby producing an
sadness.
even the liberal economy, with the cult of proft and success
'pr:enlted in a caricatured but persuasive manner in advertising
ended up producing an unhappiness caused by constant
lp" tition, defeat and guilt.
In the 1990s the New Economy's ideology asserted that free
play creates a maximum of happiness for humanity in
JC cOUl dI YO!K / Ü1
gcncraÌ. Ïn Íact, oncoÍÞeuJrcnc
mj´s cÍÍcctsWastnc
oÍ idcoI
ogicaI and adVc
rtising
mcssagcs, and
tnc
oÍadVc
rtising
into a sort oÍQaradi
gm oÍcconO
mic
QoIiticaI
action.
Ït isWcII knoWn tnat tnc discoursc oÍadVcrtising
is tnccrcation oÍimagin
arymodcIs oÍ
naQQÍncss tnat
inVitcd to rcQIicatc.
¹dVcrtising is a systcm
atic
pm
duc
t iIIusions,
and tncrcÍorc oÍdisiIIusions, as WcII as

anddcÍcat,cuQnoriaand
dcQrcssion.¯nccomm
unica
tiVc
oÍadVcr
tisingis bascdon tncQroductÍon oÍa scnsc

couQIcd Witn tnc soIicitation to bccomc a consumc
r, in
ÍccI adcg
uatc and to
UnaIIy
rcaIizc
tnc naQQincss
tnat
cIuding us.
Self-realiz
ation and the
refsal of work
¹sWc naVc
aIrcady
sccn,
in tnc I 960s
and
I 9¯0s, attncVc¡y
oÍ tnc
industrÍaI
systcm´s maturc
Qnasc, Wncn
tnc
mccna
nicaI
and rcQctition bascd
modcI
rcaIizcd its QcrIcction,
Workcrs´ ÍccIing oÍcstra
ngcmcnt Írom
industriaI Iabor and
rcÍusaI to Work,
Íound
suQQOrt in a cuIturaI WaVc tnat
QIaccd
issuc oÍ aIicnatÍon at tnc
corc oÍ its criticaI systcm.
Ïn its
soQnicaI mc
aning, aIicna
tion
mcant a Ioss oÍnuman aumcnucü
tnccxcnangcoÍWnat inmcn andWomcnis morc csscntiaIIy
Íor somctning
matcriaIIy
VaIuabIc, sucn as a saIary,
moR/, t
cons
umQtÍon goods. ÏnÍIo
soQnics oÍidcaIist striQc,
J(JÇ)\C$ ¸Û
Ïxistc
ntiaIism, Wcrc WidcIy circuIatcd in tnc QoIiticaI moVcmc0
oÍtnosc
ycars.¯ncyconsi
dcrcd
caQitaIism tnc rcason Íoran
ation tnat takcs
aWay
QcoQIc´s numa
nity in cxcna
ngc Íor
subaItcrn and
conÍormist
QarticiQation in tnc circuitoÍgoods.
ÜZ/ ¯O cOU| d! \OlK
tncsc
QniIosoQnics indicatcdastncirma¡orQoIiticaI
þ` mcnt oÍa sociaI condition Wncrc QroducttVc
ac
tcVc

aIizationWouId comc togctncr.
sc
-rc
` d ` h d
.
n I 9¯0sÍcministandgaymoVcmcnts! cntI c Wlt
��
.
¨thc
QcrsonaIisQoIiticaI.´¯ncymcanttnat ttWasnot
.
QoWcr and tnc goVcrnmcnt oÍtnc rcQubIic tnat Was
·
h
`aI struggIc.`natWas at stakc Was hrstoÍaII tnc
g t c >O-t

IiÍc,
QIcasurc and Qain, scIÍ-rcaIization and rcsQcct Íor
dcsirc as tnc cnginc oÍcoIIcctiVc action.
. .
y·se,In-letueen),a¡ournaIWnicnncIdaccrtammbucncc
h cmcntsoÍtnc I9¯0s,camcoutonccWitntnctitIc
yout
moV
·
.
ÍnaQQincss is subVcrsiVc Wncn It bccomcs coIIcc-
pracucc O
.
Ï aI
J0c I9¯¯ moVcmcnt-in its coIorÍuI and crcattVc
.
t Ian
dinitsbritisn onc asWcII,WnicnWas Qunk, gotnlcand
3
n d
. ·
Íoundcdononcintuition:dcsircist c ctcrmmmg

Í

o
tt
r
g
c

V

cr

y

sOciaI mutationaI Qroccss, cVcry transÍormation oÍ
cVcry sniÍt oÍcoIIcctiVc cncrgy. Ït is onIy as a ¿ma¿inattO
o
n
Í
´
dcsirctnatWc canundcrstandtncWorkcrs´rcÍusaI
wagc rcIation, oÍconÍormingtncirIiVcs to tnc timingoÍtnc
IincrcaIizcd tnrougnabscntccism and sabotagc.
Jich, aWarc, QroductiVcIy andcuIturaIIyautonomous, Iibcratcd
ädNi0IIaIttcsdcViatcdWitnragc ÍromtncidcoIogyoÍsacrihcc and
worKctnic. WorkWas dcnounccd as a Qurc nicrarcnicaI rcQc-
dcQriVcd oÍ any intcIIigcncc or crcatiVity. ¯nat I 9¯¯
¸m0Yc¤c0t tncrcÍorc uscd tnc idcoIogy oÍnaQQincss as a QoWcrÍuI
instrumcntagainsttnc¯ayIoristÍactory and tnc ÏordistQro-
cycIc, but aIso againsttnc sociaI anddisciQIinarystructurc
on tncÍactorymodcÌ.
Ïn tnc ÍoIIoWing ycars somc dccisiVc cVcnts comQIctcIy uQsct
!0cQroductiVc, sociaIand cuIturaI IandscaQc.
Ïirst oÍ aII, digitaI tccnnoIogy sQrcad vcry guickÌ
7
Íormingin manyWays tnc modaIitics oÍQroductivc
!abOr ¡)
concatcnations.
occondIy,tncnicrarcnicaIstructurcoÍtncÍactorymodcI
¯nc asQiration to scIÍ-rcaIization bccamc ÍundamcntaI
rcconstruction oÍ a Íunctioning sociaI modcI QcrÍcctIy
digitaI Qroductivc modaIitics. oociaI nistory can bc sccn
unintcrruQtcd story oÍtncrcÍusaI oÍWork and tnc rc·o0truc
oÍtnc Qroductivc systcm, Wncrc rcciQrocaI rcsistancc and
cocxist. Ïn industriaI socictics caQitaI and tnc Working
contradictoryintcrcsts, buttncy aIso nad acommonintcrc:L
tradiction camc Írom tnc Íacttnat caQitaIaimcdto takcÍrom
Iabor tnc grcatcst QossibIc amount oÍIabor timc and vaIuc
,
tnc Workcrs´ intcrcst Was instcad tnat o
¿
avoiding cXjIoitat
savingtncirQnysicaIandintcIIcctuaIcncrgicsÍortncm8cÍ'cs·
samc timc tnougn, Workcrs and caQitaI botn nad an
rcducing ncccssary Iabor timc, introducing Qroductivc
tisms, macnincs and tccnnoIogics. ¯nis isWnat actuaIIy
¯nc Workcrs´ struggIc Íor QoWcr Qusncd caQitaI to usc
instcad oÍ Workcrs, cxactIy as ÏarI Narx nad anticiQatc0
Grundrisse. ¯nc introduction oÍmicrocIcctronic tccnIioIogIcs,
digitaIization oÍmacnincryand tnc comQutcrization oÍ
Qroccsscs Icd raQidIy to a transÍormation oÍtnc cnaractcristic
Iabor and to its gcncraI intcIIcctuaIization.
Luring tnc tWcntictn-ccntury tnc issuc oÍ tnc rcIation
intcIIcctuaI and manuaI IaborWas constantIy raiscd. Nax Ncbcr
matizcs tnis rcIation, !cnin uscs it asa basis Íortnc tncoryoÍthc
and!rasci rctninksit undcrancWIignt.ÜutWncn intcIIcctu
aI
ismcntioncdintnctncorcticaI tradition oÍtncWorkingmocrncn t,
rcÍcrs to a hlnction tnat is scQaratcd Írom tnc Qroductivc Qmccãº
ܬÍJ|C cOUl d! \O|K
\m0d
itìcs, as a h11ction oÍcontroI tnatgovcms and idcoIogicaIIy
conscntand tncrcÍorcancxccutivcandQoIiticaIhlnction.
groQcrIy Qroductivc Íunction Was csscntiaIIy dcIcgatcd to
IaDor, tnatistosayto tnc dircct transÍormationoÍQnysicaI
ÏntcIIcctuaI Iabor gaincd matcriaI QoWcr, bccoming tnc
¡Iü
0f¡1 oÍtncQoIiticaIand tccnnicaIcmQoWcringoÍindustriaI
gd oÍ tnc Working cIass. ¹utomation nad aIrcady startcd
during tnc maturc industriaI Qcriod. it imQIicd tnat
-·¹·¹¬º�¹couId assumctransÍormationaIÍunctions,sotnatmanuaI
grcatIystrcngtncncd· Ïntnc I V¯0s, morcandmorcoQcra-
Íunctions Wcrc transÍcrrcd to macnincs, Witn tnc introduction
nu
mcricaIIy controIIcd instrumcnts and ÍIcxibIc automation
Üut tnc dccisivc transÍormation oÍtnc I Vb0s Was tnc
¡stc
matic comQutcrization oÍWorking Qroccsscs. ¯nanks to digi-
I|itI0n, cvcry concrctc cvcnt not onIy can bc symboIizcd, but
simuIatcd, rcQIaccd by inÍormation. LonscgucntIy it bccomcs
to QrogrcssivcIy rcducc tnc cntirc Qroduction Qroccss to
cIaboration and cxcnangc oÍinÍormation.
Í0d in Íact, Wnat is inÍormation` ÏtisnotsimQIy a transÍcr oÍ
sign s,rc!crrIt¡g to anob¡cctor ancvcnt. ÏnÍormationisacrcationoÍ
Wnicn is inocuIatcd into tnc ob¡cct or tnccvcnt. Ït is tnc
(rcatIooÍ vaIuc,tncQroductionoÍgoods·Ïvcryob¡cct,cvcnt, and
coInmodit\ can bc rcQIaccd byaÍgoritnmic inÍormation caQabIc oÍ
ttanstormi:¡ytnatob¡cctor tnat cvcnt into cxcnangcabIc cxistcncc·
ÏnÍo-QroductionrcacncdaIIcycIcsoÍgoodsQroduction,scrviccs,
.m1tcn al and scmiotic ob¡ccts, sincc digitaIization crcatcd a simu-
oÍtncWorId oQcrationaIIyintcgratcd to tncQnysicaIWorId.
¯nc Íormation oÍtnc inÍo-Qroductivc modcI Was accomQanicd
cuIturaI andQsycniccvoIution in tncIabor Íorcc, substantiaüy
Uan¿ IngtncvcryQcrccQtionoÍactivity· Ïn cIassicindustriaIsocicty,
J|C cOU| dI \O|K ÍÜÜ
workers felt exptopriated of their intellectuali ty, invidu
i
creativity. In high tech production cognitive faculties are
in
to work, and personal peculiarities seem to be valorized.
The intellectualization of labor, a major effect of the
and organizational transformation of the productive proc
"ss',
last two decades of the twentieth-centuty, opens cOlm
plet
,
1
perspecrives for self-realization. But it also opens a fed of
new energies to the valorization of capital. The workers'
for industrial labor, based on a critique of hierarchy and
took energies away from capital, towards the end of the
desires were located outside capital, attracting forces
distancing themselves from its domination. The exact
happened in the new info-productive reality of the new
desire called new energies towards the enterprise and seIt-nealiza
through work. No desire, no vitality seems Uexist anymore
the economic enterprise, outside productive labor and
Capitl was able to renew its psychic, ideological and
energy, specifcally thanks to the absorption of creativity, desire,
individualistic, libertarian drives for self-realization.
Prozac-economy
In the 1 990s, the decade of the alliance between cognitive
a reconstituting capita, fnancial fows generated by net tt
advertising cycle, venture capiral and retirement funds moved to
ccle of virtual production, Cognitive labor could therefore
enterprise, entering the formation circuits of the Techno-Sphere
media-scape. Armies of creative engineers, of libertarian pfgr.mmC)
and artists became the proletarians of intelligence, people
owned nothing but their cognitive labor force and who could
ÜÛ / 1|C cOU| dl \OlK
an economic and creative basis. In those years a
on
al
'
.
|
k place between a difse, libertarian, equ Itanan
batt e toO
,
JÍ»r(VÇ 'ntelligence and the new economys oligopolies.
diffus�on of the dot. com enterprise also represented a redis­
of social revenue, conquering revenue for research and
The model of the network, the principle of produc-
t
,inl
enJing
and open source took roots in society thanks to the
between recombining capital and cognitive labor.
aUia
nce of the 1990s happened under the sign of a neo­
ideo
logy that glorifed the market, describing it as a space
f erfect self-regulation. Perfect self-regulation, of course,
o P
l '
firytale since real economic play involves power re at1on�,
the mafa, theft and lies. Thus monopolies came to doml­
.
formation technologies, the media system and all those other
H
d h " the
where cognitive workers had investe t eir energl�s m
of being able to constitute independent enterpnses. The
between coonitive labor and recombinatoty capiral ended
j b ·
.
"
of the market to oligopolistic domination, and
t e Sll mlSSIOn
.
&
rnaLitive labor was subjected to the decisions of rhe bIg fnanClal
dominating the world economy. In the year 2000, the stock
e
�cha" ge collapse determined a loss of energy in the innovative
and restored the domination of the old oil-based economy,
JteiireLtirlg the world towards the meaningless horror of war.
Competition has been the universal belief of the last n
.
e�-liberalist
¬OmC. In order to stimulate competition, a powerful m)ectlOn of
"essive energy became necessary, a sort of permanent electrocution
" p�odl,cir,g a constant mobilization of psychic energies. The 1 990s
the decade of psycho-phatmacology: a
p
rozac-economy.
Frenetic rhythms dominated mid-1990s fnance, consumpti�n
lifestyles, producing the efect of the systematic use of euphona-
inducing drugs, including neuro-programming
growing part of Western societies, subjected to an
UUlnt>rn
memal hyper-excitation to the point of collapse, evoke
d
exorcism the urban legend of the millennium bug.
phantasmatic threat dissolved, the real collapse came.
But
economy's collective psyche had already reached its
point
return. When in 1999 Alan Greenspan spoke of rhe
berance of the market," his words were more of a clinical
fnancial diagnosis. Exuberance was an efect of the drio¬¬
the over-exploitation of available mental energy, of a satur" ti(
attention leading people to the limits of panic.
Panic is the amicipation of a depressive breakdown, of
confusion and disactivation.
And fnally the moment of rhe Prozac crash came.
The beginning of the new millennium had glorifed
fusions: AOL and Time Warer united rheir temacles in
difusely infltrate the global mind. Immediately afer, the
telecommunication emerprises invested huge amounts of money
UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System). These
the last actions before the crash involving Worldcom, Enron,
entire sectors of the net-economy. This crisis, which was only a
anticipation of the 2008 fnal catastrophe, was the frst m'llifest" ti
of the breakdown sufered by swarms of cognitive workers more
more afected by psychopathological syndromes and stress.
Panic depressive syndrome and competition
In his book La Fatigue d'etre soi, Alain Ehrenberg discusses
sion as a social pathological syndrome, specifcally depending
situations characterized by competition.
)e
preS
S1on begins to develop afer the disciplinary behavioral
and
the rules of authority and conformity to the
teli
blri
cns
that assigned a destiny to social classes and
collapsed faced with the new norms pushing each
e
veryone to individual action, forcing individuals to
themselves. Because of this new norm, the respon­
of our lives is now fully assigned to each of us.
lepl
ession then manifests itself as pathology of responsibility,
'olirat<d by the feeling of inadequateness. The depressed
.n,i
viduais are not up to the task, they are rired of having to
hp,nnae themselves."1
,pre,sion is deeply connected to the ideology of self-realization
the happiness imperative. On the other side, depression is a
defne through the language of psychology a behavior that
B.cminly not considered pathological outside of competitive,
odvlct!',e and individualist comexts.
"Depression is part of a feld of problems, dominated more by
inhibition, slackening and asthenia than by moral pain: the
ancient 'sad passion' is transformed into a block of action, and
this happens in a context where indiVidual initiative becomes
the measure of the person."2
Lcmpetition implies a risky narcissistic stimulation, because in
highly competitive context, like that of a capitalistic economy
specifically of the new economy, many are called bur only a
ate chosen. Social norms do not acknowledge the possibility
failure, since this failure would be assigned to a psycho­
palholo!ic comext. There is no competition without failure and
¯CHCUl dl \O|K /ÜÜ
dcÍcat, buttncsociaInormcannotacknoWIcdgc tnc
Witnout gucstioning its oWn idcoIogicaI Íundam
cnts,
its oWn cconomiccÍHcicncy.
¯ncotncrsidcoÍtncncucrcncmjisnaturaIIytncuc
stimuIaDt or anti-dcQrcssivc substanccs. ¯nis is a niddc
n,
rcmovcd sidc, but absoIutcIy dccisivc. ÏoW many,
crcncmjoQcrators, survivcWitnout Ïrozac, ZoIoh or cvcn
LcQcndcncc onQsycnotroQicsubstanccs,tnosconc
tnc Qnarmacyand tnosc onc can buy on tnc strcct, Ís a
cIcmcntoÍtncQsycnoQatnoIogiccconomy.
Ñ1cn cconomic comQctition is tnc dominant
imQcrativc oÍ tnc sociaI consortium, Wc can bc QosiIivc
conditions Íor mass dcQrcssion WiII bc Qroduccd. ¯his
naQQcning undcr our cycs.
oociaIQsycnoIogistsnavcinÍactrcmarkcdtnattwoQathoIog
oÍgrcat actuaIityintncscIastdccadcs oÍIibcraIistnÿcr-caµì
Qanic and dcQrcssion.
Ïanic isa syndromc QsycnoIogistsdon´t undcrstand
sincc it sccms to navc occurrcd onIy rarcIy in tnc Qast.
dromc nas bccn onIy rcccntIy diagnoscd as a
Qncnomcnon,anditisnardtohnditsQnysicaIandQs¿¯chicrt
butitiscvcnnardcrto HndanadcguatcIycÍÍcctivctntraQÿ:
it. Ï dont navc tnc ambition to ohcr anysoIutionto thc
ic QrobIcm tnis syndromc Qoscs. Ïm ¡ust maki0g
obscrvations on tnc mcaning oÍQanic. Ïanicis tncÍccIing
Wncn, Íaccd Witn tnc inhnity oÍ naturc, Wc ÍccI
unabIc to rcccivc in OU1 consciotIsncss tnc in!¡nitc stimuÌu:
tnc WorId Qroduccs in us. ¯nc ctymoIogy dcrivcs Írom
Word]un, tnat mcans `cvcrytning cxisting´. tnc god
aQQcarcd bringing a subIimc, dcvastating ÍoIIy ovctakiII9|
nisvisit |scc]amcs ÏiIImanns ½nJ::uj cn1un). but
ca0
WccxQIaintncdi!ÌusionoÍtniskindoÍsyndromcin
Ïsit
QossibIcto!¡ndanyrcIationbctWccnitandtnccon-
it maniÍcsts and sQrcads:
so¨i=I contcxt is a comQctitivc socictyWncrc aII cncrgics
i0ordcr toQrcvaiIontncotncr. ourvivaIisnoIongcr
rcacningaQositionoÍsuÍhcicntQrcQaration and abiIitics,
co0
stantIy gucstioncd. iÍonc docs not Win, onc can bc
ina ÍcW days or aÍcW montns.
tcchnoIogicaI contcxt is tnc constant acccIcration oÍtnc
oÍtncgIobaI macninc, aconstantcxQansion oÍcybcrsQacc
oÍtncindividuaIbrain´s IimitcdcaQacitics oÍcIaboration.
communicatio0aI contcxt is tnat oÍan cndIcss cxQansion
Ï0ÍosQncrc, Wnicn contains aII tnc signaIs Írom Wnicn com-
andsurvivaI dcQcnd.
this a vcry simiIar situation to tnc onc Qicturcd by tnc
ctymoIogy oÍtncWord Qanic:
) t tIu¡nìtc vastncssoÍtncÏnÍosQncrcissuQcriorto tncnuman
oÍcIaboration, as mucn as a subIimc naturc ovcrcomcs
>Q×IticsoÍÍccIingtnat tnc !rcckscouIdsummonWncn1accd
thc god Ïan. ¯nc inhnitc vcIocity oÍtnc cxQansion oÍcybcr-
thcinhnitc vcIocity oÍcxQosurc to signs Qcrccivcd asvitaI to
sµrvivaI oÍtnc organism Qroducc a QcrccQtivc, cognitivc and
strcss cuIminating in a dangcrous acccIcration oÍaII vitaI
sucnas brcatning and ncart bcat, Icading to coIIaQsc.
is anytning mcaningÍuI in tnis intcrQrctationoÍQanic,
this is not simQIy an individuaI QsycnoQatnoIogy, but an
maniÍcstation oÍaWidcIy sQrcad, guasi-gcncraIizcdsociaI
Ït is coIIcctivc bcnavior tnat snoWs tnc most cvidcnt
ulQa0ic.
Collective panic generates phenomena such
as
aggressiveness against immigrants, senseless mass
diums, as well as other, apparently normal behav
iors,
characterizing personal relations in the contemporary
These behaviors cannot be corrected with the
political persuasion or judicial repression, because
nothing to do with politics and ideology but depend
psychopathology induced by the Infosphere's excess,
stimulation and the endless cognitive stress affecting
organism and caused by permanent electrocution.
Permanent electrocution is the normal condition
where network communicative technologies are used in 3
rive social situation, projecting the. organism in
hyper-fast fow of economically relevant signs.
Once the organism gets overtaxed to an unbearable
panic crisis may lead to collapse, or the organism
itself from the fow of communication, manifesting a SU(den
loss of motivation called depression by psychologists.
With depression we are affected first of all by a disinvttl
the energy previously used in a narcissistic way. Once the
realizes that it is unable to sustain futther competitive
it is a loser in the relation that was absorbing all of its
what takes place is a SOrt of zero degree of the exchange
between the conscious organism and its world.
With depression we are always affected by a prece,s'
motivation, originated by the loss of an object that used
focus of narcissistic attention for the subject.
"The world doesn't mal,e sense anymore"-says the
since the object of his or her narcissistic passion is
might explain the difusion of depression as a secondary
(if com
pared to the primary one, which I believe to be
in
a sociery based on the principle of competition and
with
the technological instruments necessary for the
acc
eleration of the communication circles surrounding
descr
iption of these two complementary syndromes can be
in
order to address the psycho-social framework constantly
and feeding the psychopathology of the present.
aggressive young people addicted to amphetamines, riding
per_ao
ces,orized cars and going to work ready to give their best
their share in corporate earnings and to obtain their
approval are all in the waiting room of panic. In the same
younger skinhead brothers beat each other up every
in the soccer stadium, expressing a form of panic accumu­
weekly during their normal working week.
;Political culture refuses to acknowledge that the legal drugs one
at the pharmacy, a soutce of astonishing profits for Roche
Glaxo, as well as the illegal ones, a source of profit for the
are an essential factor (and in fact the most important one)
:ompetitive sociery.
class ad cognitariat
is a realiry whose tangible physicaliry has been eliminated.
gidThou,ht can well be recognized in the network world, where
relation to the other is artifcially euphoric but substantially
'eualiz" d as well.
Thought is the a-critic exaltation of digital technologies.
technologies are based on the loss of the physicaliry of the
world, on simulating algorithms capable of rqlrodu
,in":
forms, except for only one quality: their tangible reality,
form and therefore their caducity.
Noah grouped in his ark all the creatures of the earth,
to save them from the food. Today in a similar way we
our air-conditioned arks and foat on the waves of the
deluge without losing contact with the cultural patri
rolm
mulared by humanity, keeping linked to the other arks,
same time, on the physical planet down there, barbarian
swarm and make war.
Those who can, isolate rhemselves in a pressurized
and
connected capsule. They are physically removed from other
beings (whose existence becomes a factor of insecurity), though
tous, virtually present in any possible place according to their
This schizophrenic geography needs indeed two diferen
logues, two atlases describing supposedly separate
catalogue of the virtual class is sterilized. It proposes objects
temporality and physicality have constitutively been renlovec
removal of corporeality is a guarantee of endless happiness
naturally a frigid and false one, because it ignores, or
removes, corporeality: not only that of others, but even one
)
�"
negaring mental labor, sexuality and mental mortality.
Ir is because of these considerations thar I see the
new notion, able to analyze the virtual class in corporeal,
and social terms.
The notion of virtual class stresses the socially undefned,
character of rhe work fows produced by Semiocapital. The
class is rhe class of those who do nOt identif with any class,
they are not socially or materially structured: rheir
depends on the removal of their own social corporeality.
seems to me an interesting and useful norion. Bur I'd like
com
plem
entaty concept, capable of defning the (denied)
the
(avoided) sociality of the mental labor at work in
'nd,
uction of Semiocapital. Therefore I use the notion of the
The
cognitariat is the semiotic labor fow, socially
fragm
ented, as seen from the standpoint of its social
The virtual class has no needs, bur the cognitariat
virtual class is not affected by the psychic stress deter-
þythe constant exploitation of attention. The cognitariat is
The virtual class cannot produce any conscious collective
except as collective Intellect. The cognitariat can identif
a conscious community.
is evident that the word "cognitariat" includes two concepts:
labor and proletariat.
COInilariat is the social corporeality of cognitive labor. What is
within the social defnition of cognitive labor is precisely
sexuality, mortal physicality, the unconscious.
his most famous book, entitled Collective Intelligence
1999), Pierre Ïcyproposes the notion of collective intel­
Thanks to the digital network, he writes, the idea of a
la(ralive participation of all human intellects to the creation of
idlecti',e intellect takes a concrete shape, and the creation of the
within technological, digital and virtual conditions becomes
But the social existence of cognitive workers does not
itself with the intellect: cognitive workers, in their concrete
are bodies whose nerves become tense with constant
and effort while their eyes are strained in the fxed con­
nplati(m of a screen.
JlJOSoul ol\OlK / 1ÜÖ
o
The Poisoned Soul
From incommunicability to over-communication
In the critical language of the 1960s, the word
usually combined with the word "incommunicability."
with these two words and almost half a centuty later, I will
conducting my analysis of the mutations in the SO'lO-cu:turali
psychological landscape.
In the 1960s, industrial urban landscapes teptesented
ground for a feeling of silent uneasiness and the rarefying
relational acts among human beings. Workers were forced to
by the assembly line surrounded by a hellish metallic clanking
it was impossible fot individuals to exchange a wotd, since the
comprehensible language was that of the machine. Thus the
guage of things took the place of the symbolic exchange.
communication seemed to fade away, while "the thing"
every afective, linguistic and symbolic intetstice.
These aspects of telational discomfort are well expressed by
literature of the industrial eta that in the 1960s teveale itself
the nouveau roman, or Michelangelo Antonioni
'
s cinema. In
post-industrial landscape of Semiocapitalism, relational dis,olt(
is still a central element of the social scene, but it is the
1ÜÛ
co
mpl
etely
diffetent, even opposite, situation from the one
itac
teri
zlfg
the decade of full industrial development.
present emerging uneasiness originates from a situation of
3I0
üD!
C3OO: overload, since we the assembly line, once linking
through the movements of a mechanical apparatus, have
rep
laced by the digital telecommunications netwotk, which links
through symbols. Productive life is overloaded with symbols
not only have an opetational value, but also an affective,
(mrncmal, imperative or dissuasive one. These signs cannot wotk
unleashing chains of intetptetation, decoding, and con­
responses. The constant mobilization of attention is essential
the
productive fnction: the energies engaged by the productive
are essentially creative, afective and communicational.
Each producet of semiotic flows is also a consumer of them, and
user is part of the productive process: all exits are also an entry,
every receiver is also a transmitter.
We can have access to the modalities of digital telecommunica­
from everywhete and at all times, and in fact we have to, since
is the only way to participate in the labor market. We can reach
point in the world but, more importanry, we can be reached
any point in the world. Under these conditions privac and its
: prssililities are abolished, if we understand this word in its fllest
me;irlg and not only according to its specifc juridical defnition.
we use the word privac we normally refer to a space sheltered
from the public eye, that is to say to the very possibility of per­
OuIIn�acts and exchanges that are purely private, not transparent.
JUiridicai rules are constantly devised in ordet to protect citizens'
privacy, forgetting that privacy tepresents not only the right not to
be watched, but also the right to refuse to watch and to be con­
tinually exposed to watching and hearing what we would rather not
1|C lO|SCGCC cOU| / 1ÜI
see or hear. Advertising constantly violates this privac,
its visual and auditory messages in every inch of OUr
and in every second of our time. The diffusion of screens
spaces (railway stations, airports, city streets and sq
,oares
integral part of this abusive occupation of the public space
private dimension of our sensibility.
Everywhere, attention is under siege.
Not silence but uninterrupteo noise, not Antonioni's
but a cognitive space overloaded with nervous incentives to
is the alienation of our times.
The notion of alienation (to be other than oneself) can
fgured in diferent forms. In the industrial domain it
itself as reifcation. We can then understand it according
Hegelia concept of "by itself" which indicates a loss of
but also the dialectical condition of a negation leading
restoration of the entire being of the Subject, since-let's not
'
this-for Hegel "Being is the Subject" as fll deployment
dialectic of the Absolute Spirit.
In the young Marx's analysis that humanistic socialism
to, the concept of alienation is linked to the critique ofcolnrrlo<i
centered fetishism, and of the alienating process
experienced by workers and consumers. The ov·rcoming
alienation in this context is understood as the rise of Dº\V ¡ ihìnrr
the intact human beings of communism-freed
commodities' domination and owners of their own working
Within the postindustrial domain, we should talk ofde-realIzati
rather than reifcation. The concept of alienation is then un,de,stc
as: 1 ) a specifc psychopathological categoty; 2) a painful division
the self; 3) a feeling of anguish and frustration related to the
ble body of the other, D the il s-tonic feelings of a non-svmpathe,1
1ÖÜ/ 1|C cOU| òl \O||´
in
capable of living a happy relation with otherness and
with itself
the
third
meaning of the term alienation that best describes
times: an era marked by the submission of the soul, in
anim
ated, creative, linguistic, emotional corporeality is
and incorporated by the production of value.
frst
twO meanings defned rhe phenomenology of the
typical of the industrial sphere, where we can observe an
of
reifcation: the effect of "the self becoming thing." Within
conditions of industrialism and industrial consumerism,
perceived their bodies as something of which they have
,
expropriated, something foreign.
the third meaning, which describes the phenomenology of
�@___ typical of the domain of immaterial labor, we can see an
of
de-realization: the social, linguistic, psychic, emotional
gp,;;pi;;t) of touching the thing, of having a body, of enjoying
presence of the other as tangible and physical extension.
The word "reifcation" refers to the "becoming thing" of human
the loss of animation derived from the separation of mental
working functions, and the fact that the inanimate body
on the thing. The word "de-realization" refers instead to
experienced by the animated body in reaching the
body of the other: a pathogenic separation between
c01nitive functions and material sociality.
the desert of language
words "alienation" and "incommunicability" were so often
by the critical European discourse of the 1 960s, that they
almost the epitome for that epoch, as much as the words
Jl1C ÍOlSOGCC cOU| / 1ÖÜ
"globalization" and "virtuality" can be considered the
present times. Beyond any critical generaization and
humanistic philosophical liquidation of the entire feld
of
connected to the word "alienation,)) it is necessary to re(is(ov"
meaning and the historicity of these concepts in order to
stand how they helped interpret that cultural "conjuncture,
how they could help us understand the new (is ir really a new
human condition of connective times.
In his 1964 movie Red Desert, Antonioni captured the
coming from fgurative art and the nouveau roman to repres
,lit_
rhrough background colors, pop-style Rat interiors and
industria exteriors-a quality of experience where the warmth
immediacy of human relations were lost. Marriage crises, escap(
adventure are simply occasions to describe a general cOlnditien t
malaise inhabiting every relationship, and frst of all the rel,tien
Wt
the self. This was the crisis that the Italian bourgeoiie was ex]erien>ini
in those years: it prepared the atmosphere leading to the 1 968
a moment of liberation in which the new warmth of the COllectlve
replaced the coldness of private relations. Antonioni was the dir,ct(r
who best succeeded at representing a passage that is not
related to culture and politics, but frst of all D the sensibility
quality of emotions. Being close D the experience of pop art,
nioni could express, in color and form, the Rattening of nuances
the industrial homologation of diferent aspects of existence.
This happens in a similar way in Persona, a 1966 flm by ͤ¤mar
Bergman whose intentions were, however, completely diferent. In
this extremely slow, dazzling black and white movie, the rarefing uf
communication becomes the stylistic cipher of the human ambi­
ence that was brewing in those yeats: later the new winds of warmth
and eroticism brought by the students' revolt would finally
1 1 Ü/ 1l`0 cOUl ol\O!K
tha
t entire emotional landscape. Silence and aphasia in
can't be understood as mere signs of individual psy­
representing instead a historically and socially
in
communicability. Bergman's silence and the sunny sites
Northern seaside resort where the action takes place are the
for an emptiness that becomes loneliness, for the
mb
ridg
eable distance between bodies.
The
concept of "alienation" waS at the core of the critical dis­
related to these two movies, extremely signifcant for the
scene of that decade. In that context, alienation referred to
submission of the person to the thing.
At the peak of the industrial age the world of things was exploding:
serial
production generated infnite exemplars of standardized objects,
zd the assembly line as a productive technique subjugate human
gcmCUmechanical rhytms. The machine thus became an animated
object while the body was turned into an inanimate one, separated
from any form of consciousness. At the same time mass consump­
aun
serialized behaviors in relation to existing merchandises.
Decades of serial reifcation inRuenced our perception to such
an extent that today we are no longer capable of realizing up to
which point the otheress of the thing transformed the world of
evety day experience, making us estranged from ourselves, if however
we admit that "ourselves" means anything at all.
The Serpent's Egg
In a 1977 movie entitled The Serpent' Eg, Ingmar Bergman tells
the story of the rise of Nazism in 1 920s Germany as if it were a
(physical) poisoning of a (psychological) socia space, an infltration
of the milieu of relations and everyday life. Bergman, who often
'i¯= |ciSOn-t: HOUl / 1 1 1
treated the theme of alienation as psychological suffering,
silence of the soul and incommunicability, proposed here a
alistic, almost chemical, explanation of the human deg
radat
processes caused by Nazism.
In this movie, alienation has nothing to do with human
it is a consequence of the toxic substance penetrating and
the air rhat the characters (Liv Ullmann and David \..,arra,i
breathe inside their tiny habitation.
The Serpents Egis not considered one of the Swedish
best flms, yet in my opinion it is one of the most intetingones �
the perspective of his personal evolution and of the late-ro(e
fln d
tural process. This flm opens the way to a new defnition
understood as a psychological and linguistic process and
redefning alienation as a material, chemical, or rather neuf-cheti
mutation. Social pathologies are frst of all a communicational
order. The critical notion of incommunicability marks a
feld of problems: the rarefaction of exchanges, uneasiness in
relations, and the actual pollution of the human interaction
Wirh The Serents EgBergman thinks anew the vety quticm
incommunicability: communication between Ullmann and
is progressively poisoned, since a toxic substance penetrates their
lungs, and fnally their brains. Thus (in a crowd scene flmed in
hypnotic motion) the social body is transformed by Nazism into.
amorphous mass, deprived of its own will and ready to be led.
metaphor of psychological submission that we fnd in this
pertinent far beyond the example of German Nazism: it can
acrerize other processes of collective mental pollution, such
consumerism, television commercials, the production of ag;ressiy
behaviors, religious fundamentalisms and competitive cOnfrisr:
1 1 ZÍ 1|B cOU| òl \O¦K
metaphor of The Serpents Egavoids the essentialist and ide­
defnitions of the word that were prevalent during the 1 960s,
m
arked by the Hegelian Renaissance. This metaphor has to be
instead as the intuition of a psychological pathology
on a social scale. The explicative utility of the notion of
'preaO:l
g
Ilil
at[on emerges once we extricate it from its properly Hegelian
We can use it again, though, within a phenomenological
psychopathological context, in order to defne the current scene
our
own postindustrial times, when work-related disturbances
Dimmediately involve the domain of language and emotions,
relations and communication.
In that 1977 movie, Bergman talked about what was then the
but today, in the new millennium, is already the present. The
has been brought daily into our homes, like a nerve gas,
on our psychology, sensibility, and language: it is embodied
television, advertising, endless info-productive stimulation, and
competitive mobilization of the energies. Liberal economics
pr(duced mutational efects in the organism: they are deeper than
produced by Nazism, since they are active within the biological
Td cognitive texture of society, in its chemical composition, and
on superfcial forms of behavior.
That same year, on December 25, Charlie Chaplin died, the man
with the derby hat, who told the story of the dehumanization of
modern industrialism from the point of view of a humanity still capa­
ble of being human. There is no more room for kindness. Saturdy
Night Fever came out in movie theatres that fall, introducing a new
working class, happily willing to be exploited during the entire week,
order to excel in dancing with greased hair on Saturday nights.
1977 is a turning point in the history of humanity; it is the year
when a post-human perspective takes shape. 1 977 is a year charged
with ominous signals: in Japan it is the year of y
outh
784. An enormous scandal is provoked by a chain
suicides, thirteen in the month of October alone,
tary school children. The generation born in the 1980s
to be the first video-electronic generation, the frst
gellet:t;
educated in a milieu where mediatization prevails
over
form of relation wirh the human body. In the aesthetic
styles of the following decades we witness a c1ran.in:,
bodying process. It is the beginning of a long process
sterilization, whose effects transform the first vi<eo-d
generation into object and subject at once. The cean
dusty, while the bold prevails over the hairy. During the
decade the epidemic danger of AIDS re-semiotizes the
of corporeality. Carnal contact is heavy with danger and
becomes either rigid, frozen, or hyper hot in a pa.h,logid
Thus is prepared the cognitive mutation of the last two
the twentieth-century. The organism becomes sensitive to
and predisposed to connections, permanently interfacing
digital universe.
Sensibility-not reason-perceived this mutation,
with a self-destructive movement of craziness, whose most
signal was the wide spreading of heroin addiction. The
and artistic experience of the American no wave,
and the Italian and German autonomous movements,
last reawakening of consciousness, against the mutations
in the domain of the sensible and in collective psychology,
this pollution of the soul and the consequent \C"ÚÏ1Ü1ÌM
the body.
1 1 ' r.il \|
we have been discussing is a metaphor for the energy that
biological matter into an animated body. In a sense we
that the soul is the relation ro the other, it is attraction,
f, ratiorshlp The soul is language as the construction of the
with
a1terity, a game of seduction, submission, domi-
rebellion.
histoty of capitalism the body was disciplined and put to
the soul was lef on hold, unoccupied and neglected.
workers wished to do with their souls, their thoughts,
and afects presented no interest for the capitalist of the
times. Eight houts a day (or nine, ten, twelve) the body is
to repeat strange, alienated, hostile movements. The soul is
it rebels; then the body refuses to submit, interrupting
breaking the chain and blocking the productive flow.
alienation of the soul from the body was seen as the
disgrace by idealist humanism, yet it can finally appear as a
,
of power. Once alienation becomes active estrangement, the
body recognizes its distance from capital interests. Then
beings rediscover their intellectual and psychological
refusing to submit to wage labor and beginning the foun­
of a community that is aware and free, cohesive and erotic.
overturning of the body's submission to domination
possible precisely because the soul remained separate from
an!uage, relations, thoughts, all cognitive activities and affective
remained distant from the labor process and therefore they
free, despite the body's enslavement. Assembly-line workers,
forced to tepeat the same movements, still had brains that
freely, at least until their energies were available and fatigue
and sadness did not prevail.' Despite the machines'
clank
n�.
possible to discuss and start processes of autonomy
and
in Semiocapitalism, the soul itself is put to work. This is
tial point of the postindustrial transformation that we
in the last decades of the twentieth-century.
While this transformation was taking place,
thought changed the terms of the question. The word
disappeared from the philosophical lexicon beginning in the
and the historicist humanistic context where that word fa' a,q
its meaning also disappeared. POst-structuralist theory has
question of alteriry within new conceptual parameters.
NCtion.
"desire," "discipline," "control" and ('biopolitics" have
Hegelian and Marxist analytic notions. The question of
fotmations and independent social subjectiviry was posed in
pletely new terms.
In the following pages I will analyze these themes, beginning
a meditation on some questions posed by authors who theorized
desiring and disciplined body ar the end of the tw" nt.etb-cemu
in particular, I will focus on Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze
Felix Guarrari, in addition to Jean Franlois Lyotard.
But I will also cite another name, someone who had a
different perspective on things within that changing context,
focused on concepts such as "simulation,» " implosion" and
strophe": I mean Jean Baudrillard, who was openly pOI.emIe:
towards philosophical positions predicated on desire. In
years, that debate remained marginal within the prdlcsophici
arena, but today we can see that its core is dense with
and full of theoretical and political implications which are
stunningly timely.
1 1 í/ Tnr �(�I II ¤r\inrk
de
values desire since it is the source of maya, the illusion
in che form of the world. Even the stoics understood that
purp
ose of philosophical action is to cut our dependence
the fow of emotions and desires.
certainly respecr the superior wisdom capable of withdrawing
the fux of maya, suspending the addiction to passions' domi­
The flowing of desire is a source of illusion, and the fnal goal
is the interruption of such fows. Yet we need to
knwled�e that this very illusion is history, the ciry, falling in love,
it is the game we have been playing lmowing it was a game.
trying to escape from the fux of maya we also try to under­
it, to mak some sense of it in our path to wisdom.
Yet it's not enough Uacknowledge that wordly experience is the
!manation of a psychic fow whose source is the mind, as it is not
to understand that social reality is a point of psychodynamic
for innumerable mental drifs. Even once we have
understood this truth, we still need to come to terms with
efects of the illusion, whose name is reality.
Simplistic readings of Deleuze's and Guattari's theories have
misunderstood the notion of desire. In Deleuzian language
in its interpretation by the "desiring movement," as we can
it, desire is often perceived as if it were subjective, a force that
be positive [cr:c.
I have to admit that on this point ambiguities can be found in
work of both philosophers. As I have to admit that in my own
of "political translation" of Deleuze's and Guatrari's theories I
have sometimes identifed desire as a positive force opposing domi­
nation. But this form of vulgarization needs to be corrected.
1|B |O|SO|CC cOU| / 1 1 1
Desire is not a force but a feld. It is the feld w
here
struggle takes place, or better an entangled nerwork of
conflicting forces. Desire is not a good boy, nor the posit
ive
history. Desire is the psychological feld where lm:gl
�ar.
ideologies and economic interests are constantly clashing.
an example, there is a Nazi form of desire.
The feld of desire is central in history, since within such
forces that are crucial for the formation of the collective
therefore for the main axes of social progress, meet throllgh
position and conflict.
Desire judges History, but who judges desire?
Ever since the corporations specializing in "iralineelinl"
Disney, Murdoch, Mediaset, Mictosof, Glaxo) took control
desiring feld, violence and ignorance have been unleashed,
the immaterial trenches of techno-slavery and mass confrm
These forces have colonized the feld of desire. This is why th .
cultutal movements, like media-activism, emphasize the
efective action in the constitution of the desiring feld.
Limit, aterity, re-composition
We can think of the other as a limit, or we can think of it in
of (com)passion.
Anti-Oedipus reminds us: je est un aute, "1 is an other,"
that the question of the other cannot be posed in merely
terms, as relation of the individual with the individuals around
Alterity is the pulsional, phantasmatic, imaginary fow wnuc
places and transforms the very existence of subjectiVity. : I¢¤Ij
the productive Unconscious. What is produced by the Uncollscii
is a singular existence in its complex relation with the world.
1 1 Ü / J|C cOÜ| ol\OlK
question of the limit, though, does not appear in Deleuze's
�¿¸ •y_y. , texts.
Hegelian
language the limit is understood as "alienation": the
the
limit of the self its diminishment and impoverishment.
ialectIC
context alienation is the subject's limitation in its rela­
the other, or the perception of the other as limitation. The
dialectic attributes to the historical process the task and
of overcoming the limit, and of realizing a totaliza-
gps¡¤ V¹' )
alterity is fnally removed. But for us the limit is not a
of potency. The relation to otherness is constitutive of
psychological and social dynamics. It is structured through
forms, for reasons that change thtoughout histoty. What
be understood and analyzed is the way this relation has
while we went beyond modernity.
have seen already that the Workerist (Compositionist) cri­
of the dialectic abandoned the notion of alienation in favor
idea of positive estrangement. In the context of Workerist
Compositionist theories, otherness is indeed acknowledged as
but also as the condition for an expansion of the power of
self The limit is a condition for potency: this is the meaning
recomposition process. Social recomposition is the process
which the relation to the other is linguistically, afectively,
politically elaborated, then transformed into a conscious
olltctJve, an autonomous aggregate, a group in fsion, construc�
in its rebellion. Beginning with the awareness that the other is
limitation of the existing organism, Italian Compositionist
)rkeriSln asserted that this limitation does not involve a loss, an
mpove"ishment: it opens instead the possibility of collective expe­
based on confict. The limit (which is not reducible to any
lust,ftcal synthesis) cannot be exhausted: this also means that the
J|C |O¦SO|CC cOUl / 1 1 Ü
pleasure of enjoying the other, who is at once limit and
cannot be exhausted.
In this way, once the feld of dialectic materialism
cism was abando ned, it began to be clear that the
transformation is much closer to the chemistry of gases
mechanics of sociology. There are no compact forces,
jects that promote unequivocal wills. In fact there is
no
fows of imagination, depressions of the collective
illuminations.
There are abstract devices able to connect fows:
mixers that cut, stir and combine fows and events.
There is no subject opposing other subjects, but the
fows of imagination, technology, desire: they can pndtlce
concealment, collective happiness or depression, wealth
On the other hand, the historical process is not a
field where homogenous subjectivities are opposed, or
identifable projects would be conficting. It is rather a
neous becoming where different segments are active:
automation, panic psychosis, international fnancial
identitarian or competitive obsessions. These
segments neither sum up nor oppose each other: they
catenating relations that Guattari called "machinic arran.en
(agencements) .
At the beginning of the known history of Western
Democrirus proposed a philosophical vision of a "c{mIositi
kind. There is no object, no existent, and no person:
gates, temporary atomic compositions, fgures that the
perceives as stable but that are indeed mutational, transient,
and indefnable.
1 ZÖ/ Jl1C cOU| dl \O|K
is
in his
[Democritus'l eyes an infnite multiplicity of
which are invisible because they are so small. They
in
vacuum. When they come into contact, they do not
Ü unity, but by these meetings, uniting, they produce
lO"no
'", and by separating they produce corruption.'"
of.
modern chemistry on one hand, and the most recent
theor
ies on the other, confrm this hypothesis.
shape of every object is the shape projected by the eye and
person's being is the temporary fxation of a relational
in which people defne themselves, for a moment or for
life, always playing with an imponderable matter.
the end of the history of Western thought (at the exact
it starts coming out from itself), Deleuze and Guattari
the way to a new philosophy that we could name Molecular
In their philosophical landscape the image of the body
organs plays an important role.
consider the concept of a body without organs from a
lt ptitionist point of view.
body without organs is the process of reciprocal crossing
everything and everyone, the endless molecular fows from
olosite body into another.
is an orchid continuing to exist as a baboon, a bee, a rock,
a cloud.
is not "becoming," Felix Guattari says, but multiple
body without organs is the atemporal, extended substance
becomes temporal in its "becomings,)) and becomes temporarily
as an effect of chaosmotic cteation, emerging from chaos in
J|C |O|SO|O cOUl / 1 Z1
ordcrto gIvcsnaQc to an cnuncIatIon, a coÌÌcctIvc
Int
rnt10n movcmcnt, aQaradIgm, aWotÌd.
!uattarI´s notIon oÍ "Chaosmosis" dcscrIbcs tnIs
concatcnatIons oÍscnscWItnIn cnaos:
"I Isanotncr,amuÌtIQÌIcItyoÍotncrs,cmbodIcd atthc
scctIon oÍQartIaÌ comQoncnts oÍcnuncIatIon,
oIrachIng p
aÌÌ sIdcs IndIvIduatcd IdcntIty and tnc organIzcd
body.
cursor oÍ cnaosmosIs ncvcr stoQs oscIÌÌatIng bctWccn
dIvcrsc cnuncIatIvc nucÌcI-not In ordcr to tota!Izc
syntncsIzc tncm In a transccndcntscÌ| but In sQItc ot
tnIng, to makc aWorÌd oÍtncm.´
¯nc cvcnts oÍtnc QÌanct aQQcar ÌIkc stormyand In¨onIQrch:n:
cÌouds. ¯nc nIstory oÍÌatc modcrnIty aQQcars ÌIkc a chaos
cvoÌutIona! ÌIncs arc unÍorcsccabÌc. Üut Wnat Is cnaos:
Íorm oÍtncWot!d tnatIstoo comQÌcx to bcgrasQcd by thc
catcgorIcs avaIÌabÌc to numans.
NorcsoQnIstIcatcdscnsorsarcncccssaryInordcrtoundctãu
cxtrcmcÌy comQÌcx Qncnomcna and cvcn morc comQÌcx catcgqr)
IntcrQrctIngQtoccsscs tnat sccm ÍortuItous. ÌoW an aÌgor¡thm
suQcrIor ordcr Is ncccssary. ¹ cnaosmotIc conccQt, LcÌcuzc
!uattarI WouÌdsay, sIncccnaosmosIs rcÍcrs to tnc Qroccss oÍ
ÍacIng Írom Wnat aQQcars ÌIkc a cnaos oÍa conccQtuaÌ, Íorma!
QaradIgmatIcordcr.
''A conccQtIs asct oÍInscQarabÌcvarIatIons tnat Is Qroduccd
or constructcd on aQÌanc oÍImmancncc InsoÍar as tnc Ìattcr
crosscuts tnccnaotIcvarIabIÌItyand gIvcs ItconsIstcncy(rca
Ì-
Ity) a conccQt Is tncrcÍorc a cnaotIc statc Qar cxccÌÌcncc; It
1 ZZÍ 1|C cOUl dI \O|K
backto acnaos rcndcrcd consIstcnt, bccomc¯nougnt,
cnaosmos.
³J
ncou0
tcr bctWccn ÏtaÌIan¹utonomous tncory (LomQosItIonIst
æd ÏrcncndcsIrIngtncory ¦NoÌccu!ar LrcatIvIsm) Was
±rUutous
nazard, duc to QoÌItIcaÌand bIograQnIcaÌvIcIssItudcs.
oInt, In tnc mIddÌc oÍsocIaÌ struggÌc, tnc autonomous
n�ccssarI̸ nad to usc catcgorIcs oÍa scnIzoanaÌytIc kInd,
toana!yzc tncQroccssoÍÍormatIonoÍtncsocIaÌImagInary.
thc samc Way, In tnc mIddÌc oÍa Qsycnoana!ytIc QractIcc,
had to usc catcgorIcs oÍa socIo-crItIcaÌ kInd, In ordcr to
thc Qroccss oÍQsycnogcncsIs, as !uattarI nImscÌÍcxQÌaIns
Dook
Psychanalise et transversalit [ÏsycnoanaÌysIs and¯rans-
QubÌIsncd In ÏtaÌIan WItn tnc tItÌc Una tomba per Edipo.
rtd44/¤/ e transversalita (¯omb Íor LcdIQus: ÏsycnoanaÌysIs
_¸ansVclãaÌIty| .
·
mctnods o͹utonomIst tncoty and ocnIzanaÌysIs coIncIdc
LomQosItIonIst mctnod: tncy botn rc¡cct any constItutcd
QrImacy, ÌookIng Instcad Íor tnc Qroccsscs oÍtransvcrsaÌ
oÍtnosc unstabÌc, vatyIng, tcmQorary, sInguÌar aggrcgatcs
arc caÌÌcd sub¡cctIvItIcs doWn to tncIr moÌccuÌar dImcnsIon.
Î9
þ]cctIvIty docs not Qrc-cxIst tnc Qroccss oÍIts oWn QroductIon. Ïn
to cxQÌaIn tnc Qroccss oÍsocIaÌ rccomQosItIonWcnccdtorcÍcr
0otIons oÍdcsIrc, macnInIcunconscIousandscnIzoanaÌysIs.
!oWcanItbc cxQÌaIncd tnat-In accrtaIndccadc-Workcrsa!Ì
thcWorÌdstartcd sIngIng tnc samc song` Ït Was tnc vIsIbÌc
Ta|1IkãtatIonoÍacomQÌcxQncnomcnon,ÌIkc tnc ÍormatIonoÍstorms
thc occans. Ïn ordcr to undcrstand tnc muscuÌar rcÌaxatIon oÍ
cntIrc ncurovcgctatIvc systcm cxQcrIcnccdby`cstcrn numanIty
thc IV60s, Wc nccd to undcrstandWnatmadc It QossIbÌc. WnIcn
'|C ÍO¦SOOCC cOUl / 1 ZÛ
substanccs, Ianguor, cxQcctations, andscnsations. oociaI
is tnc maniÍcstation oÍ an cxtrcmcIy comQIicatcd
cntcrcd by tnc QsycnoIogicaI, imaginary, and matcriaI
turingcvcryday cxQcricncc.
Depression andchaosmosis
¹ttncsamctimcWcnccdtocxQIainnoWitnaQQcncdtnat,ata
Qoint, sadncss Qrcva¡Icd, and tnc ÍragiIc coIIcctivc ar
chitccn
naQQincsscoIIaQscd.
``FmongtncÍogs andmiasmasWnicn obscurc ourfn de
naire, tnc gucstion oÍ sub¡cctivity is noW rcturning
Icitmotiv. Ít is not a naturaI givcn any morc tnan airor
ÏoW do Wc Qroducc it, caQturc it, cnricn it, and Qc¹mancntÌy
rcinvcnt it in aWay tnat rcndcrs it comQatibIc Witn Onivcrscs
oÍmutantvaIuc:ÏoWdoWcWorkÍoritsIibcration,tnatis,
its rc-singuIarization`¨'
¯nis is tnc gucstion askcd by ÏóIix !uattari on tncIastQagc
Iast book, Wnicn in 1992 ¡ust bcÍorc nis dcatn on an ¹ugust
tnat samc ycar.
¯nc booknc Wrotc QrcviousIy, togctncrWitnnisaccon:QÌicca
Íricnd !iIIcs LcIcuzc, Was titIcd Qu'est-ce que la philosophie?
is Philosophy?} and nad bccn QubIisncd in 1991.
Nanyarc tnccommontoQicsoÍ tncsctWo books, buttnc
imQortant arc tnc tncmcs oÍ cnaos and oId agc. tWo
dccQIy conncctcd, as Wc´II scc. `c can rcad in tnc concIusion

What is Philosophy?:
1 Z÷ / J|C cOU|dI \O|K
rcguirc ¡ust a IittIc ordcr to Qrotcct us Írom cnaos·
is morcdistrcssing tnan atnougnt tnat cscaQcs itscIÍ,
idcas tnat hy oh, tnat disaQQcar nardIy Íormcs, aIrcady
|

by Íorgctu ncss.
zqt
tcstion `Wnat is cnaos`´ is tnus ansWcrcd in tnc ÍoIIoWing
arcinhnitcsQccdstnatbIcndintotncimmobiIityoÍtnc
¸ccIor|c¼ and siIcnt notningncss tncy travcrsc, Witnout naturc
n
¹/
thoug t.
iscnaos Wncn tncWorIdstartssQinning too Íst Íor our mind
)aQQrc·ia!citsÍorms and mcaning.¯ncrc is cnaos oncctnchoWsarc
intcnsc Íor our caQacity to cIaboratc cmotionaIIy. !vcrWncImcd
vcIocity, tnc mind drihs toWards Qanic, tnc uncontroIIcd
þv¢rsi0 oÍQsycniccncrgics Qrcmisc to adcQrcssivc dcactivation.
Ïntncir introduction to What is Philsophy?, tnis Íantastic and
book Writtcn on tnc vcrgc oÍ an abyss, LcIcuzc and

