Inversion and the Rupture in Continuity

Jacques Camatte

January 10th, 2021

To truly and fully situate both the current moment of humanity’s wandering and the urgency of the becoming of inversion [1], it is necessary to clarify two fundamental phenomena of repression, two pillars of the auto-domestication of the species and its ‘shutting-in’ [enfermement]: parental repression combined with the setting up of the dynamics of enmity, and the elimination of affectivity coupled with a concomitant triumph of indifference. The latter is itself in accordance with the process of the undifferentiation of beings. 

Regarding the first, I want to clarify that it is initially an unconscious ‘action’: parents are only reactualizing the behavioral patterns they have undergone during their education since birth. Consequently, the father and the mother absolutely do not recognize the naturalness of their child, who presents himself as a unique and absolutely new being of whom they can have no prior knowledge; that is to say, before actual contact with the baby. However, in this case the only dynamic that would prevail is deeply empathic listening, therefore, the setting in continuity with the wonder of discovery. 

But having no immediate knowledge of what they were when they came to the world, a void is imposed on the parents which is filled by a social knowledge: theoretically condensed repression. This knowledge stipulates that the baby is a dependent being, insensitive, having little brain power, a true tabula rasa, etc. The child is at most an animal, and his animality must be repressed for him to become a person. This knowledge creates a distanciation and a repression of the child. As a result, the father or mother does not acknowledge the actual activity of the baby, but rather, its reactions to the interventions they make which are dictated by social knowledge. This implies that the newborn does not actively express its naturalness but is reactive. This is the original moment in the setting up of the dynamic of interventions on or against the newborn. This is in place of acting in harmony with what, at the limit, could include the whole cosmos. This reactive dynamic signals both the dereliction of birth and a break in continuity with its origin; so begins the extraction from the latter, which forms the basis of its social birth and its ability to handle itself [2].

This blindness to the naturalness of the newborn, the lack of immediate natural knowledge about it conforms to the long standing dynamics of humankind’s separation from nature, and the way that, in denying this, a will to domination arises. This corresponds to the anchor point of a node where all these givens intertwine. The father or mother in the presence of the newborn is not alone but accompanied in some way by members of the speciated species who pressure them to operate in the dynamics of separation; thus within a dynamic of repression. Even if the mother and the father harbour in them a strong naturalness, it is, as it were, suppressed and masked, which reinforces the ambiguity of the relation and even a confusion in the sense that the parents, in repressing the child, must repress themselves.

We will clarify this with the help of Elena Gianini Belotti: 

“What is happening between the mother and the newborn boy? What is happening between the mother and the newborn girl? There is no doubt that the mother expects certain types of reactions, responses and attitudes that are consistent with the sex of the child, but by means of what interventions is she able to induce the child to modify those behaviours that, not fitting into planned patterns, she does not approve of?” [3]

Waiting for an answer actually implies not listening to the child. If the answers do not satisfy the adult, we understand that it can result in irritation and anger up to the point of enmity. The adult, being able to explain away the unsuitability of the child’s response, projects a certain animosity into the child. Finally, the very expectations of the adult often generate a certain anxiety for the child. For the newborn such an introjection is a weighted load of ambiguity. There is no fully immediate concrete experience.

Then Belotti clearly shows how haptogestation, involving deep bodily relations between the mother and the child operating in continuity and thus in concrete immediacy, is replaced by a simple exterogestation; an exterior gestation and sometimes almost extraneous where the practices determined by speciosis-ontosis prevail. She recalls, first of all:

“Being breastfed for a sufficiently long period does not represent a purely physical but also a psychic advantage. For the child it means tangible proof of the availability of the maternal body and, in return, the importance of its own body (p. 40).”

She adds: 

“It is precisely in the mother’s profound acceptance of the child’s body that ‘self-esteem’ is born, which is often so rare among girls and so fulsome among boys” (ibid).

“Self-esteem” is already a feeling weighed down by ontosis because it comes under the dynamics of valorisation. What we are really talking about here is the ability to affirm oneself as an emerging being, as a phenomenon of life, which is made possible by the profound welcome of the mother. I must note, however, that E.G. Belotti has put inverted commas around the phrase self-esteem, which may suggest that this phrase does not fully satisfy her either.

She subsequently gives us indications of the oscillation between acceptance and refusal which puts the child in a dynamic where the mother’s ambiguity is unconsciously imposed. 

