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PostSubject: Money vs No Money Thu May 15, 2014 12:30 pm

Recently I've just started reading a book entitled "The secret to money is having some". This is a 'self-help' book but essentially the premise (so far as I can understand) is psychological; if one is to open their eyes to the abundance of nature and the fact that a shit tonne of money is flowing throughout society on a daily basis, one will realise the massive potential to make an abundance of money through whichever means suits them. But ultimately, it's more about opening yourself and becoming abundant as a person, and the money follows. Also, it maintains the notion that money is flux as everything else in reality, and an individual must also remain fluid to capitalise on these opportunities.
By contrast, I also have read and still maintain reading, The Moneyless Manifesto, a book (free to read online) by an Irish bloke who has been living now for three years moneylessly, and the tactics used to rid yourselves of the restrictions money does impart on yourself, and learn to utilise every opportunity, without simply falling back on money. In this vain, the books are similar, but the main premises are diametrical. The reason I like the Moneyless Manifesto is that it's a very practical guide on how to be more self-reliant, and far less reliant on the system of economics of scale (which- as argued in the book- is ultimately unsustainable and will not last forever). In essence it is a guide to preservation of skills which are in danger of being forgotten. On the other hand, I do believe the book is underpinned with socialist ideology, which is where my preference is for the secret to money book. There will never be a utopia of moneyless people all self-resilient (the author explicitly declares this) yet it is still a handy guide, particularly for younger people who haven't built up as many contacts and experience in life, to propel themselves forward.
My personal motivations for readings both these books is primarily practical, to gain an understanding for ways to 'flow' through life, to learn to exploit and utilise each opportunity, and to widen my perception so as to not miss excellent opportunities. I consider this metaphor as appropriate: the path up the mountain is tough, there are many obstacles, but why not learn to use them to LIFT myself up, rather than constantly remaining stagnant at each one of them?
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PostSubject: Re: Money Sat May 17, 2014 7:16 pm

This is a nice topic.

Generosity advances Competition, and so the former frame is more appealing to me. Yet, if the secret to having money is "having some", then you can't really do without the latter frame. Spartanizing your preferences on expenditures, with the aim of "having some" to circulate back is more sensible than dwarfing your heart, your needs and living in a barrel like the cynics for the sake of frugality itself.

Sloterdijk's thymotic economy of giving explains what the Pagan Potlatch was about...

Quote :
"Nobility is a position with respect to the future. Nietzsche's innovative gift consists in provoking one to engage in a way of being in which the receiver would take up an active force as sponsor, that is to say, in the ability to open up richer futures. Nietzsche is a teacher of generosity in the sense that he infects the recipients of his gifts with the idea of wealth, which is necessarily not worth acquiring unless with a view to being able to squander it.

In the ascending line of gift-giving virtues, life praises itself as an immeasurable proliferation of chances to be given. It finds the reason for its thankful praise in its participation in events ofgenerosity. History splits into the time of the economy of debt and the time of generosity. Whereas the former thinks of repay­ ment and retaliation, the latter is interested only in forwards-donating.

Only unbilled expenditure has sufficient spontaneity and cen­ trifugal force to escape the gravitational field of avarice and its calculus. Savers and capitalists always expect to get more back than they stake, while the sponsor gets his satisfaction without any regard for "revenue." This applies to sentences as much as to donations. What Nietzsche calls the innocence of becoming is essentially the innocence of expenditure and eo ipso the innocence of enrich­ ment, sought for the sake of the possibility to expend. The leap into generosity transpires through affirming the prosperity of oneself and others, since this is the necessary premise of generosity. If there is a leap [Ursprung] into generosity, then it resides in the challenge that open generosity makes to concealed generosity.

The sponsor's generosity as such aims to generate dissensus, which is to say competition. It would consider itself to have failed were it to be said it had obtained a monopoly.To be as it would like to be, it must posit competition. It would prefer to lay itself open to rejection, than it would to subordinate imitations. The generous, then, stand in opposition to the good, who for Nietzsche are rightly called decadents, since they-as we have known since the Genealogy ofMoratS-pursue the dream of monopolizing merely good sentiments. For them, bad is anything that expects that they prove their goodness; while anything which belabors their consensus with questions and exits their circle of blackmail strikes them as immediately devilish. In Nietzsche, decadence represents the epitome of conditions in which resentment is guaranteed it will always hit upon its ideal lan­ guage situation. The relations bearing witness to decadence are those in which "the yes-man [Mucker] is in charge" - to put it in Nietzsche's words. If the good are so good, it is onlyfaute de mieux. The decadence ideal holds power only so long as, and because, "it has not had any competition." [Nietzsche Apostle]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Sun May 18, 2014 6:37 pm

The premise in the former book is to "open yourself up like a stream", to accept as much as you are given charge for the most part of everything else. Hence why this is not really a book about generosity. On the other hand, the latter is about generosity and giving, it's just about the individual CREATING abundance, rather than relying on the monetary system and what's already there.
A point which you may be able to clarify for me, Nietzsche does advocate non-poverty yet non-wealth either (I guess guided by his contempt for industrial capitalists), but surely wealth and nobility have their parallels? I'm not suggesting decadent landed gentry, or American oil tycoons are noble in spirit, but a lot of wealth often proceeds from great deeds and refined taste?
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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon May 19, 2014 7:32 am

SuperfluousMass wrote:
The premise in the former book is to "open yourself up like a stream", to accept as much as you are given charge for the most part of everything else. Hence why this is not really a book about generosity.

I haven't read either book, and its why I mentioned the kind of generosity that encourages, advances, or motivates "competition"; not the modern welfare program for sure.

Quote :
On the other hand, the latter is about generosity and giving, it's just about the individual CREATING abundance, rather than relying on the monetary system and what's already there.

If I am not mistaken, the author himself mentions and accepts the critcism, he got lucky when someone decided to give away their truck for his living space. Something that could not have been without money gone into it. Not many would be as lucky.
But I get the larger point, and primitivism is all about this kind of self-sustainable living, picking up in many places. I myself just posted on the Garbage Warrior recently in Craft thread. For me though, it has to mean something more than merely getting by.

Quote :
A point which you may be able to clarify for me, Nietzsche does advocate non-poverty yet non-wealth either (I guess guided by his contempt for industrial capitalists), but surely wealth and nobility have their parallels? I'm not suggesting decadent landed gentry, or American oil tycoons are noble in spirit, but a lot of wealth often proceeds from great deeds and refined taste?

Definitely. A land, a piece of property is more than an object of hedonistic acquisition; its the sacred space that Real-izes your possibility, your immortality is it hoped down the lineage.. a home you leave to your children, an inheritance of luck, the weight of an announcement that you more than survived. You did not just pass it on, but managed to enhance it more than how you received.
Spengler differentiates two kinds of "property" in his Decline of the West, but here's an excerpt from his Man and Technics:

Quote :
"The more solitary the being and the more resolute it is in forming its own world against all other conjunctures of worlds in the environment, the more definite and strong the cast of its soul. What is the opposite of the soul of a lion? The soul of a cow. For strength of individual soul the herbivores substitute numbers, the herd, the common feeling and doing of masses. But the less one needs others, the more powerful one is. A beast of prey is everyone’s foe. Never does he tolerate an equal in his den. Here we are at the root of the truly royal idea of property. Property is the domain in which one exercises unlimited power, the power that one has gained in battling, defended against one’s peers, victoriously upheld. It is not a right to mere having, but the sovereign right to do as one will with one’s own. Once this is understood, we see that there are carnivore and there are herbivor ethics."

Quote :
"Money is a subjective notion, connected with the idea of wealth; currency is an objective concept relating to the social organization of economic exchanges. . .. money (argent) is invested with a signifying value that does not necessarily coincide with the objective role of currency (monnaie) . . . this signifying value of money, as gift and affective exchange-value, differs essentially from the real function of currency as a universal equivalent not of any object whatsoever but specifically of commodities. With the signification of money, then, a secondary signification is grafted onto the real function of currency, this semanticization of the use of money must be distinguished from the real economic role of the monetary instrument of exchange in society.
...money (argent), seen simply as a quantitative force, as purchasing power charged with affective value. It is therefore necessary to go beyond the blurry affective notion of money, always located in the register of expenditure and acquisition, to accede to that of currency as a qualitatively determined structure of exchange. Only then do all the registers for which money (by virtue of its homologous structure) can serve as a metaphor become evident." [Jean Goux, Coiners of language]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Tue May 20, 2014 9:23 am

Spartanize your needs, Romanize your desires.


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:39 pm

An abridgement of Hawkes' excellent book on Usury that sheds light on the theological origins of socio-economic anti-semitism as the background for Hobbesian libertarianism: .


Quote :
"What the people of Renaissance England feared was the efficacious power of signs.

Used as nature intended, signs designated referents beyond themselves, whether things in the real world or concepts in the mind. Understood correctly, signs provided a necessary, practical system of mediation between the subjective mind and its objective environment. The obvious danger arising from such a system is that the media of representation may come to be mistaken for the reality that they represent. Human beings have an innate tendency to fetishize signs—to mistake signs for concepts, and even for substantial things. From there it is only a small step to the illusory, and in the view of early modern people, metaphysically evil belief that signs are capable of achieving real, objective effects by working autonomously, that they can achieve a subjective agency independent of human beings.

The deliberate and systematic attempt to exploit the subjective agency of signs is traditionally known as “magic.” A magician deploys signs—images, icons, incantations—in an effort to intervene in and alter the condition of the objective world. Magic is the attempt to do things with signs. To understand how magic is supposed to work, it helps to consider words that indeed achieve objective effects; these are known to linguistics as “performative speech acts.” For example, a priest’s declaration that a couple is married performs the act it describes; it brings a new state of objective affairs into being. This is the same species of power as magicians try to harness. The magician tries to extend the repertoire of performative representation to include, for example, the ability to cause harm to people by damag- ing images of them, or the power to effect changes in the weather by the manipulation of icons and diagrams. Magic is an illegitimate appropriation of representation’s performative power.

The universal taboo held by monotheists against magic indicates the degree to which belief in the autonomous power of representation violates the West’s basic moral presuppositions. Aristotelian and Pla- tonic philosophy, like the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious tradition, is founded upon the distinctions between essence and appearance, substance and accident, sign and referent. The notion that a more profound, essential reality underlies superficial, empirical appearances is the most basic belief behind such worldviews, and it is precisely this belief that magic denies. Magic suggests that there is no dis- tinction between appearance and reality, that the way the world is represented to us is the way it actually is, and even that representation can construct an entirely new, hyper-real environment. In magic, seeing is believing and power is truth. Magic may even lead people to conclude there is nothing real that exists beyond representation, that there is no referent beyond the sign, and as an inevitable correlative, that there is no soul within the body. People whose thought is formed by Plato, Aristotle, Moses, and Jesus will find these contentions not just ontologically absurd but also morally repugnant.

Orthodox opinion in early modern England held that this illusion was produced by the operation of “Satan,” and at times, this led people to conclude that those who suffered or fostered such illusions had made a formal or implicit pact with the devil. Many believed that this had rendered such people irredeemably antisocial and deserving of eradication in the name of the common good.

The independent, efficacious power of signs asserted itself across the totality of human affairs, as did resistance to that power. The Protestant Reformation was an iconoclastic revolt against idolatry, which is the worship of images, and which was incessantly castigated as a form of magic.

The twentieth-century economist F.A. Hayek noted the primal link between usury and magic. He pointed out that, in the early stages of a capitalist economy, “[a]ctivities that appear to add to available wealth ‘out of nothing,’ without physical recreation and by merely rearranging what already exists, stink of sorcery . . . .” To minds not yet accustomed to it, the autonomous reproduction of money is so obviously unnatural, and yet so undeniably powerful, that its source can only be supernatural. In usury, the sign known as “money” repro- duces as if it were a natural creature. It abandons a sign’s natural role, which is to refer to an external referent, and it becomes self-referential and self-generating. If allowed to do so (and it was first allowed to do so in the English Renaissance period), money will attain an independent, sub- jective power, and impose an alien, supernatural, and as was generally assumed, evil culture on the people over whom it reigns. The inde- pendent power of money was instinctively recognized as a destructive force. As Gerard Malynes’s St. George for England described usury in 1601:
“[T]his monster is an actiue element that consumeth all things.”

People’s ability to understand the rise of usury as one ele- ment within a broader pattern of assertive representation helps to explain the moralistic outrage it generated in the early modern period. Revulsion from usury is part of the same impulse that drove religious iconoclasm and the witch hunts: fear and hatred of autonomously powerful signs.

Every genre of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English writing testifies to the era’s horror of usury. At the beginning of this period usury is frequently portrayed as some variant of the devil himself—a hideous, predatory monster or a disgusting, voracious beast. As the seventeenth century progresses, usury sheds some of its abstract, allegorical qualities, and is more often depicted through the figures of realistic human beings, though these characters remain caricatures. The behavior and thought of such figures are shown to be completely determined by the influence of money, and although usury is humanized in them, the literary record leaves no doubt as to its supernatural origin, or to the metaphysical terror it inspired. Nor is there any ambi- guity about the reason for that terror: people assumed that usury was part, and by no means an insignificant or unimportant part, of the devil’s operation in the world.

In his General Discourse against the Damnable Sect of Usurers (1578), Phillip Caesar differentiates between the material cause of usury, which is human, and its efficient cause, which is supernatu- ral. He attacks usurers as those who “by their owne forecaste and wisedome, yea by vnlawfull trades, neglectyng the meanes whiche bee ordained of God, prouide for themselues, attribute that glorie whiche is due vnto God, vnto themselues, and their vsurie....” These usurers have arrogated to themselves the divine privilege of creation, and they make this mistake because they do not look further than the material cause of their profit. This in itself is a sure sign that the efficient agent behind their works is the devil. Caesar immediately goes on to announce:

“The efficient cause of Vsurie, is the forcerie and bewitchyng of Sathan. For euen humane reason, not altogether quenched by the Diuell, dooeth detest and abhorre all suche thynges as destroye nature, as Vsurie doeth . . .” (ibid.). This relation between usury as material and Satan as efficient cause is frequently restated by other writers. In Thomas Adams’s The White Devil (1613), “Vsury is a Coach, and the Diuell is driuer: needes must he goe, whom the Diuell driues.”

“Whence then springeth Vsurie?” asked John Jewell in 1584: “Soone shewed: euen thence whence theft, murther, adul- terie, the plagues, and destruction of the people doe spring. Al these are the workes of the Diuell . . . .” Usurers were thus “the children of the Diuel: their houses bée the shoppes, wherein the Diuel doth his worke of mischiefe.” According to Bishop Lake of Bath and Wells: “The devil is the plain image of usurers, who live by the sweat of other men’s brows.”

R.H. Tawney finds a notable absence of full-time, professional moneylenders among either plaintiffs or defendants in sixteenth-century usury cases:

Who are the lenders? Generally they are quite unpretending people, farmers who are a little more prosperous than their neighbors and see in their difficulties the chance of turning an honest penny, innkeepers who gradually worm themselves into the affairs of the unwary customer, give long credit, and at the critical moment foreclose, tailors, drapers, grocers, mercers, who have a little money laid by, and take to lending in order to eke out the earnings of their trade.

Under these circumstances hostility to usury was not usually directed against a particular social class, but against a certain kind of antisocial and exploitative behavior. When debt and credit are unavoidable elements of everyday economic intercourse, the exaction of usury becomes viscerally and visibly repugnant. Tawney discovered that, on a purely empirical level, sixteenth-century usurers tended to be unpleasant individuals whose lack of scruple in financial affairs was paralleled in other areas of life.

Usury, in short, was a vice, and as such it was practiced by those disposed to vicious behavior. Nor was it only the lenders who were morally implicated in usury. It was considered usurious to pay interest as well as to take it, and both the borrower and the lender were seen as easy prey for other vices. It was widely assumed that personal loans were for the purpose of immediate consumption, so that to take out a loan at interest was to submit to the temptations of sloth and gluttony, just as to make such a loan was to indulge in the sin of avarice. The existence of a money-based economy with insufficient cash ensured that few Londoners could have remained entirely uninvolved in what everyone agreed was a morally deplorable pattern of behavior. This was fertile soil in which a rigorous, comprehensive public debate concerning usury’s nature and effects could flourish.

Furthermore, personal hypocrisy over the issue was replicated at the levels of church and state. The Roman Catholic church grew rich on usury while forbidding it, and Protestants constantly pointed out the connections between the financial and liturgical fetishism that they saw manifested in Rome. The radical literature of Reformation England attacked the Anglican church on the same grounds, pointing out that many clergymen practiced usury, and that the English state permitted usury (while limiting the interest rate), which implied a degree of toleration. Church and state alike thus countenanced and practiced usury, even as the state church’s preachers advocated a ruthless intolerance.

In A Treatise of Usury (1611), Roger Fenton claims that the influx of Hugenot refugees had increased the tolerance of usury: “[T]hese exiles bringing stocks of money with them, and wanting skill to imploy it in those strange places; it was pitie they should haue been driuen to haue spent vpon the stocke: therefore their money was vsed by others who had skill, and some allowance made to them for the vse.”
From the combination of material and spiritual reasons given for usury’s prevalence, it would seem that people perceived an alliance of human and supernatural forces at work in it. While the nature of usury’s power was a matter of debate, its unprecedented extent was not. Over the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English people were forced to develop a new technical vocabulary to identify and understand the various human and conceptual figures who were coming to populate their economic landscape.

By the end of the sixteenth century, these accounts were producing the basic categories and terminology of modern economics. “Brokers,” “scriveners,” and “goldsmiths” became prominent professions, emerging first as aspects of usury, then as allies of the usurer’s enterprise.

The usurer’s closest and most faithful accomplice was the “broker.”

The scrivener facilitated and profited from the intercourse between creditor and debtor, and thus occupied the role of pimp in what was often described as usury’s prostitution. The usury debate’s rhetoric connects scriveners especially closely to Satan. The anonymous Character of a London Scrivener (1667) describes

[a] surreptitious race of men, not of God’s Creation, but born (like Vermin) out of the corruption of several Ages, or (like some Afric Monsters) the Amphibious Product of a Heterogeneous Copulation: for when Persons of different Interests and humours met together in a Contract, this Jarring Con- junction begat Scriviners....Sometimes he plays the Baud, prostitutes the same Title to all comers . . . sometimes he solders up a crackt Title, and passes it away for a pure Maiden-head . . . (A3)

Scriveners were produced out of the interstices of a money economy, like maggots breeding in a carcass. They were also akin to sexual pro- curers, facilitating perverse liaisons and making a profit on the deal without doing any work themselves. Along with “brokers,” “extortioners,” “flatterers,” and their motley colleagues, they represented the beginnings of the financial industry, and as such they were all placed under the general rubric of “usurers” by their contemporaries.

The etymological root of the Hebrew word for usury is nesach, or “serpent,” and the biblical resonance of this image evidently strengthened the construction of usury as a form of temptation.

Debt gave the usurer great power over the debtor, and once in debt people could easily be manipulated to serve the usurer’s will, even if this meant leading their companions into his clutches.

Henry Smith’s The Examination of Usury (1593) corroborates such accounts of “the Vsurers generall, which lurke about the Citie like Rattes, and Wesels, and Fulmers, of whome may bee saide the same which is saide of the diuels, They seeke whom they may deuoure. The utter lack of honor or decency among creditors was a constant literary theme throughout the Renaissance, generally mentioned along with the temptation to debt fostered by the burgeoning consumerism of London society.

It is often suggested that the acquisition of land was the true aim of the usurers, who would take it as security, then often refuse to take legal tender in cash as repayment even if it were offered.

Indeed, many of the most perspicacious observers pointed out that usury was commodity fetishism as applied to money. For Malynes, the evil of usury consisted precisely in treating money as a commodity. Such treatment violated nature by making the medium of exchange into an object of exchange, and such an egregious assault on nature could only have disastrous consequences.

Usury makes “merchandize” of money, thus attaining the ability to “falsify” its value, controlling it as a dragon controls its tail. Because the financial medium of exchange had become indispensable to a large and growing proportion of economic transactions, this practice inevitably spread its effects throughout all economic intercourse. To falsify the value of money was to falsify value in general, for money is “the rule and measure of things.”

Money is “nothing” in the sense that it is not a substantial essence but the measure of other substantial essences. But usury commodi- fies money, treating it as if it were a substantial essence, and bestowing upon it an imaginary and fetishistic power. The fetishism of commodi- ties thus had deeper and more sinister effects than merely stimulating reprehensible vanities in the minds of individuals. When money itself becomes a commodity, the natural relations between cause and effect, sign and referent, essence and appearance become perverted, with profound, far-reaching consequences for every aspect of life. As John Northbrooke put it in The Poore Man’s Garden (1571):

Usurie is iustly to bee had in hatred, and contempte, for bicause it is vsed as marchaundise, or chaffer, and of that, that by nature bryngeth forthe no fruite, he gathereth fruite. But money was made for the cause of exchaunge, one thyng for an other. It is greatly therefore against nature, to make money, a marchaundise, or chaffer.

The rational, Hellenic case against usury is based on Aristotle, who describes usury as “most justly hated” because it is unnatural. It is unnatural because it makes money breed: Aristotle describes usury as an artificial tokos, or birth:

Usury is most reasonably hated because its gain comes from money itself and not from that for the sake of which money was invented. For money was brought into existence for the purpose of exchange, but interest increases the amount of money itself and this is the actual origin of the Greek word: offspring resembles parent, and interest is money born of money; consequently this form of the getting of wealth is of all forms the most contrary to nature.

Money is neither a living creature nor any part of the natural world; it is an arbitrary and merely conventional human system of signs. To make it breed therefore involves the basic error of confusing nomos (custom) with phusis (nature). This is irrational, and therefore uneth- ical. The image of usury as an unnatural birth sank deep roots in the literature on the subject. In Thomas Adams’s The White Devil (1613) usury is a teeming thing, euer with child, pregnant, and multiplying: money is an vnfruitfull thing by nature made only for commutation: it is a praeternaturall thing, it should engender money: this is monstrosus partus, a prodigious birth.

