The hard boiled Wonderland
This is why I believe that the Calutec is the embodiment of a Deleuzian desiring machine. His representation does not maintain a desire of lack, yet desire in Deleuzeian and Guattarian terms is revolutionary within the Calutec, operating at the unconscious level. So much so desire creates a parallel world in this realm. Desire destroys the scientific world that surrounds the Calutec in the conscious due to the restrictedness nature of such a society. In other words it destroys the closed order that subverts its creativity. This is why the Gate-Keeper is so important; this representation is portrayed as one that enforces certain laws.
He is the purveyor of supernatural cutting implements wherein he uses these implements to cut the shadow from the new arrival and then pierces the eyes to restrict vision. Existence in the subconscious realm requires disengagement from the constructed world that the Calutec has existed previously, the shadow is the representative of this construction and hence its removal necessary as is the concept of vision. What we perceive with our eyes to be reality has also been tainted by the socialisation agencies that have constructed us.
On page 334-5 we are privy to Murakami’s discourse on the state of our existence. First via the shadow he introduces the Nietzscheian concept of the death of Godviii, wherein he states, “But absence of fighting or hatred or desire also means the opposites do not exist either. No joy, no communion, no love. Only where there is disillusionment and despair of loss, there is no hope”. In other words through the suffering of the world’s woes and joys would one be able to create meaning and purpose of his existence through the aesthetic ideal, for a true existence is a combination of these two states.
That is the shadow’s premise on existence; the desiring machine has created another world wherein there is no pain, no anger, no hatred and a form of contentment because one knows no better. Nietzscheix alludes to the premise that one may view servitude to an ideal such as Christianity as slavery; however within that same system of servitude slavery there is an intrinsic freedom that allows its followers clarity of vision. This premise can also be attributed to the manner in which the shadow speaks of the utopian world that has been created by the Calutec’s subconscious, wherein it states (p248) “…
the town is perfectly wrong… the longer you stay in here, the more you get to thinking that things are normal… ” Here one who sees with non-believing eyes beholds the skewed world that is perfect in its absurdity. As stated before the journey is represented as a physical journey but it is a psychological journey as well, a journey to consciousness. This is represented and made clear as the Calutec and the daughter of the professor make their way down through the caverns (Subconscious) and then battle the INKling lair to reach the words of clarity that the professor possesses.
I chose to describe the professor in this light for I believe he is the Lacan’s beacon in this equation. He has the ability to manipulate the auditory senses and processes; hence he has the power over speech and therefore language. His description of the Calutec’s position and predicament serves us in a Lacanian manner. He is applying a language configuration to the subconscious and hence giving it meaning and structure. Another issue in regards to this portion of the novel is the comparison of the journey of the Calutec up the perilous tower to reach enlightenment from the Professor and the Sisyphus Mythx.
Herein we see the Calutec achieve his consciousness after enduring the perdition of the mountain. The finale of the journey is the choice that the construction makes at the end of the novel; here he reterratorialises himself not in reality (for he dispenses his shadow), nor does he accepted the constructed eternal world created by the desiring machine. Murakami using the rhizome re-establishes an ancient path, Romanticism. The use of the forest as the motif for transcendence of this life is straight from the Blakes and Wordsworths of the Romantic period.
Interestingly, they like the Calutec were protesting against the insurgence of the enlightenment period wherein science maintained to hold the keys to our perfect future. Suskind also initiates his construction on a journey to self discovery and ultimately a conscious state. Grenouille’s motivation throughout the novel is a desire of lack, as he searches for the missing fragments of his perfect scent. The construction is not set on a journey of self discovery, he is driven by a subconscious desire (not in Deleuseian terms) to attain scents.
In Lacanian terms his subconscious maintained a language structure, not of words but of scents. Spoken language was incorporated into the construct’s life only when it was necessary to peruse his desire of lack, his ultimate scent. Suskind writes his book in a satirical mode. His construct undergoes many different stages in his life, and with each phase one can read different theorist views relating to that particular stage. Suskind creates from the tap root systems of thought of theses stages a rhizome systemxi of philosophical thought.
It is a mode of thinking that does not incorporate a beginning or an end, but is in continual metamorphosis that spawns different ways of thinking, expansion, tangents; a crucial aspect of a rhizome is the ability of entering a rhizomic philosophical thought at any and all points thus creating its own lines of flight. In an overall view of the novel there is a major use of the Freudian discourse of entering ones subconscious to discover oneself. This is present from p 127 wherein Grenouille ascends the mountain and enters the cave to seek solitude.