“The breaks [between the sucking phases] seem on the contrary useless, a waste of time, or a deliberate laziness on the part of the child (mother’s often refer to a ‘lazy feeder’), unless the mother can view the creature she is feeding in a less authoritarian way. To grant the child the freedom to rest, to ‘not-to-do’ in a series of actions in which the active part is essential, means that one succeeds in putting oneself ‘on the child’s side’. One understands the child intimately, considers the child as an individual, with its own rhythms, its individual demands, as a being with a personality that belongs only to it” (p. 43).

“It is precisely in these first, apparently insignificant concessions to the child’s autonomy, that the hostility or benevolence of the mother is manifested. And if she is basically hostile, she will feel the need to deny its freedom, to bend it to her will, to impose discipline and to tame the baby as soon as possible; this need to make the child submit is much stronger when it comes to a girl” [4].

The quotes that follow illustrate how the ambiguity of the relationship is set up on both sides.

“The mother communicates perfectly her state of mind and desires to the child she is breastfeeding. The newborn has a very acute sensitivity to the way it is held. It learns very quickly, by many signs, whether or not it is allowed to abandon itself quietly to the pleasures of the meal, or if these are to be denied.”

“The newborn clearly perceives the slightest malaise: it immediately seeks to understand what is wanted of it and tries to comply, because the discomfort is intolerable.”

“It should always be kept in mind that the little child perceives interventions directed against its impulses as acts of hostility against its whole self rather than against a particular drive.”

“It is evident that mothers feel that the attempts of their children to control their own eating according to their desires is felt as an affront and as a manifestation of distrust” [5].

Successively, we see the expression of conscious repression and the exit from ambiguity, but this fails to annihilate the deep love of the mother, which is repressed since continuity cannot be abolished except through an immense psychic crisis that can lead to madness.

“From then on, open conflicts break out, because the mother realizes that the child threatens her authority, her desire to give the child orders, to control and discipline the child. Their relationship is transformed into one of continual mistrust and permanent struggle [no possibility of continuity]. The mother tolerates, even desperately wants her son to fight against her and take the advantage [thus establishing another modality of ambiguity], because ‘it is in the natural order of things’ that she be defeated in this struggle and thus play out again her relationship with the man. But she does not accept this defeat from her daughter. She does not tolerate her daughter’s claim to autonomy, she does not accept this dissimilar being that is no longer her equal, but her rival [the mother was denied this autonomy and because of that she must somehow take revenge on someone else]. This is where the most direct, the most pitiless, the most implacable repression begins” (p.67).

E.G. Belotti does not mention the case when the child is a boy, but I think the same can figure for a son, even if it is less intense since, in this case, the replay [rejouement] linked to the status of woman is not necessarily imposed. There are also cases where the mother can submit and sacrifice herself, a dynamic that can reactivate ambiguity and introduce immense instability into the mother-child relationship. In the remainder of development, this ambiguity is going to be the starting point of the dynamic of ambivalence which asserts itself diachronically while ambiguity is asserted synchronically.

As a general rule, the living conditions of children are very hard for them because their presence and desires are rarely taken into account, and because very often their existence is challenging and causes many problems. Everything in the social corpus is organized according to adults and what has constantly prevailed is a social process determined by economic exigencies, without forgetting that the economic mechanisms have been developed to replace human relations that are diminishing as a result of domestication and artificialization. This is not new. One may wonder, for example, if the theory of reincarnation has the unconscious aim of occulting [escamoter] the mother and the child.

The life difficulties to which children are subjected derive from the position of the species in relation to nature, the conflict between the sexes who do not have the same approach nor the same behaviour in relation to the separation from nature and the concomitant conflict between dominant and dominated (including that between classes throughout the period when class conflict was operational). The various constraints intertwine, and a thorough study would be necessary to try to highlight the role of each of the factors involved in the dynamics of both repression and “liberation”.

Separating oneself from nature entails a loss of our more or less immediate natural relationships, which must be compensated for by education. To educate is to adapt someone to a new, unnatural, path. It is to dominate, to discipline the other, but it is also a means by which control is acquired in order to eliminate that which disturbs us: affectivity, emotions. The rejection of affectivity denotes the ascendency of doubt, the hatred of oneself, and it leads to a closure of our sensible perception of the other and to a reduction of our own sensitivity. This reaches a limit when it leads to our being affected only by ourselves: madness. As long as the rupture of continuity is not operative, the search for an ersatz affectivity prevails.

As for the child, parental repression begins very early. We can say that the condition of children is determined by the fact that they can live only if they fulfil the conditions imposed upon them: to respect all the conditions determined by the expectations of adults.