In 1634’s Wit’s Commonwealth, Francis Meres connects this image to the tradition, based on the etymology of the Hebrew nesech, of figuring usury as a snake: “Vipers are borne by gnawing asunder the bellies of their dams: so Vsurie is bred and nourished by consuming the houses and substance of debtors.” This conventional image appears to influence the usurer John Milton’s depiction of Sin in Paradise Lost, as a half-serpentine, self-generating female monster who constantly gives birth to “hell-hounds” that endlessly gnaw their way back into her womb to be born again.

For the followers of Aristotle, then, the reason money cannot reproduce is that it is not an essence in itself, but an expression of the value of other essences. The essence of money is its lack of essence; its substance is its insubstiantiality. Value and essence are mutually definitive concepts, and thus also mutually exclusive: value is an accident, whereas essence is a substance. Unlike essence, which ceases to exist when it is destroyed, value is actually created in its own destruction. The essence of value is only realized when the value is used up, and thus, as early modern commentators often said, value is “lent to be spent.”

To hoard money is to simply waste it; only by being exchanged for use value can money realize its own value. For Taylor (as for Aristotle) money does not truly exist, it does not realize its purpose until it ceases to exist. Money, in other words, is a “fungible.”  

The Hebrew term for usury was nesech, which means “biting,” particularly as in a snakebite. Indeed, the word derives from nachash, snake. As we have already seen, this furnished early modern polemicists with a rich vein of imagery, and consolidated the connection of usury with the serpent in Eden. In The White Devil (1613) Adams declares that “the vsurer is like the worme we call the timber-worme; which is won- derfull soft to touch, but hath teeth so hard, that it eats timber: but the vsurer eats timber and stones too.” Like a snake’s bite, and like Satan’s temptations, usury might at first feel innocuous, or even pleasant, but it would soon lead to terrible suffering. As Lodge put it in 1591:

The Hebrues well looking into the lamentable effectes thereof, called it Neschech, that is to say, a biting: a diction which is drawen from the theame Naschech, a word attributed to Serpents: for as the Serpent stingeth and biteth, so Usurie (according to the opinion of Rabbi Salomon) is the henemoust poyson among men. For as hee that is stung by a Serpent in the foote, with small paine falleth a sléepe, and in his slumbers (the poyson beeing dis- pearsed) suffereth death: so the biting of Usurie makes but a little wound at the first, vntill such time as it hath growen to fulnes, it consumeth a poore mans whole estate, and substaunce.

But at first glance, Deuteronomy appears more permissive:

23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

23:20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

It seems that if a “stranger” was to be assimilated into the Hebrew community, either temporarily and informally or officially as a “sojourner,” then usury must not be demanded from him. Usury was incompatible with shared membership of a community. It could, however, be exacted from those outside the community: the alien and hostile tribes surrounding the Israelites in Canaan, whom the God of Abraham had commanded His people to attack and dispossess. Many commentators claimed that it was specifically and only these peoples who were covered by the exception.

Deuteronomy assumes that usury is an aggressive act, calculated to damage and plunder the people subjected to it. As Paul Johnson observes, in biblical times “[i]nterest was . . . synonymous with hostility.” Authors of our period often reminded their readers of Cato, who, asked what he thought of usury, had replied: “[W]hat do you think of homicide?” They also remembered how Seneca had attacked ancient Britain, and sparked Boudica’s revolt, by the economic warfare of excessive usury. In The History of Britain Milton recalls how Seneca, “having drawn the British unwill- ingly to borrow of him vast sums upon false promises of easy loan, and for repayment to take their own time, on a sudden compels them to pay in all at once with great extortion.” Usury was an act of murderous hostility, warfare by other means, licensed against the peoples who the Israelites were attempting to destroy, but unthinkable among people who had to live amicably together.

In 1630 Taylor called usury “such a consumer of mens estates, and so uncharitable, as the Lord would not admit of it in Israel, but among his enemies whom he would have quite consumed.”

In a tract published posthumously Robert Bolton emphasized the historical situation of the Israelites, surrounded by enemy peoples whose land they had been commanded to expropriate. Only under these circumstances, the same circumstances that justified war, was usury allowed, and the Deuteronomic exception could not therefore be enlisted as a ratio- nalization of modern usury. Bolton denies that this is a matter of economic justice. It was sometimes argued that usury might legitimately be taken from those who could afford it. But Bolton notes that Deuteronomy characterized usury per se as hostility:

[N]ot so much, as the least Usury was lawfull towards a Brother, whether He were poore or rich. If the Scriptures had put such a difference betweene the poore and the rich, as betweene the Israelite and Cananite: To the rich thou maist; but to the poore Thou shalt not lend upon Vsury: Then the case were cleare. But Deut. 23. 19, 20. GOD makes opposition, not betweene the poore and the rich: but betweene an Israelite and Cananite. For by stranger in that Place, is meant the Hittites, the Gergashites, the Amorites, the Cananites, the Perisites, the Hivites and Jebusites...these the Jewes were commanded to destroy, Deut. 7. 12. And Usury was as teeth given them, and allowed by GOD to eate them up withall: Whence that of Saint Ambrose De Tobia, cap.
"Ab hoc usuram exige, quem non sit crimen occidere.
"Seest thou a man, whom Thou maist lawfully kill? take use of Him, but not of thy Brother."

Since the historical circumstances to which Deuteronomy addresses itself had expired long ago, to whom could the terms “stranger” and “brother” apply? In order to fashion the tribal God of the Old Tes- tament into the universal Redeemer of the New, Christians subjected the entire Hebrew Bible to a complicated framework of metaphorical readings collectively known as “typology.” In typological interpretation, the literal and partisan significances of the Old Testament are assimilated and subjected to the figurative, generalized meanings of the new dispensation. In this tropological register, Deuteronomy’s “strangers” and “brothers” cease to be ethnic terms. In the Christian view, all men are metaphorically speaking “brothers,” and a Christian reading of Deuteronomy therefore forbids usury absolutely. As Sander explains:

The carnall Jewes had certain infidels to their enemies: whom as they might kil, so they might oppresse them with usuries. But now seeinge everie man is both our neighbour, and our brother: we may not take usurie of any man at al.

Taylor echoes the sentiment 60 years later: “In the Law usurie is for- bidden onely to brethren, but in the Prophets to all absolutely: and in the Gospell much more, because all are now brethren”. Medieval Christian commentators claimed that the Jews read the Deuteronomic injunction literally and so, on their own terms, were justified in taking usury from Gentiles. This furnished the ideological justification for making the Jews into Europe’s moneylenders. However, Christians themselves were theoretically constrained to follow a figural or spiritual method of interpretation, eschewing the fleshy, literal “sense of the Jews,” and to read the text as metaphorical and thus universal in its application.

We should note that Christians did not universally abstain from usury in practice, and we should remember that the Christian concept of “brotherhood” is not necessarily universal. In the century following the Reformation it was often restricted to co-confessionalists. In 1591 Charles Gibbon glossed Deuteronomy as meaning that usury “might be offered to none but strangers (such as were addicted to Idolatrie & enemies to religion) but to their brethren (which were inclined to the true seruice of God) it might not, therfore amongst vs which be Christians (being all brethren by profession) it may not . . . .”

Gibbon nominally applies the rule to all Christians, but most Protestants would have agreed that Catholics were “addicted to Idolatrie” and thus “strangers” by this definition. Many Christians happily disregarded all strictures against usury, and the Lombards in particular became a byword for moneylending. Nevertheless, the association between usury and Judaism has historically sunk deep roots within the Christian mind. Successive church councils over more than a millennium assumed that usury was anti-Christian, specifying that usurers should be refused both Christian burial and communion, which were punishments reserved for heretics.

The abolition of the distinction between “strangers” and “broth- ers” could work both ways. If in one sense early modern Christians conceived of everyone as a “brother,” there was another sense in which they were coming to regard everyone as a “stranger.” As Benjamin Nelson has shown in his classic work, The Idea of Usury, the de-tribalizing of Deuteronomy could also be construed as justifying the taking of usury from everybody, rather than from nobody. In a process that began with Hobbes and gathered pace rapidly in the second half of the seventeenth century, the “economy” was defined for theoretical purposes precisely as the sphere in which people acted in their own self-interest, regarding every other participant in the market as an abstract “stranger.” Nelson traces the progress “from tribal brotherhood to universal otherhood” whereby, in the “economic” sphere of activity, it became ethically permissible to treat every other individual as an alien with different and competing interests. This Hobbesian reading of Deuteronomy produces homo economi- cus, the abstract, self-seeking, individualist actor of political economy. As Nelson puts it: “In modern capitalism, all are ‘brothers’ in being equally ‘others.’ ”

Joyce Oldham Appleby, Ellen Meiksins Wood, and many others have shown how the early political economists of the late seventeenth century, taking their cue from Hobbes’s depiction of human nature as essentially selfish, and of the state of nature as a ceaseless bellum omnes contra omnia (war of all against all), constructed an abstract theoretical model of a marketplace consisting of individual agents pursuing their rational self-interest. The marketplace was the sphere in which Hobbesian man was free to pursue his natural impulses unfettered by traditional moral strictures. The aggregate of such acts of individual self-interest became the “economy.” This tradition was famously adumbrated by Adam Smith at the beginning of The Wealth of Nations: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their self-love . . . .”
The psychological attitude that Renaissance England called “usury” thus becomes the definitive characteristic of economic activity.

But most writers saw no need to refer to any experience of actual Jews, because the conceptual fusion between Judaism and usury was so deeply rooted in Christian biblical hermeneutics. Of course, the legacy of this logic threw a long shadow over secular thought as well, and Karl Marx was still using “Judaism” as a synonym for usury in the 1840s. In Marx too, the connection is largely conceptual and tropological, rather than empirical. Usurers are figurative rather than literal “Jews.” Indeed, this metaphorical Judaism was often said to make them more Jewish than literal Jews. Thomas Wilson’s A Discourse of Usury (1572) initially argues for an empirical link between Jews and usury, but immediately discards it as irrelevant, on the grounds that all usurers are, figuratively speaking, Jews:

What is the matter that Jews are so universally hated wherever they come? Forsooth, usury is one of the chief causes, for they rob all men that deal with them, and undo them in the end. And for this cause they were hated in England and so banished worthily, with whom I would all those Englishmen were sent that lent their money or goods whatsoever for gain; for I take them to be no better than Jews. Nay, shall I say: they are worse than Jews. (232)

The idea that usurers were an especially intensified form of Jew is commonplace in the overtly didactic anti-usury tradition. Thomas Pie’s Usury’s Spright Conjur’d (1604) claims that usury is still practiced “as Jewishly as when the Jewes were here in their prime.”

It is not so much that usurers were perceived as akin to Jews, as that usury was considered the economic counterpart of Judaism. Usury was legal and yet sinful; it was based on a literalist misreading of scripture, and on a preference for representa- tion above reality. In all these aspects the early modern mind perceived a kinship between usury and Judaism, which they understood as a legalistic, literalistic, and ritualistic religion.

Satan had conceived of his debt to God in the same terms as the opponents of usury described moneylending. He imagined his relationship to deity in quantitative terms, so that “one step higher / Would set me highest” (Milton 4:50–51), and this led him to imagine gratitude as com- pound interest, a never-ending, always increasing burden exacted on a regular temporal basis.

Satan’s status as debtor is not temporary or temporal but inherent in his nature. His fall consists in his denial of that nature, which causes him to regard God as a cruel and unjust usurer.

Calvin was often cited by his contemporaries as the first religious thinker to sanction usury. The Institutes of the Christian Religion makes particularly prominent use of the conventional metaphor of human beings as “impoverished debtors” before God, and in Calvin and his commentators, the figure of God as usurer becomes so familiar as to acquire literalistic connotations, which could be deployed to legitimize financial usury. According to Benjamin Nelson’s famous hypothesis, it was Calvin’s reinterpreta- tion of Deuteronomy that “self-consciously and hesitantly, charted the path to the world of Universal Otherhood, where all become ‘brothers’ in being equally ‘others’ ”
As C.B. MacPherson and others have shown, this acknowledgment of universal alienation, combined with the doctrine of “total depravity,” which assumed the entirely sinful condition of each individual soul, prepared the way for Hobbes’s assumption that market behavior is natural to human beings.

Calvin claims that any self-interested economic behavior is usury. According to the theoretical political economy emerging by the seventeenth century, the market by its very nature involved people striving “to make gain by the loss of the other party.” That is exactly what the market was: the individual’s rational pursuit of his or her economic self-interest. In this arena, each side of a bargain had a right, even a responsibility, to seek his or her own advantage. For Hobbe- sian man this was in any case the natural and inevitable course of behavior, regardless of morality, and by the end of our period morality was fast being exiled from the domain of economics. According to Calvin’s logic, every participant in a market economy must stand con- victed of usury, for he treats as “usury” any bargain in which one participant seeks his own advantage at the expense of the other. He therefore concludes that the Psalm cannot possibly intend to prohibit all usury...

While still condemning usury, therefore, Calvin decides that a limited amount of it must be permitted. Following much the same logic a century later, the new science of political econ- omy would define the economy as the sphere of human activity in which it is permissible to treat the actors as “strangers,” from whom taking usury is allowed. By this semiconscious ideological process, Europe was induced to accept the legitimacy of finance capitalism. Because of usury’s unavoidable ubiquity, Calvin distin- guishes between tolerable and intolerable usury. His position is that only those instances that are harmful should be stigmatized: “[T]he gain which he who lends his money upon interest acquires, with- out doing injury to any one, is not to be included under the head of unlawful usury.”

Calvin compares this text to the Psalm in which

David mentions, among other things—who has not lent his money on usury, (Psalm 15:5.) It seems, then, from these two places, that usury is in itself unlawful. But because God’s law embraces complete and perfect justice, hence we must hold that interest, unless it is opposed to God’s law, is not altogether to be condemned, otherwise ignominy would clearly attach to the law of God if it did not prescribe to us a true and complete rule of living justly.

We can see here how Calvin’s doctrine of “total depravity” informs his view of usury. According to this gloomy thesis, postlapsarian human beings were completely and utterly alienated from God, to the extent that we are by nature completely sinful and incapable of doing any- thing good. There are no degrees of alienation from God. The fall means that we will inevitably commit sin, just as economic circum- stances dictate that we will inevitably commit usury. Given that usury is inevitable, the aim is not to prevent it but to control it. This argument both reflects and rationalizes the self-interested practices of the market economy. While usury must certainly be condemned, any attempt to eliminate it altogether would be worse than futile, it would be to commit the sin of self-righteousness. It would be arrogantly to pretend that human beings can behave in a righteous manner, thus ignoring Paul’s warning in Romans 3:10 that “there is none righ- teous, no, not one.” This conviction of universal alienation and total depravity led Calvin to become, in Nelson’s words, “the first religious leader to exploit the ambivalence of the Deuteronomic passage in such a fashion as to prove that it was permissible to take usury from one’s brother” (ibid.).

Calvin’s thought also announces a new epoch in the history of representation; he is the first to offer an eth- ical justification of the performative sign. Calvin confessed that the bread and wine of the communion were merely symbols of Christ’s body and blood. In this he agreed with the radical Anabaptists, and departed from both Catholics and Lutherans, who believed in a lit- eral real presence. He differed from the radicals, however, in claiming that the sacrament was not merely a memorial but had a real, objec- tive effect on the mind of the communicant. Although it was not a literal but a metaphorical embodiment of Christ, the Eucharist was objectively efficacious. The sacrament, in other words, was a performative sign.

Calvin’s willingness to sacralize such signs is his most important innovation, and it affected his views on usury as well as liturgy.

Joseph Hall gives them careful consideration in The Righteous Mammon (1613):

Euery stampe or impression in his coyne is to the couetous man a very Idoll; And what madnes is there in this Idolatry, to dote vpon a base creature, and to bestow that life which wee haue from God, vpon a creature that hath no life in it selfe, and no price but from men.

Here it is specifically the “stampe or impression” in the coin that is idolized; Hall wants to call attention to the difference between the inherent value of precious metals and financial value, which is created by the sign of the coin’s stamp. This is another difference between usury and covetousness: unlike covetousness, usury specifi- cally fetishizes signs, not material things. Hall’s mind then leaps to Psalm 115’s account of idolatry as the subjectification of the object:

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. / They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not” (4–5).

He identifies the artificial “price” that usurers bestow on money with the artificial life that idolators bestow on idols. We see in his thought the mingling of scriptural depictions of usury as idolatry with the Greek description of usury as unnatural birth, which also gives life to what is naturally lifeless. The people of Renaissance England synthesized the Hellenic and the Hebraic traditions by drawing on what was common to them both: the equation of usury with fetishized representation.

This way of connecting usury with idolatry owes more to Luther’s semiotics than to Calvin’s. Whereas Calvin was most often cited by those who wanted usury limited rather than outlawed, Luther was frequently invoked by the absolutist opponents of all usury.
Luther insisted that the efficacious power of the sacrament was inherent in the bread and wine. He thought that the Eucharist’s value was innate, rather than symbolic. He objected to the Catholic Mass, not because of its belief in the real presence, which he shared, but because of its claim that the priest’s liturgical actions had caused a transubstantiation. Luther believed that this reduced the sacrament to magic, making a fetish of the priestly ritual. This fur- nished another point of comparison between idolatry and usury, which also fetishized alienated human activity. Like Calvin, Luther applied the same ethics of representation to money as he did to the sacra- ment, when he objected to the idea that labor power can be stored up in the form of a symbol.

As long as the political situation allowed, Luther inveighed against usury in all of its various forms. In the early 1520s he wrote against the usurious traffic in annuities, or Zinskauf : “The devil invented this system, and the Pope by confirming it has injured the whole world. . . . Truly this traffic in rents must be a sign and a symbol that the world, for its grievous sins, has been sold to the devil....”
Luther was especially vehement against usury as it was practiced by the Catholic church.

The equation of hospitality with charity meant that, as the antithesis of hospitality, usury was confirmed as a synonym for the pursuit of self-interest. To be opposed to charity was to be Satanically antisocial, a public enemy, and this is exactly how usury is generally portrayed by its opponents.

Hobbes observes that “[a] man’s Labour also, is a commodity exchangeable for benefit, as well as any other thing.” Exchange value represents labor power in symbolic form so that “[t]he Value, or Worth of a man is, as of all other things, the Price; that is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his Power”. A human being’s “power” can be used by somebody else if it is represented in the form of money. Money is transferable power, congealed human activity, the force of which can be stored and released because it has been encapsulated in symbolic form. It was the efficacious power of the sign; the same kind of power as magicians aspired to exercise. Usury was magic perfected by other means.'''

The great witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries reflect a hysterical reaction against the power of the performative sign, which had traditionally been the preserve of magic.

The witch hunts, which reached their height in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, were directed against attempts to manip- ulate signs in order to achieve objective effects. It was not the deeds perpetrated by the witch that concerned the witch-hunters, but the means by which s/he had effected them. Because images were not naturally efficacious, any more than money is naturally fertile, any attempt to use images for objective effects was a violation of nature, and thus Satanic.

The witch’s crime was not any material harm, or maleficia, s/he might have done through his or her magic. Magic was a crime even if its effects were benign. Indeed, it was a crime even if it had no effects at all; the attempt to use magic was itself a criminal offence. The crime, of which “good” and “bad” witches were equally guilty, was simply to believe in the efficacious power of performative representation.

Idolatry, magic, and commodification are parts of a single wider enter- prise, which is the representation of human life in a symbolic, alien, and potent form. It naturally occurred to people to enquire after this enterprise’s purpose and source. Whose enterprise was it, who was really performing the magical feats that the signs themselves seemed to perform on their own? It was as the answer to such questions that the figure of “Satan” achieved unprecedented cultural promi- nence during the English Renaissance.

The exclusion of magic, and its attribution to Satan, are fundamental to Christianity’s self-conception, and they seem to reveal a neurotic sensitivity (and vulnerability) to accusations of sorcery. Such accusations were loudly revived in the Protestant Reformation’s attack on Catholic miracles, liturgy, and sacraments.

Learned sorcerers might claim to be able to control the dark pow- ers, but a concerted propaganda campaign, in which the story of Dr. Faustus figured prominently, was designed to refute such proud assertions.5 Anyone who practiced magic, it was claimed, was a slave of the devil, although Satan might encourage the magician to form the opposite impression. That is exactly what happens to Marlowe’s Faustus.

The usurer’s unnatural reproduction is the negation of art, and thus also of nature. While art is the legitimate offspring of nature, imitat- ing her to produce a healthy second nature, usury is an illegitimate, bastard child, which brings into being a different, unhealthy kind of second nature, on the basis of custom. Unlike art, custom does not imitate nature but obscures her and aspires to replace her. Where art exalts the works of nature, custom subverts them. And usury, the reproduction of the nomos that is opposed to phusis in Greek thought, is the active embodiment of custom. This is another strand of thought that contributed to the denunciation of usury as the alien- ated antithesis of subjective activity. Mason’s A Mirror for Merchants (1609) scornfully dismisses the usurer’s assumption that money can reproduce over time, on the grounds that this reproduction is actu- ally achieved by the labor power that money merely represents. What people actually purchased in usury was their own labor power.

The knowledge that usury was alienated human activity meant that it confused the proper roles of subject and object, which in the con- ceptual vocabulary of the Western philosophical tradition correspond to the roles of master and servant. Usury reversed these roles, in an objectification of the subject that was also a subjectification of the object, and this was often likened to a revolt of the servile. The essential moral of the city comedies as a whole is encapsulated in Massinger’s A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1621) when riches are called “a useful servant / But a bad Master” (4.1.188–89). Money is properly “useful” when it serves human needs, but the “abuse” that was usury made human beings serve the needs of money. In usury man was represented in alien form, and this objective representation achieved artificial life, coming to dominate over the people whose activity it represented.

The Mayor of London, known to practice usury, was named Swinnerton. In the play he becomes the “Hog” of the title: “Is his name Hog? It fits him exceeding well, for as a hog in his lifetime is always devouring, and never commodius in aught till his death, even so is he, whose goods at that time may be put to many good uses” (1.1.66–69). Possibly evincing some awareness of Islam’s strict pro- hibition of usury, Thomas Nashe’s Quaterino (1633) claims that “the Turks” believe that at the final resurrection “usurers...shall appeare with faces like vnto hogs and swine.” The fact that Renaissance England could envisage usurers simultaneously as threadbare misers and gluttonous hogs indicates that such tropes were not understood as designating empirical characteristics of actual usurers, but rather as figural expressions of various theoretical features of usury: it denigrated use value in favor of exchange value, like the hoarding miser, and it also fostered an unproductive conspicuous consumption that seemed akin to the behavior of hogs.

