Delusional Anarchy

A response to:

One intriguing book I read that I still haven’t integrated into my habitual way of thinking about things is Ludwig Binswanger’s “Dream and Existence”:

“Swiss psychiatrist Binswanger’s 1930 essay “Dream and Existence” is paired with Foucault’s first published work, “Dream, Imagination, and Existence” (1954), a lengthy introduction to Binswanger’s pioneering essay in existential psychiatry. Originally published in Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, v.XIX, no.1, 1985. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR” 

( here’s one place you can read it: )

What’s interesting to me about it is this idea that Foucault talks about in his long introductory essay that dreaming consciousness precedes waking consciousness, that dreaming is something like consciousness without the restraints of the body and its usual world. At least that’s what I think he’s saying. It’s also a claim that doesn’t immediately feel true to me for a number of reasons. But when I entertain the idea, it offers a perspective on waking life, knowledge, truth, and delusion that positions such things as secondary to a more fundamental structure of consciousness. In other words, if dreaming precedes reality, delusion precedes truth. 

In Husserl, we find a similar idea: objectivity is a special form of subjectivity. I think that’s in Husserl! This is also …interesting.

Taking these ideas together, maybe delusional anarchy appropriately precedes realistic anarchy. Plenty of anarchists have said as much; that first we must imagine, dream, desire. I’ve seen plenty of early-Crimethinc bashing for espousing such things. But on this one, I’m on early-Crimethinc’s side. This is also the side of the Surrealists and the Situationists. Of course, it’s also the side of many existentialists. If existence precedes essence, then this means that Being precedes Knowledge… and that means being realistic and constructing accurate maps of the world upon which our plans are plotted is inevitably a constricted mode of thinking. The knowing subject, the serious man with his spirit of seriousness are basically inauthentic modes of being-in-the-world. Simone de Beauvoir does an excellent job taking such people to task in the Ethics of Ambiguity.

Just as Husserl didn’t reject science, but wanted to develop an ontology that examined what it is that makes science possible …all sciences… the above doesn’t mean I think we should reject realistic plans. However, it does mean that we should be aware of the basic artificiality and limitations of being realistic. The speciality of being realistic can become its own nightmare… one that Bakunin warned socialists about when it came to Marx and his technocratic tendencies. It’s probably best to be realistic only as much as we need to be. The reality principle is quite discontenting, at least.