C
Wrotc tnattncmomcntnadcomc ÍortninkingoÍoId agc.
agc oQcns tnc doors to acnaosmoticWisdom caQabIc oÍcIabo-
thc inhnitcvcIOcityoÍb.oWs WitntncncccssarysIoWncss.
Lnaos `cnaotizcs,´ and inhnitcIy dccomQoscs any consistcncc:
gucstion oÍQniIosoQnyis U buiIdIcvcIsoÍconsistcnccWitnout
tnc inhnity Írom Wncrc tninkíng cmcrgcs. ¯nc cnaosWc arc
aboutnas ancxístcncctnat is at onccmcntaI andQnysicaI.
`Îot onIy ob¡cctivc disconncctions and disintcgrations but an
immcnsc Wcarincss rcsuIts in scnsations, Wnicn navc noW
Dcc0mc WooIIy, Ictting cscaQc tnc cIcmcnts and vibrations it
J|C|O|SO|CC cOU| /1 ZÜ
mdincreasingly difculr ro Contract. Old age is this
ness: then, there is either a fall into mental chaos
OUitsi
de,
plane of composition or a falling-back on ready-made
Chaos is too complex an environment to be
deciph
ele,
schemes of interpretation we have at our disposal. It is
ment where the circularing fows are too fast for the
elaborate them. Subjectivity or rather the process of
is constantly measuring itself against chaos. Subjectivity
itself precisely in this constant relation to an infnite
which the conscious organism derives the condition for the
of a cosmos and of a provisory order, variable and singular.
jectivity does not side with order, since this would paralyze
is an enemy, but also an ally.
"It is as if the strugle against chaos does not take place
an afnity with the enemy,"9
How is it possible to elaborate the infinite velocity of fows
being affected by the disaggregating effect of panic?
artistic forms, and friendship are the transformers of velocity
us to slowly elaborate what is infnitely fast without losing its
complexity, without having to recall the Common places of
communication, and redundancy.
The process of subjectivation creates simple semiotic,
emotional and political concatenations through which
becomes possible. For instance, art creates semiotic devices
of translating the infnite velocity of reality fows into
rhythm of sensibility. Deleuze and Guattari defne these
translators as " chao ids.))
not
chaos but a composirion of chaos that yields the
or
sensation, so that it constitutes, as Joyce says, a
.<osmc", a composed chaos-neither foreseen nor precon­
Art
transforms chaotic variability into chaoid variety
Art
struggles with chaos but it does so in order to ren-
of becoming-subject is not at all natural: it happens
social, economic and media conditions that are constantly
decrepitude
and What is philosophy? came out at the beginning of
. they were the years of passage beyond twentieth-century
and represent an epoch of dissolution for the happy
lmllfiH.y. They also saw the formation of a new productive
where all architectures of solidarity vanished, the working-
community was eliminated by technical innovation, labor
precarious, and the collective intellect underwent a
of submission that has ambiguous, hardly decipherable,
Inthose years Guattari proposed again the question of becoming
Modernity built chao ids: political reducers of complexity,
translators of sensibility, conceptual transformers. In their
years, our two friends discovered the dissolution of modern
and perceived rhe resurfacing of chaos. Was their own old
related perhaps to the aging of the world?
Demography confrms it: old age is the destiny of our planet. The
emogralhic curve has slowed down. Fify years ago demographers
J|C |O|SO|CC cOU| Í 1 ZJ
anticipated that the earth would be populated þy
people; we know today that we won't go beyond
mark. Births are decreasing in all cultural areas,
wit
h
of the Islamic world.
Tuned to the old age of the world, we can see OUr
phers of chaos facing the dissolution of meaning.
The years following 1989-afer the sudden hope
world peace, and the equally unexpected new
aplarjition
were years of dramatic, painfl, obscure changes.
massacres were looming on the horizon, while the
collapse announced the reemergence of nationalism, later
by Putin's figure. Islamic integralism and fanaticism started
itself as political identity for a decisive sector of the
the Earth. Mter the Ro De Janeiro Summit, where the
of the United States, Mr Bush senior, declared the
of negotiating on the lifestyle of Aerican citizens, ecclo1ic"
appeared as Our common perspective.
In those years, Felix Guatrari recorded the ac.uruiating
of barbarization, the re-emergence of fascism and the
capitalism brought with its victories.
The trajectory of conceptual creation was changing it
and recomposed itself follOWing new directions, often
of the hOrizon, losing its meaning and recognizable forms.
Depression. We don't fnd such a word in Guattari's
left in the margins, as if it were an incompatible topic
creationist energy that animated his work, his research
existence. If we pay carent! attention U the last chapter of
collective book, Gilles and Felix are in fct analyzing
confusion and dark horizons: the emergence of chaos.
is the
beginning of a meditation that Guattari lef us
on the
creation of a peculiar cosmos, that is to say, on a
endlessly reconstituting itself beyond depression,
beyond the dark (but also enlightening) experience
is a truth within depression. And in fct, as we have read,
if U¤
strgle against chaos did not take place without an
wirh the enemy." Depression is the vision of the abyss
by the absence of meaning. Poetic and conceptual
like political creativiry, are the ways of chaosmotic cre­
"
the
construction of bridges over the absence of meaning.
makes the existence of bridges possible: friendship, love,
and revolt. Chaosmosis is a book attempting to traverse
trollgh cosmic and creative bridges, practices (aesthetics,
schizoanalysis, politics) that could make possible the
,IariZtion of chaos, that is to say the isolation of a specifc
over the endless and infnitely fast flow of things.
:
,
','I,frite speeds are loaded with fnite speeds, with a conver­
of the virtual into the possible, of the reversible into
, iHeversille, of the deferred into diference,»ll
is the creation of concepts, and concepts are chaoids
of isolating a singular cosmos, the modality of projective
Art is instead the singular composition of chaos
the elaboration of forms, gestures, and environments
a concrete presence in the space of communication,
and projection.
JC |OiSO|CC cOU¦ I 1ZÜ
`itntnccxQrcssion '`acstncticQaradigm¸´ !uattarI
QriviÌcgcdQosition tnatscnsibiÌitynas gaincd inQrcscnt
Qroductivc and communicativc rcÌations Ìosc tncir m
a ctIq
tracc tncir tra¡cctorics in tnc sQacc oÍscnsibÌc Qro¡cctions.
is tnc disciQÌinc tnrougn Wnicn tnc organism and its
bccomc attuncd.¯nctuningQroccssisdisturbcdbythc
oÍ inÍosQncric stimuÌi and by scmiotic inhation, tnc
cvcry sQacc oÍattcntion and consciousncss.1ttrcgistcrs
tnis disturbancc, but at tnc samc timc it Ìooks Íor ncw
modaÌiticsoÍbccoming, andacstncticssccmsto bcatthc
a diagnostic oÍ tnc QsycnosQncric QoÌÌution and a thcrapy
rcÌation bctwccn tnc organism and itsWorÌd.
!uattaricstabÌisncs a QriviÌcgcd rcÌation bctWccn
QsycnotncraQcutic dimcnsions. ¯nc gucstion oÍ thc
bctWccn cnaotic vcÌocity and tnc singuÌarity oÍÌivcd timc
dccisivc. Ïn ordcr to grasQ tcmQoraÌ hoWs, tnc mind nccds
its oWn tcmQoraÌitics: tncsc singuÌar tcmQoraÌitics arc
makc oricntationQossibÌc.¯nc notion oÍrcÍrain Ìcads usto
oÍ tnc scnizoanaÍytic vision. tnc rcÍrain is tnc singuÌar
tnc nicnc Íor individuaÌizing tnc scÌÍWncrc tnc crcation
bccomcsQossibÌc.
ÏniÌosoQny, art and scnizoanaÍysis arc Qracticcs oÍ
cnaosmotic crcation, tnat is to say tncy aÌÌoW tnc conhgura¡i
constituting tnc maQ oÍ an cxistcncc to cmcrgc Írom thc
hux, Ìikc rcÍrains. Üut tncsc rcÍrains can soÌidij and morpÌ\ i
scmiotic,rituaÌ, scxuaÌ, ctnnic,andQoÌiticaÌobscssions.
!n tnc onc nand, tnc rcÍrain Qrotccts tnc sub¡cct
cnaosoÍtnclnfsphere andtncscmioticÜoWstnatcarryhim
ÌikcstormyWinds.¯nis isnoW,QrotcctcdbyrcÍrains, itis
to buiÌd onc´s oWn Qrogrcssion, tnc sQncrc oÍonc´s oWn
130 / The Soul d! Work
abccts and snaring. !n tnc otncr nand, tnc rcÍrain can
cagc, a rigid systcm Íor intcrQrcting rcÍcrcnccs and cxis-
tnat arc comQuÌsivcÌyrcQctitivc.
intcrvcncs QrcciscÌy at tncsc Qoints oÍ tnc
ncuroticnardcning. ÏcrcanaÌysisisno Ìongcr undcrstood
oÍ symQtoms and tnc scarcn Íor a Ìatcnt
g
nqpI
c-·xIstII1gtncncuroticÍxation.1naÌysisis tnccrcation
ccntcrs oÍattcntion caQabÌc oÍQroducing a biÍurcation, a
Írom tnc track, a ruQturc Witnin tnc cÌoscd circuit oÍ
rcQctitionabÌctoinauguratcancWnorizon oÍQossibiÌitics
andcxQcricncc.
CtOSlnosi's is situatcd Witnin a sQccihc nistoricaÌ dimcnsion,
mistsandmiasmastnatbcgantosQrcadattncbcginning
_|;;l|S andtnat today, hÍtccnycarsÌatcr, sccm to navcinvadcd
spacc oÍtnc atmosQncrc, inÍosQncrc and QsycnosQncrc.
\rcathiny nas bccomc diUcuÌt, aÌmost imQossibÌc. as a mattcr
onc suÛocatcs. !ncsuÛocatcscvcrydayand tnc symQtoms
@caIion arcdisscminatcd aÌÌ aÌong tnc Qatns oÍdaiÌyÌiÍc and
0i¡Ì¡wa)s oÍQÌanctaryQoÌitics.
cnanccsÍorsurvivaÌarcÍcW:WcknoWit.¯ncrcarcnomorc
wccan trust, no morcdcstinationsÍor us to rcacn. Ïvcr sincc
¸
m0tation into scmiocaQitaÌism, caQitaÌism nas sWmÌoWcd tnc
aanëc-¹ aÌI¡cmacninc not onÌyÍortncdiÛcrcntÍorms oÍÌiÍc, but
0lthougnt, imagination, and noQc. ¯ncrc is no aÌtcrnativc to
¸ òhoudWc tncnQÌaccoÌd agc at tncccntcr oÍour discoursc, Ìikc
and !uattari did in tncir introduction to What is Philoso­
agc is no Ìongcr a marginaÌ and rarc Qncnomcnon, Ìikc it
in thc QastWncn oÌd QcoQÌcWcrc considcrcd to bringQrccious
w"¯Ìcdgc to tnc community. ocniÌity is bccoming tnc condition
The Poisoned Soul / 1 31
for the majority of a humanity deprived of the
courage
future, since the future has become an obscure
and
Today old age is becoming the average social
majority while at the same time it also becomes the
best expresses the metaphor of the energy loss afecting
race. Libidinal energy declines once the world becomes
elaborated according to the slow timing of emotions
entropy dominates cerebral cells. The decline of libidina
l
entropy are two processes whose sense is in fct the same.
brain is decomposing as it does in Jonathan Franzen's 7be
Alzheimer's is becoming a meraphor for a future in which
cult to remember the reason for things while the new viaeo-el,
generations seem U be dragged by vortexes of panic until
into the spiral of depression. The question of sensibility
with politics: and not even the redefnition of an ethical
tive can set it aside. At the beginning of the new uuuO\0ut
end of modernity is announcing itself as the end of Our
heritage. Hyper-capitalism is emancipating itself from its
herirage and irs so-called "values," but this unveils a terrible:
without the heritage of Human ism and the Enlightenment,
ka regime of pure, endless and inhuman violence.
The mind is put to work in conditions of economic
tential precariousness. Living time is subjected to work
fractal dispersion of borh consciousness and experience,
the coherence of lived time to fragments. The ps:crlos]h,,,
become the scene of a nightmare, and the relation between
beings is deprived of its humanisric surface. The body of the
is no longer within the reach of an empathic perception:
torture, and genocide become normal procedures for
otherness in a-sympathetic conditions. The violent logic of
1ÜZ/1HC cOUl at \OlK
u
niversality of modern rationality. For the brains decom-
the big
Infosphere mixer, God seems to be the natural path
while of course it is instead the usual infernal trick.
fnd
amentalism and the cult of putity now join with
and
depression to nourish ethnicism and nationalism.
world
landscape is becoming "Islamized" in various ways:
becomes the dominant form of relation between indi­
groups. While the collective dimension is deprived of any
:C01lflg from desire and reduced to a skeleton of fear and neces­
D a group becomes compulsive and mandatory. And
is the last refge for souls lef without desire or autonomy.
narrow passage it is the very notion of ethical consciousness that
to be rethought. Ethical consciousness cannot be founded on the
of Reason and Will-as during the moder period. The
rationalism have been forever erased, and rationalism cannot
JµcI1u¡¹I direction of the planetary humanism we must conceive.
the ethical question is posed as a question of the soul,
is to say of the sensibility animating the body, making it capable
op"nirg sympathetically towards the other. The chemical and
soul we are talking about is the feld where a recomposition
can happen.
new conceptualization of humanism must be founded on an
paradigm, since it has to take root in sensibility. The
of moder ethics needs to be interpreted as a generalized
disturbance, as the paralysis of empathy in the social
,sosphere . The acceleration of the mediasphere, the separation
t.consciOllsDeS! from the corporeal experience, the de-eroticization
J|C |O|SO|CC cOU| Í 1ÜÜ
of public spaces in the digital realm and the
difsion
tive principles in every ftagment of social life: these ate
the dis-empathy diffused in social action, of
the
cyclothymia, and the alterate waves of panic and
depte
ssio
psychosphete. The aesthetic paradigm needs to be conside
foundation of psychoanalysis, as an ecological therapy for
Guattari and Deleuze did not employ the vaguely
tones r am using here, r know, yet r did not swear to be
faithful to my two masters. Today, the rhetoric of ue
slre-_tl
important and creative contribution that the authors
brought to the movements of hope-seems exhausted
waiting for a dimension and a movement capable of renlewin
their last two book, and in Chaosmosis in particular, the
desire seems already attenuated, if not silenced.
Wat
instead is the awareness of the entropy of sense in exist'ntial
rience and historical perspective, the consciousness
aging and death. This is just what we need today: an
depression that would not be depressing.
Art 8 chaoid
Within Semiocapital, then, the production of value tends
cide with semioric production. Pressed by economic cOlnp,,j
the production of accelerated and proliferating signs ends up
tioning like a pathogenic factor, congesting the collective
that is becoming rhe primary object of exploiration.
Mental alienation is no longer a metaphor, as it was '
industrial epoch: it becomes, rather, a specifc diagnosis. Psv'chco:
is the word we can use to refer to the effects of the
mobilization of attention. Abstracred from the historicist
134 /1|C cOUl 3I\OlK
once integrating it, the word "alienation" is replaced by
; Qµ8O¡s
of measuring the efects of exploitation on cognitive
paoic, anxiery, depression. The psychopathological lexicon
a
way to diagnose the psychic disturbances affecting the
everywhere.
is directly invested: this is why in Chaosmosis, his
Guattari places the aesthetic paradigm at the core of his
and political perspective.
the word (�aesthetic,» he refers to two different issues:
and its modeling by imaginary machines, mass
yIogIrs and mediatic projections. He also refers to artistic
the production of refrains, perceptive tunings of a pecu-
Lnd,
which are constantly on the run, and incessantly
themselves. This is why the possible (not exclusive)
,ra,etltlc function of signs, movements and words is founded in
eaesth'' lc domain.
ro this sphere we can understand illness, the inoculation of psy­
op'th(genrc germs on the part of the imaginary machine, but
the perspective of therapeutic action.
Guattari says that art is a chaoid, a temporary organizer of
a fragile architect of shared happiness and a common map of
imaginary.
Art is the process of producing refrains, the creation of tuned
the word "refrain/' Guattarl refers to rhythmic rituals,
eflotaryand singular projective structures that make harmony (or
lish:rr,ony) possible. This harmony (this disharmony) molds the
Thetefore the structures produced and determined by desire
not eteral, and they are not models preexisting the singular
1|1c |OISOOCC cOUl / 135
imagination: they are temporaty realizations of
allow those sharing a j ourney to recognize
theit
meaning. The territory they cross does not preexist
desires. Rather, it is the map that secretes the territ
<y: tb
desire produces the roads we travel.
Desire is the creation of centers that attract
cOllectivt
energy, polarizations of the Unconscious, and
m"gneti"l
turing the surrounding objects according to a certain
''Art is a chaoid" meanS precisely this: that art builds
can temporarily model chaos.
''Art transforms chaotic variability into chaoid [ . 4 . |Art
gles with chaos but it does so in order to render it
In the last years of his life, once art and therapy fully
they were the same thing, and militant existence
Guattari summarized his positions in these terms:
"My perspective involves shifting the human and
sciences from scientifc paradigms towards ettlic,-aesth,
paradigms
.
It's no longer a question of detetmining
the Freudian Unconscious or the Lacanian
provide scientifc answers to the problems of the
From nOw on these models, along with the others, will
be considered in terms of the production of sutiettivity·
inseparable as much from the technical and
apparatuses which promote it as from their impact on
chiatry, university teaching or the mass media
Psychoanalytic treatment confronts us with a mltltillitit
of cartographies."13
1 ÛÛ / J|C`OUloI\OlK
t
herapy, and art
Lacanian theories, as any other mythology of the
to be taken for what they are: cteations of self-imagina­
of exploration in the unconscious which create
territory while narrating it. This is what schizoanalysis
it replaces interpretation with a proliferation of
and possible existential patterns; creative prolifera­
interpretative reductions.
process of the cure cannot be understood (by familial
,an''y.''
'
or normalizing psychoanalysis) as the reduction
psyches to socially recognized linguistic and psycho-
beh
avioral norms. On the contrary, it will have to be
as the creation of psychological cores capable of
a certain mental cartography into a livable space, a
Isillg
ularzation of the self. This is the task of schizoanalysis:
the delirium in order to make it coherent and accessible
'
,
entshlP both with the self and the other; to dissolve the
titteU clots that harden the refrain; to link refrains and to
the channels of communication between individual drifts
cosmic game.
needs to be understood as a chaoid similar to art.
P¼Iÿo: is no longer the transferential interpretation of
ymptoms as a function of preexisting, latent content, but
invention of a new catalytic nucleus capable of bifur­
existence. A singularity, a rupture of sense, a cut, a
ialm"nrati,n, the detachment of a semiotic content-in a
or surrealist manner-can originate mutant nuclei
J|C ÍOlSO|CC `OU| / 1ÛJ
Therefore the therapeutic question Cbe described as t
he
of the mind's obsessive clotting, the formation of desiring
ble of determining a deterriorialization of action, ofs
hitirl�
µ:
focus and determining the conditions for a collective
The passive estrangement named alienation,
the
"
estrangement from the self, must then be overturned to
delirious) creative, refocusing estrangement.
For Guattari, psychological pain can be tied to
Obsessive focalization.
The infnite desiring energy is discharged through
repetition and exhaust' itself in this repetitive invp."MAi
therapeutic method adopted by schizoanalysis is that
focalization and shift of attention. The creativity of the
act consists in the capacity of fnding a way to escape: a
capable of prodUcing a deviation from the obsessive one.
Once again therapy reveals its afnities with artistic
If desire is not dependent on structures, even less does it
considered a natural phenomenon, an authentic or
manifestation. There is a naive reading of Guattari's æd
theories, according to which desire would be a primal
force to which we need to return in order to fnd the -¤-tcvIo
lion and autonomy. This is a simplifing and misleading
Desire is not at all natural. Social desire (modeling,
and recomposing the structures of collective life) is
formed. It is the semiotic environment that models
cloud of signs surrounding the bodies, connoting spaces
jecting ghosts. If we think of the function that ad'ertisirlg
the production of contemporary desire, we easily realize
is nothing else but a contaminating feld of batde.
1 ÛÜ/ J|B cOUl d!\O!K
com
munication also works essentially on flows of
red
irecting collective investments of desiring energy: the
overturning of the political front that took place
in the 1 980s and the sweeping victory of the capitalist
afer years of social autonomy and workers' struggles can
only as the consequence of an extraordinary transfor­
in the collective investment of desire.
Pri1r
ati.zatiOll, competition, individualism-aren't these the con­
of a catastrophic overturning of the investments of
desire? The loss of solidarity deprived workers of any
force and created the conditions for the hyper-exploitation
labor, reducing the labor force to a condition of
slavery: couldn't this be the efect of a fantastic disrup-
perversion of collective desire?
a long period of absolute domination by semiocapital,
say of economic principles modeling the collective
Iina
ti(ll, nuclei of acquisitional and competitive obsession
within the social Unconscious. The refrains circulating
social unconscious became rigid, congested, aggressive
terrified.
.Poli
tical action needs to be conceived first of all as a shift in
investments of desire. The obsessive nuclei strarified in
imagination produce parhologies: panic, depression
fattention deficit disorders. These clots need to be dissolved,
deterritorialized.
is no possibility of political resistance to the absolure
ninati(n of Semiocapitalism, since its foundations are not exte­
:, reslding neither in the military violence of the state, not in the
corporate abuse: they are incorporated in the pathogenic
that pervasively entered the collective unconscious.
J|C|O|SO|CCcOUl / 1ÛÜ
PoIiticaI action must happen therefore accord:` ng to
anaIogous to therapeutic intervention. ¡oIiticaI
action
both need to start from the obsessive Ioci of desi re.
to refocus our attention on deterritoriaIizing points
so that new investments of desire become
¡ossibIe,
be �utonomous from
compe
tition,
acquis
ition,
pos
sessit
accumuIation.
Debt, time, weath
The postmoder domination of capitaIism is founded on
of weaIth, understood as cumuIative possession. ´ speci6c1c
weaIth took controI of the coIIective mind which vaIues accaµ;¡
and the constant postponing of pIeasurabIe en]oyment.
of weaIth (speci6c to the sad science of economics) transíop
into Iack, need and dependence. To this idea of weaItI we
oppose anothet idea: weaIth as timc÷time to en]o;, travcI,
and make Iove.
Economic submission, producing need and Iack,
time dependent, transforming our Iife into a mcanIngless
towards nothingness. !ndebtedness is the basis for this
!n 2006, the book Generation Debt (subtitIed: Why
terrible time to be young) was pubIished in the United States.

author, ´nya Kamenetz considers a question tIat 6naIIy came
forefront of our coIIective attention in 2007, but has been
mentaI to capitaIism for a Iong time: debt.
´nya Kamenetz's anaIysis refers especiaIIy to young
taking out Ioans in order to study. For them, debt functions
a symboIic chain whose effects are more powerfuI than the
metaI chains former¡y used in sIavery
140/ The SOUl at WOrK
d Í of subJ ugation goes thtough a cycIe of capture,
newmo e
psyh
oIogicaI submission, 6nanciaI trap and 6naIIy pure
obIigtion to work.
a middIe cIass teenager in the United States, wiIIing to
.
ty education in order to acquire the professiona
an:vers·
,
.
that wiII aIIow him access to the job market. Thts poor
wio
beIieved in the fairy t¡es of Neo-IiberaIism, reaIIy
t5at he has the chance for achieving a guaranteed happy Iife
Dserious work and study.
how can s/he pay a tuition of thousands of doIIars a year,
t5e expenses for room and board in a distant city? !f y�u were
in a famiIy of high 6nance thieves, the onIy way ts to ask
Ioan from a bank. Jike Faust on his way home one nigt, who
IittIe dog that foIIowed him to his room and 6naIIy reveaIs
t ce MephistopheIes, so our young feIIow meets a 6nanciaI
etator working for a bank that accords him/her a Ioan. Once you
your souI beIongs to me, says MephistopheIes, forever. Our
feIIow signs the Ioan, goes to university and graduates. after
5is/her Iife beIongs to the bank. S/he wiII have to start
immediateIy after graduation, in order to pay back a
ending amount of money, especiaIIy when the Ioan is made
a variabIe rate of interest, constantIy growing with the passage
time. S/he wiII have to accept any condition of work, any
cgiuuu:ou, any humiIiation, in order to pay the Ioan which
her wherever s/he goes.
Debt is the creation of obsessive refrains that are imposed on
coIIective mind. Refrains impose psychoIogicaI misery
to the ghost of weaIth, destroying time in order to trans-
it into economic vaIue. The aesthetic therapy we need÷an
aesmettc therapy that wiII be the poIitics of the times to come÷
Ttle PoisonGd Sou! / 141
consists in the creation of dissipating refrains caIar>e "i
light to another modality of wealth, understood as time
and enjoyment.
The crisis that began in the summer of 2007 has opened a
the vety idea of social relation as "debt" is now crumbling
The anti-capitalistic movement of the future won't
ment of the poor, but of the wealthy. The real wealthy
will be those who will succeed in creating forms of
consumption, mental models of need reduction, habitat
the sharing of indispensable resources. This requires the
dissipative wealth refrains, or of frugal and ascetic wea
lth.
In the virtualized model of semiocapitalism, debt
general frame of investment, but it also became a cage
transforming desire into lack, need and dependency that
for life.
Finding a way out of such a dependency is a political
realization is not a task for politicians. It's a task for
lating and orienting desire, and mixing libidinal fows.
task for therapy, understood as a new focalization ofawntioJ
a shifting of the investments of desiring energy.
Desire and simuation: Wenders in Toko
In 1 983 Wim Wenders went to Tokyo with the idea of
documentary in homage ofYasujiro Ozu, the great director
died in 1962.
Using his camera as a notebook, he marked his
meditations and emotions, narrating in black and white,
old-fashioned journal, his discovery of a hyper-moder
1 ¬Z Í J|C cOU|ol\O|K
title
of his movie is Tokyo-ga and it is considered one of
minor movies. It is not. It is instead from every point of
ext
remely important movie. From the perspective of the
director's personal evolution, Tokyo-ga marks the passage
dreamy, slow and nostalgic narration that characterized his
pro
duction-Alce in the Cities, Kings ofthe Road {In the
orime)-to his conficted but fascinated use of electronic
,ok)
gies, like in his discombobulated but genial flm Until the
Wrl.
relation with Ozu's cinema is the flter through which Wen­
to get the sense of the ongoing mutation leading Japanese
(but in fact global society) beyond humanistic and industrial
towards a dimension that cannot yet be named, but
already as post-humanistic and perhaps even post-human.
Y,ujiro Ozu used technology as a support, a prolongation and
- dhlli¬for the human gaze and sensoty experience, as a power
towards emotional and conceptual projection. His camera
po"iti(ll"d in such a way that it exalted the centrality of human
§ç§§ +Çw a'" all this happened in pre-war Japan, where the continuity
tradition had not yet been interrupted.
the sphere of the indefinable hyper-modernity that Wen­
.
records as if he was sketching a map, we are witness to the
of the relationship between human intellect and
ÂÅÂ*Â*_yg between the human gaze and its electronic prosthesis.
intellect is becoming little by little (or suddenly) part of
inlerconne,ted global Mind, and the human eye an internal
of the video-reticular panopticon. From a philosophical
of view Tokyo-ga is an extraordinarily lucid summary,
aware of the dissolution of the real caused by simula­
n"ch:iques. Simulation became the central word used in the
post-literate lexicon, beginning with the 1 980s,
when
electronic technologies spread in every communicative
in the production of worlds.
Simulation produces emptiness, a real hole, the di,(gg¿g
of sensihle tangibility, which is replaced by sensible vi":lOl;�
this is already present in Wenders' Tko-ga (1983).
Wenders describes Japan as the society where an artifcial
tion has occurred: life is nothing but a simulation efect.
and foods are simulated, social relations themselves are
Wenders takes us with him to a factory of artifcial food,
pears and apples, meats and tropical fruits are perfectly
using synthetic materials, in order to simulate teal food to be
in metropolitan restaurants' windows. The director's astonishl
at this banal reproduction gives to the movie a pathetic tone,
provincial and nostalgic: the disappearance of food, replaced
or plastic, generates nostalgic memories of a world where
authentic, and we can perceive that, beginning with these
minuscule signals, the world has started to disappear.
On the ramparts of a huge stadium, lonely white-clad
hit a little white golf ball with their golf sticks: it makes a
parabola in the air until it fnally reaches the ground, minglinl)
thousands of others. 1 infnite expanse of isolated
unaware of each other's presence, and an infnite number
golf balls. Then, Wenders takes us inside the long and
locales where pachinko is played by men of all ages, silent in
their machine. Withour ever talking or looking at each
all concentrate on pulling a lever that will send little met
al
moving behind a sheet of glass.
In Empire of Sigs, a book devoted to his impressions of
to Japan, Roland Barthes had described pachinko with these
144 I Thp ~ ···¦¦! \ÍCrÍ
"Pac
hinko is a slot machine. At the counter you buy a little
stock
of what look like ball bearings: then, in front of the
mach
ine (a kind of vertical panel), with one hand you stuf
each ball into a hole, while with the other, by turning a fipper,
you
propel the ball through a series of bafes; if your initial
dis
patch is just right [ . . . | the propelled ball releases a rain of
more balls, which fall into your hand, and you have only to
start over again-unless you choose to exchange your winnings
for an absurd reward [ . + + | .
The pachinko is a collective and solitary game. The
machines are set up in long roWSj each player standing in
front of his panel plays for himself, without looking at his
neighbor, whom he nonetheless brushes with his elbow. You
hear only the balls whirring through their channels [ + + . |, the
parlor is a hive or a factory-the players seem to be working
on an assembly line."15
relates the massive difsion of pachincko to the necessity of
:edt cirothe psychological pressure caused by the post-war period,
i
lib,rating the collective mind from the haunting of a terriring past
had to be forgotten, erased, and removed. At the same time, as
Barthes writes, pachincko reveals a society where people are
individualized, isolated, lonely, reduced to empty containers
plcdu.the time, deprived of their memoty and of any form of
except for the silent one of productivity.
It is from within flm histoty that Wenders tries to outline the
Gtogr'apl,y of this mutational phase, and the hyper-modern (and
passage in store for the human race, involved in an
that human beings are also observing, spectators and
at once, but fnally spectators more than anything else.
The Poisoned Soul / 1†
Then the direcror interviews rwo people that in the
collaborators of the great Ozu.
Atsura, the camera opetator who had always work
ed
director, shows in various touching sequences the
niques elaborated during decades of collaboration. He
that, since Ozu's death rwenty years earlier, he had not
anyone else: he had not betrayed or switched to other
other forms of sensibility.
Chishu Ryu, who played in all Ozu's flms, on the Con"r.'
on working. He must sadly admit though, that people Stop
the street, asking for his autograph, certainly not be(u.e l
played in Tokyo Monogatari ( Tkyo Story), but because he
in the commercials for a brand of biscuits or toothpaste.
With Chishu Ryu, Wenders then visits Yasujiro
While the camera films the black monolith under which
tor rests in peace, Wenders pronounces these words,
to me could best introduce a meditation on the P",selot .
humanistic, semiocapitalist hyper-moderniry:
"Mu, The Void, it's He who reigns now."
This is not the void that Zen Buddhism talks about, or at
I h W d
" " on y t at. en ers says: now.
The void reigns now. Wenders wants to talk of present
in his nostalgic (heavenly nostalgic) flm on Yasujiro Ozu.
We're entering the civilization of emptiness: this is in my
of Wenders' visit to Tokyo: the city that used to be Ozu's and
belongs to the Demiurge of simulation.
Tkyo-ga was produced in 1983. The deep effects of
liberal economic turn on social culture were becoming evide!l!:)
1 ¬Û/1|B cOU| dl \O!K
. of the revolution Nixon had provoked rwelve years earlier when
Hde-link the dollar from gold, abandoning the system of
ehan
ge. The financial world fell into indeterminacy, while
l_liC
eralisr, imposing the hegemony of the fnancial cycle over
e(onom
ic and social relations, brought D every doman of exis­
the a
wareness of the indeterminate, aleatory nature of reality .
.
relation berween sign and referent disappears: in economIC
the relation berween fnancial sign and material referent (real
i
d,"ction
gold as the measure of fnancial evaluation) vanishes.
and simulation: Baudrilard in America
[icr1el,cl1on. technologies make the miniaturization of circuits
and start the microelectronic revolution, whose effects we
seen fully developed in the 1990s. Telematics, the new science
mobile phones and informatics, the revolutionary
ecnll1qlc to which Simon Nora and Alain Mine devoted a very
fP(rtaJt book already in 1978, entitled The Computerization of
prepares for the explosion of the nerwork.
In 1983, Jean Baudrillard wrote a text titled The Ecstas of
;omm.ni(:ation, for the volume The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays in Post­
M4u. edited by Hal Foster and published by Bay Press.
"There is no longer any system of objects. My frst book con­
tains a critique of the object as obvious fact, substance, reality,
use-value. There the object was taken as sign, bur as sign still
Ì h
* ¹¹¡ó
eavy WIt meamng.
the old world the Sign was understood 2 a bearer of meaning,
the relation berween sign and meaning was guaranteed by the
external and objective existence of a referent. But this
logic is abandoned once we enter the domain of ge:nel:ali:e
tetminacy. What guarantees the dollar's value once the
gold is erased? What guarantees the value of a commodi
t
y
time of necessaty social labor can't be measured anymore?
rial technologies transform the time of labor necessary to
goods into an aleatory time. And what guarantees the
sign once all signs transgress their codes, once the phant
alt
of the code becomes the code of phantasmagoria? Only
antees the meaning of the monetary sign, as is demonstrated
despotic exercise of American hegemony. Deregulatio�
mean that sOciety is freed ftom all rules, not at all: it is
imposition of monetary rule on all domains of human
monetary rules are in fact the sign of a relationship based on
violence and military abuse.
In those years the scene of realiry had been abandoned to
scene of simulation. Cinema does not belong to this second
Cinema belongs to the order of reproduction and expression,
the order of simulation. In front of the camera there is (or
been) a real object, a real person: the camera registered tht
light, body, those visible materials, reproducing them all on
this way conditions were created in order for the director to
himself in a purely Deleuzian and Spinozian sense: to give
among the many infnite worlds that language can create.
We enter the domain of simulacra when we move from
logue flm to the creation of synthetic images. The synthetic
can indeed be defned as a simulacrum, since it does not presu>pl
any real object, any material light or protorype, but only the
lighting of the digital (im)materialiry. Simulation is the ellnl111'�'
r
eferent which initiates a series of infnite semiotic replica­
, withou
t any foundation.
is precisely this irresistible unfolding, this
',e
au
ertrlg of things as though they had a meaning, when they
governed only by arrifcial montage and non-meaning.""
replication develops language's power of simulation to its
Digital technology makes possible a process of infnite replica­
of the sign. The sign becomes a virus eating the realiry of its
Rpidly, this process of de-signifing replication of the sign
the efect that Baudrillard calls the desert of the real.
,"erica is a giant hologram, in the sense that information
cncerning the whole is contained in each of its elements. Take
the tiniest little place in the desert, any old street in a Mid­
West town, a parking lot, a Californian house, a Burger King
or a Studebaer, and you have the whole of the US-South,
North, East, or West."18
concept of simulation introduces a new perspective within philo­
discourse, a perspective that C be defned as disappearance.
subtracted from the domain of alphabetic sequentialiry and pro­
into the domain of video-electronic replication, the sign
?foliteraw endlessly, creating a second realiry, a synthetic domain that
up swaliowing the frst world, the body, and nature.
""'nL,a, as Baudrillard sees it, is very different from the one seen
Deleuze and Guattari. It is the land of extinction, where the
up and embalmed corpse of realiry replaces life, and not the
country provided with infinite energy, produ
cing
endlessly reactivated.
Welcome to the desert of the real.
The way Baudrillard refers to schizophrenia is also
from the way Felix Guattari's schizoanalysis describes it
tation of creativity. Baudrillard does not aSSOciate
with creative proliferation, but with terror.
I am not saying this to establish who's right, the
crowd that declares the creative schizoid power Ot the
bound traveler making phorographs in the silent
longer existing reaL
The point is not who's right or wrong. But it is
retrace the processes occurring at the end of the last
concepts that not only can describe, but also transfotm
mean transform the world, but to transform the relation
singularities and world projections.
The Baudrillard-FoucauIt debate
In the mid- 1 970s, the philosophical scene is cleared of its
heritage. The concept of alienation is abandoned, since
social practice has been tured into estrangement. The
of the productive routine has been turned into the refsa
l
and sabotage, the loneliness of the individual at the assembl
has been transformed into subversive community and
organization. In the 1970s the bodies revolted forgetting
bodies reclaimed their own spaces.
"The soul is the jail of the body," read a feminist sign
streets of Bologna in 1 977, a time when all thoughts and
tions were written) screamed and exposed.
years the question of subjectivity appears under a new
is no longer any Subject (upokeimenos) charged with
the
truth of histoty, but there are individuals meeting with
;ine
ulari
ti,s. The historical (or narrative) agent is liberated from
has no more blueprints to follow, no sCript to play.
Fra
nce, during the mid 1 970s, a philosophical debate devel­
inv
,,tlrg issues lef open and undefned by the collapse of the
structure and in particular the question of the formation of
subj ect and power.
debate placed lean Baudrillard on one side, and Michel
auItanO the authors of Anti-Oedipus on the other. That debate
a decisive philosophical passage.
the side of Deleuze, Guattari and Foucault, and also of their
(among whom I humbly include myself), there has always
certain resistance to discuss the controversy with Baudrillard,
had been one of those Parisian intellectual scufes that it is
thirty years later, I believe that it would be important to
the meaning of that debate, since today we might fnd
iteI'm"nts that could be used for fnding a new synthesis. What
object of the controversy?
publishing his most important book, Symbolic Echange and
in 1977, Baudrillard published that same year a booklet titled
Foucault. It is an attack on the theoty of power built by Fou­
but Baudrillard's real purpose was to critique the notion of
itself, and the molecular theoty of Deleuze and Guattari.
Frget Foucault begins with an interpretation of Disciline and
Baudrillard disagrees with Foucault's fundamental thesis in
book, and with his entire analysis of the genealogy of modern
as repressive disciplining of corporeality.
The Poisoned Soul 1 1 51
"One could say a lot about the central thesis of the
has never been a repression of sex but on the
injunction against talking about it or vOicing it and a
sian to confess, to express, and to produce sex. Kepte
ssic
only a trap and an alibi to hide assigning an entire
the sexual imperative."19
Baudrillard's remarks were not directly rebuffed by
my thesis is that in some direct or indirect, explicit or
Foucault later developed his theory taking these into
Perhaps Baudrillard's objections understood something
misunderstood the essential lesson of the "desiring"
Baudrillard attacked Foucault's vision of the genealogy of
order to propose a critique of all the theories that in
developed a social discoutse from libidinal economy and
expressivity. Thus he writes:
"One can only be struck by the coincidence between this
version of power and the new version of desire prcpo,ed
Deleuze and Lyotard: but there, instead of a lack or
tion, one fnds the deployment and the positive disserinlatic
of fows and intensities [ . . . J . Micro-desire (that of power)
micro-politics (that of desire) literally merge
mechanical confnes: all that one has to do is minia.Ul:ize.""
Is there any equivocation in Baudrillatd's critique of desirirlgti
Yes, there might be: Baudrillard's vision still refers to desire as
while we have seen that desire needs to be understood as a
Yet this equivocatioll has its reasons, since this c�uwuca
in fact inscribed in Deleuze's and Guattari's work, and
1CZ/ The Soul d! Work
and
Foucault's: most of all, this ambiguity is present in the
culture that in those yeatS dominated the desiring discourse in
to d
evelop a practical critique of late-modern, late-industrial
stru
ctures.
today we ate at the end of that form of power, now we have
a new era and a new dimension. Capitalism is becoming
the acceleration that desire had imposed on social expressivity
incorporated by the capitalistic machine when it became a
,t_rrtec
ani,c, digital machine.
shift from mechanical to digital, from reproducible to sim­
is the shif from the limited to the viral dimension of power.
Anti
-Oedipus preached acceleration as an escape from capital's
"Cours camarade, ie vieux mond est dr iere tot21-we screamed
That was true as long as capital's velocity was the mechan­
one of the assembly lines, railways and the printing press. But
microelectronic technologies equip capital with absolute
in the real time of simulation, then acceleration becomes
domain of hyper-exploitation.
This is not, let's state it clearly, a merely metaphotic discourse.
about workers' struggles. As long as they happened in the
factOry, the acceleration in workers communication and
placed the ownet in a defensive position and was able to
structures of control. Slogans circulated rapidly among
in their factories and neighborhoods, allowing these
to become generalized.
Microelectronic technologies have completely reversed this sit­
capital conquers the capacity for rapid deterritorialization,
,a",tring production all over the globe, while the timing of
otganizations remains localized and slow as compared to
one of capitalist globalization.
The Poisoned Soul / 1CÛ
Baudrillard antlc'pates this trend with his intuitio
n
absolute velocity knocking down every form of social
c0m
m0
tion. On this intuition Baudrillard develops his theory,
in Forget Foucault (and elsewhere), but he never
reoeiv"d
explicit reply. Political intentions and discursive effects are
Baudrillard's intention was denounced by the desiring
dissuasive, since his vision destroys the possibility of eXleCtin,
processes of subjectivation. Baudtillard, on his part, de.nolncec
desiring vision as an ideological function of the new,
capitalist mode of production.
"This compulsion towards liquidity, flow, and an accelerat.d
situation of what is psychic, sexual, or pertaining to the
is the exact replica of the force which rules market
capital musr circulate; gravity and any fixed point must
appear; the chain of investments and reinvestments must
stop; value must radiate endlessly and in every direction.
is the form itself which the current realization of value takes. Ii
is the form of capital, and sexuaity as a catchword and a
is the way it appears at the level of bodies.""
Baudrillard's critique is not generous: the description of the
tion in the forms of power and subjectivity is presented as a
yet there is something true in his words. Within desiring th" orya
the vast movement of thougt that Ddeuze's, Guattari's and
cault's books have produced, there is a rhetorical danger if it is
understood that desire is a feld and not a force.
This is evident, for instance, in the empty use of the term
titude" by Negri and Hardt and many others in the last 10
They speal, of the multitude as if it was a boundless positive
1ܬ/ J|C Soul d! Work
of liberty that cannot submit to domination in any way. But
in a booklet entitled In the Shadow of the Silnt Majorities,
"dril
la•a
already demolished the subversive politicl use of the
of multitude, showing its other side, that of the constitutive
of the masses.
"It has always been thought-this is the very ideology of ihe
d· that it is the media which envelop the masses.
mass me la-
The sectet of manipulation has been sought in a frantic semi-
ology of the mass media. But it has been overlooked, in ihis
naive logic of communication, that the masses are a stronger
medium than al the media, that it is the formet who envelop
and absotb the Iatter-ot at least there is no priority of one
over the other. The mass and the media are one single process.
. h
"
2
3
Mass(age) .s t e message.
the autonomous movement that had been reading passion­
Deleuze's and Guattari's books since the 1 970s, Baudrillatd's
was considered politically dissuasive: it seemed ro describe
.sitluation without escapes, hopes for rebellion or possible ruptures.
this wasn't true, and is still not true. Baudrillard did acknowl­
the dissuasive functioning of a civilization where events are
;imlilatld and erased by simulation itself.
"Deterrence is a very peculiar form of action: it is what causes
something not to take plce. It dominates the whole of our con­
temporary period, which tends not so much to produce events
as to cause something not to occur, while looking as though it
is a historical event."24
ThA PoisonAd Soul / 1ÜÜ
Moreover his theory revealed at this point an extreme
of catastrophe, or rather the resource of a catastr
ophic
"The masses [ + . . | haven't waited for future re
voJuions
rheories which claim to 'liberate' them by a 'dialecticl'
ment. They know that there is no liberation, and that a
is abolished only by pushing it into hyperlogic, by
into an excessive practice which is equivalent
to a
amortization. You want us to consume-O.K., let's
always more, and anything whatsoever; for any useless
absurd purpose,"lS
Far from sharing the cynicism spread throughout culture
1 980s and 1 990s (the cynicism pervading the French
philosophie-the New Philosophy-as well as the
neoliberalism which followed the disillusion of the 1968
all over Europe), Baudrillard proposes the strategy of
Today, thirty years later, it seems ro me that he was not
at all.
To the notion of desire Baudrillard opposes that di!ap,eara
or rather the chain Simulation-Disappearance-Implosion.
Simulation is the creation of ghosts without a Dt<totvDe:
algorithm produces endless chains of infotmation. The
semiotic infation activates the progressive colonization of
ingly larger portions of reality by the infotmational emulsion.
disappears like the Amazonian forest, or a territory devoured
desert, until the entire context that used to guarantee the
continuity of the community ends up being eliminated
effect of de-realization and the organism implodes.
ad libido
is therefore a projection of signs that neither reproduce
any
facts, but the efect of the projection of ghosts never
by a body. Synthetic morphogenesis is the clearest
of this simulation phenomenon. The image produced by a
is the development of an algorithm, not the reproduction
pre
existing reality.
replication of synthetic images has a viral and boundless
since the creation of a new simulacrum does not request
dn>stm"nt of energy or matter. Lived experience is thus invaded
pervasive proliferation of simulacra. Here we can see the
of a pathology of desire, a sort of cancer reaching the very
of the libidinal experience. Libidinal energy is attacked by a
of a parasitic type, as shown by the phenomenon of syn­
.
media pornography. "Libidinal parasites" is the formulation
by Matteo Pasquinelli to defne this disease in his book Animal
(NAI Publishers, 2009).
Anti-Oedipus postulated the idea that there is never toO much
inellscious, since the Unconscious is riot a theatre, but a labora­
representation, but expression, to use the language of
pino:ian Deleuze.
In his Exressionism in Philosophy: Spinoz, Deleuze asserts in
"Expression is inherent in substance, insofar 2 substance is
absolutely infnite [ . . . |. Thus infnity has a nature. Merleau­
Ponty has well brought out what seems to us nOW the most
difcult thing to understand in the philosophies of the seven­
teenth century: the idea of a positive infnity as the 'secret of
grand Rationalism'-'an innocent way of setting OUt in
thinking from infnity,' which finds its most petfect
iment in Spinozism."
2
6
And also:
"God's absolute essence is the absolutely infnite pOwet
existing and acting; but we only assert this primary
power
identical to the essence of God/conditionally upon/an
of formally or really distinct attributes. The power of
and acting is thus absolute formal essence."
And there is more:
"God understands and expresses himself objectively.""
Yet all this talking about the infnite power of God tells us
about human expressive power, which is not infnite, or
psychological and physical energy that the human organism
its disposal, which is not infnite either.
The limited character of libidinal energy brings us back to
theme of depression as collective phenomenon. The semiotic
eration and the proliferation of simulacra within the mediatizl
experience of society produce an efect of exhaustion in the
tive libidinal energy, opening the way to a panic-depressive
his text on libidinal parasites, Pasquinelli raises the problem
thetmodynamics of desire, formulating two diferent hYiPotheie,
One, inspired by the frst law of thermodynamics, is the idea
within libidinal exchange there is no loss, but a constant qu;mtityl
energy. The other is based On the second law of th,,,rrlOdyn:nid
presupposes instead that in any exchange there is a loss: this
"o(uces entropy, a loss of otder and a dispersion of energy.
hud
rillatd sees simulation as the infinite teplication of a virus that
desiring enetgy to the point of exhaustion. A sort of semi-
inf
ation explodes in the circuits of Out collective sensibility,
."rcdu
eing efects of mutation that run a pathological coutse: too
signs, too fast, and too chaotic. The sensible body is subjected
an
acceleration that destroys every possibility of conscious
de(od
ifcation and sensible perception.
This is the objection that Baudrillad addtesses to the Ant-Oediu.
But isn't this what Deleuze and Guattari are ultimately saying in
last work? In their book on old age, written while they were
themselves, they ask what philosophy is about, and they
that philosophy is friendship, and (to use Buddhist lan­
guage) the Great Compassion: it is the capacity to walk together
a
long the abyss of meaning gaping under out feet. In that last book
the two schizo philosophers talk abour old age and schizo pain, and
the tOO qUick quickening of signs and ideas running away without
ever getting caught.
"We require just a little order to protect us from chaos.
Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself,
than ideas that fly of, that disappear hardly formed, already
eroded by forgetfulness.""
Aer Forget Foucault and the other texts of the mid 1 970s, where
Baudrillard critiqued the theories of desire and Foucault's genealogy
of power, were published, nobody responded to his objections,
which seemed provocative or maybe dissuasive. Yet Baudrillard's
The Poisoned Soul 1 159
discourse still produced some efects, and I believe that
in
book Deleuze and Guattad developed their thoughts at 3
implicitly involved the meditation that Baudrillard
had
I am not saying that they replied without naming
.
even that they were thinking of Baudrillard when they
last book. I am simply saying that Baudrillard's critique
same direction of the shifting tones and positions that We
rience reading What is Philosophy? after Anti-Oedipus.
enough to say that Anti-Oedipus is a book of youth
while,
years later What is Philosophy? is a book of old age. It is not
either to say that one is a book of 1 968 enthusiasm, and
a book of the years when the barbarians had won again. It
.
sary to consider the conceptual shift that took place in this
much more deeply.
The entropy of libido that Pasquinelli discusses seems to
in Deleuze's and Guattari's last book once, having ao'mOot
certain Spinozian triumphalism, we can admit that libidinal
is a limited resource.
The disappearance (and the retur) of the event
In the mid-1970s, in the context of the radical culture, we
opposite models of imagination at work. The schizo vision
that the proliferation of desire can endlessly erode all sU'uc[ure
control. The implosive vision sees proliferation as the �
de-realizing virus. Desire is only the effect of a seduction
subject is actually a hostage, a victim.
"The 'molecular revolution' only represents the fnal stage
'libetation of energy' (or of proliferation of segments, etc) up
160 I The SOUl at Work
the infnitesimal boundaries of tbe feld of expansion which
been that of our culture. The infnitesimal attempt of
succ
eeding the infinite attempt of capital. The mole­
cular solution succeeding the molar investment of spaces and
the social. The fnal sparks of the explosive system, the fnal
attem
pt U still control an energy of confnes, or to shrink the
conf
nes of energy [ * . +|so as to save the principle of expansion
ædof liberation.""
bjecthity implodes and in its stead we fnd only the terror of a
.tastro"he, or the catastrophe of terror. The proliferation of simu­
viruses has swallowed the event. The infnite capacity of
,pli,ation of the recombining simulator device erases the originality
the event. What is lef is suicide.
Baudrillard had already been thinking about the issue of sui­
in his 1976 book, where symbolic exchange was accompanied
death.
"It is at least possible to find an even match to oppose third­
order simulacra? Is there a theory or a practice which is
subversive because it is more aleatory than the system itself, an
indererminate subversion which would be to the order of the
code what the revolution was to the order of political econo­
my? Can we fght DNA? Certainly not by means of the class
struggle
.
Perhaps simulacra of a higher logical (or illogical)
order could be invented: beyond the current third order,
beyond determinacy and indeterminacy. But would they still
be simulacra? Perhaps death and death alone, the reversibility
of death, belongs to a higher order than the code.""
¨|= |r·.¤ :rrt: ´O.JI 1 1 R1
In those years Baudrillard talked abour the disap
!ea,a
n,e
event, eliminated by the seductive proliferation of sin
nul at
iol
Illusion of the End, a book frst published in 1 992, is inallgU
lta,
a quote from Elias Canetti:
�T tormenting thought: as of a certain point, history
no longer real. Without noticing it, all mankind
su,denl
left reality; everything happening since then was sUpP(se<
not true."31
Baudrillard here writes:
"One has the impression that events form all on their own 8£
drift unpredictably towards their vanishing
peripheral void of the media. Just as physicists now see
particles only as a trajectory on a screen, we no longer have
pulsing of events, but only the cardiogram.))32
The infnite proliferation of signs occupies the space of
and imagination up to the point of fully absorbing the
energies of society, depriving the organism of all sensibility
the pulsations of daily reality. The velocity of semiotic
tion, unleashed by digital simulation, is so extreme that all
of collective sensibility end up being saturated. We could
describe this process in another way. Devices of social co.ntrol :
incorporated in automated systems: political governance are
replaced by chains of automatisms and incorporated in the
ductive, communicative, administrative, and technical machiimOJ
The living collectivity has no decisional role any more, on
mental issues like production and the social distribution
since the access to the social game requires the adoption of
operational systems. At a linguistic level, chains of inter­
are auromated in such a way that it's no longer possible
enun
ciations that don't respect the preventively inscribed
that is to say the code of capital accumulation.
In
his
paradoxical style, and sometimes maybe too quickly,
.
talks about this process, identifing it with the disap-
of the event.
In his
Symbolic Exchange and Death ( 1 976), using New York
:scrapers as a metaphor for digital simulation, Baudrillard had
(and I read this with a shudder):
"Why has the World Trade Center in New York go, to towers?
All Manhattan's great buildings are always content to confront
each other in a competitve verticality, from which there results
µ architectural panorama that is the image of the capitalistic
system; a pyramidal jungle, every building on the ofensive
against every other [ . . . |. This new architecture no longer
embodies a competitive system, but a countable one where
competition has disappeared in favour of correlation [ . . . J . This
architectural graphism belongs to the monopoly: the World
Trade Center's two towers are perfect parallelepipeds, four
hundted meters high on a square base; they are perfectly
balanced and blind communicating vessels
.
The fact that they
are wo identical towers signies the end of all competition, the
d f · · al e
²ð
en O every ongm rererence.
the story does not end here.
Aer September 1 1 , 200 1 , in a scandalous text, Baudrillard
the return of the event. With the collapse of the two WTC
J|C |O|SOOCC cOU| / 1ÛÛ
buildings, the spell of simulation also ended together
nite duplication efect whose metaphor had already
his 1976 text on the Twin Towers, where they had
towers of digital replication.
The Spirit 0/ Terrorism is a text written imm"
di'teif
most spectacular terrorist attack in history. The word
assumes here a double meaning, a paradoxical
chita,te:,
the spectacle is precisely the collapse of all spectacle, and
sion provokes an explosion. Baudrillard's purpose in
celebrate the return of the event beyond the cages of
"With the attacks on the World Trade Center in New
might even be said to have befote us the absolute
'mother' of all events, the pure event uniting within
the events that have never taken place."3
The immense concenttation of decision-making power
play by semiocapitalism already lends itself to catastJopi
That intolerable suicidal action unveiled the vanity of
nite srrength, confronting it with an form of escape rhat
to zero, U its ashes.
Death, suicide more precisely, is the unforeseeable
restores the chain of events. Since thar day suicide became;
as the leading actor on the scene of third millennium
matter what other perspective we might decide to adopt U
twentieth-first century history-capitalist dogma, ta"c,
despair-suicide is the truth hidden by ofcial discourses,
the rhetoric of unlimited growth and the rhetoric of
national fundamentalism.
1Û¬ / The Soul at Work
day
twelve young Arabs raised hell in Manhattan, immo­
them
selves in their airliners and launching the frst
war, suicide became the leading actor of world history.
is not a new form of radical protest. In 1904, for instance,
landed in Bali to subject the island to their colonial
The
Hindu population, proud of its own diversiry in the
fiercely opposed the Dutch invasion. Mter several
had
occurred, the Dutch were ready to attack Denpassar
palace. All dressed in white, the raja and his court moved
the Dutch until they were very close to theit invaders. All
,follD
ing the king took out their swords and drove them into
enacting a ritual suicide that in Balinese language is
puputan. More than nine hundred men fell to the ground
the astonished eyes of the Dutch. The event's efect was trau­
for the Dutch people's consciousness, beginning the process
in the colonial polices of that country.
was at the end of World War II that Japanese generals decided
suicide as an atm of destruction and not simply as an ethical
To resist the Americans, who by then were ptevailing, they
young aviation offcers to launch themselves against the
navy. The word "kamikaze," meaning " divine wind,"
synonymous with suicidal destructive fury. In her book
Diaries: Reections o/Japanese Student Soldiers (Chicago,
of Chicago Press, 2006), the Japanese researcher Emiko
l IernfV proves that the young pilots were not at all enthu­
about the destiny that had been assigned to them. By
IbHshing their letters, the author shows that in general the
\llilazes were not consenting, and that the higher levels of
The POisoned Soul I 1ÛÜ
hierarchy (none of whom was immolated) forced them
wirh airplanes that only had enough fuel to reach the
enemy ship), but nor ro return.
What is the diference between those ordering a
those ordering a regular bombing, between rhe
sn.lkh s
desperare youths to blow themselves up in the middle of
and the U.S. general ordering airplane pilots to bomb
neighborhood?
Aggressive suicide, therefore, is not a new ph,enOltlenon,
roday's context it is terribly more disturbing, not only
body who is determined and prepared enough could have
instruments of destruction and extermination, but also
murderous suicide is no longer a rare marginal pblenOltlenlOn�i
become a spreading manifestation of contemporary de"pair. ,
origin of murderous suicides, as of any other form of
violence, there is no political reason, or a su·at" gi.-nnili:atyi
tion, but a form of pain that afects not only Islamic
epidemic of unhappiness infecting the world in the epoch
talism's triumph has generated a wave of aggressive suicide '
area of the globe.
Advertising reasserts at every street corner, at every
day and night, the freedom of infnite consumption, the
properry and of vicrory through competition. In the 1990s,
mobilized an immense intellectual, creative, and ps;bo16
energy in order ro start the valorization process of the
intellectual network. But by imposing an unlimited
exploitation on the human mind, the productive acceleration
the conditions for an extraordinary psychological
"Prozac culture" was another name for the emerging new
1 ÛÛ/The Soul d\ Work
:H'cre<S of thousands of Western economic operators and
made innumerable decisions under conditions of chemi­
euphoria,
while they were "high" from their abuse of
" h
(rcp'c drugs. But the human organism cannot tae endless
euphoria and productive fanaticism: at some point, it
D surrender. As happens with patients afected by bipolar
euphoria is replaced by a long-term depression hitting the
source of one's own motivations, entrepreneurship, self-esteem,
and sex appeal. We cannot fully understand the crisis of the
economy without taking into account the fact that it coincided
The cognitive worker's individual depression is not a conse­
of the economic crisis, bur its very reason. It would be easy
) irgine that depression is a consequence of business going badly:
years happily spent working with proft, stocks' values col­
and the new brain workers fell into a deep depression.
Depression comes from the fact that our emotional, physical,
intellectual energy can't bear the rhythm imposed by competi­
and chemical-ideological euphoria inducers for long. The
is a psycho-semiotic space, where one can fnd signs and
epecrati(ns for meaning, desires and projections. There is an ener­
crisis that affects mental and psychic energies. Once this crisis
hploded, a new efort was made ro motivate the depressed Western
prycno¡0@ with a powerful amphetamine therapy: war. But only a
person would take amphetamines as a reaction ro a depressive
The most likely result will be deeper and deeper relapses.
is not my intention to put the terrorist suicides of Islamic
and the bipolar disorder affecting Western productive
The Poisoned Soul / 1 Û1
minds on the same level. I am simply saying
that
convergent pathologies, two different
unbearable pain affecting both the hyper-stimul
ated and
itive psychologies of those who see themselves as winners,
rancorous ones of the humiliated.
By reducing murderous suicide to political categories,
only grasp its final manifestations, nOt its source. The
pain stemming from humiliation, despair, loss of hope in
and a feeling of inadequacy and loneliness, and not the
intentions of jihad, produces suicides. These feelings
only to Chechnyan women whose husbands and
killed by Russian soldiers, nor do they belong only to Arab
subjected to Western violence as to an intolerable
These feelings of loneliness and loss of meaning are
every place where the triumph of capitalism has sutiUar,�
life and emotions to the hellish rhythms of automated colpt
The mass production of unhappiness is the topic of our
The talk of the day is the extraordinary success of the Chtimse',
italist economy; meanwhile in 2007 rhe Central Committee
Communist Party had to deal with wide-spreading
China's countryside.
Until when will we be able to contain this phenomenon?
when can we avoid that the rage and despair of one billion
people will come and spoil the party of the three hundred
integrated ones? Suicidal terrorism is only one chapter in
temporary epidemic, although the most explosive and "llgU.HI
It might happen in one's own tiny isolated room, or in the
of a crowd at a subway station: suicide is not a response to
cal motivations, but to pain, unhappiness and despair. Ever
capital's triumph started eroding every domain of life and
10B / `|- So, :| ¬!Work
invaded by competition, velocity and aggressiveness,
tappin.ess has been spreading everywhere like a forest fre, and
in areas dominated by Islamism. Now suicide is tending
the frst cause of death among youth everywhere. A few
ago
newspapers informed the public that there are traces of
in
London's tap warer: 24 million British citizens consume
2007 the newspaper China Today reported that despite the
lI e'O[IOn1C boom, two hundred thousand people commit sui­
every year, and the numbers are growing. In Japan there is a
(karosht) referring to the kind of overwork able to push peo-
to
commit suicide. East Japan Railways, one among rhe
Japanese railway companies, has taken the decision to
big mirrors all along Tokyo station platforms. The idea is to
desperate people on the verge of suicide reconsider as they see
refected image.
That doesn't seem like the best therapy.
Is there any remedy to the wave of psychopathologies that seems
have submerged the world while smiling faces promise safety,
warmth and success from advertising signboards? It may be
social issues can no longer receive answers from politics, and
to be referred to psychotherapy. Perhaps the answer is that it is
to slow down, fnally giving up economistic fanaticism and
51e,tiv'y rethink the true meaning of the word "wealth." Wealth
not mean a person who owns a lot, but refers to someone who
enough time to enjoy what nature and human collaborarion
put within evetyone's reach. If the great majority of people
understand this basic notion, if they could be liberated from
competitive illusion that is impoverishing evetybody's life, the
foundations of capitalism would Start to crumble.
The Poisoned Soul / 1 ÛÜ
Pathogenic aterity
In his flm Persona, Bergman treats the theme of alterity
to existentialist categories: as malaise, but also as a
estrangement and suspension of the communicative vICUIU.
beth Vogler is an actress who during a theater pe.tor
man,.;
talking completely, as if afected by a sudden illness, or
Doctors visit her and their medical reports say that she's
heathy both physically and mentally. Yet Elisabeth keeps on
complete silence. She's taken to a clinic, where Alma, an
comperent, brilliant and chatty nurse, takes care of her.
women develop an intense relationship. In order U cotuplet.
therapy, the nurse accompanies Elisabeth to a house by the
two women start getting lost in each other, exchanging their
Alma speaks a lot, telling of experiences from her sertinlentaJ
and past, while Elisabeth listens to her, apparently involved,
her silence.
In Latin the word persona refers to the "mask": Jung
considering it the artifcial personality adopted by IHOIV1QU¦
consciously or unconsciously, even in contrast with their
characters, in order to protect and defend themselves,
the world that surrounds them in order ro adapt to it.
Bergman sees the question of alterity through the schjzophIe,
fgure of the split self or of double personality. Therefore
defned through a game of isolation and enclosure. It is the
of a repressive society that pushes for a compulsive delhni.tioh
individual masks. In the cultural context where Bergman
his flm, alienation is rhe metaphor for the relation between
and soul: a repressive disappeatance of the soul.
1 70 I The Soul d!Work
Forr
years later, in a totally diferent context, Kim Ki Duk
a flm that proposed the question of alterity as the game of
den
titi'' '
proliferation and expressive excess. Time is the title of his
and it tells the story of changing one's physical mask thanks
the in
tervention of aesthetic surgery.
Berg
man's title Persona refers to a meditation on the identifing
Kim Ki Duk works instead around the concept of multi­
and the many masks that we can assume: that is to say the
and proliferating mask. In the age of aesthetic
rhe multiplicity of masks does not only represent the pos­
to be at once diferent agents of enunciation, but refers
�pecitcally U the opportunity of assuming diferent faces, changing
physical aspect, the place and modality of the enunciation.
Time begins in front of the door of an Aesthetic Surgery Clinic,
o|whIch there are many in South Korea. Kim Ki Duk's flm tells us
stoty of a man and a woman. They make love and she tells him
fear of being abandoned because he will end up falling in love
another woman-I need to become another, in order for you
fall in love with me: make love to me as if I were somebody else,
me what you feel and think. Finally, obsessed by this thought,
she decides to become another woman. She goes and sees a surgeon,
askng him to change her face and features, so that she becomes
unrecognizable. The surgeon advises her that her features are so
and delicate that she has no reason to undergo surgety. But
she insists; apparently in South Korea, sooner or later half of the
women request plastic surgety to change their features. Meanwhile,
the man is desperate because of the disappearance of his beloved. He
looks for her without success and fnally thinks she will never come
back to him, until he meets another woman; we know she is his
lover, who has become another woman. She seduces him, but the
Tti8 PoisonecJ Soul I 1 71
young man's heart belongs to the other one, who has
At this point she tells him the truth and he has a
/ a revenge, the man goes to the same surgeon who
friend untecognizable, and he asks for the same tre'tme
nobody will be able to recognize him anymore.
Deep identity and the exterior physical aspect,
and most of all the theme of alterity are the COloCe
ptula!
this flm. Kim Ki Duk's language is extremely
very powerful, dramatic and emotionally
in·ol.h""
scenes, as when the woman goes back to the A,,tlletic
Clinic, desperate for having become someone else,
mask that is now her own face, transformed by the 'Ulcge(n
is the infnite game of alterity: this is the starting
drama we've been told here.
"I want to be another since desire is a constant :¡¡IUtng(r
object to another."
Yet we can't underestimate the theme of simulation:
surgery makes possible a shifing of the object, since it is
producing forms that are not copies of a prototype, but
images that have become embodied. Desire and SInlUlatlO
play their last, most desperate game since it takes place in
body where the soul has been captured.
The virtually infnite multiplication of the object of
essential character of the pathologies of our times. It is no
absence, or repression, or the ptohibition of touching
The Other proliferates as an unteachable and unlimited
consumption, as the virtual substitute of a no longer pOlsible
alterity. The Other becomes pornography, since it is always
to enjoyment as it becomes the object of an infnite
exhausts the limited libidinal energy of real human beings.
1 JZ / The Soul d!Work
century antiauthoritarian theories were directly or indi­
inf
uenced by Freud's notion of repression, on which he
his Civiliztion and Its Discontents.
is impossible U overlook the extent to which civilization is
up upon a renunciation of instinct) how much it presup­
precisely the non-satisfaction (by suppression
)
repression
some other means?) of powerful instincts. This 'cultural
dominates the large felds of social relationships
:belte,n human beings. Pwe already know, it is the cause of .
hostility against which all civilizations have to struggle.""
to Freud, repression is an essential and constitutive aspect
relations. In the mid-twentieth century, between the 1930s
1 960s, European critical theories analyzed the relation
between the anthropologic dimension of alienation and the
dimension of liberation. Sanre's vision, as exposed in his
of Dialectical Reaon (1 964), is directly infuenced by
theories, and recognizes the anthropologically constitutive,
th,, elore unavoidable, character of alienation. On the contrary,
theory in its hisroricist and dialectic variants considers
a historically determined phenomenon that can be over-
through the abolition of capitalist social relations.
In his 1929 essay, Freud anticipates this debate, criticizing the
of dialectics:
"The communists believe that they have found the path to
delivetance from our evils. According to them, man is wholly
1118 Poisoned Soul 1 1 73
good and is well-disposed to his neighbor; but the
of private property has corrupted his nature [ . · · J . If
property were abolished, all wealth held in co
nlrc,5
evetyone allowed to share in the enjoyment of it,
hostility would disappear among men [ . . . J . I have no
with any economic criticism of the communist
system; Ï
not enquire into whether the abolition of private prtpeg
expedient or advantageous. But I am able to recognize
psychological premises on which the system is based
untenable illusion."36
According to Freud modern capitalism, as every civil
founded on a necessary repression of individual libido and
limating organization of the collective libido. This intuition
expressed in many diferent ways in 20th-century thought.
In the context of Freudian psychoanalysis, our "disccntel
constitutive and inevitable, and psychoanalytic theory offers
through language and anamnesis, the neurotic forms that it
provoke. The philosophical culture of existentialist
shares Freud's firm belief that constitutive alienation is unaid,
and that libidinal drives are repressed.
On the contrary, in the context of Marxist and antiallth
tarian theories, repression needs to be considered as a
determined form that social action can eliminate by
productive and desiring energies already belonging to mc
movement of society.
In both of these philosophic scenes however, the COtlCe]t.
repression plays a fundamental role, since it explains the
pathologies dealt with by psychoanalytic theory while
same time elucidating the capitalistic social contradiction,
1 J÷/The Soul at Work
ish
m"n[
revolutionary movements want to make possible in
to
overcome exploitation and alienation itself.
is
impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is
up upon a renunciation of instinct, how much it presup­
precisely the non-satisfction (by suppression, repression
or some other means?) of powerful instincts." [FreudJ
1960s and 1 970s the concept of repression was lef in the
itk1rolllla of political discourse. The political infuence of desire
em
phasized in opposition to repressive mechanisms, but this
of
thinking ofen ended up becoming a conceptual and politi­
trap. As for instance in 1977 Italy: afer the wave of arrests
the February and March insurrections, the movement
to call a September meeting in Bologna on the question of
,p,ssi,n. This was a conceptual mistake: choosing repression as
major topic of discussion, we entered the narrative machine of
losing our capacity of imagining new forms of life, asym­
with respect to power and therefore independent from it.
(, tile end of the twentieth century, the entire question of rep res­
seems to vanish and relinquish the social scene. The dominant
pattlO/Cgil" of our times are no longer neurotic, determined by a
!'pHSiO of libido, but rather schizo-pathologies, produced by the
expre,iv( explosion of the just do it.
Stnlcture and desire
antiaurhoritarian theories of the 1970s emerge from a
Freudian conceprual domain even if they expand and overturn its
¯l6Poisonee) Soul / 1 JÜ
historicaI
horizons. ¡n Eros
and C '/' ,
h Í
ZVz Zzatzon
t e time
mess of the Iiberation of coIIe '
'
.w+rcuse
h
ctive
eros
presses tec
noIogy's and
knowI d
'
+
their
fuII
deveIo
pment
but '
e g
I
e s p
oten
tia
Iities
by
.
`
critica
sub
)ect
ivi
preciseIy by
mak|ng possibIe the
fuII
expr

ty
and pr d '
ession
o
uctive
pote
ntiaIities th

!
·
us crea
ting
th
uII reaIization of the pIeasure principIe.
e co
itd
iti
oti
The
.
anaIysis of
modern
society
is
descnp
tion
of
discipIi
' nary
tnstr
uments
mod Í `
tions
and the
pubIic d'
.
e tng
so
ciaI
.
iscourse tn a
repr
essive
w
pubItcation of Fou
cauIt's I979

ay
d
semmars
(parti Ì Í
evoted to ¨the b h fb
. .
cu at y
rrt O
iopoI
mcs°)
has
forced
of FoucauIt's
theory from re

d
us to
move
b' I
pressive
iscip
Iine
to th
topo
mcaI controI
devices. Yet in his
k d
e
f d '
wor
evot
ed to µ o mo
ermty
(spec
incaIIy ' n À d
e
]
·
,
,
t
a ness
and
Civiliztio
Cmtc,
Dtsciline
and J
' h) '
h
n,
Unts
, U
ts own
way F
Í within the
domain of th ¨
' °
oucau t stiII
.
e repressive
para
digm.
Despite their
open
aban
donm
ent of the F
'
the
Anti-O
edius, DeIeuz
d G
'
reu
dian
do
mai:i
f
e an
uattan aIso remain
.
h'
h D probIems
deIim
ited by
Freud
·
s I929
essa