Deep in the mountain, which is symbolic for the subconscious, in the foetal position he finds repose. In this state of tranquilly he explores his subconscious, wherein he is the ruler. Within his cave which symbolic for the mother’s womb; Freudian theory may argue this regression was a sign of the constructs inability to love due to the neglect by his biological mother. This brings in the question of the id, ego and super-ego balancexii. Whilst in the cave the construct is in perpetual dream state this is also important to the Freudian view wherein it declares that dreams are the most important part of the mind, messages from the unconscious.
Dreams are either the source of sexual urges or destructive urges. By analysing our dreams, we can discover what might be missing from our lives. Dreams, as well as hallucinations, are based on wish-fulfilment. Dreams always have some sort of meaning, and in Grenouille case was able to reach his consciousness. His conscious state gave him the direction and motivation to keep living. His consciousness related to an aesthetic ideal, the ultimate scent. This takes on a strong Nietzscheian theme, the discovery of one’s purpose through an aesthetic ideal, instead of God or transcendence from the physical.
Friedrich Nietzsche, In ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’xiii argues that art is without doubt the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of this life. The creation of work as an aesthetic process, as applied to a man’s life, a process that gives life a meaning, and thereby a vitality, in the present, while integrating his past, and providing him with the inspiration of beauty to live for tomorrow. With renewed vigour Grenouille sets out to achieve his aesthetic ideal. There are many avenues of critique we can take in relation to this novel, but due to the word limit we will only look at one more aspect of the story.
Through the trails and tribulations of Grenouille’s labour and learning, he finally attains the perfect scent, a scent wherein he can control the populace, the construct has achieved the Nietzcheian super man status. Nietzschexiv believes that everything alive is seeking to perfect itself and become stronger and in our present state, modern humans are just a mindless herd, more primitive than our ape ancestors and even the ancestors of the apes. Modern man is just a shapeless mass, a monster but the Superman forges his own destiny; He is at his highest intellectual and creative ability. “Man is to ape as Superman shall be to man.
Man is a polluted stream which Christianity says must be rid of its pollutants”. Greouille has accomplished just this, from his obscure beginnings he created himself a god, through the Nietzscheian view of the aesthetic ideal as an intrinsic motivation, or value for life in place of God. This is no where more evident than in the last Chapter of the novel. First he asserts himself as god wherein he through his reinvention of himself can manipulate the populace and create an unbridled orgy instead of his beheading; and secondly his offering himself to the populace as a holy sacrifice to be eaten in return for worship.
This later example is directly related to god like figures in Orpheus in Greek Mythology and the sacrificial body and blood ritual in Christian religion. Within these two journeys there are a myriad of philosophical thoughts used in the construction of our stories. Unfortunately, space has only allowed us to scratch the surface of these debates. Prevalent in both discussions is the critique of science as a philosophical thought as represented by the professor and the question of theorems in the books respectively.
All the critiques are important, however any attempt to correlate them creates a rhizome pattern of thought, and so one can step in at any point and be richly rewarded. Both writings used the concept of parallel journeys juxtaposing the physical and the psychological paradigms-in both cases our protagonists are coerced by the social construction that impinge on their existence to break out and form new identities. The over-riding theme in both stories is that God is dead and that man is the centre of his own creation, and thus responsible for his own identity and destiny.
Murakami choses to use the concept of the desiring machine for the creation of this new identity, wherein Suskind extensively uses Nietzsche and Freud’s theories for his construction. Either way both authors accomplish a sense of hope through their interpretation of the fight against the superstructure of society. i Claire Colebrook, Understanding Deleuze, Allen; Unwin, Crowsnest, NSW, Australia. 2002. p xxii-here Colebrook gives us a clear an concise meaning of the Deleuzeian understanding of desire in her key terms section-Desire is connection, not the overcoming of loss or separation…
Desire is a process of increasing expansion, connection and creation… does not originate from closed organisms… it is a productive process of life that produces organisms and selves. ii Ibid, p xxiii-Reterritorialisation is intertwined with the notion of ‘deterritorialisation’, that is a concept that is defined as the complex movement or process by which something escapes or departs from a given territory, wherein a territory can be defined as a system of any kind, conceptual, linguistic, social, or affective.
Reterritorialisation does not imply a returning to the original territory, but rather refers to the ways in which deterritorialised elements recombine and enter into new relations in the constitution of new territories or modifications of the old. iii Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (edited by Bernard Williams), The Gay Science, The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. 2001. p xii-xiii– In the pursuit of truth Nietzsche claimed to have killed God.
