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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Problem of the Will: He Didn't Know What He Wanted.

Hannah Arendt On Revolution
The Origins of Totalitarianism
On Violence

He was reading the Special Theory tonight, in English and German, but put the book aside, finally, and lay completely still, trying to summon the will to speak the single word that would turn off the lights. (C 6)

Our first indication of Eric Packer's problem with the will. His will.

He didn't know what he wanted. Then he knew. He wanted to get a haircut. (c 7)

Arendt discusses the will in On Revolution, I believe. (All her books are to be read by anyone wanting to understand philosophy, politics and the human condition so here they are linked to amazon.com.)  In her writing on the will she clarifies the will, as she does everything she writes about. When you will something or anything, immediately the resistance to acting comes into existence, into play, into awareness. All smokers who have ever thought about quitting understand this right away. This is why it is so difficult to quit. You enter into conflict with yourself.

Eric Packer cannot even will the word to turn off the lights. He doesn't know what he wants. Then after seeing into the gull, focussing and really seeing into it, he knows what he wants. He wants a haircut. Desire does not exist for Packer as he does not experience lack. Wanting the haircut feels more than just a yen.  ( my blog on Lacan) And following Lacan, desire/lack are always coupled. Eric Packer lacks nothing. He has everything in excess as Marc Schuster indicates in his book, which is the most accessible of all the books on Baudrillard and DeLillo, as he reads through each author to illuminate the other, back and forth, back and forth. What I constantly do.

Marc Schuster - at Amazon

Jean Baudrillard tackles the problem of the will in his always singular fashion. He turns it on its head.

The point is - above and beyond all the categories of willing, knowing and believing - to discover a parting of destinies and a strategy of otherness, whether in this plurality of collusive, parallel universes or in any form which alters the individual being which displaces, metabolizes, metamorphoses or captivates him. On this tack, one may, paradoxically, simply let things happen: let the other will, know, decide or desire. This is not a form of defeating desire, but of sidestepping or outwitting it, of ironically investing the other. A more seductive, more effective stratagem than that of the will. A more powerful strategy than that of desire: playing with desire.
Impossible Exchange at Amazon

In this way one can offload one's will, one's desire, on to someone else and, in return, become free to take on responsibility for someone else's life. A symbolic circulation of affects and destinies is created, a cycle of alterity - beyond alienation and all the individual psychology in which we are trapped. There is in this symbolic circulation, in this sharing of destinies, the essence of a subtler freedom than the individual liberty to make up one's mind according to one's conscience - a liberty which ultimately we do not know what to do with, and which it is, in fact, better to slough off right away, in order to recover the impersonal concatenation of signs, events, affects and passions.

....by a straight transference on to the desire or will of another. ( Impossible Exchange 84-85 )
To make a pact with chance is not to speculate on random events, but to attune oneself to the world, to explore its secret connections and concatenations; it is, in a sense, to be initiated.

Nothing is accidental anymore, since, from the point when the world thinks us, things follow in a sure progression. Nor is anything intentional, a matter of will, since, in a sense, everything has already been willed.  ( IE 87-88 )

  • He didn't wonder who Nancy Babich was and he didn't think that Torval's choice of code humanized the man or required delayed regret. Torval was his enemy, a threat to his self-regard. When you pay a man to keep you alive, he gains a psychic edge. It was a function of the credible threat and the loss of his company and personal fortune that Eric could express himself this way. Torval's passing cleared the night for deeper confrontation.
    (C 147)

    Leave everything and follow me He said. Where your treasure is, there is your heart.

    Eric is no longer a hostage. Now the world can will and think him.

  • abbeysbooksCollapse
    He tossed his weapon in the bushes because he wanted whatever would happen to happen. Guns were small practical things. He wanted to trust the power of predetermined events. The act was done, the gun should go.(C 147)

    The world is willing Eric Packer. He is choosing the Order of Seduction, destiny.

As the ancient Chinese sage said: It isn't the man who drinks the tea, it's the tea which drinks the man. 
( IE 89 from Ceronetti )

And hasn't Rob Pattinson done exactly this.

It's Kristen who chose me.
It's the elephant who chose me.
It's Cronenberg who chose me.

And hasn't he taken responsibility for many of his friends and their careers? And hasn't he taken on responsibility for the life of Bear? And now that abuse of Tai has come out, his affection for her is weighing in on her abuse.

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