'tt �n t e
dzsco
ntents, Desire is the d

y CtVt/tzatzon
nvmg
rorce of the
society and indiv
iduaI
'
movement
both
expenences, yet desirin
.
constantIy with the re
'
g creat
ivity
has to
Í
pressive war
machine that
capit
aIistic
p aces m evety
comer of existence and the ima '
.
Th
f
gmation.
·
e concept O
desire
cannot be £attened
'
repressive° k d L
out rn a read
inµoftE
rn . n the
contraty, in Anti-
Oedi
desire is opposed to that of Iack.
The
neId
f Í
,US the concept
ticaI
phiIosophy, on wh' h

O ac
produced
(
tc
twentieth
century p Í
D `Í
mis)-fortunes: it is the
neId of d
d
o itio
ut t
L k '
epen
ency,
and not of auto::op ac ts a specinc product of the
econ
omic
regime of | , re tgioas
1 IÛ / The Sou! at Work
domination. Processes of erotic and poIiticaI subjectiva-
be founded on Iack, but on desire as creation.
this point of view, DeIeuze and Guattari Iet us undetstand
repression is nothing but a projection of desire. Desire is not the
ife
statton of a structure but has the creative power to buiId a
structures. Desire can stifen structures, transforming them
¸nbsessi··e refrains. Desire sets traps for itseIf
in the anaIyticaI frameworks deriving from FoucauIt's
and DeIeuze`s and Guattaris creationism prevaiIs a vision
as force, as the reemergence of repressed desire
the repressive sociaI subIimation: an anti-repressive, or rather
expressive vision.
The reIation between structure and desire is the turning point
Caattari's schizoanaIytic theory, Ieading him outside of Lacanian
ºre|t4isns inBuence. Desire cannot be understood through struc-
as a possibIe variant depending on invariabIe mathematicaI
Çreative desire produces inFnite structures, and among
tlem even those functioning as apparatuses of tepression.
in otder to reaIIy exit the Freudian framework, we need to
wait for BaudriIIard, whose theories Iooked dissuasive to us in
tlose years. |ean BaudriIIard draws a different Iandscape: in his
works of the earIy I970s ( The System ofObjects, The Consumer
Societ,
·
Requiem for the Media° and finaIIy Forget Foucault)
BaadriIIard maintains that desire is the driving force of capitaI`s
ceveIopment and that the ideoIogy of Iiberation corresponds to
the fuII domination of the commodity: the new imaginary dimen-
sion is not repression, but simuIation, proIiferation of simuIacra,
seduction. Expressive excess is for BaudriIIatd the essentiaI core of
an overdose of reaIity.
The Poisoned Soul / 1 77
"The real is growing like the desert [ « . »J Illusion, dreams,
madness and drugs, but also artifce and MUlUlacr'unl tf
were realiry's natural predators. They have all lost
though struck down by some dark, incurable malady.""
Baudrillard foresees the tendency that would become
the next decades: in his analysis, simulation modifies
the
between subject and object, forcing the subject to accept
tern position of the seduced. The active parry is not the
the object. Consequentially, the entire feld of problems
alienation, repression, and discontent. In his latest
years
much quoted work on disciplinary societies and sociery of
Deleuze does seem to question Foucault's notion of dHlci[lin
the different theoretical architectures descending from it:
to go in the direction that Baudrillard had followed since
1 970s. I am not interested in comparing the theory of
with the theory of desire, even if one day this COJpanson
need to be developed. I am interested in the pSJch.opath.ol
scene emerging in the years of passage from late industrial
to semio-capitalism, that is to say a form of capitalism
immaterial labor and the explosion of the Infosphere.
Overproduction is an immanent character of capitaistic
duction, since the production of goods never corresponds
logic of human beings' concrete needs, but to the abstract
the production of value. Yet in the domain of Seritcapirism
specific overproduction that occurs is a semiotic one: an
excess of signs circulating in the Infosphere. Individual and
tive attention is saturated.
With time, Baudrillard's intuition proved its relevance.
dominant pathology of the fture will not be produced by repressit
1 78 / The Soul at Work
ins
tead by the injunction to express, which will become a
ner:
ea obligation.
we deal with the present malaise afecting the frst connective
:ner
atlln, we are not in the conceptual domain described by Freud
Civiliz
tion and Its Discontents. Freud's vision places repression
o
rigin of pathology: something is hidden from us, suppressed
repressed. Something is forbidden.
Today it seems evident that seclusion is no longer at te origin
plth,l
egy, but rather hyper-vision, the excess of visibiliry accom­
the explosion of Infosphere: the excess of info-nervous
Not repression, but hyper-expressivity is the technological
anthropological context framing our understanding of
psychopathologies: ADD, dyslexia, panic. These patholo­
refer to a different way of elaborating the informational
yet they manifest themselves through pain, discomfort and
I'd like to state here-even if this may seem superfluous-that
discourse has nothing to do with the reactionary and bigoted
pretching about the bad results of permissive attitudes, and how
the repression of the good old days was both for the intel­
and for social mores.
We have seen then, how the dominant social psychopathology,
id"ntihed as neurosis and described as a consequence of repression
today needs to be described as a psychosis associated with
dimension of action and an excess of energy and information.
In his schizoanalytic work, Guattari focused on the possibiliry
ut tucmun�the relation between neurosis and psychosis, beginning
the methodological and cognitive role of schizophrenia. This
Tlr |ci<cnn¯I 'CJ' / 1 79
new defnition had a extremely powerfl political
efect,
with the explosion of the neurotic limits that
caji
"diSm
imposed on expression by forcing activity within the reFressiv,]
of labor and subjugating desire ro disciplinary forms
Bur the very schizomorphic pressure of the social m,vem'nt
the expressive explosion of the social led to a me:aro,ph.,
schizometamorphosis) of social languages, productive
fnally of capitalist exploitation.
The psychopathologies now spreading in the daily
frst generations of the connective era cannot be unCerst'o<j
from the standpoint of the repressive and disciplinary
These are not pathologies of repression, but of the just do
From a semio-pathological point of view, schizophrenia
considered an excess of semiotic flows with respect to the
ability to interpret them. Once the universe starts lUllng
fast, and too many signs ask to be interpreted, our mind
longer distinguish the lines and dots giving shape to
is when we try ro give a possible meaning through an ov"r-llncl(
process, through an exrension of the limits of meaning.
quote again, here, rhe conclusion of their last book
common, What is Philosophy?, by Deleuze and Guattari,
"We require jusr a litde order to protect us from chaos. Nothi,ng'j
is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself, than
that fy of, that disappear hardly formed, already eroded
forgetfulness. They are infinite speeds that blend into
immobility of the colorless and silent nothingness they tmer"""
without nature or thought."38
sem
iotics of schizophrenia
�se
mi,tte
regime can Ì defined as repressive because one and only
mea
ning C be attributed to each and every signifer inside it.
to
those who don't interpret properly the signs of power, who
salute the fag, who don't respect hierarchy and the law. The
regime in which we all live, we inhabitats of the semiocap­
universe, is characterized by the ecessive velocity of signifers
therefore it stimulares a sort of interpretative hyper-kinesis.
Over-inclusion, the main characteristic of schizophrenic inter­
,,<trion, becomes the dominant modality of navigation in the
vid"
o-t:ectronic media proliferating universe.
In his chapter Towards an Ecolog o/Schizophrenia, Bateson thus
schizophrenic interpretation,
" The schizophrenic exhibits weakness in three areas of such
function: (a) He has difculty in assigning the correct commu­
nicational mode to the messages he receives from other persons.
(b) He has dif culty in assigning the correct communicational
mode U those messages which he himself utters or emits non­
verbally. (c) He has difculty in assigning the correct commu­
nicational mode Uhis own thougts, sensations and percepts.))39
the video-electronic infosphere we all exist under the conditions
describe schizophrenic communication. The human receiver,
overtaed with signifing impulses and incapable of elaborating
seq,erltially the meaning of enunciations and stimuli, is afected
precisely by the three difculties that Bateson is talking abour. He
also mentions another schizophrenic attitude, that of not being able
to distinguish between metaphor and literal expression.
The Poisoned Soul / 1 81
"The peculiarity of the schizophrenic is not that
metaphors, but that he uses unlbeled metaphors.""
In the universe of digital simulation the metaphor and the
less and less distinct: the thing becomes metaphor and the
m"tarh
thing. Representation teplaces life, and life tepresentation.
fows and the circulation of goods overlap their codes,
b«;onlinl
part of that same constellation defned by Baudrillatd as
real." Therefore the schizophrenic register becomes the
interpretative code. The collective cognitive system loses its
competence, which consisted in being able to distinguish the
false value of enunciations sequentially presented to its more or
conscious attention. In the proliferating universe of fst
interpretation occurs according to spirals of associations and
nections without signification, and no longer according
sequential lines.
In an essay entitled "Learner-Based Listening and Techtlol,gi,a
Authenticity," Richard Robin, a researcher at the George Wshi'ngt,l
University, studies the effects produced in listening co>pretensiot
by an acceleration in vocal emission. Robin founds his research
the calculation of how many syllables per second are uttered by
transmitter. The more accelerated the emission, the more syl!ables
are pronounced, the least successful is the lisrening coJmrreietsitn
The faster the emission, the less time is lef for the listener's
elaboration of the message. Emission's velocity and the quantity
semiotic impulses sent in a time unit are a function of the
available to the receiver for elaborating consciously.
According to Robin:
1ÜZ / Tile Soul at Wor
"Fast delivery rates intimidate listeners [, . «J . There is evidence
that globalization has resulted in increased delivery tempos in
areas of the world where Western broadcasting styles have
replaced traditional authoritative styles. In the former Soviet
Union, for example, delivery as measured in syllables per
second has nearly doubled since the fall of communism from
three to about six syllables per second (Robin, 1991). Casual
comparisons for news broadcasts in places such as the Middle
East and China lead U similar conclusions.""
Robin's remarks have stunningly interesting implications, helping us
understand the passage from a form of authoritarian power of a
'�ersuasive" kind (as was the case of twentieth century totalitarian
regimes) to a form of biopolitical power of a "pervasive" kind (as in
contemporary Info-cracy). The frst is based on consent: citizens
need U understand well the reaSOns of their President, General,
Fahrer, Secretary or Duce. Only one source of information is autho­
rized. Dissident voices are censured.
The infocratic regime of Semiocapital founds instead its power
on overloading: accelerating semiotic fows which let sources of
information proliferate until they become the white noise of the
indistinguishable, of the irrelevant, of the unintelligible.
This is why we repeat that if in modern sociery the vastly prevalent
pathology was repression-induced neurosis, today the most widely
spread pathologies assume a psychotic, panic-driven character. The
hyer-stimulation of attention reduces me capaciry for critical
sequential interpretation, but also the time available for the emo­
tional elaboration of the other, of his or her body and voice, that
tries to be understood without ever succeeding.
The Poisoned Soul I 183
4
The Precarious Soul
Deregulation and control
Baudrillard remarks that the word liberation has been
meaning since power stopped being founded on the norm,
diSciplinary regularion of bodies and of social, linguistic
moral relations, that is to say since the world was 'UDrer!ec.1
generalized indeterminacy.
In rhe Fordist era, the fluctuations of prices, salaries, and
Were founded on the relation between the time of sOcially necessar
labor and the determination of value. Wich the introduction
micro-electronic technologies, and the consequent intell'ct,al,za
tion of productive labor, the relationships between existing units
measure and the different productive forces entered a regime
indeterminacy. The deregultion launched by Margaret 1n'' Clel
and Ronald Reagan at the beginning of the 1980s is not the
of such indeterminacy, but its political inscription. N,olibellism.
registered the end of the rule of value, and made it into an
nomic policy. The decision that Richard Nixon made in 1971
delink the dollar from gold gave American capitalism a pivotal
within the global economy, freeing it from the constitutional
1ܬ
·es"
,bl
i.h"d
in Bretton Woods in 1944. Since then, the Ametican
eccn
omy
was no longer subject to the control of economic laws (if
control ever existed), and only relied on force.
American debt could grow indefnitely, since the debtor was
stronger than the creditor. Since then, the USA has made
rest of the world pay for the ramping up of their war machine,
and
uses its war machine to threaten the rest of the world and force
it to pay. Far from being an objective science, economics revealed
itself to be a modeling of social relations, an entetprise of violent
coercion, whose task is the imposition of arbitrary tules on social
activities: competition, maximum proft, unlimited growth.
In Symbolic Exchange and Death, Baudrillard had an intuition
about the general lines of the evolution characterizing the end of the
millennium:
"The reality principle corresponded to a certain stage of the
law of value. Today the whole system is swamped by indeter­
minacy, and every reality is absorbed by the hyperreality of
the code and simulation,"l
The entire system fell inro indeterminacy, since the correspondences
between referent and sign, simulation and event, value and time
oflabor were no longer guaranteed. The decision that inaugurat­
ed the end of the dollar's convertibility inaugurated an aleatory
regime of fuctuating values. The rule of convertibility was dis­
missed according to an act of political will, while in rhose same
1970s, the entire technical and organizational system ruled by the
mechanical paradigm, started to crumble.
How is value established, then, within the aleatory regime of
fuctuating values? Through violence, swindling and lies. Brute
¯|¯C ||CCd|¦OUS cOU|/ 1 ÜÜ
force is legitimated as the only efective SOurce of law. T
he
tegime of fuctuating values coincides with the domina
tion
cism in public discourse and in the public soul.
In ordet to understand the social effects of Neoliberal
tion we have to understand the psychopathogenic efects
precariousness of social relations produces on the indivi
dual
collective soul. Beginning with the 1970s, dregulation
central role in the ideology of power, upsetting not only
the
tions between the economy and society, bur also the cO(td' inate
critical discourse. The word deregultion is false. It looks as ÎÍÍt
inated in the history of anti-systemic avant-gardes to
libertarian wind into the social sphere and hetalding t
he
every norm and constrictive rule. In realiry, the deregulatory
that accompany the victory of monetary neo-libetalism
clearing away all rules, so that only the rules of the economic
nate, uncontested. The only legitimate rule is now the strictest,
most violent, the most cynical, the most irrational of all the rules:
law of economic jungle.
In the works that Foucault devoted to the genealogy of
power formations, the key concept was discipline, understood as
modeling of the bodies in the Fordist context. In his eatIv'ri,im,,,
whete he studied the formation of the modern disciplinary
tures-mental hospitals, clinics, prisons-Foucault built a theory
modern power that included a theory of subject formation.
Now that the despotic regime of liberalist detegulation has
developed itself, the discourse Foucault developed in his early
ings needs to be updated. Foucault himself tealized it, as we can
in The Birth ofBiopolitics, the subsequently published fotm of
1979 seminar at the Colege de France. Here Foucault tetraces
186 I The Soul at Work
\".lol
transformation as an implosive insertion of the neo­
fotm
within the animated social body. In his seminar,
\n
t
<m
lorary
with the election of Margaret Thatcher in Great
and of Ronald Reagan in the USA, Foucault broadens the
of his genealogical and biopolitical perspective in order to
the economic processes that in those years were only
lee
illnirLg to take shape.
In his Course Summar, Foucault writes:
"The theme was to have been 'biopolities,' by which I meant
the attempt, starting from the eighteenth century, to ratio­
nalize the problems posed to governmental practice by
phenomena characteristic of a set of living beings fotming a
population: health, hygiene, bitthrate, life expectancy,
race . . . We know te incteasing importance of these problems
since the nineteenth century, and the political and economic
issues they have raised up to the present." 2
With the word biopolitics, Foucault introduces the idea that the
of power is the story of the living body being modeled by
deeply mutational institutions and practices, capable of introducing
behaviors and expectations and indeed permanent modifications in
the living. Biopolities represents a morphogenetic modeling of Uc
living opetated by the habitat with which it is required to interact.
Liberalism (or rather neo-liberaism, since we want to tefet to
the particularly aggressive variant of liberalism that was proposed
t
hroughout the 1 970s by the Chicago School of economics and
latet adopted by American and British governments until it fnally
became, afer 1989, the central dogma of global politics) is a polit­
ical ptogram whose purpose implies the inoculation of the
T!le Precarious Soul / 187
enterprise principle to every space of human relations.
l'rivatiza
'iol
and the fact that every fragment of the social sphere was reducedi;
the entrepreneurial model freed economic dynamics from any
be they political, social, ethical, juridical, unionist or en·ir,n
Je.nta
In prior decades, these ties were able to shore up priY
atiZtic1
thanks to the public investment policies that had been stimulated
Keynes' reforms and the workers' organized action.
But the more liberal deregulation eliminates any legal ties
production and the juridical person is freed from regulations,
more living social time is caught in linguistic, technological and
chological chains. Foucault explains that biopolitics is a process
internalization: economic chains are incorporated in the physical
linguistic sphere once sociery has been freed from any formal rule.
this sense the question of freedom today is a biopolitical problem.
Let me indulge, now, in a Mal'ist digression.
In his so-called "Unpublished Sixth Chapter" of Volume
Capital, published in the 1960s, Marx talks about the passage
formal to real subsumption by capital. Formal subsumption
based on the juridical subjugation of the laborers, on the
disciplining of the bodies. Real subsumption means instead
the workers' lifetimes have been captured by the capital fow,
the souls have been pervaded by techno-linguistic chains.
The introduction of pervasive technologies, the cOlnpurenz:,
tion of productive processes and of social communication en:ct a
molecular domination upon the collective nervous network. This
the domain of the dead object, the commodiry, which objectiJes
human activiry reducing it to a cognitive automatism. In this
we should speak of "thanato-politics" (from the Greek "than'tos,�'
meaning death): the submission of intelligent life to the dead
the domination of the dead over the living.
1 RR I Th;: �:: (I Ii :t Wmk
Neo-Liberal theories reduce the concept of freedom to its
for
mal, juridical dimension. But contemporary totalitarianism has
for
ged
chains that are different from those of political absolutism:
its
instruments of domination have moved from the domain of
politics to that of the technical production of subjectivity, from the
tealm of the juridical person to the animated body, to the soul.
Neoliberalism aimed, on one side, at the elimination of all legal
notms and social regulations that resulted in the limitation of com­
petitive dynamics. On the other side, it wanted to transform every
domain of social life (included health care, education, sexualiry,
afects, culture, etc) into an economic space where the only valid
rule is that of supply and demand within an increasingly absolute
privatization of services.
Neoliberalism eliminated the ties that protected society from
the economical dynamics of competition; therefore an effect of
biopolitical branding was produced in the collective mind-body.
"It means generalizing the 'enterprise' from within the social
body or social fabric; it means tang this social fabric and
arranging things so that it ca be broken down, subdivided,
and reduced, not according to the grain of individuals, bur
according to the grain of enterprises. The individual life must
be lodged [ . + + | within the framework of a multipliciry of
diverse enterprises connected up D and entangled with each
other [ . . . | . And fnally, the individual's life itself-with his
relationships to his private property, for example, with his
family, household, insurance, and retirement-must make
him into a sort of permanent and multiple enterprise [ . . . |.
What is the fnction of this generalization of the 'enterprise'
form? On the one hand, of course, it involves extending the
Tile Precarious Soul / 189
economic model of supply and demand and
lfiv'est
ln.
costs-profit so as to make it a model of social relations
existence itself a form of telationship of the individual
self, time, those around him, the group, and the family
The return to the enterprise is therefore at once an
policy or a policy of the economization of the entire
feld, but at the same time a policy which presents
seeks to be a kind of Vitalolitik with the function of
sating for what is cold, impassive, calculating,
rational,
mechanical in the strictly economic game of co,mFetition,
The reign of the enterprise is at once a political deregulation
and an epistemic process of a new segmentation of time,
tural expectations. In this sense it is a Vtaloltik, a politics
a biopolitics.
On a political leve!, the neoliberal victoty leads to the
what Foucault defines:
"a sort of economic tribunal that claims to assess go'etnmem
action in strictly economic and market terms,"4
Evety government choice, social initiative, form of culture,
tion, innovation, is judged according to a unique criterion:
economic competition and proftability. Evety discipline,
edge, nuance of sensibility must conform to that
Neoliberalism represents an attempt U build the homo o,mmi
an anthropological model incapable of distinguishing between
own good and economic interest.
At the origins of the liberalist vision there is a reductio
human good (ethical and aesthetic good) to economic int,rest, :
reduction of the idea of wealth to that of ownership. The idea
wea
lth is separated from the pleasure of free enjoyment and
to the accumulation of value.
leCm:lI
g precarious
the aleatory regime of fluctuant values, precariousness
the general form of social existence. Capital can buy frac­
of human time, recombining them through the digital
.pnl or'. Digitalized info-labor can be recombined in a different
locawon, far from the one that produces it. From the standpoint
capital's valorization, the flow is continuous, finding its unity in
produced object. Yet from the cognitive workers' perspective
work done has a fragmentary character: it consists in fractions
cellular time available for productive recombination. Intermit­
work cells turn on and off within the large control frame of
production. The distribution of time can thus be separated
the physical and j uridical person of the worker. Social labor
is like an ocean of value producing cells that can be grouped
recombined according to capital's needs. Precariousness has
' thanled the social composition, and the psychological, relational,
. linguisti,, expressive forms of the new generations now facing the
Precariousness is not a particular element of the social relation,
but the dark core of the capitalist production in the sphere of the
network where a flow of fragmented recombinant info-labor
circulates. Precariousness is the transformative ele­
of the whole cycle of production. Nobody is shielded from it.
1ÌcÅÜÍh of workers on permanent contracts are lowered and bro­
down; evetyone's life is threatened by an increasing instability.
The Precarious Soul / 1 91
Ever since Fordist discipline was dissolved,
themselves in a condition of apparent freedom. Nobody
forces
to endure subjection and dependency. Coercion is instead
ded in the technicalities of social relations, and contro
l is
through the voluntary yet inevitable submission to a
automatisms. In the U.S.A., the great majority of stude
nts
obtain a loan in order to pay their courses and obtain a
degree. The cost of tuition is so high that this loan becomes 3
den from which students can't free themselves for decades. Ïn
way, the conditions for a new form of dependence are pr(duce('
the lives of the new generations.
The neoliberal values presented in the 1980s and
vectors of independence and self-entrepreneurship, revealed
selves to be manifestations of a new form of slavery producing
insecurity and most of all a psychological catastrophe. The
once wandering and unpredictable, must now follow hlrcti.n�
paths in order to become compatible with the system of op<ratil
exchanges structuring the productive ensemble. The soul
and loses its tenderness and malleability. Industrial factories
the body, forcing it to leave the soul outside of the assembly line,
that the worker looked like a soulless body. The immaterial
asks instead to place our very souls at its disposal: intelligence,
bility, creativity and language. The useless body lies fabbily at
borders of the game field: to take care of it and entertain it, we
it through the commercial circuits of ftness and sex.
When we move into the sphere of info-labor, Capital no
recruits people, it buys packets of time, separated from their '
changeable and contingent bearers. De-personalized time is now
real agent of the process of valorization, and de-personalized
has no rights.
1H² /ThA Friti ¬ I\/r·|
Meanwhile, the human machine is there, pulsating and avail­
able, like a brain-sprawl in waiting. The extension of time is
meticulously cellular: cells of productive time can be mobilized in
casual and fragmentaty forms. The recombination of
tese fragments is automatically realized in the digital networks.
The mobile phone makes possible the connection between the
of semio-capital and the mobilization of the living labor of
cber-space. The ringtone of the mobile phone calls the workers U
r
econnect their abstract time to the reticular fows.
Thanks to the interconnection of its living parts, the social
system seems to get more and more similar to a biological system.
In 1993, in his book Out ofControl, Kevin Kelly talked about
vivisystems, artifcial systems functioning according to the bio­
recombining paradigm of living organisms. The general horizon
traced by this book is the Global Mind, where we fnd syntheSized
biological organisms and digital networks. The global mind is a bio­
digital super-organism connecting brains, bodies and electronic
networks. The model of the network is able to organize and direct
productive energies in the most functional way. Therefore the
model of horizontal integration tends to replace that of hierarchical
decision, and the model of recombination tends to replace that of
the accumulation of events and dialectic contradiction. Living
systems are infnitely more complex than any system rhat could
be interpreted according to the sequential model of mechanics
and of rational and voluntary action. Technology led us to pro­
duce artificial living systems. This makes the method and episteme
of modern politics, which was derived from a mechanical metaphor,
irreparably obsolete. We need to rethink politics according to the
metaphorical possibilities of a bioinformatics model.
Trie Precarious Soul / 193
This idea was largely popular in cyber-culture during the
horizontal connection of networked systems gives human
gence a superior power. Bur what is the principle that se
rictizes(
power? And who really benefts from the empowering of the
tive intelligence? In Out of Control, Kevin Kelly writes:
7very large webs penetrate the made world, we see the
glimpses of what emerges from the net-machines that be(omle .:
alive, smart, and evolve-a neo-biological civilization. There ir
a sense in which a global mind also emerges in a network
culture. The global mind is the union of computer and
nature-of telephones and human brains and more. It is a
very large complexity of indeterminate shape governed by
invisible hand of its own.'"
In Kelly's vision the obscure yet superior designs of the global
are manifested through automatic mechanisms of global inrera<tii
decision making. The multitude can speak hundreds of th(s:md
of languages, bur the language that enables it to function as an
grated whole is that of the economic automatisms embodied
technology. Seized in a game of mirrors of indeterminacy
precariousness, the multitude manifests its dark side and follo,," {
automatisms that turn its wealth into misery, its power into an,uish.
and its creativiry into dependency.
The multitude does not manifest
rather as dependence from the automatisms that biopower
and activates in everyday life, in our sensibiliry and psyche:
become a swarm. According to Eugene Thacker, a swarm is an V& _Þ · •
nization of multiple, individuated units with some relation D one: ;·.
/ ¹rr- l ¬r\! ·l
´ That is, a swarm is a particular kind of collectiviry or
phenomenon that may be dependent upon a condition of
c
otIO
e,ti>iry. A swarm is a collectiviry that is defned by relationaliry.
pertains as much to the level of the individual unit as it does
the
overall organization of the swarm. At some level "living
netork,;" and "swarms" overlap. A swarm is a whole that is more
the sum of its parts, bur it is also a heterogeneous whole. In the
the parts are not subservient to the whole-both exist
sirr
ltaneollsly and because of each other.
The effective exercise of politics (that is to say of political
presupposes a conscious possibiliry of elabotating of
te information collectively shared by the social organism. But the
information circulating within digital sociery is too much: too fast,
too intense, too thick and complex for individuals or groups to elab­
orate it consciously, critically, reasonably, with the necessary time to
make a decision. Therefore the decision is lef to automatisms, and
te social organism seems to function ever more ofen according to
eolutionary rules of an automatic kind, inscribed in the genetic
cgnitive patrimony of individuals. The swarm now tends to
become the dominant form of human action. Displacement and
direction are more and more decided by the system of collective
allto:matisms that impose themselves over the individua.
In Business ÚThe Speed ofThought, referring to the general bio­
logic form that the process of digital production is assuming, Bill
Gates writes:
`� .organization's nervous system has parallels with our
human nervous system. Every business, regardless of industry,
The PrecarioLis Soul / 1 ÜC
has 'autonomic' systems, the operational processes that
JUSt
have to go on if the company is to sutvive [ . .|. What has
.
been missing ate links between infotmation that tesemble the
intetconnected neutons in the btain [ . . . |You know you have
built an excellent digital netvous system when infotma
tion
fows through your organization as quickly and naturally $
thought in a human being and when you can use technology
to marshal and coordinate teams of people as quickly as you
can focus an individual on an issue. res business at the speed
of thought.'"
In the connected world, the retroactive loops of a general syste
nlS ;;
theory is combined with the dynamic logic of biogenetics in
post-human vision of digital production. The model of bic-int
o
'
production imagined by Gates is the interface that will allow
bodies to integrate with the digital circuit. Once it gets fully op,r."
tive, the digital nervous system can be rapidly installed on a
form of organization. Microsof deals with products and services '
only apparently. In reality, it deals with a form of cybernetic oq.nt<
zation that-once installed-structures the flows of digital
information through the nervous systems of al key institutions
contemporary life. Microsoft needs to be considered a vutu, ;.: .. .
memory that we can download, ready to be installed in the D\0~
informatics interfaces of the social organism: a cybel-Pan,pliccm
installed inside the bodily circuits of human subjectivity, a mC'- .:,;
genic factor introduced in the circuits of social communication.
Cybernetics finally becomes life or-as Gates likes to say-infor­
mation is our "vital lymph."
Biotechnologies open the way to an ulterior evolution of this
scenario, allowing us to connect individual bodies and the
196 / The Soul at Work
. body with mutagenic fluxes produced by bioengineering: medica­
tions, artificial organs, genetic mutations and functional
reprogramming. In a sense, even information technologies occupy
the mind with mutagenic flows, invading our attention, imagina­
tion and memory. Informatics and biotechnical technologies allow
bodies to connect in a continuum ruled by automatisms.,
In the disciplinary society whose epistemic and practical origins
were discussed by Michel Foucault, bodies were disciplined in a
repressive way by social and productive rules that required consensus,
submission and conscious interiorization. The law imposed by rhe
moder state over individuals had an exterior character with respect
ro the conscious human organism, represented by the citizen.
The society of control, as discussed by Deleuze, is instead
installed beginning with the wiring of bodies and minds, innerving
automatisms of a techno-linguistic kind, thanks to mutations
induced according to the fnalities inscribed in the technological
device. Refned technologies are active on a molecular level, they are
nano-factors of mutation. Therefore they create the conditions for
the control of the agent-subject through techno-linguistic automa­
tisms and techno-operations. The minds of conscious individual
organisms are connected by muragenic flows of a semiotic kind:
they transform organisms into terminals for the global mind and the
bio-digital super organism.
Darwin thought that the process of selection worked on the
extremely long times necessary to the natural evolution of the
species. In the span of one generation we cannot perceive anything
significant in this sense, and selection is manifested only in a
cumulative way, throughout many generations. Little, almost
imperceptible modifcations are cumulated throughout extremely
long temporal cycles. But is this still the case in the moder epoch?
Tile Precarious Soul / 1 97
Isn't technology a factor of incredible acceleration in the
processes that in nature were so slow, and hasn't it now
tendency to accelerate up to the point of fully manifesting
within one or two generations? Isn)t the mutation occur
ring
our eyes spreading from the technological level ldigirali2atj,on
nectivity) to the social, cultural aesthetic,
physiological one? Can't we see already in action the mUltatloI
emotional system, desiring regimes, territorial dislocations,
of attention, memorization and imagination? Aren't we
to perceive a possible psychological mutation in the
induced by biotechnology?
Therefore it is true that the environment has a deternlil
function on the choices made by human minds, yet 1¤\J\±1 H
are part of the environment. For this reason, the cOllc!usilns
liberaist theory elaborated from the premises of social
follow a pseudo-logic. It is true that biology dominates
action, but human action also determines biology. The �³* =o+¦,,
to understand which choices (episremic, technologic and
instinctual and aesthetic) a conscious human mind will
The modeling of me sou
Modern society was founded on the perspective
government over a world built on a human scale. This
ment must discipline bodies, communicational
language. Discipline as Foucault suggested already in his
ofMadness, implies the reduction of the world to reason,
at the same time irrationality is confined, segregated,
and medicalized. The development of the Fordist in<ustriall
presupposes the same disciplining process, while also
1 98 I The Soul 3IWork
The
productive relation between body and machine was
through a slow interaction which was visible, conscious
gov
ernable. The anatomical body and the capitalistic macro­
m
achlle are reciprocally modeled throughout this process. In
factory, anatomy and mechanics keep together the sys­
of productive bodies which occupy the material space of
obj
ects, transformations and displacements. In this material and
space, labor and conflict become manifest, and power is
But once the digital appears on the horizon of social life, the
central factors of social relations move from the analogical domain
.'
(of sizes, bodies, drives) to that of algorithms (relations, constants,
sim
ulations). Digitalization implies a shif at the essential level of
manipulation: social products are no longer manipulated materially,
but they are generated at a conceptual leve!. The site where produc­
tive, social and communicative series are established is isolated from
social knowledge and even visibility. On the social scene automa­
are expressed, yet the domain where they are produced is
subtracted from visibility, not only because this is a clandestine
domain (laboratories of research are subtracted from any democraric
judgment or decision), but also because everything happens within
nanotechnology.
The humanistic horizon was related to Protagoras' premise
that "man is the measure of all things." In the traditional-even in
the industrial-world, man is the measure, and the technologic uni­
verse is built upon his will and concrete capacities to manipulate.
This is no longer true once rhe technologies of the invisible spread.
. The important "things" (indeed they are generative algorithms) that
.
'
COUnt and determine the formation of social phenomena no longer
correspond to a human measure: rhe human eye can no longer
Tile Precarious Soul / 199
perceive them. Politics is weakened, since all that is
politically visible has no value, it is pure "spectacle": while
de is what we can see, generative algorithms
are
Domination therefore shifts from the domain of bodily,
cal and polirical disciplining to that of logical and pSJ
cholc",
or logical and biogenic automatisms. Not the body but
becomes the subject of techno-social domination. Capitalist
ization is supported essentially by these
automatisms, diffused and connected at a general level in
rive society, so that capitalist valorization becomes more
independent from any conscious activity and the very
of human political action.
The political extinction of the working class was not and
a consequence of any struggle between political forces, or the
of a social elimination. Workers continue to exist, but their
action is no longer effective in relarion to the dominant
that are actually producing general social effects. What
versibly changed on the scene of Semiocapital is the rei<tionsh
between the human factor (the workers) and sites of control
decision. Control is no longer exerted on a macrosocial or
ic level, as bodily constriction. Control is exerted at an invisHll,
irreversible level, a level that cannot be ruled, since it
through the creation of linguistic and operative automatisms
turing the way the technosphere functions.
Control over the body is no longer exerted by molar
nisms of constriction, but by micro machines that
incorporated into the organism through
mass communication and the predisposition of informatics
faces. That means that control over the body is exerted by
modeling of the soul.
200 / 1`CcOU|d\\O|K
lioiIl
fo
rma·ics ontolog
della
Mirandola was a humanist and philologist who, in 1486,
a text entitled Oratio de dignitate hominis. Here I am quoting
his work:
"Now the highest Father, God the master-builder, had, by the
laws of his secret wisdom, fabricated this house, this world
which we see, a vety superb temple of divinity. He had
adorned the super-celestial region with minds. He had ani­
mated the celestial globes with eternal souls; he had flled with
a diverse throng of animals rhe cast-of and residual parts of
the lower world. But, with the work fnished, the Artisan
desired that there be someone to reckon up the reason of such
a big work, to love its beauty, and to wonder at its greatness.
Accordingly, now that all things had been completed [ . . . J, He
lastly considered creating man. But there was nothing in the
archetypes from which He could mold a new sprout, nor any­
thing in His storehouse which He could bestow as a heritage
upon a new son, nor was there an empty judiciary seat where
this contemplator of the universe could sit. Everyhing was
flled up; all things had been laid out in the highest, the low­
est, and the middle orders. But it did not belong to the
paternal powet to have failed in the fnal parturition [ . » . J ; it
did not belong to wisdom, in a case of necessity, to have been
tossed back and forth through want of a plan; it did not belong
to the loving-kindness which was going to praise divine liber­
alit in othets to be forced to condemn itself. Finally, the best
of wotkmen decided that that to which nothing of its very own
could be given should be, in composite fashion, whatsoever
·|C ||CCd|¹OUS cOU| /201
had belonged individually to each and every thing.
He took up man, a work of indeterminate form;
and,
him at the midpoint of the world, He spoke to him as
(We have given to thee, Adam, no fxed seat, no form
thy very own, no gif peculiarly thine, that thou mayest
feel
thine own, have as thine own, possess as thine Own the
the form, the gifs which thou thyself shalt desire. Auuuc0
nature in other creatures is confned within the laws
``^^¹VÏ
down by Us. In conformiry with thy free judgment, in
hands I have placed thee, thou art confined by no bounds;
and thou wilt fix limits of nature for thyself. I have placed
thee at the center of the world, that from rhere thou mayest
more conveniently look around and see whatsoever is in the
world. Neither heavenly nor earthly, neither mortal nor
immortal have We made thee. Thou, like a judge appOinted for
being honorable, art the molder and maker of thyself; thou
mayest sculpt thyself into whatever shape thou dost prefer.
Thou canst grow downward into the lower natures which are
brutes. Thou canst again grow upward from thy soul's reason
into the higher natures which are divine,»8
Writing his speech on human digniry at the end of the ffeenth
tury, Pico inaugurated the modern horizon: the exercise of
power is not established by any archerype, norm or necessiry, since
Creator did not determine in any way the path that slhe needs
follow. In those same years a newly Christianized Spain eXIelled<
Muslims and Jews from its territories, and armies of Cllristiar.
Spaniards brought to the new continent a civilization of death,
mination and abuse. Access to moderiry was marked by an as,ertion"
of freedom and enterprise that was also an imposition of violence.
202 / Tile Soul at Work
Pico tells us that God had no more archerypes available and
that the human creature, the favorite one, the last and most com-
| x
could not be defined by any archetype or essence. God had
ge ,
th
erefore to leave humans their freedom to define themselves,
freely
establishing the limits of their acts and destiny. Human
bec
oming was not delimited or finalized by divine will, but was
lef to the will of human indeterminacy. Freedom is understood as
freedom from determinacy: in this sense, it is constitutive of
human essence.
Moderniry was inaugurated by this awareness: human civiliza­
tion is a project, not the development Ot the reaization of a design,
implicit in divine will or in Being. The history of moderniry played
itself out in the emptiness of Being. But in the historical manifesta­
tions of this constant overcoming of limits, moderniry reaches both
its apex and exhaustion.
The technical development of human intelligence creates the
conditions for putting under critical light the very indeterminacy
that Pico stressed as the essential and original character of the
human being. Despite the fact that human freedom had been guar­
anteed by the divine decision to let humans live with their own
indeterminacy, free to defne themselves, Technology suspends and
obliterates human freedom, building a destiny that is objectifed
and embodied in the linguistic automatism.
In his Leter on Humanism,' Heidegger already shows how
humanism is in danger: it is actually condemned by the "beyond the
human" that is implicit in the mathematization and digitalization of
knowledge, and by the automatization of life. The will to power
produced the instruments of its own end, and the end of human
freedom, that is to say the quintessentially human: since the human
is situated in a space of freedom that technology eliminates.
The r ari Soul / 203
"More essential than instituting rules is that man fnd
D his abode in the truth of Being [ . × * |. Thus lang
uage
once the house of Being and the home of human
beings.
because language is the home of the essence of man
historical mankind and human beings not be at home in
language, so that for them language becomes a mere corrtainl
for their sundry preoccupations."IO
Language is the house of Being, but at the same time
tells us that language belongs to technique: technique
ar once its privileged object and the subject that produces,
ciates, programs.
"The fundamental event of modernity is the conquest of
world as picture. From now on the word 'picture' means:
collective image of representing production [ . . + |. For the
of this battle of world views, and accordingly to its meaning,
humanity sets in motion, with respect to everything, the
unlimited process of calculation, planning, and breeding,
Science as research is the indispensable form taken by this
self-establishment in the world; it is one of the pathways
along which, with a speed unrecognized by those who are
involved, modernity races towards the fulfillment of its
essence."ll
The last words in this quote need some attention. Mer having
that modernity is the conquest and submission of the world
picture fnally reduced to an integrated form, Heidegger comes
the conclusion that this process takes place at a speed un.e<ogni2e'
by those who are involved.
ZÖ¬/Jl6 ul at ` ¯K
But
who are they? They are human beings, little by little
Aeoriv"a of the authority to rule the world, and replaced by the
aUlon
atJsrtlS which penetrate the world and redefne it. Heidegger
that human beings ("those involved") cannot recognize the
s
peed
with which modernity races towards the fulfllment of its
' essence, since this fulfllment is precisely the unawareness of human
' h"im!S, their dependency on automatisms. Humans are less and less
of the process that they themselves initiated. Thanks to their
free
dom, born from the distance between Being and existent, and
the
ontologically unprejudiced character of existence, humanity
came to the point of realizing a technical realm installed in the
empty place of Being. The empty place of Being is thus flled by the
performative power of the technosphere, and the numeric conven­
tion is transformed into an operational device.
The end of Humanism stems from the power of Humanism itself
¯rr lr=:··r¦C.:S`OOl /ZÖÜ
genesis of the present depression
collapse of the global economy Cbe read as the return of the soul.
perfect machine of Neoliberal ideology, based on the rational
of economic factors, is flling to bits because it was based on
fawed assumption that the soul C be reduced D mere rationality.
dark side of the soul-fear, anxiety, panic and depression-has
surfaced afer looming for a decade in the shadow of the
touted victory and the promised eternity of capitalism.
In this short conclusion I want to consider CO different
meanilogs of the word depression.
By this word we mean a special kind of mental sufering, but
the general shape of the global crisis that is darkening the his­
trical horizon of our time. This is nor Simple wordplay, this is not
only a metaphor, but the interweaving and interacting of psycho­
logical flows and economic processes.
In the year 2000 the American market experienced the efects of an
oerproduction in the Info-economical field. Afer the dotcom
crash, and the breakdown of big corporations like WorldCom,
Enron and so on, American capitalism changed the course of its
207
development, and the economy of virtual production gave
the war economy. Thanks to the war, the economy restarted,
cost of labor continued to fall and the growth was in fact
based
the expansion of private and public debt. The overproduction
did not go away, and finally showed up again in 2008,
subprime crisis triggered the most astounding of fnancial
cr:sh.es;;
The events of economic depression and of psychic dep
[sill
have to be understood in the same context: they are interrela
ted
only because they are feeding of each other, but also because
choanalytic theory has something to teach social thinkets,
psychotherapy may suggest very useful methods
social transformation.
Neoliberal ideology is based on the idea that an economy
conceived as a balanced system of rational expectations and
rational investments. But in the social space not all expectations
rational, and not all investments are "economic}) in a mathlenlatiica
scientifc sense. Desire is involved in the process, and the \00o0·
scious is speaking behind the curtains of every investment scene,
any act of consumption and economic exchange.
This is why the supposedly perfect balance of the market
become a catastrophic mess.
Euphoria, competition, and exuberance were all involved in
dynamics of the bull market years. Panic and depression
denied, but they were always at work. Now they are te-surfacing
distutbing the normal flow of capitalist valorization.
Semiocapitalism, the ptoduction and exchange of sericti�
matters, has always exploited the soul as both productive force
market place. But the soul is much more unptedictable than
muscular workforce which was at work in the assembly line.
208 / '!B cOU| d! \O|K
In the years of the Prozac economy the soul was happy to be
ex
ploited. But this could not last forever. "Soul troubles" frst
a
ppeared in the last year of the dotcom decade, when a techno­
apo
calypse was announced undet the name of Millennium bug. The
social imagination was so full of apocalyptic expectations that the
myth of a global techno-crash created a thrilling wave all around the
world. Nothing happened on Millennium night, but the global
psyche teetered for a moment on the brink of the abyss.
In
those days, Alan Gteenspan was talking of irrational exuberance,
in order to pinpoint the dangerous effects of emotional disturbances
in the feld of the fnancial markets. But these disturbances were not
an accident, a contingent temporary phenomenon: they were the
efect of the hyper-exploitation of our psychological energy: they
were collateral damage, the unavoidable consequence of the soul at
work. In reality, it is impossible to avoid the spreading of emo­
tionaliry, it is impossible to avoid the efects of psychopathologies
when the nervous energies of the cognitarian work force are sub­
mitted to unremitting info-stimulation.
The fear of a depression materialized in the spring of 2000,
when the virtual economy suddenly was jeopardized by the plunge
taken by the high-tech stock market. The dotcom bubble burst and
the overall economy was so deeply shocked that rumors of depres­
sion started to spread all around the world.
But how do you treat a depression?
Would you try to heal it with amphetamines, with a shock­
therapy of stimulating psychotropic medicines? Only a foolish
doctor would do this, but unfortunately such a charactet really
happened to sit in the Oval Ofce of the White House, and an
amphetamine therapy was ptescribed by George N Bush in the
\O|C|US|O|I 209
form of war and tax reductions for the wealthy. Bus
h issu
ed
invitation to go shopping, and actually facilitated an unp
t<ce,en
ed increase in private and public debt.
At rhe same time, a campaign was launched worldwide
against
lective intelligence, against freedom of research, against public
In the long run, a deptession treatment based on art:hcia
Ilv
induced euphoria will not work, and sooner or later the
Ce]r"'se
organism will collapse. The emphasis on competitive lifestyles
the permanent excitation of the nervous system prepared
the
collapse of the global economy which is now unfolding
under
eyes of an astonished mankind.
The Neoliberal ideal of an inherent balance among the Y= ••!U0
componenrs of the economic system was a flawed theory because
did not consider the systemic efects of the social mind.
the bipolar economy swung from euphoria to panic, and is
teetering on the brink of a deep depression.
Beyond our knowledge
Economists and politicians are wotried: they call it a crisis, and they
hope rhat it will evolve like the many previous crises that disrupted
the economy in the past century bur finally went away, leaving
Capitalism stronger.
I think that this time is diferent. This is not a crisis, but the
fnal collapse of a system that has lasted fve hundred years.
Look at the cutrent landscape: the big world powers are trying
to tescue the fnancial instirutions, bur rhe fnancial collapse has
already afected the industrial system: demand is falling, jobs have
been lost by the millions. In order to rescue the banks, the State is
forced to take money from tomorrow's taxpayers, and this means '
210 I The Soul at Work
that in the coming years demand is going to fall frther. Family
spe
nding is plummeting, and consequently much of the current
ind
ustrial production will have to cease.
In an article recently published by the International Herald
Tibune, the moderate-conservative David Brooks wrote:
"I worry that we are operating far beyond our economic
knowledge."
This is precisely the point: the complexity of the globa economy is
far beyond any knowledge and possible governance.
Presenting the Obama rescue plan on February 10, 2009, tbe
American Secretary of the Treasuty, Timothy Geithner, said:
"I want to be candid. This comprehensive strategy will coSt
money, involve risk and take time. We will have to adapt it as
conditions change. We will have to try things we've never tried
before. We will make mistakes. We will go through periods in
which things get worse and progress is uneven or interrupted,"
Although these words show the intellectual honesty of Geithner,
and the impressive diference of the new leading American class
compared to the Bushites, they do point toward a real breakdown in
political self-confdence.
The political and economic knowledge we have inherited from
modern rationalist philosophy is now useless, because the current
collapse is rhe effect of rhe infnite complexity of immateria pro­
duction and of the incompatibility or unfrness of the general
intellect when confronted with the framework of capitalist gover­
nance and private property.
Conclusion / 21 1
Chaos (i.e. a degree of complexity which is beyond the
aottt
½o!
human understanding) now rules the world. Chaos means a
which is too complex to be reduced to our current
[P¹aut_n\s oí
understanding. The capitalist paradigm can no longer be the
versal rule of human activity.
We should not look at the current recession only from an
nomic point of view. We must see it as an anthropologic
al lurmr,g
point that is going to change the distribution of world
reSOUirces
and of world power. The model based on growth has been
interiorized, since it pervaded daily life, perception,
needs,
consumption styles. But growth is over and will never be back,
only because people will never be able to pay for the debt
mula ted duting the past three decades, but also because
physical planetary resources are close to exhaustion and the
brain is on the verge of collapse.
Catastrophe and morphogenesis
The process underway cannot be defined as a crisis. Crisis means
destructuration and restructuration of an organism which
nonetheless able to keep its functional structure. I dont think
we will see any re-adjustment of the capitalist global structure.
have entered a major process of catastrophic morphogenesis.
capitalist paradigm, based On the connection between revenue
work performance is unable to frame (semiotically and socially)
present confguration of ilie general intellect.
In the 1930s the opportunity for a New Deal tested on
availability of physical resources and in the possibility ofincreasin,
individual demand and consumption. All that is over. The planet
running out of natural resources and the world is heading tmards.:
Z1 Z/ J|`C cOU| ol \O!K
Qenvironmental catastrophe. The present economic dOwnturn and
the fall in oil prices ate feeding the depletion and exhaustion of
planetary resources.
At the same time we cannot predict any boom in individual
consumption, at least in the Wester societies. So it is simply non­
.
sensical to expect an end to this crisis, or a new policy of fll
employment. Thete will be no full employment in the future.
The crash in the global economy is not only an effect of the
bursting of the fnancial bubble. It is also and primarily an efect of
me bursting of the work bubble. We have been working too much
during the last fve centuries, this is the simple truth. Working so much
has implied an abandonment of vital social fnctions and a com­
modification oflanguage, afections, teaching, therapy and self-cate.
Society does not need more work, more jobs, more competi­
tion. On the contrary: we need a massive reduction in work-time, a
prodigious liberation of life from the social factoty, in order to
reweave the fabric of the social relation. Ending the connection
between work and revenue will enable a huge release of energy for
social tasks that can no longer be conceived as a part of the econo­
my and should once again become forms of life.
As demand shrinks and factories close, people sufer from a lack
of money and cannot buy what is needed for everyday life. This is a
vicious circle that the economists know very well but are completely
unable to break, because it is the double bind iliat the economy is
doomed to feed. The double bind of over-production cannot be
solved by economic means, but only by an anthropological shift,
by rhe abandonment of the economic framework of income in
exchange for work. We have simultaneously an excess of value and
a shrinking of demand. A redistribution of wealth is urgendy needed.
The idea that income should be the reward for a performance is a
\OOC|USlO|/ 213
dogma we must absolutely get rid of. Every person has the
receive the amount of money that is needed for survival.
has nothing to do with this.
Wages are not a natural given, but the product
of a
cultural modeling of the social sphere: linking survival and
dination to the process of exploitation was a necessity of
growth. Now we need to allow people to release their
knowled1
intelligence, afects. This is today's wealth, not compulsive
labout. Until the majoriry of mankind is free from the conn
,ctio
between income and work, misery and war will be the norm
social relationship.
How to heal a depression?
Although they seldom, if ever, used the "D" word, Felix \uattat
and Gilles Deleuze say very interesting things on the subject in
last books, Chaosmosis, and What is philosophy? In the fnal chapter
of What is philosophy? they speak of Chaos. Chaos, in theit
has very much to do with the acceleration of the semiosphere
the thickening of the info-crust. The acceletation of the sm:ro,lUc
!S
ing world of signs, symbols and info-stimulation is pnJdllcillg IaHtC,;
as I have already said in the ptevious parts of this book. DcptC5tDH,
is the deactivation of desite afer a panicked acceleration. When
are no longer able to undetstand the fow of information stimuJar;
ing YOut brain, you tend to desert the field of comn1mtcatton,¸
disabling any intellectual and psychological response. Let's go
to a quote that we have already used:
"Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself
than ideas that fy of that disappear hardly formed, already
21 4 / Tile cOUl d! \OíK
eroded by forgetfulness or precipitated into others that we no
longer master.
~\
We should not see depression as a mere pathology, but also as a form
of knowledge. James Hillman says that depression is a condirion in
which the mind faces the knowledge of impermanence and death.
Suf
ering, imperfection, seniliry, decomposition: this is the truth
that you can see from a depressive point of view.
In the introduction to What is philosophy? Ddeuze and Guattari
speak of friendship. They suggest that friendship is the way to over­
come depression, because friendship means sharing a sense, sharing
a view and a common rhythm: a common reftain (ritournelle) in
Guattari's parlance.
In Chaosmosis Guattari speaks of the "heterogenetic compte-
hension of subjectivity" :
"Daniel Stern, in The Interpersonal World of the Infant, has
notably explored the pre-verbal subjective formations of
infants. He shows that there are not at all a matter of 'stages'
in the Fteudian sense, but of levels of subjectivation which
maintain themselves in parallel through life. He thus rejects
the overrated psychogenesis of Freudian complexes, which
have been presented as the structural 'Universals' of subjectiv­
ity. Furthermore he emphasizes the inhetently trans-subjective
character of an infant's early experiences:J2
The singularity of psychogenesis is central in Guattari's schizo­
analytic vision. This implies also the singularity of the
therapeutic process.
\O|C|US|O|I Z1 Ü
"It's not simply a matter of remodeling a patient's subjec
tivity
as it existed before a psychotic crisis-but of a ptOduction
sui
genetis . . . these complexes actually offet people diverse
possi­
bilities for recomposing their existential corporeality, to get
out of their repetitive impasses and, in a certain way to resin­
gularize themselves."3
These few lines must be read, in my opinion, not only as a
chotherapeutic manifesto but also as a political one.
The goal of schizoanalysis is not, in Guattati's wotds, to teinst
all
the universal norm in the patient's behavior, but to sin.gu.lati";
him/her, to help him/her becoming conscious of his or her
ence, to give him/her the ability to be in good stead with his
different and his actual possibilities.
When dealing wirh a depression the ptoblem is not to bring
depressed person back to normality, to reintegrate behavior in
universal standards of normal social language. The goal is to ch'llg. '
the focus of his/her depressive attention, to re-focalize, to delefito­
rialize the mind and the expressive flow. Depression is based on
hardening of one's existentia refrain, on its obsessive repetition. The
depressed person is unable to go out, to leave the repetitive nIri¤
and s/he keeps going back into the labyrinth.
The goal of the schizoanalyst is to give him/her the possibilit
of seeing other landscapes, to change focus, to open new paths
imagination.
I see a similarity between this schizoanalytic wisdom and the
Kuhnian concept of paradigmatic shift which needs to occur
scientifc knowledge is taken inside a conundrum. In The Structure :
a/Scientic Revolutions (1 962) Kuhn defnes a paradigm as "a con­
stellation of beliefs shared by a group of people." A paradigm ma
21 6 / Tile Soul at Work
th
erefore be seen as a model which gives way to the understanding
of a certain set of realities. A scientifc revolution in Kuhn's vision is
the creation of a new model which frs the changing reality better
than the previous epistemic models.
The word "episteme" in the Greek language means to stand in
front of something: the epistemic paradigm is a model that allows
us to face reality. A paradigm is a bridge which gives friends the
ability to traverse the abyss of non-being.
Overcoming depression implies some simple steps: the deterrito­
rialization of the obsessive refrain, the re-focaization and change of
the landscape of desire, but also the creation of a new constellation
of shared beliefs, the common perception of a new psychological
environment and the construction of a new model of relationship.
Deleuze and Guattari say that philosophy is the discipline that
involves creating concepts. In the same way, they argue that schizo­
analysis is the discipline that involves creating percepts and affects
through the deterritorialization of obsessive frameworks.
In the current situation, the schizoanalytic method should be
applied 2 political therapy: the Bipolar Economy is falling into a
deep depression. What happened during the frst decade of the cen­
tury can be described in psychopathologica terms, in terms of panic
and depression. Panic happens when things start swirling around
too quickly, when we can no longer grasp their meaning, their eco­
nomic value in the competitive world of capitalist exchange. Panic
happens when the speed and complexity of the surrounding flow of
information exceed the ability of the social brain to decode and pre­
dict. In this case desire withdraws its investments, and this
withdrawa gives way to depression.
Here we are, after the subprime crack and the following global
collapse.
Conclusion / 217
Now what?
The economic collapse cannot be solved with the tools
of
nomic thought, because economic conceptualization is in fact
problem and not the solution.
The strict correlation between income and labot, the
tartatic.
pursuit of growth, the dogmas of compatibility and cOlmp
etiliollS
these are the pathogenic features that our social culture must get
of, if we want to come out of our depression. In the
ncml
n.nt)
political discoutse, the overcoming of a depression means
re'ta'tirtg.'
the dynamics of growrh and consumption: this is what they
"recovery." But this will be impossible both because the colle
,thre:.
debt cannot be paid and because the planet cannot support a new
phase of capitalist expansion. The economy of growth is itself
poison. It cannot be the antidote.
Over the last ten years, the French anthropologist Serge
Latouche has been talking of dicroissance (Degrowth) as a polit­
ical goal. But now diroissance is simply a fact: when the Gross
National Product is falling everywhere, entire sections of the
industrial system are crumbling and demand is plummeting, WÇ
can say that degrowth is no longet a program for the future.
Degrowth is here.
The problem is that social culture is not ready for this, because
Our social organization is based on the idea of the interminable
expansion of consumption, and the modern soul has been shaped
by the concept of privatization and by the affects of an unending
increase in consumption.
The very notion of wealth has to be reconsidered: not only the
concept of wealth, but the perception of being rich. The identifca­
tion of wealth with purchasing power is deeply embedded in the
social psyche and affectivity. But a diferent understanding of weal
t
h
21 8 /The Sou) ol Work
is
possible, one that is not based on possession, but on enjoyment.
I'm
not thinking of an ascetic turn in the collective perception of
wealth. I think that sensual pleasure will always be the foundation
of
well-being. But what is pleasure? The disciplinary culture of
mo
dernity has equated pleasure and possessing. Economic thinking
Ìa
created scarcity and has privatized social need, in order to make
po
ssible the process of capitalist accumulation. Therein lies the
so
urce of the current depression.
The interminable process of therapy
We should not expect a swift change in the social landscape, but
rather the slow surfacing of new trends: communities will abandon
the feld of the crumbling economy; more and more individuals will
abandon their job searches and will start creating extra-economic
networks of survival.
The very perception of well being and of being rich will change
in the direction of frugaliry and freedom.
The de-privatization of services and goods will be made pos­
sible by this much-needed cultural revolution. This will not
happen in a planned and uniform manner. It will be the effect of
the withdrawal of Singular individuals and communities and of
the creation of an economy based on the sharing of common
things and services and on the liberation of time for culture, plea­
sure and affection.
The identifcation of well-being with private property is so
deeply rooted that we cannot absolutely rule out the eventuality of
a barbarization of the human environment. But the task of the
general intellect is precisely this: to escape from paranoia, to create
zones of human resistance, U experiment with autonomous forms
Conclusion / 219
of production based on high-tech/low-energy models, to
pellate the people with a language that is more therapeutic
than
political.
In the days to come, politics and therapy will be one and the
same. The people will feel hopeless and depressed and pani
cked,
because they can't deal with the post-growth economy and they
will miss our dissolving modern identity. Our cultural task will be
to attend to these people and to rake care of their trauma shOWing
them the way to pursue the happy adaptation at hand. Our task
will be the creation of social zones of human resistance, zones of
therapeutic contagion. Capitalism will not disappear from the
global landscape, but it will lose its pervasive, paradigmatic role in
our semiorization, it will become one of possible form of social
organization. Communism will never be the principle of a new
totalization, but one of the possible forms of auronomy from
capitalist rule.
In the 1 960s, Castoriadis and his friends published a magazine
whose title was: Socialsm or Barbarism.
Bur you will recall that in Rhizome, the introduction to A Thou­
sand Pateaus, Deleuze and Guattari argue that the disjunction
(or. . . or. . . or) is precisely the dominant mode of Western Meta­
physics that we are trying to forget. They oppose this disjunctive
model with a conjunctive approach:
"Arhizome has no beginning or end, bur it is always a middle,
between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is fliation,
bur the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes
the verb 'to be: but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunc­
tion, 'and . . . and . . . and . . . ' This conjunction carries enough
force to shake and uproOt the verb 'to be' [ . . . J to establish a
220 ! The Soul at Work
logic of the ^I, overthrow ontology, do away with founda­
tions, nullif endings and beginnings.'"
The process of autonomy should not be seen as Aufebung, but as
Therapy. In this sense, it is neither totalizing and nor it is intended
to destroy and abolish the past.
In a letter to his master, Sigmund Freud, the young psychoanalyst
Fliess asked when it is possible to consider a therapy to be over and
the patient be told, "you are ok." Freud answered that the psycho­
analysis has reached its goal when the person understands that
therapy is an interminable process.
Autonomy is also a process without end.
Conclusion /221
Notes
Introducton
1. The Philosophy ofEpicurus, translated by Gorge K. Strodach, Evanston: North­
western University Press (1963), pp. 128-129.
1. Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of te 19605
1. Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach in Karl Marx, (with Friederich Engels), The Ger­
man Idology, Prometheus Books: NewYotk, (1998), Q. 574.
2. Jean-Paul Sartre, ``A Plea for Intellectuals," translated by John Matthews, in
Between Existentialism and Marism, New York: Pantheon, (1974), pp. 228-231.
3. Karl Marx, The Grundrisse Edited and Translated by David Me LeHan, New
Yotk: Hatper Totchbooks, (1972), p. 143.
4. http://Y .marxists.org/archive/marx/work/ 18441 manuscripts/labour.hrm.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. HegelandtheHuman Spirit: a Transltion ofthelena Lectures on the Philosophyof
Spirit (130J÷1306; with commentary by Leo Rauch, Detroit: Wayne State Uni­
versity Press, (1983), p. 120.
8. G. · Í Hegel, The Phenomenology ofSpirit, translated by A.V Miler, Oxford
University Ptess (1977), p. 10.
223
9. Martin Jay, The Dialcical Imagination. A History
.
oj,'h, � Soo, and"
tute of Social Research 19231?J0,Toronto, Little Brown Company, (1973),
p
10. Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution. Hegel and the Rise of Social
London, New York: Oxford University Press, (1941), p. 277.
1 1 . http://W.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manusCripts
lIabour.htm.
12. Mario Tronti, Opemi e capitale, Torino: Einaudi (1973), p. 261; "The
Against Labor," RadicalAmerica, Volume 6, number 3 (May-June 1972), pp.
13. Luciano Gallina, Nota a L'uomo a una dimensione, Torino: Einaudi, (1967), 'po
262, English version by the translator.
14. Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man; Studies in the Idology of Advanced
Industrial Society, Boston: Beacon Press (1966), p. 1.
IS. Ibid. pp. 31-32.
16. Louis Althusser [and] Etienne Balibar, Reading "Capital" translated [from the
French] by Ben Brewster, London, NLB, (1 977), p. 17.
17. Ibid. p. 34.
18. Ibid. pp. 24-26.
19. Ibid. p. 34.
20. Karl Marx, The Grundrisse, op. cit., pp. 100-101.
21. Ibid., p. 104.
22. Karl Marx, Capital: a Critique of Political Economy, vol. I, translated by Ben
Fowkes, London, Penguin, (1976), p. 128.
23. Ibid. p. 166.
24. Karl Marx, The Grundrisse, op. cit. p. 693.
2S. Ibid pp. 693-694.
26. Ibid. p. 701.
224 / The ' ¦G!\ /:¬
27. Ibid. pp. 70S-706.
28. Ibid. pp. 142-143.
29. See Gregory Bateson "Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia," in Steps to an Ecol­
og of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropolog, Psychiatry, Evolution, and
Epistemolog, Chicago: University Of Chicago Press (1972).
30. Hans ]rgen Krahl, Konstitution und Klassenkampf Frankfurt: Neue Kritik,
(1971).
31. Hans Jurgen Kahl, Konstitution und Klassenkampf op. cit., p. 357, translated
by Giuseppina Mecchia, cf. Franco Berardi (Bifo), "Technology and Knowledge in
a Universe ofindetermination," SubStance, #112, Vol 36, no. 1, 2007.
32. Ibid. p, 36S.
33. Ibid. p. 36S.
34. Ibid. p. 367.
35. Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man; Studies in the Ideolog of Advanced
Industrial Society, op. cit., pp. 86-87. Marcuse is quoting (cf. footnotes 4 and
5) Stanley Gerr, "Language and Science," in Philosophy of Science, April 1942,
p. 156.
36. Ibid. p. 123.
37. Ibid. p. l S9.
38. Ibid. pp. 168-169.
2. The Soul at Work
1. Alain Ehrenberg. La ftigue d'r soi: dipression et sociii, Paris: Editions Odile
Jacob, (1998), p. 1U, English version by the transltor.
2. Ibid., p. 18, English version by the transltor.
`O!CS / 225
3. The Poisoned Soul
1. Robin, Leon, Greek Thought and the On'ins 0/the Scientifc Spirit, translated
from the new revised and corrected French edition by M. R. Dobie, NewYork:
Russell Ô Russell, (1%7), p. 1 13.
2. Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, translated by Paul
Brains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, (1995), p. 83.
3. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, What is Philsopl?Translated by Hugh Tomlinson
and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press, (1994), p. 208.
4. Unpublished in English. Selected essays fromPschanalseet transversalit!(1972)
and La revolution moUculaire (1977) have been published in Felix Guattari, Mole­
culr Revolution: Psychiatrand Politics, translated by Rosemary Sheed, NewYork:
Penguin, (1984).
5. Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, op. cit, p. 135.
6. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?, op. cit., p. 201.
7. Ibid. p. 201.
8. Ibid. pp. 213-214.
9. Ibid. p. 203.
10. Ibid. pp. 204-205.
1 1 . Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, op. cit, pp. 1 12-113.
12. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?, op. cit., p. 205.
13. Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, op. cit, pp. 10-1 1.
14. Ibid. p. 18.
15. Roland Banhes, Empireo/Signs, translated by Richard Howard, NewYork: Hill
and Wang, (1982), pp. 27-28.
16. Jean Baudrillard, TheEcstasa/Communication, translated byJohn Johnson, in
The Anti-Aesthetic, Esays in Post-Modr Culture, edited by Hal Foster, Port
/ ¯ �- - �·~ T1 !
Townsend, Wash: Bay Press, (1983), p. 126. Baudrillard refers here to his frst
book: Le Systemeds objects, Paris: Gallimard, (1%8).
17. Jean Baudrillard, The Illusion ofthe End, translated by Chris Turner, Cam­
bridge: Polity Press (1994), p. 15.
18. Jean Baudrillard, America, London�New York: Verso (1989), Q.29.
19. Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault, in Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault cFor­
get Baudri/lrd: an Interview with Sylvere Lotringer, New York, Semiotext(e),
(1987), p. 17.
20. Ibid. pp. 17-19.
21. "Run comrade, (he old world Is behind you."
22. Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault, in Jean Baudrillrd Forget Foucault cForget
Baudrillard: an interviewwith Sylvere Lotringer, op. cit., p. 25.
23. Jean Baudrillard, In the Shadwofthe SilentMajorities, or, TheEndofthe Social,
and Other Esays, translated by Paul Foss, Paul Patton and John Johnston, New
York: Semiorext(e), (1983), p. 44.
24. Jean Baudrillard, The Illusion ofthe End, op. cit., p. 17.
25. Jean BaudriHard, In the Shadowo/the SilntMajorities, or The EndoftheSocial,
and OtherEsays, op. cit., p. 46.
26. Gilles Deleuze, Eressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, translated by Martin
Joughin, New York Zone Books, (1990), p. 28.
27. Ibid. pp. 1 1 9-120.
28. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattarl, What is Philosophy?, op. cit., p. 201.
29. Jean Baudrillard, In theShadow0/theSilentMajorities, or The end ofthe Social,
and Other Esays, op. cit., pp. 60-61.
30, Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Echange and Death, translated by lain Hamilton
Gram, with an introduction by Mike Gane, London: Sage, (1993), p. 4.
31. Jean Baudrillard, The Illusion ofthe End, op. cit., p. 1.
Notes / 227
32. Ibid. p. 19.
33. Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Echange and Death, op. cit., p.69.
34. Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism and Other Essays, translated b
Chn
Turner. London, New York: Verso (2003), pp. 3-4.
Ï s
35. Sigmund Freud, Civiliztion and its Discontents translated from th G
d d'
'
e erman
an e !ted by James Strachey, New Yotk: NN Norton, (1962), p. 44,
36. Ibid. p. 60.
37. Jean Baudrillard, The Inteligence of Evil or the Lucidit Pact, translated byChris
Turner, Oxford, New York : Berg, (2005), p. 27.
38. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?, op. cit., p. 201.
39. Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology o/Mind, New York: Ballantine (1972)
p. 205.
7
40. Ibid.
41. Richard Robin, "Learner-based listening and technological authenticity" in
Language Learing cTechnolog, vol. 1 1 , nO 1, February, (2007), pp. 109-1 1s.
4. ¯hc Precarious Soul
1, Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Echange and Death, op. cit., p. 2.
2. Michel Foucault, 1926-1984, The Birth o/Biopolities: Lectures at the Colegede
France, 1973÷79, edited by Michel Senellart, translated by Graham Burchell.
Basingstoke [England], New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2008), p. 317.
3. Ibid, pp. 241-242.
4. Ibid. p. 247.
5. Kevin Kelly, Out ofcontrol: The NeBiologofMachines, Social Systems and the
Economic Worl. Addison Wesley (1994), p. 1.
6. Eugene Thacker: "Networks, Swatms, Multitudes," CTHEORY (May 2004).
Z í I ¤I\
7. Bill Gates with Collins Hemingway, Business Gthe speedofthought: usinga dig­
ital nervous sstem, New York, Ì: Warner Books, (1999), pp. 23-38.
8. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, On the Digit ofMan and Other "rks, trans�
lated by Charles Glenn Wallis, with an introduction by Paul J.W Miller,
Indianapolis: Bobbs-Metrill (1965), pp. 4-5.
9. Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism, in ld. Basic Writings from Being and
Time (1927) to The task ofthinking (1964), with general introduction and intro­
ductions to each selection by David Farrell Krell, New York: Harper Ô Row,
(1977), p. 207.
10. Ibid., pp. 238-239.
1 1. Martin Heidegger, Ofthe Beaten Track, edited and translated by Julian Young
and Kenneth Haynes, New York: Cambridge University Press (2002), p. 71.
Conclusion
1. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?, op. cit., p. 201.
2. Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis, an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, op. cit., p. 6.
3. Ibid. pp. 6-7.
4. Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plteaus. Translated by Brian Massumi.
London and New York: Conrinuum, (2004), p. 25.
Notes ! 229