If Nietzsche’s moral ideas are the simple result of human self-interest and the evolutionary urge to survive-then religion in its role as provider of moral principles and commandments is obsolete-hence leading to the non-existence status of God himself. This led to a state of mind within humans that may be summed up by the phrase “An awful yet exhilarating thought”. Awful because of the abandonment of the ancient protector-and now each becomes the master of their own destiny. iv Nright, Elizabeth, Psychoanalytical Criticism: Theory in Practice, Routledge, London, 1984, p27-36.
Freud theorized that there was a separate part of the mind, known as the unconscious, or subconscious. He believed that the unconscious had a strong influence on our everyday behavior. Sometimes, people would go into hysteria, or have some sort of phobia for a reason that is unknown to them. The cause of the hysteria or phobia could usually be found within the subconscious. If one was a claustrophobic, it may be due to the fact that his or her mother or father had locked him or her in a closet as punishment for a bad deed when he or she was a young child. Sigmund Freud maintained that there was the threefold division of the mind.
And through psychoanalysis, one could discover the source of their fear or other bizarre behavior. v Niall Lucy. Postmodern Literary Theory: an introduction, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK, 1997. p 1-2-here the existence of language is described as a system or structure that precedes us such that there can be no understanding of ourselves outside of language. vi Author Harland, Richard, 1947- Superstructuralism : the philosophy of structuralism and post-structuralism, London ; New York : Methuen, 1987 vii Marie-Louise von Franz, C. G. Jung: His Myth in our Time, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1975, p63-9.
The cornerstone of Jung’s work lies in his recognition of the Collective Unconscious, an evolutionary concept of a reservoir of latent images, not in one’s personal unconscious but from the ancestral past, as well as pre-human or animal ancestors. Not inherited, they are predispositions or potentialities for experiencing and responding to the world. The more experience one has, the greater are the chances that the latent images will become manifested. A rich environment and opportunities for education and learning are necessary for “individuating” (making conscious) all aspects of the collective unconscious.
viii Op, cit God is dead In the pursuit of truth Nietzsche claimed to have killed God. If Nietzsche’s moral ideas are the simple result of human self-interest and the evolutionary urge to survive-then religion in its role as provider of moral principles and commandments is obsolete-hence leading to the non-existence status of God himself. This led to a state of mind within humans that may be summed up by the phrase “An awful yet exhilarating thought”. Awful because of the abandonment of the ancient protector-and now each becomes the master of their own destiny.
Nihilism” was the term ascribed by many to Nietzsche, regarding the devaluation of the highest values posited by the ascetic ideal. However, to describe Nietzsche as a nihilist is to do him an injustice; although through his judgment that God was dead leading to a consensus that religious and philosophical absolutes had dissolved in the emergence of 19th-century Positivism creating a collapse of metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions for traditional morality; with only a pervasive sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness remaining.
Nietzsche is any thing but a nihilist, he believed that man (asexual) through suffering of life’s woo and joy would be able to create meaning and purpose of his existence through the aesthetic ideal. He believed without God, and the power evoked by this institution, our impotent slave days would be over. In its place the ” free spirits” would develop and become more adventurous-with no restriction in place, no fear of retribution man would finally develop himself to his full potential. In his day he becomes an evangelist to his mode of thinking, but came to the realization “my time has not yet come.
This great event is still on its way, still travelling; it has not yet reached the ears of men… ” Today his concept has permeated into the conscious of the populace; philosophical thought contains the premise that God is truly dead. This is evident in today literature, especially in its silence regarding God and the reterritorialisation of man as the centrepiece of existence. ix Friedrich Nietzsche (translated by R. J. Hollingdale), Beyond Good and Evil, Penguin Classics, London, England, 2003, p55-74. x Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, Penguin Books, UK, 2000. p107-111
The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than fu tile and hopeless labour. Sisyphus was the wisest and most prudent of mortals. According to another tradition, however, he was disposed to practice the profession of highwayman. I see no contradiction in this. Opinions differ as to the reasons why he became the futile laborer of the underworld. To begin with, he is accused of a certain levity in regard to the gods.
He stole their secrets. Egina, the daughter of Esopus, was carried off by Jupiter. The father was shocked by that disappearance and complained to Sisyphus. He, who knew of the abduction, offered to tell about it on condition that Esopu s would give water to the citadel of Corinth. To the celestial thunderbolts he preferred the benediction of water. He was punished for this in the underworld. Homer tells us also that Sisyphus had put Death in chains. Pluto could not endure the sight of h is deserted, silent empire. He dispatched the god of war, who liberated Death from the hands of her conqueror.
