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May 04, 2006


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hi jodi,
I can see a common thread in the three things you mention:

1) logistics of children/family,
2) logistics of personal mobility,
3) logistics of commodities.
[4) logistics of dreams]

Is this a single pain/boredom of the moving-so-fast-you-are-stationary effect of modern air travel and the saturated circulation of commodities? The boredom of overstimulation. I am not sure if this is the same thing as trying to eke out a meaningful existence ('what makes sense') in the striated-spectacle of the just-in-time world?!? So maybe it relates to something else. Where life is animated by the constant tension between global time of capital and the lived time from below (ala Negri's 'times') at various points along the continuum?

Virgil Johnson

There is nothing boring about what you said Jodi, it is just what we have been reduced to as a people. Some matters are merely the facts of life we face, but they are facts that remain in what we have accepted as "the way of life."

Sometimes an issue which is larger than life makes people think outside of their world, like the Walmart issue you mentioned. Unfortunately no one ties all the issues together to find a common fount, because we lead such a disconnected existence from anything that does not influence us directly.

Until we come to the conclusion that this is not the "way of life," and step beyond the reality that has been orchestrated for us, we will just amble on. After all, the ones who know what is best for us like it that way.


Perhaps it's unwelcome, but it's on related matters (life) that I find Deleuze and G's use of Nietzsche really helpful. . . stuff like in 1000 Ps where they write about 'finding the youth of _your_ particular age and circumstance. . .'

The most important and interesting moments of a day (a life) are generally that--moments--and thankfully but distressingly un-assimiliable.

I always appreciate your 'boring stuff about me' posts. I can't stress that enough.


I doubt Freud himself thought that his life was boring. I think he thought of himself as an explorer, charting unknown lands. Afterall, he did refer to the human mind as "the dark continent" just as the interior of Africa was being explored. The drama of his life is nothing short of breathtaking (refer to the story of Victor Tausk and Lou Andreas-Salome).

Additionally, maybe we can all just learn to see the universe in a single grain of sand, drink the Ganges is a single drop of water. There is magic out there, folks, even in the smallest, most insignificant thing.


Jodi:"It's amazing Freud lived as long as he did--into his 80s--given the banality of the lives of even the slightly privileged."

Well, he died - some say prematurely, despite his cancer - soon after moving to London to escape the Nazi incursion into Austria, whereas his opportunistic nephew Edward Bernays [the founder of "public relations" - in New York] lived on and on and on ... I'm reminded of all of this by a remarkable, indeed brilliant - if unbearably monumental in its monolithic narrative trajectory - four-part documentary series on Freud and the huge influence of his relations (Bernays, Anna Freud etc) broadcast on British TV a few years ago, but now available on-line. Despite its faults, it is undoubtedly one of the best and most important docs on psychoanalysis and its misappropriation by corporate capitalism of the last quarter century, in short unmissable ...

Accessible here:
The Century of the Self

Adam Curtis' acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.



How politicians and business learned to create and manipulate mass-consumer society.

The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal.



Part II - The Engineering of Consent

How the US government, big business, and the CIA developed techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people.

Politicians and planners came to believe Freud's underlying premise - that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany.

Sigmund Freud's daughter, Anna, and his nephew, Edward Bernays, provided the centrepiece philosophy. The US government, big business, and the CIA used their ideas to develop techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people.



Part III Of IV - There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed

The ME Generation

American corporations realised that self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.



Part Four: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering

This episode explains how politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfil the inner desires of the self.

Both New Labour, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mould their policies to people's inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learnt to do with products.

The politicians believed they were creating a new and better form of democracy, one that truly responded to the inner feelings of individual. But what they didn't realise was that the aim of those who had originally created these techniques had not been to liberate the people but to develop a new way of controlling them.

Enjoy!! I can guarantee that :-)


Thanks for the comments, folks, and especially to Virgil and Andrew for your kind words. It looks like the 'exquisite pain' (albeit ever so mundane, predictable, and easily correlated with anyone with my demographic profile) may be getting resolved on the personal front; unfortunately, this does not yet seem to be the case with respect to Walmart.

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