There was, however, one (and only one) real risk to the usurer’s investment: the character of the borrower. This had the effect of making character itself into an economic category, a quantifiable object that could be measured and expressed in terms of financial creditwor- thiness. Hence Shylock’s famously ambiguous musing that “Antonio is a good man,” to which Bassanio responds with angry incomprehension: “Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?” (1.3.9–10). Bassanio does not understand that Shylock is employing the term “good” to mean financially “sufficient” to justify a loan. This reduction of moral character to financial viability struck many people as an objectionable degradation of the soul itself, the source of which must be the very principle of evil.

To sell time was to sell life, and the essence of life was the soul. Usury was thus understood to involve the sale of the soul to Satan. The infernal source of usury is emphasized with especial assiduity when the anti-usury pamphlets discuss the sale of time.

The usurer’s property rights over the money he loaned gave him the right to control the physical body of the debtor. The objective representation of human activity had the power to inhibit the subjective activity of actual human beings. Nietzsche traces the sem- inal assertion of the human will over arbitrary fate in the promise to repay a debt, and he explains the origin of the conscience as a response to the failure to keep that promise.


In Middleton’s Michaelmas Term the usurer Hoard bestows a higher degree of authenticity on financial than on linguistic signs: “[A]re not debts better than words, Sir?” (4.4.181). In response, however, Witgood points out that debts, like promises, are merely words to which efficacious power has been attributed: “Are not words promises, and are not promises debts, Sir?” (4.4.182).

Nietzsche claims that morality itself originates in the enforcement of debt obligations, and he adduces as evidence the etymological con- nection between “guilt” (Schuld) and “debt” (Schulden). The entire concept of legal punishment, in Nietzsche’s view, can be traced to the imperative of finding an equivalent to a debt owed. Until very recently, he points out, that equivalent involved the infliction of a quantifiable degree of pain on the debtor’s body:

In order to inspire trust in his promise to pay back, in order to give his promise a guarantee of its seriousness and sanctity, in order to impress on his own conscience the idea of paying back as a duty, an obligation, the debtor, by virtue of a contract, pledges to the creditor, in the event that he does not pay, something else that he still “owns,” something else over which he still exercises power, for example, his body or his woman or his freedom or even his life. . . . That means that the creditor could inflict all kinds of ignominy and torture on the body of the debtor, for instance, slice off the body as much as seemed appropriate for the size of the debt:—and this point of view early on and everywhere gave rise to precise, sometimes horrific estimates going into the smallest detail, legally established estimates about individual limbs and body parts.

It is this idea that a financial debt can be rendered equivalent to a portion of the body that renders the plot of The Merchant of Venice so profoundly disturbing. The idea that arrears in a sum of money could affect the physical liberty of the human body added weight to the impression of usury as the antithesis, the negation, of life itself.

The first man to introduce a comprehensive system of paper money as a national currency, John Law in eighteenth-century France, declared: “I have discovered the secret of the philosopher’s stone: it is to make gold out of paper.” Law’s ultimately disastrous but perspicacious experiment was used by Goethe as the inspiration for the “paper money scene” in Faust Part Two, which explores the connections between alchemical and financial value at length. Several historians of ideas have recently expounded the homology between alchemy and usury, arguing that the latter is the successful culmination of the former. As Jean-Joseph Goux puts it: “[T]he philosopher’s stone has become the prosaic money in the ledgers of capital.”

In Jonson’s Every Man out of His Humour (1599) the usurer Deliro is called an “alchemist” (2.2.304) who can turn his debtors’ lands into money. The implication is that alchemy did not disappear because it failed, but because it succeeded. As recent financial thinkers such as George Soros have suggested, usury is simply alchemy conducted by other, far more successful means.

As with Milton and Middleton, the financial and the erotic are not fully distinguished spheres, but shape and form each other in the poet’s imagination.

The concept of “sodomy” was more expansive in the early modern period than it is today. The Aristotelian association between usury and unnatural birth, combined with the conception of usury as an addictive sensual pleasure, produced an instinctive connection between usury and all forms of unnatural sexual activity. In the scholastic tradition this meant any sexual activity that was not directed toward the natural telos of sex, which is reproduction. All nonreproduc- tive sex acts were gathered under the category of “concupiscence,” and usury was frequently likened to concupiscent sexuality. Thomas Dekker’s Worke for Armorours (1609) is one of many tracts to claim that “[u]surie was the first that ever taught Money to commit incest”.

But perhaps the most abiding sexual similes applied to usury in this period were prostitution and pimping. Commodified sexuality seems an appropriate metaphor for usury, because it brazenly substi- tutes money for the natural telos and product of sexual intercourse.

Before the sudden dissociation of sensibility that was imposed on English people in the second half of the seventeenth century, it was naturally and automatically—and, surely, correctly— assumed that usury’s rise to power would be accompanied by conse- quences for sexuality, politics, philosophy, and psychology. To insist on the homologies between these spheres is not economic determinism; on the contrary, it is a challenge to the very concept of the “economy.” It was their awareness of usury’s implications beyond the sphere of “economics” that inspired the people of Renaissance England’s implacable hostility toward it." [David Hawkes, The Culture of Usury in Renaissance England]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:46 pm

Norman Brown wrote:
"Giving and Taking

Cumulative guilt disrupts the archaic economy of gift-giving. The principle of reciprocity is inseparable from cyclical time, while in cumulative time accounts are always unbalanced. The first solution to the problem of guilt, to share it (the totemic brotherhood), is no longer adequate. But cumulative time, which disrupts the old solution to the problem of guilt, organizes a new solution, which is to accumulate the tokens of atonement, the economic surplus.

Prestige and power, always attached to virtuosity in the arts of expiation, are now conferred not by giving but by taking, by possessing. The need to share the guilt is to some extent transcended; in accumulating possessions the individual shoulders his own burden of guilt and thus negates the first solution. The modern psychology of taking is constructed, by a process of denial, out of its archaic opposite, giving. Thus the individual (and the economic surplus) is emancipated to some extent from the archaic submergence in the social group. The new equally guilt-ridden schema of possession inaugurates the predatory pattern which Veblen described, and transforms archaic masochism into modern sadism.

At the same time the new schema imposes on the human being a second degree of dehumanization. The archaic man, to assuage his guilt, used his freedom, his surplus, to construct society, and hid himself in the group. The possessive individual emancipates himself to some extent from the group, but he is still in flight from himself; his essence now passes into things, his property. (Consider the etymology of "property.") The compulsion to work remains; life remains an exercise in overcoming guilt. Property accumulations are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace; they are also the man's life. And being the man's life, things become alive and do what the man would like to do. Things become the god (the father of himself) that he would like to be: money breeds. The institution of interest presupposes not only cumulative time but also the displacement of the parental complex from the totemic group to the totemie possession, money. Thus money in the civilized economy comes to have a psychic value it never had in the archaic economy.

We thus arrive at a further level of meaning in the equation of money and excrement. Money is inorganic dead matter which has been made alive by inheriting the magic power which infantile narcissism attributes to the excremental product. Freud pointed out that it was an integral part of the anal symbolic complex to equate the feces with the penis. The infantile fantasy of becoming father of oneself first moves out to make magic use of objects instead of its own body when it gets attached to that object which both is and is not part of its own body, the feces. Money inherits the infantile magic of excrement and then is able to breed and have children: interest is an increment (cf. Greek tokos, Latin faenus, etc.).

This emergent individualism has other complicated and obscure psychological dimensions.  In psychoanalytical terms it appears to involve a restructuring of the core of the guilt complex (the Oedipus complex and castration complex). The psychology of giving is intimately feminine; the psychology of possession and taking is masculine. And factually, the new guilt complex appears to be historically connected with the rise of patriarchal religion (for the Western development the Hebrews are decisive). In psychoanalytical terms, the gift complex resolves guilt by identification with the mother, while the possession complex resolves guilt by identification with the father. And it would seem that identification with the father involves a transformation of guilt into aggression. In the gift complex dependence on the mother is acknowledged, and then overcome by mothering others. Identification with the father is a way of denying dependence on the mother. (And, like all sustained denials, simultaneously affirms it; the classic Oedipus complex is a superstructure based on relations to the "pre-Oedipal" mother.) "Taking" is a denial of dependence, and thus transforms the guilt of indebtedness into aggression; and the masculinity complex, the obsessive denial of feminity, is inherently aggressive.

We therefore in principle agree with Bettelheim: "Only with phallic psychology did aggressive manipulation of nature by technological inventions become possible." In another terminology, we can identify the new individualism with Apollonian masculinity and Apollonian sublimation. But as long as the psychoanalytical theory of the pre-Oedipal mother remains backward, and as long as psychoanalysis leaves it to the Jungians to exploit Bachofen's discovery of the religion of the Great Mother, this turning point in history remains psychologically obscure.

Whatever the mechanisms involved, the history of the neurosis (the neurosis of history) produces over the long term a definite strengthening of the human ego, as measured by its capacity to face the problem of guilt. The man who gives seeks to get rid of his guilt by sharing it. The man who takes is strong enough to shoulder his own burden of guilt. Christian man is strong enough to recognize that the debt is so great that only God can redeem it. Modern secular Faustian man is strong enough to live with irredeemable damnation." [Life against Death]

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:20 am

Lyssa wrote:
An abridgement of Hawkes' excellent book on Usury that sheds light on the theological origins of socio-economic anti-semitism as the background for Hobbesian libertarianism: .

Enchanting..
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PostSubject: Re: Money Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:19 pm

Anfang wrote:
Lyssa wrote:
An abridgement of Hawkes' excellent book on Usury that sheds light on the theological origins of socio-economic anti-semitism as the background for Hobbesian libertarianism: .

Enchanting..

Had linked his audio discussion in the Faust thread here:

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:28 am

Lyssa wrote:
Anfang wrote:
Lyssa wrote:
An abridgement of Hawkes' excellent book on Usury that sheds light on the theological origins of socio-economic anti-semitism as the background for Hobbesian libertarianism: .

Enchanting..

Had linked his audio discussion in the Faust thread here:

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And quotes from his 'Faust' book are there too. Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:58 am

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Money, mind, and matter: a psychocultural digression
- Doug Henwood



"Money is a kind of poetry.

— Wallace Stevens (1971, p. 165)

Who drinks on credit gets twice as drunk.

— Turkish proverb

One virtue of Keynes’s attention to psychology and sentiment is that it forces us to think about economics in a way that most economists find squishy and unscientific. This narrowness of vision has harmed the dismal science immeasurably.

Credit is money of the mind, as James Grant (1992) put it in a book title, though of course every now and then mental money faces an unpleasant coming to terms with matter. Still, in these days of multibillion dollar bailouts, it seems that mind can sustain fantastic valuations for far longer than ever seemed imaginable in the past.

We might date the modern credit culture’s beginning to the severance of paper currencies from gold in the early 1970s. It waxed during the 1983–89 binge, waned during the 1989–92 slump, and waxed again starting in 1993. At its root, it’s based on the assumption that a munificent river of liquidity will flow for all time. Someone will always be willing to take an overvalued asset off your hands tomorrow at a price comfortably higher than today’s. Two famous axioms from apostles of credit illustrate this faith. In the late 1970s, Citibank chair Walter Wriston, a promoter of Third World lending, rebutted skeptics with the argument that “Countries don’t go bankrupt” (quoted in Kuczynski 1988, p. 5). Last decade’s chief debtmonger, the junk bond supremo Michael Milken, used to argue in the days before his incarceration that capital isn’t a scarce resource, capital is abundant — it’s vision that’s scarce (quoted in Bruck 1988, p. 272).

This credit culture is a long way from that described by a 19th century Scottish banker, G.M. Bell, who thought his colleagues to be finer moralists than clerics:

Banking establishments are moral and religious institutions. How often has the fear of being seen by the watchful and reproving eye of his banker deterred the young tradesman from joining the company of riotous and extravagant friends…? Has he not trembled to be supposed guilty of deceit or the slightest misstatement, lest it should give rise to suspicion, and his accommodation be in consequence restricted or discontinued [by his banker]?… And has not that friendly advice been of more value to him than that of priest? (quoted in Marx 1981, p. 679).

‘The cult of money,” wrote Marx (1973, p. 232), “has its asceticism, its self-denial, its self-sacrifice — economy and frugality, contempt for the mundane, temporal, and fleeting pleasures…. Hence the connection between English Puritanism or also Dutch Protestantism, and money-making.” In a phrase Keynes also used, it is auri sacra fames — the sacred hunger for gold.

This austerity strikes moderns, supersaturated with commodities, as quaint — though there’s nothing passé about sadomonetarist adjustment programs. But there’s another sense in which money and religion travel together — especially when money takes the form of a promise rather than a hard form of settlement, that is, when money becomes credit (from Latin, “I believe”). A credit agreement is a profession of faith by both parties: short of a swindle, both parties believe the debtor will be able to repay the loan with interest. It is a bet on the future. This theological subtlety is lost on the information asymmetry theorists, who, even as they concede the possibility of deception, don’t allow departures from rational self-interest.

For most of history, credit’s dreamier excesses were limited by gold, a metal at once seen as both “natural money” and pure enough to touch the body of Christ. Marx (ibid., p. 727):

The monetary system [i.e., gold-based] is essentially Catholic, the credit system essentially Protestant…. [T]he monetary existence of commodities has a purely social existence. It is faith that brings salvation. Faith in money value as the immanent spirit of commodities, faith in the mode of production and its predestined disposition, faith in the individual agents of production as mere personifications of self-valorizing capital. But the credit system is no more emancipated from the monetary system as its basis than Protestantism is from the foundations of Catholicism.

Money conflates the sacred and profane; it’s no accident that American currency states that “In God We Trust.”

This conflation of high and low, of matter and spirit, is enough to send a student of money to Freud. By the lights of classical psychoanalysis, money is gold, and gold is transformed shit, and exchange relations, sublimated rituals of the anus. Though this is by now a commonplace, readers found this a rather shocking thesis almost 90 years ago. Freud’s (1908) essay on the anal character began by noting the coexistence of a trio of features in such cases: orderliness, obstinacy, and thrift. Freud speculated that this unholy trinity  — hallmarks of the Victorian bourgeois — spring from an infantile interest in the anus and its products. Orderliness, said Freud, gives “the impression of a reaction-formation against an interest in what is unclean and disturbing and should not be part of the body.” Obstinacy represents the baby’s lingering reluctance to part with his or her stool on command.

And the infantile roots of thrift are perhaps the most interesting of all. Freud noted the rich associations between money and dirt found in folklore and everyday language. In English, there are expressions like “stinking rich” and “filthy lucre.” In legends, “the gold which the devil gives his paramours turns into excrement after his departure…. We also know about the superstition which connects the finding of treasure with defaecation, and everyone is familiar with the figure of the ‘shitter of ducats’ [a German idiom for a wealthy spendthrift; we have our goose with its golden eggs, more fertile than fecal, but emerging from a neighboring bodily region]. Indeed, even according to ancient Babylonian doctrine gold is ‘the faeces of hell.’” Finally, Freud suggested that “it is possible that the contrast between the most precious substance known to men and the most worthless…has led to th[e] specific identification of gold with faeces.”

Freud’s early followers — notably Abraham, Ferenczi, and  Jones — trod the anal path blazed by the master. The accumulation of money is a sublimated urge to retain feces for the very pleasure of it, and the production of commodities is the psychic derivative of the expulsion of feces. Money, in Ferenczi’s (1976) marvelous phrase, is “nothing other than odourless, dehydrated filth that has been made to shine.”[1]

The psychological equivalence of dirt and money is suggested by the low social status of bankers in pre-modern times. Using decidedly non-fecal reasoning, philosopher of money Georg Simmel (1978, p. 221) speculated that “the importance of money as a means, independent of all specific ends, results in the fact that money becomes the center of interest and the proper domain of individuals and classes who, because of their social position, are excluded from many kinds of personal and specific goals.” Among Simmel’s examples are the emancipated Roman and Athenian slaves who became became bankers, as did Armenians in Turkey; Moors in Spain; and Huguenots, Quakers, and Jews across Europe. Reading Simmel eighty years later, one thinks how the social prestige of banking increased along with the development of credit, that is, with its evolving liberation from gold.

Norman O. Brown, not the most fashionable of writers these days, found this psychoanalytic orthodoxy wanting. Brown returned the sacred to the analysis of money and demeaned both equally. For Brown (1985, p. 297), money and the sacred were both sublimated products of a revulsion from the body. And such sublimation, whether aimed at god or mammon, is “the denial of life and the body…. The more the life of the body passes into things, the less life there is in the body, and at the same time the increasing accumulation of things represents an ever fuller articulation of the lost life of the body.”

To Brown, the exchange relation is imbued with guilt, and the debtor–creditor relation with sadomasochism. In this, Brown followed Nietzsche, for whom all religions are “systems of cruelties” and for whom all creditors enjoy “a warrant for and a title to cruelty” (Nietzsche 1967, Second Essay, sections 3 and 5). (Modern usage confirms the link of debt with both sadomasochism and the sacred: “bonds” impose conditions known as “covenants” on debtors.) Creditors in the ancient world “could inflict every kind of indignity and torture upon the body of the debtor; for example, cut from it as much as seemed commensurate with the size of the debt.” Creditors can take pleasure in “being allowed to vent [their] power on one who is powerless, the volutptuous pleasure ‘de faire le mal pour le plaisir de la faire,’ the enjoyment of violation.”

For Brown, debt is a sickly tribute paid by the present to the past. (Of course, we postmoderns often see — consciously or not — credit as a way to steal from the future.) But for a partisan of the body, Brown was nonetheless guilty of the ancient psychoanalytic habit of dematerializing its needs. As the early analyst Paul Schilder (1976) — who rightly lamented the absence of a psychoanalysis of work — noted, “When one looks over large parts of the psychoanalytic literature one would not conceive the idea that one eats because one is hungry and wants food for sustaining one’s life but one would rather suppose that eating is a sly way of satisfying oral libido…. Silberer once said…[that] according to psychoanalytic conceptions…the Danube…is merely a projection of urine and birthwater.”

Similarly, Brown’s gold is more a fetishized projection of intrapsychic drama than an alienated embodiment of real social power. His moneyed subjects lack class, race, nationality, and gender. For Marx, what made gold valuable was that it embodied human labor and served as the universal exchange equivalent for all other commodities, whose value arises from the labor that made them. But the nature of market relations — anonymous, mathematical — is to hide the social nature of production and exchange behind the veil of money. As psychoanalysis lacks a theory of work, so does orthodox Marxism lack an understanding of the passions that sustain the disguise. With credit comes a set of passions entirely different from those of gold.

Money, Brown said, is but part of the “commitment to mathematize the world, intrinsic to modern science.” But modern science has now almost completely mathematized money. Aside from doomsayers, survivalists, and other goldbugs, the monetary functions of dehydrated filth are all but forgotten. Even paper money is getting scarce — only about 10% of the broadly defined money supply (M2). Most money now lives a ghostly electronic life.

With this dematerialization of money has come at least a partial banishment of the guilty sadomasochism of the anus. That banishment was seen at its fullest during the 1980s, when fantasy ruled the financial scene; in the early 1990s, the repressed made a partial return, and the exuberance of the Roaring Eighties seemed a distant memory. But the psychological dethronment, however complete or incomplete, of anality and guilt, has an interesting analogue in the cultural and social transformations that so trouble American reactionaries. Capitalism, having undermined the authoritarian–patriarchal family, now produces fewer guilt-ridden obsessives and more hungry narcissists than it did in the days when gold and daddy reigned as the harsh taskmasters from whom there was no appeal. Like the narcissist, today’s consumer seems less interested in the accumulation of possessions than in the (novelty-rich, credit-financed) act of purchase itself.[2] Rather than the guilty obstinacy of the anus — or the Puritan character identified by Max Weber as the spirit of capitalism — one detects a more primitive, fickle, and eternally dissatisfied orality. In contrast with the dry, tight, fixed, “masculine” aura of gold, modern credit money seems protean, liquid, and “feminine.”[3]

Unlike the classic neurotic, whose conflicts centered around anxiety and guilt over what were seen as dangerous or forbidden desires, the modern narcissist complains most about a sense of emptiness, of disconnectedness, of a free-floating rage and anxiety attached to nothing in particular. Under a superficially well-functioning veneer, the upscale narcissist, in Joel Kovel’s (1980) words, “is unable to affirm a unity of project or purpose, a common goal, with other people in a way that goes beyond immediacy or instrumentality.”

According to Kovel, the transformations of domestic life that have occurred since the capitalist industrial revolution first gave us the authoritarian–patriarchal–obsessive personality type, only to be succeeded by the modern, or postmodern, narcissistic type. The breakup of traditional social arrangements that came with the development of the capitalist labor market meant that the scale of social life simultaneously expanded — transportation and communication making people far more mobile and informed about life beyond their locality — and shrank, as the nuclear family became the central focus of all non-work life. “Childhood” in the sense of a protected, privileged phase of life was invented sometime in the 19th century.

This child-centered, father-dominated life became increasingly penetrated, Kovel argued, by the state, the media, and the increasing power of the commodity form. The family, in Kovel’s coinage, became de-sociated. People’s lives became increasingly determined by institutions far beyond their immediate sphere of experience. Decisions about lives in New Jersey are often made by executives in Tokyo; about lives in Brazil made in Grosse Pointe and Milan. The family has effectively ceased to be a barrier against outside events, a haven in a heartless world.

A right-wing version of this analysis calls for a return to the patriarchal family, which is both impossible and undesirable. But leaving aside the issues of the politics of the household, we have to wonder how capitalism can survive this new personality type? On one hand, the system, especially its American variant, depends on credit-financed consumption to keep the wheels spinning, but on the other, the financial system can’t live indefinitely with its consequences. Central bankers and partisans of fiscal austerity can impose sadomonetarism (to steal Dennis Healey’s fine coinage), but it’s not clear that the system can bear it either economically or psycho-politically over the long term. The attempt to evade the sadomonetarist logic produces only a bizzarria of hollow prosperity, speculative bubbles, and an atmosphere of generalized irresponsibility. The attempt to conform to it provokes economic stagnation and corrosive popular resentment. This is another way of looking at the Minsky paradox." [Doug Henwood, Wall Street]

________________________________

[1]Anyone who has observed modern goldbugs knows that behind their faith often lies a deep snobbery, a contempt for “common,” debased forms of money like paper, which lack the aristocratic status of the sacred metal. Economically, they love the austere, punishing regime of a gold standard, which makes mass prosperity difficult, and hate loose money, which threatens to make prosperity more widespread than it should be. Though there is an economic point to this, the psychosocial truth is another matter entirely; while gold is certainly rarer than feces, both are undifferentiated substances; an ingot is as characterless as a turd. But, as Fenichel (1945, p. 281) wrote, the anal characters who love money love the kind that appears to be “notdeindividualized; they love gold and shining coins.”

[2] Or as The Slits put it in their 1979 song “Spend, Spend, Spend”: “I need something new/Something trivial will do/I need to satisfy this empty feeling.”

[3]Needless to say, the gender contrast alludes to convention, not to timeless sexual essences.

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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:34 pm

Money: Excrement.

Quote :
"Gifts and money are unconsciously associated with anal eroticism. In "On Transformations of Instinct as Exemplified in Anal Erotism" (1916-1917e), Sigmund Freud writes, "It is probable that the first meaning which a child's interest in faeces develops is that of 'gift' rather than 'gold' or 'money.' . . . Since his faeces are his first gift, the child easily transfers his interest from that substance to the new one which he comes across as the most valuable gift in life. Those who question this derivation of gifts should consider their experience of psycho-analytic treatment, study the gifts they receive as doctors from their patients, and watch the storms of transference which a gift from them can rouse in their patients" (pp. 130-131). The gift is meaningful because of its connection to the libido and eroticism. Freud's investigation led him to the discovery of the unconscious link with defecation and its relation to treasure hunting.

Karl Abraham (1916) examined the connection between excessive giving and anxiety. He investigated (1919) the transference meaning of the associations—occasionally excessive—presented by the patient to the psychoanalyst as a gift. This attitude is an expression of narcissism and is characterized by its view of analysis as something governed by the pleasure principle.

What happens to the instinctual impulses of anal eroticism after the genital organization has been established? Freud in "On Transformations of Instinct as Exemplified in Anal Eroticism" (1916-17e) responds with the idea of the transformation of instinct. In this schema, gift equals excrement according to the symbolic language of the dream and daily life.

The first gift is excrement, a part of the infant's body he gives up only upon the mother's insistence and through which he manifests his love for her. Defecation and its relation to the object thus become the first opportunity for the infant to choose between bodily pleasure (narcissism) and object love (sacrifice).

Later in life the interest in excrement is transferred to an interest in gifts and money. The concepts of excrement, infant, and penis are poorly distinguished and are frequently treated as if they were equivalent; they can easily be substituted for one another. Freud perceived the identity of the infant with excrement in the linguistic expression: "to give a child." Similarly, Freud wrote in the "Wolf Man" (1918b), "By way of this detour demonstrating a common point of departure in their significance as gifts, money can now attract to itself the meaning of children, and in this way take over the expression of feminine (homosexual) satisfaction."

Freud views the transference relation of certain patients as a vague recollection of this problematic, arising whenever the patient wants to interrupt the unfinished treatment and place himself in a situation of disdain that originates in the outside world. The patient then replaces the urgent desire to have a child with promises of significant gifts, most often as unrealistic as the object of his past desire. This concept is developed in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920g).

Melanie Klein (1932-1975) demonstrated the importance of the theme of poison gifts as a source of depression and melancholy toward the object. "For the child gifts attenuate his guilt by symbolizing the free gift of what he wanted to obtain by sadistic means." In this same article, Klein clarifies the role of ambivalence and sees it as a step forward compared to archaic mechanisms. The gift provides access; it is a preliminary form of sublimation within the compulsions of reparation and restitution associated with obsessive behavior."

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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:36 pm

Devil's Gold.

Quote :
"The way analysts talk, behave, and feel in relation to money is replete with an uneasiness that is the surface manifestation of a deep, psychocultural contradiction between money and love that cannot be thought, willed, or wished away. For the clinical project to succeed, this contradiction can and must find a temporary, reparative resolution in the paradox between love and hate. This essay takes up the question of money in the spirit of the Marx-Freud tradition, in postmodern perspective, and through several languages, not only psychoanalysis, but social theory, anthropology, and less centrally, feminist theory as well. It addresses money's unconscious and emotional resonance, and its cultural meanings; money's clinical and theoretical vicissitudes in the context of cultural symbolism and economic change, as well as the class position of psychoanalysis and the psychology of class itself; and money's relational meaning in transference and countertransference.

It begins to look as though Freud was right, doesn't it? Recall his (1913) ubiquitously quoted observation: “Money matters are treated by civilized people in the same way as sexual matters—with the same inconsistency, prudishness and hypocrisy” (p. 131).


Ferenczi (1914) augments this line of reasoning by assigning money a role in development; he argues that the adult attachment to money

represents a socially useful reaction formation to repressed anal eroticism. Fenichel (1938) suggests that anal-erogeneity is made use of, and strengthened, by a social system based on the accumulation of wealth and competitiveness.

The approach to money taken by Ferenczi and Fenichel was political as well as psychoanalytic. Ferenczi (1914), for example, concludes that the “capitalistic instinct … contains … [both] an egoistic and an analerotic component”; standing at the disposal of the reality principle, “the delight in gold and the possession of money … also satisfies the pleasure-principle” (p. 88). Fenichel (1938) points out that what he identifies as the drive to amass wealth is born with capitalism, adding that in precapitalist, tribal society it did not exist, while, in a future classless society, it would have disappeared (p. 108). They were not the only classically trained psychoanalysts who wanted to unite two of the three great and diverging arteries of 19th-century European thought, Marxism and psychoanalysis (to put them in their chronological order; the third and temporally intermediate one is Darwinian evolutionary theory).

Money is, Freud (1913) says, to be approached in the consulting room with the same matter-of-factness as sex, for while money has a narcissistic dimension, being “in the first instance … a medium for self-preservation and for obtaining power, … powerful sexual factors are [also] involved in the value set on it” (p. 131).

Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Each … diagnosed the sickness of the western Judaeo-Christian cultures: Marx in terms of the alienated person in society; Freud, the person alienated from himself” (p. 9). And, of course, we would add today, “herself.”

After much cross-cultural comparison, then, anthropologists have come up with a universal definition of money, that, spelled out, helps us see, as if anew, money's meaning in psychoanalytic context: Money is any material object that performs one or more of the following five functions—a medium of exchange, a standard of value, a unit of account, a store of value, and a standard of deferred payments. While there may be different objects serving each different function in any one society, the first function tends to be controlling; whatever is the medium of exchange likely serves the other functions too. Finally, money itself may be a commodity, as it is in capitalism, where you buy it with what we call interest, that is, with more of the same (LeClair and Schneider, 1968, p. 468).

The aspect of Freud's interpretation that awaits elaboration, however, is the relation between the gift and the act; what needs unraveling is the relation between the Devil and his lovers so that we may, in turn, decipher the relation between money and love, as well as the relation between those who exchange both, and therefore the place of money in psychoanalysis. Freud and the European folktales had something very subtle in mind, and if you have ever been loved by the Devil, you will know what I mean. Shakespeare did. Recall sonnet #129, which begins:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action,

and ends with this couplet,

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

When the Devil has left you, you know not that you have been fooled, but that you have fooled yourself. Your feelings, yearnings, longings have betrayed you. You now see you knew all along that what you thought was pure gold was false, that what you thought would uplift you only degrades you. You have searched to be better than you are, in fact, to be the best you can be. The Devil's betrayal crumbles your dreams, destroys the ideal self into which you have breathed life by imagining it in the other's form. In the end, you become less, not more, than you hoped to be. This degradation, then, is the Devil's gold: the Devil's gold is a gift, not a payment. It is a gift given after passion is spent. But, instead of  honoring an encounter that, we must assume, was glorious, as glorious as love, this gift degrades it. Gold given to mark love becomes worse than nothing, degraded desire and lost illusions. Hopelessness.

That capacity to make everything less than it is and so to make us doubt what it was we had in mind when we worked so hard to get it—that capacity, says Freud, is what money has. That's why it's the Devil's gold. Money is a pact with the Devil. That's what Marx (1964) said expounding on Goethe (and having also just quoted Shakespeare):

That which is for me through the medium of money—that for which I can pay (i.e. which money can buy)—that am I, the possessor of the money. The extent of the power of money is the extent of my power. … Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness—its deterrent power—is nullified by money. I, as an individual, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame…. Money is the supreme good, therefore its possessor is good [p. 167].

Money can create all that we are and desire and, by the same token, destroy it. Marx therefore asks, “Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not therefore the universal agent of separation? It is the true agent of separation as well as the true binding agent … of society” (p. 167). The agent of alienation, it absorbs all creative power into itself, robs people of their own potential; just as money transforms imperfections into powers, so it “transforms the real essential powers of [human beings] and nature into what are merely abstract conceits” (p. 168-169). In a way, money occupies the place in modern society that kinship has in premodern culture; it is the cultural nerve center, the institution that organizes economic life, structures social relations, underlies political power, and informs symbol, ritual, and systems of meaning. Kinship, however, unlike money, can't be taken away from you; as the aphorism has it, “Home is, when you go there, they gotta take you in.” In contrast, “money … is the alienated ability of [hu]mankind” (p. 167). That's why it's the Devil's gold.

Money degrades because it makes everything the same.

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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:37 pm

Money and "letting go".

Quote :
"The American people . . . had neither serpents nor golden calves to worship. They had lost the sense of worship; for the idea that they worshipped money seemed a delusion. Worship of money was an old-world trait. . . . The American wasted money more recklessly than anyone ever did before; he spent more to less purpose than any extravagant court aristocracy. . . . The American mind had less respect for money than the European or Asiatic mind, and bore its loss more easily." [Henry Adams, Education]

Often designated "anal erotic," this character type is described by Karl Abraham as follows:

"They like to make presents of money or its equivalent, and tend to become patrons of the arts or benefactors of some kind. . . . They limit their parsimony or their avarice to certain kinds of expenditure, while in other respects they spend money with surprising liberality. . . . We can quite understand, from their contradictory attitude towards defecation, the meanness many neurotics show in saving small sums of money while they will spend largely and generously from time to time. These persons postpone emptying their bowels as long as possible . . . but every now and  then they have an evacuation on a grand scale."

Before exploring the historical manifestations of the eliminative mode and the purification impulse, we shall first discuss one of its corollaries, namely, the ancillary traits of procrastination, on the one hand, and "feverish and concentrated activity" and "thoroughness and dogged persistence," on the other. According to Ernest Jones:

Such people are given to procrastination; they delay and postpone what they may have to do until the eleventh or even the twelfth hour. Then they plunge into the work with a desperate and often almost ferocious energy which nothing is allowed to thwart, any interference being keenly resented. Undue sensitiveness to interference is very characteristic of this type, especially when combined with marked concentration out of proportion to the importance of the occupation. A kindred trait is intense persistence on an undertaking once engaged on, from which they allow nothing to divert them.125 Related to Obstinacy, this diphasic process of "inhibitory procrastination" and "feverish concentration" is further delineated by Jones as follows:

First there is a period of silent brooding, during which the plan is being slowly, and often only half-consciously, elaborated. . . . Then follows a spell of feverish and concentrated activity, when all interference is resented and nothing is allowed to prevent the programme laid down being carried through to the bitter end in all its details . . . when the unconsciously accumulated energy bursts forth in an orgy of . . . activity. These outbursts of activity are commonly followed by a marked sense of relief and self-satisfaction, to which succeeds another fallow period of apparent inactivity.

These rhythms, as described here, constitute a major component of the American success ethic and the gospel of work. A sampling of the literature of the Gilded Age, for example, reveals that success is "nothing more or less than doing thoroughly what others do indifferently." A brilliant mind or a college education "not only is not required but is not desirable"; to Andrew Carnegie, it was "a simple matter of honest work, ability, and concentration." The persistent American belief in free will and the identification of poverty with laziness also seem to be derived from this biological pattern.

If, as in Freudian metaphysics, feces represent condensed guilt, the act of defecation seems to represent the release, or purge, of that guilt. The paradoxical coexistence within an American value system of cosmic optimism and innate depravity, of prelapsarian innocence and exponential blackness, can only be maintained by perceiving human evil as a stain or blemish which must be continually cleansed or purged.

The cathartic impulse -- which William James called a "letting go" -- is manifested not only in the psycho-theological concept of conversion as a "re-birth," but also in such institutions as the diary, the jeremiad and the revival, or "Great Awakening," cycle. Ritual rebirth and purification is also a common theme in the writings of Thoreau: bathing is a "religious exercise"; "moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. . . . To be awake is to be alive.""

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PostSubject: Re: Money Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:41 pm

Money: The Problem of Dumping the Surplus.

Quote :
Protestantism has played a large part in creating and maintaining the Capitalist ideology, and Protestantism itself began in a privy.

This little-known fact is worth stressing, in the light of psychoanalytical theory. Luther’s own words are: “But once when in this tower I was meditating on those words, ‘the just lives by faith,’ ‘justice of God.’ I soon had the thought whether we ought to live justified by faith [the central doctrine of Protestantism — R.A.W.]. This knowledge the Holy Spirit gave me on the privy in the tower” (quoted in Luther by H. Grisar).

All Protestant theology begins from, and pays tribute to. this “experience in the tower” — Thurmerlehnis, as it is called. That this experience could hardly have happened anywhere else but in a toilet is well documented by the anal and excremental style of Luther’s fantasy: at least twice he had visions of the devil in which that Evil Spirit assaulted him by the time-honored gesture of contempt — “showing him his posterior,” in Grisar’s words.

More: this anal preoccupation colors Luther’s entire sensibility. The Pope and his Bishops are, Luther says, “urine, excrement and filth... the filth of squiredom, dung splattered on the sleeve,” etc. The devil wants to “stink us and stab us with his dung.” As for mankind, “we are but worms in ordure and filth.” Such quotes could be multiplied almost ad infinitum, certainly ad nauseam. Alfred North Whitehead was being accurate, not polemical, when he compared Luther’s rhetoric to Hitler’s, and said that Luther was “more foul-mouthed.” Even facing death Luther could think in no other imagery: “I am the ripe shard,” he said, “and the world is the gaping anus.”

It was, I believe, Erich Fromm who first explained the connection between the Protestant ethic and the rise of Capitalism — a connection long noted and well documented by such sociologists as Tawney and Weber — by pointing out that both Protestantism and Capitalism are creations of what Freud called “anal personalites.” Fromm, of course, has to dilute and obfuscate the basic Freudian insight in order to get it in line with his sociologicalization of psychology.

This dilution and obfuscation is what Fromm and other neo-Freudians celebrate as their “advance” over Freud’s “biological orientation.” What is primary to Fromm is not body-sensations but “attitudes toward the world” occasionally expressed “in the language of the body.” (I am paraphrasing and condensing from his Escape from Freedom.) Thus Freud’s clear and eminently scientific conception of the “anal personality” becomes vulgarized into the foggy and uselessly vague notion of the “authoritarian personality.”

I leave this de-materialized psychology to those professors who, finding it useful in mixed classrooms and inoffensive to the public at large, have embraced it. I take it that I have a body, and my reader has a body, and that we both had them long before we began developing “attitudes toward the world,” and that any psychology worth elbow-room at the counter of scientific consideration will have to be centered on these facts and on the pulsating rhythms of the living flesh.

Freud, like Marx — and, in a different way, like Cezanne — was gifted with a special kind of stupidity; a kind of stupidity which (I flatter myself) often appears in this column to the irritation of its readers. I mean the kind of stupidity that the little boy had in Anderson’s legend when he refused to see the Emperor’s new clothes. Marx was just dumb enough to ignore, or disbelieve, all the cultural prejudices of his infamous century and see with his own eyes that the relation of boss and worker is chiefly a physical relationship, an energy relationship, in which part of the worker’s energy is drained off much in the manner that a vampire’s victim has his blood sucked.

All ideological super-structure is built upon this simple energy process, and Marx was right in refusing to let any other fact or set of facts distract him from his unblinking examination of this central circumstance of our economic system. When the “natural sciences” and the “social sciences” are finally synthesized, this basic energy process will be their chief link, and will be formulated. I am convinced, in a Third Law of Thermodynamics.

Freud’s stupidity was of an equally brilliant kind: he was the first psychologist really to understand the implications for psychology of the simple fact that people have bodies. (Cezanne’s stupidity, similarly, was to look at the world as a child does and not as an art teacher tells one to.)

“...refresh my bowels in The Lord.”
St. Paul, Philemon 1:20

But to return to my friend, standing there at the urinal in the grip of an unusual variety of impotence.

Readers are beginning to write in accusing me of being a Reichian. and I don’t want to lend support to so terrible an accusation, but I also don’t see, and can’t see, how we can account for what happened here except by saying, in Reich’s terms, that the presence of the President of the firm created an anxiety — and anxiety, to Dr. Reich, meant simply, physically, the withdrawal of life-energy from the periphery of the body to its core: a contraction. My friend’s genital-urinary apparatus went dead as the energy flowed back into his center.

(For some interesting data tending to indicate the increasing prevalence of this anxious energy-contraction in American culture, see Lawrence Barth’s column in the October 1960 Realist.)

An experience of my own comes to mind here. Recently, a guy I know got so damned mad at me that he refused to speak to me anymore. Readers of this column may figure he had good justification — and I would be the last one in the world to deny that, intent as I am on becoming known as the meanest literary bastard since Brann the Iconoclast — but the point is that my offense, in this case, was merely speaking against the Capitalist system. Being sent to Coventry for this, by a cat who has been only mildly peeved by my sexual and religious heresies, is what prompted the question asked in the title of this column: “Is Capitalism a Revealed Religion?” Has it now become so sacred that questioning it is more dangerous than, let us say, asking if Jesus ever pulled his pudding as a boy?

I am going to come on so strong as to say that, in a Freudian sense, Capitalism always has been a revealed religion. (“Religion,” old Papa Sigmund once succinctly said, “is a public neurosis; neurosis is a private religion.”) Capitalism, I would in all seriousness suggest, can best be understood as a public neurosis characteristic of societies in which the life energy has been driven out of the genital area into the anal area. Being a public neurosis, it is institutionalized, ritualized and mystificated with all the pomp and folderol of any other religion.

Let us look into the age that gave birth to Capitalism. The Late Middle Ages were a time of hysteria (always a result of prolonged anxiety states) and of witch-hunting (a symptom of hysteria) — and, finally, of impotence. The whole style of the age, as Spengler would call it, is well illustrated by Rull Summa desiderantes issued by Pope Innocent VIII:

“It has indeed lately come to Our ears,” wrote His Holiness, “that in some parts of Northern Germany... many persons of both sexes... have abandoned themselves to devils... and by their incantations, spells and conjurations... have slain infants yet in their mother’s womb, as also the offspring of cattle... These wretches further afflict and torment men and women... with terrible piteous pains and sore diseases; they hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving, whence husbands cannot know their wives, or wives receive their husbands...”

It seems evident that, as G. Rattray Taylor notes in his brilliant Sex in History, Innocent was concerned “solely with certain pathological sexual phenomena... particularly psychic impotence and frigidity.” Taylor produces considerable evidence that such Papal fears were well-grounded because the dictatorship of the Medieval Church was indeed so thoroughly destroying the normal sexual functioning of men and women as to create widespread impotence and infertility.

The witch-hunts of the period were almost all, Taylor demonstrates, brought on by people who, finding themselves impotent, accused some neighbor of “bewitching” them. The infamous Malleus Malificarum, the handbook used for centuries by witch-hunters and Inquisitors, reads like nothing so much as a modern textbook of sexual pathology.

It was out of the maelstrom that Protestantism and Capitalism emerged. As the genitals of the Western World died, its anus, so to speak, came to be its central living preoccupation — inspired and guided by the hysterical vision of one neurotic monk sitting on a john.

The psychoanalytical insight that money represents to the anal personality — the feces which it covets — is not really new or novel. Have we not always spoken of “filthy lucre?” Doesn’t Dante put the usurers and the buggers in one pocket of hell because both are “against natural increase?” Five hundred years after Dante, didn’t another great poet, who is markedly hostile to Freudian theory, intuitively make the same discovery:

Usury kills the child in the womb
And breaks short the young man’s courting
Usury brings age into youth; it lies between the
bride and the bridegroom
Usury is against Nature’s increase.

Yes, that is Ezra Pound, in his Canto 51. Elsewhere, Pound has indicated the same awareness of the pro- anal, anti-genital direction of the Capitalist (or, as he calls it, Usurocratic) temperament:

his condom full of black beetles, tattoo marks round the anus,
and a circle of lady golfers about him.

the courageous violent
slashing themselves with knives the cowardly inciters to violence...

the beast with a hundred legs, USURIA and the swill full of respectors
bowing to the lords of the place, explaining its advantages,
and the laudatores temporis acti claiming that the shit used to be blacker and richer

(Canto 15)

At the end of Arthur Miller’s novel. The Misfits, the hero curses, not “money,” but, significantly, “shit, and money.” Another artistic expression of the anal orientation of the modern world occurs in Norman Mailer’s “The Time of Her Time,” in which the protagonist, trying to cure his girl of frigidity, finds he can bring her to orgasm by entering per anum.

Actually, the psychoanalytical theory of money as a symbolic turd is already implicit in the Judeo-Christian myth of work as Adam’s Curse. Dr. Karl Menninger’s The Human Mind recounts a case-history of a millionaire who was compulsively busy to escape anxieties connected with infantile anal guilts. Similar cases appear in the works of Freud, Ferenczi and Jones, among others. Abraham describes in his Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis a patient whose anxieties centered around the idea of being forced to eat excrement as a punishment for sin: the theme of two or three of the most popular jokes in capitalist society.

“Work,” says Durkheim briefly, “is still for most men a punishment and a scourge.” Freud, perhaps, put it even more simply, in his study of Dosteovski, saying that Dosteovski was under a compulsion to make his burden of guilt take tangible form as a burden of debt. Norman Brown’s brilliant Life Against Death (to which I am greatly indebted) sums it all up thusly: “Money is human guilt with the dross refined away till it is a pure crystal of self-punishment, but it remains filthy because it remains guilt.”

It may seem almost too pat if we now remind ourselves that the congenital problem of Capitalism, never yet solved, is the problem of dumping the surplus.

The psycho-dynamics of Capitalism, in short, seem to consist of what cyberneticists call a circular-causal process. Born of neurotic anxiety and desensitization (contraction of the life energies), it constantly generates more anxiety through its unpredictable boom-and-bust cycles and the wars incident upon its imperialistic necessity to dump the surplus. But this second-order anxiety (which afflicts the boss as well as the worker, for he, too, is the victim of the cycle) breeds that “busy-busy-busy” compensating activity which drives the whole system ever onward into contradictions, crashes and further anxieties.

Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s theory was that cancer is caused, partially, by the contraction of life energies, i.e., anxiety. (And anybody who doubts Reich’s theory of anxiety only needs to observe himself in a moment of stress to be convinced that Reich was absolutely right. Improper breathing and what A. S. Neill calls “the stiff stomach danger” make up the feeling we call “anxiety” or “tension,” and both are symptomatic of muscular contraction, such as we see on a very gross level in an infant cringing with fear.)

Consider, in the context of Reich’s idea, the following words of one of the most enthusiastic defenders of modern American Capitalism, Dr. Ernest Dichter, President of The Institute of Motivational Research: “Possibly more than half of all human diseases are psychogenic.” says Dr. Dichter in The Strategy of Desire; “worry, maladjustment and other emotional disturbances can be responsible for almost anything from heart attack to cancer.” Dr. Dichter’s job. as high-priest of Motivational Research, is using this “worry, maladjustment and other emotional disturbances” to influence people to allow themselves to be exploited still further by the Power Elite of Capitalism.

According to the University of California’s recent symposium on psychological factors in cancer, all the women with cancer of the breast examined by Dr. Franz Alexander in one study showed severe psychiatric disturbances, generally with some degree of sexual malfunctioning; another study, of women with cancer of the uterus, showed even more conspicuous sexual disturbances, especially of the sort called “frigidity” (Psychological Variables in Human Cancer, University of California Press).

Vihjalmur Stefansson’s Cancer: Disease of Civilization points out that this pathology is rare, or non-existent, among primitive tribes. Need we add to this that the physical bearing of primitive peoples is so different from that of our so-called “civilization” that almost every explorer on record comes back with bemused comments on the subject? Primitive man, free of the anxieties and armors-against-anxiety characteristic of our culture, stands and walks and sits as a human being should, gracefully and naturally. Look around you and notice how much visible tension you can see in people’s postures; and you will know why Dr. Reich called cancer a shrinking biopathy.

Our kindly editor has asked me to stop using the example of the guy walking into the park with a radio in his hand every time I want to say that people are dead in modern America. Okay. I will use another example. I once said to a young lady (who happened to be the wife of the guy who stopped talking to me when he found out I’m a socialist), “Dig that tree there — wow!” She replied, icily, “I dug it,” putting me down for being so corny as to talk that way. The point was that shehadn’t dug it; she had hardly glanced at it. Basho could flip over a sight as simple as a tom cat with the Yen, and write a poem about it:

Yawning. Then, fully awake,
the cat goes out
to a night of poontang.

This is not just “the poet’s eye”; Cezanne had it. Nor is it the “artist’s eye”; Darwin had it when he looked at the iguana and intuited the law of evolution. It is the special kind of stupidity I was talking about earlier in this column. It is the innocent childish eye of a man who is not completely blinded by the organized bullshit and desensitization of an unjust social system. It is obvious, or should be, that the prejudiced white never “sees” a Negro; he sees the social lies, stereotypes, in his own mind. (This is the point of the best novel ever written about the Negro in America, Ralph Ellison’sInvisible Man.)

It should be equally obvious that, in a social system motivated by anxiety and a deadening of life energy, nobody even sees the street on which he lives anymore. We are walking dead men, as Lawrence tried so hard to show us in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, that great and mostly unread novel in which average readers hop around looking for symbolic sexual gratification and skipping the passages which give the book half its meaning — the passages about how Clifford’s impotence and paralysis drove him to becoming a successful businessman.

The whole world has been stunned for 17 years now by the opening, in 1944, of the Nazi annihilation camps. We still don’t know how to explain such things, how they could be possible. Let me bring this column toward a conclusion with a set of facts that may throw some light on what happened in Germany — and is happening here — facts which are all explained by my hypothesis that Capitalism derives from deadening of the genitals and centering of the interest in the anus, but which cannot be explained, so far as I know, by any other hypothesis.

The English of Shakespeare’s day were a bawdy, sexy, uninhibited bunch of hipsters. As Capitalism grew in England, this national character changed markedly, so much so that it is difficult for us to imagine Falstaff and his friends as truly English. The modern post-Capitalist Englishman is the epitome of the armored individual, rigid, compulsively “moral,” utterly lacking in spontaneity. Simultaneously, England was the first nation consciously to idealize the completely frigid woman.

Capitalism was born in Germany, chiefly, and chiefly in the age of Luther.

Calvin’s fanatically anti-sexual regime in Geneva was also one of the primary creators of the Capitalist spirit. Raleigh, observing the deadness of the Genevese, remarked that they had “nothing left but their usury.”

As Capitalism came to dominance in Germany, the German national character became more and more rigid, armored, “closed” and secretive, lacking in play and spontaneity, etc. Out of this came the automaton who is a living caricature of humanity, the goose-stepping tin soldier known as the Nazi.

America, the only surviving 100% Capitalist nation, is the most Puritanical nation in the world. It is the only nation, indeed, which has executed a man in the 20th Century, not for murder, but (in effect) for a Sexual offense.

Desensitization in America is growing more appalling all the time. Lawrence Barth recounted in the Realist a few months ago an incident at a racetrack in Illinois where a section of the grandstand collapsed, killing and injuring a great number of people; the people in the uncollapsed part of the grandstand were completely unmoved, according to reports — even those sitting only a few feet from the groaning bodies of the victims. It is this country also which twice dropped atomic bombs on two cities full of men, women and children, and which poured burning napalm on its enemies in Korea.

Recently, in Harmony, North Carolina, the American Legion staged a little rabbit hunt — for charitable purposes, of course. The rabbits were beaten to death with baseball bats.

The mysteries of Capitalist economics are held to be as sacred as those of any other religion — i.e., every other organized social neurosis. Only the “experts” are supposed to be able to understand “the rate of interest,” “the price of money,” the “dangers” of “inflation,” etc. The whole system — “the black magic of money,” as Pound once called it — simply rests upon breeding money as if it were alive. (“Is your gold ewes and rams?” — Shakespeare.) Or, as Paterson, the founder of the Bank of England, put it, “the bank hath interest on all moneys it creates out of nothing.” This creation out of nothing is just what the infant wants to do with its feces, according to Freud, Jones, Ferenczi, Abraham, Menninger and other psychoanalysts. (Rexroth once paraphrased Dante’s analysis of this system by saying that, to Dante, the usurer is a pederast who wants to make his turds his heirs.)

I could go on, but what’s the use? Those who have had a little experience in psychiatry will know what I’m getting at: others will just laugh, as they’ve been laughing since Freud published his first case histories. I ask only one thing of skeptics: don’t bring up Soviet Russia, please. That horrible example of State Capitalism has nothing to do with what I, and other libertarian socialists, would offer as an alternative to the present system.

Dante said of the damned in hell that they were persons who had lost il ben del’ intelletto, which I don’t think it’s at all extravagant to translate as: their ability to dig things. This is not a Marxist kind of social criticism I have been presenting in this column, but just a way of saying that there’s something pathological, literally so, about a system which increasingly blinds people to the joys of the senses and ties them down to a narrow groove of profit-seeking.

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PostSubject: Re: Money Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:45 pm

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:37 pm


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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Tue May 12, 2015 6:33 pm

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:33 am

James wrote:
"A sub-atomic particle has a thin region surrounding it that keeps the particle anentropic (stable).

The anentropic shell is probably the most critical subject in all of RM:AO, yet perhaps the most difficult to explain (to homosapian at least). The anentropic shell is actually a situation that constitutes the line between profit and loss, the "middle-man" between the consumer and the entrepreneur, the wealthy and the poor, the haves and the have-nots. It is the discerner of good and the discriminator of personal value. And when those two become the same throughout society, you have that infamous Utopia. And that isn't a merely a theory.

In mathematics, if you were to sequentially raise a number to its own value, the numbers greater than 1 would increase toward infinity and the numbers less than 1 would decrease toward zero. You would have a discriminating mechanism for numbers. With particles this type of thing happens as well. The compression of affect wavelets can cause more compression of more wavelets. Inside a volumetric region, the compression of minute wavelets cause sufficiently more compression of others that the immediate area compression heads toward infinite. Outside that region, the compression isn't sufficient to propel such hysteresis. Thus a type of "shell" is established where the precise direction of passing waves either causes them to become a part of the whole, or somewhat ignored as they pass by. It isn't a precise line or surface, merely a small shell of discrimination.

Society does this same thing. The wealthy make those around them wealthier. The poor make those around them poorer. The middle man does a little of both.

When you minimize the middle man, you cause the slope between the poor and the wealthy to become more exponential (as shown in a recent BBC production). When wealth is perceived as relative, the wealthy to have to make those around them wealthier by making the poor poorer rather than the middle men poorer (creating "consumerism"). You thus create an anentropic shell around the wealthy. A person becomes either an insider or an outsider and hysterically established as so. You raise a ruling class and a King and/or Emperor, "World Governor" of unimaginable power kept separate from those they govern and dispassionate concerning them.

But note that the sub-atomic particle never causes the reduction of compression ("making the poor poorer"), yet still maintains an eternal anentropic shell. And that is because it isn't trying to get above its surroundings, rather merely trying to gain more regardless of its surroundings. A particle is altruistic and doesn't respond to relativity issues and confusions. It isn't formed from any competition between wavelets, rather merely their devotion to keep propagating regardless of what any others are doing.

The mind of Man is currently thinking in terms of relativity, relative wealth, "I am wealthy only because I have more than others." The problem is that even though subtle, Reality is not relative (as the Stopped Clock Paradox reveals). Regardless of how rich or poor someone else is, wealth is wealth and poverty is its lack. But homosapian has a hard time discerning that thought. And those who gain their wealth because of that thought of relative wealth, seriously dislike theories to the contrary. They hold a monetary religion wherein God ("money") belongs to them alone. Thus they create an even greater artificial anentropic shell, a "glass ceiling" depicted on the FED's dollar bill as that floating pyramid peak above the rest of it. That space between, the "excluded middle", is their "anentropic shell" keeping the wealthy extremely distinct from the underclass."

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This is missing the point of the excess drive of the WTP, and why the whole Spinozaistic anentropic/conatus doctrine is so wrong...

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PostSubject: Re: Money Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:35 pm



Quote :
"The following is a joke told by Jacques Attali – a prominent member of the French ruling class, Socialist Party member, theoretician of globalism, and Jew – to a Jewish audience during a conference organized by the Adath Shalom Conservative Jewish Community of Paris. Attali wore a kippah and sat beside a rabbi during the event, marking the pious solemnity of the occasion. To be filed under chutzpah and goyishe kop.

***

The [following] story is the one which I believe sums up the best, better than any economic theory, what is happening today.

Schlomo telephones David saying: “Listen, I have a great deal for you. I have a truck full of pants worth $1. Do you want them? Great.”

David takes the pants. He telephones Jonathan and tells him: “Listen, I have a great deal for you, a truck full of pants worth $2. Do you want them? Great.”

Jonathan call Shaoul who proposes $3 and the story continues. Until at a certain moment Moshe calls Christian and says: “I have a great deal for you. I have pants worth $49.” “Great, great, I’ll take them.”

The following day Christian telephoned to Moshe saying:
– Listen, you’re really a crook.
– What do you mean I’m a crook?
– But yes, you sold me unwearable pants for $49.
– What do you mean?
– You know very well. I opened the truck and the pants only had one leg. What do you want me to do with pants which no one can wear?
– You don’t understand. These aren’t meant to be worn. They are meant to be bought and sold, to be bought and sold, and bought, and sold!

This is exactly, exactly the best lesson one can have on what is at stake today if you want to understand what is happening in the modern financial system. You understand everything once you have understood this story."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:55 pm

It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever.


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PostSubject: Re: Money Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:41 pm

Black Panther wrote:
It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with.  It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever.




Quote :
"Money is neither a living creature nor any part of the natural world; it is an arbitrary and merely conventional human system of signs. To make it breed therefore involves the basic error of confusing nomos (custom) with phusis (nature). This is irrational, and therefore unethical. The image of usury as an unnatural birth sank deep roots in the literature on the subject. In Thomas Adams’s The White Devil (1613) usury is a teeming thing, euer with child, pregnant, and multiplying: money is an vnfruitfull thing by nature made only for commutation: it is a praeternaturall thing, it should engender money: this is monstrosus partus, a prodigious birth.

Usury is most reasonably hated because its gain comes from money itself and not from that for the sake of which money was invented. For money was brought into existence for the purpose of exchange, but interest increases the amount of money itself and this is the actual origin of the Greek word: offspring resembles parent, and interest is money born of money; consequently this form of the getting of wealth is of all forms the most contrary to nature

But perhaps the most abiding sexual similes applied to usury in this period were prostitution and pimping. Commodified sexuality seems an appropriate metaphor for usury, because it brazenly substi- tutes money for the natural telos and product of sexual intercourse." [Hawkes, Usury]


"Money circulates to the top as feces does to the bottom" was a good encapsulation of Freud in one line.

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PostSubject: Re: Money Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:22 pm

Money is the metaphysical bee, flying from goods her to goods there and contacting them fertilizing them.

Usury is like renting out bees, for which you first have to capture them.

It can be a good thing to rent out bees in honeydry lands, it can be good to extend loans against reasonable interest - the doge of Venice said a city state needs Jews more than it needs bread.

In this age we have nanobanking. This means usury to the nth degree. Usury replaces money, money replaces goods. Goods fall out of the equation.

The longer the cycle that a culture can carry to sustain-increase its being |cultivation|, the greater this culture must be and become.
The current cycle of worth-establishment is 1/1000000 second. Nothing is left to coincidence, fate, earth, being, truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Money Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:17 am

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:07 pm

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Irrespective of the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] accurately captures that phenomenon<>noumenon Disconnect in how bubbles form and burst.

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:06 am

Jeanne Schroeder's 'Triumph of Venus' is an excellent book to understand Hegel and Lacan in a nutshell, as mirrors of each other.
She is a Hegelian feminist, who basically argues for the equality that contract relations promote, as opposed to the hierarchy that gift-relations induce.
Weaving in mythology [Venus, Orpheus, Midas], she relates market and desire; money and sex sociology.

While I had hoped to understand Money via Hegel/Lacan,, I ended up learning more of Hegel/Lacan via Money.




Quote :
Quote :
"The object of the law and the object of desire are one and the same, and remain equally concealed."

gilles deleuze

Quote :
"There is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination, and engages the affection of mankind, as the right of property. And yet there are very few, that will give themselves the trouble to consider the origin and foundation of [prop- erty]. Pleased as we are with the possession, we seem afraid to look back . . . as if fearful . . ."

william blackstone

"William Blackstone insisted that property, and therefore market relations, are driven by desire. This eroticism should not surprise us. Etymology tells us that money is a woman. The word “money” derives from Juno Moneta. Juno, queen of heaven, was the Roman goddess of womanhood, the personification of the feminine. Her title, “Moneta,” means “she who reminds and warns.” The word “money” reminds us that the feminine is a reminder—a warning.

Nevertheless, the erotic nature of law and markets is deeply repressed in American culture. We turn away from the primal scene of the passionate origins of markets with the same embarrassment and shame we experience when we contemplate our own origins in the parental bed. The ideal of the perfect market, like the idea of our own conception, is “real” in the Lacanian sense. To look back, to confront the real, is not merely frightening—it is deadly. And yet there is nothing we desire more. To be a subject is to be driven by desire. Subjectivity is the triumph of Venus.

Utilitarianism and romanticism are mirror images of each other. They valorize opposites but fundamentally agree. They draw diametrically opposed conclusions from a shared erroneous assumption about law and market relations.

Gift is seen as erotic and creative in contrast to the cold sterility of contract. Nevertheless, the law is notoriously suspicious of gifts, giving them less protection than contracts. In the words of one legal scholar:

The law discriminates between gifts and exchanges in odd and interesting ways. A promisee can sue to enforce an ordinary commercial promise, but not a promise to give a gift. Creditors can force a donee to disgorge gifts received from insolvent debtors, but they cannot usually force a purchaser to disgorge goods purchased from insolvent debtors. In England and the United States, dis- inherited spouses can sometimes reverse inter vivos gifts that diminish their statutory share of the estate; in civil jurisdictions, disinherited spouses and chil- dren can do this routinely. But in none of these places can disinherited relatives reverse commercial exchanges that have diminished the value of the estate.

Most notably, the formalities for an enforceable contract—offer, acceptance, consideration, and, in some circumstances, the statute of frauds—are mini- mal and flexible. In contrast, to be enforceable, gratuitous promises must frequently comply with complex formalities.

This apparent disjunction between society’s stated values and legal norms is not an aporia, but a reflection of gift’s fundamentally ambigu- ous nature. Gift may pass as the generous act of the donor, but it always also includes an implicitly aggressive moment whereby the donor achieves dom- inance over the donee. In contrast, contract, not gift, reflects the true love relationship in its most rudimentary and primitive form. Contract is hysterically erotic in the technical sense.

Moreover, contract does not necessarily repress altruism. Contract helps to establish the conditions of equality and mutuality that are necessary for the particular altruism necessary for the companionable family, as well as the general altruism necessary for the constitutional state. If gift is a necessary human relationship, it is not despite but because of its ambiguity.

The legal utilitarian, who views all human relations in terms of individual self-interest,30 analyzes gift as a primitive, incomplete, imperfect, and inferior form of contract, in the sense that both are essentially economic transactions intended to increase the utility or wealth of the donor.31 The legal system should therefore concentrate on facilitating the more complete and efficient form of contract rather than encouraging and protecting gifts.

In contrast, the romantic, who believes that human relations can and should be based on altruism, sees gift as being not merely different from, but superior to, the market regime of contract. Consequently, the law should give special solicitude to gifts and discourage or prohibit contracts concerning at least some forms of property.

Both utilitarians and romantics start from the same misconceptions of the nature of contract and commodification. They agree that contract is based on coldly rational considerations of narrow self-interest. They further agree that contract leads to the commodification of goods in the market and that commodification makes objects indistinguishable and subjects indifferent. The two schools merely disagree on valorization. The utilitarian, who champions rationality and indifference, reduces gift to contract—a form of commodification. The romantic, who cherishes intuition and difference, distin- guishes gift from contract.

In contrast, I argue that, far from being characterized solely by the cold calculation of self-interest, markets are erotic in the Hegelian-Lacanian sense that they are driven by the desire for recognition. Contract, being mutual, reflects the true love relation in which recognition is freely granted and received by equals. Gift, being unilateral, reflects the failed attempt at a forced relation between unequals, which Hegel describes in his famed lord and bondsman dialectic. In gift, recognition is demanded but not granted. Gift is not free, but imposes obligations on the donee without her consent. In other words, if the romantic is correct that gift relations are erotic, it is not the shared, voluntary eroticism of love, but a combination of the solipsistic eroticism of masturbation and the violent, forced eroticism of rape.

Consequently, the utilitarian is correct in recognizing that gift relations are driven by the self-interest of the donor and that gift imposes reciprocal obligations on the donee, but incorrect in thinking that gift can be analyzed in terms of contract. In contradistinction, the romantic is correct in recog- nizing that gift and contract are fundamentally different, but incorrect in thinking that gift relations are characterized by the altruism of the donor and the freedom of the donee.

They both assume that com- modification is the suppression of difference. In fact, it is only in contract that subjects can first recognize each other as unique, but equal, individuals. In contradistinction, although gift also establishes a degree of distinction between persons, this distinction is that of status and not individuality. Gift establishes relations of superiority and inferiority, envy and fear, not equality and love.

Gift and contract treat objects differently. In gift exchange, people develop a unique relation to individual objects, whereas in contract, objects are commodities.

Even though gift objects gain value through circulation, they have no exchange value in the modern sense in that there can be no preset standard for the return object. “The equivalence of the counter-gift is left to the giver.” Consequently, there is no express bargaining between donor and donee over the countergift and “ ‘it cannot be enforced by any kind of coercion.’

If contracts cause fungi- bility, alienation, and separation, “gifts diminish separateness.”101

Unfortunately, the romantic analysis fails for the same reasons as the utilitarian—both are theoretically inadequate and empirically inaccurate.

Contract and gift are indeed essentially different, as the romantics maintain. But it is gift that is a failure of eroticism. Gift establishes relation, but this relation is that of status, not love.
Mauss’s first point is that no gift is ever given or received freely. “Exchanges and contracts take place in the form of presents; in theory these are voluntary, in reality they are given and reciprocated obligatorily.” Donors give not out of altruism but out of social obligation. “To refuse to give, to fail to invite, just as to refuse to accept, is tantamount to declaring war; it is to reject the bond of alliance and commonality. . . . One gives because one is compelled to do so. . . . ”

A potential donee cannot avoid the obligation to give a countergift by refusing a gift because gift-exchange societies also impose strict obligations on their members to accept gifts.110 Consequently, pot- latch—gift as war—is not an aberration, but rather the exemplar of archaic gift exchange. The utilitarian relies primarily on this exchange aspect of gift.

Mauss’s second point is that, although it may be a necessary aspect of archaic economies at a certain level of development, gift exchange cannot be reduced to a simple economic function. Gift exchange also serves social func- tions such as the establishment of relationships (both friendly and hostile) among and the relative status of tribal or family groups or members engaged in the exchange. Indeed, a central part of Mauss’s theory is that archaic societies have not yet distinguished the economic realm from other aspects of social intercourse. Consequently, gifts in general, and gift exchange in particular, can be explained neither in terms of gratuitous or personal relations nor in terms of the market. They are a hybrid. They are “at the same time juridical, economic, religious, and even aesthetic and morphological, etc.” The romantic relies primarily on this relational aspect of gift.