It is said that Sisyphus, being near to death, rashly wanted to test his wife’s love. He ordered her to cast his unburied body into the middle of the public square. Sisyphus woke up in the underworld. And there, annoyed by obedience so contrary to human love, he obtained from Pluto permission to return to earth in order to chastise his wife. But when he had seen again the face of this world, enjoyed water and sun, warm stones and the sea, he no longer wanted to go back to the infernal darkness. Recalls, signs of anger, warnings were of no avail. Many years more he lived facing the curve of the gulf, the sparkling sea, and the smiles of earth.
A decree of the gods was necessary. Mercury came and seized the impudent man by the collar and, snatching him from his joys, lead him forcibly back to the underworld, where his rock was ready for him. Sisyphus is the absurd hero. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. Nothing is told us about Sisyphus in the underworld. Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them.
As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it, and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screw ed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit.
He goes back down to the plain. It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus is conscious. His consciousness is realised during that hour of his return. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock. If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. His torture is his strength. The Calutec works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.
Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn. His fate belongs to him. His rock is a thing. Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols. In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up. Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory.
There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny, or at least there is, but one which he concludes is inevitable and despicable. For the rest, he knows himself to be the master of his days. At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which become his fate, created by him, combined under his memory’s eye and soon sealed by his death.
Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling. Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain is the Calutec in his conscious state. xi Tap root systems are a concrete conception of ideas/theorems, wherein an idea or concept has been generally agreed upon as being an absolute of truth. For example Freud’s psychoanalysis methods are a tap root system.
Rhizomes disregard the basis of conceptual truth; they show the movement between ideas, doing away with foundations to highlight a multiplicity of meanings and possibilities. It is a mode of thinking that does not incorporate a beginning or an end, but is in continual metamorphosis that spawns different ways of thinking, expansion, tangents; a crucial aspect of a rhizome is the ability of entering a rhizomic philosophical thought at any and all points thus creating its own lines of flight. xii Hans J. Eysenck and Glenn D. Wilson.
The experimental study of Freudian theories, London, Methuen, 1973. pp26, 46-8, 130-145. Freud argues that all living organisms are governed by two basic instincts: eros and thanatos, otherwise known as the life drive and the death drive. These instincts are ‘located’ in the id. He did not think the id, ego, and super-ego were separate parts of the mind, but only that one could distinguish various functions of the mind and thus label these functions separately. The id designates the seat of the instinctual drives and it is governed by a pleasure principle. It seeks pleasure and avoids pain.
The ego arises out of the frustration of the id and the demands of the ‘outside world’ or ‘reality’. Freud used the term ‘ego’ to designate that part of the mind that adjudicates between the organism’s instinctual demands, the moral condemnation of the super-ego, and the scarcity of satisfactory goods in the environment. The ego, then, operates under a reality principle. It is the part of the mind that deals with reality. The super-ego arises out of the stage of personality development when a child most completely identifies with his or her parents or external authority figures.
This process of identification is an actual internalization of the outside authority. A part of who you are, Freud thinks, is an internalisation of the process of rewards and punishments that the external authority exerts over you. The super-ego is that part of the mind that rewards or punishes one based on what one thinks about and/or does. It operates under a sort of morality principle. xiii Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins, Reading Nietzsche. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1987 pp 132-151. xiv Op. cit. reading Nietzsche, pp143
Bibliography Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, Penguin Books, UK, 2000. a clear and concise reference to the classic myth and great link to modern world. Claire Colebrook, Understanding Deleuze, Allen; Unwin, Crowsnest, NSW, Australia. 2002-this book was helpful in understanding the complex ideas of D;D. she is able to simplify some very complex ideas. Deleuze G. and Guattari F, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Continuum, London Essex, 2003. this is the core of their political discussion-although I need Colebrook to decipher it sometimes very invaluable.
Would have loved to focus just on this topic with our texts. Hans J. Eysenck and Glenn D. Wilson. The experimental study of Freudian theories, London, Methuen, 1973 A good theoretical backup for the argument I was presenting. Marie-Louise von Franz, C. G. Jung: His Myth in our Time, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1975. A great resource in the use of Jung in my essay. With little work done on Jung during semester, I found this book invaluable. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs (ed), Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy and other writings, Cambridge University Press, UK, 1999.
Again this book was used to get a grasp on the Apolloanian and Dionysiac concepts in Nietzsche thought-this is an aspect if the word limit allowed I would have like to explore more in the texts studied. Author Harland, Richard, 1947- Superstructuralism : the philosophy of structuralism and post-structuralism, London ; New York : Methuen, 1987. This book was used as a theoretical backup for my argument-most of the concept used came from relational knowledge learnt from Ann. Niall Lucy. Postmodern Literary Theory: