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Deferring the Self


Szymon Wrobel

This book is a result of studies on psychoanalysis, politics, and art. The topics in this book range from populism, the limits of the political, identity, melancholy, the peculiarity of psychoanalytical interpretation to the connection of theatre and politics. Psychoanalysis is a form of practicing personal truth, which needs to be one’s own and which is not a result of anonymous discourse. Politics is the practice of being with others; it is the cultivation of antagonistic relations with others. Art is the practice aiming at giving one’s life the mark of something unique, it is the very practice of life.


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I. The Limits of the Political The specific political distinction [… ]is that between friend and enemy. Carl Schmitt1 Nietzsche: »Perhaps to each of us there will come the more joyful hour when we exclaim: ‘Friends, there are no friends!’ thus said the dying sage; ‘Foes, there are no foes!’ say I, the living fool.« Jacques Derrida2 Is it possible without setting off loud protests on the part of militants to think and to live the gentle rigour of friendship, the law of friendship qua the experience of a certain ahumanity, in absolute separation, beyond or below the commerce of gods and man? And what politics could still be founded on this friendship which exceeds the measure of man without becoming a theologem? Would it still be a politics? Jacques Derrida3 1. The very concept of the political today When and under what conditions can we say that an event is political? To what extent “that, which is happening” is happening politically? In which way can we differentiate the main spheres of culture – politics, knowledge and ethics? Could we call the reflection on oneself and the other – knowledge, the action on the action of oneself – ethics, and the action on the action of the other – politics? What is politics? Is politics the management of the power of the State? Is politics the realm of the decision, of action in the social world, of what Ernesto Laclau, following Gramsci, calls hegemonisation?4 And in a sense could we say that...

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