In fact, these errors may more accurately be seen as different aspects of one common error: the application of modern liberal assumptions about the free, atomistic nature of man to people and institutions in archaic societies.

Gift exchange is selfish, as the utilitarian presupposes. But archaic man does not define himself as a separate, atomistic individual. Rather, being bound in complex webs of family, clan, and tribe, he is defined by others in terms of status. As Mauss states, “It is not individuals but collectivities that impose obligations of exchange and contract upon each other.” That is, archaic gift exchange relates to the individual’s familial, social, political, and religious position, as well as his economic standing, in the society. In archaic societies, therefore, the greatest benefits do not take the form of things or services to be consumed by the individual and his children, but rather relate to one’s position. Archaic gift exchange is a strategy whereby participants seek to increase their prestige and debase their enemies within a given static hierarchy.

The utilitarian point of view also displays a fundamental misunderstanding of reciprocity, as first elaborated by Mauss. The utilitarian infers from the fact that there is an obligation to return a gift that the returned gift is equiv- alent to the original gift, and that the gift exchange is a form of pseudocon- tract characterized by mutuality. This interpretation is perhaps not surprising among economists and lawyers.

According to Mauss, archaic peoples enter into gift exchange as a customary way of establishing and maintaining certain ritualized relationships and status with respect to other tribes, clans, and individuals.

The purpose of gift exchange is, as Mauss hypothesized, the creation of status and hierarchy.
A donor institutes a gift relationship to increase his prestige in two ways. The fact that he gives establishes his reputation as a wealthy and generous man, brave and crafty enough to risk the competition of gift. As Mauss says in connection with potlatch, “To give is to show one’s superiority, to be more, to be higher in rank. . . . ”
The position of the donee is ambiguous at this point. To the extent that he receives a particularly prestigious object as a gift, his status is enhanced. To the extent that he is viewed as the passive recipient of the generosity of another, it is diminished.

This hypothesis is further supported by the aspect of potlatch that seems most peculiar to Western eyes—the destruction of “gifts.” This practice supports the hypothesis that the purpose of potlatch was neither the exchange of useful goods nor altruism, but rather the increase of the donor’s prestige and the abasement of the donee. In potlatch the donor had the option of destroying the gift objects rather than actually conveying them to the donee. This is perceived of as a “gift” because the “donor” ostensibly sacrificed the objects to the spirits for the sake of the donee. The “donee” is then put in the unenviable position of having to return an even greater gift even though he received nothing material. Obviously, the destructive potlatch is an extremely effective way for the potlatcher to demonstrate his great wealth without also enriching his rival:

"The greatest potlatchers of all are those who not only give fantastic amounts, making it well-nigh impossible for their rivals to repay in a future potlatch at the appropriate interest, but who also demonstrate how rich and magnificent they are by actually destroying their most valued items: canoes, coppers, blankets, even stocks of fish grease and oil. The destruction of property is the most dramatic and characteristic feature of the potlatch." [Mauss]

In the Trobriand Archipelago, it is the custom for maternal uncles to maintain ritual gardens in order to give gifts of yams to their sisters’ children. This looks, of course, like an arrangement whereby the children are provided with food—an important economic necessity in a subsistence economy. In fact, the avuncular yams used in this ritual are virtually inedible and have little nutritional value. The gifted yams are frequently piled up outside the family’s house and ostentatiously left to rot, apparently as a symbol of the family’s wealth. The yams only exist for the sake of gift and the resulting creation of prestige.

Archaic gift objects are not merely primitive forms of money. Rather, the objects are symbols of the exchange, reflecting the prestige of previous winners of the exchange game. In kula the highest ranking shells, as determined by their genealogy of ownership, are even given individual names. Each time the object is exchanged it becomes more valuable. It increases more if it passes through the hands of a higher status participant rather than a lower status one. Conversely, one gains prestige by becoming the recipient of a valuable (high status) shell rather than a lower one.

As Mauss explains, gift exchange is a complex web of relations. The objects exchanged “are living beings”; they bear the spirits of the persons engaged in the exchange relation. “Each one of these precious things possesses, moreover, productive power itself.”
In the Maussian view, “[a] gift that does nothing to enhance solidarity is a contradiction.”

In Hegelian philosophy, the essence of human nature is radical freedom and rationality, as in classical liberal philosophy. To the Hegelian, however, this freedom can never become actual in the lonely, atomistic state of nature posited by liberalism. Freedom is actualized only in human relationships, as the romantic understands. Being rational, humans seek to maximize what they desire—just as utilitarians predict. However, because humans rationally seek to actualize their essential freedom, what they desire is human relationship. To Hegel, rationality does not lead to cold, calculating behavior, as the utilitarian and the romantic implicitly assume. The actualization of rationality is eroticism—the passionate, unquenchable desire for the desire of the Other. Contract, in which two parities recognize each other as the bearers of legal rights, is a moment in mankind’s struggle for the actualization of freedom. Contract is therefore a form of eroticism, albeit a primitive and imperfect one.

Contract enables us to recognize each other as unique individual subjects, creating relations of equality. Gift tends to produce a dif- ferentiation of type; it creates hierarchical relations of status.

In order for gift to be effective, it is necessary that the donee not retain the gift. The gift must be kept “in circulation” by one means or another. The actual object of the gift must either be further gifted to another person, increasing the circle of relationships, or consumed or destroyed. Like Posner, Hyde seeks empirical support for his theory in archaic gift-exchange institutions. According to Hyde, gifts are dynamic and contract is static. “A market exchange has an equilibrium or stasis: you pay to balance the scale. But when you give a gift there is momentum, and the weight shifts from body to body.”

Reciprocity is an essential aspect of gift. Gift creates an obligation on the part of the donee to respond in kind, thereby establishing a continued relationship between donor and donee. The reciprocity of gift differs from contractual exchange in that the former is relational, whereas the latter is obligatory." [Jeanne Schroeder, The Triumph of Venus: The erotics of the market philosophy, social theory and the rule of law]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:08 am

Quote :
"To Hegel, each abstract person (i.e., the individual in the state of nature posited by Enlightenment political philosophy) seeks to actualize his potential freedom through recognition by others. Although Hegel does not use the term, in Lacanian psychoanalysis this desire to understand oneself through recognition is eroticism generally and hysteria specifically. We desire things derivatively as a means of achieving our true desire—the desire of the Other. When we repress this derivative aspect of our desire for objects, we treat them as substitutes for our true object of desire.

Hegel adopted the liberal Kantian conception of freedom as radical negativity—the total absence of constraints. This abstract concept becomes concrete in social relations. Hegel posited that the abstract person can only achieve legal subjectivity (and therefore more complex stages of personality) by being recognized as a subject by a person whom one in turn recognizes as a subject. We are, therefore, driven to help others fulfill and exceed their highest potential, in the hope that once they do so they will then turn around and recognize us as their equals. That is, man’s desire is the desire of the Other in both senses of the expression— we want to have the other but, more importantly, we want the other to desire (recognize) us.

In our search for recognition we create legal and other rights, not to claim them for ourselves but in order to bestow them on others in order to increase their dignity. The regime of abstract right—property, contract, and market relations—is the simplest and most primitive manifestation of this dialectic of desire.

As freedom is the essence of personality, the abstract person rationally seeks to actualize her freedom. Freedom can be actualized through inter-subjective relationship. The abstract person, therefore, actively seeks to be recognized by another person: she desires to be desired by another.

The proposition that rights can only be actualized through relations with and recognition by others causes another contradiction. The liberal purely autonomous person is not recognizable. Kant showed that to be truly, radically free, the atomistic individual must be totally abstract, lacking all pathological characteristics. Freedom requires that one’s actions not be compelled, but freely chosen. Pure freedom is therefore arbitrary. If one’s actions are compelled by heteronomy or to fulfill a need, one is not truly free.

The abstract person in the state of nature has only her potential freedom—her negativity. Lacking individuating pathological characteristics, each abstract person is identical to every other and therefore unrecognizable. To be recognized by other subjects and have interrelationships, therefore, persons must form object relations (i.e., take on specific recognizable characteristics). To Hegel, the regime of abstract right—property, contract, and the capitalist market—is the most primitive form of interrelationship from a logical standpoint.

The most rewarding recognition is, of course, recognition by the most noble. The admiration of the base, the vulgar, and the servile is less than worthless and is to be despised. We therefore wish to make ourselves worthy in the eyes of those individuals we consider worthy. The goal of recognition therefore requires that we find worthy others in our world.198

This reveals yet another side of this contradiction of abstract personality. The abstract personality seeks to be recognized by a person she recognizes as worthy (i.e., someone whose opinion counts). But, in the state of nature, not only the person seeking recognition, but all persons lack distinguishing (pathological) characteristics. Consequently, Hegel argued that no abstract person can merely search for preexisting worthy others. She must go out and affirmatively help others to achieve worth and nobility. She cannot merely seek to be recognizable herself. She must learn to recognize others.

The Hegelian dialectic of right is, therefore, a primitive form of the rela- tionship that Lacan calls love. According to Lacan’s understanding of love, the lover sees in his beloved more than she is. When love is requited, the beloved finds that she must live up to her lover’s expectations and achieves the ability to give back more than she had. She thereby turns the lover into a beloved, making him into more than he once was. Similarly, in the dialec- tic of abstract right, the abstract person grants to another person rights that the second person did not originally have, i.e., he recognizes her as a legal subject. If this person responds, she in turn will recognize that the first person should also be entitled to the same rights, thereby making him into a subject. The moment of the creation of abstract right (law) is the moment of the creation of subjectivity—law and subjectivity are mutually constituted.

In other words, right and love are forms of alchemy whereby persons intersubjectively recreate each other out of nothing. The person engaged in the dialectic of right feels herself inexorably driven in the same way as the lover. This is a paradox. Although both rights and love must be free (by defi- nition that which is imposed is neither a right nor love), they are experi- enced by the abstract person and the lover as inexorable. One can no more refuse the desire to actualize one’s freedom than one can prevent oneself from falling in love. Love requires choice, but it is love that chooses us.

Doesn’t the recognition that satisfies the Hegelian ideal need to be simultaneous? How does one leap from the not-yet-recognizable of abstract personhood to the always-already-recognized of subjectivity? How can love be the actualization of freedom when nothing binds our hearts more securely than the chains of love? The Hegelian-Lacanian analysis is not merely aware of this “impossibility” and “imperfection.” Rather, they are posited as fundamental aspects, not only of Hegelian and Lacanian theory, but of the human condition and, indeed, the universe. The dialectic functions, not despite, but just because of its necessary imperfection.

Hegel famously stated that the subsumption of marriage under the concept of contract “can only be described as disgraceful.” Hegel, The Philosophy of Right, supra note 21, at 105.

Hegel locates marriage within the regime of Sittlicheit (ethical life), which is much more highly developed than the regime of abstract right, in which contract is located. Of course, it is incorrect to reduce the complex relationships of ethics to the simplistic ones of abstract rights. I am certainly not proposing that romantic and marital love are identical to legal contract, but am merely asserting that contract is an extremely prim- itive form of eroticism that takes a more complex form in other relationships.

Hegel’s theory of the function of property anticipates Lacan’s understanding of human nature. Indeed, Hegel’s dialectic of right is hysterical in the technical sense that Lacan gave the term. Hysteria is not, however, an aberration. It is the very form of human desire. According to Lacan, the desire of the hysteric is the desire of the Other. The multiple, ambiguous meanings of this expression are the same in the original French as they are in English. The hysteric desires the Other, he desires to be desired by the Other, and his desire is imposed upon him by the Other. The hysteric’s very consciousness depends on recognition by others.

To reiterate, Hegel posited that whatever is potential must be actualized. This is one of the meanings of his famous slogan: “What is rational is actual; and what is actual is rational.” If human freedom is only potential in the state of nature, logic dictates that this freedom be made actual. Because the necessity that human freedom be actualized is logical and because persons are essentially rational creatures, we are rationally driven to engage in this dialectic of recognition and right.

Economists have accustomed us to speak of markets in terms of “rationality.” The Hegelian analysis agrees on the rational and logical nature of the dialectic of right, and therefore markets. But it also reveals it to be essentially erotic—driven by unquenchable desire. Hegel disagreed with the assumed irresolvable dichotomy between reason and passion that is accepted by both utilitarians and romantics. In contrast, Hegel believed that the two are necessarily and inextricably linked—each generates and requires the other.

To put it another way, rationality is the potentiality of desire, and desire is the actuality of rationality. “The concretely rational human [being’s] . . . rationality is essentially expressed in and through passion. . . . ” The abstract person does not merely prefer to enter market relations and become a subject. Rather, she feels inexorably compelled to do so by the very logic of person- hood. This follows from the proposition that freedom, which is the essence of human nature, is only potential in the state of nature and can be actualized only through human relations in subjectivity.

According to Hegel, one can only retroactively determine what was potential once we consider what has in fact become actual. The logical proposition that man is essen- tially free can therefore only be proved by establishing the actual freedom of empirical human beings. Hegel thought that the rights citizens were obtaining in the new liberal constitutional and early capitalist economies of the early nineteenth century were evidence of the truth of his political philosophy.

To put this another way, the abstract person seeks confirmation of her freedom. In the state of nature, her freedom is merely potential. She can only confirm the potentiality of freedom retroactively, after she has actualized it.

Because love requires mutuality and equality, unilateral unrequited love is only potential love. At best, in its solipsistic form, it is sterile, lonely autoeroticism. At worst, in its aggressive form, it is destructive, violent rape. Potential love is not actualized until the consummation of the union whereby lover and beloved exchange places. If one can only retroactively determine what was truly potential after it is actualized, then failed attempts at love that do not achieve consummation are eventually, and sadly, revealed as no love at all.

Persons must, therefore, develop a system that embodies at least a fleet- ing moment of mutuality and equality—a meeting of minds. For the dialectic to work, neither party can dominate the other. Because the purpose of recognition is the actualization of freedom, the meeting of minds must be such that it does not impinge upon either party’s freedom. To be free is to be one’s own end and not the means to the ends of another. Consequently, the meeting of minds cannot directly define or constrain either party’s per- sonhood because that would treat that party as the means to an end, deny- ing the freedom of that person. Rather, an external third, an object, must be found as a means of mediating between the two parties.

From the standpoint of philosophy (as well as in law), the concept of “object” cannot be limited to physical things, but rather includes intangibles and even personal characteristics, such as our body and personality. In order to become recognizable, there- fore, one must form object relations. The primitive object relations of abstract right are called “property” and “contract.”

Possession is, instead, the more general concept of identifying an object to a specific person. This serves the function of individuating the owning person—making her potentially recognizable. Enjoyment is the owner’s assertion of her mas- tery over the object owned. It is an expression of the owner’s freedom that distinguishes the owner from the owned object and therefore establishes the owner not merely as a recognizable thing, but as a recognizable person. Consequently, possession and enjoyment establish the conditions of recognizability. Standing alone, however, possession and enjoyment are inadequate. Through the final element of alienation (contract exchange), the potentiality of recognition is actualized and interrelations are consummated.

Possession—the assignment of a specific object to a specific subject—is implicitly intersub- jective because assigning an object to one subject is necessarily not to assign it to others. But this means the relation between the owning subject and the non-owning subject is the negative relation of exclusion. Enjoyment is also implicitly intersubjective, not merely because one’s enjoyment of one’s object often necessarily precludes another rival subject from enjoying the same object, but also because one subject’s enjoyment of her object often necessarily interferes with the ability of another subject to enjoy his object. A classic example  is the environmental nuisance in which a factory owner’s ability to enjoy his factory in production interferes with a neighboring consumer’s ability to drink her water. Consequently, the relation of enjoyment is once again negative—it is exclusion plus interference.

Because possession and enjoyment are negatively intersubjective, they threaten to become solipsistic—they exclude all others. Solipsism is the opposite of the desired goal of mutual recognition. Only recognition by a self-certain end-unto-itself (i.e., another subject) can provide lasting confir- mation that freedom is actual. Moreover, in possession and enjoyment, the subject depends on the object for her self-confirmation, and therefore risks becoming dependent on the object in the same way that an addict is dependent on her drug. As dependency is the opposite of freedom, this not only defeats the purpose of property; it also betrays human nature.

The person therefore needs to find a way of disencumbering herself from any specific object while still maintaining the object relations necessary for recognizability. The logic of property suggests that the vast majority of objects should be alienable by the owners. Hegel discussed three possible modes of alienation: abandonment, gift, and contract. Abandonment, which destroys any relationship between the owner and the object, is inadequate for the goal of recognizability.

Subjectivity—the capability of being a legal actor—is constituted by mutual recognition. This occurs in the bilateral relationship of contract. Contract is therefore the minimum condition of law. Gift, in contrast, is a failed, one-sided attempt at recognition that falls short of abstract right. Gift is therefore only quasi-legal in nature. This may explain why contemporary American law only grudgingly gives limited recognition to gratuitous promises.

To reiterate, in order for the abstract person to achieve her goal of obtaining subjectivity, she must help others achieve their subjectivity. The circularity of this is obvious. For this fiction to work, neither party can go first. The two parties must simultaneously recognize each other so that the very moment of recognition is the mutually constitutive moment of intersubjec- tivity. The necessity of simultaneity means that a successful recognition that creates subjectivity must have a moment of mutuality and equality.

Accordingly, Hegel argues that the object-relations of property, contract, and market serve two functions. First, as we have already discussed, they make abstract persons recognizable. Second, they also serve as mediators— means by which persons can achieve their ends and be recognized by others while remaining free, neither dominating nor being dominated by the other. Property sets us apart so that we can come together.

The fact that the party is willing to exchange her object demonstrates to the other party that the first party is not dependent on that specific object but remains a free person.224 The fact that each person obtains a new object in the exchange means that each party will remain recognizable as a person after the trans- action is finished. Because contract is a voluntary transaction, both parties’ actions must have a moment of freedom and mutuality. Because each party agrees that she is obtaining an object that is the equivalent of the object she is giving up, each party perceives the relationship as one of equality.

In other words, at the moment of the meeting of minds in contract, neither party is subject to the will of the other. Rather, they are for a fleeting sec- ond joined in a common will. For a brief shining moment, each party rec- ognizes the other as a free, equal legal subject, and therefore achieves her goal of becoming a subject. It is a moment of love. No doubt this is why the consummation of the deal is traditionally symbolized by the physical union of the two negotiators in the joining of hands—a gesture reminiscent of the more complete joining of lovers.

This is not to imply that, in an empirical sense, all contracts are perfectly mutual, lacking in domination, or characterized by total equality and meet- ing of minds. Even from a theoretical viewpoint, in order for contract to be successful it must simultaneously contain the seed of its own failure. If the parties to a contract truly merged in a perfect meeting of minds, they would become indistinguishable and unrecognizable. If the objects exchanged in contract were perfectly equivalent, exchange would never occur. For the mutuality of contract to occur, each party must, paradoxically at some level, think that she is getting the better deal, and therefore exploiting the other party.

This is a contradiction. But, in Hegel’s philosophy, contradiction is a necessary and inevitable aspect of reality. Moreover, as contradiction is unstable, it is the engine of movement and change in the system. Contradiction is the pain or lack that creates desire. Without contradiction, not only would no exchange occur; the universe would be totally static.228 This world of no contradiction is, of course, the deathly order that Lacan called the “real,”

The myth of Pandora teaches us that we can obtain hope only by first accepting the ills of this world. Similarly, it is only the existence of imperfection, impossibility, and loss that makes desire not only necessary but also possible. The negativity that characterized the abstract person posited by Kant and Hegel continues in all human relations—including contract. But this space between and within people is the condition precedent of freedom in that it gives us the space to move and create. It is precisely because human relations are always to some extent unsuccessful, no one is ever satisfied, and everyone desires greater love and recognition that we are driven continuously to engage in new relations. This understanding of the radical negativity of freedom reflects the Lacanian concept of the “feminine.”

Consequently, it is essential to the Lacanian-Hegelian system that not all aspects of human relationality can be circumscribed within the symbolic order of law.

Like all sexual relations, contract is always a partial failure—the rela- tionship of intersubjectivity is always mediated by objectivity; we externalize and feel alienated from a part of our essential nature. But contract is also always a partial success—it enables us to create our subjectivity as inter-subjectivity, albeit mediated by objectivity. True, the Lacanian subject is split, negative, and empty, and the erotic relation is a failed encounter. But the erotic encounter is a failure only if one envisions success as the obliteration of all difference and the achievement of immediate relationship or merger with the other. In Lacanian terms, this would be an impossible reversal of “castration” and reabsorption into the order he called the “real.” Such a reabsorption is the destruction not only of subjectivity, but also of the possibility of freedom, which is man’s essence. Consequently, the negativity that remains at the heart of subjectivity is the necessary feminine moment of rad- ical freedom. The separation and distinction between subjects that remains after contract is, therefore, the distinction of individuality. Individuality enables us not only to love but also to actualize the freedom that is our poten- tial. The “failure” of contract is therefore creative and dynamic.

Gift is a wholly different form of failure. In contradistinction to the romantic position, therefore, the distinction and recognition created by gift is not the individuality that allows for the unique and creative relation of love. Rather, it is the distinction of status—the static, oppressive relation of dom- ination and subordination. If contract is the mutual eroticism of inter- course, gift is autoeroticism—masturbation or rape. If market relations are the characteristic economic activity of modern liberal constitutional states that to some extent or another organized around rights and the individual, it is also true that “gift exchange” is the characteristic economic activity of “archaic” traditional, hierarchical societies that are based on status and clan. In other words, gifts are a failed attempt to achieve the mutual, equal recog- nition of abstract right (law). Consequently, there is a moment of truth in the utilitarian position that law cannot adequately account for gift.

In gift, however, the donor treats the donee as a means to the donor’s own end—he gives a gift in order to be recognized. He demands recognition from the donee. In contradistinction, in contract one party makes an offer to another and the transaction does not proceed unless and until the two parties come to mutual agreement. Mutual agreement indicates that each party has determined that the contract will serve her own ends.

”The lord seeks to achieve the truth of his own independent self-consciousness through recognition, but the only truth he confronts is the “servile consciousness of the bondsman.”

The nature of the lord becomes the reverse of his claim. He seeks to experience himself as essentially free, but it is he who is dependent on the slave. This is because it is only through the slave’s recognition that the lord can achieve self-understanding—he is only a master insofar as the slave bows before him. The lord now knows himself only as the reflection of slavery. Ironically, it is the lord’s claim of nobility that debases him. Forced recognition, therefore, has the opposite effect from free recognition—it turns freedom into dependence.