Contents

Preface by Jason Smith Introduction

9

21 27 74 106 184 207 223

1. Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1960s
2. The Soul at Work

3. The Poisoned Soul 4. The Precarious Soul
Conclusion

Notes

Preface

Soul on Strike

The soul is the clinamen of the body. It is how it falls, and what makes it fall in with other bodies. The soul is its gravity. This ten­ dency for certain bodies to fall in with others is what constitutes a world. The materialist tradition represented by Epicurus and Lucretius proposed a worldless time in which bodies rain down through the plumbless void, straight down and side-by-side, until a sudden, unpredictable deviation or swerve-clinamen-leans bodies toward one another, so that they come together in a lasting way. The soul does not lie beneath the skin. It is the angle of this swerve and what then holds these bodies together. It spaces bodies, rather than hiding within them; it is among them, their consistency, the affinity they have for one another. It is what they share in com­ mon: neither a form, nor some thing, but a rhythm, a certain way of vibrating, a resonance. Frequency, tuning or tone. To speak of a soul at work is to move the center of gravity in contemporary debates about cognitive capitalism. The soul is not simply the capacity for abstraction, for the subsumption of the particular. It is an aesthetic organ as well, the exposure of thought to the contractions and dilations of space, to the quickening and lapsing of time. To say the soul is put to work is to affirm that the social brain or general intellect (to use two of Marx's phrases that �

\

9

" he and it describes how something in the collective soul has seized up. such that the passage from one moment in the circulation of capital to the next would take place at the "speed of thought. inducing a panic that concludes. It is impossible to separate the spheres of the economy and the political these days. permanent mobilization. rule by exception. passing through all of its phases in a process encountering no obstacles. a de-activation of a system of possibles that are not ours. Marx spoke of a tendency. Rather the soul as a web of . we are at times seized by our own potentiality: a potency that. thick. Depression is so widespread today. Something opens up with this extinction of the possible. its vanishing point-in his edge and a manager of symbols. suspensions of norms: governance by crisis. no Ion Depression spee and in vectors of realization. We no longer feel compelled to act. toward which it strains. opaque. The social factoty is just as much governed by the destabilizing experience of changes in rhythms. OCCut as "quickly and naturally as thought in a human being. but the affective and libidinal forces that weave together a world: attentiveness. though. a managed disorder. cited by Bifo as a contemporary formalization of this threshold. shortly thereafter. dark light shines through. precarious and permanently on-call-and equipped with the latest iPhone. The contemporary perhaps there are other names-is not simply a producer of know1a pathos and the organization of a mood. ccurs. care for and appeal to others. its subject. smothering. to be effective. washes back over us. Gates fantasizes. In each case. but pages from the Grundrisse. differences in speeds. Franco " Bifo" Berardi argues." at an infinite velocity. The world has become heavy. a limit point in the process of the valorization of capital: the impossible possi­ bility that capital might circulate "without circulation time. Our passivity almost seems like a release. attractions and inclinations. at the point zero of depressive lapse. whiplash-like reorientations imposed on a workforce that is flexible. The possible is seen for what it is: an imposition. because the con­ temporary organization of production of surplus-value is founded on the phenomenon-the accumulation-of speed. the administration of chaos. when the plexity of the flows of information overwhelm the @ the S peed o/Thought. a cycle contracting into a point. A little.have some currency in rhese debares) is nor rhe primary source of value in rhe productJ n process. in an ideal time without time-in the blinding flash of an instant without duration. Capitalism is the mobilization of Business T Soul at Work calls itself an experiment in "psychopathology. The cognitariat carries a virus. The soul is �ot simply the seat of intellectual operations. This organization of work. is mirrored in the form of governance characteristic of democratic imperialism. o attachments and tastes. Bifo argues. sum­ moning the possibility of the circulation of information that would." Such a capital would return to itself even before taking leave of itself. In well-known 1 0 / Tile Soul at Work . a field of desire. with a depressive plunge. that is. sustained as it is by appeals to urgency. subject of cognitive capitalism-Bifo speaks of the cognitariat. intransigent. No less an authority than Bill Gates restages this fan­ tasy-a limit point of capital." There is speed and there is speed. the ability to address. The social pacts and ptoductive truces of the old welfare states are gone. a point of inflexion for an impersonal affect that circulates like a rumor. With the eclipse of the possible. capacities of the "social brain)) to manage these flows. a refusal. in which just-in-time production is ovetseen by a per­ manently temporary labor force. It is not simply the phenom­ enon of speed as such that plays the pathogenic role here.

libidinal slowdown or sabotage. this unilateral withdrawal from the social pact drawn up by capital and its partners. on the basis of a collective decision that refused any economic rationality in the determination of prices. harnessing and putting to work not an abstract. The centrality of the category of worker needs in the struggles of the capital. the unions and the worker parties. It asks: how has the sphere of desire. in other words.Instability is now the order of the day. and its own forms of organization-its defection from factory discipline-to the experience of the last two decades. from sudden panics to mass depression? How. the year that the logic of antagonism and worker neea$-what Mario Tronti called the "antagonistic will" of the proletariat-gives way to a logic of desire. In the sphere of consumption. in which work has become the central locus of psychic and emotional investment. At the point of production. t1f W�. ifo hangs his story on this e refusal of work reaches a fever pitch in the Italian autonomia movement. whose affirmation as the fundamental field of the political once led to a collective abandonment of the sphere of work. a refusal that is then paradoxically put to work by capital itself. in which social productivity can no longer be accounted for in strictly economic categories. transportation and electricity. Depression starts to look less like a drying up of desire rhan a stubborn. to the situation today. its autonomy from the capitalist valorization process. The Soul at Work wants to answer this question: How did we get from the particular forms of workers' struggle in the 1960s. a demobilization. is where begins. char­ acterized by widespread "estrangement" of workers from the capitalist organization of production. from fleeing work to identifying Something happened in 1977. cognitive and affective powers . general force of labor. from disorders of attention to new forms of dyslexia. in which the logic of needs and antagonism gives way to desite and flight. It's the year when The Soul at Work really For what is at stake in its story is the aftermath of this mass defection from factory discipline. when worker power was paradoxically defined by a refusal of work. and in which the insurrectionary vectors no longer map onto the old imaginary of social war. the unique combination of psychic. in which neighborhoods and entire sections of cities uni­ laterally reduced the costs of goods and services such as housing. if painful. but the particularity. the privileged moment in the production of value? Desire braids together emotional. in which worker power was exercised in a refusal to link wage levels to productivity." The mutation represented by the events of 1977. cognitive and imaginary energies that affirmed themselves against the regime of work in the 1960s and 1970s. . a technique of government. been transformed into the privileged force in the contempo­ rary ordet of work. yet vital to the constitution of the self? In short. linguistic. have we passed from the social antagonisms of the 1960s and 1970s. mutation. Disorder. insisting the wage be treated as an "independent variable. It transforms labor-power into what managerial theories call human . The soul on strike. where work has become the core of our identity. there was the form of direct democracy known as "political" pricing. This colonization of the soul and its desire-the entty of the soul itself into the production process­ spawns paradoxical effects. in view of "saving" the Italian economy after the war. even as this new libidinal economy induces an entire range of collective pathologies. the field of the imaginary and the affective. 1960s primarily took two forms. the primary lever of antagonism was the wage struggle. no longer economically necessary.

� 1 4 I The Soul at Work Preface: Soul on Strike / 1 5 . the "genera te s a rorm 0 f work er power that threatens to destroy the bases for . ' . . ' its"cogn1t1ve" ph ase . Finally. Th ough strictly speakin the .I bring to the labor pro cess. . Placing pressure on Marx's analysis of the general intellect allowed the militants of the compositionist tradition to diagram a series of mutations in the ��� �:�:: � .0 1 to aVOl'd the misconceptions indu . as the key for dec'phenng 1 ' novel forms of po1" 1t1caI organization and action. bUt as a Certa . pro1etana n aggr . h se f classlcal oper aismo begins in the early 1960s and end Wlt t e dlssolutlOn of the g Rot e Oper aio ( ithin which Bifo militated) in 1973 the . most capable of realizing my deSltes. and M ' d " on ( . Th' . while the positing of the intellect and knowledge as a productive force implies a change within the composition of the working class. the increasing importance of the mass worker in the Fordist factory. after the hegemony of the skilled worker of earlier social compositions. 0rgantzmg Production to extort surplus-v alue. ordination alone ID1tla " tes restructuration on the part 0f capltaJ. Because thl's con temporary refor . fi ions through the inc itement of my specif ic creative l 1e l powers. identifYing emerging strata that would assume a dominant role in the immediate process of production: for exam­ ple.�:: :::: ::: capital-undergoes a mutation. novel political forms of organization and action-beyond the Leninist party and its revolutionary straregy­ adequate to this composition. encom pas n e range f tendencies represented by think ers such as Paol V. Insofar as the method of class composition is undertaken in view of seeking out novel openings in the social war-its elevation to another level of complexity and intensity-the specter of a labor process increas­ ingly founded on the production and management of knowledge initiated. On the basis of this analysis of the different strata of the working class.. This phenomenology described the changing internal composition of the various layers of the working class. the thesis on the "general intellect. using a meth 0d It calls compositionism. the axI Om asserting the primacy of work ' er s struggles in the development of capita . ced by the use of operatsmo-work er' --:-to describ ls e the specifically Italian current of Marxism . ' This response in which . Antonw Negri and M aur1Z10 L azzarato. breakthroughs. induces a recomposltlOn of the internal consistency of the working class. h e bot mh ents . in response to and ' Use of. the basis of the lntern al contradictions of capit al itself. The fi rst concept requ ires that every analys is of the changmg ' structure of capital be understood not on . = ���� : duction process reaching a moment when labor-time can no longer be posited as the measure of value. This axiom of the prior­ ity of worker refusal required. the development of a phenomenology of proletarian experience. . . the cognitari­ at) emerging as the paradigmatic form of labor. ded On three 1mb" ncated theoretical . IS term lS used by B'£. ynamlcs of capltal m " ' .: � � : � ::"%. most myself . I expen ence work as the seg ment of social life in which I am most fj ree." in which Marx sees the use of automation in the pro­ the contemPorary d . lar e eld CO l_ tlOnlSt thought rema ins very active today . in turn. l the Study of the chang' mg composition of the working class. an erosion of the classical division of labor and its cor­ responding organizational diagrams. ' ession: worker insub . lrno. and breaks Wlth. n the Grund riSSe) of the emergence of . " This tradition is foun . implies both of the preceding concepts: the move to an increasingly automated system of pro­ duction is seen as a response to worker struggles atound the working day. the organlc compositio ' n of capital-the ratio of fixed to variab le The Sou! at WOrk analyzes � . with certain sectors (in Bifo's analysis.

In a phase of capital­ ist development in which the quantity of socially necessaty labor IS so insio-nificant that it can no longer seriously be considered the a measure of value. When work becomes the site of libidinal and narcissistic investment. The enigmatic final lines of The Sou ! at Work ask us to contempla te the p ossibility of a that is. Using the thesis of the gen eral intellect as a startin g pOint to describe the dynamics of cognitive capital. " The Sou! at Work begins fro m these analytical pre mises." This call still resonates. still belongs to the order of totality. however muffled. The call-to-arms sounded by the Bolognese autonomo-punk journal Aftraverso (founded by Bifo in 1975) was "the practice of happiness is subversive when it' s collective." Politics. From there. the pro­ duction of dOCility. affective and aesthe tic textures and experi ­ ences that are deploy ed in the contempo raIY experience of wo rk. . But the post-political era opens not onto an administration of things. between managing Production and produ ction itself. What mutation s in the forms and vec tors of politics are im plied by the definitive implosion of rhe Lenin ist schema of the Par ty and the revolution­ ary destruction of the bourge ois state? In other words. Today. commun1Sm that is no longer the "principle of a new totalization. it reformats this concept to includ e the range of emotion al. Bifo suggests. And most im portantly. but an endless process of constituting poles of autonomy commu­ nicating via "therapeutic contagion. Com­ munism means the withering away of the political. but it's what we want .dynamics of contempo rary class antagonism. with the articulation of "happy singularizations" that defect therapy-­ 1 6 / The Sou! at \Vork Preface: Soul on Strike / 1 7 . and gives it anothe r name: soul. We don't know yet what it is. W hether understood as the man­ agement of social conflict through the mediation of the State and . we can add: happiness is collective only when it produces singulatities. with the proliferation of areas of autonomy and the supplanting of worke r needs with communis t desire. spinning a web of abjections and dependencies . what are the possibilities of co mmunism today. The collapse of the distinction between con ception and execution . linguistic and cognitive powers are put to work the factoty of unhappiness because the primaty function of the work the post-Fordist factory commands is not the creation of value but the fabrication of sub­ jectivities-the modeling of psychic space and the induction of psychopathologies as a technique of control. Work is a matter of discipline. but to what is here daringly called from the metropolitan factory of unhappiness. it attempts to deCIpher the possible forms of politics open ed by a new class com ­ position whose paradi gm is the cognitive wo rker. threatene d to generalize the site of conflict to SOciety as a whole. Bifo calls the contemporary organi­ zation of production in which the soul and its affective. in a POst-pOlitical moment when thedassical forms of organization and action corresponding to an earher class c omposition have withe red away? We're starting to talk about communism again these days. the political has always been wedded to the logical and metaphysical categories of totality and negation. or as the praCtIce of an Irre­ ducible antagonism. as Engels once dreamed. the ghostly afterlife of the order of work IS an entirely political necessity. the forms of juridical equivalence. The Sou! at Wo rk explains the emergen ce of the current reg ime of accumulation as a reaction to the intensifi cation of proletarian refilsal to work that began in the 1960s and reached its peakthe point of mass def ec­ tion from the factories and the wage-relation _in 1977. diminishi ng the absolute privile ge accorded the factory as the unique point of production and exploitatio n.

Today. e. composing. Labor will be attractive.g. . In a society in which work is no longer organized by a small clique which has monopolized the means of production through violence. Such pleasure will not be mete play or. is at the eally free wor "R t intense exertion" (Grundamned seriousness ' the mos the most cs). work will become seductive. a contagion reqUlreS not only creation of zones of therapeutic The we still pre­ form of the wage-in which defection from the atchaic ertaking a the time of work-but und tend to measure value with to work. Bifo concedes that it can sound "corny and banal. it can one day be"self­ realization)}� the construction and mastery of one's own conditions as of existence. . the accumulation of joy and the collec­ tive composition of a commons.that exploits rather than represses desire-we become attached and bound to our own unhappiness.Jason Smith ." But if work is for us sacrifice. p. says Marx following Fourier. g through of out attachment labot on ourselves. the site of libidinal serious practice of happmess. iOn ' are told. In the Grundrisse. we the re: is primarily aesthetic in natu is replaced by a therapy that ted from constitutes a territory subtrac composition of a refrain that rx.In a book he wrote about Felix Guattari. Psychoanalysis taught us that happiness comes at a price: a tenun­ ciation of drives. having languished in the fetid mouths of the planetary petit bourgeoisie long enough to be tainted for all time. God forbid. the making of a world the production of the self itself. The con k has become scenario Marx proJects-wor perfect inversion of the ologies and investment. sac­ rifice and suffering. turned back against us in the guise of guilt and cruel self-laceration . freedom as self-objectification. the poralities and rhythms. my itali of to come is the constitutIon task of the communism The the "individual's self­ nomy whete what Marx calls poles of auto becom shared . calls"h appy singularizations" ' reaIlzatlOn" and Bifo has produced a tempotary regime of work possibilities." but what Marx calls "damned seriousness": same time precisely king. crime and economic rea­ son. � and spreads. because it is no longer work at all but its negation and overcoming." the constructio Will of the communism to come know: the aesthetic paradigm -life. Marx admonished Adam Smith for confusing freedom with happiness and work with necessity. . a workin go on the sal of work requited that we The great epoch of the refu lf as a that the proletariat destroY·itse offensive against outselves. blank as an empty page. wage-labor as"externally forced labor. For Ma the social factory and its tem lf-is free working-happiness itse privileged example of really e n of the communist score. a and elaboration of forms-of consist in the singularization nates. Now ('composition. but produces path .Our metaphysicians held it in contempt . drisse. on rather than the damned depressi . free the space in which it reso communism whose song will . he thundered. " Happiness" is a fragile word.Hegel identified it with dumb immediaCy." to which we might add rotten. founding his moral philosophy on the premise that it is better to be worrhy of happiness than to be happy-ethics opens in the fault between the order of value and an order of affections struc­ tured by aesthetic textures and the contingencies of space and time. as labor-power. which. This is true. only from the perspective of the current regime of work. "fun. makes them that much nastier. this politicS 0f destruct class. far from banishing them. Kant was equally clear. 611.

reactive. Industrial exploitation deals with bodies. mobile. which I will call Semiocapitalism. because it would not be able to act upon or be acted upon if it were ofsuch a nature. par. language and creativity as its primary tools for the production of value. muscles and arms. What the body can do. The rise of post-Fordist modes of production. as Spinoza said. intelligent.Introduction "Those who maintain that the soul is incorporeal are talking nonsense. Letter to Herodotus. In the sphere of digital 21 . but in actuality both thesejUnc­ tions are clearly distinguishable in the case ofthe soul. " . Foucault tells the story of moder­ nity as a disciplining of the body. that is its soul. takes the mind. It is rather the vital breath that converts biological matter into an animated body.Epicurus. In order to describe the processes of subjection arising with the formation of industrial societies. building the institutions and devices capable of subduing the body thtough the machines of social production. I want to discuss the soul in a materialistic way. Those bodies would not have any value if they weren't animated. 67' The soul I intend to discuss does not have much to do with the spirit.

the concept of "alienation" refers specifi cally to the rela­ . In the Hegelian-Marxist traditi on of the 20th Century. In the context of French Post-Structuralism. multiply. attributes a pivotal role to the notion of alienation. In Marx. Alienation is then considered not as the loss of human authenticity. we have to shift the focus of theoretical attenti on towards �� � other. Young Marx.They are the soul of Semioc apital. (Entausserung) refers to the self becoming and activity. destroy. tion eXIstI g betwee corporeality and human essenc e. while in the materialist vision of Italian Workerism (Operais o). their essence as humans. If today we want to continue the genealogical work of Michel Foucault. the second term refers to the con­ frontation between the consciousness and the scene of exteriority. a similar over­ turning of the traditional vision of clinical alienation was finding its way: schizophrenia. exploitation is exerted essentially on the semiotic flux It is in this sense that we speak of immaterial production. the automatisms of mental reactivity. alienation (Entausserung) and estrangement (Entfi'emdung) are two terms that define the same process from twO different standpoints. In Marx's parlance. but as estrangement from capitalistic interest. They are nothing. considered by psychiatry only as the sepa­ ration and loss of self-consciousness. Despite the fact that the term "soul" is never used in the language of that hlstoncal period. is rethought by Felix Guattari in totally new terms. but rather a form of con­ sciousness that is multiple. alienation is defined as the relationship between "! � � 22 / The Soul at Work Introduction / 23 . the concept of alienation signifies the split between life and labor. produced by human time at work. and to the creation of an autonomous consciousness based on the refusal of its own dependence on work. the split between the workers' physical activity and their It� humanity. and yet they are matenal. proliferating and nomadic. trying to reestablish its vitality with respect to the languages of post-structuralism. In the Hegeli an vision thiS Issue is defined by the rel atlOnshlp between h ' ' uman essence dIsplace. but instead as the active subject of a refusal capable of building a community starting out from its estrangement ftom the interests of capitalistic society. I want to use it-metapho rically and even a bit i onicaIlY-in order to rethink the core of many ques­ . In this book I will examine anew the Marxist language which was domInant rn the 1960s.production. to the historical and mundane separation existing between the Berng and the existent. and therefore towards the new forms of alienation and precarious­ ness of the mental work occurring in the Net. Italian Workerist thought overturned the vision of Marxism that was dominant in those years: the working class is no longer conceived as a passive object of alienation. Lan­ guage and money are not at all metaphors. Schizophrenia is not the passive effect of a scission of consciousness. as in Hegel before. tI n refemng to the issue of alienation. that is to say as the reification of both body and soul. The first one defines the sense of loss felt by consciousness when faced with an object in the context of capital's domination. language and imagination. the author of the J844 Manuscripts who was the main reference for the radical philoso­ phy of the 1960s. and yet can do everything: they move. human time and capitalist value. and therefore as a necessary condition for the construction-in a space estranged from and hostile to labor relations-of an ulti­ mately human relationship. For Hegel the word alrenatlon . schizoanalysis and cyberculture.

I will ism that is the Global Econo y. industrial labor was seen ftom the point of view of alienation. Out desiring energy is trapped in the trick of self-enter­ prise. In the first part of the book I want to describe the relationship between philosophy and theories of labor in the '60s. effects of the biopolitical comment on the current collapse of the In the concl usion. our libidinal investments are regulated according to economic fules. outline the effects of the ourth part of the book I will try to In the f labor-especially of cognitive labor-and the '. Putting the soul to work: this is the new form of alienation. integrated psycho-machinic organ omy following the recent finanCIal The collapse of the Global Econ a new era of autonomy and emanci­ crack could be the opening of pation for the soul.In this book I want to compare the conceptual framework of the '60s based' on the Hegelian concepts of Alienation and Totalization to the conceptual framework of our present. our attention is captured in the precariousness of virtual networks: evety fragment of mental activity must be ttans­ formed into capital. in order to underscore their differences but also their complementarity. ' precanzatlon of . In the wave of a Hegelian Renaissance and the constitution of Critical Theory. In the third part I will retrace the evolution of several radical theo­ ries. � . which is based on the concepts of biopolitics and of psychopathologies of desire. subjugation of language and affecnons. I will also compare the philosophy of Desire (Deleuze and Guattari) with the philosophy of Simulation (Baudrillard). and the consequent enslave­ ment of the soul. I will describe the channeling of Desire in the process of valorization and the psychopathological implications of the subjugation of the soul to work processes. from the idealistic concept of Alienation to the analytical concept of psychopathology. In the second part of the book I will account for the progressive mentalization of working processes. and the rebellion of industrial workers against exploitation was seen as the beginning of a ptocess of disalienation.

while in Shanghai there were rallies of solidarity with the Parisian students. From this perspective. such as structuralism. 27 . we can see great masses of people all over the world-workers and students-fighting against both the capitalist moloch and the authoritarianism of the socialist world. phenomenology and neo-Hegelianism-and the great international explosion of 1 968 can be read as the point of arrival for a theoretical work that had been developing on many conceptual levels. In Prague students were fight­ ing against Soviet authoritarianism.Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1960s W orkers and students united in their fight In the 1960s Marxism was a pole of attraction for different schools of thought. with a synchronicity previously unheard of in human history. while in Milan the enemy was the capitalist state-but the positive meaning emerging from the different movements was the same everywhere. At Berkeley you would mobilize for Vietnam. In the year 1968. internationalism was present in the consciousness of its agents. as the crossing of different projects. the 1968 movements were the first phe­ nomenon of conscious globalization. First of all.

9 . The theoretical problems. labor had a mass depersonalized character: it is in these sectors that the refusal of work exploded more significantly. The ideological and political forms of the left wing. In the mid 1 970s the entire European car production cycle was stormed by waves of workers' fights. Labor and Alienation in the ohilosoohv of the 19608 /::. It was an alliance between mass intellectual labor and the workers' refusal of industrial labor.The meaning of those movements was the emergence of a new historical alliance. Workers and students: this binomial marks a new quality in the composition of general social labor and implies the articula­ tion of a new kind of innovative potentialiry with respect to 20th-century history. legacy of the 20th Century. the beginning of a process leading to the disembodiment of the modern Nation-State. "Workers and students united in their fight" is perhaps the most significant slogan of the so-called "Italian Red Biennium. Despite being deeply rooted in the history of the twentieth century. as for instance in the car production cycle. the industrial working class showed a growing estrangement towards the organization of labor. technical and scientific labor is a sign of the decade: the political power of the 1 968 movements derives from the students having become mass: they had become a part of the general social labot force characterized by a strong homogeneity at a world level. meetings. the sociological imagination and the philosophical critique articulated during those years are directly implied in the social and cultural developments of the students' movement-of its cultural and productive convergence with the movement based on the refusal of industrial labor. 1 968 marks the beginning of the e'fit from industrial societies. The modern intellectual Today the word "intellectual" has lost much of the meaning it had throughout the twentieth century. the automation of entire productive cycles and the subjugation of mental activity. The technical restructuration implied the substitution of human labor with machines. They were the sign of the organic integration of labor and intelligence. but also ethics and politics. when around this word coa­ lesced not only issues of social knowledge." In 1 968 and 1 969 these words were shouted in thousands of rallies. they meant the conscious constitution of the general intellect that Marx had discussed in his Grundrisse. In the second half of the twentieth century intellectual labor completely changed its nature. strikes and demonstrations: they were much more than a political and ideological alliance or a superficial form of solidarity. having been progressively absorbed into the domain of economic production. the parceled intellectual labor was subjected to the value production cycle. In some productive secrors. despite being ideologically animated by different schools of thought embedded in the twentieth century. until a techno­ logical reorganization aimed at the reassertion of capitalist rule defeated the worker's power. In those same 1960s. sabotage and absenteeism. have become inefficient in this new context. Once digital technologies made the connection of individual fragments of cogni­ tive labor possible. until this estrangement became open insubordination and organized revolt. Italian neo-Marxism. The emergence of intellectual." is a school of thought focused on the relation between working class struggles and intellectual and technological transformations. often denominated "Workerism.

slhe identifies with the party which is the ultimate collec­ tive intellectual. beginning with Lenin. 30 / The Soul at Work f ttl. the intellectual emerges as a figure independent from social experience. specifically in Communist revolutionary thought. in the interest of the working class. The role attributed to intellectuals by the Enlightenment was to establish and guarantee-by the exercise of rationality-the respect for human rights. to the Hegelian development of self­ consciousness. or rather escapes from such a notion. being a free spirit.In the context of the past bourgeois society. who exchanges signs in order to have access to universal ratio­ nality. On the other hand. equality and the universality of law. of a people. invention and convention. the intellectual was not defined by hislher social condition. intellectuals are closest to the pure becoming of the Spirit. the enlightened intellectual can be considered as the social determination of Kant's "I think. the workers. Only insofar as slhe takes part in the fight towards the abolition of classes and wage-earning labor does the intellectual in fact become the agent of a universal mission."! Marxist intellectuals conceive themselves as instruments of a histori­ cal process aimed at producing a society without classes. or at least not socially influenced in the ethical and cognitive choices slhe makes. they have no specific interest to support. the point. but as representative of a system of universal values. destined to descend from the history of thought to the history of social classes. In this sense the figure of the intellectual is in opposition to the Romantic notion of the people. Democracy cannot stem from any cultural roor or belonging. rather than an assertion of belonging. The modern figure of the intellectual finds philosophical justi­ fication in Kant's thoughr. which embodies and transmits the philosophical heritage. can only move from a purely economic phase (Hegel's self-consciousness of the social being) to the con­ scious political phase (self-consciousness per se) through the political structure of the party. referring to the role that knowledge must have in the historical process. For Lenin. of a tradition: it has to be a groundless play. As the bearer of a universal human rationality. The role of intellectuals is crucial in 20th-Century political philosophy. They can become agents and organizers of a revolutionary consciousness stemming ftom philo­ sophical thought. is indeed an escape from historicity and the territoriali­ ty of culture. from opportu­ nities of access and citizenship f every person as semiotic agent and or subject. In the eleventh of his Theses on F euerbach. In this sense. the expression of a universally human rationality. In this sense slhe is the guarantor of democracy. is not the agent of a social interest but serves the emerging interest. is to change it. The Communist project makes theory a material power and knowledge an instrument to change the world. H:J . The intellectual. intellectuals are not a social class." The intellectual is the guarantor of a thought freed from any boundaries. Within that context. in the sphere of modern Enlightenment. however. Marx wrote: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. from which the modern adventure of democracy was born. Universal Thought. Democracy cannot have the mark of a culture. despite being the agents of a social interest. In his book What is to Be Done? Lenin attributes the task of leading the historic process to the intellectuals. Both historical and dialectical materialism assert a completely different vision: the intellectual becomes the agent of a specific historic message. but only f rom a boundless horizon of possibilities and choices.

but a maSS social subject. they become intellectuals [ . J . ." since its essential theoretical . But once intellectual labor becomes a directly productive f nction. the role of intellectuals has been redefined: they are no longer a class inde­ pendent from production. I would prefer to define this school of thought as "compositionism. Sergio Bologna). the machine of imaginative production. and poets workers applied to advertising. the scientists working on atomic scission in order to perfect the techniques of atomic warfate should nOt be called 'intel­ lectuals': they afe scientists and nothing more. nor free individuals assuming the task of a purely ethical and freely cognitive choice. even if only a tiny part of the movement was aware of it. despite the fact that Gramsci still thinks of a figure linked to the humanistic intellectual. without being socially destined to this engageuniversal causes ment ."2 1960s is analyzed in an original way by the so-called Italian Workerism (Mario Tronti. but evaluating their use is another [ . But if these same scientists. They stray . but in the name of a highly controversial system of values that sees human life as its supreme standard. J . Intellectual labor becomes a part of the autonomous process of the capital. "The intellectual is someone who meddles in what is not his business and claims to question both received truths and the accepted behaviour inspired by them. the meditation on intellectuals becomes more specific and concrete." in order to understand the social subjectivity corresponding to the massification of intellectual competences in an advanced industrial society. estranged from any dynamic of production. outside their field of competence-constructing bombs is one thing. terrified by the destructive power of the devices they have helped to create. because its function becomes heavily incorporated in the techno­ logical process of production. Only in the second half of the 20th cen­ tury does the figure of the intellectual start changing its nature. the rise of the student movements was the sign of this change within the social scene on which the new figure of the intellectual was emerging. Raniero Panzieri. The Italian "Workerist" petspective As we have said. there is no universal function intellectual is slhe who chooses to engage in favor of For Sartre the . In the 1960s. In Same's work. the change of perspective maturing by the end of the not protest against the use of the bomb on the grounds of any technical defects it may have. the notion of the intellectual is still bound to the perspective of consciousness. the techni­ cal and scientific transformation of production. I would suggest that . Romano Alquati.With Gramsci. Paolo Virno writes of "mass intellectuality. In 1968 the shift in the problem was implicit. . in the name of a global conception of man and of society [ . which is extremely important f the forma­ or tion of the cultural atmosphere leading to 1968. once scientists become workers applied to the machine of u to be fulfilled anymore. tending to become an integral part of the general process of production. Toni Negri. J . They do . . rather rhan to a productive and social perspective: cognitive production. As a consequence of mass access to education and. join f orces and sign a manifesto alerting public opinion to the dangers of the atomic bomb.

it becomes the creation of technical and linguistic interfaces ensuring the fluidity both of the productive process and of social communication. The third tendency discovered and emphasized the importance of Grundrisse. but also as immediate organs of social practice. The development of fixed capi­ tal indicates to what degree general social knowledge has become a direct force ofproduction. while nowadays what is important als' attachment to social sphere. At the end of the 20th century. that we might want to call "cog­ the creation of a new social subjectivity of the "general intellect. we could find three tendencies within the field of Marxist thought: The first emphasized the young Marx's thought. no locomotives. They are organs of the human brain. The second focused mainly on Capital. the Marxist-Leninist tradition ignored the concept of In the 1960s. These are products of human industry: natural material transformed into organs of the human will over nature. thanks to digital technologies and the constitution of a global telematic network. objectified." representing the is If we want to define the crux of today's mutations. and to what degree. of the rcal life process. since it is based on the intellectu­ also losing its concr is an ideology. and the issue of subjectivity: it underlined its continuity with Hegel. railways." Marx had written of general intellect in a passage of his Grundrisse known as the "Fragment on the machines": as "general intellect. ). and on Marx's work after his epistemological rupture with Hegelianism: this tendency can be linked to structuralism. created by the human hand: the power of knowledge. therefore conceiving the intellectual function as exteri­ ority and as a political direction determined within the purely spiritual domain of philosophy. in the first part of the twen­ tieth century. Karl Marx's early works were published and distributed by the institutions assigned to their scholastic and dogmatic conservation the social function of cognitive labor. Subjectivity and alienation general intellect.. Compositionism redefines the Leninist notion of the party as collective intellectual. Grarnsci's notion of ete reference. his humanistic vocation. specifically with his The Phenomenology ofSpirit. therefore the concept of composition and general intellect.'" At the time of the communist revolutions." nitariat. self-acting mules etc. not only in the form of knowledge.contribution consists in the reformulation of the issue of political organization in terms of sodal composition. we must focus on "Nature builds no machines. Intellectual labor is no longer a social function separated from general labor. while maintaining conceptual links with phenomenology.. or of human participation in nature [ . but it becomes a transversal function within the entire social process. the general social of production the general intellect emerged as a central productive . electric telegraphs. the con­ ditions of the process of social life itself have come under the control of the general intellect and been transformed in accor­ dance with it. hence. T what degree the powers of social production o have been produced. leaving behind the very notion of the intel­ lectual while proposing a new reading of the Marxist notion of "general intellect. Bur during the post-industrial transformation force." and the Leninist idea of the rocess is redefined the organic intellectual Parry is forever put aside.

we can sta rt rereading Marx's early work. objective world becomes which he brings into being over against himself. Same had led a critical bat tle against dogmatism and determ inism within Marxist stu dies. the more powerful the alien. of capital. more generally. the human investment of their time and energies. the more his production increases in power and extent. The concept of alienation derives from Marx's ongoing medi­ tation on the religion question and on the thought of Ludwig Feuerbach: "It is the same in religion. led to the emerg ence of the issue of subjec tivity and of the specifically human Within the historical process. the more the worker exertS himself in his work. For it is clear that. Even within the Hegel ian dialectical field the re had been instances in favor of a rev aluation of subjectivity. The atmosphere created in 195 6 by the twentieth Congress of CPUS opened the way to a revaluation of the curren ts of critical Marxism. but now it nO longer belongs to him. radical Hegelian ism. the less he retains within himself. becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more com­ . The more man puts into God.'" Marx's attention is focused on the anthropological consequences of working conditions within the structure of capitalistic production. This work was considere d a scandal. and so-called humanis tic Marxism. and the less is left for oneself. Let's try to understand the meaning of this word: WOfker � 'n grows 1 d. and the less they belong to him. The as to an alien object. The worker places his life in the object. workers have to renOunce their humanity.(mainly by the Institute for Marxism-Leninism) very late . he produces . but to the object [ . . J The worker is related to the product oflabour . In order to survive. so relevant during the 196 0s in Ma rxist studies and. J. in the field of critical culture. The 36 I TrlB Sou) at Work . In order to understand the progressive emergence of the theme of subjectivity. . At the center of young Marx's thought-and sig nificantly at the center also of the pol itical and philosophical problems of the 1960s-is the notion of alienation. according to this premise. as the revela tion of another Marx.. different fro m the severe author of Capit al. . then throug h the srudies of the Frankfurt School and finally with the Hegel Ren aissance of the 1 960s. The devaluation of the human world rnodmes "The worker becomes poorer the more wealth he produces. Economic aterialism was dilured by a consideration of the wo rkers' subjec­ tlVlty that was absent fro m the geometric Structu re of Marx's major works. Marx's Manuscripts of 1844 were published only in 195 7. Th e new interest in Hegel's thought. published by Dietz V erlag in Berlin. opening the way to a humanistic for mulation and a revaluatio n of subjectivity against dialectic reduction ism.'rect proportion to the increase in value of the world of things. [ . Bur Sartre's philosoph ical point of departure Was a radically anti-Hegelian existentialis m. the less is he himself. Therefore. the greater this product. the poorer he and his inner world become. Beginning in the 1 950s. first in the 192 0s. What the product of his labour is. the more slhe reinforces the power of the enemy. in Karl Mal'J( and Friedrich Engels' We rke. he is not. What happens to the human being trapped in a wage-earning pro­ ductive relation? This is what essentially happens: the more the wage earner's energy is invested in productive activity. in order to receive a wage.

of pleasute."6 entirely The ideological vice of the young Marx's formulation resides negation in this presupposition of a generic human essence whose ions of would be represented by the concrete history of the condit find its the working classes. created conditions of wealth for consumers. equals humanism. and begins to confront him as an autonomous power. But where does this presupposition ? Here basis. and it knows itsdf to be this solution. and kept rhe promise of a more satisfactory economic life for all. it is the genuine resolution of the conflict this work in rhe 1 960s was accompanied by the large diffusi on of the critical thought of the Frankfurt School and of a human ism of idealist derivation. and Marx's language reveals its conceptual continuity with Hegel' its persistence within the idealistic problematic.. authorizing a Hegelian reading of the entire discourse. But the satisfaction of economic needs was accompanied by a progressive the between man' and nature and between man and man. if not in rhe idealisric hypostasis of human essence s. the In order to better understand the idealistic function of ery concept of alienation. between the individual and the species. and as fully developed human equals naturalism. Communism is the riddle of history solved. by the workers' of man to "Communism therefore as the complete return accomplished himself as a social (i. human) being-a return previous conscio usly and embracing the entire wealth of ped natural­ development.IS represented whose «alienation. and the connected idealistic machin d of revolving around the notion of a generic human essence-an very the historic subjectivity-we need to refer to Hegel's work. suspended. externalisation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object. of time for oneself. the more the life of the worker becomes misera ble. In the social situation of the I 960s. The conceptual scheme of alienation is idealist in so far as it presupposes human authenticity. an external existence. In other terms: the communist revolutionary process is conceiv ed as The thematic scenery we can perceive behind the Manuscripts of 1844 is that of Hegelian idealism. .that the life which he has bestowed on the object confronts him as hostile and alien. Millions of people were experiencing this in their life: the more powerful the econom ic machine. Therefore communism is though t by the young Marx as the restoration of an authentically human essence that was negated by the relation of capital ist production. to dynamic of the Hegelian language: 38 / The Soul at Work 9608 / 39 Lat)or and Alienation in the pt)ilosophy of the 1 .e. taken away. but ary '0 n of an original identity whose perversion. obliteratlonpresent condition.'" that it exists outside him. with the full development of industrial societies. the discove ry of loss of life. This awareness spread largely in those years and Marx's early works were able to interpret it. negated. between f dom and necessity. an essence that has been lost. true resolution of the strife between existence and essence ree­ between objectification and self-confirmation. as fully develo ism ism. mature capitalism produced goods in growin g quantities. And indeed. This communism. tempor the restoratl ) ) in other wordS-. The concept of alienation defines this the­ matic field and it came to Marx from the Hegelian concep tual context. independently of him and alien to him.

"s out to its end. or is the mediation of its self-othering with itself This Substance is. it is such that it becomes an abstract labor.. The needs are many. yet [it is] a self-propelling process of f ormation (Bilden). as being [seyena']. i. the circle that presupposes own becoming being worked as its beginning. Referring fro m different points of vie Jean Paul Same. In Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit we read: "Further. This way of thinking absorbs the entire (concrete. Same's and crit hu manistic the sam e terrain: the cally different-exist on .e. ferent inflection-of the w. . This theological contradictions of the history of the ut consequences in the munism is not witho . or. it is con­ sciousness making itself into a thing. historical) dialectic of labor and of capiralisric expropriation wirhin the ideal­ isric dialectic of subject and substance. Ot . what is the same. In the element of being as such. in his Despite his critique of ian conceptual system. the context of this idealistic cuse. is an abstraction of universal models (Bilder). however."7 Ma nuscripts of idealist philosophy."Over against the I as absttact being-for-itself. the living Subsrance is being which is in truth Sub­ ject. as form. But in the element of universality. and especially in Existentialists' reflection. whose fou The great success known o and Mar­ hors like Horkheimer. is [ Verarbeiten] of things is itself manysided. as Subject. and only by ing its end also hav it actual. their universal inner possibility posited [expressed] as Outer possibility. The incorporation of their multiplicity in the 1. can be understood in thought of at the core of the critical The issue of alienation is pletely dif­ also--although with a com the Frankfurt School. is in truth actual only in so far as it is the movement of positing itself. labor. J. workers) movements and ontology Alienation between history ndations can by critical theory. as if the eschatological character and lized outside the enting the truth to be rea radical beyond repres vision of com­ existing. The I relates itself negatively to it (its inorganic nature]. immediate uni its end as its goal. although ntialism and t examples within existe to the twO most significan ugh radi­ Marcuse's standpoints-tho ical thought. there stands likewise its inorganic nature. the existence and range of natural needs is a multitude of needs. and to the dialectic of being-for-itself and of being-for-the­ other. Only this self-resroring sameness. typically Hegelian language) to the becoming of the Mind. pure simple negativity [ . . The things serving ro satisfy those needs are worked up [verarbeitet]. This processing lf-not an original or in otherness within itse this reflection It is the process of its ty as such-is the True. Examining of liberation from capitalism oundations for the process f heart of the will allow us to get to the these divergent positions The alienated character of labor is linked here explicitly (even if in a very obscure. still trapped in the Hegel 1844 Marx is as "resolution of the to think of communism when he proposes endent ence/) attributing a transc between existence and ess strife re were a to communism. and annuls it as the unity of both-but in such a way that the I first shapes that abstract being-for-itself as its Self. sees its Own f orm [in it] and thus consumes itself as well. Adorn be found in the pages of aut renaissance. 40 I The Soul at Won< 1 960s I 4 1 the philosophy of the Labor and Alienation in .

since otherness (cond ition of the social relation) and reification (condition of the productive relation) both imply a loss of self. As a result. was monstrous [ . Hegel. or an-sieh). f the f development of his potentialities. While Marcuse considets alienation as a historical form that could be ovetcome historically. of uneasiness. The others are the hell of alienation. By locating freedom in the or gist f the status quo. The first is a material and precise issue. and the f that it becomes the property of another bespeaks an expropriation that touches the very essence of orm is a medium f man's true self­ or man. the entire project of an one. Despite his avowed revolutionary intentions.J .matter that is important for us: the vitality of the philosophical notion of alienation and its exhaustion during the historical and political battles of the 1960s . In Reason and Revolution. essentialist issue. Alienation is consid ered by the exis­ tentialist formulations as an unavoidable and const itutive element of the human condition. heteronomous world. he fell back into an idealistic internalization of freedom as some­ thing opposed to the outside. declares Existentiali sm. which is the constitutive form of the social relation and human condition. L�enfer c'est les autres (Hell is other people). Sartre wantS to ground anthro­ pologically the historic condition itself: he locates history's anthtopological roots in scatcity and alterity. independently from the social con­ dition we are living in. To an a priori idea of essence 'existentialist' philosophy without 'bl was impOSSl e. in his book on the Frankfurt Schoo l entitled The Dialectical Imagination. his politics and his philosophy were totally at odds. . even if it was a homble 1 SarrIe d'd that men chose Marcuse.".t Work Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1 960s / 43 . Labor in its true f fulfillment."" or ull Here Marcuse links two vety different topics as if they were the same one: the development of potentialities (concretely detetmined in the social and technical histoty of the conflict between workers and capital) and human self-tealization. and the Frankfurt School. In the social relation. Moreover. alienation is nothing other than the intrinsic modality of a1terity. but constitutes instea d a historically determined form . . one of Herbert Marcuse's most important textS. On this matter. Marrin Jay wrote: "To Marcuse. pour-soi could become en-soi (being-in-itself. Critique ofDialectical Reason. by overemphasizing the freedom of the subject and ignoring the constraints produced by historical condition. according to what Sattre maintains in his instead a quintessentially idealistic. Same had 42 I The Soul 2. we read: rom his product is at the same time "The worker alienated f alienated f rom himself. . is implicit a certain form of alienation. Sarrre had erroneously made absurdity into an ontological rather than a historical condition. in the presence of other­ ness. while the second IS On the conttary. Arguing as become an unwitting apolo their fate. Same severed subjectivity from objectivity in a way that denied reconciliation even as a utopian possibility. Marx. and therefore it is possi ble to overcome it historically. share the belief that alienation is not ontologica lly identified with otherness and reification. His labor itself becomes no longer his act own. on the other hand.

the dialectic materialist dogmatism of orthodox Marxism-Leninism. labout in which man alienates himself. even if in complete agreement with the cri­ tique of the Stalinist diamat. of calling it into being as a positivity. Sartte maintains. therefore. Lahar is no longer considered to be the natural condition of human sociality. Scarcity. waiting for a synthesis capable of reestablishing it. It is precisely thanks to the radical inhumanity of the Labor is an activity estranged from the existence of the workers that is imposed on evetyday life by the construction of disciplinary structures created over the course of the entire histoty of modern "It [labour] is. This is why he does not conceive the idea of an overcoming. of an exit from the anthropological dimensions of scarcity and alterity. does not anticipate any restoration of humanity. Compositionism. as I prefer to call it. lost in the historical process. Just as in religion the sponta­ neous activity of the human imagination. A critique of "laborism" was already present in Marx's early writings: The philosophical style of ltalian Workerism-or. dialectical and historicist dogmatism. the loss of human essence in historical existence. the word "estrangement" replaces the word ('alienation " which ' inevitably alludes to a previous human essence. refusal. the human brain. of mortification. Compositionism-beginning with Panzieri and Tronti's works. According to the humanistic vision. a com­ of the workers from their labor. and the human heart. it is shunned like the plague. but a specific historical Estrangement e s v r us alienation condition that needs to undergo a political critique. so the belongs to another. and then in Potere operaio (Worker Power). freeing itself from both the neo-Hegelian and Frankfurt School's vision and its existentialist Sartrian version. and bases its understanding of humanity on class conflict. detaches itself from the individual and reappears as the alien activity of a god or of a devil. It is indeed the estrangement 44 / The Soul Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of tile 1 9605 / 45 . Its alien character is clearly demonstrated by the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists. that are the bases for a human collectivity autonomous fro m capital. does not proclaim any human universality. presents the issue of alienation in radically different terms than those of humanism. Finally. alienation is the separation between human beings. He refuses the theological vision of communism that dialectic materialism had built. the external character of labour for the worker is demonstrated by the fact that it belongs not to him but to another. In the writings published in the magazines Classe operaia (Working Class).Sartre situates himself outside the Hegelian field. since he does not considet alienation to be an historical separation between existence and eSSence. it is a loss of his sele'll activity of the worker is not his own spontaneous activity. It munity no longer dependent on capital. and that in it he belongs not to himself but to anothet. Compositionism overturns the issue implicit in the question of workers' existence that a human collectivity can be founded. External labour. the feeling of alienation and its alienation. is a labour of self-sacrifice. not the satisfaction of a need but a mere means to satisfy needs outside itself. is anthropologically constitutive of the historic relation. that had developed in oppo­ sition to so-called diamat.

. The organization of alienation: This is the only possible direction in which the party can civilization. at a higher level: It becomes active and collective. as refusal of work. . is seen by the Workerist­ Compositionists as a sign of estrangement. The Workerist­ Compositionist thinking style distinguishes itself for this overturning of humanistic connotations: what is seen by the negative thought of humanistic derivation as a sign of alienation. of a higher J They were blocked even at the level of hope for future changes. a political refusal on a mass scale. That is to say. only twenty years after Fascism and war had ended. since youth considered the major 46 / The Soul at Work Labor and Alienation in the philosophy o f the 1 960s / 47 . but in a less articulate way.implies an intentionality that is determined by an estranged behavio r. lead the spon­ taneity of the dass. ) 1 2 The alienation Tronti discusses is not described in humanistic terms (loss of the human essence) but a condition of estrangement from the mode of production and its rules. "In Marcuse's book. T he concept of estrangement and not as the condition of those who are forced 0f humanity' their essential humanity. into refusal. it is a highly revolutionary one. its working conditions. but also on proletarian social compo and struggle that workers are able to the process of socialization s. were already blocked societies. since it seemed to anticipate the student movements as a leading force of the anti-capitalistic struggle in order to replace an already integrated working class that is already irretrievable for the purpose of revolutionary conflict. the immediate task of working-class organization is to overcome passivity. effectuate in metropolitan area r Iorm Tronti and Marcuse In one of his most influential books. to renounce g class as a "rude pagan race. Estranged from what? From all forms of labor dependent on capital. it is seen as the condition of those who rebel assuming their partial humanity as a point of strength. a refusal to identifY with the general interest of the capitalistic economy. The goal remains that of refusal. Workers do not suffer from their alienation when they Can transform it into active estrangement. organized and planned. Only the estrangement from labor makes liberato ry dynamics possible. Hence. One Dimensional Man. shifting the flow of desire from (industrial) repeti­ tion towards (cognitive) difference.S. "The working dass confronts its own labor as capital. as a hos­ tile force. If the alienation of the worker has any meaning. that is to say. It was the idea that European societies." Trond writes of the workin se's idealism and the irrelevance of the humanistic addressing Marcu perspectives that it projects onto the reality of and theological sition. [. a premise of a higher social form. of shifting their political attention towards the domain of extra-productive marginalities and away from the direct domain of the productive relation. he sees the necessity. as an enemy-this is the pOint of departure not only for the antagonism. in 1964. Herbert Marcuse foresees for the working class a destiny of integration into the capitalistic system. Marcuse's analysis had consistent effects on the youth culture of the time. pub­ lished in the U. the youth of 1968 fOund the topics and the words needed to give definite form to an idea that had already been circulating in Europe for a while. but for the organization of the antagonism. Conse­ quently. for those willing to change the social order.

. and the refore no longer c . The statement "domination is prefiguration in Marcuse's transfigured into administration" needs to be rethought in the new light of the creation of a system of economical and financial automa­ tisms apparently without alternatives. where the students would to act as the beare rs of a threatened humanist ic conSCIOUsness. tlons and Consume rism had produced an effec t of social integratJ . forecasted in 1964 a period of grow ing social peace. On the contrary: everything depends on the way in which the wage struggle is conceived. le prodliCe a SOCIal integration wh . specifically in In the W useful today. both on a Ilscal and a political level. The fact that the workers' struggle focuses on the wage. what Marcuse . redible a ' hlStOtlcal sub" Jeer mcapable of ' imposing radical innov ations. the Iarrer ' no : � 48 / The SOUl at Work Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1960s I 49 . paclty to be autonom caught as it is in ous. Rereading Marcuse could be consequences. ncellanon of conRictu al and potentially revol utionaty dynam1CS. In the last anaIYSlS. according to the positions expressed in T echnical develo pment and the r runCtIOnaI princip . the web 0f cons . oved m arenaI condi . democratic unf edom re p evalls 10 advan ced indus trial civili zation' a token 0 f teehfllcal progress. but in the 1 960s the diffusion of his work had negative First of all his thought separated in a mechanical way-in the same :a:: ''A c m Ortable. .ect 15 he ca . and a true political revolutionary fight. J Domination is transfigured into administration. ' to be the living contradiction to the established longer appears society. Stnce unIOn . smo oth. at least from the standpoint of Mario Tronti. Secondly it led to the exaltation of the separation of the srudent figure from the cycle of capitalistic production. ose eff. impr . s a harnesslng 0f h uman authenticity. wh0 were not involved 1n the ' productive process--or at least who tho ught so-t hat came the hope change that the f r o working class had . Classe operaia (Working Class) and finally Potere operaio (Workers' Power). I0St. . then of course they are not a lever that could overturn or transform anything. way as the Leninist tradition-wage struggles. we can see important elements of Nowadays . Ization. the wage struggle is valorized as a political fight. organized and directed. »13 It was from the students. WIth its . But if wages are understood as "Th new te hnological work-worl d thus enf orces a weakening of t e negatJve pOSi tion of the worki ng class. described as implicitly economicist and integrated. reasonable. representat ive parties belong1Og to the ' traditional left. a few discourse. : Potere operaio. . as being already integrated ' 10 the eXlS tmg social system. orkerist magazines of the 1 960s. The working class has lost any ca . This idea was Iarg eIy circulated in ' those years and was part of the students' conscio usness. does not mean that this Ilght is to be considered integrated and subaltern. eco_ nomicism.part of the working cIass. umer SOc1ety: thus Marcuse described Americ an and European societies. The workers' movement is recognized as an a-ideological movement able to destabilize the political equilibriums of capital. If wages are considered as a variable dependant on capitalistic development. . 'on 1nto the capi talistic system. a variable that must be compatible with prollt."15 decades later. The society 0f a ill uence was then p erceived a ."14 � � � Quaderni rossi (Red Notebooks). ( .

a central factor in tbe change of capital's organic composition. refusal to force between clas ' the reIanons of depends on models) : . as the dmon O ahenty . euc cou Iogic and general . It is celebrated instead as specific movement in a social sector internal to the dynamics of productive labor. While humanistic theories.ern . role. if wages are considered a factor in the conflict between political instruments of attack and radical redistribution of social dimensions are aggressively linked to the perspective of wotket a form of appropriation destined to open a front line of radical and of ition is rather one . or accotding to which the workers' While from Marcuse's perspective students were considered as Workerisr theory refuses the notion of consumerism. even glca1 meditatio an anthropOlo cuse starts from ite reSUItS.. t the centel af b ' work !S a in ditectlOns Marx'S early 'f 1 they develop . Structure process of l one that the t at the srructura level . wages il. agents of an action without causes or direct consequences at the level of social production.I' J historical from the con 'ders both the .wotkers and capital (at the level of the conflict on the exchange the main instrument in a conflict in which economical and political autonomy from capitalistic development and hegemony. political weap m 'd ed a conSI er alist order. As for the students and their movements.. oth Marcuse's .stIC so he journal Classe . since it is . . not compau e with capit . non far away ' focusing ItS atten Marx's theory-m k th at brings . not hiStory. oratwn of a ne l rest 'ty anthropologica Process as the " and scaret . 1 9605 / 51 o hY of the ion in the ph!ios P Labor and Alienat 50 I The Soul at Work . bu at the historical ded. Workerist theory sees the students from the very beginning as part of the general labor force: labor force in progress.ita ed ' utse develop co m immediate class In the dis the sense that on. sodal t is idea that 10 the bebavio . considers the workers' consumption in a "pagan" and rude way as political clash. Mar oppOS.. only rhe mome ks a neW ShiEr in For Marx mar Louis Althusser)s works to stress from the early . SlO ' S £ounded on the 'the Workerist v! � ! pital and the resistance to ca first is the workers' comes ' echnoIOglCal cess what tical appa ratuses. Workerist theory anticipates an idea that will bear fruit some time later: srudents are a section of social labor. Therefore the students' struggle is not celebrated as an ideological fight. operaia . gated totaliry. expropriated of its knowledge just as much as workers are expropriated of the products of their work. specifically Marcuse's. since it value of the use value of the labor force). pIays the majo r then .f eap. Udged' The workers' pos ld be J interest . or historical teleology.tI:an:ge ciety. then they end up becoming weal th. ternOlogICal brea ' th e instead the epiS Capi tal-outside l lcaII y in m and spec 'f' mat ure M arXis not Hegelian sphere. they are labor in the making. at'lng itself outSide the SitU rnerl" �. I mp IeteIy bearing co ceives the historica e thererOre con the essence and ts gy 0f whil e Sarrre star anthropolo . 'bl . t Pro m ryth' g else (poli work' Eve ses. knowledge is foun . iSm and Structural' Das Kapital and Same's .n. " g he conSi ch toncal becom1O ' re fro m whi Premise of his ' d to a failu sses as desnne 'al n proce and the existen will b e saved' . nt 0f fusionaliry Marxist srudles. believe that it is possible to judge the spontaneity of workers' behaviors in the name of a principle of human universality. n. and even less as a substitute for the workers' fight. T ronti answers that there is no universal principle from which workers' behaviors derive.

Althusser Engel's vulgate . kn0wledge . oductIOn w as pr � 8. as the history of the overturning of the alienated condition. fic Hegehan sense 0 f the w e specl ishing and . ston. umsctlbed production gIves that has been citc . (in ordet to gIve mg a ttansform ething which in to an end) . The s: at the sam ing ptoducing mean . we as a producti . we can then clearly see the traces of Reason as it cleverly opens a way throughout the vicissitudes of his­ tory. ation . outside the VIS! darkness of exclut the znner "" of exclusion-bu re. structure."" ' The concept of alienation shows the process by which the identical is restored. as . The e bY e of knowledge and made visibl to grasp the issu d really allows us . If we want to exit the Hegelian field of problems. overcoming. exactly measures a distance and . ely to the world d preCIs ing tenrs. we have to let go of the dialectic. inscribed in its . som obJect adapted ' form 0f an . . the vlslb epistemic conThe structure of eS and properly . and conceIve nd read' sible . the murors myt must abandon on edge . . a book or overt of overturning point is not tha eason . ifest what is man e "Making raw material th p . immediately. es m fron an object: what com construction of OWledge is the nde . g action (and eans to re point is conceivin which m . tts vision a 'sible as its invi the VI is defined bY Iy what is c [ . the to the sparia! 'ble (to return . As a matter of fact book gets rid of any pretence of considering Marx's theoty as simple "overturning" of the Hegelian system. : � Capital. Knowledge P not a reflex. t f us' It IS . First of all. on the contrary. . 'ble worl out the viSl eory. Jtlaintain uction .\lon 'In tIle "'. prete materialism wlwe have of kno ganize the idea completely reor ate "We must hs of immedi . making true: an entire litany of Hegelian terms that constantly refer to the possibility of reading cognitive ined forro that 1e i the determ . mg. . but the inaudible and illegible notation of the effects of a structure of structures. an internal dislocation (decalage) in the real. .J The invisible .en� Labor and H 52 / The Soul at Work 1 9608 1 53 philOSOphy 0I the . . e time) . capable of abol H g (in th l > c o !!l through a negatlon . both on the level of the self-realization of the spirit and of the self -assettion of radical Humanism. Althusser reproposes to keep some distance from the humanism of the young Marx: "The Y oung Marx of the J 844 Manuscri ts tead the human p essence at sight. . . at least against its idealistic implications. »17 registering . a pre�existinO' .For Marx is a declaration of war against Marxist Humanism. n1y to Its mod not 0 . a Ize 1" . .IIIs'lde the visibl that proposes a structuralist method aimed at understanding the capitalistic process and stressing the deep connection existing between labor and knowledge. a distance and a dislocation such as to make their own effects themselves illegible [ J the text of history is not a text in which a voice (the Logos) speaks. but whi . outer ciarkness d by its sttUctu f because define e itsel . to Althussers th IC h' h is centtal . not thererore sImp m 'bl the . Overturning. . VlSI e is forbidden vision: metaphor) . but also an visual field cutt metaphor 0f the thern. where ctices) as ptod pra eoretical also th ns ch really mea latent. After For Marx Althusset published Reading Capital. rocess of visually says. I� not the of . The ord aufhebung. through r . we have to abandon the idea of an original truth to he restored. in the ttansparency of its alien­ y sense alread eXIStS. Against its grain.

condensed in surprising words. practical and mental appropriation of this world. namely as long as the head's conduct is merely specularive.g. in f thinking and comprehending. we find a double overturning of perspectives. The cognitive object is the result of a specific and deter­ Introduction to Marx's Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (also known as Grundrisse) is the most important reference for anybody inter­ ested in understanding how the concept of knowledge as production works: "It seems to be correct to begin with the real and the concrete. must always be kept in mind as the presupposition. which seems to SignifY making manifest what is latent. The 1 8 5 7 54 / The Soul at Work . but which really means transforming (in order to give a pre­ existing raw material the f orm of an object adapted to an end). alread exists. in the theoretical method. a product. making it become the "world of the min d. thus to begin. in the precise . . The population is an absrraction if I leave OUt.Sense of the word."" Here. which appropriates the world in the only way it can. to the kind of . merely theoret­ ical. with the real precondition. in economics."" Here Alrhusser begins with Marx's refusal to confuse real objects and the objects of knowledge (a confusion that instead intentionally and explicitly dominates Hegel's theory). whereas the merhod of rom the abstract to the concrete is only the way in which tising f thought appropriates the concrete. However. and unfolding itselfout of itself. consciousness--and this is characteristic of the philosophical consciousness-f which conceptual thinking is the real human or being. The real subject retains its autonomous existence outside the head just as before. probing its own depths. with e. The first is a merely gnoseological impli_ cation relative to the way the mind adapts to the world. is a product of a thinking head. by itself. is the production ofknowled ge. y in rhe double sense which gives the production operation the necessary f orm of a circle. . religious. on doser examina­ tion this proves false. [ . production-whicb only. Hence. which is the f oundation and the subject of the entire social act of production. for example. The totality as it appears in the head.To assert that knowledge needs to be understood as produ c_ tion is a statement rich wirh implications. reproduces it as the concrete in the mind. receives a jolt f rom the outside--whose product is the world." "Ir is therefore a question of producing. In mined activity of production. concrete in thought. not all of them developed by Alrhusser. and for which the conceptual world as such is thus the only reality the movement of the categories appears as the real act of . But this is by no means the process by which the concrete itself comes into being. and-but this is again a tautology-this is correct in so far as the concrete totality is a act a product of totality of thoughts. J. J. but not in any way a product of the concept which thinks and generates itself outside or above observation and conception. . the classes of which it is composed. toO. unf ortunately. Therefore. rather. This production. the subject. society. something which in a sense this way Hegel f into the illusion of conceiving the real as the ell product of thought concentrating itself. the population. a way different f rom the artistic. of the working­ up of observation and conception into concepts. [ . as a totality of thoughts.

Matx adds that "the concrete subject" (his­ torical data. The ontological priority of matter is not questioned by Marx here. . even in the same 1 857 Introduction. historical. But there is another implication. that is to say work as projection. erence towards any specific kind of labour presupposes "Indiff a very developed totality of real kinds of labour. The thinking mind Marx is talking about is that work which produces reality. and therefore an activity of the mind. only mentioned and not fully AIthusser. hence of indifference. That is to say he asserts that whar we conceive as concrete is nothing bur the activity of thinking the concrete.+ \ I". but an abstract distribution of time without quality. that is to say the passage from the notion of abstract labor to that of general intellect. At the same time. At first glance this might appear to be an idealist way of reasoning. to all Then it ceases to be thinkable in a particular f orm alone. The world is the psychodynamic intersection between all the infinite projective levels activated by mental activity in its social and historical determinations. But this is not the case. the product of man's past labor as well as of past and present mental activity. The concrete usage is not at all interesting from capital's point of view. of which no single one is any longer predominanr. in its becoming (biological.the concrete and the mind. In this way. since Marx is not talking of the relation between real and rational when he talks about . On the other side. an activity of thought secreting what we can call a concrete totality. and where rhe specific kind is a matter of chance f them. To this purpose. Capital is nor interesred in the facr thar the time invested in labor produces beautiful shoes or pots to cook potatoes. he wants to say instead that matter. this abstraction of labour as such is not merely the mental producr of a concrete totality of erence towards specific labours corresponds to a labours.1 . relational).. What Marx defines as concrete is the totality of the real as projection of mental activity. material that is determined in the form of subject) remains firmly autonomous ourside the mind. Capital is inter­ ested in producing an accumulation of capiral through these objects. As a rule. the most gen­ eral abstractions arise only in the midst of rhe richest possible concrete development. And what Marx calls a thinking mind is not the Kantian pure I. capital doesn'r need to mobilize specific and con­ crete abilities to create qualitatively useful objects. whose evident traces we nonetheless find developed by Marx's work. produces a projective activity. that is to say a form of the world that does not pre-exist thinking productivity. AIthusser developed a theory that took the critique of histori­ cism and the idealist claim for mental reproducibility of reality as its starting point. where one thing appears as common to many. and therefore as pure distribution of time materialized in value.First Marx asserts that the concrete is the product of an actiVity of abstraction. mosr dearly in This second implication concerns the productive character of mental labor. What does "abstract labor" mean for Marx? With this expres­ sion Marx refers to labor simply as producer of exchange value. Capital is interested in the production of abstract value. AIthusser let us see something already implicit in Marx's text: that the world is first of all a produced world. Indiff f orm of society in which individuals can with ease transfer from one labour to another."" or fact thar activity deployed in time produces objects possessing a Th" "" . nor even the Hegelian Subject that becomes Spirit.

we can finally see that social composition is in constant trans­ ormation. LAhor and AlienAtion in the ohilosonrlV of lhfJ 1 9608 / 59 . Italian Neo-Marxist Workerism inspired by Compositionism shifts attention to the Grundrisse. From the first page of Capital. which results in its ultimate reduction and abstraction. When we do that. on the stage of working class struggles and of capital's restructuring. where humans relate to to dif nature and the society of other humans. Neither the presupposition of a humanity needing to be redeemed. ormation of The abstraction of labor. The motor of this constant transf dynamic of subtraction of lived time from the wage-relation. The final point of this process is the subsumption of the productive labor of mental activity itself the sphere of value-production. is pro� gressively expanding to all possible forms of social activity. and a specific form of wage-earning labor. mental time serving only for the production of exchange value. technological. Compositionist theory positions itself in an anti-Iaborist per­ spective: the Italian Neo-Marxists gathered around the journal General intellect and concrete totality in Grundrisse In the 1 960s. that is to say the lending of abstract time in exchange for a wage. Marx states that it is necessary ferentiate between generic activity. Social composition and the formation of revolu­ tionary subjectivity can be explained neither by the idealist hypostasis of a human narure to be realized through historical action nor by the analysis of the implicit contradiction in the structure of productive relations. the refusal to work and the project of its extinction. Marx's work first published in Italy in 1968. economic and f ormation is the political contexts. labor with no useful quality and no meaning. nor the analysis of capital are sufficient to understand what happens on the scene of 20th­ century history. Althusser's structuralism is most of all an invitation to read Classe operaia ( Working Class) Early intended to study the constirution of autonomous collective activity. Human original authenticity was both the starting point Capital. since the structure of the productive process is considered the place where a critical comprehension both of the existing world and of the revolutionaty process leading to its destruction is to be achieved. Critical Humanism (gravitating around the figutes of Marcuse and Sartre) had found great energies in Marx's and the teleological meaning of revolutionary engagement. What finds its grounding here is the prefiguration of the most advanced tendencies in the current modes of capitalist production: the subsumption of mental labor within the productive process and the progressive reduction of mental labor to abstract labor. Writings. f point o it is necessary to assume the stand the refosal to work. in order to understand the dynamics both of productive transformation and of political revolt. starting from the subtraction of lived time from labor. altering the productive. This second implication present in Marx's in the Introduction. We need to adopt the point of view of labor in its most estations.We talk about abstract labor when rhe workers give their time f or producing value in conditions of complete indifference to rhe useful quality of their product. advanced manif Grundrisse (not only but also in the section known as "Fragment of machines") becomes an essential element in the Workerist and Compositionist theories of the 1960s and 1970s. that is to say the ttansf human activities into empty performances of abstract time.

as we have seen. which confronts his individual. the vision changes: "The increase of the productive f orce of labour and the greatest possible negation of necessary labour is the necessary tendency of capital. If we make abstra ction from its use-value. reduced to a passive appendage producing empty time. "Labour appears. The transformation of the means of labour into machinery is the realization of this tendency. The useful character of the kinds of labour embodied in them also dis appears. merely as a conscious organ. and with it the reduction of mental labor itself to an abstracted activity. . huma n Jabour in the abstract. subsumed under the total process of the machinety itself. "Equality in the fuU sen se between different kin ds of Jabour can be arrived at only if we abstract from their rea J inequal­ ity. as a ten dency. is the f orm of capital. become so abstract that it is now useless: machmes can replace it compIeteIy.The refusal of work does not mean the erasure of activity. In Capital. that of ll being products of labour . Abstraction. as itself only a link of the system. In machinery. . not only by appropriating it.e. the valorization of hu man activities which have escaped labor's domination . At the same time."24 The worker appears overwhelmed. objectified labour con­ fronts living labour within the labour process irself as the power which rules it. al The labor of physical transformanon of matter has the digit era. inSignificant doings as a mighty organism. . of human labour in the abstract. whose unity exists not in the living workers. They can no longer be distinguishe d. .))23 The industrial worker (an d more generally. the subsumption of mental labor has . rather. objectified in products whose concrete and useful quality does not have any intere st other than that of ena bling the exchange and the accumulation of plus-value. this centripetal and at the same time uni­ traversing the modern period. we abstract also from the material con stituents and forms which make it a use-value. a power which. In machinery. becoming purel y rented out time. But then. objectified labour materially confronts liVing labour as a ruling power and as an active subsumption of the latter under itself. as the appropriation of living labour. reaches its perfection in fying f"orce . industrial labor loses any relation to the concrete character of 60 I The Soul at Work Labor and A!ienation in the philosophy of the 1 9608 / 61 . but in the real activity. begun. the entire cycle of social labor) is the bearer of a purely abstra ct and repetitive As an eff ect of capitalistic develo pment. scattered among the individual living workers at numerous points of the mechanical system. this in turn entails the dis­ appearance of the different concrete f orms oflabour. only one property remai s. if we reduce them to the characteristic the y have in common. to a lifeless carcass. but are altogether red uced to the Same kind of Jabour. that of being the exp enditure of huma n Jabour­ power." " "If then we disregard the krlO�lled1. but rather in the living (active) machinety. But even the product of labour has already been transformed in our hands. Marx defines "abstract labor" in the foll owing terms: use-value of commodities. immediately.

if compared ro an elaborate automated system. the relation of capital as value which appropriates value-creating activity is. Capitalis m. technolo gies. expenditure of energy. to a minimum. well-spring of wealth. Weighs on the development of new perspectives as an insurmountable ob stacle preventing the deployment of a redistribution of wage-ear ning lab or and its extension. ree development of individualities. furt her." �� � necessarY labor time and therefore the progressive elimination of workers. more imp ortantly. Its purest form. in order to rep lace it with the technological use of science . tends to eliminate human labor in its immediate. and the direct. posited at the sam e time as the relation of the USe value of capital to the use valu e of labour capacity. is seen by Potere operaio as a jolly perspective: in Compo­ . in fixed capital existing as machinery.. the value objectified in machi nery appeats as a presup position against which the value-cre ating power of the individual labour capacity is an infinitesimal. and hence not the The f reduction of necessary labour time so as to posit surplus labour. as a cultural and episte mic. which 62 I The Soul at Wo rk Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1 9608 / 63 . "Capital here-quite unintentionally-teduces human labout. production based on exchange value breaks down."25 Thanks to the accumulatio n of science and the genera l forces of Ocial intellect. interf s ace and social interactions. . matenal form as much as possible. · SltlOnISt discourse it translates into trusting the auto-assertive capacities of rhe intellect against its capitalistic use. This will red nd to the benefit of emancipated labour. just or as the non-labour o thejew. T surplus labour o the mass has ceased he f to be the condition f the development of general wealth. material produc­ tion process is stripped of the f orm of penury and antithesis.production process itself. The development of this trend virtuall takes the productive global system ou t of the paradigm atic orbit the modern capitalist sys tem. The reduction of . It gets tangled in the slow time of culture. vanishing magnitude. ''As soon as labour in the direct f orm has ceased to be the great 'The time of immediate labor becomes quantitatively irrelevant. Capital. Bu t a paradigmatic shift has a different timing from that of the technological and produc tive potentialities ofgeneral intellect. system . scientific etc. and IS the condltlon of . which then corresponds to the artistic. constituted identi ties. with all its ind ustrial clanking as well as with the clanking of its menta l habits and of its aggressive and compet itive imaginary. A new paradigmatic system needs to be found. as well as economic and social."" The alliance between technological power and general social knowledge meets the resistant power of the capitalist model. f the development of the general f or powers of the human head. social habits. The heritage of the modern period. Marx repeat s. and hence exchange value [must cease to be the measure] of use value. for all of them. With that. development of the individuals in the time set free. semiotizes the machinic potentialities of the post-industrial sys tem according to reductive paradigmatic hnes. and with the means created. power relations and the dominant economic order. if we Want to understand and. but rather the general reduction of the necessary labour of society to a minimum. labor becomes superfluou s. 26 its emanCIpatlOn . liberate the new constellation of human activity. labour time ceases and must cease to be its measure.

as sole measure and source of wealth. solicitations or requests where the enunciating subject asks the message addressee one thing with words and another. . on the other side.dominates the social. he astonishing history of the 20th century. Capital seems rather to be a pathogenic mechanism. The idea of a dialectical overcoming to be realized through negation. Double binds are contradictory injunctions: for instance those orders. hence posits the superfluous in growing measure as a condition­ question of life or death-for the necessary. Marx anticipates the intellectualiza­ ordist era. and that there is no dialectical overcoming on the horizon. [in] that it presses to reduce labour time to a minimum. we understand very well that modern history does not proceed towards a positive exit along a dialectical path. On the historical level we can assert that intellectual structure of technology. On the other side. is also derivation of the Hegelian conceptual system. the capitalist model becomes a paradig­ matic cage. After the experience of the twentieth century. discipline and dependence. or the overturning and liberation of a hidden nucleus. cnltural and psychological expectations of a proletarianized humanity. in order to make the creation of wealth independent (rela­ tively) of the labour time employed on ir. as of social combination and of social intercourse. A double bind derives f rom juxtaposing two semiotic codes in a relational context or f rom the superposition of two different interpretive codes in the devel­ opment of a unique process. when capi­ prefigures the tal itself destroyed the potentialities it had created within the technical domain because of the instinct to conserve its social and economic model. while it posits labour time. The economy. and to confine them within the limits required to maintain the already created value as value. tion of labor nowadays characteristic of the post-f At a certain point in the development of the application of intelligence to production. where the relational context is contradicted by the meaning of com­ munication. with gestures. then. like a general semiotic cage. The concept of abstract labor is the best possible introduction to an understanding of the digitalization of the productive process first made possible and finally generalized by the diffusion of microelectronics. forbids the devel _ opment of the potential still existing in the material an d When Marx speaks of capital as a moving contradiction."2S These pages-read and valorized by the Compositionist theorists in the same years that the Grundrisse began to be known in ltaly­ define with incredible lucidity the direction taken by the development of 20th-centuty social. When he foretells the development of creative. it calls to life all the powers of science and of nature. a sort of "double bind. who f ound a surrogate for it with often ambiguous concepts of Hegelian derivation. it wants to use labour time as the measuring rod f or the giant social forces thereby created. political and economical histoty. The concept of paradigm was not available to Marx." Gregory Bateson" uses the concept of a double bind in order to understand a paradoxical form of communication. Hence it diminishes labour rime in the necessary f orm so as to increase it in the superfluous f orm. Let's return to Marx: "Capital itself is the moving contradiction. aff ection and intonation. constraining intelligence in the form of wages. con­ tradictory one. artistic and scientific faculties. On the one side.

the tren and the experiences of the yourh movements. since as a matter of fact there is no positive or nega­ tive totaliry in the social history of capitalism. Lenin Hans-Jiirgen Krahl's theory: science. The social content of capitalist production contradicts its of economic valorization) rhat is inadequate to its material and social own semiotic framework. "organizational" and the "spontaneous. Though not even thirry. technological development tends to make manual labor useless and its evaluation in terms of wages impossible. The concept of a double bind has nothing to do with dialec­ tics. fighting for the democratization of German sociery. They neglect the meta-economic. Therefore it produces a system of misun­ derstandings. with astonishing acrions of revolt. work and technique Hans-Jiirgen Krahl died in a car accident one night in 1970. specifically Adornds. Let's think of the so-called problem of unemployment.capital semiotizes the technological process according to a code (that meaning. But since rhe relational context where rhis message and rhis process are inserted is that of capitalism. No total overturning is possible in the face of the capitalist double bind. His meditations start from the Struggle) Frankfu rt School rheories. answered rhe question in the subjectivist and voluntaristic way that was to dominate the revolutionary landscape of the century. was killed by the police during an anti-imperialist rally against the Persian Shah. In realiry. especially the ones derived f rom Lenin. Ger­ along rhe lines League)-was attracted by two differenr all Socialisr Student m In rhe two years period before his death. After that other students rapidly jOined the movement. Behno Onesorg. starting from the level of enunciation. onstitution und Klassenkampf" (Constitution and Class book K social composition of he questions rhe possibility of reducing rhe new of rhe intellectual labor to rhe political and organizational categories traditional workers' movements. rhe German movement of rhe SDS (Sozialisticher Deutscher Studentbund. which is founded on wage-earning regulations and labor's centraliry. Hans-Jurgen Krahl elab­ In his orated the general lines of a post-Leninist revolutionary rheory." In the fol­ hyporheses: rhe rhe first would be grouped in the Rote Zellen [Red lowing years second in the multiform Cells] of Marxist-Leninisr inspiration. f or instance. tend to separate class consciousness f rom its economic elements. constitutive role played by productive subjectivity in the creation of wealth and civilization:'3! The analytical separation between the levels of the economy and of consciousness had a legitimate grounding in a time when productive . a double bind starts functioning. Double binds are resolved only when the relational context is redefined. but in the 1960s the movements had started looking for other solurions. when a young student aged 26. Krahl is rethinking rhe question of rhe relation between social composition and avant-garde political organizatio n. the mediatic overloading operated by the newspapers belonging to the Springer group. he was one of the most influential thinkers of the anti-authoritarian German movement. contradictory injunctions and perverse juxtapositions. " The traditional theories of class consciousness. -rhen mainly organized From its origins. rhe Jugendzen Autonomen collectives. The movement had exploded in the streets since 1967. protesting against the Vietnam War and denouncing. developing rhem wirh respect to rhe praxis of industrial alienated labor and anti-aurhoritarian struggles.

what Marx called the al one because it is different from a purely fotm real subsumption e of the even the technological structur modifies qualitatively systematic process. Science and technology make possible the maximization of our labor capacity. Kralll focuses on the essential core of the movement's political problems. when the labor cyde is intellectualized. which is a genetal uction. following the abstract categories of critical Marxism. quality of the productive transformations characteristic of the last decades. were not able to get rid of them 1960s made them uncertain. increasingly orce. The man and nature. He anticipates this conceptually..' Emotional. Production is not to be considered a merely economic ruled solely by the law of supply and demand. and linguistic domains condition productivity." published in 1969. ul1req. but ut the theoretical construc­ "The absence of a reflection abo non-empirical category [ . relation betwe nce into a system of gical translation of scie ((The technolo which has been constituring a fixed capitalmechanisms the nineteenth implemented since the end of Systematically e changed tendency towards automation hav century-and the tal The teal subsumption oflabor under capi . 'the conscious application of labor by capital is. but vidual to a simple moment:'" working ability of the single indi ian necessarily led the young theoretic These analytical considetations the e capable of tadically questioning to postulate the decisive issu ntieth the political projects of the twe organizational modalities and in the the anti-authoritarian groups century workers' movement: . ideological. the period that marks the exit from the industrial model.. as Mar product of social development.en all modifY the rhythm and the fluidity of the productive pre)ce. This becomes dearer the more those same enlOt:iotlal. ' on()vative form e. but it to lose its meaning once intellectual work has joined the process general production in a constiturive way. in the journal Sozialistische Korrespondenz-In jo. and projective energies are involved in the process value production. in the Course of the capitalist development of machinety. understood as the determined l -r" . Hans Jurgen Kralll succeeds in anticipating the i."32 becomes the main productive f In his "Theses on the General Relation Between the Scientific IntelligentSia and Proletarian Class Consciousness.. . to of science.' Social combination the immediate process of prod tific. transf orming it into a social combination that.labor was structurally separated from intellectual labor. is socialized in the organic exchange between urnption remarkable traits of the teal subs itsel£ One of the most x said. J tion of class consciousness as a . as a 'total' worker.oology is the central issu rh en science and labor processes. extra-economic tors have their role in that process and they are all the more imaginations. Social culture. "Working time remains the measure of value even when it no longer includes the qualitative extension of production. understood as between labor and science. hatred and Wl1eUne. linguistic. thereby constituting it makes production increasingly scien at the same time reducing the as a totality. of the 19608 I 69 I Rhm Rnrl AIi8n�)tion in the Dhilosoohv .This happens through the immediate labor ration orces of production and the sepa application of the social f labor process then. expecrations and disillusions.

Marcuse opposed the dialectics of self-realizing reason to functionalist reductions. Marcuse writes in his One Dimensional Man: "The totalitarian universe of technological rationality is the latest transmutation of the idea of Reason. but no awateness of the cognitive system structuring society. He understands."34 Leninism." 35 unc rame pictured in works like Reason and Beginning with the idealistic f Revolution and Hegels Ontology. while in One DimensionalMan he denounces the reduc­ tion of these same potentialities by functionalism. and there is no concrete reference to social recomposition processes in his theory. since the workers have knowledge of their own abilities. slhe perceives-although in a fragmented. o make the concept synony­ eat "The f ure of operationalism-t mOUS with the corresponding set of operations-recurs in the linguistic tendency 'to consider the names of rhings as being indicative at the same time of their manner of functioning. Finally this sepatation has no furthet grounding when we discuss the mental fotms of social labor. The roots of this separa­ tion become more and more fragile when the mass wotkets. Leninism is based on the sepatation between the labor process and higher-level cognitive activities (that is to say consciousness). This separation is founded on proto-industtial wotk. which is inadequate to the metropolis. processuality and separation. since when each intellec­ tualized operator is the vehicle of a specific form of knowledge. within the socialist movement. develop their sociality in a dimension that is immediately subversive and anti-capitalistic. The productive finalization of technology ends up subjugating the thinking process from the standpoint of its own epistemological structures. Marcuse was also addressing the issue of the relation between forms of thought and forms of social production. a book published in Italy in 1967. of reducing the concept of class consciousness to its Leninist meaning. disempowered and pacified vetsion: Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 1 960s J 71 . Marcuse develops a discourse on the Iiberatoty potentialities represented by technology. forced into an increasingly patceled and alienating wotk activity. as a model of organization and way of understanding the telation between social consciousness and the general labot process is incapable of reading the metropolitan condition. and the names of properties and processes as symbolical of the apparatus used to detect or produce them' [4] This is tech­ nological reasoning. which proposed a totmented vetsion of Hegelian thought focused on negativity. His position remains an idealistic one. an essential point of the late capitalist process: he sees the tendency towards a total integration of Logos and production through technology.had the consequence. Digital Panlogism In those same years. confused and tormented manner-the social system of knowledge underlying the entite productive cycle."36 In Eros and CiviliZ4tion. which tends "to identify things and their f tions)) (5) . nonetheless. At the horizon of the tendency described by Marcuse we find the digitalization of the world: digitalization as a paradoxical realization of Hegelian Panlogism in a non-dialectical.

"37 The use of algorithms in the productive processes. becomes residual. . hough. Th e tOta regtstered by the univers laced Hegel's totality.g Hegel) in a digital and logical reduction. and their mission through logical devices. and the Logos of technics has been made into the Logos of continued servitude. but 11 meso "T gent mach· determined by the ns preprogrammed and pre f he interconnectio logic has thns been lligent machines. The liberating force a fetter of liberation. e of media machines. al life people are dominated on the contrat �= ."38 We can say that the essential question for Hegelian theory is the reduction of reality to Logos and therefore the establishment of the Same. Comdevelopment of Absolute When Histoty becomes the lved: It ce is not vanqUished. umverse of inte It IS not e today nothing is true If true by computers. lacmg the rep generating . Romanticism tries to retrace the path leading to an origin where the premise of identity can be rediscovered. . The ethnic totalitarianism of Fascist states pretended to realize the Same on the basis of the myth of com­ mon roots. It lently reassert its existence."The incessant dynamic of technical progress has become per­ meated with political content. unrecognizable. . isolates an operational kind rationality. · s and racIsms. while the totalitarian Communist state pretended to realize the Same through the realization of the historical ideal of a society without differences. despalr. But the reality of differences could not be vanquished. Throughout modern history we have witnessed a series of attempts to restore Identity either through violence or homologa­ tion. a suc can be nnderview. hisrorical perception of tim . But in this way the world is subsumed (o'{erturnir. by computers has rep nds a TotalIty withn say that the global Net fou We could eve . The . Twentieth-centuty totalitarianism stems from this obsession. aIthaugh · t still exis . evety space of the human This level subsumes e with a digital one. Hegelian . ineffectua . . the abolition of every difference and the foundation of Identity. The matrix is replacing the dern This is the final point of mo Rationalisierung. .. ceSSIon of states tha . Wh compatible with the generat zable or releain is not socially recogni belong to a codified dom levance. . In order to VIOthen reacts with rage and residuality. Even if reduced and oppressed they are always reborn in violent and resentful of technology-the instrumentalization of things-turns into y by inessen. . realizes itself on ano Identity. sinc made lIty generated . • o� out Totalization. n 0f the Same is determined then as a program ctlo . whether by democratic or totalitarian regimes. t exclude the inessential by . that 0f Imor. "Technology has become the great vehicle of reijication-reifi­ cation in its most mature and effective form. produ definlng It. t Itat hab· . regiOnalIsm egotiStiCal claims ' C and ther level. become worked universe one must To be recognized in the net at does not ive logic of the matrix. compnterized SOCIety m this point of Fro logism realized. the instrumentalizatlon of man. vant. . stoOd as Pan 1in the universe 0f IllteIl· Knowledge is materialized Absolute the virtual assemblage otality is not History. by nationalisms. and therefore trapped for­ ever in the capitalistic form embodied as technical Reason. or reso puterized Knowledge differen l. of tS in the domain of irre 1 . event.

What does "abstract labor" mean in Marx's language? It means the distribution of value-producing time regardless of its quality.2 Digital technologies open a completely new perspective f labor. It was mechanically imposed by a hierarchy. the diff erent information elaborated by productive activity. what does it mean to work? As a general tendency. but on the other it is erentiated and specialized with respect to' becoming much more diff the contents that it develops. and we can also say that this tendency is pushed to its extremes. Can we say that this abstract reduction is still active in the era of info­ production? In a certain sense. work is performed according to the same physical patterns: we all sit in front of a screen and move our fingers across a keyboard. the . with no relation to the specific and concrete utility that the produced objects might have. or First of all they transf orm the relation between conceiving and exe­ cuting. Productive labor (labor producing value) consists in enacting simulations later trans­ f erred to actual matter by computerized machines. we can. since labor has lost any residual materiality and concreteness. since f a cognitive worker every hour is not the same f rom the standpoint of produced value. On the one hand. Architects. yes. travel agents. bytes and digits. and therefore the relation between the intellectual contents of labor and its manual execution. while at the same time the limits of productive labor become uncertain. is mental labor. We can say that the digitalization of the labor process has made any labor the same from an ergonomic and physical point of . Digital labor and abstraction Today. Manual labor is generally executed by The Soul at Work automatically programmed machinery while innovative labor. assigned task that was perf The definition of dependent work and wage-earning was adequate for this kind of social activity. one that eff ectively produces value. which consisted in the selling of one's time. The materials to be transf ormed are simulated by digital sequences. Industrial labor was generally abstract since its specific quality and concrete utility was completely irrelevant compared to its function of economic valorization. We type. The notion of productiviry itself becomes undefined: the relation between time or and quantity of produced value is difficult to determine. but they could never exchange jobs since each and every one of them develops a specific and local ability which cannot be transmitted to those who do not share the same curricular preparation and are not familiar with the same complex cognitive contents. software developers and attorneys share the same physical gestures. labor has become much more uniform from a physical and ergonomic point of view. The notion of abstraction and of abstract labor needs to be redefined. The content of labor becomes mental. and the productive activity only exerts its powers on what is left: symbolic abstractions. When labor had a substantially interchangeable and deper­ sonalized character it was perceived as something foreign. and represented an ormed only in exchange for wages.

The "enter­ prise" of the humanistic artist enterprise is the sign of humanity's independence from fate and even divine will. It has become much more specific. Human terminals perform the same physical gestures in f ront of computers and they all connect to the universal machine of elaboration and communication: yet the more their jobs are phys­ ically simplified. The more industrial labor is simplified. For Machiavelli. Consequently. the word enterprise acquires new nuances. Our activity is later transformed by a con_ view since we all do the same thing: we sit in front of a screen and catenation of machines into an architectural project. the more it becomes interchangeable. the moving of forty metal boxes or a restaurants' provisioning. On the other hand. also from a physical point of view. but it takes only a few days for a metal or mechanical worker to acquire rhe operative knowledge necessaty to do the job of a work­ er in the chemical industry and vice versa. but its recombining function is more specific the more personalized it gets. there is no difference between the labor performance of a travel agent. high tech workers tend to consider labor as the most essential part in their lives. do not oppose . Enterprise means invention and free will. The content of their elaborating activities is completely different and cannot be easily transmitted. abilities and performance. therefore ever less interchangeable. What is left today of the opposition between workers and enterprise. chemi­ cal. Labor is This is exactly the opposite of what happened with the indus­ trial worker. a surgical operation. Those active in jobs with a high cognitive level. metal and mechanical workers do completely different jobs.we type on a keyboard. the less interchangeable their knowledge. repetition and executing action. although it never loses its sense of free and constructive action. the most specific and personalized. enterprise is like politics in that it emancipates itself ftom fortune and realizes the republic. much more specialized: attorneys and architects. Digital labor manipulates absolute abstract signs. therefore those who could rarely trade their places. Enterprise is an investment of capital generating new capital. they could never trade places. thanks to the valorization that labor makes possible. announcing the end of the working day. Labat has become part of a temporaty death from which slhe could wal<e up only after the alarm bells rang. In its capitalistic meaning. an elaboration of signs rich with knowledge. As we have already said. for whom eight hours of wage labor were a sort of mental process. These new nuances all pertain to the opposition of labor and enterprise. that is to say the con­ sciousness of those performing the highest level of productive labor and valorization and who represent the general tendency of labor's social processes. a television script. and how is the perception of the very notion of enterprise changing in the social imagination? Enterprise and labor are less opposed in the social perception and in the cognitive workers' consciousness. computer technicians and mall vendors all sit in front of the same screen and type on the same keyboards: still. Labor is a wage-earning service that valorizes capi­ tal but devalues workers. from a physical standpoint. a tech­ nician working for an oil company or a writer of detective stories. Enterprise and desire In its humanistic Renaissance meaning the word enterprise refers to an activity aimed at giving the world a human form. But we can also say the opposite. a space where different human wills test and compare their cunning and their ability to create.

For instance in the last decades urban and social communities progressively lost their interest. the average worker invested in it 148 hours more than their colleagues did in 1 973. to be an enterprise where they can spend the best part of their earning services according to a depersonalized model of repetition. but in the f singular pleasures of the body. enterprise (independently from the juridical relation between prop­ In order to understand this mutation in the perception of the notion of enterprise. the object of an investment that is not only economical but also psychological. In the year 1 996. in the 1 990s) the average labor time increased impressively. independently from the economic and juridical condition in which it expresses itself. one of the reasons is the political defeat suffered by the working class after the end of the 1970s because of the technological restructuration. But this is not enough. we need to consider a decisive factor: while industrial workers invested mechanical energies in their wage­ also true that the time apparendy freed by technology is in fact C transrormed into cyber time. What is happening in the domain of cognitive labor? Why does this new kind of worker value labor as the most interesting part of his or her life and therefore no longer opposes the prolongation of the working day but is actually ready to lengthen it out of personal choice and will? T answer this question we need to consider several factors. some o of which are difficult to analyze in this context. eItrntn where labor costs nothing and is not protected by unions. homologated and com­ modified: an anxious need for identity progressively replaced the it is true that a growing number of industrial jobs are and therefore . As for managers. Sexuality and conviviality have been transformed into standardized mechanisms. their creative. the consequent unemployment and the violent repression inflicted on the political avant-garde. as we know. How is it possible to explain the workers' conversion from disaffection to acceptance? Certainly. the best part of their intellectual capacities. would determine a flnal analysis we have to consider it false. dent. even if formally depen_ energy. they tend to consider their labor. Books like Mike Davis' City o Quartz f and Ecology o Fear show that the quality of existence has affectively 78 1 The Soul at Work .their labor to the creation implied by the word enterprise: on the contrary. that is. it is necessary to consider a decisive cultural trans­ f ormation linked to the shift of the social core from the domain of manual labor to that of cognitive labor. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of individuals working more than 49 hours per week grew from 13% in 1 976 to 19% in 1998. innovative and communicative energies in the labor process. favoring automation. The prevision that the development of com­ puterized technologies. In the 1 980s (and even more. it grew from 40% to 45%. As a consequence. In order to understand the psycho-social change of attitude towards labor. ated replaced by machines or transferred to areas of the world . erty and labor) tends to become the center towards which desire is focused. while they had been the central element in social relations during the late-industrial period. reduction of social labor time proved both true and f alse. a time of mental processing absorbed into the infinite production processes of cyberspace. as they were reduced to containers empty of humanity and joy in the relations they f oster. But it is J high tech workers invest their specific competences. It is true indeed that necessary labor time decreases in the sphere of industrial production. Only if we consider this can we understand why in the last two decades disaffection and absenteeism have become a marginal phenomenon.

deter­ part of their life. in media. But they are certainly a dominant factor. credit and power. in the second it is a subjective quality of experience. and all self-evidenr. the effect produced in everyday life is of a generalized loss of solidarity. Yet this is still a poor answer. reduction of the concept of wealth to economic and purchasing But in fact. a partial. but this is only a partial reason.and psychologically deteriorated. pro­ or or ducing misery f all. They are indeed two different modalities socially recognized values and in the collective psychology? Why do . Money. bank accounts and economic growth are not the only things driving this new affection for labor dominating the psycho­ logical and economical scene of the last twenry years. plleasut e and entichment. Wealth? has become predominant at work. The economistic ideology is compul­ ocused on the conviction that loving one's job means money. Tile Soul at Work / 81 . A consequence of this loss of eros in everyday life is investment of desire in one's work. in affectiviry and cuuunU illC:. and not only as definitions. But One could instead conceive ofwealth as the simple capaciry to enjoy the world available in terms of time. The imperative of co:mp1etiti olo providing narcissist reinforcement to individuals used to perceivi'n< ••• On an anthropological level a determinant aspecr has been the «"rti(lll of a life model totally focused on the value of wealth. labor regained a central position in the imagination. even f those capable of accumulating a lot of these things. or we can evaluate wealth on the basis of the qualiry of joy and pleasure that our experiences are capable of producing in our feeling organisms. this is also due to the dramatic worsening of social protections. due to the rarefaction of COln ty"1niry ties and the sterilizing obsession with securiry. both in the scale of But we still have not answered Out question: how did it happen after a long period of social autonomy marked by the refusal mined by thirry years of deregulation and the elimination of public structures of assistance. no longer opposing the lengthening of their welrlcilng work. Naturally these two definitions of wealth are in conflict. This is only partially true. concentration and freedom. in culture at through a systematic transformation of the other into a co:mp1etitor wealth is an objectified quantiry. understood as the only the other according to rules of competition. in everyday life. Let's repeat the question: what does wealth mean? The only answer available to this question is naturally an economic one: w ealth means possessing the means that allow us to consume. rather than experience. rhe identification of wealth with properry is not c 'lUantiry of goods and values possessed. In the last decades. perhaps even completely wrong answer. namely the availabiliry of money. such a large part of workers today consider work the most interesting day and instead spontaneously choosing to increase it? Of course. In the first case To the question "What is wealth?') we can answer in twO com­ pletely contrasting ways. and qualiry of life over power and the accumulation of money. when social solidariry prevailed over competition. We can evaluate wealth on the basis of the and therefore an enemy. This answer conceives wealth as a projection of time aimed at gaining power through acquisition and consumption. It seems that ever less pleasure and reassuranCe can be foun d human relations.(' tion. that is to say as impoverishment and limitation. sively f and that money means happiness.

for life. now means something infinitely more complex. But there is another and the relatIon to others. Wealth understood as enjoymenr decreases proportionally to the growth of wealth understood as economic accumulation.rvo. but the accelerating and expansive production of their loss.of relation to the world. and rules founded on force. for the simple reason that in rhe latter framework menral time is des­ tined to accumulation rather rhan enjoyment. without which rhere cannot be any accumulation. As in an infinite play of mirrors. the less we invest them in enjoying ourselves. concerning answer we possible or die. what is really experienced is the production of scarcity and need. the the impoverishmenr of everyday life ce. The more we invest our ne. violent imposition. In order to have more economic power (more money. wealth can only be experienced in a mediated. in a word. and the body. production of scarcity. community The word "enterprise" that. bodies and signs in time. The more time spend acquiring means for consumption. we need to get back to work. the word enterprise refers to the responsible human initiative of transforming the world. It is around this issue-com_ pletely ignored by economic discourse-that the question happiness and unhappiness in hyper-capitalistic societies is played out today. Regaining something of its original humanistic meaning. We renew our affection for wotk because nomie survival becomes more difficult and daily life becomes lonely and tedious: metropolitan life becomes so sad that we might as well sell it for money. in the industrial phase of capitalism. When things. causing the social nervous system to suffer contraction and stress. communication. nature and ones very relation with others. This means though that it becomes necessary to reduce rhe rime for joy and experience. time. more credit) it is necessary to devote more and more time to socially homologated labor. but also in the impoverishment of existence ca� eco­ communication. merely meanr a capitalist organization with economical finalities. transformed in exchange value and anxiety. But there is an ambiguity that needs to be understood: enterprise is 82 . compensated by a fast. Labor. bodies and signs become a part of the semiotic model of rhe economy. wealth understood as economic accumulation increases in proportion with the reduction of the dispersive plea­ sure. The Soul at Worl< The Soul at Work / 83 . loss of eroticism in the communicative experien The reasons behind the new love of working are to be found of not only in a material impoverishment derived from the collapse and social warranties. guilty and neurotic consumption because we can't wasre time. the enterprise develops within the frame of the capitalist economy and therefore its limits are the same as those chatacterizing essential capitalist forms: exploitation. Of course. On the other side. There­ fore wealth is no longer the ability to enjoy things. like the developmenr of human labor and the accumulation of value. But the two perspectives produce the same effect: the expansion of the economic domain coincides with a reduction of the erotic sphere. the less time we have enjoy the world available to us. happen NoW we can finally answer the question: how did it a cenrral place in social affectivity and why did that work regained affection for work? society develop a new on workers One reason is well-known: in a situation of competiti l blackmail: work as much as are obliged to accept this primordia give. reflected and postponed way.us ·' energies in the acquisition of purchasing power.

subdued to capitalist rule, the two are not at all the same thing. desperate attempt to find freedom, humanity and happiness

action. What is involved in the cognitive labor process is what belongs more essentially to human beings: productive

production has started to incorporate more and more sections mental activity and of symbolic, communicative and attectivd

the accumulation of value reigns rests on this potential ditter,enc:e.< The investment in desire comes into play at work, since

common project, a shared mythology. This kind of throug:n a has nothing to do with the historical communism con1Il"""0'" ughout the twentieth-century by feudal, military and m i po,;eCl thro bureaucracies. The only relation between the State in the Soviet Union Communism imposed by the Leninist parties elsewhere, and the autonomous communism of the workers, is the second, in the violence systematically exerted by the first over to subdue, discipline and destroy it.

is not undertalcen in view of the physical transformation of but communication, the creation of mental states, of <ccun:gs, and imagination. the Fordist factory had no relation with pleasure. It had no lClamln with communication either: communication was actually th11larted. fragmented and obstructed as long as workers were active in of the assembly line. Industrial labor was characterized mainly Classical industrial labor and specifically the organized f orm

Political communism was the power of backward and despotic bureaucracies that exercized repression and violence in order to their own power from the globalizing dynamics of capital.

boredom and pain, as is witnessed in metallurgist and mt:chanics' reports to sociologists who, in the 1950s and 1 960s, studied workers' conditions of alienation and atomization. Therefore industrial workers found a place for socialization in subversive working communities, political organizations or UIltor". : where members organized against capital. Workers' communism became the main form of good life and of conscious 0'l�arliza:tion : for the class that capital forced (and still forces) to live a great part of its existence in inhuman conditions. Communism was also only form of knowledge for rhe class that capital forced (and still forces) to live in conditions of mental passivity. Communism the form of universal consciousness produced by the working com­ munity. In the communist organization workers could leave their conditions of abstract lahor to rediscover concrete communication

autonomo US communism of the workers underwent a different destiny: parallel, to a certain extent, but still different. Workers' communism has been partially subsumed by capital, by transform­

Once these same dynamics became stronger rhan the bureaucracies' resistance, political communism was finally defeared by world cap­ italism and the economic power of capitalist globalization. The

ing workers' opposition into innovative dynamics (refusal of work, substitution of workers' labor with machines, and the production Partially, then, workers' communism has been reduced to a sterile residue, always more marginal. There is no more workers' communism, since workers no longer belong to a community. Industrial workers have not disappeared from the face of the earth. Globalization, in fact, greatly enlarged the cycle of industrial labor, moving it to the poorest peripheries of the planet and degrading it to a condition of semi-slavery. But capital's deterritorialization has taken place rapidly, infi­ nitely more rapid than the time required for workers to build their communities. Paul Virilio describes very well the function of

shift towards digital cycles).

84 I The Soul at WorJ<

The Soul at Work / 85

velocity in the relation between states and militaty blocs tnroUI;!1out . the modern period. But the velocity of class struggle, the war between working class and capital, was even more decisive. Digital technology and the financial character of the world economy have accelerated the pace of capital transfers, of changes in the organiza_

tion of work and the creation and dismantling of productive centers all around the world. This acceletation obstructs the f or_ mation of communities in the places where capital starts the productive process. While industrial labor did not imply communication and did not attract desiring energies, the opposite can be said for cognitive labor. Info-workers can sometimes be described as craftsmen, since they invest their knowledge and creativity in the process of pto­ ducing networks. Their energy is displaced from one point of the productive network to rhe other: capturing fragments of infor­ mation in order to recombine them within a constantly changing general frame. The investment of desire, which for the craftsman deeply connected to its local community and its needs used to have a reassuring character, for me info-worker develops along very diff erent lines, producing anxiety, incertitude and constant change. Flexibility is the necessity to displace, move, and constantly change perspec" tives. This is the double-sided fulcrum of desire and productivity for the info-worker. Experience, knowledge and flux are at the same time the constitutive aspects of existence and the context of active labor. Cognitive labor is essentially a labor of communication, that is to say communication put to work. Ftom a certain point of view, this could be seen as an entichment of experience. But it is also (and this is generally the rule) an impoverishment, since

n loses its character of gratuitous, pleasurable and 'COJiIlnlUJlicatlo fiction. contact, becoming an economic necessity, a joyless could somehow be Moreover, not all forms of work that mental activities are linked to communication, inven­ defined as . A characteristic aspect of info-labor is the fact tion and creation reduced to any category, not even to deterritori­ that it cannot be my or creativiry. The people who sit at their alization or to autono repeating every day the same opera­ terminals in front of a screen, to their labor in a way similar to tion a thousand times, relate understand, though, is the industrial workers. What we need to labor in the network circle is new element, the fact that creative bled, and that it infinitely flexible, it can be assembled and disassem that we can find both is precisely in this dismantling identification a whole we need its desire and its anxiety. Within mental labor as ual energies are distinguish properly cognitive labot, where intellect engaged in a constant creative deterritorialization, and mental ­ labor of a purely applicative kind, which is still prevalent quantita brain tively. Even within the mental labor cycle, we can distinguish workers from chain workers. But I'll focus on the most innovative

and specific forms, since they represent the trend that is trans­ orming the whole of social production. f Cognitive labor in me network In order to understand the transformation that social perception of labor underwent during the past few decades and how it deter­ mined the workers' condition of cultutal and psychological

dependence, we need to analyze both the investments of desire within rhe domain of info production and the formal aspects of labor relations.

86 / The Soul at Work

The SOUl at Work J 87

infinite recombination of a myriad information, available a digital support. When cooperation means transferring, elabot'a t and decoding digitalized information, it is evident that the works as its natural frame. The function of command is no longer a hierarchical tion, localized in the factory, but a transversal, function, permeating every fragment of labor time. The non-hierarchical character of network becomes dominant in the entire cycle of social labor. This tributes to the representation of info-labor as an in,je)Jer,deJ

is to say the coordination of different labot fragments in a flow of information and production made possible by digita l structures. The second is the dissemination of the labo t into a multitude of productive islands formally autonomou s, actually coordinated and ultimately dependent. As we hav e cognitive labot manifests itself as info labor, that is to say as

processes. The first is the capture of work inside the netw()(k.

The digital transformation started two diffetent but

and internal to the labor process which regulate every g"'tUI'e; every productive parcel. Both simple executing workers and entrepreneurial man" gers share the vivid perception that they depend on a constant

of subjective fragments, all distinct but objectively de.perlden from a fluid process, from a chain of automatisms both extetl1a

tary. This new dependency is increasingly apparent automatic fluidity of the network: we have a strict int,,,dep,enrlen.o ',

dency, although no longer in the previous formal hi,,,ar'chici whose command over the productive action was direct and

form of work. But this independence, as we have seen, is in fact ideological fiction, covering a new and growing form of

that is info-commodity, Semiocapital. But for this combination to become possible, a single, infinitely flexible (and constantly reactive to the calls of Semiocapital) pro­

Every the instruments making this recombination possible. semiotic seg­ inhJ-,,'orllCe r has the capacity to elaborate a specific that must meet and match innumerable other semiotic fragm.ents in order to compose the frame of a combinatory entity

labor is the endless recombination of a myriad of frag­ that produce, elaborate, distribute and decode signs and activity where nformati,on:al units of all sorts. Labor is the cellular network activates an endless recombination. Cellular phones

be interrupted and from which they cannot step back marginalized. Control over the labor the price of being by the hierarchy of bigger and is no longer guaranteed Taylorist factory, but it is incorporated bosses typical of the y the technological devices flux. Cellular phones are probabl illustrate this kind of netwotk dependency. The cellular rkers even when is left on by the great majority of info-wo n in the organization are not working. It has a major functio substanas self-enterprise that is formally autonomous but where the dependent. The digital network is the sphere . and temporal globalization of labor is made possible

ductive segment is not enough: a device is needed, capable of the single segments, constantly coordinating and localizing in real time the fragments of info production. Cellular phones, the most important article of consumption of the last decade, provide this very function at a mass level. Industrial workers had to spend eight hours daily in a specific place if they wanted to again and again in a specific territory.

receive their wage in exchange for productive gestures performed

88 / The Soul at Work

The Soul at Work I 89

or simply to follow the paths of tence. instead. lemocracy does not expect an enthusiastic consent. In the 1990s the New Economy's ideology asserted that free play creates a maximum of happiness for humanity in happiness on the horizon of collective action. constantly move all along the breadth and depth of cyberspace. but of ideology. But at every moment and place they are reachable be called back to perform a productive function that will serted into the global cycle of production. Even if in the public discourse it is not possible to scientifically based and coherent discourse on happiness. Totalitari'Lll regimes. with the cult of profit and success 'pre:senlted in a caricatured but persuasive manner in advertising ended up producing an unhappiness caused by constant l1lp" tition. In order to reach this . In a certain cellular phones realize the dream of capital: that of ab:>orbin. On the in a mature vision we conceive democracy as an endless of a possible modus vivendi allowing individuals to identifY personal and public behaviors capable of capturing some happiness. denied freedom to their people in the name of a and homologated happiness. workers offer their entire day to cat. Totali­ imposed mandatory behavior procedures and asked of its 90 I The Soul at Work The Soui at V\}ork 1 91 . and existential price the constant stress of our permanent cognitive imply? The factory of unhappiness Happiness is not a matter of science. even the liberal economy. This is it should be addressed. We the circulation of fragmentaty and imaginary solicitations are rarely justified or coherent. :a"italisrn is often (and with no reason) presented as the companion of democracy (while we know that instead prospers in the shadow of far from democratic regimes). have to follow certain rules and modes of behaViOr. the totalitarian and the democratic political discourse to accept them enthusiastically. The entire lived day becomes subject to a semiotic tion which becomes directly productive only when necessaty. while the productive process was becoming lmmam l� ocused on happiness: to be happy is rhetoric was all f 'ble pOSS! ) but almost mandatory. like Nazism. But what emotional. since it expects enthusiastic par­ act in a universal competition where it is impossible to win fully and convincingly deploying all of our energies.itaH are paid only for the moments when their time is made Info-producers can be seen as neuro-workers. yet remain extremely effectiv e. f it is not tolerant at all. lest they be marginalized ers" cul:ea: slhe who's unhappy is a bad patriot and a bad slhe is a saboteur.!t e possible atom of time at the exact moment the productive needs it. and so on and SO forth. psychological.The mobility of the product was made possibl e by the bly line while workers had to remain motionless in space Info-workers. the 1990s . we flows of communication built on the idea of happiness. They prepare nervous system as an active receiving terminal for as much possible. thereby producing an sadness. They move to find elaborate experience. Fascism and the authoritarian states. defeat and guilt. In this way.

inatlOn every shift of collective energy. self desire as the engine of collective action. It is well known that the discourse of advertising is the creation of imagin ary models of happ iness that invited to replicate. levement of a social condition where productlve ach· would come together. Rich. consumption goods. 'd ' 1 970s feminist and gay movements 1 entlfied With �� . . and theref t ore of disillusions. What was at stake was first of all the these philosophies indicated as their major political Self-realization and the refusal of As we have already work seen. alienation meant a los s of human aurn. at the very of the industrial system's mature phase. . and the of advertising into a sort of paradigm of econ Omic political action. but also against the social and disciplinary structute on the factory mode!. of conf line realized through absenteeism and sabotage. as well as of and defeat. 92 I The Soul at Work . social and cultutal landscape. came out once with the title . were Widely circulated in the political mClvernen of those years. gothic and . md in its British one as well. That 1 977 . Ian The 1 977 movement-in its colorful and creatlve Ital' . rltr. The communicative of advertising is based o n the production of a sense of coupled with the solici tation to become a consumer." They meant that It was not . every transformation of drnag.o (In-between). Philosophies of idealist stripe.genera! . when the mechanical and repetit ion based model realized its peJrte(:tion . in feel adeq uate and to finally realize the happ iness that eluding us. liberated idh'idtLallitles deviated with rage from the ideology of sacrifice and work ethic: work was denounced as a pure hieratchical repe­ deprived of any intelligence or creativiry. pleasure and pain.m(IVeJrnelnt therefore used the ideology of happiness as a powerful instrument against the Taylorist factory and the Fordist pro­ cycle. Advertising is a system atic Pf<ldUC illusi ons. pracnce 0f happiness is subversive when It becomes collec. They considered capitalism the reason for an ation that takes away people's huma nity in exchange f or subaltern and conf ormist participatio n in the circuit of goods. . euphoria and depression.:nnCl the exchange of what in men and women is more essentially for something mate rially valuable. a journal which held a certam mfluence youth movements of the 1970s. such as a salary. in the 1 960s and 1 970s. IUIJntIY ( . "the personal is political. -re seIf alization . ounded on one intuition: desire is the determmmg lg tUtt'll :--'W '''' f o f r every sOcial mutational process. In fact. In its sophical meaning. aware. . found usa suppOrt in a cultural wave that placed issue of alienation at the core of its critic al system. which was punk. h 'al m t e SOCl sttuggle. -realization and respect for of life. productively and culturally autonomous. It is only as a ' o f desire that we can understand the workers' refusal orming their lives to the timing of the wage relation. In the f ollowing yeats some decisive events completely upset the productive. UUWcuct:U .rver. one of New Economy's effects w as the of ideological and advertising messages.l Existentialism. power and the government of the republic that was . workers' feeling of estra ngement from indust rial labor and ref l to work.

Max W eber matizes this relation. But when intellectual is mentioned in the theoretical tradition of the working m(lVe:meJrrt. This is whar actually The workers' struggle for power pushed capiral to use instead of workets. every concrete event not only can be symbolized. In industrial societies capital and the working contradictory interests. more and more opera­ f tions were transferred to machines.relerrlllg to an object or an event. the hierarchical structure ofthe f actory model The aspiration to self-realization became fundamental reconstruction of a functioning social model perf ectly digital productive modalities.:orLStrU( of the ptoductive system.' concatenations. introducing productive tisms. forming in many ways the modalities of productive JatlOt . Inf otmation is a creation of which is inoculated into the object or the event. At same time though. the workers' interest was instead that of avoiding eXlploitat saving rheir physical and intellectual energies for th.st. i Grundrisse.s. so that manual of the political and technical empowering of industrial :_.. '. In classic industrial society. properly productive f unction was essentially delegated to labor. digital technology spread very quick! y.'m:sehres. It is the :cre:atlclO ofvalue. as consent and therefore an executive and political function. Automation had already started during the mature industrial period: it implied that assume transf ormational functions. could greatly strengthened.. since digitalization created a simu­ of the world operationally integrated to the physical world. refers to a function that is separated from the productive pt<Jre. what is information? It is not simply a transfer of isigJrrs. Social history can be seen uninterrupted story of the refusal of work and the re. Inf o-production reached all cycles of goods production. Consequently it becomes to progressively teduce the entire production process to elaboration and exchange of inf ormation. services.tic computerization of working processes. In the 1 970s. substantially :: c1'ang. digitalization of machinery and the computerization of processes led rapidly to a transf ormation of the characterist:ic labor and to its general intellectualization. The f ormation of the inf o-productive model was accompanied cultural and psychic evolution in the labor force. And in fact. The introduction of microelectronic te<:hI1010g:ies.First of all. machines and technologies. replaced by information. tradiction came from the fact that capital aimed to take from labor the greatest possible amount of labor time and value. and :colnmoditv can be replaced by algorithmic inf ormation capable of tlansi orrnirlg that object or that event into exchangeable existence . Secondly. the production of goods. The Soul at Work / 95 . but they also had a common intere. that is to say to the direct transformation of physical Intellectual labor gained material power. exactly as Karl Marx had anticipated a function of control that governs and ideologically im(ldit:ies. event. workers and capital both had an reducing necessary labor time. Lenin uses it as a basis for the theory ofthe and Grarnsci rethinks it under a new light. During the twentieth-century the issue of the relation intellectual and manual labor was constantly raised. but simulated._"�.malrefllaJ and semiotic objects. becoming the rrUlUO'" and of the working class.·ng the very perception of activity. where reciprocal tesistance and coexist. with the introduction unc numerically controlled instruments and flexible automation But the decisive transformation of the 1 980s was the rstema. Thanks to digi­ tli".�JO:n. Every object.

an een a diffuse.. towards the end of the desires were located outside capital. based on a critique of hierarchy and took energies away from capital.workers felt exptopriated of their intellectuali ty. describing it as a space ideology that glorified the course. The of being able to constitute recombinatoty capiral ended between coo-nitive labor and " . The workers' for industrial labor.'delead. nClal to the decisions of rhe bIg fina rnaLnitive labor was subjected In the year 200 0. opens cOlmplet. individualistic. f.11 perspecrives for self -realization. people owned nothing but their cognitive labor force and who could creative basis. The intellectualization of labor. The exact happened in the new info-productive reality of the new desire called new energies towards the enterprise and seIt-nealiza through work. desire. venture capiral and retirement funds moved to cycle of virtual production. Prozac-economy In the 1 990s. tl advertising cycle. conquering revenue for research of social revenue of producel of the network. � � 96 / The Soul at Work . But it also opens a field of new energies to the valorization of capital. In order to stimulate competi . elligence and the new economy "eJ'. ideological and energy. consumpti n Frenetic rhythms dominated mid systematic use of euphonaesty lif les. a major eff of the ect and organizational transformation of the productive proc"ss'. In those years a on an economic and ' ..oC"V' ' nt d a redis­ dot. and personal peculiarities seem to be valorized.. Thu other . last two decades of the twentieth-centuty."essive energy became necessary. no vitality seems to exist anymore the economic enterprise. permanent electrocution '<a. JteilireLotirlg the world towards the l belief of the last ne -liberalist Competition has been the universa . ion . In high tech production cognitive faculties are in to work. the principle t. the media system and all those IIIf " invested their energl s m the where cognitive workers had independent enterpnses. entering the formation circuits of the Techno-Sphere media-scape. the stock dominating the world economy. libertarian drives for self-realization. betw batt s oligopolies. of of Perfect self-regulat ' play involves power relat1on .inlenJinLg The mod ety thanks to the and open source took roots in soci g capital and cognitive labor. specifically thanks to the absorption of creativity. libertarian. ket to oligopolistic domination · the SllbmlSSIOn of the mar . financial flows generated by net tra1me. inclividu:ui creativity. Armies of creative engineers. ormation technologies. The 1 990s " p�odl.>. between recombinin neo­ happened under the sign of a aUiance of the 199 0s market. tion. energy in the innovative e�cha" ge collapse determined a loss of the old oil-based economy. No desire. the decade of psycho-phatmacology: a roza -199 0s finance. Perfect self-regulation.mmC) and artists became the proletarians of intelligence. a powerful m)ectlOn of . and restored the domination of meaningless horror of war. of libertarian pf()gr. theft and lies..cir. a sort of of psychic energies.irytale since real economic s monopolies came to doml­ the mafia. outside productive labor and Capital was able to renew its psychic. and .g a constant mobilization p c-economy. attracting forces distancing themselves from its domination. the decade of the alliance between cognitive a reconstituting capital. equalItan Ie toOk place. Cognitive labor could therefore enterprise. producing the effect of the � � � . com enterprise also represente diffus on of the and .

dividutais are not up to the task. confusion and disactivation. Because of this new norm. The beginning of the new millennium had glorified fusions: AOL and Time Warner united rheir temacles in diffusely infiltrate the global mind. These the last actions before the crash involving Worldcom.::c attention leading people to the limits of panic. since this failure would be assigned to a psycho­ pal:holo!. Social norms do not acknowledge the possibility failure. they are rired of having hp. evoked rooLi s to develop after the disciplinary behavioral )epreSS1on begin and the rules of authority and conformity to the bi. odvlct!'. many are called bur only a ate chosen."1 not considered pathological outside of competitive. slackening and asthenia than by moral pain: the Cairnpetition implies a risky narcissistic stimulation. But return. c<. Exuberance was an effect of the rl"'M . lepl:ession then manifests itself as pathology of responsibility eeling of inadequateness. because in highly competitive context.at<:d by the f to . On the other side. dominated more by inhibition. ancient 'sad passion' is transformed into a block of action. When in 1999 Alan Greenspan spoke of rhe economy's collective psyche had already reached its point berance of the market. And finally the moment of rhe Prozac crash came. s. There is no competition without failure and Thf1 Soul at Work / 99 . which was only a anticipation of the 2008 final catastrophe.In. and this happens in a context where indiVidual initiative becomes the measure of the person. Enron. of . the real collapse came.inducing drugs. Panic depressive syndrome and competition In his book La Fatigue d'etre soi. of a satur" ti(J Panic is the amicipation of a depressive breakdown.ic comext. Alain Ehrenberg discusses sion as a social pathological syndrome.ssio>n is deeply connected to the ideology of self-realization the happiness imperative. phantasmatic threat dissolved. depression is a define through the language of psychology a behavior that entire sectors of the net-economy."2 "Depression is part of a field of problems. This crisis." his words were more of a clinical financial diagnosis. The depressed 'dolrnir.mtinly . exorcism the urban legend of the millennium bug.ns that assigned a destiny to social classes and aced with the new norms pushing each collapsed f orcing individuals to everyone to individual action. f themselves. was the first m'lllifest" ti of the breakdown suffered by swarms of cognitive workers more more affected by psychopathological syndromes and stress.cnnae themselves. the telecommunication emerprises invested huge amounts of money UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).e and individualist comexts. like that of a capitalistic economy specifically of the new economy. Immediately after. the respon­ of our lives is now fully assigned to each of us.tio. specifically depending situations characterized by competition. including neuro-programming growing part of Western societies. the over-exploitation of available mental energy.pre. subjected to an UUlnt>ern memal hyper-excitation to the point of collapse.

But can we explain the diffusion of this kind of syndrome in Is it possible to find any relation between it and the con­ it manifests and spteads? social context is a competitive society where all energies in order to prevail on the other.defeat. those one the pharmacy and those one can buy on the street. Social psychologists have in fact remarked that two patholo1 of great actuality in these last decades of liberalist hYiper-capl panic and depression. cognitive and stress culminating in a dangerous acceleration of all vital such as breathing and heart beat. leading to collapse. survive without Prozac.kilne'i of panic.ui the world produces in us. its own economic ef ficiency. and it is hard to find its physical and ps)rchicr' but it is even harder to find an adequately effective th"tal'Y' it. How many. econom . When economic competition is the dominant imperative of the social consortium. constantly questioned: if one does not win. but absolutely decisive. removed side. this a very similar situation to the one pictured by the etymology of the word panic? llJ"w<". we can be positive conditions for mass depression will.. Survival is no longer reaching a position of sufficient preparation and abilities. one can be in a few days or a few months. is a element of the psychopathologic economy. This happening under our eyes. devastating folly ov. Zoloft or even y Dependence on psychotropic substances. quasi-generalized social It is collective behavior that shows the most evident consciollsness the infinite stirnul. but an manifestation of a widely spread. Panic is the f eeling when. but the social norm cannot acknowledge the without questioning its own ideological fundaments. The etymology derives from word pan.. I don't have rhe ambition to offer any solution to the ic problem this syndrome poses. as much as a sublime nature overcomes oapadties of f eeling that the Greeks could summon when faced the god Pan. which contains all the signals from which comand survival depend. y The other side of the new econom is naturally the USe stimulant or anti-depressive substances. drome has been only recently diagnosed as a phenomenon.. Panic is a syndrome psychologists don't understand since it seems to have occurred only rarely in the past. technological context is the constant acceleration of the of the global machine. we feel unable to receive in OUf lll" his visit (see James Hillmann's An Essay on P an). is anything meaningful in this interpretation of panic. be produced... communicational context is that of an endless expansion Inf osphere. I'm just making observations on the meaning of panic. The infinite velocity of the expansion of cyberthe infinite velocity of exposure to signs perceived as vital to survival of the organism produce a perceptive. This is a hidden. faced with the infinity of nature. this is not simply an individual psychopathology. a constant expansion of cyberspace of the individual brain's limited capacities of elaboration. that means "everything existing": the god appeared bringing a sublime.operators. .c vastness of the Inf osphere is superior to the human of elaboration.

manifesting a SU(lden loss of motivation called depression by psychologists. originated by the loss of an object that used ocus of narcissistic attention for the subject. characterizing personal relations in the contemporary These behaviors cannot be corrected with the political persuasion or judicial repression. In the same younger skinhead brothers beat each other up every in the soccer stadium. as well as other. a soutce of astonishing profits for Roche Glaxo. which I believe to be and in a sociery based on the principle of competition with the technological instruments necessary for the acceleration of the communication circles surrounding description of these two complementary syndromes can be in order to address the psycho-social framework constantly and feeding the psychopathology of the present. riding per_aoces. expressing a form of panic accumu­ weekly during their normal working week.ght can well be recognized in the network world. a source of profit for the are an essential factor (and in fact the most important one) :ompetitive sociery. class and cognitariat is a realiry whose tangible physicaliry has been eliminated. or the organism itself from the flow of communication. With depression we are affected first of all by a disinv('8ttl the energy previously used in a narcissistic way. Once the realizes that it is unable to sustain futther competitive it is a loser in the relation that was absorbing all of its what takes place is a SOrt of zero degree of the exchange between the conscious organism and its world. f "The world doesn't mal. because nothing to do with politics and ideology but depend psychopathology induced by the Infosphere's excess.:s' motivation. Thought is the a-critic exaltation of digital technologies.e sense anymore"-says the since the object of his or her narcissistic passion is might explain the diffusion of depression as a secondary Permanent electrocution is the normal condition (if compared to the primary one. where network communicative technologies are used in a rive social situation.Pollitic:al culture refuses to acknowledge that the legal drugs one at the pharmacy. apparently normal behaviors. gidThou.Collective panic generates phenomena such as aggressiveness against immigrants. where relation to the other is artificially euphoric but substantially 'exualiz" d as well. organism in hyper-fast flow of economically relevant signs. senseless mass diums. With depression we are always affected by a pre)ce. aggressive young people addicted to amphetamines. Once the organism gets overtaxed to an unbearable panic crisis may lead to collapse. as well as the illegal ones. stimulation and the endless cognitive stress affecting organism and caused by permanent electrocution. technologies are based on the loss of the physicaliry of the . projecting the.sorized cars and going to work ready to give their best their share in corporate earnings and to obtain their approval are all in the waiting room of panic. .

is evident that the word "cognitariat" includes two concepts: The virtual class cannot produce any conscious collective except as collective Intellect. mortal physicality. Ir is because of these considerations thar I see the new notion. or negaring mental labor.world. corporeality: not only that of others. on simulating algorithms capable of rqlrodu. The cognitariat is like seem s to me an interesting and useful norion. or form and therefore their caducity. removes. he writes. The cognitariat can identify within the social definition of cognitive labor is precisely sexuality. What is a conscious community. Today in a similar way we Noah grouped in his ark all the creatures of the earth.nil'ariat is the social corporeality of cognitive labor.cin": forms. able to analyze the virtual class in corporeal. but even one)� �" I use the notion of the 'nd. and the creation of the within technological. though tous. virtually present in any possible place according to their This schizophrenic geography needs indeed two difJerent logues. same time. entitled Collective Intelligence 1999). It proposes objects temporality and physicality have constitutively been renlovec removal of corporeality is a guarantee of endless happiness naturally a frigid and false one. Thanks to the digital network. our air-conditioned arks and float on the waves of the deluge without losing contact with the cultural patrirnolm mulared by humanity. barbarian swarm and make war.uction of Semiocapital. character of rhe work flows produced by Semiocapital. isolate rhemselves in a pressurized and rom other connected capsule. to save them from the flood. his most famous book. as seen from the standpoint of its social by the constant exploitation of attention. The notion of virtual class stresses the socially undefined.e intellect takes a concrete shape. the unconscious. Therefore The cognitariat is the semiotic labor flow. two atlases describing supposedly separate catalogue of the virtual class is sterilized. except f only one quality: their tangible reality. on the physical planet down there. because it ignores. the idea of a lab(Jral:ive participation of all human intellects to the creation of idle:cti'. they are not socially or materially structured: rheir depends on the removal of their own social corporeality. Those who can. keeping linked to the other arks. digital and virtual conditions becomes But the social existence of cognitive workers does not itself with the intellect: cognitive workers. in their concrete are bodies whose nerves become tense with constant and effort while their eyes are strained in the fixed con­ nplati(m of a screen. COI. capable of defining the (denied) the (avoided) sociality of the mental labor at work in The virtual class has no needs. Pierre Levy proposes the notion of collective intel­ T(18 Soul at Work 1 105 . They are physically removed f beings (whose existence becomes a factor of insecurity). sexuality and mental mortality. socially f ragmented. bur the cognitariat virtual class is not affected by the psychic stress deter- labor and proletariat. Bur I'd complementaty concept. The class is rhe class of those who do nOt identify with any class. and social terms.

every receiver is also a transmitter.ncmal. or Michelangelo Antonioni' s cinema.:olflt( is still a central element of the social scene. even opposite. and con­ responses. In post-industrial landscape of Semiocapitalism. if we understand this word in its fullest me. Thus the guage of things took the place of the symbolic exchange. imperative or dissuasive one. once linking The Poisoned Soul through the movements of a mechanical apparatus. forgetting that privacy tepresents not only the right not to be watched. while "the thing" every affective. Each producet of semiotic flows is also a consumer of them. These signs cannot wotk From incommunicability to over-communication In the critical language of the 1960s. In the 1960s. (mr. and in fact we have to. affective and communicational. relational dis. Productive life is overloaded with symbols not only have an opetational value. These aspects of telational discomfort are well expressed by literature of the industrial eta that in the 1960s tevealed itself the nouveau roman. I will unleashing chains of intetptetation. but also the right to refuse to watch and to be con­ tinually exposed to watching and hearing what we would rather not 106 The Poisoned Soul 1 1 07 . more importanriy. industrial urban landscapes teptesented ground for a feeling of silent uneasiness and the rarefying. we can be reached any point in the world. that is to say to the very possibility of per­ JUiridilcai rules are constantly devised in ordet to protect citizens' privacy. have replaced by the digital telecommunications netwotk. and user is part of the productive process: all exits are also an entry. since we the assembly line. which links through symbols.mirlg and not only according to its specific juridical definition.3 diffetent. Workers were forced to by the assembly line surrounded by a hellish metallic clanking it was impossible fot individuals to exchange a wotd. since the comprehensible language was that of the machine. since is the only way to participate in the labor market. decoding. f rom the public eye. but also an affective. not transparent. itac:terizlflg present emerging uneasiness originates from a situation of '" nlftUnlC. relational acts among human beings." conducting my analysis of the mutations in the SO':lO-cu:!turali psychological landscape. Under these conditions privacy and its : pr>ssilJilities are abolished. situation from the one completely the decade of full industrial development.MU overload. We can reach point in the world but. communication seemed to fade away. W can have access to the modalities of digital telecommunica­ e from everywhete and at all times. but it is the with these two words and almost half a centuty later. the word usually combined with the word"incommunicability. The constant mobilization of attention is essential the productive function: the energies engaged by the productive are essentially creative. linguistic and symbolic intetstice. we use the word privacy we normally refer to a space sheltered MJ'UUl� acts and exchanges that are purely private.

"'o typical of the domain c.noise. menology of the third meaning. not Antonioni's but a cognitive space overloaded with nervous incentives to is the alienation of our times. The diffusion of screens spaces (railway stations. we can see an "u'�. creativ of value. we should talk ofde-realIzati rather than reification.oares integral part of this abusive occupation of the public space private dimension of our sensibility. in e. 2) a painful division the self. its visual and auditory messages in every inch of OUr and in every second of our time. Everywhere. The ov·ercoming experienced by the animated body in reaching the body of the other: a pathogenic separation between c01:nitive functions and material sociality. We can then understand it according Hegelian concept of "by itself.h'. the concept of alienation is linked to the critique ofcolnrrlo<ii centered f etishism. of the term alienation that best describes the third meaning times: an era marked by the submission of the soul. In the industrial domain it itself as reification. to ' experienced by workers and consumers. something foreign. The notion of alienation (to be other than oneself) can figured in different forms. expropriated. as much as the words .rstc as: 1 ) a specific psychopathological categoty..de.. conditions of industrialism and industrial consum perceived their bodies as something of which they have the ills-tonic f eelings of a non-svmpathe. and the fact that the inanimate body on the thing. since-let's not this-for Hegel "Being is the Subject" as full deployment dialectic of the Absolute Spirit. Advertising constantly violates this privacy. of having a body. ion. linguistic.. the intact human beings of communism-freed commodities' domination and owners of their own working Within the postindustrial domain." Within of reification: the effect of "the erism. . emotional corporeality is animated. Not silence but uninterrupte?. that they almost the epitome for that epoch. and incorporated by the production menology of the first twO meanings defined rhe pheno we can observe an typical of the industrial sphere. 3) a f eeling of anguish and frustration related to the ble body of the other. and of the alienating process alienation in this context is understood as the rise of np. emotional of de-realization: the social. airports. the desert of language words "alienation" and "incommunicability" were so often by the critical European discourse of the 1 960s.llCY of touching the thing. The concept of alienation is then un. attention is under siege. where self becoming thing.1 108 / The Soul at Wor'l< Tile poisoned Soul / 109 . The word "de-realization" refers instead to a happy relation with otherness and incapable of living with itself. city streets and sq. In the young Marx's analysis that humanistic socialism to. which describes the pheno of immaterial labor..see or hear. psychi of enjoying POSSlDl. presence of the other as tangible and physical extens of human The word "reification" refers to the "becoming thing" mental the loss of animation derived from the separation of working functions. linguistic.p".." which indicates a loss of but also the dialectical condition of a negation leading restoration of the entire being of the Subject.

for the the sensibility nioni could express.tie'n vlit in those years: it prepared the atmosphere leading to the 1 968 the self. a 1966 film by Tn"m. completely different. In this extremely slow. mbridgea. but first of all quality of emotions. an adventure are simply occasions to describe a general cOlndiitie'n t industrial exteriors-a quality of experience where the warmth malaise inhabiting every relationship. Being close to the experience ofpop art. was exploding: At the peak ofthe industrial age the world of things exemplars of standardized objects. The machin ate one. In his 1964 movie Red Desert. who often tion Bergman whose intentions were. making us estranged from ourselves.elit_ rhrough background colors.ble the core of the critical dis­ The concept of "alienation" waS at for the related to these two movies. escap(.. Marriage crises. extremely significant to scene of that decade. pop-style Rat interiors and immediacy of human relations were lost.eriien>:ini a moment of liberation in which the new warmth of the COllectlve replaced the coldness of private relations. however. The Serpent's Egg In a 1977 movie entitled The Serpent's E Ingmar Bergman tells gg.ect()r who best succeeded at representing a passage that is not related to culture and politics. distance between bodies. to submission of the person to the thing.ov. the Rattening of nuances This happens in a similar way in Persona. Bergman. separated object while the body was turned into an inanim time mass consump­ from any form of consciousness." meaning and the historicity of these concepts in order to stand how they helped interpret that cultural "conjuncture. Antonioni was the dir. Beyond any critical generalization and humanistic philosophical liquidation of the entire field of connected to the word "alienation."globalization" and "virtuality" can be considered the present times.. At the same serialized behaviors in relation to existing merchandises. the story of the rise of Nazism in 1 920s Germany as if it were a (physical) poisoning of a (psychological) social space. Decades of serial reification inRuenced our perception to such up to an extent that today we are no longer capable of realizing of which point the otherness of the thing transformed the world r evety day experience. an infiltration of the milieu of relations and everyday life. the industrial homologation of different aspects of existence. dazzling black and white movie. if howeve we admit that "ourselves" means anything at all. in color and form. Silence and aphasia in that entire emotional landsca of individual psy­ can't be understood as mere signs representing instead a historically and socially and the sunny sites incommunicability. In that context.)) it is necessary to re(lis(. and first of all the rel. Bergman's silence place are the Northern seaside resort where the action takes for an emptiness that becomes loneliness. serial production generated infinite tive technique subjugated human and the assembly line as a produc e thus became an animated gestures to mechanical rhythms. the rarefYing of communication becomes the stylistic cipher of the human ambi­ ence that was brewing in those yeats: later the new winds of warmth and eroticism brought by the students' revolt would finally Till"! Pnisonf�rl Soul I 1 1 1 . how they could help us understand the new (is ir really a new human condition of connective times. Antonioni captured the coming from figurative art and the nouveau roman to rep'res. alienation referred pe. This was the crisis that the Italian bourgeoisie was ex].

when work-related disturbances to immediately involve the domain of language and emotions. introducing a new ever working class. advertising.treated the theme of alienation as psychological suffering. The critical notion of incommunicability marks a field of problems: the rarefaction of exchanges. This film opens the way to a new definition the perspective of his personal evolution and of the late-rno(!efln d understood as a psychological and linguistic process and redefining alienation as a material. is already the present. who told the story of the dehumanization of modern industrialism from the point ofview of a humanity still capa­ ble of being human. That same year. and finally their brains. happily willing to be exploited during the entire week. deprived of its own will and ready to be led. 1 977 is a year charged 1 1 2 / The Soul at Work . though. marked by the Hegelian Renaissance. and T Serpents Egg is not considered one of the Swedish he best films. amorphous mass. the production of ag. on December 25. in order to define the current scene our own postindustrial times. In this movie. and the actual pollution of the human interaction Wirh The Serpents E Bergman thinks anew the vety qutosticm gg incommunicability: communication between Ullmann and is progressively poisoned. 1977 is a turning point in the history of humanity. such consumerism. it is the year when a post-human perspective takes shape. since they are active within the biological on superficial forms of behavior. in its chemical composition. Bergman talked about what was then the but today. sensibility. like a nerve gas. in the new millennium.arra. In that 1977 movie. silence of the soul and incommunicability. Liberal economics pr()duced mutational effects in the organism: they are deeper than and cognitive texture of society. metaphor of The Serpents E avoids the essentialist and ide­ gg definitions of the word that were prevalent during the 1 960s. on our psychology. within a phenomenological e psychopathological context. or rather neuf()-chetni mutation. alienation has nothing to do with human it is a consequence of the toxic substance penetrating and the air rhat the characters (Liv Ullmann and David \. almost chemical. relations and communication. order to excel in dancing with greased hair on Saturday nights. since a toxic substance penetrates their lungs. religious fundamentalisms and competitive cOnf()rnlisrn: produced by Nazism. uneasiness in relations. metaphor of psychological submission that we find in this pertinent far beyond the example of German Nazism: it can acrerize other processes of collective mental pollution. There is no more room for kindness. chemical.gressiy behaviors. yet in my opinion it is one of the most int:ertosting ones I � itural process. and competitive mobilization of the energies. endless info-productive stimulation.. The explicative utility of the notion of Ilielnat[on emerges once we extricate it from its properly Hegelian W can use it again. the man with the derby hat. The has been brought daily into our homes. Thus (in a crowd scene filmed in hypnotic motion) the social body is transf ormed by Nazism into. explanation of the human degrad at processes caused by Nazism. Saturday Night F came out in movie theatres that fall.di breathe inside their tiny habitation.. Charlie Chaplin died. This metaphor has to be instead as the intuition of a psychological pathology 'preaO:lllg on a social scale. television commercials. and language: it is embodied television. Social pathologies are first of all a communicational order. proposed here a alistic.

Carnal contact is heavy with danger and becomes either rigid. this pollution of the soul and the consequent the body. frozen. relations. and the Italian and German autonomous movements. that the soul is the relation ro the other. The clean or a metaphor f the energy that we have been discussing is we biological matter into an animated body. The soul is the soul was left on hold. still had brains that f freely. Eight houts a day (or nine. domirebellion. educated in a milieu where mediatization prevails over form of relation wirh the human body. UC-all1l1. The generation born in the 198 0s to be the first video-electronic generation. or hyper hot in a pa. despite the body's enslavement.-d generation into object and subject at once. the body recognizes its distance from capital interests. yet it can finally appear as a .""'U 11 ' nlll \1 . at least until their energies were available and fatigue last reawakening of consciousness. whose effects transform the first vi<ieo. histoty of capitalism the body was disciplined and put to times. workers wished to do with their souls. with a self-destructive movement of craziness. ten. unoccupied and neglected. hostile movements. their thoughts. The and artistic experience of the American no wave. Then beings rediscover their intellectual and psychological it rebels. tary school children.)logid dusty. cohesive and erotic. overturning of the body's submission to domination possible precisely because the soul remained separate from an!�uage. then the body refuses to submit.rh. Once alienation becomes active estrangement.sin :g. it is language as the construction of the ft.with ominous signals: in Japan it is the year of y outh 784. orced to tepeat the same movements. interrupting breaking the chain and blocking the productive flow. The organism becomes sensitive to of corporeality. a game of seduction. twelve) the body is to repeat strange.t. submission. thirteen in the month of October alone. against the mutations in the domain of the sensible and in collective psychology. An enormous scandal is provoked by a chai n suicides. During the decade the epidemic danger of AIDS re-semiotizes the sterilization. and affects presented no interest for the capitalist of the disgrace by idealist humanism. Assembly-line workers. alienated. the first gelle t:. while the bold prevails over the hairy. It is the beginning of a long process and predisposed to connections. refusing to submit to wage labor and beginning the foun­ of a community that is aware and free. thoughts. all cognitive activities and affective remained distant from the labor process and therefore they free. In the aesthetic styles of the following decades we witness a c1r:an. re!at:iorLshlp The soul is with a1terity. In a sense attraction. Sensibility-not reason-perceived this mutation. alienation of the soul from the body was seen as the signal was the wide spreading of heroin addiction. permanently interfacing digital universe. whose most Thus is prepared the cognitive mutation of the last two the twentieth-century. bodying process. of power.

and the is the interruption of such flows. desire is often perceived as if it were subjective. falling in love. a meditation on some questions posed by authors who theorized In the following pages I will analyze these themes. someone who had a different perspective on things within that changing context. I will focus on Michel Foucault. it. In Deleuzian language be positive per se. that debate remained marginal within the prdlc)sophici arena. whose name is reality.ietb'-cemu in particular. Gilles Deleuze effects of the illusion. While this transformation was taking place. But this f I have to admit that on this point ambiguities can be found in work of both philosophers. to understand that social reality is a point of psychodynamic for innumerable mental drifts. suspending the final goal The flowing of desire is a source of illusion. in addition to Jean Franl'ois Lyotard. POst-structuralist theory has question of alteriry within new conceptual parameters. who was openly pOI. but today we can see that its core is dense with and full of theoretical and political implications which are stunningly timely. we still need to come to terms with strophe": I mean Jean Baudrillard. thought changed the terms of the question.' .emIe: towards philosophical positions predicated on desire." as we can orce that it. This is n�. the illusion devalues desire since it is the source of maya. beginning "desire. the soul itself is put to work.e that this very illusion is history. as it is not !manation of a psychic flow whose source is the res.' Despite the machines' clanki. The question of its meaning also disappeared. But I will also cite another name. the it is the game we have been playing lmowing it was a game. NC'tion. Even the stoics understood that in che f ence purpose of philosophical action is to cut our depend tial point of the postindustrial transformation that we in the last decades of the twentieth-century. in its interpretation by the "desiring movement.» " implosion" and desiring and disciplined body ar the end of the tw" nt. possible to discuss and start processes of autonomy and in Semiocapitalism." "control" and ('biopolitics" have Hegelian and Marxist analytic notions. In years. a f have sometimes identified desire as a positive force opposing domi­ orm of vulgarization needs to be corrected.and sadness did not prevail. As I have to admit that in my own of "political translation" of Deleuze's and Guatrari's theories I The Poisoned Soul / 1 1 7 . Yet we need to ciry. the flow of emotions and desi withdrawing certainly respecr the superior wisdom capable of addiction to passions' domi­ the flux of maya. trying to escape from the flux of maya we also try to under­ Felix Guarrari. focused on concepts such as "simulation. Simplistic readings of Deleuze's and Guattari's theories have misunderstood the notion of desire. The word disappeared from the philosophical lexicon beginning in the and the historicist humanistic context where that word fla'" a." "discipline. orm of the world. nation. kn<)wled�.eq f otmations and independent social subjectiviry was posed in pletely new terms. Even once we have understood this truth. to make some sense of it in our path to wisdom ce is the Yet it's not enough to acknowledge that wordly experien mind.

construc� in its rebellion. or the perception of the other as limitation. then transformed into a conscious ollt.. emphasize the effective action in the constitution of the desiring field. there is a Nazi form of desire. Mictosoft.eelrin The field of desire is central in history. Beginning with the awareness that the other is limitation of the existing organism. ilialectIC context alienation is the subject's limitation in its rela­ question of the limit. "1 is an other. politically elaborated. Desire judges History. or we can think of it in of (com)passion. But for us the limit is not a of potency. its diminishment and impoverishment. Murdoch.oftc:al synthesis) cannot be exhausted: this also means that the 1 1 8 / The Soul at Work .• �. . '"'. Glaxo) took control desiring field. alterity. an the productive Unconscious.lVu. violence and ignorance have been unleashed. Hegelian language the limit is understood as "alienation": the POS:. The limit is a condition for potency: this is the meaning recomposition process. have seen already that the Workerist (Compositionist) cri­ of the dialectic abandoned the notion of alienation in favor idea of positive estrangement. otherness is indeed acknowledged as but also as the condition for an expansion of the power of self. Desire is not a good boy. that the question of the other cannot be posed in merely terms. places and transf orms the very existence of subjectiVity. or better an entangled nerwork of conflicting forces. It is structured through or f orms. but who judges desire? Ever since the corporations specializing in "irnalgin. Social recomposition is the process which the relation to the other is linguistically. texts. like media-activism. such forces that are crucial for the formation of the collectiv e therefore f the main axes of social progress.ctJ. The limit (which is not reducible to any lust. ideologies and economic interests are constantly clashing. What is produced by the Uncollsciiit mpove"ishmtent: it opens instead the possibility of collective expe­ based on conflict. as relation of the individual with the individuals around Anti-Oedipus reminds us: je est un autre. lg" Disney. It is the field w here struggle takes place.ve." Alterity is the pulsional. . fllICUIX is a singular existence in its complex relation with the world. Desire is the psychological field where lm:agli �ary. This is why the . an example."J of overcoming the limit. meet or throllgh position and conflict. Italian Compositionist the immaterial trenches of techno-slavery and mass conform These forces have colonized the field of desire. does not appear in Deleuze's . The dialectic attributes to the historical process the task and alterity is finally removed. an autonomous aggregate. nor the positive history. a group in fusion. In the context of Workerist Compositionist theories. cultutal movements. and of realizing a totaliza- the other.. imaginary flow WlillCIol .Desire is not a force but a field. f reasons that change thtoughout histoty. since within the limit of the self. affectively. What be understood and analyzed is the way this relation has while we went beyond modernity. The relation to otherness is constitutive of psychological and social dynamics. re-composition We can think of the other as a limit. Limit. Mediaset. WorkeriSln asserted that this limitation does not involve a loss. though. phantasmatic.

desire: they can pn)dtlce V concealment. and no person: gates. but organs plays an important role.pleasure of enjoying the other. They which are invisible becau they come into contact. a rock. It is rather a neous becoming where different segments are active: automation. When produce . s from a consider the concept of a body without organ lttptlSitiionist point of view. theories on the other. figures that the perceives as stable but that are indeed mutational. ocritus'l eyes an infinite multiplicity of is in his [Dem se they are so small. once the field of dialectic materialism cism was abando ned. but the (agencements) . it began to be clear that the transformation is much closer to the chemistry of gases mechanics of sociology. There are abstract devices able to connect flows: mixers that cut. but by these meetings. they a unity ating they produce corruption.)) and becomes temp in as an effect of chaosmotic cteation. There is no object. technology. temporary atomic compositions. is an orchid continuing to exist as a baboon. and the most recent of.modern chemistry on one hand rm this hypothesis. they do not in vacuum. omllosite body into another. or identifiable projects would be conflicting. flows of imagination. These segments neither sum up nor oppose each other: they catenating relations that Guattari called "machinic arr'an. extended subst orarily becomes temporal in its "becomings. uniting. At the beginning of the known history of Western Democrirus proposed a philosophical vision of a "c{lmIPositi kind. Deleuze we could name Molecular the way to a new philosophy that of the body In their philosophical landscape the image jects that promote unequivocal wills. and indefinable. life. for a moment or for in which people define themselve able matter. always playing with an imponder (at the exact the end of the history of Western thought and Guattari it starts coming out from itself). ocal crossing body without organs is the process of recipr from everything and everyone. multiple is not "becoming. no existent. stir and combine flows and events. international financial identitarian or competitive obsessions. In fact there is no flows of imagination. There are no compact forces. panic psychosis. transient. wealth On the other hand. confi shape projected by the eye and shape of every object is the fixation of a relational person's being is the temporary s. In this way.no'". and by separ . emerging from chaos 1 20 I TI1e Soul al Work The Poisoned Soul / 1 21 .'" lO". bee.en There is no subject opposing other subjects. who is at once limit and cannot be exhausted. depressions of the collective illuminations. collective happiness or depression. the endless molecular flows ance body without organs is the atemporal. a a cloud." Felix Guattari says. the historical process is not a field where homogenous subjectivities are opposed.

like the f ormation of storms the oceans. More sophisticated sensors are necessary in order to un'.eC1.'" The events of the planet app ear like stormy and inc:o nlpt'eh"n. it ''A concept is a set of inseparable variarions that is produced 1 22 / The Soul at Work . cursor of chaosmosis nev er stops oscillating betw een diverse enunciative nucleinot in order to totalize synthesize them in a transcen dent self.aliry] . a mulripliciry of others. in the middle of social sttuggle.!a extremely complex phenom ena and even more complex categc>rl interpreting processes that seem fortuitous. but in spite of thing. a collecrive lOt'ention movement. singular aggregates are called subjectivities down to their molecular dimension. to make a world of them. the autonomous n cessarilY had to use categories of a schizoanalytic kind. clouds. all sides individuated identit y and the organized body. In order to understand the muscular relaxation of eneire neurovegetative system experienced by Western humaniry the 1960s. due to political and biogtaphical vicissitudes. In to explain the process of social recomposition we need to refer notions of desire. But what is cha os? form of the world that is too complex to be grasped by the categories available to hum ans.. f ormal paradigmatic order. in the middle of a psychoanalytic practice.at. A chaosmotic concept.tation of a complex phenomenon. ' e transversalita [A Tomb for Oedipus: Psychoanalysis methods of Autonomist theory and Schiwanalysis coincide Compositionist method: they both reject any constituted primacy.. as Guattari himself explains "I is an other. How can it be explained that-in a certain decade-workers all the world started singing the same song? It was the visible nanlit"'. we need to understand what made it possible.order to give shape to an enunciation. machinic unconscious and schizoanalysis. Guattari's notion of "Chaos mosis" describes this concatenations of sense wit hin chaos: back to a chaos rendered consistent. to analyze the process of f ormation of the social imaginary. f Trarlsven. become Thought. Del euze Guatrari would say. a world. "3 chaosmos. since chaosmosis ref ers to the process of facing from what appears like a chaos of a conceptua l. varying. oint.1St published in Italian with the title Una tomba per Edipo.unter between and French desiring theory (Molecular Creativism) was ToClnut<ous hazard. . the same way. had to use categories of a socio-critical kind. O"'aclhing . Now an algo rithm superior order is necessary. in order to the process of psychogenesis. temporary. a paradigm. embodied at the section of partial compon ents of enunciation. which or constructed on a plane of immanence insofar as the latte r crosscuts rhe chaotic variabi liry and gives it consistency (rea l­ ity) a concept is therefore a chaotic state par excellence. � sychanalise et transversalitt! [Psychoanalysis and Trans­ book P ioa.ubjiectivity does not pre-exist the process of its own production. looking instead for the processes of transversal of those unstable. Italian Autonomous theory (Compositionist ncc. The history of late moderniry appears like a chaos evolutional lines are unf oreseeable.

u intense for our capacity to elaborate emotionally. Deleuze and wrote that the moment had come for thinking of old age.cellorle" and silent nothingness they traverse.entered by the psychological. Qu'est-ce que la philosophie? build levels of consistence without } is Philosophy? and had been published in 1991. of mutant value? How do we work f its liberation. together with his ac(:onIpiice.'ia.:e its f bve:rsi(lD of psychic energies premise to a depressive deactivation.. and sensations. hat is Philosophy?. thought. which in 1992 just before his death on an August that same year. require just a little order to protect is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself. was titled This is the question asked by Felix Guattari on the last page book written on the verge of an abyss. the uncontrolled last book. substances.:ecb happiness collapsed. The chaos we are about has an existence that is at once mental and physical. UNot only objective disconnections and disintegrations but an immense weariness results in sensations.rman'ootlly reinvent it in a way that renders it compatible with unIverse. Depression and chaosmosis At the same time we need to explain how it happened that . but the important are the themes of chaos and old age: two deeply connected.. . capture it." and infinitely decomposes any consistence: question of philosophy is to The book he wrote previously. enrich it. There is chaos once the flows are . already hardly f ideas that fly off.qllestion "what us from chaos." 7 naire. the question of subjectivity is now returning leitmotiv. We can read in the conclusion · the infinity from where thinking emerges.. friend Gilles Deleuze. at a point. and the f ragile collective ar(:hi. by f is chaos?" is thus answered in the following :. this fantastic and In their introduction to W " -. Many are the common topics o f these two books. are infinite speeds that blend into the immobility of the without nature . Chaos "chaotizes. sadness prevailed. expectations. imaginary. and materia l turing everyday experience. languor.appre. or its re-singularization?»5 How do we produce it. which have now become woolly. that is. Ovetwhelmed velocity.. letting escape the elements and vibrations it What is Philosophy?: 1 24 1 The Soul at Work The Poisoned Soul i 1 25 . Soci al is the manif estation of an extremely complicated ormes. the mind drifts towards panic. and pe. that disappear "6 " orgetluIness. as we'll see. It is not a natural given any more than air or ''Among the f ogs and miasmas which obscure ourfin de is chaos when the world starts spinning too fast for our mind orms and meaning. age opens the doors to a chaosmotic wisdom capable of elabo­ the infinite velOcity of flows with the necessary slowness..

They also saw the formation of ngwhere all architectures of solidarity vanished. as Joyce says. "It is as if the struggle against chaos does not take place an affinity with the enemy. so that it oreseen nor precon­ osed chaos-neither f . The Modernity built chaoids: political reducers of complexity. but also an ally. It is osirion of chaos that yields the not chaos but a comp constitutes. jectivity does not side with order. there is either a f into mental chaos OUitside. The process of subjectivation creates simple semiotic. In their years.y.<osmc". Fifty years ago demographers and perceived rhe resurfacing of chaos. and the collective intellect underwent a of submission that has ambiguous. schemes of interpretation we have at our disposal. a comp chaoid variety Art transforms chaotic variability into but it does so in order to renArt struggles with chaos happens of becom ing-subject is not at all natural: it tions that are constantly social . a or sensation. translators of sensibility. art creates semiotic devices of translating the infinite velocity of reality flows into rhythm of sensibility. labor precarious. finds increasingly difficulr ro Contract.plane ofcomposition or a f alling-back on ready-made all ness: then. without having to recall the Common places of communication. the worki community was eliminated by technical innovation. For instance. Subjectivity or rather the process of is constantly measuring itself against chaos. economic and media condi which the conscious organism derives the condition f the or of a cosmos and of a provisory order. and redundancy. emotional and political concatenations through which becomes possible. .)) decrepitude and What is philosophy? came out at the beginning of they were the years of passage beyond twentieth-century and represent an epoch of dissolution for the happy a new productive lmllfiH. Deleuze and Guattari define these translators as " chaoids. conceptual transformers. since this would paralyze is an enemy. Old age is this ment where the circularing flows are too f ast f the or elaborate them. and friendship are the transformers of velocity us to slowly elaborate what is infinitely f without losing its ast complexity. our two friends discovered the dissolution of modern The Poisoned SOul / 1 27 . variable and singular. Subjectivity itself precisely in this constant relation to an infinite Chaos is too complex an environment to be deciphel:e."9 How is it possible to elaborate the infinite velocity of flows being affected by the disaggregating effect of panic? artistic forms. hardly decipherable. Was their own old related perhaps to the aging of the world? Demography confirms it: old age is the destiny of our planet. In those years Guattari proposed again the question of becoming emograllhic curve has slowed down.

practices (aesthetics. are the ways of chaosmotic cre­ the construction of bridges over the absence of meaning. Chaosmosis is a book attempting to traverse throllgh cosmic and creative bridges. Islamic integralism and fanaticism started itself as political identity for a decisive sector of the the Earth. it and recomposed itself follOWing new direc tions. anticipated that the earth would be populated by people. as if it were an inco mpatible topic creationist energy that animated his work . where the of the United States. later by Putin's figure. with of the Islamic world. And in fact.'I. :. Births are decreasing in all cultural areas. declared the of negotiating on the lif estyle of American citizens. while the collapse announced the reemergence of nationalism. if the strUggle against chaos did not take place without an wirh the enemy. is the beginning of a meditation that Guattari lefi: us on the creation of a peculiar cosmos. Bush senior. and the equally unexpect ed new apl'arjtion' i were years of dramatic. beyond the dark (but also enlightening) experience is a truth within depression. on a endlessly reconstituting itself beyond depression. gestures. We don't find such a word in Guattari's left in the margins. Depression.»ll is the creation of concepts. and revolt. politics) that could make possible the . schizoanalysis. as we have read. that is to say the isolation of a specific over the endless and infinitely fast flow of things. the re-emergence of fasci sm and the capitalism brought with its victories. . of the reversible into . The years following 198 9-afi:er the sudden hope world peace. iHeve.:urnuiiating of barbarization. makes the existence of bridges possible: friendship. Felix Guatrari recorded the ac. losing its meaning and recog nizable f orms. Mr. the modality of projective Art is instead the singular composition of chaos the elaboration of forms. often of the hOrizon. If we pay carent! attention to the last chapter of collective book.le." Depression is the vision of the abyss by the absence of meaning. we know today that we won 't go beyond mark.1IIariZ2ltion of chaos. with a conver­ of the virtual into the possible. and projection. and environments a concrete presence in the space of communication. Mte r the Rio De Janeiro Sum mit. and concepts are chaoids of isolating a singular cosmos. of the deferred into difference. his research existence.lo 1:ic" appeared as Our common perspective. In those years. Tuned to the old age of the world. obsc ure changes. we can see OUr phers of chaos facing the dissolution of meaning.The trajectory of conceptual creation was chan ging. that is to say. painful. massacres were looming on the horizon.ofirlite speeds are loaded with finite speeds. love. '. Gilles and Felix are in fact analyzing confusion and dark horizons: the emergenc e of chaos. Poetic and conceptual " like political creativiry. ecc.rsil.

led. like and Guattari did in their introduction to hat W is Philoso­ age is no longer a marginal and rare phenomenon. chances f survival are few: we know it. is the discipline through which the organism and its become attuned. Guattari establishes a privileged relation between psychotherapeutic dimensions. sexual. One suffocates every day and the symptoms Mr. art and schizoanalysis are practices of chaosmotic creation. ethnic. it is to build one's own progression. The notion of refrain leads us to of the schizoanalytic vision: the refrain is the singular the niche for individualizing the self where the creation becomes possible. Ireathirtg has become difficult. no more destinations for us to reach. The tuning process is disturbed by the of infospheric stimuli and by semiotic inflation. almost impossible: as a matter ?. ritual.oca. protected by refrains. and aesthetics seems to be at the a diagnostic of the psychospheric pollurion and a therapy relation between the organism and its world. capitalism has swallowed the lan. intervenes precisely at these points of the analysis is no longer understood neurotic hardening. Analysis is the creation a centers of attention capable of producing a bifurcation. There are no more or we can trust. seem to have invaded one suffocates. Philosophy. like refrains.tOSlnosi's ".ee-" altte machine not only for the different forms of life. . but at the same time it looks f new or modalities of becoming. On the one hand. infosphere and psychosphere.productive and communicative relations lose their m'''er:i. from the track.I. This is how. and hope. imagination. is situated within a specific historical dimension. Senility is becoming the condition The Poisoned Soul / 1 31 . the sphere of one's own With the expression '(aesthetic paradigm/' Guattari privileged position that sensibility has gained in present rain can affects and sharing. a rigid system for interpreting that are compulsively repetitive. There is no alternative to space of the atmosphere. and political obsessions. like it in the past when old people were considered to bring precious llO)I. Cb. On the other hand. that is to say they allow the confil�Ura!! constituting the map of an existence to emerge from the flux. trace their trajectories in the space of sensible projections.hOuJd we then place old age at the center of our discourse. Bur these refrains can solidifY and mCJrplr i semiotic. Art registers this disturbance. The question of the between chaotic velocity and the singularity of lived time decisive. the ref erences and exis­ ref cage. the ref rain protects the subject chaos of the lnfosphere and the semiotic flows that carry him like stormy winds.177'"' mists and miasmas that began to spread at the beginning and that today. a rupture within the closed circuit of repetition able to inaugurate a new horizon of possibilities and experience. the mind needs its own temporalities: these singular temporalities are make orientation possible.:ion are disseminated all along the paths of daily life and higl.ge to rhe community.ways of planetary politics. the every space of attention and consciousness. but of thought. fifteen years later. In order to grasp temporal flows. Ever since imtltation into semiocapitalism. Here of symptoms and the search for a latent fint' pJre-"xlstlllg the neurotic fixation.

The . while at the same time it also becomes the best expresses the metaphor of the energy loss aff ecting race. is the last refuge for souls left without desire or modern rationality.. without the heritage of Humanism and the Enlightenment. The violent logic of ". Hyper-capitalism is emancipating itself from its herirage and irs so-called "values.sydhosphere . brain is decomposing as it does in Jonathan Franzen's The Alzheimer's is becoming a meraphor for a future in which cult to remember the reason for things while the new via. The chemic can happen. since it has to take root in sensibility. making al and op"nirlg sympathetically towards the other. endless and inhuman violence. the de-eroticization of modern ethics needs to be interpreted as a generalized disturbance. The acceleration of the mediasphere. the separation t. the coherence of lived time to fragments. direction of the planetary humanism we must conceive.. generations seem to d of any groups. And to a group becomes compulsive and autonomy. Ethical consciousness cannot into the spiral of depression. The ps:ycrlos]ph. soul we are talking about is the field where a recomposition new conceptualization of humanism must be founded on an paradigm. The body of the is no longer within the reach of an empathic perception: torture. the ethical question is posed as a question of the soul. and the relation between beings is deprived of its humanisric surface. since the future has become an obscure and Today old age is becoming the average social majority." but this unveils a terrible: is a regime of pure. and genocide become normal procedures for otherness in a-sympathetic conditions.eo-el.. The question of sensibility with politics: and not even the redefinition of an ethical end of modernity is announcing itself as the end of Our tive can set it aside. Living time is subjected to work fractal dispersion of borh consciousness and experience. cannot rationalism have been forever erased. While the collective dimension is deprive desire and reduced to a skeleton of fear and neces­ :C01mlflg from mandatory. Libidinal energy declines once the world becomes elaborated according to the slow timing of emotions entropy dominates cerebral cells. For the brains decomuniversality of here mixer. become the scene of a nightmare. The decline of libidinal entropy are two processes whose sense is in fuct the same....'UdIV' The of Reason and Will-as during the modern period. The mind is put to work in conditions of economic tential precariousness. as the paralysis of empathy in the social 132 I The Soul at Work The Poisoned Soul / 133 . God seems to be the natural path the big Infosp infernal trick. At the beginning of the new HHUCl[lmUl heritage. and depression to nouris ing "Islamized" in various ways: world landscape is becom n between indi­ becomes the dominant form of relatio be dragged by vortexes of panic until consciousness that narrow passage it is the very notion of ethical be founded on the to be rethought. while of course it is instead the usual cult of putity now join with fundamentalism and the h ethnicism and nationalism.consc:iOllsDLeS! from the corporeal experience. and rationalism it capable is to say of the sensibility animating the body.for the majority of a humanity deprived of the courage future.

core of his Guattari places the aesthetic paradigm at the every where. er of Guattari says that art is a chaoid.t foundation of psychoanalysis. Today.a'Od psychopathological lexicon paoic.» he refers to two kind. Psv'chc)o: the production of accelerated and proliferating signs ends up tioning like a pathogenic factor. the creation of tuned the word "refrain/' Guattarl refers to rhythmic rituals. and the alternate waves of panic and deptessio psychosphete. Art is the process of producing refrains.j a fragile architect of shared happiness and a common map of imaginary.depression that would not be depressing. the rhetoric of ues:lre-_tl important and creative contribution that the authors . This harmony (this disharmony) molds the Thetefore the structures produced and determined by desire not eternal. but op'tth()genrc germs on the part of the imagin mass and its modeling by imagin ary machin es. anxiery. What instead is the awareness of the entropy of sense in exist':ntiial of public spaces in the digital realm and the diffusion tive principles in every ftagment of social life: these ate the dis-empathy diffused in social action.. and in Chaosmosis in particular. the production of value tends cide with semioric production.IO.ra.petltlc function of signs. as an ecological therapy for Guattari and Deleuze did not employ the vaguely tones r am using here. if not silenced.ony) possible. congesting the collective Within Semiocapital. depression. movements and ' e aesth''lc domain. a temporary organiz is the word we can use to refer to the effects of the mobilization of attention. the inocula ary machine. This is why the possible (not exclusive) words is founded in . The aesthetic paradigm needs to be conside. r. and they are not models preexisting the singular 134 I The SOUl at Work Tr18 Poisoned Soul / 135 . Abstracred from the historicist that is becoming rhe primary object of exploiration. of the cyclothymia. yet r did not swear to be faithful to my two masters.�IC> and mediatic projections. rather. The psychic disturbances affecting the a way to diagnose the his is directly invested: this is why in Chaosmosis. s of a pecuthe production of refrains. a specific diagnosis. as it was ' industrial epoch: it becomes. perceptive tuning which are constantly on the run. tion of psy­ ro this sphere we can understand illness. Art as rience and historical perspective. Pressed by economic cOlnp. and incessantly and political perspective. the consciousnes s aging and death.. word "alienation" is replaced by once integrating it. This is just what we need today: an brought to the movements of hope-seems exhausted waiting for a dimension and a movement capable of renlewin their last two books. the desire seems already attenuated. the the effects of exploitation on cognitive V>' of measuring themselves. effilPotaryand singular projective structures that make harmony (or lish:arrr. different issues: the word (�aesthetic. chaoid the perspective of therapeutic action. He also refers to artistic thO. r know. Mental alienation is no longer a metaphor. then.

an'''y. polarizations of the Unconscious. will be considered in terms of the production of sut)iet:tivity· inseparable as much from the technical and apparatuses which promote it as from their impact on chiatry. a rupture of sense. ''Art transforms chaotic variability into chaoid [ . This is the task of schizoanalysis: the delirium in order to make it coherent and accessible '. the detachment of a semiotic content-in a or surrealist manner-can originate mutant nuclei 1 36 1 The Soui at Work The poisoned Soul 1 137 . but invention of a new catalytic nucleus capable of bifur­ existence.on. On the contrary.)-aesth. once art and therapy fully they were the same thing."13 titV'-t1l<eU clots that harden the refrain. it is the map that secretes the territ<lfy: tb desire produces the roads we travel. Desire is the creation of centers that attract cOllectivt energy. along with the others. J Art . process of the cure cannot be understood (by familial .zation of the self. latent content.imagination: they are temporaty realizations of allow those sharing a journey to recognize theit meaning. . to link refrains and to is no longer the transferential interpretation of ymptoms as a function of preexisting. a Isillgulari. therapy. creative prolifera­ interpretative reductions. it will have to be as the creation of psychological cores capable of a certain mental cartography into a livable space.'''' or normalizing psychoanalysis) as the reduction psyches to socially recognized linguistic and psychobehavioral norms. and art Lacanian theories. university teaching or the mass media Psychoanalytic treatment confronts us with a mltltilplit:it of cartographies. needs to be understood as a chaoid similar to art. This is what schizoanalysis it replaces interpretation with a proliferation of and possible existential patterns. and m"gneti"ll ''Art is a chaoid" meanS precisely this: that art builds can temporarily model chaos. "" ""Y'" turing the surrounding objects according to a certain gles with chaos but it does so in order to render it In the last years of his life. The territory they cross does not preexist desires. as any other mythology of the to be taken for what they are: cteations of self-imagina­ of exploration in the unconscious which create territory while narrating it. It's no longer a question of detetmining the Freudian Unconscious or the Lacanian provide scientific answers to the problems of the From nOw on these models. a iral:m"nrati. a cut. Rather. A singularity. and militant existence Guattari summarized his positions in these terms: "My perspective involves shifting the human and sciences from scientific paradigms towards ettlic. paradigms. to dissolve the the channels of communication between individual drifts cosmic game.entlshllP both with the self and the other.

Social desire (modeling. not in the corporate abuse: they are incorporated in the pathogenic that pervasively entered the collective unconscious. congested. These clots need to be dissolved. reducing the labor force to a condition of slavery: couldn't this be the effect of a fantastic disrupperversion of collective desire? a long period of absolute domination by semiocapital. ofshiti:irl� the The passive estrangement named alienation. o force to which we need to return in order to find the AnA""" f communication also works essentially on flows of redirecting collective investments of desiring energy: the overturning of the political front that took place in the 1 980s and the sweeping victory of the capitalist afier years of social autonomy and workers' struggles can only as the consequence of an extraordinary transfor­ in the collective investment of desire."MAi therapeutic method adopted by schizoanalysis is that focalization and shift of attention. nuclei of acquisitional and competitive obsession within the social Unconscious. say of economic principles modeling the collective Ilinati()ll. Once again therapy reveals its affinities with artistic If desire is not dependent on structures. For Guattari. The obsessive nuclei strarified in imagination produce parhologies: panic. the formation of desiring focus and determining the conditions for a collective ble of determining a deterriorialization of action. The infinite desiring energy is discharged through repetition and exhaust' itself in this repetitive inv·p. 1 38 / The Soul at Work The Poisoned Soul / 139 .Political action needs to be conceived first of all as a shift in investments of desire. . even less does it considered a natural phenomenon. an authentic or manifestation. and recomposing the structures of collective life) is formed. psychological pain can be tied to a bsessive focalization. according to which desire would be a primal lion and autonomy. If we think of the function that ad'lert:isirlg the production of contemporary desire.ore Theref the therapeutic question can be described as the of the mind's obsessive clotting. we easily realize is nothing else but a contaminating field of batde. reslding neither in the military violence of the state. is no possibility of political resistance to the absolure ninati()n of Semiocapitalism. must then be overturned to delirious) creative. The creativity of the act consists in the capacity of finding a way to escape: a capable of prodUcing a deviation from the obsessive one. Pri1rati. individualism-aren't these the con­ of a catastrophic overturning of the investments of desire? The loss of solidarity deprived workers of any orce and created the conditions for the hyper-exploitation f labor. connoting spaces jecting ghosts. It is the semiotic environment that models cloud of signs surrounding the bodies. the " estrangement from the self. The refrains circulating social unconscious became rigid. competition. since its foundations are not exte­ :. deterritorialized. This is a simplifYing and misleading Desire is not at all natural. depression fatt:ention deficit disorders.zat:iOll. There is a naive reading of Guattari's and theories. aggressive terrified. refocusing estrangement.

especially when the loan is made a variable rate of interest. who loan f little dog that followed him to his room and finally reveals t be Mephistopheles.sm. The aesthetic therapy we need-an ae. Once you your soul belongs to me. destroying time in order to trans­ it into economic value. ThIS poor who believed in the fairy tales of Neo-liberalism. Debt is the creation of obsessive refrains that are imposed on collective mind.Political action must happen the refore acCordi'n g to analogous to therapeutic interv ention. c. transforming our " life into a m"anJing. erSlty education. new modeI of sub)' ugation goes through a cycle of capture. how can slhe pay a tuition of thousands of dollars a year. financial trap and finally pure obligation to work. need and dependence.etIc therapy that will be the politics of the times to come- : 1 4 0 / The SOUl at WOrK Ttle PoisonGd Sou! / 1 4 1 . the book Generation Deb t (subtitled: W y h terrible time to be young) was pub lished in the United States. Indebtedness is the basis for this In 200 6. in order to acquire the professional untV ' . To this idea of wealth We Oppose anothet idea: wealth as tim e--time to enjoy. so our young fellow meets a financial eraltor wo. "" author. Sihe will have to start immediately after graduation. in order to pay the loan which her wherever slhe goes. any humiliation. be �utono mous from competition} acquisition. Debt. Sihe will have to accept any condition of work. psychological submission.Ii wealth took control of the collective mind which values aC(:UnlU and the constant postponing ofpleasura ble enjoyment. of wealth (specific to the sad science of economics) transf"on into lack. For them. forever. Anya Kamenetz's analysis refers esp ecially to young taking Out loans in order to study. any "'P"VU""CH. Political actio n bo th need to Start from the obs essive loci of desireo to refocus our attention on deterr itorializing poin ts so that new investments of desire become Possible. goes to university and graduates: after f his/her life belongs to the bank. accumulation. willing to . that will allow him access to the job market. the only way IS to ask rom a bank. Like Faust on his way home one night. debt functions a symbolic chain whose effects are mO re powerful than the metal chains formerly used in slavery. in order to pay back a ending amount of money. producing need and lack. A Sp':cih. Economic submission.rking for a bank that accords himlher a loan. time. travel" and make love. but has been mental to capitalism for a long time: debt. posses si. Anya Kamenetz considers a question that finally came forefront of our collective attention in 2007. a middle class teenager in the United States. really that he has the chance for achieving a guaranteed happy life to serious work and study. time dependent. understood as cumulative possession.less towards nothingness. wealth The postmodern dominatiun of cap italism is founded on of wealth. Our ellow signs the loan. the expenses for room and board in a distant city? If y�u were in a family of high finance rhieves. constantly growing with the passage time. Refrains impose psychological misery to the ghost of wealth. says Mephistopheles.

Y". Using his camera as a notebook. Desire and simulation: Wenders in Tokyo In 1 983 Wim Wenders went to Tokyo with the idea of documentary in homage ofYasujiro Ozu.consists in the creation of dissipating refrains caIJar>!e "i light to another modality of wealth. It is instead from every point of extremely important movie. It's a task for lating and orienting desire. mental models of need reduction.ujiro Ozu used technology as a support. understood as a new focalization ofaw. the sphere of the indefinable hyper-modernity that Wen­ records as if he was sketching a map.. Finding a way out of such a dependency is a political realization is not a task for politicians. narrating in black and white. w. we are witness to the E. aware of the dissolution of the real caused by simula­ n"ch:niques. like in his discombobulated but genial film Until the World. The crisis that began in the summer of 2007 has opened a the vety idea of social relation as "debt" is now crumbling The anti-capitalistic movement of the future won't ment of the poor. or of frugal and ascetic wealth. slow and nostalgic narration that characterized his production-Alice in the Cities. It is not. Simulation became the central word used in the 1 42 / The Soul at Work . Tokyo-ga marks the passage dreamy. old-fashioned journal. for the human gaze and sensoty experience. and mixing libidinal flows. as a power towards emotional and conceptual projection. This requires the dissipative wealth refrains.I' of the relationship between human intellect and between the human gaze and its electronic prosthesis. From the perspective of the director's personal evolution. relation with Ozu's cinema is the filter through which Wen­ to get the sense of the ongoing mutation leading Japanese (but in fact global society) beyond humanistic and industrial towards a dimension that cannot yet be named.ok)gies. habitat the sharing of indispensable resources. task for therapy. but it also became a cage transforming desire into lack.". The real wealthy will be those who will succeed in creating forms of consumption. . a prolongation and " dlhi!. title of his movie is Tokyo-ga and it is considered one of minor movies. but of the wealthy. Kings of the Road {In the o/r me)-to his conflicted but fascinated use of electronic i . '" all this happened in pre-war Japan.cted global Mind.. the great director died in 1962. he marked his meditations and emotions. ''''"' intellect is becoming little by little (or suddenly) part of inlterc:onne.ntioJ a shifting of the investments of desiring energy.. From a philosophical of view Tokyo-ga is an extraordinarily lucid summary. where the continuity tradition had not yet been interrupted. understood as time and enjoyment... and the human eye an internal of the video-reticular panopticon. In the virtualized model of semiocapitalism. need and dependency that for life. but already as post-humanistic and perhaps even post-human. debt general frame of investment. His camera po"iti()ll"d in such a way that it exalted the centrality of human . his discovery of a hyper-modern .

pA" r.y of this mutational phase. pachincko reveals a society where people are individualized. lonely. minglinl. lonely white-clad hit a little white golf ball with their golf sticks: it makes a parabola in the air until it finally reaches the ground. At the same time. and foods are simulated. spectators and at once. yOU propel the ball through a series of baffles. Wenders takes us inside the long and locales wherepachinko is played by men of all ages. erased.:tt IMnrk The Poisoned Soul / 145 . At the counter you buy a little stock of what look like ball bearings: then.':::. reduced to empty containers plc.post-literate lexicon. pears and apples.1 r. 144 I Thp . Wenders describes Japan as the society where an artificial tion has occurred: life is nothing but a simulation effect.du. replaced or plastic. while with the other. silent in their machine.erating the collective mind from the haunting of a terrirying past relates the massive diffusion ofpachincko to the necessity of had to be forgotten. with one hand you stuff each ball into a hole. by turning a flipper. In Empire o Signs. J . Then. whom he nonetheless brushes with his elbow. the world has started to disappear. On the ramparts of a huge stadium. when electronic technologies spread in every communicative in the production of worlds. a real hole. It is from within film histoty that Wenders tries to outline the Gu'togr'apl. involved in an that human beings are also observing. in order to simulate teal food to be in metropolitan restaurants' windows. the d"'"PlpeaJ "Pachinko is a slot machine. J: the parlor is a hive or a factory-the players seem to be working . Simulation produces emptiness. The machines are set up in long roWSj each player standing in ront of his panel plays for himself. on an assembly line. and removed.cth'e time. An infinite expanse of isolated unaware of each other's presence. which is replaced by sensible vi":lIOl. generates nostalgic memories of a world where authentic. and the hyper-modern (and passage in store for the human race. . social relations themselves are Wenders takes us with him to a factory of artificial food. Withour ever talking or looking at each all concentrate on pulling a lever that will send little metal moving behind a sheet of glass. You hear only the balls whirring through their channels [ . a book devoted to his impressions of f to Japan.� this is already present in Wenders' Tokyo-ga (1983). without looking at his f neighbor.. and an infinite number golf balls. ) thousands of others. beginning with the 1 980s. ilib. meats and tropical fruits are perfectly using synthetic materials. in front of the machine (a kind of vertical panel). The director's ast:onishl at this banal reproduction gives to the movie a pathetic tone. of sensihle tangibility. if your initial dispatch is just right [ . isolated.. and we can perceive that. . beginning with these minuscule signals."a the psychological pressure caused by the post-war period.n l. as Barthes writes. which fall into your hand. provincial and nostalgic: the disappearance of food. Roland Barthes had described pachinko with these for an absurd reward [ . The pachinko is a collective and solitary game. and you have only to start over again-unless you choose to exchange your winnings . J the propelled ball releases a rain of more balls. but finally spectators more than anything else. deprived of their memoty and of any form of except for the silent one of productivity."15 .

to me could best introduce a meditation on the P". Tokyo-ga was produced in 1983. bur as sign still . My first book con­ tains a critique of the object as obvious fact. who played in all Ozu's films. of the financial cycle over l_liCleralisrn. the relation berween sign and meaning was guaranteed by the 1 4 6 / The Soul at Work . Telematics. He that. The V This is not the void that Zen Buddhism talks about. There the object was taken as sign. With Chishu Ryu.i"n. asking for his autograph. Wenders wants to talk of present in his nostalgic (heavenly nostalgic) film on Yasujiro Ozu. brought ro every domain of exis­ h e(. humanistic. he had not anyone else: he had not betrayed or switched to other other forms of sensibility.enders says: "now. relation berween sign and referent disappears: in economIC tion Nixon had provoked rwelve years earlier when . that people Stop the street."cti'ion gold as the measure of financial evaluation) vanishes. on the Con"r. aleatory nature of reality . Atsura. for the volume The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays in Post­ "There is no longer any system of objects. it's He who reigns now.'ni(:ation. Chishu Ryu. or at onIy that." The void reigns now.im. whose effects we seen fully developed in the 1990s. W. use-value. The financial world fell into indeterminacy. Jean Baudrillard wrote a text titled The Ecstasy of Mn. He must sadly admit though. the new science mobile phones and informatics. since Ozu's death rwenty years earlier." "Mu. substance. In 1983. Wenders then visits Yasujiro While the camera films the black monolith under which tor rests in peace. the revolutionary ecnll1qllc to which Simon Nora and Alain Mine devoted a very ffiP()rtaJot book already in 1978. shows in various touching sequences the niques elaborated during decades of collaboration. certainly not be(:au.se l played in Tokyo Monogatari ( Tokyo Story).))16 .' on working. entitled The Computerization of prepares for the explosion of the nerwork.ic technologies make the miniaturization of circuits and start the microelectronic revolution. while the relation berween financial sign and material referent (real idd. heavy WIth meamng.onomic and social . .ecl1:on. imposing the hegemony relations. the camera opetator who had always worked director. reality. edited by Hal Foster and published by Bay Press. The deep effects of liberal economic turn on social culture were becoming evide!l!:) the old world the Sign was understood as a bearer of meaning. the awareness of the indeterminate. semiocapitalist hyper-moderniry: oid. but because he in the commercials for a brand of biscuits or toothpaste. of the revolu ro de-link the dollar from gold.selot . abandoning the system of exchange. We're entering the civilization of emptiness: this is in my of Wenders' visit to Tokyo: the city that used to be Ozu's and belongs to the Demiurge of simulation.Then the direcror interviews rwo people that in th e collaborators of the great Ozu. Wenders pronounces these words. and simulation: Baudrillard in America [icr1oel.omlm.

Deregulatio mean that sOciety is freed ftom all rules. but only the lighting of the digital (im)materialiry. not at all: it is imposition of monetary rule on all domains of human monetary rules are in fact the sign of a relationship based on violence and military abuse. It is the land of extinction. any material light or protorype. or West. that erent from the one seen ""'OnL. The synthetic can indeed be defined as a simulacrum. We enter the domain of simulacra when we move from logue film to the creation of synthetic images. US-South. a Californian house. creating a second realiry. any a Burger King West town. or a Studebaker. this of things as though they had a meaning. time of necessaty social labor can't be measured anymore? rial technologies transform the time of labor necessary to goods into an aleatory time. once the phantasltrl of the code becomes the code of phantasmagoria? Only antees the meaning of the monetary sign. In front of the camera there is (or been) a real object. and you have the whole of the North. reproducing them all on this way conditions were created in order for the director to himself in a purely Deleuzian and Spinozian sense: to give among the many infinite worlds that language can create. The sign becom of the sign Rapidly. What guarantees the dollar's value once the gold is erased? What guarantees the value of a commodity. and not the . those visible materials. as is demonstrated despotic exercise of American hegemony. is very diff the Deleuze and Guattari. . Take concerning the whole is contained in each of its old street in a Mid­ the tiniest little place in the desert. this process of de-signifYing replication real."America is a giant hologram.a. East."18 philo­ concept of simulation introduces a new perspective within e. and nature. in the sense that information elements. Cinema does not belong to this second Cinema belongs to the order of reproduction and expression. a parking lot. the body. without an is precisely this irresistible unfolding.�' initiates a series of infinite semiotic replica­ referent which y foundation. as Baudrillard sees it. And what guarantees the sign once all signs transgress their codes.eauerlCtrlg and non-meaning. Simulation is the ellnl111'. where up and embalmed corpse of realiry replaces life. body. In those years the scene of realiry had been abandoned to scene of simulation. since it does not presu>'pl any real object. � n ?foliteraw endlessly. a synthetic domai up swaliowing the first world.external and objective existence of a referent."" governed only by arrificial montage of simulation to its replication develops language's power ss of infinite replica­ Digital technology makes possible a proce es a virus eating the realiry of its of the sign. But this logic is abandoned once we enter the domain of ge:nel:ali:ze tetminacy. the effect that Baudrillard calls the desert of the . the order of simulation. discourse. a real person: the camera registered that light. a perspective that can be defined as disappearanc pro­ subtracted from the domain of alphabetic sequentialiry and the sign into the domain of video-electronic replication. when they '.

no sCript to play. The Poisoned Soul 1 1 51 . but also transfotm mean transform the world.. had been one of those Parisian intellectual scuffles that it is thirty years later. and Michel singularities and world projections.country provided with infinite energy. It is an attack on the theoty of power built by Fou­ but Baudrillard's real purpose was to critique the notion of itself. The concept of alienation is abandoned. a time when all thoughts and tions were written) screamed and exposed.ineulariti. That debate subj ect and power. Welcome to the desert of the real.m"nts that could be used for finding a new synthesis. What object of the controversy? publishing his most important book. But it is retrace the processes occurring at the end of the last from the way Felix Guattari's schizoanalysis describe s it tation of creativity.1 970s. and also of their the meaning of that debate. I believe that it would be important to a decisive philosophical passage. but with terror. Forget Foucault begins with an interpretation of Discipline and Baudrillard disagrees with Foucault's fundamental thesis in book. "The soul is the jail of the body. and the molecular theoty of Deleuze and Guattari. The historical (or narrative) agent is liberated from has no more blueprints to follow.tlrtg issues left open and undefined by the collapse of the structure and in particular the question of the formation of aullt anLO the authors of Anti-Oedipus on the other. since F oucault. Baudrillard does not aSSOciate with creative proliferation. since today we might find iteI'. In the 1970s the bodies revolted forgetting bodies reclaimed their own spaces. there has always certain resistance to discuss the controversy with Baudrillard." read a feminist sign streets of Bologna in 1 977. the . during the mid 1 970s.. and sabotage. the philosophical scene is cleared of its heritage. The way Baudrillard refers to schizophrenia is also years the question of subjectivity appears under a new is no longer any Subject (upokeimenos) charged with the truth of histoty. I am not saying this to establish who's right.es. the loneliness of the individual at the assembl has been transformed into subversive community and social practice has been turned into estrangement. but there are individuals meeting with crowd that declares the creative schizoid power Ot the bound traveler making phorographs in the silent longer existing reaL The point is not who's right or wrong. the side of Deleuze. S ymbolic Exchange and in 1977. and with his entire analysis of the genealogy of modern as repressive disciplining of corporeality. France. Guattari and Foucault. debate placed lean Baudrillard on one side. The of the productive routine has been turned into the refusal In the mid. producing endlessly reactivated. but to transform the relation (among whom I humbly include myself). Baudrillard published that same year a booklet titled organization. a philosophical debate devel­ inv. The Baudrillard-FoucauIt debate concepts that not only can describe.

. one finds the deployment and the positive disserninlatic about workers' struggles.'" 1 5 2 I The Soul at Work The Poisoned Soul / 153 . there might be: Baudrillard's vision still refers to desire as while we have seen that desire needs to be understood as a in fact inscribed in Deleuze's and Guattari's work. today we ate at the end of that form of power. Micro-desire (that of power) micro-politics (that of desire) literally merge Deleuze and Lyotard: but there.t_rrtecrLani.sed Perhaps Baudrillard's objections understood someth ing misunderstood the essential lesson of the "desirin g" Baudrillard attacked Foucault's vision of the genealogy of Anti-Oedipus preached acceleration as an escape from capital's "Cours camarade. since this C�'U"VC."One could say a lot about the central thesis of the has never been a repression of sex but on the injunction against talking about it or vOicing it and a sian to confess. and to produce sex. late-industrial structures. shift from mechanical to digital. the acceleration in workers communication and placed the ownet in a defensive position and was able to structures of control." 1 9 Baudrillard's remarks were not directly rebuffed by my thesis is that in some direct or indirect. Slogans circulated rapidly among in their factories and neighborhoods. . this ambiguity is present in the culture that in those yeatS dominated the desiring discourse in to develop a practical critique of late-modern. to express. J . mechanical confines: all that one has to do is minia. allowing these to become generalized. That was true as long as capital's velocity was the mechan­ of flows and intensities [ . while the timing of otganizations remains localized and slow as compared to one of capitalist globalization. digital machine. explicit or Foucault later developed his theory taking these into and Foucault's: most of all. Keptessic only a trap and an alibi to hide assigning an entire the sexual imperative.tUl:ize. a merely metaphotic discourse. order to propose a critique of all the theories that in developed a social discoutse from libidinal economy and expressivity. Thus he writes: "One can only be struck by the coincidence between this version of power and the new version of desire prc'po. now we have a new era and a new dimension."": Is there any equivocation in Baudrillatd's critique of des:irirlgti Yes. instead of a lack or tion. But microelectronic technologies equip capital with absolute in the real time of simulation. and Yet this equivocatioll has its reasons. As long as they happened in the factOry.Jetring production all over the globe. then acceleration becomes domain of hyper-exploitation. railways and the printing press.c. let's state it clearly. This is not. from reproducible to sim­ is the shift from the limited to the viral dimension of power. ie vieux monde est derriere tot21-we screamed one of the assembly lines. Microelectronic technologies have completely reversed this sit­ capital conquers the capacity for rapid deterritorialization. Capitalism is becoming the acceleration that desire had imposed on social expressivity incorporated by the capitalistic machine when it became a .a". .

. his is the very ideology of ihe "It has always been thought-t which envelop the masses. and an acc:elerat. Political intentions and discursive effects are Baudrillard's intention was denounced by the desiring dissuasive. Baudrillard did are the dissuasive functioning of a civilization where events . which tends not so much to produce events as to cause something not to occur. capitalist mode of production. sexual. that of the masses. nlu in Forget Foucault (and elsewhere). Within desiring th" ory. Ii is the form of capital.d situation of what is psychic. and is still not true."" Baudrillard's critique is not generous: the description of the tion in the forms of power and subjectivity is presented as a yet there is something true in his words. the chain of investments and reinvestments must stop. The mass and the media are " 3 . but he never reoeiv"d explicit reply.eCltin. de.sitluation without escapes. On this intuition Baudrillard develops his theory. value must radiate endlessly and in every direction. in ihis ology of the mass media. mass med·la-that it is the media sought in a frantic semiThe sectet of manipulation has been has been overlooked. flow. there is a rhetorical danger if it is understood that desire is a field and not a force.imlilatl. is the form itself which the current realization of value takes. f o the Silent Ma in a booklet entitled In the Shadow y demolished the subversive political use of the "drilla•ea alread of the constitutive of multitude. Mass(age) . in the empty use of the term titude" by Negri and Hardt and many others in the last 10 They speal. showing its other side.Baudrillard antlc'pates this trend with his intuitio n absolute velocity knocking down every form of social CO'll tion. But it that the masses are a stronger naive logic of communication. Baudtillard. But of liberty that cannot subm jorities. for instance. processes of subjectivation. or pertaining to the is the exact replica of the force which rules market capital musr circulate. This is evident.s the message. over the other. that it is the formet who envelop medium is no priority of one and absotb the Iatter-ot at least there one single process. . "Deterrence is a very peculiar form of action: it is what causes something not to take place. since his vision destroys the possibility of eXl. Baudr be was considered politically dissuasive: it seemed ro descri le ruptures. "This compulsion towards liquidity. and sexuality as a catchword and a is the way it appears at the level of bodies. than all the media. a the vast movement of thought that Ddeuze's.nolJncec desiring vision as an ideological function of the new.d and erased by simulation itself. Guattari's and cault's books have produced. It dominates the whole of our con­ temporary period. while looking as though it is a historical event. on his part."24 154 I The Soul at Work ThA PoisonAd Soul I 155 . 2 n­ the autonomous movement that had been reading passio illatd's Deleuze's and Guattari's books since the 1 970s. hopes for rebellion or possib acknowl­ this wasn't true. gravity and any fixed point must appear. of the multitude as if it was a boundless positive it to domination in any way.

as shown by the phenomenon of syn­ media pornography. and anything whatsoever. The image produced by a is the development of an algorithm. They know that there is no liberation. thirty years later. Synthetic morphogenesis is the clearest of this simulation phenomenon. J. f any useless or by a body. or a territory devoured desert. Thus infinity has a nature. . and that a . Merleau­ Ponty has well brought out what seems to us nOW the most difficult thing to understand in the philosophies of the seven­ teenth century: the idea of a positive infinity as the 'secret of . Y want us to consume-O. it seems ro me that he was not at all. insofar as substance is absolutely infinite [ . . but expression. or rather the resource of a catastrophic "The masses [ ."lS is abolished only by pushing it into hyperlogic. pervasive proliferation of simulacra. since the Unconscious is riot a theatre. replication of synthetic images has a viral and boundless since the creation of a new simulacrum does not request dn>. To the notion of desire Baudrillard opposes that di!. let's ou always more. Anti-Oedipus postulated the idea that there is never toO much "Expression is inherent in substance.peara neoliberalism which followed the disillusion of the 1968 continuity of the community ends up being eliminated effect of de-realization and the organism implodes. disappears like the Amazonian forest. Here we can see the of a pathology of desire. to use the language of pino:zian Deleuze. Baudrillard proposes the strategy of Today. by into an excessive practice which is equivalent to a amortization. J haven't waited f f or uture rev'oJultions rheories which claim to 'liberate' them by a 'dialectical' ment.est:m"nt of energy or matter.. but the effect of the projection of ghosts never absurd purpose. Moreover his theory revealed at this point an extrem e and libido is therefore a projection of signs that neither reproduce any facts.of catastrophe. The semiotic inflation activates the progressive colonization of ingly larger portions of reality by the infotmational emulsion. until the entire context that used to guarantee the Simulation is the creation of ghosts without a Dt<)totvDe: algorithm produces endless chains of infotmation. Deleuze asserts in by Matteo Pasquinelli to define this disease in his book Animal (NAI Publishers.K. ine<)llscious. but a labora­ representation. or rather the chain Simulation-Disappearance-Implosion. "Libidinal parasites" is the formulation all over Europe). not the reproduction preexisting reality.ap. In his Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza. Lived experience is thus invaded philosophie-the New Philosophy-as well as the Far from sharing the cynicism spread throughout culture 1 980s and 1 990s (the cynicism pervading the French . a sort of cancer reaching the very of the libidinal experience. . Libidinal energy is attacked by a of a parasitic type. 2009).

A sort of semiinflation explodes in the circuits of Out collective sensibility. "We require just a little order to protect us from chaos. The power of and acting is thus absolute f ormal essence. written while they were themselves."" Yet all this talking about the infinite power of God tells us about human expressive power. experience of society produce an effect of exhaustion in the tive libidinal energy. The other is based On the second law of th. and the tOO qUick quickening of signs and ideas running away without ever getting caught. opening the way to a panic-depressive theme of depression as collective phenomenon. But isn't this what Deleuze and Guattari are ultimately saying in last work? In their book on old age.mtiityl his text on libidinal parasites. or grand Rationalism'-'an innocent way of setting presupposes instead that in any exchange there is a loss: this "o(luces entropy. that disappear hardly f ormed. than ideas that fly off. Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself. already eroded by f orgetfulness. This is the objection that Baudrillard addtesses to the Anti-Oedipus.dueing effects of mutation that run a pathological coutse: too signs.' which finds its most petfe ct iment in Spinozism. Yet Baudrillard's One. they ask what philosophy is about."" After Forget Foucault and the other texts of the mid 1 970s. formulating two different hYiPothei. hudrilllatd sees simulation as the infinite teplication of a virus that desiring enetgy to the point of exhaustion. too fast. which is not infinite." And there is more: "God understands and expresses himself objectively. . The limited character of libidinal energy brings us back to energy."26 And also: "God's absolute essence is the absolutely infinit e pOwet existing and acting. In that last book the two schizo philosophers talk abour old age and schizo pain..OUt in thinking from infinity. which is not infinite either..rrlOdyn:unid The Poisoned Soul 1 159 . nobody responded to his objections. but a constant qu. which seemed provocative or maybe dissuasive. where Baudrillard critiqued the theories of desire and Foucault's genealogy of power."rc. Pasquinelli raises the problem thetmodynamics of desire.e. The semiotic eration and the prolif eration of simulacra within the media. and they that philosophy is friendship. The sensible body is subjected an acceleration that destroys every possibility of conscious de(:odific:ation and sensible perception. were published. and too chaotic. is the idea within libidinal exchange there is no loss. a loss of otder and a dispersion of energy. but we only assert this primary power identical to the essence of God/conditionally upon/an of formally or really distinct attributes.tizl psychological and physical energy that the human organism its disposal. inspired by the first law of thermodynamics. and (to use Buddhist lan­ guage) the Great Compassion: it is the capacity to walk together along the abyss of meaning gaping under out feet.

The infinitesimal attempt of succeeding the infinite attempt of capital.o:nnAri :::inl JI :. It much more deeply. order simulacra? Is there a theory or a practice which is subversive because it is more aleatory than the system itself. The schizo vision control. the reversibility of death. It is not either to say that one is a book of 1 968 enthusiasm. we opposite models of imagination at work. I am simply saying that Baudrillard's critique same direction of the shifting tones and positions that We rience reading What is Philosophy? after Anti-Oedipus. . The final sparks of the explosive system."" . The infinite capacity of . and a book of the years when the barbarians had won again. Baudrillard had already been thinking about the issue of sui­ in his 1976 book.:atiion of the recombining simulator device erases the originality the event. where symbolic exchange was accompanied death."" that the proliferation of desire can endlessly erode all sU'uc[ure de-realizing virus. J so as to save the principle of expansion and of liberation. we can admit that libidinal is a limited resource. . Desire is only the effect of a seduction subject is actually a hostage. an indererminate subversion which would be to the order of the code what the revolution was to the order of political econo­ my? Can we fight DNA? Certainly not by means of the class struggle . 1 1 R1 . "It is at least possible to find an even match to oppose third­ sary to consider the conceptual shift that took place in this The disappearance (and the return) of the event In the mid-1970s. and I believe that in implicitly involved the meditation that Baudrillard had I am not saying that they replied without naming . etc) up 160 I The SOUl at Work ThA Pni. bjecthlity implodes and in its stead we find only the terror of a . the final attempt to still control an energy of confines. Perhaps simulacra of a higher logical (or illogical) order could be invented: beyond the current third order. The proliferation of simu­ viruses has swallowed the event. even that they were thinking of Baudrillard when they last book. in the context of the radical culture. book Deleuze and Guattad developed their thoughts at a the infinitesimal boundaries of tbe field of expansion which been that of our culture.tastro". belongs to a higher order than the code. a victim.discourse still produced some effects. enough to say that Anti-Oedipus is a book of youth while. or the catastrophe of terror.he. beyond determinacy and indeterminacy. What is left is suicide.pli. The mole­ cular solution succeeding the molar investment of spaces and the social. The entropy of libido that Pasquinelli discusses seems to in Deleuze's and Guattari's last book once. "The 'molecular revolution' only represents the final stage 'libetation of energy' (or of proliferation of segments. But would they still be simulacra? Perhaps death and death alone. The implosive vision sees proliferation as the UU'U" UU � •. years later What is Philosophy? is a book of old age. or to shrink the confines of energy [ . certain Spinozian triumphalism. having ao'mOlott.

we no longer have energies of society. Just as physicists now see pulsing of events. This architectural graphism belongs to the monopoly: the W orld Trade Center's two towers are perfect parallelepipeds. talks about this process. in a scandalous text. on mental issues like production and the social distribution The Poisoned Soui / 163 . administrative.. identifying it with the disapof the event. four hundted meters high on a square base. a book first published in 1 992.ers as a metaphor for digital simulation.a n. Devices of social co. but a countable one where competition has disappeared in favour of correlation [ . a pyramidal jungle. from which there results an architectural panorama that is the image of the capitalistic system.ntrol : incorporated in automated systems: political governance are replaced by chains of automatisms and incorporated in the ductive. At a linguistic level. is inallgU lta. they are perfectly balanced and blind communicating vessels. depriving the organism of all sensibility the pulsations of daily reality.chimOJ i The living collectivity has no decisional role any more.ea. This new architecture no longer embodies a competitive system.:e event. After September 1 1 .l denl left reality. all mankind su. no longer real. .))32 The infinite proliferation of signs occupies the space of and imagination up to the point of fully absorbing the particles only as a trajectory on a screen. history since the access to the social game requires the adoption of operational systems. J . . two towers? ork All Manhattan's great buildings are always content to confront each other in a competitive verticality. communicative. .In those years Baudrillard talked abour the disap!. . 200 1 . J."31 ymbolic Exchange and Death ( 1 976). a quote from Elias Canetti: �'A tormenting thought: as of a certain point. every building on the offensive against every other [ . and sometimes maybe too quickly."33 · · e the story does not end here. The fact that they end 0f every ongmal rererence. The velocity of semiotic tion. chains of inter­ are auromated in such a way that it's no longer possible enunciations that don't respect the preventively inscribed that is to say the code of capital accumulation. Baudrillard the return of the event. using New York In his S :vscrap. unleashed by digital simulation. and technical ma. Baudrillard had (and I read this with a shudder): "Why has the W orld T rade Center in New Y go. Without noticing it. the Baudrillard here writes: "One has the impression that events form all on their own an( drift unpredictably towards their vanishing peripheral void of the media. . eliminated by the seductive proliferation of sin nullatiol Illusion ofthe End. In his paradoxical style. We could describe this process in another way. With the collapse of the two WTC are twO identical towers signifies the end of all competition. everything happening since then was sUpP()se<il not true. is so extreme that all of collective sensibility end up being saturated. but only the cardiogram.

landed in Bali to subject the island to their colonial The Hindu population. The event's effect was trau­ for the Dutch people's consciousness.cte:r. the spectacle is precisely the collapse of all spectacle. 2006). beginning the process in the colonial polices of that country. the pure event uniting within the events that have never taken place. suicide more precisely. matter what other perspective we might decide to adopt to twentieth-first century history-capitalist dogma. is the unforeseeable restores the chain of events." meaning " divine wind. The word assumes here a double meaning. In her book its ashes. the raja and his court moved the Dutch until they were very close to theit invaders. the spell of simulation also ended together nite duplication effect whose metaphor had already his 1976 text on the Twin Towers. is not a new form of radical protest. was at the end of World War II that Japanese generals decided suicide as an atm of destruction and not simply as an ethical T resist the Americans. Since thar day suicide became. proud of its own diversiry in the fiercely opposed the Dutch invasion. despair-suicide is the truth hidden by official discourses. as the leading actor on the scene of third millennium Diaries: Reflections o/Japanese Student Soldiers (Chicago.buildings. tal. The word "kamikaze. By IbHshing their letters." synonymous with suicidal destructive fury. and sion provokes an explosion. where they had towers of digital replication. Baudrillard's purpose in celebrate the return of the event beyond the cages of "With the attacks on the W orld T rade Center in New might even be said to have befote us the absolute 'mother' of all events. who by then were ptevailing. and that the higher levels of 164 I The Soul at Work The POisoned Soul I 165 . the author shows that in general the \Illilkazes were not consenting. to puputan. for instance. All . the Japanese researcher Emiko l Iernf'V proves that the young pilots were not at all enthu­ about the destiny that had been assigned to them."34 The immense concenttation of decision-making power play by semiocapitalism already lends itself to catastJcophici That intolerable suicidal action unveiled the vanity of nite srrength. the rhetoric of unlimited growth and the rhetoric of national fundamentalism. Death. of Chicago Press. they o young aviation officers to launch themselves against the navy. More than nine hundred men fell to the ground the astonished eyes of the Dutch. a paradoxical chilta. Mter several had occurred..a"c. the Dutch were ready to attack Denpassar palace. confronting it with an f orm of escape rhat to zero. All dressed in white.follD'¥ing the king took out their swords and drove them into enacting a ritual suicide that in Balinese language is The Spirit 0/ Terrorism is a text written imm"di'ltei'f most spectacular terrorist attack in history. day twelve young Arabs raised hell in Manhattan. suicide became the leading actor of world history. In 1904. immo­ themselves in their airliners and launching the first war.

It would be easy ) irrlagine that depression is a consequence of business going badly: years happily spent working with profit. entrepreneurship. is not my intention to put the terrorist suicides of Islamic and the bipolar disorder affecting Western productive 1 6 6 1 The Soul at Work The Poisoned Soul I 1 67 .o16 energy in order ro start the valorization process of the intellectual network. stocks' values col­ and the new brain workers fell into a deep depression. As happens with patients affected by bipolar euphoria is replaced by a long-term depression hitting the source of one's own motivations. There is an ener­ crisis that affects mental and psychic energies.hierarchy (none of whom was immolated) forced them wirh airplanes that only had enough fuel to reach the enemy ship). the properry and of vicrory through competition. creative. roday's context it is terribly more disturbing. mobilized an immense intellectual. physical. and ps. where one can find signs and expecrati()ns for meaning. therefore. Advertising reasserts at every street corner. We cannot fully understand the crisis of the economy without taking into account the fact that it coincided The cognitive worker's individual depression is not a conse­ of the economic crisis.S. and sex appeal. But only a hplod. but nor ro return. But by imposing an unlimited exploitation on the human mind. What is the difference between those ordering a those ordering a regular bombing. a new effort was made ro motivate the depressed Western person would take amphetamines as a reaction ro a depressive The most likely result will be deeper and deeper relapses.o-nnili:tatyi tion. origin of murderous suicides. but a form of pain that affects not only Islamic epidemic of unhappiness infecting the world in the epoch talism's triumph has generated a wave of aggressive suicide ' area of the globe. while they were "high" from their abuse of " h(lfrc'p'c drugs. But the human organism cannot take endless to euphoria and productive fanaticism: at some point. or a su·at" gi. it and the U. the productive acceleration the conditions for an extraordinary psychological "Prozac culture" was another name for the emerging new :H'lUcire<lS of thousands of Western economic operators and made innumerable decisions under conditions of chemi­ euphoria. desires and projections. bur its very reason. . not only body who is determined and prepared enough could have instruments of destruction and extermination. intellectual energy can't bear the rhythm imposed by competi­ and chemical-ideological euphoria inducers for long. The is a psycho-semiotic space. between rhe sn. is not a new ph. as of any other f orm of violence.elkh s desperare youths to blow themselves up in the middle of neighborhood? Aggressive suicide.enOltlenlon. Once this crisis :psychc. but also murderous suicide is no longer a rare marginal pblenOltlenlOn�i become a spreading manifestation of contemporary de"pair. there is no political reason. Depression comes from the fact that our emotional. In the 1990s.cb..ed. general ordering airplane pilots to bomb surrender.101:Y with a powerful amphetamine therapy: war. self-esteem. at every day and night. the freedom of infinite consumption.

East Japan Railways. I am simply saying that convergent pathologies. and tappin. Now suicide is tending the first cause of death among youth everywhere.minds on the same level. rancorous ones of the humiliated. has taken the decision to big mirrors all along Tokyo station platforms. if they could be liberated from competitive illusion that is impoverishing evetybody's life. warmth and success from advertising signboards? It may be social issues can no longer receive answers f rom politics. nor do they belong only to Arab subjected to Western violence as to an intolerable These feelings of loneliness and loss of meaning are every place where the triumph of capitalism has sut)iUl.� life and emotions to the hellish rhythms of automated colnpet The mass production of unhappiness is the topic of our The talk of the day is the extraordinary success of the Chtim:se'. Ever capital's triumph started eroding every domain of life and unbearable pain affecting both the hyper-stimulated and invaded by competition. loss of hope in and a f eeling of inadequacy and loneliness. In Japan there is a (karosht) referring to the kind of overwork able to push peoto commit suicide. Perhaps the answer is that it is to slow down. one among rhe Japanese railway companies. or in the of a crowd at a subway station: suicide is not a response to cal motivations. and the numbers are growing. orest fire.. 10B / ThB So. If the great majority of people understand this basic notion. produces suicides. These f eelings only to Chechnyan women whose husbands and killed by Russian soldiers. A few ago newspapers informed the public that there are traces of in London's tap warer: 24 million British citizens consume 2007 the newspaper China Today reported that despite the lI e'OO[IOn11C boom. II At Work The Poisoned Soul / 1 69 .ar.HI It might happen in one's own tiny isolated room. although the most explosive and "llgU. nOt its source. By reducing murderous suicide to political categories. only grasp its final manifestations. The idea is to desperate people on the verge ofsuicide reconsider as they see reflected image. and to be referred to psychotherapy. Is there any remedy to the wave of psychopathologies that seems have submerged the world while smiling faces promise safety. finally giving up economistic fanaticism and 511e. despair. but to pain. Until when will we be able to contain this phenomenon? when can we avoid that the rage and despair of one billion people will come and spoil the party of the three hundred integrated ones? Suicidal terrorism is only one chapter in temporary epidemic. The pain stemming from humiliation. meanwhile in 2007 rhe Central Committee Communist Party had to deal with wide-spreading China's countryside. but refers to someone who enough time to enjoy what nature and human collaborarion put within evetyone's reach. italist economy. That doesn't seem like the best therapy. the f oundations of capitalism would Start to crumble. velocity and aggressiveness. unhappiness and despair." Wealth not mean a person who owns a lot.ess has been spreading everywhere like a f in areas dominated by Islamism.otiv'Cly rethink the true meaning of the word "wealth. and not the intentions of jihad. two different itive psychologies of those who see themselves as winners. two hundred thousand people commit sui­ every year.

In Latin the word persona refers to the "mask": Jung considering it the artificial personality adopted by Time begins in front of the door of an Aesthetic Surgery Clinic. apparently involved. her silence. in a totally different context. the world that surrounds them in order ro adapt to it. so that she becomes unrecognizable. until he meets another woman. Bergman sees the question of alterity through the schjzophI:e. but the lHtllVI. Bergman's title Persona refers to a meditation on the identifYing Kim Ki Duk works instead around the concept of multi­ and the many masks that we can assume: that is to say the and proliferating mask. but also as a estrangement and suspension of the communicative ""CUIl:S. She seduces him. an comperent. ' beth Vogler is an actress who during a theater pe. Yet Elisabeth keeps on complete silence."'WhICh there are many in South Korea. asking him to change her face and features. Kim Ki Duk a film that proposed the question of alterity as the game of dentiti'''' proliferation and expressive excess. telling of experiences from her ser'tinlentaiJ and past. in order f you or f in love with me: make love to me as if I were somebody else. as if affected by a sudden illness. exchanging their Alma speaks a lot. obsessed by this thought. apparently in South Korea. The surgeon advises her that her features are so and delicate that she has no reason to undergo surgety. she decides to become another woman. But she insists. In order to Forry years later. . stoty of a man and a woman. She's taken to a clinic. but refers cotuplet. who has become another woman. or of double personality. talking completely. takes care of her. Bergman treats the theme of alterity to existentialist categories: as malaise. where Alma. we know she is his lover.rtorman. They make love and she tells him alling in love f of being abandoned because he will end up f ear another woman-I need to become another. women develop an intense relationship. brilliant and chatty nurse. even in contrast with their characters.:. the place and modality of the enunciation. the nurse accompanies Elisabeth to a house by the two women start getting lost in each other. 1 70 I The Soul at Work Tti8 PoisonecJ Soul I 1 7 1 . while Elisabeth listens to her. Finally. or Doctors visit her and their medical reports say that she's healthy both physically and mentally. in order to protect and defend themselves. changing physical aspect.tioh individual masks. figure of the split self. Time is the title of his and it tells the story of changing one's physical mask thanks the intervention of aesthetic surgery. all me what you feel and think. She goes and sees a surgeon. Kim Ki Duk's film tells us to be at once different agents of enunciation. sooner or later half of the women request plastic surgety to change their f eatures.. Meanwhile. He looks f her without success and finally thinks she will never come or back to him.UU: consciously or unconsciously. In the cultural context where Bergman his film. the man is desperate because of the disappearance of his beloved. Therefore defined through a game of isolation and enclosure. alienation is rhe metaphor for the relation between and soul: a repressive disappeatance of the soul. therapy.Pathogenic alterity In his film Persona. It is the of a repressive society that pushes for a compulsive delhni. In the age of aesthetic rhe multiplicity of masks does not only represent the pos­ �pecitically to the opportunity of assuming different faces.

is directly influenced by theories. who has At this point she tells him the truth and he has a As a revenge.en human beings.vh"" scenes. and recognizes the anthropologically constitutive. on which he his Civilization and Its Discontents.. Sanre's vision. hostility against which all civilizations have to struggle. man is wholly 1 72 / The Soul at Work 1118 Poisoned Soul 1 1 73 . "I want to be another since desire is a constant >!"IlU"gf. as the virtual substitute of a no longer pOlssib.elore unavoidable. th.beltwe. or the ptohibition of touching The Other proliferates as an unteachable and unlimited consumption.young man's heart belongs to the other one. The virtually infinite multiplication of the object of essential character of the pathologies of our times.le alterity. transformed by the 'Ulcge()n is the infinite game of alterity: this is the starting drama we've been told here. since it is producing forms that are not copies of a prototype. Deep identity and the exterior physical aspect. mask that is now her own face. Freud anticipates this debate."" to Freud. As we already know.' :. The Other becomes pornography. as exposed in his f o Dialectical Reason (1 964). Kim Ki Duk's language is extremely very powerful. as when the woman goes back to the A. This 'cultural dominates the large fields of social relationships precisely the non-satisfaction (by suppression) repression friend untecognizable." Yet we can't underestimate the theme of simulation: surgery makes possible a shifting of the object. In his 1929 essay. but images that have become embodied. it is the cause of .. and most of all the theme of alterity are the COloCeptula! this film. between the 1930s 1 960s. and he asks for the same tre'ltmei nobody will be able to recognize him anymore. dramatic and emotionally in·vol.. European critical theories analyzed the relation between the anthropologic dimension of alienation and the dimension of liberation. theory in its hisroricist and dialectic variants considers a historically determined phenomenon that can be overthrough the abolition of capitalist social relations. since it is always to enjoyment as it becomes the object of an infinite exhausts the limited libidinal energy of real human beings. In the mid-twentieth century. On the contrary. criticizing the of dialectics: "The communists believe that they have f ound the path to delivetance from our evils.. According to them. It is no absence. or repression. desperate for having become someone else. repression is an essential and constitutive aspect relations. most desperate game since it takes place in body where the soul has been captured. is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is up upon a renunciation of instinct) how much it presup­ some other means?) of powerful instincts. object to another. Desire and SInlUllatlO play their last. character of alienation.tlletiic Clinic. the man goes to the same surgeon who century antiauthoritarian theories were directly or indi­ influenced by Freud's notion of repression.

The this emphasized in opposition to repressive mechanisms. determined by a !'p""SiC)ll of libido. . as every civil founded on a necessary repression of individual libido and limating organization of the collective libido."36 not enquire into whether the abolition of private prt)pe. all wealth held in conlrnc>n. The dominant major topic of discussion.)n. J . The philosophical culture of existentialist shares Freud's firm belief that constitutive alienation is unav(lid. .of private property has corrupted his nature [ . In the context of Freudian psychoanalysis. I have no with any economic criticism of the communist system. but the revolutionary movements want to make possible in ishm" n[ ation and alienation itself. repression plays a fundamental role. This was a conceptual mistake: choosing repression as 1960s and 1 970s the concept of repression was left in the political influence of desire itk1:rolllla of political discourse. .ttj . I good and is well-disposed to his neighbor. but rather schizo-pathologies. repression expedient or advantageous.J ... If property were abolished. in the context of Marxist and antiallth tarian theories. asym­ with respect to power and therefore independent from it. the neurotic f orms that it provoke. As for instance in 1977 Italy: after the wave of arrests the February and March insurrections. This intuition expressed in many different ways in 20th-century thought. But I am able to recognize untenable illusion. hostility would disappear among men [ . tile end of the twentieth century. and psychoanalytic theory offers through language and anamnesis. the entire question of rep res­ seems to vanish and relinquish the social scene. how much it presup­ precisely the non-satisfuction (by suppression. we entered the narrative machine of losing our capacity of imagining new forms of life.. to overcome exploit n is is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilizatio up upon a renunciation of instinct.:ssi. since it explains the pathologies dealt with by psychoanalytic theory while same time elucidating the capitalistic social contradiction." [FreudJ l or some other means?) of powerfu instincts psychological premises on which the system is based According to Freud modern capitalism. but of thinking often ended up becoming a conceptual and politi­ expre. . 5 evetyone allowed to share in the enjoyment of it. and that libidinal drives are repressed..p. pattlO/C)gil" of our times are no longer neurotic. the COtlCe])t. productive and desiring energies already belonging to the In both of these philosophic scenes however.iv( explosion of the just do it. trap. Stnlcture and desire antiaurhoritarian theories of the 1970s emerge from a Freudian conceprual domain even if they expand and overturn its 1 74 I The Soul at Work The Poisonee) Soul / 1 75 . repression needs to be considered as a determined form that social action can eliminate by movement of society. our "diiscclntel constitutive and inevitable.. On the contrary. produced by the (". the movement to call a September meeting in Bologna on the question of .

. lSCo urse In a repr .adness and Civi . essay CtVt/tzatzon dzscontents. in Anti.m"s influence. seduction. whose theories looked dissuasive to us in those years. on wh' h twentleth centu IC ' ry pOI" ltlcs bUI'It (mis)-fortunes: it is the field of dependeney. lization. Despite their open aban donment of the Freu ' dlan domaill the Anti-Oedipus. In Eros and C '/Zzatzo ZVz ' .Oedi US the conc ept desire is opposed to that of lack. Jean Baudrillard draws a different landscape: in his works of the early 1970s (The S ystem of Objects. Expressive excess is for Baudrillatd the essential core of an overdose of reality. proliferation of simulacra. . n 'Vl th e timeI mess of the ' ' a. The concept 0f desire cannot be flattened OUt ' "repressive" k' 10 a re. The analysis of mod ern sOci ety is . Z.rq'se liberation of colle crlve eros ' presses technology's and knowledge's p oten tialities by their full development " l . Yet in his works devot ed to the of modermty (specificall ' y 1'n M. leading him outside of Lacanian ?re'Idis. ' tlon. of reI19lOUS " ' ' domination. but simulation. or rather expressive vision. Desire is the dnvmg rorce of the " c movement both society and individual expc ' es. but on desire as creation. and not of aUtonlolI'Y Lack IS a specific prod ' uct of the economic regime.opolmcs") has forced us to move of Foucault's theory from represslve d" ' . Desire cannot be understood through struc­ as a possible variant depending on invariable mathematical Creative desire produces infinite structures.sclpline to the b' 1" IOpO meal control devices. yet desiring nenc . ' . Desire can stiffen structures. Cmtc. Desire sets traps for itself. Processes of erotic and political subjectiva­ be founded on lack. Dtscipline and AUnts ' h) . 1ft fb' . and among even those functioning as apparatuses of tepression. as the reemergence of repressed desire the repressive social sublimation: an anti-repressive. ' but Cfltlca subJectivi ty precisely by making possib le the full expreSSl' On and prod Uctlve potential ' ities' thus creating ' the cOlod fiull realization of i'tioll the pleasure pri ncip le. remain ':'Ith'n the � 0f problems delim . Deleuz e and Guattan' also . 1ll h' own way F ' IS OUcauIt still withi n the domain of the "repressive" paradigm. creativity has to constantly with the repres ' slve war machine that capitalistic pIaces m evety corner of ' existence and the imagma . we need to or wait f Baudrillard. publrcatlOn of Foucault's 1979 sem mars (par ' ticuIatIy devoted to "the b' h 0 . them in otder to really exit the Freudian framework. ited by Freud 's 1929 . . The relation between structure and desire is the turning point Guattari's schizoanalytic theory. in the analytical frameworks deriving from Foucault's and Deleuze's and Guattarfs creationism prevails a vision as force.'dinttofth 10d .ression is nothing but a projection of desire. 0n the contraty. .historical horizons . essive way. The field 0f I au prod uced tical philosophy. . i 1 76 / The Sou! at Work . Desire is not the ifestatiion of a structure but has the creative power to build a structures. transforming them 3oi)sessi1!e refrains. Deleuze and Guattari let us undetstand rep. Baudrillard maintains that desire is the driving force of capital's development and that the ideology of liberation corresponds to the full domination of the commodity: the new imaginary dimen­ sion is not repression. desCnp tlOn of discipli nary InStruments mo ' deI109 social ' tions and the public d' . The Consumer " Requiem for the Media" and finally Forget Foucault) Society. this point of view.

Baudrillard's intuition proved its relevance. discomfort and I'd like to state here--even if this may seem superfluous-that discourse has nothing to do with the reactionary and bigoted pre:tching about the bad results of permissive attitudes. dyslexia. They have all lost _ _ "The real is growing like the desert [ . panic. . I am not interested in comparing the theory of with the theory of desire.ol scene emerging in the years of passage from late industrial to semio-capitalism. These patholo­ refer to a different way of elaborating the informational yet they manifest themselves through pain. I am interested in the pSJ1ch. and discontent. incurable malady. PnisnnAri Soul / 1 79 . Freud's vision places repression us."" Baudrillard foresees the tendency that would become the next decades: in his analysis. This today needs to be described as a psychosis associated with dimension of action and an excess of energy and information.opath. In his latest years much quoted work on disciplinary societies and sociery of Deleuze does seem to question Foucault's notion of dHlci[llin the different theoretical architectures descending from it: to go in the direction that Baudrillard had followed since 1 970s. Overproduction is an immanent character of capitalistic duction. id"nti:hed as neurosis and described as a consequence of repression In his schizoanalytic work. forcing the subject to accept tern position of the seduced. Something is forbidden. which will become a instead by the injunction ligation.ole'gy. the entire field of problems alienation. Yet in the domain of Sernitlcapir:alism specific overproduction that occurs is a semiotic one: an excess of signs circulating in the Infosphere. J Illusion.m:ea ob e we deal with the present malaise affecting the first connectiv in the conceptual domain described by Freud :ner'atll)n. even if one day this COJrnpanson need to be developed. and how the repression of the good old days was both for the intel­ and for social mores. dreams. The active parry is not the the object. repression. Individual and tive attention is saturated. With time. simulation modifies the between subject and object. to express. Guattari focused on the possibiliry . since the production of goods never corresponds logic of human beings' concrete needs. origin Today it seems evident that seclusion is no longer at the the explosion of Infosphere: the excess of info-nervous though struck down by some dark. but also artifice and MU lUlacr'unl tf were realiry's natural predators. that is to say a f orm of capitalism immaterial labor and the explosion of the Infosphere. dominant pathology of the future will not be produced by repr'essit Civiliza accom­ f pltth. Consequentially.v" cucmHH� the relation between neurosis and psychosis. ner:. we are not tion and Its Discontents. beginning the methodological and cognitive role of schizophrenia. the excess of visibiliry Not repression. .madness and drugs. We have seen then. how the dominant social psychopathology. Thp. but hyper-expressivity is the technological anthropological context framing our understanding of psychopathologies: ADD. suppressed origin of pathology: something is hidden from repressed. but to the abstract the production of value. but rather hyper-vision.

o .new definition had an extremely powerful political effect. Nothi. through an exrension of the limits of meaning. we inhabitants of the semiocap­ universe. who schizometamorphosis) of social languages. than that fly off. salute the flag. What is Philosophy?. mode to those messages which he himself utters or emits non­ verbally. ] of labor and subjugating desire ro disciplinary forms Bur the very schizomorphic pressure of the social m. quote again. overta:Ked with signifying impulses and incapable of elaborating seq. that of not being able t distinguish between metaphor and literal expression. " The schizophrenic exhibits weakness in three areas of such function: (a) He has difficulty in assigning the correct commu­ nicational mode to the messages he receives from other persons.rph. the main characteristic of schizophrenic inter­ . to those who don't interpret properly the signs of power. The psychopathologies now spreading in the daily first generations of the connective era cannot be unClerst')o<j from the standpoint of the repressive and disciplinary These are not pathologies of repression. sensations and percepts. Bateson thus schizophrenic interpretation. who don't respect hierarchy and the law. with the explosion of the neurotic limits that caj)i"diSi m imposed on expression by forcing activity within the reF'ressiv. In his chapter Towards an Ecology o/Schizophrenia. productive finally of capitalist exploitation.)tte regime can be defined as repressive because one and only meaning can be attributed to each and every signifier inside it. by Deleuze and Guattari.&.))39 (b) He has difficulty in assigning the correct communicational the video-electronic infosphere we all exist under the conditions describe schizophrenic communication. rhe conclusion of their last book common. schizophrenia considered an excess of semiotic flows with respect to the ability to interpret them.. is affected precisely by the three difficulties that Bateson is talking abour. that disappear hardly formed. is characterized by the excessive velocity of signifiers therefore it stimulares a sort of interpretative hyper-kinesis. our mind longer distinguish the lines and dots giving shape to is when we try ro give a possible meaning through an ov"r-llncl( process. semiotics of schizophrenia � semi. already eroded forgetfulness. becomes the dominant modality of navigation in the vid" o-t:!ectronic media proliferating universe. Once the universe starts lUllUlng fast.ng'j is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself.uerltially the meaning of enunciations and stimuli. "We require jusr a litde order to protect us f rom chaos. and too many signs ask to be interpreted.)ve:m'. (c) He has difficulty in assigning the correct commu­ nicational mode to his own thoughts. but of the just do From a semio-pathological point of view."38 Over-inclusion. They are infinite speeds that blend into immobility of the colorless and silent nothingness they tm'er""" without nature or thought. The regime in which we all live. He also mentions another schizophrenic attitude. here.<"trion. the expressive explosion of the social led to a me:tarno.nt. The human receiver..

the less time is left for the listener's elaboration of the message. J . flows and the circulation of goods overlap their codes. the least successful is the lisrening coJmr>reiilettsitln The faster the emission. but that he uses unlabeled metaphors. . but also the time available for the emo­ tional elaboration of the other.ensiot by an acceleration in vocal emission. that tries to be understood without ever succeeding. Casual East and China lead to similar conclusions.o nlinl part of that same constellation defined by Baudrillatd as "Fast delivery rates intimidate listeners [. b«. According to Robin: rized. today the most widely spread pathologies assume a psychotic. of the irrelevant."" In the universe of digital simulation the metaphor and the less and less distinct: the thing becomes metaphor and the m"tar>h thing. Robin founds his research the calculation of how many syllables per second are uttered by transmitter. The hyper-stimulation of attention reduces me capaciry for critical sequential interpretation. In the f ormer Soviet Union."" comparisons f news broadcasts in places such as the Middle or real. interpretation occurs according to spirals of associations and nections without signification. Emission's velocity and the quantity semiotic impulses sent in a time unit are a function of the available to the receiver for elaborating consciously. and life tepresentation.ca Authenticity. panic-driven character. and no longer according f alse value of enunciations sequentially presented to its more or conscious attention. 1991). studies the effects produced in listening co>mp'ret. The collective cognitive system loses its competence. the more syl!lables are pronounced. The infocratic regime of Semiocapital founds instead its power on overloading: accelerating semiotic flows which let sources of information proliferate until they become the white noise of the indistinguishable. The more accelerated the emission." Richard Robin. Secretary or Duce. Dissident voices are censured. 182 / Tile Soul at Work The Poisoned Soul I 183 . delivery as measured in syllables per or second has nearly doubled since the f of communism f all rom three to about six syllables per second (Robin. of his or her body and voice. Representation teplaces life. f example. helping us understand the passage from a form of authoritarian power of a '�ersuasive" kind (as was the case of twentieth century totalitarian regimes) to a form of biopolitical power of a "pervasive" kind (as in contemporary Info-cracy). General. The first is based on consent: citizens need to sequential lines.ol University." Therefore the schizophrenic register becomes the interpretative code. This is why we repeat that if in modern sociery the vastly prevalent pathology was repression-induced neurosis. of the unintelligible."The peculiarity of the schizophrenic is not that metaphors.ogi. which consisted in being able to distinguish the Robin's remarks have stunningly interesting implications. a researcher at the George Washi'ngt. Only one source of information is autho­ In an essay entitled "Learner-Based Listening and Techtlol. There is evidence . In the prolif erating universe of fast understand well the reaSOns of their President. that globalization has resulted in increased delivery tempos in areas of the world where W estern broadcasting styles have replaced traditional authoritative styles. Fahrer.

