Assimilation, Simulation, Neurosis and The Sensitive Heritage of Concepts.

There is no spatial, chronological or privileged difference anymore between the real and the concept it mirrors. The real is imaginary and the imaginary is real. It is the closing of this distance that creates a flat, immanant and blindly operational space which I call assimilation. We cannot even relapse into older physicalist notions of the real such as external space and time: an action figure toy does not breathe-in the atmosphere of such a ‘space’, it’s context does not refer to that context shared by physical bodies in space and their social-political narrative.

King Kong is no less real than the chair you are sitting on. Both can be represented in external or eidetic space, Both have a use tem in language (i.e “have you seen King Kong?” or “where is my chair?”). Both have other relations that differ from their present use; King Kong is identified through various relations, contexts and histories such as Science-fiction, the toy industry, the film industry, exoticism, the place Skull Island etc.

Reality – the sum of experience – is not weird, funny nor horrific, ‘It’ simply is. The only other capacity that can achieve this indifference, this reality, is neurosis (hence equating neurosis with experience). In Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle neurosis is the only thing that escapes designation (goes ‘beyond’ it). Content in the mind is designated as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘pleasurable’ or ‘painful’ but neurosis is the condition which produces content in the brain; it decides, through repetition, whether X will appear bad or good. In other words, the neurotic capacity to repeat and fixate (i.e to simulate experience) is found in both sane and insane experiences, both happy and sad ones. Ergo neurosis is this indifferent reality that we speak of (or at least the condition for it). The ability of this Expressivist (Deleuze) or Contructivist neurosis is precisely what Baudrillard is talking about when he observes the relative autonomy of simulation and simulacra (from army training courses to Disney Land); that the real is manipulable based on the relatability of signs, and it is only ‘use’ (and the conventionalising of use) that separates the reality of Disney Land from the reality of a romantic relationship, a 9 – 5 job etc. To be sure, there will be simulations (assimilations) that appear without your consent (what has been ontically found in traditional psychological neurosis); your mind will try and make a reality out of something, a web of designations that one could live within. Based on generic and personal dialectics between general concepts (their ‘shareability’) and your experience, such tensions will spark semantic tensions, but this doesn’t have to be exclusively psychological; a man’s fear of nudity might stem from him encountering his parents having sexual intercourse at an early age, but other symptoms can occur simply by living in a restrictive society. The idea of getting up at 6am the next morning is semantically implicated by the state of drunkenness I am in at midnight. These are not neutral concepts changing under circumstances of the individual; they are concepts that have their own pleasure principle, their own likes and dislikes, their own preferable assimilative processes. 

Similar to psychology, however, there seems to be a heuristic difference between process and form; the almost vitalist force of un-designateable reality, of infinite neuroses and assimilations, that only take on meaning when formed and chafed by humans (or living creatures), that become representations amongst other representations like some form of atomistic idealism. The designation of meaning is superimposed onto the domesticated world through our practices, and we inherit these meanings as they enjoy dominion over us or become ‘challenged’ (Nietzsche). The usability of the concept has always carried a correlate of desire with it (the need to be used) and hence concepts cannot be severed from the desire for designation, ergo, concept traces will always tell you more than what is designated on the surface (see Graham Freestone – ‘Spider-Spit’). We always knew this sensitive fragility in the ‘human subject’ (the psychological subject) but now its time to look at the concepts ‘themselves’, as artefacts of the incoherence/incommensurability of present day human.

The first dictum of psychology ; one should never blame themselves for themselves.

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