Similarly, in gift, the donor seeks his own self-understanding as a free, generous, loving person by imposing himself on the donee. If the donee, like the slave, fails to resist but surrenders to the wishes of the donor, she subordi- nates herself to the donor’s desire. The donor objectifies the donee by treating her as the means to his ends, in the same way as the lord objectified the bondsman. The donor “enjoys” the donee in the same way the lord “enjoys” a slave. The donee-bondsman is not granted the subjectivity that would allow her desire to be recognized. The donee, as a means to the donor’s ends, is literally the object of the donor’s desire in both the colloquial and the technical Hegelian-Lacanian senses of the term. The gift relationship can be seen as erotic in the sense that it involves desire and enjoyment. But it is one-sided and autoerotic, as the donor-lord is only concerned with his own desire and enjoyment. Gift is not, therefore, social intercourse, but rather masturbation. Worse, because the donor exploits the donee as his masturbatory object, it is a form of rape.

As Mauss concluded, "The unreciprocated gift still makes the person who has accepted it inferior, particularly when it has been accepted with no thought of returning it."

Both the romantic and the utilitarian think that markets lead to commodification and commodification is the suppression of difference. The romantic fears this vision as a perversion of human freedom, while the utilitarian embraces it as the fulfillment of human freedom." [Jeanne Schroeder, The Triumph of Venus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:08 am

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"Eros and Thanatos are the masculine and feminine versions of the desire to achieve “the feminine” and the real: the former is the longing to have her, the latter the longing to be her. The real stands for the dream of perfection, of perfect, immediate sexual relations beyond all alienating distinctions of time, space, and personality. The real, being perfect, is not mere death; it is a death that is beyond death—Nirvana, oblivion. Castration is the cut that forever walls off the real from the symbolic. The resulting gap between the real and the symbolic creates desire and thereby allows freedom, subjectivity, and the intersubjectivity of sexual relations to function. Our fantasies in the imaginary order are the vain attempt to cross this gap.

We desire connection and immediate relationship. We therefore hypothesize that the reason we desire connection and immediate relationship is because we once experienced it (or had the inherent capacity for it). Because we once had this capacity, we hypothesize that it must have been taken away from us. Someone or something is keeping us from immediate relationship. That which keeps us from immediacy is, of course, mediation. The mediator of relationship—that which enables us to be separated—is the symbolic order. The romantic, therefore, concludes that it is the symbolic order—law in the sense of abstract right and the market—that is the cause of our separation. We have been castrated and violated by the market, which denies our claim to subjectivity and threatens to turn us into objects through commodification.

The Lacanian autobiography is, of course, fictional. We were never one with the universe—even in the womb we were separated from our mother by the placenta. The infant did not even become a human subject capable of imagining and desiring such perfection until he was initiated into the sym- bolic—law, language, and sexuality. It is precisely the feeling of alienation caused by the mediated relationship of language and law that enables us retroactively to imagine and desire the ideal of perfect, immediate relationality. The ability to desire is not, therefore, created by the loss of immediate relationship. Rather, it is the existence of mediation that enables us to imag- ine what immediate relationship might be, and therefore to desire it. In other words, we imagine that immediate relationship is something we once had—the always-already-lost—when, in fact, it is an ideal or aspiration—the not-yet-found.

The ideal of immediacy is in the order of consciousness that Lacan calls the “real.” It is a common misconception that Lacan thought that the real was that which was left behind, or lost, when we entered the symbolic order (i.e., when we learned to speak, took on sexual identity, and became the sub- ject of legal relations). This hypothesis only replicates the subject’s auto- biography, which Lacan insists is fictional. Rather, Lacan insists that the three orders of the symbolic, imaginary, and the real are created simultane- ously. The real is our sense that there is something that cannot be captured in words or images—such as God, death, the physical world, and perfect, immediate relationships—which we only retroactively believe must exist because we experience the limits of language and imagery.

The romantic vision of gift and contract is fictional. It is not contract that prevents us from achieving more complete and satisfying relationships. It is precisely the imperfection of contract that enables us to want more complete and satisfying relationships.

The desire of the perfect market is Thanatos—the desire for escape into total oblivion. Actual markets, in contrast, are within the sym- bolic order, which includes such human creations as law, speech, and sexu- ality. Coase’s concept of “transaction costs” serves the same function in eco- nomics as castration serves in psychoanalysis. Transaction costs are the cut that forever walls off the real of the perfect market from the symbolic of the actual market. The resulting gap between perfect and actual markets creates desire and thereby allows freedom, subjectivity, and the intersubjectivity of market relations to function.

The law-and-economics movement is located in the imaginary order. It neither concerns itself with actual markets in the symbolic nor directly con- fronts its ideal of the perfect market in the real. Rather, law-and-economics erects a fantasy structure in a vain attempt to bridge the impossible gap between the symbolic and real orders.

Lacan insisted that psychic subjectivity can be achieved only through recognition by others. In sexuality, abstract persons seek subjec- tivity through mutual recognition in a regime of possession, enjoyment, and exchange of an object of desire—the “phallus.” This necessity for media- tion is one of the meanings of Lacan’s famous slogan: There are no [direct and unmediated] sexual relationships.

In other words, although Hegel and Lacan might seem like radically different thinkers at first blush, closer examination shows that their theories are linked by the recognition that subjectivity is intersubjectivity mediated by objectivity. They agree that the freedom at the center of human subjectivity is radical negativity. Hegel emphasizes the comic side of this dialectic. In comedy, conflicts are resolved in a happy ending (traditionally including the marriage of one or more pairs of the protagonists). The Hegelian dialectic shows how the contradictions of the abstract person in the state of nature are contingently resolved in social relations, including the market and the family. Moreover, the negativity at the center of the human soul is seen optimistically as the absence of constraints that makes freedom possible, and the space that permits growth and creativity.

Lacan, on the other hand, emphasizes the tragic side of this dialectic. In tragedy, conflicts prove to be irresolvable and result in the death of one or more of the protagonists. The negativity or “split” that lies at the center of our psyche is seen pessimistically. If Hegel emphasizes that relationships occur, Lacan emphasizes that these relationships are always imperfect and medi- ated, desire is always postponed, and man is in a constant state of yearning.

Despite its ostensible optimism, however, Hegelian analysis never loses sight of negativity.

The contradictions of personality cannot be permanently resolved. The dialectic of desire ultimately can only be solved by death. Eros can only be postponed so long. Postponement eventually turns into procrastination. The ethics of psychoanalysis demand that we never give ground with respect to our desire. And so we must eventually give way to Thanatos.

The Hegelian analysis of property as intersubjective relations mediated by object relations prefigures perhaps the greatest insight of late Lacanian thought: even though personality is created through the intersubjective relationships of the symbolic (language, law, and sexuality), we experience ourselves in terms of a hypothesized lost object of desire. Subjectivity as intersubjectivity is mediated by objectivity, in the sense that the subjects claim to possess and exchange or identify with and enjoy the object of desire. In other words, object relations take the place of intersubjective relations. Because the true object of desire—the phallus— is lost in the real, we try to find other objects that might be obtainable in the symbolic and the imaginary to take its place. In other words, we try to make object relations that seem possible stand in for impossible intersubjective relations. This leads to the concept of the objet petit a.

Although subjectivity (which can only be created through recognition in intersubjective relations) is created in the symbolic, human beings are not satisfied with the symbolic. The symbolic is, by definition, not only artificial but incomplete. We long for the impossible wholeness of the real. In an attempt to achieve that which cannot be achieved in the symbolic, we turn to the imaginary. In the imaginary, we erect seemingly attainable fantasy images to stand in for our true object of desire. These fantasy objects of desire—objets petit a—are invented retroactively to serve as the cause of our desire. The term objet petit a means that this object should be spelled with an “a” because it sits in the place of the other (autre), which is our true desire. In truth, we desire because we do not feel whole and the hypothe- sized object that would satisfy our desire does not exist. To realize this would be the feminine acceptance of castration. In order for our masculine selves to avoid this, we pretend that what we really desire is some identifiable actual object.

We lie to ourselves: if I could just (fill in the blank—possess that beautiful woman’s body; have a man’s organ or, lacking that, his baby; make partner, get tenure, get a job at a more prestigious law school or firm, etc.,), I would be happy. Any “object” can take on this role. The objet petit a can be a con- ventionally pleasurable object, such as a woman’s body (or a part object such as her breasts), or Proust’s madeleine, but it can just as easily be a completely abstract concept, such as the voice or the gaze. The point is that this external “object” serves as an explanation for our feelings. One result of this operation is the conflation of the psychic desire for recognition with the biological urge to mate. It is these fantasy identifications that create sexuality and enable markets to operate." [Jeanne Schroeder, The Triumph of Venus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:08 am

Quote :
"The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice reflects the Lacanian concept of Eros. Eros is the masculine form of desire—an attempt to fill the emptiness that is the center of human experience by fantasizing a perfect, immediate sexual relationship. This fantasy or “imaginary” dream of “femininity” is erected to take the place of the “real” concept of “the feminine.” Sustaining the fan- tasy allows us to act and create. But the moment we confront the reality that lies beneath the fantasy of femininity, we find nothing there. This leaves us more bereft than before and more in need of fantasy. If we give in to the mas- culine desire of Eros and look back at the lost feminine, we lose her. We can only keep her by not having her. This is because the feminine is, in fact, the radical negativity of “the real,” which is the heart and soul of human freedom and subjectivity. Any attempt to give the feminine positive content is a masculine fantasy—a vain attempt to have and to hold that which, by definition, can be neither captured nor tamed.

Eros always threatens to turn into its feminine twin, Thanatos, the death wish. Thanatos is the realization that Eros is always unsuccessful and the only way to achieve wholeness is by regressing to the time before loss. If Eros is the fantasy that one can capture the feminine, Thanatos is the desire to merge back into, and thereby become, the feminine. But the feminine is “Eurydice twice lost.” She is our sense that there is something which we have always-already-lost and have not-yet-found. She is yesterday and tomorrow, but never today. As Lacan said, Woman—that is, the feminine per se—does not exist. She was and shall be, but never is. To merge with her now is to achieve oblivion.

And so Orpheus’s desire evolved from Eros to Thanatos. He continued to mourn his fantasy image of Eurydice and to dream of joining with the feminine until his desire was fulfilled, but not in a way he expected. He poured his grief into songs in memories of his lost love, and avoided all actual female contact. One day, however, when wandering in the countryside, he encountered a band of Maenads—female worshipers of Dionysus, god of ecstasy, who expressed their devotion in orgiastic, and often violent, revels. Their frenzy reflects feminine jouissance, or enjoyment: the momentary achievement of the impossible fulfillment of Thanatos—union with the feminine in the sense of perfect wholeness, the breakdown of the subject-object distinc- tion, the achievement of the Lacanian “real.” The Maenads demanded that Orpheus join in their worship. When he hesitated, they tore Orpheus limb from limb in their divine jouissance. As Lacan predicted, the masculine claim to personality could not survive an encounter with the feminine. To give way to one’s desire is to lose everything.

There are three orders of the psyche: the real, the imaginary, and the symbolic. The symbolic is the cultural order of law and language, of signification and sexuality. The imaginary is the realm of imagery, fantasy, meaning, and complementarity. The real is our intuition that there is something beyond or prior to the other two. The real is not the same as the natural world. The real is as much an aspect of human consciousness as the symbolic and the imaginary; it is that part of our thoughts that cannot be expressed in words or depicted in images. Yet for many purposes it func- tions as though it were the natural world. This is because the real includes our sense that there is a natural world external to our thoughts and dreams, something more permanent than our pathetic, fleeting human lives. The real, however, also includes such concepts as death, the thing-in-itself, God (in the sense of Geist, or the Absolute), and everything else that is beyond ourselves. It is reminiscent of Kant’s concept of “the sublime.”

The real is therefore the impossible—not just in the sense that it is impossible for us to have direct access to the real in our conscious minds, but also because it necessarily includes logical paradoxes that are beyond ordinary intuitions of what is possible.

We experience the real as though it were something we had lost. It functions as the “hard kernel” of reality that was left behind when we entered the orders of imagery and speech. This is not really true, however. The real is created simultaneously with the imaginary and the symbolic through castration.

The proposition that subjectivity can only be achieved through the social (i.e., through law and language) creates a paradox. That which is most ourselves—our subjectivity, our freedom, our speech, our sexuality—is simultaneously that which is not ourselves, in the sense that it comes to us from the outside. When understood in this sense, the symbolic order takes on the role known as the Other. As we mature and are initiated into language and law, and achieve sexuality, we experience the sense that we have lost something that we can no longer explain in words or images. Not only our subjectivity but the relations with others that create our subjectivity are mediated. We feel castrated not merely because our subjectivity is dependent on others, but because we can never have a perfectly satisfying relationship with the others on whom we depend. Immediacy is therefore in the real. As a result, perfect, immediate relationships are not just an ideal; they are our desire.

To put this yet another way, to describe or picture our experiences is to interpret them. Consequently, in our capacity as conscious subjects we never have direct access to our experiences. To give an example, when we are hav- ing a physical sensation such as pain, we are not yet conscious of the fact— we just feel it. Charles Sanders Peirce called this pure unmediated quality “firstness.” Firstness can be thought of as the purely reflexive reaction of recoiling, and perhaps letting out an inarticulate screech. The moment we realize that we are experiencing pain, however, we are already interpreting it in the orders of the imaginary and the symbolic. The simplest interpreta- tion—the imaginary—is the awareness of oneself and one’s pain. Peirce called this simple negation or opposition “secondness.” Secondness is the simple realization, “That hurts!” In the symbolic, we are aware of ourselves, our pain, and our understanding of the pain—what Peirce calls “thirdness.” Thirdness is being able to say to another, “I am in pain.” In other words, when we picture our experience (the imaginary) or try to explain it (the symbolic), we lose the immediacy of the experience. We either anticipate or dread it in the future, or remember or mourn it in the past. Our direct, immediate experience now seems to be exiled into the real beyond imagination and discourse. Once again, our true self seems divorced from our understanding of ourself. We seem to have lost something—immediacy.

Lacan calls this operation “castration” because we feel not merely that our wholeness is lost, but also that this loss has been imposed upon us by something outside of us. We feel (incorrectly) that we must have once been whole and inviolate, that there was once an object, which is now lost because “someone” has taken it away. This hypothesized object, which we feel must have been lost in castration, Lacan calls the “phallus.” This intentionally confusing and apparently mas- culinist terminology is designed to reflect the conflation of anatomy and psy- che in our misogynist society. The phallus has no affirmative content. We feel lack, and the phallus is that which would eliminate the lack. It is the lack of lack, and as such it does not exist. It is the radical negativity of the femi- nine and the real.

From the fact that we were not aware of our separation from our mothers until we entered the imaginary and the symbolic, we retroduce the false hypothesis that we must in fact have been one with our mothers prior to that time. As a result, we feel that the phallus (the wholeness that was lost through castration) must have been unity with the ideal of the feminine. This is why this ideal of the feminine is sometimes known as the all-powerful Phallic Mother. The feminine as the Phallic Mother is, therefore, that which is located in the real.

Consequently, when we engage in actual market relations, we often repress our true desire for market relations and act as though we desired the objects of market relations as such. We imagine that our intersub- jective relations are the means to the end of object relations, rather than the other way around.

How does this relate to sexuality? Sexuality consists of various strategies that subjects can take with respect to castration.

The masculine metaphor relies on implicit metaphors of the male organ and envisions property as the sensuous grasp of a tangible thing to be displayed and wielded before oth- ers. The loss of property is analogized to castration.
In contrast, the feminine phallic metaphor relies on the imagery of the female body. The owning subject identifies with the owned object in such a way as to become indistinguishable from it. Property is that which one enters and enjoys and which one protects from invasion by others. Property is reduced to the single element of enjoyment. Loss of property is imagined as violation, as loss of self.

The masculine is the position of having and exchanging the phallus, while the feminine is that of being and enjoying the phallus. This is, of course, not literally true. Castration is universal. No one, masculine or feminine, has the phallus. Consequently, masculinity is not superior to femininity. Rather, the masculine can be seen as the cowardly position of denial and fantasy—falsely claiming or pretending that he has “it” when he doesn’t.
In the imaginary, we try to find natural (i.e., seemingly real) analogs to stand in the place of the symbolic concepts of sexuality. That is, in the imag- inary, we conflate sexuality with anatomy. Consequently, we look for things that anatomic males have or can attain, and that anatomic females can be, to serve as metaphors for the phallus. Specifically, the phallus is conflated with the male organ (hence Lacan’s terminology) and the female body. By wielding the penis and subordinating women, those who are in the masculine position vainly pretend not to be castrated. The subordination of women has often taken a literal form in traditional societies, in which women are exchanged among men in marriage. It also takes the more subtle form of an imaginary ideal of an affirmative “femininity,” which can be tamed and captured in order to take the place of the radical negativity of the real feminine, which cannot be tamed or captured.

The feminine sexuated position, in contradistinction, is the acceptance of castration—the understanding that this loss cannot be cured. The feminine, therefore, is identified with castration, with lack. She is identified with that which is lost in the real. The feminine position with respect to castration cor- responds to desire as Thanatos. This is the understanding that no external object of desire can heal the wound of castration. It is a belief that wholeness could be achieved if one could somehow retreat back to the precastrated state. To do so would be to lose individuality and subjectivity. It would be as though one were never born; it is to be dead.

This concept of sexuality as the result of castration can be seen in the Biblical creation myth. According to the first chapter of Genesis, God “created man in his own image . . . male and female created he them.” But chapter 2 relates that Lord God created Eve out of Adam’s rib.

To put this in Lacanian terminology, we posit that the subject was once perfectly whole, and therefore self-sufficient. God castrated ha-’adam by tak- ing away a precious part of his/her body—the (phallic) rib—and building it into another being. The resulting subject-who feels that he has lost a part of himself is man. The resulting subject who identifies herself with that which the other has lost is woman.

In other words, through castration, the masculine subject feels that he no longer has what he once had. Through violation, the feminine subject feels that she no longer is what she once was. The difference between the masculine and the feminine is the difference between having and being, which is reflected in the verb forms found in all Western language.

Woman is not man’s lost phallus. There never was, nor will there ever be, a piece that was taken away from the subject that would make him whole. Eros fantasizes the two sexes to be complementary—that the fem- inine can complete the masculine. The two sexes are, by contrast, symbolic. They do not form two halves of a single subject, but are each a split subject. To achieve wholeness is to lose oneself, to rejoin the pri- mordial unity of the real. This is the feminine acceptance of castration. To be a subject is to be castrated, to not be castrated is to lose one’s subjectivity.

Eros is related to masculine phallic jouissance, and therefore requires the denial of castration so that the subject can retain the hope that he could achieve wholeness if he could have sexual relations with the perfect mate. Thanatos, in contrast, is related to the supplemental jouissance that Lacan identified with the feminine.

The positive masculine metaphor tries to analyze property as a simple relationship between an owning subject and an object, and emphasizes the single masculine element of possession. The negative masculine metaphor tries to analyze property as a contractual relationship between two subjects that does not require an object, emphasizing the single masculine element of exchange. In both, loss of property, as illustrated in the language of the U.S. Constitution, is con- ceptualized as “takings” (castration). This reflects the masculine desire of Eros—the attempt to achieve wholeness while retaining distinct, separate subjectivity by finding the missing piece—whether imagined as the object of desire or perfect helpmate—lost through castration.

Reflecting the feminine desire of Thanatos, the feminine moment of property is an attempt to regress to the perfect, virginal integrity that supposedly existed before castration-violation. It is an attempt to reduce the trilateral relationship of property not to a binary relationship but to a simple unity of subject merged with and into object. One’s property becomes so necessary to one’s personhood and one’s identification with it is so complete that one cannot distinguish personhood from property.
Within the feminine metaphor, losses of property are described not in terms of taking that can be cured through damages, but as rape, pollution, a permanent loss of self.

If we were to turn around to look directly at our fantasy, as Orpheus turned to look at Eurydice, the fantasy would come to an end. We can only see the real if “eyed awry.” 77 Eros functions only so long as we keep up pretenses.

In contrast, when we take on the feminine sexuated position, we are some- times able to glimpse the real in an experience Lacan calls feminine jouis- sance—an enjoyment supplemental to masculine phallic jouissance78 Despite the name, however, enjoyment is not enjoyable in the conventional sense of the word, because to achieve the real is to leave the symbolic, and therefore to lose one’s own personality. Jouissance is the hope of wholeness in ecstatic union with the feminine as Phallic Mother. But when we actually confront the real, we see that it results in the obliteration of self. Consequently, jouis- sance is also the gut-wrenching horror of staring into the abyss.
To achieve the real is to be torn limb from limb by the ecstatic feminine of the Maenads. As with Eros, we must avoid looking too closely at Thanatos, but for a different reason. We are afraid to look at Eros because he is imaginary; he is not real enough. We are terrified to look at Thanatos because she is all too real. The ultimate real- ity is death.

As Slavoj Zizek says, “The trouble with jouissance is not that it is unattainable, that it always eludes our grasp, but, rather, that one can never get rid of it. . . . ”

What are contours of the real? By definition, we cannot explain the real in words (the symbolic) or depict it in pictures (the imaginary). The real is entirely negative. We must describe it in terms of what it is not.

We, as subjects, now feel separate from other persons. We imagine that once we must have been complete in ourselves and one with the other in order to love the other and be loved in return. The real is the universe before the big bang that created subjectivity (i.e., before castration). It is the ideal of perfect union with no mediation or alienating distinctions of any type which could separate us from the ideal mother. There is, therefore, no time in the real, since time separates yesterday from today and today from tomor- row. As is the case with the physical universe, time only began with the big bang of castration. The real is therefore an event, simultaneously both an instant and eternity. There can be no space in the real, since space separates here from there. There are no objects in the real. Objects can only be understood in terms of that which is other than—different from—a subject. But this requires that subject and object be separated. There can be no desire in the real. Desire is the longing for wholeness. Since the real is that which is already perfect and whole, there is nothing left to desire. In the real we are totally indifferent to everything, because nothing is different from anything else.