American debt could grow indefinitely. freeing it from the constitutional itself to be a modeling of social relations. simulation and event. and the conse quent intell'. since the debtor was stronger than the creditor. Far from being an objective science. the USA has made rest of the world pay for the ramping up of their war machine. salaries.:olibelralism . whose task is the imposition of arbitrary tules on social activities: competition. then. Since then. value and time of labor were no longer guaranteed. economics revealed The Precarious Soul Deregulation and control Baudrillard remarks that the word liberation has been meaning since power stopped being foun ded on the norm.4 ·es". swindling and lies. maximum profit. Brute 184 Tile Precarious Soul / 1 85 . started to crumble. linguistic moral relations. while in rhose same 1970s."l The entire system fell inro indeterminacy. The rule of convertibility was dis­ missed according to an act of political will. and Were founded on the relation between the time of sOcially nec:essar labor and the determination of value. and only relied on force. The decision that inaugurat­ ed the end of the dollar's convertibility inaugurated an aleatory regime of fluctuating values. The deregulation launched by Margaret 1 n'''Cllel and Ronald Reagan at the beginning of the 1980 s is not the of such indeterminacy.ct. since the correspondences between referent and sign.iza. Today the whole system is swamped by indeter­ minacy.oal. tion of productive labor. an entetprise of violent coercion. In S ymbolic Exchange and Death. registered the end of the rule of value. How is value established. Since then. the fluctuations of price s. In rhe Fordist era. and made it into an nomic policy. within the aleatory regime of fluctuating values? Through violence. N. and every reality is absorbed by the hyperreality of the code and simulation. unlimited growth.bli. diSciplinary regularion of bodies and of social. and uses its war machine to threaten the rest of the world and force it to pay. Wich the introduction micro-electronic technologies. that is to say since the worl d was 'UDrrler!�ect . the Ametican ecclnomy was no longer subject to the control of economic laws (if control ever existed). Baudrillard had an intuition about the general lines of the evolution characterizing the end of the millennium: "The reality principle corresponded to a certain stage of the law of value. but its political inscri ption.sh"d in Bretton Woods in 1944. 1 generalized indeterminacy. the relationships betw een existing units measure and the different productive force s entered a regime indeterminacy. The decision that Richard Nixo n made in 1971 delink the dollar from gold gave American capita lism a pivotal within the global economy. the entire technical and organizational system ruled by the mechanical paradigm.

bitthrate. Liberalism (or rather neo-liberalism. understood as modeling of the bodies in the Fordist context.. the central dogma of global politics) is a polit­ ical ptogram whose purpose implies the inoculation of the 186 I The Soul at Work T!le Precarious Soul / 187 . clinics. The word deregulation is f alse. so that only the rules of the economic nate. upsetting not only the tions between the economy and society." 2 the With the word biopolitics. . In the works that Foucault devoted to the genealogy of power formations. s e race . Biopolities represents a morphogenetic modeling of the living opetated by the habitat with which it is required to interact. Foucault broaden tive in order to of his genealogical and biopolitical perspec only the economic processes that in those years were shape. Foucault introduces the idea that of power is the story of the living body being modeled by deeply mutational institutions and practices. Foucault himself tealized it.ml)orary with the election of s the and of Ronald Reagan in the USA. It looks as ifit inated in the history of anti-systemic avant-gardes to libertarian wind into the social sphere and hetalding the precariousness ofsocial relations produces on the individual e insertion of the neo­ \". most violent. the key concept was discipline. Foucault writes I meant "The theme was to have been 'biopolities.. the most cynical. bur also the cO(ltd'nate i critical discourse. capable of introducing behaviors and expectations and indeed permanent modifications in the living. to ratio­ the attemp t. uncontested. T he tegime of fluctuating values coincides with the domination cism in public discourse and in the public soul. . In ordet to understand the social effects of Neoliberal tion we have to understand the psychopathogenic effects collective soul.r transformation as an implosiv fotm within the animated social body.. The only legitimate rule is now the strictest. deregulation central role in the ideology of power. Now that the despotic regime of liberalist detegulation has developed itself. and the political and econom issues they have raised up to the present. In his seminar. In his eatIv '"ri. Margaret Thatcher in Great \nt<. Beginning with the 1970s. as we can in The Birth ofBiopolitics. Here Foucault tetraces a phenomena characteristic of a set of living beings fotming population: health. prisons-Foucault built a theory modern power that included a theory of subject formation. the subsequently published fotm of 1979 seminar at the College de France. the discourse Foucault developed in his early ings needs to be updated.W know the incteasing importance of these problem ic since the nineteenth century.' by which .force is legitimated as the only effective SOurce of law.l'olr<w. the most irrational of all the rules: law of economic jungle. starting from the eighteenth century e by nalize the problems posed to governmental practic every norm and constrictive rule.rim. the deregulatory that accompany the victory of monetary neo-libetalism clearing away all rules. whete he studied the formation of the modern disciplinary tures-mental hospitals. since we want to tefet to the particularly aggressive variant of liberalism that was proposed throughout the 1 970s by the Chicago School of economics and latet adopted by American and British governments until it finally became. after 1989. In realiry. life expectancy. leeillnirLg to take : In his Course Summary. hygiene.

"It means generalizing the 'enterprise' from within the social body or social fabric.enterprise principle to every space of human relations. Capital. these ties were able to shore up priYaltiZ<ltic. this sense the question of freedom today is a biopolitical problem. What is the function of this generalization of the 'enterprise' f orm? On the one hand. now. which objectiJies human activiry reducing it to a cognitive automatism. therefore an effect of biopolitical branding was produced in the collective mind-body. Real subsumption means instead the workers' lifetimes have been captured by the capital flow. tion of productive processes and of social communication en:. in a Mal'J<:ist digression. Let me indulge. .ct a molecular domination upon the collective nervous network.onJme.nt al In prior decades. This the domain of the dead object. technological and chological chains.. it wanted to transform every domain of social life (included health care. the entrepreneurial model freed economic dynamics from any be they political. bur according to the grain of enterprises.:::. etc) into an economic space where the only valid rule is that of supply and demand within an increasingly absolute privatization of services. juridical dimension. . f example. insurance. Foucault explains that biopolitics is a process internalization: economic chains are incorporated in the physical linguistic sphere once sociery has been freed from any formal rule.1'l thanks to the public investment policies that had been stimulated Keynes' reforms and the workers' organized action. And finally. �:::'()I Ii ::It Wmk Tile Precarious Soul / 189 . the cOlnpurenz:. the individual's life itself-with his relationships to his private property. and retirement-must make him into a sort of permanent and multiple enterprise [ . published in the 1960s. Formal subsumption based on the juridical subjugation of the laborers. . on the disciplining of the bodies. at the elimination of all legal notms and social regulations that resulted in the limitation of com­ petitive dynamics. J within the framework of a multipliciry of . J. to the soul. not according to the grain of individuals. l'rivatiza 'tiol and the fact that every fragment of the social sphere was reduced i. education. ethical. The individual life must be lodged [ . Marx talks about the passage formal to real subsumption by capital. affects. household. diverse enterprises connected up to and entangled with each other [ . it involves extending the 1 RR I Th. . culture. it means talring this social f abric and arranging things so that it can be broken down. The introduction of pervasive technologies. . on one side. the commodiry. sexualiry. social. and reduced. subdivided. from the tealm of the juridical person to the animated body. On the other side. Neoliberalism aimed. Neoliberalism eliminated the ties that protected society from the economical dynamics of competition.. of course. But the more liberal deregulation eliminates any legal ties production and the juridical person is freed from regulations. But contemporary totalitarianism has or f ged chains that are different from those of political absolutism: its instruments of domination have moved from the domain of politics to that of the technical production of subjectivity. In his so-called "Unpublished Sixth Chapter" of V olume Neo-Liberal theories reduce the concept of freedom to its formal.�' meaning death): the submission of intelligent life to the dead the domination of the dead over the living. with his or family. In this we should speak of "thanato-politics" (from the Greek "than'ltos. more living social time is caught in linguistic. J . unionist or en·vir. the souls have been pervaded by techno-linguistic chains. juridical.

but the dark core of the capitalist production in the sphere of the network where a flow of fragmented recombinant info-labor circulates. down.pnllor'K. costs-profit so as to make it a model of social relatio ns existence itself. The idea wealth is separated from the pleasure of free enjoyment and to the accumulation of value. rational. a politics On a political leve!. Capital can buy frac­ of human time. but at the same time a policy which presents seeks to be a kind of Vitalpolitik with the function of reduction of the idea of wealth to that of ownership. recombining them through the digital .mF'etition."4 Evety government choice. leC<lm:lI1g precarious the aleatory regime of fluctuant values. Evety discipline. The distribution of time can thus be separated the physical and j uridical person of the worker. Precariousness has ' thanl. precariousness the general form of social existence. . social initiative. From the standpoint capital's valorization. tural expectations. a f orm of telationship of the individual self.e. Intermit­ work cells turn on and off within the large control frame of production. evetyone's life is threatened by an increasing instability. At the origins of the liberalist vision there is a reduction human good (ethical and aesthetic good) to economic int. In this sense it is a Vitalpolitik. the group. tion.p< of workers on permanent contracts are lowered and bro­ sating for what is cold. those around him.ed the social composition. The Precarious Soul / 1 91 . Digitalized info-labor can be recombined in a different locawon. :! of the whole cycle of production.e """. nuance of sensibility must conform to that Neoliberalism represents an attempt to build the homo o.lingui:sti. is judged according to a unique criterion: economic competition and profitability. and the f amily The return to the enterprise is therefore at once an policy or a policy of the economization of the entire field. Precariousness is the transformative ele­ Th. mechanical in the strictly economic game of co. innovation. Yet from the cognitive workers' perspective work done has a fragmentary character: it consists in fractions cellular time available for productive recombination. Social labor is like an ocean of value producing cells that can be grouped recombined according to capital's needs.economic model of supply and demand and lfiv'estln. relational. form of culture. finding its unity in produced object. what Foucault defines: "a sort of economic tribunal that claims to assess go'vetnmem' action in strictly economic and market terms.. edge. the neoliberal victoty leads to the a biopolitics.'om1mi an anthropological model incapable of distinguishing between 0 own good and economic interest. impassive. calculating.eres:t. expressive forms of the new generations now facing the Precariousness is not a particular element of the social relation. the flow is continuous. The reign of the enterprise is at once a political deregulation and an epistemic process of a new segmentation of time. time. and the psychological. far from the one that produces it. Nobody is shielded from it.

we it through the commercial circuits of fitness and sex. Thanks to the interconnection of its living parts. the social system seems to get more and more similar to a biological system. The cost of tuition is so high that this loan becomes a den from which students can't f themselves for decades. and de-personalized has no rights. that the worker looked like a soulless body.. pulsating and avail­ able. Technology led us to pro­ duce artificial living systems. revealed selves to be manifestations of a new f orm of slavery producing insecurity and most of all a psychological catastrophe. When we move into the sphere of info-labor. paths in order to become compatible with the system of op<oratil' exchanges structuring the productive ensemble. which was derived from a mechanical metaphor. creativity and language. The ringtone of the mobile phone calls the workers ro way. in his book Out o Control. irreparably obsolete. must now follow hlr. In 1993. The model of the network is able to organize and direct productive energies in the most functional way. Industrial factories the body. Nobody f orces endure subjection and dependency. Therefore the model of horizontal integration tends to replace that of hierarchical decision.cti. it buys packets of time. The general horizon traced by this book is the Global Mind. the great majority of students obtain a loan in order to pay their courses and obtain a Meanwhile. In the U. De-personalized time is now real agent of the process of valorization. Coercion is instead to ded in the technicalities of social relations.on� degree. Capital no recruits people. Living systems are infinitely more complex than any system rhat could be interpreted according to the sequential model of mechanics and of rational and voluntary action. these f The mobile phone makes possible the connection between the of semio-capital and the mobilization of the living labor of cyber-space. The immaterial asks instead to place our very souls at its disposal: intelligence. bility. and control is through the voluntary yet inevitable submission to a automatisms. where we find syntheSized biological organisms and digital networks.Ever since Fordist discipline was dissolved. themselves in a condition of apparent freedom.S. the human machine is there. forcing it to leave the soul outside of the assembly line. The neoliberal values presented in the 1980s and vectors of independence and self-entrepreneurship. We need to rethink politics according to the metaphorical possibilities of a bioinformatics model. and the model of recombination tends to replace that of the accumulation of events and dialectic contradiction. This makes the method and episteme of modern politics. the conditions for a new form of dependence are pr()du'ce(i' the lives of the new generations. The global mind is a bio­ digital super-organism connecting brains. In ree reconnect their abstract time to the reticular flows. bodies and electronic networks. like a brain-sprawl in waiting. The extension of time is meticulously cellular: cells of productive time can be mobilized in casual and fragmentaty forms. artificial systems functioning according to the bio­ recombining paradigm of living organisms. 1 r::J? / ThA SOl Ii :::It INnrk Trie Precarious Soul / 193 .A. separated from their ' changeable and contingent bearers. The once wandering and unpredictable. The useless body lies flabbily at borders of the game field: to take care of it and entertain it. The soul and loses its tenderness and malleability. Kevin Kelly talked about f vivisystems. The recombination of ragments is automatically realized in the digital networks.

This idea was largely popular in cyber-culture during the horizontal connection of networked systems gives human power? And who really benefits from the empowering of the gence a superior power. Bur what is the principle that sernicltizes(

6

That is, a swarm is a particular kind of collectiviry or

phenomenon that may be dependent upon a condition of cotIOe,oti>'iry. A swarm is a collectiviry that is defined by relationaliry. pertains as much to the level of the individual unit as it does the overall organization of the swarm. At some level "living netwo,rk,;" and "swarms" overlap. A swarm is a whole that is more the sum of its parts, bur it is also a heterogeneous whole. In the the parts are not subservient to the whole-both exist sirrlUlt:aneollsly and because of each other.

f tive intelligence? In Out o Control, Kevin Kelly writes:
'

'As very large webs penetrate the made world, we see the

glimpses of what emerges from the net-machines that be(:omle .:: alive, smart, and evolve-a neo-biological civilization. There is a sense in which a global mind also emerges in a network culture. The global mind is the union of computer and nature-of telephones and human brains and more. It is a very large complexity of indeterminate shape governed by invisible hand of its own.'" In Kelly's vision the obscure yet superior designs of the global are manifested through automatic mechanisms of global inrera<:tivi decision making. The multitude can speak hundreds of th(lUs:md of languages, bur the language that enables it to function as an grated whole is that of the economic automatisms embodied technology. Seized in a game of mirrors of indeterminacy olll precariousness, the multitude manifests its dark side and f o,," { automatisms that turn its wealth into misery, its power into an,guish. and its creativiry into dependency. The multitude does not manifest rather as dependence from the automatisms that biopower and activates in everyday life, in our sensibiliry and psyche: become a swarm. According to Eugene Thacker, a swarm is an v" ,_ : : . •• nization of multiple, individuated units with some relation to one: ;·.<

The effective exercise of politics (that is to say of political presupposes a conscious possibiliry of elabotating of the information collectively shared by the social organism. But the information circulating within digital sociery is too much: too fast, too intense, too thick and complex for individuals or groups to elab­ orate it consciously, critically, reasonably, with the necessary time to make a decision. Therefore the decision is left to automatisms, and the social organism seems to function ever more often according to evolutionary rules of an automatic kind, inscribed in the genetic cognitive patrimony of individuals. The swarm now tends to become the dominant form of human action. Displacement and
c. allto:matisms that impose themselves over the individual.

direction are more and more decided by the system of collective

logic f orm that the process of digital production is assuming, Bill Gates writes:
'� .organization's nervous system has parallels with our

peed o Thought, referring to the general bio­ f In Business @ The S

human nervous system. Every business, regardless of industry,

The PrecarioLis Soul / 1 95

has 'autonomic' systems, the operational processes that JUSt have to go on if the company is to sutvive [ . . . J. What has . been missing ate links between infotmation that tesemble the intetconnected neutons in the btain [ . . . J You know you have built an excellent digital netvous system when infotmation flows through your organization as quickly and naturally as thought in a human being and when you can use technology to marshal and coordinate teams of people as quickly as you can focus an individual on an issue. res business at the speed of thought.'" In the connected world, the retroactive loops of a general systenlS ;; theory is combined with the dynamic logic of biogenetics in post-human vision of digital production. The model of bicl-into' production imagined by Gates is the interface that will allow
1 ;

. body with mutagenic fluxes produced by bioengineering: medica­ tions, artificial organs, genetic mutations and functional reprogramming. In a sense, even information technologies occupy the mind with mutagenic flows, invading our attention, imagina­ tion and memory. Informatics and biotechnical technologies allow bodies to connect in a continuum ruled by automatisms., In the disciplinary society whose epistemic and practical origins were discussed by Michel Foucault, bodies were disciplined in a repressive way by social and productive rules that required consensus, submission and conscious interiorization. The law imposed by rhe modern state over individuals had an exterior character with respect ro the conscious human organism, represented by the citizen. The society of control, as discussed by Deleuze, is instead installed beginning with the wiring of bodies and minds, innerving automatisms of a techno-linguistic kind, thanks to mutations induced according to the finalities inscribed in the technological device. Refined technologies are active on a molecular level, they are nano-factors of mutation. Therefore they create the conditions for the control of the agent-subject through techno-linguistic automa­ tisms and techno-operations. The minds of conscious individual organisms are connected by muragenic flows of a semiotic kind: they transform organisms into terminals for the global mind and the bio-digital super organism. Darwin thought that the process of selection worked on the extremely long times necessary to the natural evolution of the species. In the span of one generation we cannot perceive anything significant in this sense, and selection is manifested only in a cumulative way, throughout many generations. Little, almost imperceptible modifications are cumulated throughout extremely long temporal cycles. But is this still the case in the modern epoch?

tive, the digital nervous system can be rapidly installed on a

;: ; bodies to integrate with the digital circuit. Once it gets fully op,er." ..;jU

form of organization. Microsoft deals with products and services ' only apparently. In reality, it deals with a form of cybernetic oq(.nt< zation that-once installed-structures the flows of digital information through the nervous systems of all key institutions : contemporary life. Microsoft needs to be considered a vutu,U ; ..... . ·1 · memory that we can download, ready to be installed in the 010- ).'< informatics interfaces of the social organism: a cybel:-Pan,opl:iccm installed inside the bodily circuits of human subjectivity, a mCL<'- .:,,;. genic factor introduced in the circuits of social communication. Cybernetics finally becomes life or-as Gates likes to say-infor­ mation is our "vital lymph." Biotechnologies open the way to an ulterior evolution of this scenario, allowing us to connect individual bodies and the

196 / The Soul at Work

Tile Precarious Soul / 1 97

Isn't technology a factor of incredible acceleration in the processes that in nature were so slow, and hasn't it now within one or two generations? Isn)t the mutation occurring tendency to accelerate up to the point of fully manifesting

The productive relation between body and machine was through a slow interaction which was visible, conscious governable. The anatomical body and the capitalistic macro­ ma.chlille are reciprocally modeled throughout this process. In factory, anatomy and mechanics keep together the sys­ of productive bodies which occupy the material space of objects, transformations and displacements. In this material and space, labor and conflict become manifest, and power is But once the digital appears on the horizon of social life, the central factors of social relations move from the analogical domain .' (of sizes, bodies, drives) to that of algorithms (relations, constants, simulations). Digitalization implies a shift at the essential level of manipulation: social products are no longer manipulated materially, but they are generated at a conceptual leve!. The site where produc­ tive, social and communicative series are established is isolated from social knowledge and even visibility. On the social scene automa­ are expressed, yet the domain where they are produced is subtracted from visibility, not only because this is a clandestine domain (laboratories of research are subtracted from any democraric judgment or decision), but also because everything happens within nanotechnology. The humanistic horizon was related to Protagoras' premise that "man is the measure of all things." In the traditional-even in the industrial-world, man is the measure, and the technologic uni­ verse is built upon his will and concrete capacities to manipulate. This is no longer true once rhe technologies of the invisible spread. . The important "things" (indeed they are generative algorithms) that .' COUnt and determine the formation of social phenomena no longer correspond to a human measure: rhe human eye can no longer

physiological one? Can't we see already in action the mUltatloIl. b emotional system, desiring regimes, territorial dislocations, of attention, memorization and imagination? Aren't we to perceive a possible psychological mutation in the induced by biotechnology? Therefore it is true that the environment has a deternlil function on the choices made by human minds, yet UU'''''U,l m are part of the environment. For this reason, the cOllcl!usil)ns liberalist theory elaborated from the premises of social follow a pseudo-logic. It is true that biology dominates action, but human action also determines biology. The instinctual and aesthetic) a conscious human mind will The modeling of me soul Modern society was founded on the perspective government over a world built on a human scale. This ment must discipline bodies, communicational language. Discipline as Foucault suggested already in his
� ...

our eyes spreading from the technological level ldigirali2:atj,on;. nectivity) to the social, cultural aesthetic,

oo.:"'

to understand which choices (episremic, technologic and

of Madness, implies the reduction of the world to reason,
at the same time irrationality is confined, segregated, and medicalized. The development of the Fordist in<lustrialllc presupposes the same disciplining process, while also

1 98 I The Soul at Work

Tile Precarious Soul / 199

in 1486. J . cal and polirical disciplining to that of logical and pSJTcholc". by the abricated this house. and the middle orders. That means that control over the body is exerted by o lioiIlf rma·tics ontology della Mirandola was a humanist and philologist who. The political extinction of the working class was not and a consequence of any struggle between political forces. the Artisan desired that there be someone to reckon up the reason of such a big work. but their action is no longer effective in relarion to the dominant that are actually producing general social effects. But it did not belong to the ailed in the final parturition [ . to love its beauty. with the work finished. the low­ est. or the of a social elimination. irreversible level. all things had been laid out in the highest. But. it is pure "spectacle": while de is what we can see. generative algorithms are Domination therefore shifts from the domain of bodily. or logical and biogenic automatisms. it did not belong to the loving-kindness which was going to praise divine liber­ orced to condemn itself. He had ani­ mated the celestial globes with eternal souls. What versibly changed on the scene of Semiocapital is the rei<ttio>nsh between the human factor (the workers) and sites of control decision. since it through the creation of linguistic and operative automatisms turing the way the technosphere functions. Here I am quoting his work: "Now the highest Father. Control is exerted at an inv'isHll. in composite fashion. . it paternal powet to have f . Workers continue to exist. now that all things had been completed [ . Control is no longer exerted on a macrosocial or ic level. J. in a case of necessity. Everything was filled up. He lastly considered creating man. since all that is politically visible has no value.perceive them. adorned the super-celestial region with minds. Capitalist ization is supported essentially by these automatisms. God the master-builder. f which we see. Accordingly. so that capitalist valorization becomes more independent from any conscious activity and the very of human political action. Finally. . a vety superb temple of divinity He had . and to wonder at its greatness. faces. nor any­ archetypes f thing in His storehouse which He could bestow as a heritage upon a new son. . he had filled with a diverse throng of animals rhe cast-off and residual parts of the lower world. whatsoever 200 / Hle Soul at Work The Precarious Soul ! 201 . Control over the body is no longer exerted by molar nisms of constriction. Politics is weakened. diffused and connected at a general level in rive society. the best ality in othets to be f ofwotkmen decided that that to which nothing of its very own could be given should be. a level that cannot be ruled. but by micro machines that incorporated into the organism through mass communication and the predisposition of informatics modeling of the soul. But there was nothing in the rom which He could mold a new sprout. to have been tossed back and f orth through want of a plan. as bodily constriction. nor was there an empty judiciary seat where this contemplator of the universe could sit. a text entitled Oratio de dignitate hominis. did not belong to wisdom. this world laws of his secret wisdom. had. Not the body but becomes the subject of techno-social domination.

it is constitutive of human essence. thou mayest sculpt thyself into whatever shape thou dost prefer. Adam. the last and most compIex. no gift peculiarly thine. A ""me thy very own. and armies of Cllristiarl . that from rhere thou mayest more conveniently look around and see whatsoever is in the world. Thou. implicit in divine will or in Being. Freedom is understood as f reedom from determinacy: in this sense. 202 / Tile Soul at Work . and by the automatization of life. Neither heavenly nor earthly. thou art confined by no boun ds.' Heidegger already shows how humanism is in danger: it is actually condemned by the "beyond the human" that is implicit in the mathematization and digitalization of knowledge. Pico inaugurated the modern horizon: the exercise of power is not established by any archerype. have as thine own. free to define themselves. Human becoming was not delimited or finalized by divine will. and. but was left to the will of human indeterminacy. Spaniards brought to the new continent a civilization of death. possess as thine Own the the form. immortal have We made thee. that is to say the quintessentially human: since the human is situated in a space of freedom that technology eliminates. He spoke to him as (We have given to thee.. norm or necessiry. The technical development of human intelligence creates the conditions for putting under critical light the very indeterminacy that Pico stressed as the essential and original character of the human being.»)8 Writing his speech on human digniry at the end of the fifteenth tury. In those same years a newly Christianized Spain eXIJelled< Muslims and Jews from its territories. like a judge appOinted f or thee at the center of the world. The history of moderniry played itself out in the emptiness of Being. He took up man. freely establishing the limits of their acts and destiny. nature in other creatures is confined within the laws . since Creator did not determine in any way the path that slhe needs follow. building a destiny that is objectified and embodied in the linguistic automatism. could not be defined by any archetype or essence. But in the historical manifesta­ tions of this constant overcoming of limits. that thou mayest f eel 'll' being honorable. and thou wilt fix limits of nature for thyself. The will to power produced the instruments of its own end. a work of indeterminate f orm. Despite the fact that human freedom had been guar­ anteed by the divine decision to let humans live with their own indeterminacy. In conformiry with thy free judgment."" down by Us. in thine own. and the end of human freedom.. God had therefo re to leave humans their freedom to define themselves. Thou canst again grow upward from thy soul's reason into the higher natures which are divine. no form Pico tells us that God had no more archerypes available and that the human creature. In his Letter on Humanism. mination and abuse. Moderniry was inaugurated by this awareness: human civiliza­ tion is a project. art the molder and maker of thyself. the gifts which thou thyself shalt desire. the favorite one..:ertion" of freedom and enterprise that was also an imposition of violence..had belonged individually to each and every thing. neither mortal nor hands I have placed thee. no fixed seat. Technology suspends and obliterates human freedom. him at the midpoint of the world. I have placed Thou canst grow downward into the lower natures which are brutes. Access to moderniry was marked by an as. moderniry reaches both its apex and exhaustion. not the development Ot the realization of a design.

J. it is one of the pathways along which."More essential than instituting rules is that man find to . The empty place of Being is thus filled by the The end of Humanism stems from the power of Humanism itself of this battle of world views. and redefine it. ThR PrACf'lriolJ8 Soul / 205 . For the . so that for them language becomes a mere corrta inl for their sundry preoccupations.ni2:e' by those who are involved. Mer having that modernity is the conquest and submission of the world picture finally reduced to an integrated form.re<:og. "The fundamental event of modernity is the conquest of world as picture. From now on the word 'picture' means: collective image of representing production [ . but at the same time tells us that language belongs to technique: technique ar once its privileged object and the subject that produces. because language is the home of the essence of man historical mankind and human beings not be at home in his abode in the truth of Being [ . and breeding. Thus language once the house of Being and the home of human beings. and performative power of the technosphere. ciates."ll The last words in this quote need some attention. their dependency on automatisms. language. with respect to everything. the unlimited process of calculation. humanity came to the point of realizing a technical realm installed in the empty place of Being. . born from the distance between Being and existent. planning. that human beings ("those involved") cannot recognize the races towards the fulfillment of its speed with which modernity unawareness of human ' essence. programs. Heidegger aUl:onratJ!srtlS which penetrate the world of the process that they themselves initiated. and accordingly to its meaning. little by little and replaced by the Aeoriv"a of the authority to rule the world. with a speed unrecognized by those who are involved. Humans are less and less But who are they? They are human beings. Science as research is the indispensable form taken by this self-establishment in the world. J. Thanks to their freedom. Heidegger comes the conclusion that this process takes place at a speed un."IO Language is the house of Being. . modernity races towards the fulfillment of its essence. since this fulfillment is precisely the ' h"im!S. humanity sets in motion. and the numeric conven­ tion is transformed into an operational device. the ontologically unprejudiced character of existence.

genesis of the present depression collapse ofthe global economy can be read as the return ofthe soul. In the year 2000 the American market experienced the effects of an overproduction in the Info-economical field. based on the rational flawed assumption that the soul can be reduced to mere rationality. of economic factors. anxiety. but the general shape of the global crisis that is darkening the his­ torical horizon of our time. In this short conclusion I want to consider meanilogs of the word depression. but the interweaving and interacting of psycho­ logical flows and economic processes. this is not only a metaphor. and the breakdown of big corporations like WorldCom. panic and depression-has surfaced after looming for a decade in the shadow of the touted victory and the promised eternity of capitalism. Enron and so on. American capitalism changed the course of its twO different . This is nor Simple wordplay. is fulling to bits because it was based on dark side of the soul-fear. After the dotcom crash. perfect machine of Neoliberal ideology. By this word we mean a special kind of mental suffering.

But in the social space not all expectations rational. Alan Gteenspan was talking of irrational exuberance. but unfortunately such a charactet really happened to sit in the Oval Office of the White House. and the unlCOI�c scious is speaking behind the curtains of every investment scene. and exuberance were all involved in dynamics of the bull market years. it is impossible to avoid the effects of psychopathologies when the nervous energies of the cognitarian work force are sub­ mitted to unremitting info-stimulation. the unavoidable consequence of the soul at In those days. any act of consumption and economic exchange. Euphoria. when the virtual economy suddenly was jeopardized by the plunge taken by the high-tech stock market. Neoliberal ideology is based on the idea that an economy conceived as a balanced system of rational expectations and scientific sense. The dotcom bubble burst and the overall economy was so deeply shocked that rumors of depres­ sion started to spread all around the world. But these disturbances were not work. competition.development.. when a techno­ apocalypse was announced undet the name of Millennium bug. "Soul troubles" first appeared in the last year of the dotcom decade. Now they are te-surf acing distutbing the normal flow of capitalist valorization. the ptoduction and exchange of serniclti� matters. But this could not last forever. Semiocapitalism. In reality. social transformation. But how do you treat a depression? Would you try to heal it with amphetamines. and the economy of virtual production gave the war economy. The overproduction In the years of the Prozac economy the soul was happy to be exploited. Desire is involved in the process. has always exploited the soul as both productive f orce market place.es. the economy restarted. Panic and depression denied. This is why the supposedly perfect balance of the market become a catastrophic mess. psychotherapy may suggest very useful methods cost of labor continued to f and the growth was in fact base all d the expansion of private and public debt. The fear of a depression materialized in the spring of 2000. and finally showed up again in 2008. Nothing happened on Millennium night. and not all investments are "economic}) in a m:athlenlatiical an accident. The social imagination was so full of apocalyptic expectations that the myth of a global techno-crash created a thrilling wave all around the world. it is impossible to avoid the spreading of emo­ tionaliry. did not go away. subprime crisis triggered the most astounding of financial cr:as h. a contingent temporary phenomenon: they were the effect of the hyper-exploitation of our psychological energy: they were collateral damage. but the global or psyche teetered f a moment on the brink of the abyss. with a shock­ therapy of stimulating psychotropic medicines? Only a f oolish doctor would do this. and an amphetamine therapy was ptescribed by George W Bush in the 208 / 1he Soul at Work Conclusion I 209 . but they were always at work. But the soul is much more unptedictable than muscular workforce which was at work in the assembly line. The events of economic depression and of psychic dep[(�sil)l have to be understood in the same context: they are interrelated only because they are feeding off each other. but also because choanalytic theory has something to teach social thinkets. Thanks to the war. in order to pinpoint the dangerous effects of emotional disturbances in the field of the financial markets. rational investments.

tbe American Secretary of the Treasuty. Presenting the Obama rescue plan on February 10. they do point toward a real breakdown in political self-confidence.form of war and tax reductions for the wealthy. In order to rescue the banks. and is teetering on the brink of a deep depression. leaving Capitalism stronger. The emphasis on competitive lifestyles the permanent excitation of the nervous system prepared the collapse of the global economy which is now unfolding under eyes of an astonished mankind. because the current collapse is rhe effect of rhe infinite complexity of immaterial pro­ duction and of the incompatibility or unfirness of the general ronted with the framework of capitalist gover­ intellect when conf nance and private property. At rhe same time. the moderate-conservative David Brooks wrote: "I worry that we are operating far beyond our economic knowledge. against public Tribu ne. This comprehensive strategy will coSt money. a campaign was launched worldwide against all that in the coming years demand is going to f further. 210 I The Soul at Work Conclusion / 21 1 . jobs have been lost by the millions. We will make mistakes. componenrs of the economic system was a flawed theory because did not consider the systemic effects of the social mind. and they hope rhat it will evolve like the many previous crises that disrupted the economy in the past century bur finally went away. Look at the cutrent landscape: the big world powers are trying to tescue the financial instirutions. and actually facilitated an unpt<:ce." This is precisely the point: the complexity of the global economy is far beyond any knowledge and possible governance. Bush issu ed invitation to go shopping. 2009. Family spending is plummeting. a deptession treatment based on art:ihcia Ilv induced euphoria will not work. We will go through periods in which things get worse and progress is uneven or interrupted. The Neoliberal ideal of an inherent balance among the 'n••vu.sec organism will collapse. In an article recently published by the International Herald lective intelligence. bur rhe financial collapse has already affected the industrial system: demand is falling. Beyond our knowledge Economists and politicians are wotried: they call it a crisis. involve risk and take time. We will have to try things we've never tried before. against freedom of research. and the impressive difference of the new leading American class compared to the Bushites. the bipolar economy swung from euphoria to panic. Timothy Geithner. I think that this time is different. said: "I want to be candid. The political and economic knowledge we have inherited from modern rationalist philosophy is now useless. We will have to adapt it as conditions change.i en ed increase in private and public debt. the State is forced to take money from tomorrow's taxpayers." In the long run. and sooner or later the Cle]Jr"'. but the final collapse of a system that has lasted five hundred years. This is not a crisis. and this means ' Although these words show the intellectual honesty of Geithner. and consequently much of the current industrial production will have to cease.

more jobs. Society does not need more work. consumption styles. Ending the connection between work and revenue will enable a huge release of energy for social tasks that can no longer be conceived as a part of the econo­ my and should once again become forms of life. The planet running out of natural resources and the world is heading tmvards. in order to reweave the fabric of the social relation. a degree of complexity which is beyond the dUlll ty O! 'lj an environmental catastrophe.e. needs. The capitalist paradigm can no longer be the versal rule of human activity. We have simultaneously an excess of value and a shrinking of demand. but also because physical planetary resources are close to exhaustion and the brain is on the verge of collapse. therapy and self-cate. more competi­ tion. Crisis means destructuration and restructuration of an organism which nonetheless able to keep its functional structure. It is also and primarily an effect of me bursting of the work bubble. but only by an anthropological shift. based On the connection between revenue work performance is unable to frame (semiotically and socially) present configuration of ilie general intellect. This is a vicious circle that the economists know very well but are completely unable to break. But growth is over and will never be back. a prodigious liberation of life from the social factoty. The idea that income should be the reward for a performance is a We should not look at the current recession only from an nomic point of view. The present economic dOwnturn and understanding. capitalist paradigm. perception. Catastrophe and morphogenesis The process underway cannot be defined as a crisis. Thete will be no full employment in the future. We have been working too much during the last five centuries. because it is the double bind iliat the economy is doomed to feed. since it pervaded daily life. So it is simply non­ . by rhe abandonment of the economic framework of income in exchange for work. We must see it as an anthropological lurmr.which is too complex to be reduced to our current human understanding) now rules the world. sensical to expect an end to this crisis. people suffer from a lack of money and cannot buy what is needed for everyday life. The crash in the global economy is not only an effect of the bursting of the financial bubble. The double bind of over-production cannot be solved by economic means. affections. As demand shrinks and factories close.'. The model based on growth has been point that is going to change the distribution of world reSOUirces interiorized.g individual demand and consumption. or a new policy of full employment.g and of world power. at least in the Western societies. Chaos means a Chaos (i. have entered a major process of catastrophic morphogenesis. I don't think we will see any re-adjustment of the capitalist global structure. teaching.' dUlgnlS the fall in oil prices ate feeding the depletion and exhaustion of planetary resources. A redistribution of wealth is urgendy needed. At the same time we cannot predict any boom in individual consumption. In the 1930s the opportunity f a New Deal tested on or availability of physical resources and in the possibility ofincreasin. Working so much has implied an abandonment of vital social functions and a com­ modification of language. . All that is over. this is the simple truth. only because people will never be able to pay for the debt mulated duting the past three decades. On the contrary: we need a massive reduction in work-time.:: 2 1 2 / Tile Soul at Work Conclusion / 2 1 3 .

you tend to desert the field of COJmnlUllic:ltiC)n. already ing YOut brain. has notably explored the pre-verbal subjective formations of infants. than ideas that fly off. because friendship means sharing a sense.dogma we must absolutely get rid of. dination to the process of exploitation was a necessity of growth. and What is philosophy? In the final chapter of What is philosophy? they speak of Chaos. They suggest that friendship is the way to sharing come depression. The acceletation of the sm:ro. Chaosmosis. Felix Gllattai and Gilles Deleuze say very interesting things on the subject in last books. lle) in a view and a common rhythm: a common reftain (ritourne Guattari's parlance. Let's go to a quote that we have already used: "Nothing is more distressing than a thought that escapes itself. Now we need to allow people to release their knowled. in The Interpersonal World of the Infant. symbols and info-stimulation is pnJdllcillg Ipat. is the deactivation of desite after a panicked acceleration. not compulsive labout. In the introduction to What is philosophy? Ddeuze and Guattari over­ speak of friendship. 21 4 / Tile Soul at Work Conclusion I 2 1 5 . ». used the "D" word. Chaos. misery and war will be the norm social relationship. Uc as I have already said in the ptevious parts of this book. affects. if ever. How to heal a depression? Although they seldom. James Hillman says that depressio and death. which the mind faces the knowledge of impermanence is the truth Suffering. This implies also the singularity of the therapeutic process. Wages are not a natural given. . decomposition: this that you can see from a depressive point of view. imperfection. When are no longer able to undetstand the flow of information stimuJar:.essi6n.ic. Furthermore he emphasizes the inhetently trans-subjective character of an infant's early experiences:J2 The singularity of psychogenesis is central in Guattari's schizo­ analytic vision. has nothing to do with this. And eroded by forgetfulness or precipitated into others that we no longer master. In Chaosmosis Guattari speaks of the "heterogenetic comptehension of subjectivity" : "Daniel Stern. which have been presented as the structural 'Universals' of subjectiv­ ity. He thus rejects the overrated psychogenesis of Freudian complexes. He shows that there are not at all a matter of 'stages' in the Fteudian sense. seniliry. but the product of a cultural modeling of the social sphere: linking survival and intelligence. but also n is a condirion in of knowledge. D" pt.. 1?! as a form We should not see depression as a mere pathology. ing world of signs. that disappear hardly formed. disabling any intellectual and psychological response. Until the majoriry of mankind is free from the conn. This is today's wealth. in theit has very much to do with the acceleration of the semiosphere l !S the thickening of the info-crust.ectiio between income and work. Every person has the receive the amount of money that is needed for survival. but of levels of subjectivation which maintain themselves in parallel through life.

The goal of schizoanalysis is not. in terms of panic and depression. . When dealing wirh a depression the ptoblem is not to bring depressed person back to normality. The goal is to ch'lllg. after the subprime crack and the following global collapse. Panic happens when the speed and complexity of the surrounding flow of information exceed the ability of the social brain to decode and pre­ dict. The the focus of his/her depressive attention. to get out of their repetitive impasses and. In T Structure he rialize the mind and the expressive flow. . in my opinion.gu .e ' therefore be seen as a model which gives way to the understanding of a certain set of realities. to change focus. In this case desire withdraws its investments. l .. the re-focalization and change of the landscape of desire. to help him/her becoming conscious of his or her ence. A scientific revolution in Kuhn's vision is the creation of a new model which firs the changing reality better than the previous epistemic models. The goal of the schizoanalyst is to give him/her the possibility of seeing other landscapes. The word "episteme" in the Greek language means to stand in front of something: the epistemic paradigm is a model that allows us to face reality. Here we are.ati". I see a similarity between this schizoanalytic wisdom and the Kuhnian concept of paradigmatic shift which needs to occur scientific knowledge is taken inside a conundrum. depressed person is unable to go out. . not only as a chotherapeutic manifesto but also as a political one. on its obsessive repetition.'n . they argue that schizo­ analysis is the discipline that involves creating percepts and affects through the deterritorialization of obsessive frameworks. to give him/her the ability to be in good stead with his different and his actual possibilities. . Panic happens when things start swirling around too quickly. to del:efl'ito­ as political therapy: the Bipolar Economy is falling into a deep depression. to reintegrate behavior in universal standards of normal social language. . the schizoanalytic method should be applied . their eco­ nomic value in the competitive world of capitalist exchange. but also the creation of a new constellation of shared beliefs. A paradigm is a bridge which gives friends the ability to traverse the abyss of non-being. in a certain way to resin­ gularize themselves."It's not simply a matter of remodeling a patient's subjec tivity_ as it existed before a psychotic crisis-but of a ptOduction sui genetis . to leave the repetitive cp'. Depression is based on hardening of one's existential refrain. to re-focalize. him/her. when we can no longer grasp their meaning. and s/he keeps going back into the labyrinth. j a /Scientific Revolutions (1 962) Kuhn defines a paradigm as "a con­ stellation of beliefs shared by a group of people."3 These few lines must be read." A paradigm may 21 6 / Tile Soul at Work Conclusion / 2 1 7 . Overcoming depression implies some simple steps: the deterrito­ rialization of the obsessive refrain. but to sin. these complexes actually offet people diverse possi­ bilities for recomposing their existential corporeality. Deleuze and Guattari say that philosophy is the discipline that involves creating concepts. in Guattati's wotds. What happened during the first decade of the cen­ tury can be described in psychopathological terms. the common perception of a new psychological environment and the construction of a new model of relationship. In the current situation. and this withdrawal gives way to depression. to open new paths imagination. to teinst all the universal norm in the patient's behavior. In the same way.

but on enjoyment. It cannot be the antidote. debt cannot be paid and because the planet cannot support a new phase of capitalist expansion. Over the last ten years. the overcoming of a depression means re'. The problem is that social culture is not ready for this. plea­ sure and affection. It will be the effect of the withdrawal of Singular individuals and communities and of the creation of an economy based on the sharing of common things and services and on the liberation of time for culture. But what is pleasur Economic thinking modernity has equated pleasure and possessing. But the task of the general intellect is precisely this: to escape from paranoia. the tartati c. to create zones of human resistance. The very perception of well being and of being rich will change in the direction of frugaliry and freedom. But a different understanding of wealth experiment with autonomous forms 2 1 8 ! The Sou) at Work Conclusion / 2 1 9 .ta':ti rtg. the dogmas of compatibility and cOlmpetiltio llS these are the pathogenic features that our social culture must get of. The identifica­ tion of wealth with purchasing power is deeply embedded in the social psyche and affectivity. in order to make has ulation. is possible. Therein lies the possible the process of capitalist accum source of the current depression. The interminable process of therapy We should not expect a swift change in the social landscape. created scarcity and has privatized social need. The economy of growth is itself on possession.Now what? The economic collapse cannot be solved with the tools of nomic thought.' the dynamics of growrh and consumption: this is what they "recovery.othre:. and the modern soul has been shaped by the concept of privatization and by the affects of an unending increase in consumption. pursuit of growth. In the nc'mlin. The very notion of wealth has to be reconsidered: not only the concept of wealth. The strict correlation between income and labot. to poison. I think that sensual pleasure will always e? The disciplinary culture of of well-being. The de-privatization of services and goods will be made pos­ sible by this much-needed cultural revolution. we can say that degrowth is no longet a program for the future. Degrowth is here." But this will be impossible both because the colle. entire sections of the industrial system are crumbling and demand is plummeting. The identification of well-being with private property is so deeply rooted that we cannot absolutely rule out the eventuality of a barbarization of the human environment. but the perception of being rich. one that is not based in the collective perception of I'm not thinking of an ascetic turn be the foundation wealth. but rather the slow surfacing of new trends: communities will abandon the field of the crumbling economy. because Our social organization is based on the idea of the interminable expansion of consumption. more and more individuals will abandon their job searches and will start creating extra-economic networks of survival. This will not happen in a planned and uniform manner.nt) political discoutse. the French anthropologist Serge Latouche has been talking of dicroissance (Degrowth) as a polit­ ical goal. if we want to come out of our depression. But now dicroissance is simply a fact: when the Gross National Product is falling everywhere. because economic conceptualization is in f act problem and not the solution.

Castoriadis and his friends published a magazine whose title was: Socialism or Barbarism. A between things. The people will feel hopeless and depressed and panicked. "you are ok. or. it is neither totalizing and nor it is intended to destroy and abolish the past. . . Our task will be the creation of social zones of human resistance. . zones of therapeutic contagion. same. bur the rhizome is alliance. but as Therapy. and . Deleuze and Guattari argue that the disjunction (or. . 'and . Our cultural task will be to attend to these people and to rake care of their trauma shOWing them the way to pursue the happy adaptation at hand. . bur it is always a middle. . . or) is precisely the dominant mode of Western Meta­ physics that we are trying to forget. do away with f ounda­ tions. to pellate the people with a language that is more therapeutic than political. paradigmatic role in our semiorization. J to establish a 220 ! The Soul at Work Conclusion I 221 .' This conjunction carries enough f orce to shake and uproOt the verb 'to be' [ . Sigmund Freud. . . but it will lose its pervasive. . it will become one of possible form of social organization. the young psychoanalyst Fliess asked when it is possible to consider a therapy to be over and the patient be told.of production based on high-tech/low-energy models.'" The process of autonomy should not be seen as Au fhebung. the introduction to A T hou­ sand Plateaus. but one of the possible forms of auronomy from capitalist rule. . Bur you will recall that in Rhizome. intermezzo. interbeing. In a letter to his master. In the days to come. Communism will never be the principle of a new totalization. and . The tree is filiation. because they can't deal with the post-growth economy and they will miss our dissolving modern identity. uniquely alliance. overthrow ontology. politics and therapy will be one and the logic of the AND. In this sense. In the 1 960s. ." Freud answered that the psycho­ analysis has reached its goal when the person understands that therapy is an interminable process. Capitalism will not disappear from the global landscape. nullifY endings and beginnings. They oppose this disjunctive model with a conjunctive approach: " rhizome has no beginning or end. The tree imposes the verb 'to be: but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunc­ tion. Autonomy is also a process without end.

128-129.hrm. 3. Hegel and the Human S pirit: a Tanslation ofthe l r ena Lectures on the Philosophy o f S pirit Rauch. p. Prometheus Books: New Y 2." translated by John Matthews. Ibid.V. G. Hegel. (1 983). Jean-Paul Sartre. (with Friederich Engels). Ibid. 6.Notes Introduction phy o E f picurus. W. 120. Karl Marx. Karl Marx. 574. (1974). 228-231. pp.marxists. ''A Plea for Intellectuals. Theses on F euerbach in Karl Marx. 10. pp. 1. Oxford University Ptess (1 977). New Y ork: Pantheon. Labor and Alienation in the philosophy of the 19605 1. http://www. (1805-1806 with commentary by Leo ) 8. The Ger­ otk. Evanston: North­ 1 .nslated by Gorge K. 143. (1 972). p. p. The Philoso western University Press (1963). New Y otk: Hatper T otchbooks. The Grundrisse Edited and Translated by David Me LeHan. F. translated by A. in Between Existentialism and Marxism. 7. tra. 5. Detroit: W ayne State Uni­ versity Press. man Ideology. (1998). The Phenomenology o S f pirit.org/archive/marx/works/ 18441manuscripts/labour. 4. 223 . Miler. p. Strodach.

Penguin. 21.irgen Krahl. 24-26. Studies in the I deology o Advanced f Industrial Society. p p. p. 34. gination. p. 168-169. Martin Jay. Karl Marx. pp. Against Labor. "Technology and Knowledge in a Universe ofindetermination. 1.. English version by the translator. O olume 6. Ibid. p. N ota a L'uomo a una dimensione. oronto. English version b the translator. La fatigue d'erre soi: di 10. cit. Ibid. T pemi e ca 12. vol. l S9. 37. Paris: Editions Odile 1. op. Ibid. Pychiatr pistemology. 29. p. Evolution. 18. Ibid.1and"" l c 'lSti . 18. 24. (1967). ork 2. Ibid. 14. NLB.iVW. p. Ibid. pp.. p f tute o Social Research 1923-1950. pp. Vol 36. Marcuse is quoting (cfr. op. p. onstitution und K 30. T �a. Studies in the Ideology o Advanced ndustrial Society. Luciano Gallina. Little Brown & Company. Frankfurt: Neue Kritik. 38. ( 1 976). p." SubStance. 357. Reason and Revolution. 1 .9. orino: Einaudi (1 973). f a 22. no. "Language and Science. C pital: a Critique o Political Economy. Karl Marx. 2007. p. K (1971). Louis Althusser [and] Etienne Balibar. 142-143. The Dialectical Ima j. translated by Ben Fowkes. V 13. 123. Ibid." in Philosophy o Science.marxists. cit. y y bid. Ibid. Hans ]i. 100-101. A History o ' SCi. 27. and s Collected Essays in Anthropology. Alain Ehrenberg. Boston: Beacon Press ( 1 966). London. (1941). London." RadicalAmerica. Ibid. 23. I pression et sociiti. 34. K y b Giuseppina Mecchia. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press (1972). English version b the translator. 2. Ibid. cfr. p. p. footnotes 4 and I f 5) Stanley Gerr. Mario Tronti. 17. E p lassenkam f. See Gregory Bateson "Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia.oo. 367. 34. 28. 36S. New Y 1 1 . (1973). Ibid. pp. Notes ! 225 . pp. Ibid. 277. p. p. pp. 104. l onstitution und Kassenkam f. 19. 70S-706. Ibid.. 156. 261. 128. 'po 262. Franco Berardi (Bifo). p. 701.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manusCriptslIabour. 17. London. htm. pp. translated 31. 20. cit. One Dimensional Man.. I . p. The Soul at W Jacob. One Dimensional Man. Hegel and the Rise o Social f ork: Oxford University Press. I S . (1998). 2S. 26. 166. Karl Marx. p. Ibid. "The pitale. p. 31-32. T orino: Einaudi. The Grundrisse. Herbert Marcuse. 693-694. o cit. Ibid. number 3 (May-June 1972).:kJ'itrt . p. April 1942." in Steps to an Ecol­ ogy of Mind: y. la. (1 977). 693. op. pp. The Grundrisse. p. 36. f 35. Herbert Marcuse. Hans Jurgen Krahl. 32. p. Reading "Capital" translated [from the French] by Ben Brewster. Herbert Marcuse. 36S. 16. pp. http://W. Ibid..h. 33. #112. 86-87. p.

Gilles Deleuze. 29. Gilles Deleuze. an Ethico-Aesthetic P aradigm. 27. p. pp. 17. America. Gilles Deleuze. 201. translated Russell & Russell. p. New Y s ork: Penguin.. or. translated by Martin Joughin. Paris: Gallimard. London: Sage. The Illusion o the End. Jean Baudrillard.. p. I the Shadow 0 the Silent Ma n / f and Other Essays. Jean Baudrillard. Jean Baudrillard. 15. pp. 13. Port Baudrillard: an interview with S ylvere Lotringer. 27-28. p. cit. 28. (1983). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Felix Guattari. p.. Leon. W ash: Bay Press. Ibid. translated by Rosemary Sheed. Jean BaudriHard. 208. in Jean Baudrillard. 25. Essays in Post-Modern Culture.. from the new revised and corrected French edition by M. "Run comrade. New Y ork: Hill and W ang. Felix Guattarl. 20. translated by Richard Howard. 17. p. Ibid. (1990). cit. Jean Baudrillard. 46. pp. op. 1 1 . 203. Selected essays from P sychanalyse et transversalit! (1 972) and La revolution moUculaire ( 1 977) have been published in Felix Guattari. an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Jean Baudrillard. p. hat is Philoso plry?Translated by Hugh T 3. p. 44. (1%7). o cit.. The end o the Social. (1983). Jean Baudrillard. Jean Baudrillard. New Y ork: T ownsend. Baudrillard refers here to his first book: Le S ysteme des objects..3. op. or. W omlinson and Graham Burchell. 10-1 1 . 21. W hat is Philosophy?. Felix Guattari. translated by Paul Foss. Greek T hought and the On'gins 0 the Scient fi S / i c pirit. (1982). I the Shadow o the Silent Ma and Other Essays. f p. jorities. I bid. edited by Hal Foster. an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradi gm. op. cit. f 23. C haosmosis. 24. p.. with an introduction by Mike Gane. R. op. 1 1 3. 22. (1993). 201. The Ecstasy a ommunication. Felix Guattari. 204-205. New Y ork: Semiorext(e) . The Illusion o the End. 31. W hat is Philosophy?. Dobie. Gilles Deleuze. Chaosmosis. The End o the Social. Forget Foucault in Jean Baudrillard. 17. Forget Foucault (1 987). get Baudri/lard: an Interview with S & For­ 4. C haosmosis. 12. p. New Y ork. The End o the Social. I the Shadow o n /the Silent Ma jorities. p. 30. 5. Semiotext(e). 213-214. cit. Cam­ f bridge: Polity Press ( 1994). Chaosmosis.. Jean Baudrillard. p. pp. p. 126. 1. 26. 4. p. f and Other Essays. translated by Chris Turner. o cit. 17-19. Felix Guattari. pp. pp. 15. 16. Ibid. Felix Guattari. Paul Patton and John Johnston. Ibid. 28. 135. 18. ylvere Lotringer. p. Jean Baudrillard. Expressionism in Philoso phy: S pinoza. p. op. op. Forget Foucault. The Poisoned Soul 1 . p. 8. S ymbolic Exchange and Death. p. (1%8). f Notes / 227 . 6. cit. (1 994). p. Empire o /Signs. 1 12-113. 7. p. 14. 9. New Y ork: Columbia University Press. 201. 18. Gilles Deleuze. (1995). (1984). 83. Robin. Ibid. 205. The Illusion o the End. o cit. op. translated by lain Hamilton Gram. translated by Paul Brains and Julian Pef anis. London�New Y 19. Jean Baudrillard. W hat is Philosophy?. or. Unpublished in English. Mole­ cular Revolution: Pychiatry and Politics. Forget F ." 2. Felix Guattari. p. cit. New York Zone Books. an Ethico-Aesthetic P aradigm. 60-6 1 . cit. in /C The Anti-Aesthetic. Felix Guattari. o cit. 25. oucault & Forget n f jorities. p. p. pp. Roland Banhes. 1 1 9-120. 10. pp. Ibid. (he old world Is behind you. ork: V erso (1989). 29. p. translated by John Johnson.

3. O the Beaten T ff rack. pp.. trans� allis.. p. 2.32. 1 . 4. 27. S ymbolic Exchange and Death. 4. 109-1 1 . 36. 40. op. Felix Guattari. A T housand Plateaus. Conclusion hat i Philosophy?. 71. with an introduction by Paul J. p. 317. p. Michel Foucault. 39. translated by Graham Burchell. Gilles Deleuze. p. translated by f Chris T urner. with general introduction and intro­ f T urner. New Y ork: Harper & Row. 33. 2. S ymbolic Exchange and Death. 1926-1984. p. pp. Felix Guattari. 60. ork: Conrinuum. 201. Jean Baudrillard. Gregory Bateson. pp. The Precarious Soul 1. 4 1 . (1962). Ibid. f 8. s p.W Miller. p.. 1 1 .w. Jean Baudrillard. pp. Letter on Humanism. Jean Baudrillard. edited and translated by Julian Y oung and Kenneth Haynes. Ibid. W hat is Philosophy?. o cit. translated b f Y Chris peed o thought: using a dig­ f 7. (2004). 238-239. 205. Out o control: The N Biology o Machines. Social S Economic World. pp. New Y ork: Palgrave Macmillan (2008). 6 .. in ld. Notes ! 229 . Felix Guattari. lated by Charles Glenn W Indianapolis: Bobbs-Metrill (1965). pp. 1 . New Y ork: Ballantine (1972)' p. p. 201. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Gilles Deleuze. p. New Y otk: w. "Learner-based listening and technological authenticity" in 5 3. Jean Baudrillard. 19. nO 1 .. ritings from Being and 9. Gilles Deleuze. Bill Gates with Collins Hemingway. New Y ork: V erso (2003)." CTHEOR (May 2004). Ibid. Ibid. 3-4. p. 10. pp. p. an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradi gm. London and New Y 4. On the Dignity o Man and Other "WOrks. 207. o cit. 35. Richard Robin. f ew f ystems and the 5. 37. Y 1978-79. p. Felix Guattari. Martin Heidegger. Kevin Kelly. The S pirit o Terrorism and Other Essays. The Intelligence o Evil or the Lucidity Pact. 6-7. 44. p. (1999). Basingstoke [England]. London. New Y ork : Berg. C haosmosis. 34. Language Learning & Technology. Norton. New York. Steps to an Ecology o /Mind. p. Multitudes. 25. Civilization and its Discontents' translated from the Germa n and ed' !ted by James Strachey. The Birth o /Bio polities: Lectures at the College de France. o cit. Business @ the s ital nervous system. 4-5. Oxf ord. vol.69. o cit. Martin Heidegger. (1977). (2007). cit. February. NY: W arner Books. Swatms. T ime (1 927) to The task o thinking (1964). Eugene Thacker: "Networks. Ibid. p. 241-242. 6.. Ibid. edited by Michel Senellart. Addison W esley (1994). p. p. Basic W ductions to each selection by David Farrell Krell. T ranslated by Brian Massumi. W 2. 38. 1 1. 23-38. Ibid. New Y ork: Cambridge University Press (2002). p. 247. (2005). Sigmund Freud. p.

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