The Material Unconscious

Larval Subjects .

irp_7Perhaps we would do best to call it the material unconscious.  Freud famously said that there had been three blows to human narcissism:  Copernicus and his decentering of the Earth, Darwin and his theory of evolution, and psychoanalysis and its discovery of the unconscious.  With the first humanity learns that it is not at the center of the universe.  With the second, humanity learns it is not markedly different from animals.  With the third, humanity learns that it’s interiority is not in charge.  With thingly thought, the thought of the object, we perhaps encounter a fourth blow to our narcissism:  the way in which we are mediated by things.  We dwell within a milieu of things, objects, or what I have elsewhere called machines.  What we take to be our own agency, our own free choice, instead turns out in so many instances to be the agency of these things…

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