That is, in the symbolic we are castrated and violated. In the real we are intact, yet impotent; virgin, yet sterile.

Most importantly, there is no subjectivity, no personality, no individuality in the real.

In order to continue to create, we must follow our desire. Yet we will lose the object of desire if we try to confront the fantasies we erect to stand in its place, as Orpheus found out when he tried to embrace Eurydice.
Consequently, for the ideal of the perfect market to function, two things are necessary. First, its contours must be repressed and replaced with a fan- tasy image. Second, desire must always be postponed.
Narcissus is a myth of male desire. The masculine denies castration; the feminine accepts it. The masculine can never directly recognize the feminine, because to do so would be to confront castration.

At most, the masculine community can recognize the feminine only as the silent object of masculine desire passively exchanged among male subjects. In order for anatomically female persons to speak, they must temporarily take on or mime the masculine posi- tion. Speaking women are always male impersonators. As a result, the so-called different voice championed by Carol Gilligan is really just the same old masculine voice sung in falsetto. Different voice feminism is just another form of the masculine imaginary fantasm of affirmative femininity, of the perfect mate.

Eros, being imaginary, can only be maintained through fantasy. If one were to confront the truth—that desire can never be fulfilled, that castration is inevitable and irreversible—then Eros would turn to Thanatos.

And so, in the myth, the masculine Narcissus could not hear the speech of the feminine Echo. Echo’s desire quickly turned to Thanatos and she merged with the real—the death beyond death. Narcissus, in contrast, sus- tained his Eros through fantasy. He fantasized that he had found a perfect mate with whom he could have a perfect relationship. As the masculine rejects the feminine necessity of mediation, Narcissus’s perfect object of desire was the masculine fantasy image of himself: Eros is homoerotic in nature. As Teresias predicted, however, masculine subjectivity can only be maintained so long as its fantasy structure is maintained and the subject does not directly confront his own desire. As soon as Narcissus recognized him- self, he realized that the wholeness he sought was impossible in the symbolic order. Perfect immediacy only exists in the real; Thanatos eventually supersedes Eros. Consequently, Narcissus committed suicide by literally trying to merge with the imaginary object of his desire, drowning himself in his own reflection. Yet up to the very moment of his death, he still could not recognize the feminine voice—imagining that Echo’s desperate farewell came from the mouth of his imaginary masculine lover.

Future enjoyment is always mediated by anticipation, and past enjoyment is always mediated by memory. This sense of lost immediacy is feminine jouissance—enjoyment. Like Eurydice, you anticipate jouissance as she who has not-yet-come, but the instant you turn to try to hold her, she is always-already-gone.

The sexes are mutually constituted. The masculine is created by feminine freedom, the feminine by masculine abjection. Only the feminine can give birth to the masculine, but the feminine cannot function without the masculine generative act. In the depressing Lacanian formulation, however, even though the two sexes require each other, they can never fit together. The masculine is passive and impotent. He can neither procreate nor satisfy the feminine because he is castrated. The feminine is active and fertile. But she only brings forth because she has been violated and can never forgive the masculine.

The feminine is not only immediacy, but lack. In this sense, the feminine is radical negativity. It is the possibility of being outside the constraints of the symbolic and the imaginary. The feminine therefore can have no posi- tive content. All attempts to give content to the feminine are masculine fantasies written in the imaginary.

In the words of Slavo Zizek,“In short, by playing upon the somewhat worn-out Hegelian formula, we can say that the ‘enigma of woman’ ultimately conceals the fact that there is nothing to conceal.” ZiZek, The Metastases of Enjoyment." [Jeanne Schroeder, The Triumph of Venus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:08 am

Quote :
"From a Hegelian standpoint, “quality refers to the specific, affirmative aspect of a thing which distinguishes it from other things that exist—i.e., it is the aspect of a thing which is not shared; it is that which enables us to tell two ‘things’ apart.” Quantity, by contrast, is indifferent to qualitative dif- ference. As I have stated elsewhere,

The concept of more or less is the same regardless of whether we are talking about more of this, or less of that. . . . Quantity is, therefore, indifferent to quality.

In simple English, quality is differentiation, quantity is commensuration. Quality is difference, quantity is identity. . . . Qualities are the differences of self from other. Quantity, in contradistinction, is what self and other have in common. Qualitative difference is a matter of is or is not. Quantitative differ- ence is a matter of more or less. Quality asks “is it X or Y?” Quantity asks “how much Z do X and Y have?”

In Simmel’s words,

“Since money is nothing but the indifferent means for concrete and infinitely varied purposes, its quantity is its only important determination as far as we are concerned. With reference to money, we do not ask what and how, but how much. This quality or lack of quality of money first emerges in all of its psychological purity, however, only after it has been acquired. Only when money is transformed into positive values does it become evident that the quantity exclusively determines the importance of money, namely its power as a means.” Id. at 259.

The relationship between exchange value and use value parallels the relationship between the symbolic and the real, and that between the masculine and the feminine. Consequently, exchange value is “masculine money” and use value is “feminine” money. In each pair, the latter serves as the limit of the former; the latter is defined as that which the former is not. The former, therefore, simultaneously requires the existence of the latter as its defining other, while it can never capture the other.

Zizek compares Lacan’s reasoning to Marx’s account of how society moves from barter (in which each object is valued directly, in terms of the specific other object for which it is exchanged) to a monetary economy (in which exchange value is generalized by reference to money, understood as the means of exchange).

First, the commodity which serves as “general equivalent” is the one which is most often exchanged, which has the greatest use value (furs, corn, and so on); then, the relationship is inverted and the role of “general equivalent” is taken over by a commodity with no use value (or at least with negligible use- value)—money (the “money form). Following the same logic, the “general form” of the signifying equivalence (“a signifier represents the subject for all of the other signifiers”).

In other words, money as the medium of exchange is the one thing that cannot be enjoyed. Just as the speaking subject, as a master signifier with no independent significance, serves to give signification to other signifiers, money is the master commodity. Money can serve as the universal unit of value for other commodities because it has no independent value of its own. Money can only be created through exchange for another commodity, temporarily possessed, and then exchanged for another object.

Simmel continues, “Money is not only the absolutely interchangeable object, each quantity of which can be replaced without distinction by any other; it is , so to speak, interchangeability personified.” In Hegelian terms, quantity is indifferent to quality in the sense that the concept of “more or less” does not require one to know more or less “of what.”

The fact that two subjects engage in exchange is conclusive evidence that they recognize a fundamental difference between the objects exchanged.

The relationship of exchange and use value necessarily flows from the log- ical connection between quality and quantity, which Hegel calls “mea- sure.” Masculine money as exchange value is quantitative in nature. Feminine money—enjoyment or use value—in contrast, is qualitative. Quantity as commensuration is the suppression of quality as differentiation, in the same sense that the masculine position is the denial of the feminine. This should not be read as implying that quantity (or masculinity, or exchange value) can exist without quality (or femininity, or use value). Rather, it means the opposite: quantity can only be understood with respect to quality, and only perceived by its grace. Quantity is the sublation of the contra- dictions of quality, and therefore it requires quality as the condition of its existence. If quality is difference and quantity is identity, then, according to the doctrine of the identity of identity and difference, quality and quan- tity share a moment of identity despite their difference. To put this another way, to make a quantitative judgment is to assert that there is a moment of essential similarity between two things despite their difference. A quantitative statement is therefore always an implicit acknowledgement of qualitative difference. We require a concept of masculine money understood as an objective metric of exchange value—as a tool that enables us to commensurate and connect different commodities—precisely because the things to be exchanged are distinguishable by quality as well as by time and space. If all commodities were in fact interchangeable, we would not engage in exchange, and therefore would not need money as a universal metric of value. Money exists as a means to fill a gap, and therefore can only exist insofar as there is a gap that needs to be filled. To use another metaphor, money is a translator, and the fact of translation is not an assertion that two languages are the same, but testimony to the fact that they are not.

To paraphrase Derrida, translation is necessary not despite, but just because of, its impossibility." [Jeanne Schroeder, The Triumph of Venus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:09 am

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"Law must repress not only the extralegal forces of violence, but its own necessary moment of subjectivity—the illegal moment of its own founding. As the Furies argued, the jury that established the law was in fact lawless: declaring its own paternal jurisdiction, it revolted against the preexisting maternal one. We must believe, and act, as though the law and the masculine were everything they claim to be—objective, complete, constraining, and in control. But the phallus is not merely the masculine claim to power; it is also the symbol of the repressed feminine. In order for the masculine law to function, we must invoke the deus ex machina and veil the law’s feminine origins.

The masculine exists only in opposition to the feminine. He needs her to be constantly present as his defining other, even though he can never acknowledge her openly.

Consequently, in The Eumenides, civilized law is created by rejecting the primal loyalty to the mother, as per- sonified by the Furies, and submitting to the law of the father, as personified by Zeus. Accordingly, in The Eumenides, not only the legally recognized subject (the defendant, Orestes) but his defense attorney (the god Apollo) and the judges (the ten jurors) are all empirically male. Although Athena is female, she claims to be acting on behalf of Father Zeus in favoring the male. In order to establish the law, the masculine must be vindicated. It is not enough that the feminine be tamed; she must be repressed, hidden away. Their fury extinguished, the Kindly Ones solemnly retreat to the grotto.

However, as we have seen, the deus ex machina is just the falling of the curtain, the veil that hides the true ending of the story. In truth, the masculine is not completely successful. The untamed Furies remain hidden beneath the place of judgment, merely veiled.

Consequently, in The Eumenides, civilized law is created by rejecting the primal loyalty to the mother, as personified by the Furies, and submitting to the law of the father, as personified by Zeus. Accordingly, in The Eumenides, not only the legally recognized subject (the defendant, Orestes) but his defense attorney (the god Apollo) and the judges (the ten jurors) are all empirically male. Although Athena is female, she claims to be acting on behalf of Father Zeus in favoring the male. In order to establish the law, the masculine must be vindicated. It is not enough that the feminine be tamed; she must be repressed, hidden away. Their fury extinguished, the Kindly Ones solemnly retreat to the grotto.

However, as we have seen, the deus ex machina is just the falling of the curtain, the veil that hides the true ending of the story. In truth, the masculine is not completely successful. The untamed Furies remain hidden beneath the place of judgment, merely veiled.

The feminine is the hidden, veiled support of the law: she is that which permits law to function. In the guise of the Furies, the radical negativity that is the feminine appears as the total annihilation, or the death beyond death, of the real. Clearly, the primitive, prelegal regime of self-help and private vendetta must be repressed for any civilized society to exist.

The phallic order of the symbolic only functions through veiling because the masculine claim to have the phallus—to be powerful and objective—is, in fact, a fiction. The masculine objectivity of law is only created through lawless feminine subjectivity. If the phallus were revealed to us unveiled, we would have to admit its artificiality and fragility and would no longer obey it. Like the Wizard of Oz, the law is great and powerful only so long as we pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Lacan insists that the Father who writes the law is the absent or dead father, who never appears. The law is therefore written not by the Father, but in his name. This is why Father Zeus is never seen and does not act directly, but only indirectly, through a feminine proxy who invokes his name. It also explains why Apollo lacks the power to exonerate Orestes and why the masculine jury deadlocks on the subject of its own jurisdiction. Only the goddess Athena acting in the name of the Father is able to call the jury, break the deadlock, acquit Orestes and mollify the Furies. This is because Zeus’s pre- tense that he was founding the law was itself an act of violence—a violation of the preexisting regime of Mother Night.

Consequently, for law and subjectivity to function, subjectivity must retain a moment of arbitrary freedom. The law, which claims to be objective, must retain a (repressed) subjective moment. The masculine requires the feminine.

The first aspect of the superego is paternal. It is the Law of the Father, which establishes a masculine position totally constrained by the symbolic order. The law cannot function, however, if subjects are so completely objectified by the law.

Consequently, the superego must simultaneously create the subjective freedom, the freedom from law, that will enable action to occur and the law to function. This can only be done if the subject escapes and transgresses the law. By doing so, the superego opens a gap, the space in the law necessary for movement and growth. This second aspect of the superego is, of course, maternal—the regime of Mother Night. It is access to the repressed feminine exiled into the real.

To put this another way, as we have seen, the dialectic of abstract right tells us that the abstract person creates law as a means of actualizing his freedom. To be totally constrained by law, however, would be the opposite of freedom. Consequently, by its own internal logic, for law to function, it must always partially fail. Just as the achievement of the perfect market would be the end of all actual markets, the achievement of perfect law would be the end of all law—and the death of the subject.

Desire is the longing to be whole, intact, and invi- olate—not to be castrated. Desire is therefore created by castration, in the sense that if we were already whole, there would be nothing to desire.

To say that the Furies, like Aphrodite, are the daughters of castration suggests that the Furies are likewise goddesses of desire. Indeed, the mythical births of the Furies and Aphrodite mirror the Lacanian understanding of the masculine and feminine forms of desire. The myths tell us that when the blood of castration mixed with the traditionally feminine element of Earth, it gave birth to the Furies—goddesses of Thanatos. When it mixed with the traditionally masculine element of Ocean, it gave birth to Aphrodite—goddess of Eros.

Lacanian psychoanalysis posits that the masculine position is created through its abjection of the feminine, and the feminine is created through its abasement by the masculine. The implications of this are that misogynistic institutions are not merely accidental in modern Western society. Rather, a fundamental misogyny of legal institutions and language is essential.

The radical freedom of the feminine can today only be understood as the destructive frenzy of jouissance, personified by the Furies, which wipes out the old, rather than the fertile possibility of Venus, who brings forth the new. The sublation of sexuality must revive and preserve the feminine, currently negated by the masculine, but must not give into imaginary lures to depict closed, sterile, affirmative femininity." [Jeanne Schroeder, The Triumph of Venus]

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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:38 am

That's a good read.

Patterns (inter)acting are then quantitatively evaluated as possessing an innate desire (need), erotically/thymotically explaining why they (inter)act in the way they do.
Appreciation becomes an innate quality, made quantifiable with simplification/generalization; converted into 1/0 binary symbolic code (language).
The motive is to be appreciated by an-other , to acquire value in/through otherness - whole-some.
To be perceived, is to be given value, and to exist is automatically to be perceptible - potential value.

Subjectivity giving value to the objective.

Money being the abstraction made tangible, evaluation of self by an-other self, transferred from consciousnesses (living and potentially value giving) to the unconscious (non-living patterns indifferent to evaluation).
Patterns (order) placing a high value on patterns (order), rare (fragile) and/or resistant to chaos (strong).

Self-perpetuating, self-referring order(ing) = life.
Life, taking self, as a starting point, evaluates all (inter)acting patterns, in conjunction (time/space agreement), as being similarly motivated.
Cosmos as living organism = universe.
The cosmos gives the potential of evaluation to the living, and it reciprocates by bestowing upon it value - self-serving/servitude.

An indirect way of making the benefit worth any and all potential costs.

Reduction of quality (differentiation) from quantity (uniforming code) begins with the value 1/0 as a pre-existing quality, unifying all differentiating qualities - implosion of space/time into the absolute one/good/God.
Subjective gifting itself through other its desirable unity, wholesomeness, oneness, godliness - in the noumenon the phenomena implode into one, or words/symbol; multiplicity (Satan) implodes into one-ness (Judeo-Christian/Islamic God).

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PostSubject: Stocks and Investments Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:52 pm

Stocks and Investments

It's a secure way of saving, if you know how to invest or get friendly professional help.

One can invest in bonds and securities and resources and debt, I dont care about that, what I find interesting is playing the market, as it relies on human invention, and human valuing trends - and it ties into the Earth through dharma - it feeds the earth, or would, if investments were made to that end.


Last edited by Black Panther on Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:20 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:55 pm

Is, where investments are to that end.

The Ethos of Investments.

If someone would write this book, and did it well, and this seeped into law, then the human species could be brought under control, and the earth could prosper.

We invest in our own destruction purely because of the lack of transparency, the way too many layers of investment return; we can not see what yields come from which field...

The fields of death now produce most of the standing wealth.
Let them have it.

We'll stretch open fields of prosperity and live off those.
The time is coming where 'economy' has an entirely different meaning.
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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:07 pm

Uranus in Taurus; any time Uranus and Pluto enter new signs, we have gigantic economic effects.
2010/2011 Uranus entered definitively into Aries as the Arab Spring erupted, Pluto entered into Capricorn in November 2008  as an enormous financial change took place and Obama was elected; these are violent signs, both Cardinal - Uranus in Aries is pure upheaval; ISIS as a capstone; Uranus into Taurus will yield enormous wealth through technology, the electrical heavoc-wreaker always thrives in an Earth sign, which can resist his force and come up with immutable treasures from the crevices torn. Taurus is the richest of all the signs, Wealth in its undivided form, pure ownership, understanding of that which one owns as oneself, thus also the sign appropriate to the masters of the Earth.

Uranus will definitively enter Taurus in the spring of 2019. The economy and the warmachine will go through some major tectonic shock, and a time of true invention will secure the destiny of mankind for the coming age - around the time Pluto enters Aquarius, things will be looking radically different on Earth.

When you keep an eye on the clock, everything happens on schedule.
Though that doesn't lighten the work of getting there. On the contrary; it demands that one do the appropriate work.

When fate is known it becomes irresistible.
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PostSubject: Re: Money Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:12 pm

As all investors know, the market is anything but a game of chance. It is only a matter of being informed.
This powerful film is the case of information pertaining to an impending crash,



But our interest should be the impending booms.
Booms that arent bubbles; Taurus will provide.
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PostSubject: Re: Money Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:20 pm

Paul Cartledge wrote:
"The Classical Greeks did not count greed as a deadly sin. There is no entry for 'greed' in the index to K.J. Dover's Greek Popular Morality, for example. Pleonexia, literally 'trying to get more', was indeed castigated, but not on absolute moral grounds, and the negative implications of aggression and fraud in that term were more dominant than that of greed. There were, I think, two main reasons for this important difference between Greek and Judaeo-Christian morality. First, a matter of mentality: envy (for which there was a perfectly good Classical Greek word, phthonos) was not a vice either. On the contrary, a Classical Greek strove might and main to get himself envied as much and by as many other people as possible. Since the possession of great wealth was a prime source of envy, the attitude of mind necessary for obtaining or conserving it could not be considered in itself morally reprehensible.

Secondly, a matter of brute economics: almost all Greeks were 'poor', by which term it was implied that they had to rather than chose to work for a living, whether or not they could call on supplementary free or servile labour to assist them. A society which defines wealth in terms of freedom from the necessity to work, and which defines poverty so broadly, is by definition a poor society. Unlike many western societies today, the ancient Greek world was a 'no-growth' economy; and getting a living was a 'zero-sum' game, that is, the increase in one person's wealth meant a decrease in someone else's. Making a pile therefore was an extremely rare occurrence, ascribed naturally enough to plain chance by one's envious peers or more grandiosely to divine favour shown to oneself by Hermes, god of lucky finds.

There is some reason for thinking that the gap between rich and poor Greeks may have grown wider in the course of the fourth century BC than it had been during the later fifth. The political writings of Isokrates, Plato and Aristotle - all extremely wealthy men and founders of schools of higher learning at Athens - are shot through with concern about the rich-poor divide. Isokrates constantly feared for the security of his own property at the hands of rootless and envious poor Greeks and preached the need for an anti-Persian crusade to conquer land in Asia on which they could be settled. Plato in the Republic did not scruple to describe apolls that was ruled oligarchically (that is, by the few rich citizens) as two cities, the city of the rich and the city of the poor; while the major pragmatic motivation of Aristotle's treatise, the Politics, was a desire to prevent the antagonism between rich and poor Greek citizens from spilling over into outright civil war and bloodshed (stasis).

On the other hand, there was nothing new about this antagonism in itself in 388, when the Plutus was staged in Athens (at which festival and with what success we do not know). It will perhaps be enough to refer to Herodotus' story of Themistokles seeking to raise funds on Andros in 480/79 (Hdt. 8.111): when he told the reluctant Andrians that he was accompanied by two powerful divinities, Persuasion and Necessity, they replied that they too were divinely governed - by Poverty and Helplessness.

Khremylos the hero bears, as is usual in Aristophanes, a meaningful name. It is intended both to suggest one of the Greek words for a possession, piece of property or good (khrema) and to play on that word's etymological link to the idea of utility and use-value. For Khremylos is not only a man ofmoderate property, in fact a modestly prosperous peasant farmer who is sufficiently well-off to own several slaves, but like Trygaios in Peace he is presented as a useful or worthy (khrestos) citizen. Unlike Trygaios, however, Khremylos does not dream up his great idea all by himself. It comes to him, almost, by accident. For he begins by consulting the Delphic Oracle on a purely individual, family matter - whether his son should practise virtue or vice if he is to make a success of his life. Apollo's answer, a neat parody both of Delphic ambiguity and of a familiar folktale motif, is that he should take home with him the first person he meets after leaving the shrine. That 'person' just happens to be Ploutos, the eponymous god of wealth, who is represented as a decrepit, squalid, bent, cowardly and - of course (the Greek proverb had it that 'wealth is blind') - blind old man.

The thought has occurred before to Khremylos that wealth in society is not merely unevenly but unjustly distributed: the morally worthy are poor, the undeserving and immoral are rich. Indeed, the connection seems to be a causal one: it is through practising wickedness that the rich have acquired their wealth. How many of us have not had the same thought, and perhaps gone on like Khremylos (245 ff.) to imagine that if we were rich we would behave ever so much better than those who actually now are? But only a Classical Greek polytheist could have 'explained' the origins of this intolerable situation on the theological grounds proposed here, namely that

Ploutos had been blinded by an immoral Zeus, jealous as always of whatever is virtuous. And only Aristophanes could have dreamt up Khremylos' 'logical' solution to this manifest social injustice, which was of course to restore Ploutos' sight - by taking him to the incubatory shrine of the healing god Asklepios (officially admitted to the Athenian pantheon in 420." [Aristophanes]

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"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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Lyssa
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PostSubject: Re: Money Wed May 03, 2017 7:13 pm

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"Essentially, the Austrian school’s axiom is that “Logic doesn’t lie, but numbers can deceive”, while the Chicago school’s motto would be “Numbers don’t lie, but non-colluded assumptions can deceive”."

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"The [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] has been credited as being one of the key groups that succeeded in moving the world away from socialism/marxism and into a more liberal world order."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Money

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