We have previously highlighted the power of parental repression in De la Vie [On Life] (1997) and in Addendum (2010), and we have quoted various authors who have also taken a similar approach. To these I would add Georges Vigarello’s Rectified Body [Le Corps Redressé ], because it provides powerful evidence of the negation of naturalness in both children and adults [6]. His study of the straightening of posture led to an investigation into all kinds of facts: position (and pose), presence, allure; silhouette and contour, demeanour … to which are linked notions of distinction, elegance, attitude and posture, all of which imply having control over oneself and, this in relation to deportment (and discretion), rectitude and tone, which allows the realisation of various phenomena. In addition to the requirements of elegance, distinction, and self-control, the social demands of propriety, politeness (civility) and decorum constantly enter into play. Ultimately it is the realization of the upright position and the question of a bearing, a comportment. “‘Wearing the body well’ is what, in a subtle code, distinguishes elegance and appearance.” For sure, Vigarello has courtly society in mind here but, in fact, one can say that everything happens according to a precept that was in constant operation: it is not enough that you are, it is necessary that you signify according to a given code. This is in total contradiction with the dynamics of haptogestation as explained by F. Renggli who considers that a child must be carried before it can walk. Being carried allows the child to acquire a bearing, but above all, a way of being, an emotional and social positioning, which allows an harmonious affirmation. A being who has not been carried will have a tendency to express disinclination though its posture and its bearing, as well as a tendency to be worn-out by others, or have difficulty in putting up with them [7]. Here are a number of quotes illustrating our point:

“Molding [petrissage] is a prerequisite for social recognition. The child enters a milieu that seems to imprint on it, very concretely, a previously given model.”

“The suckling infant is no more than a passive addition of organs subject to the imagination of the adult.”

The image of an infant subjected through and through to a hand which models it by kneading [petrissage] is an extreme and revealing one. 

“To educate a child was, in this case, to physically constrain him by a mechanism offering rational criteria. To bend a body to enduring and highly visible forces, or more exactly to model it almost as one would an object.”

“The posture and its rectitude were presented as obeying a social or worldly requirement. It is today mainly referred to as a hygienic or even a physiological requirement.”

“The dependence of the child is no longer embodied in a very material application of almost metallic forces, but in exercises which aim to bend it to the most various rigors. “

“These ordeals [épreuves] are dispensed without hesitation. Choosing them indicates clear demands and domination over childhood which is still inadequately questioned. Ultimately, to perfect the body is to make it insensitive.”

“The image of organization will take precedence over that of diffuse dynamisms. Mastery with regard to childhood will involve mastering and developing each of the proposed displacements, as well as the constitution of a systematization of delimited intersecting exercises built piece by piece. (….) The child will be caught in a network of instructions  responsible for circumscribing, ‘rewriting’ and guiding the ‘geometry’ of its elementary dynamics. It will have to submit, for the first time, to the unnegotiable planning of a task.”

“Power was once conveyed by corsets and later by ‘ordeals’, but now it assigns everyone a predetermined place and motoricity through the methodical and impersonal distribution of spaces and times.”

“In the nineteenth century, schooling forcefully resumes this immobilization of the child”  

“In the middle of the century, attention has indeed shifted, and no doubt we are witnessing one of the extreme phases of a long journey in which the corrective hand becomes more abstract at the same time as it is more adroit. The rectifying precept, given again here as an absolute – after having been submitted to the silent pressure of manipulations, and after having more recently moved towards the fixing of a space to mandatory lines – now thinks it can find its way to a more sustainable acceptance because it aims at standardization. The normative work has one of its culminations in this discourse which, even before staging gestures, would like to stage sensations.”

“The educated body is an ‘informed body’. The principle of an organism delivered to a consciousness of representations only gets stronger” [8].

We then arrive at self-control. The author examines psychotherapies, including those that incorporate psychoanalysis and the work of Wilhelm Reich, especially with regard to ‘body armour’. We have an encroachment of psychology whose goal is to “attain” the unconscious of postures (p. 369).

The will to train, to educate the child (which disturbs haptogestation and makes the child “deviate” from its naturalness) derives from men and women’s dissatisfaction with themselves; a non-acceptance of themselves as exemplified by practices aimed at modifying the skull, sometimes using rigid prostheses at various times and places. Such augmentation of human dynamics has many antecedents.

E. G. Belotti’s quotations (above) highlight the consequences of male dominance in dealing with children. During those centuries that saw the establishment of a patriarchate, or the struggle of “the two sexes for the possession of the supreme power” over the child, was a subject of contestation by the very fact that what was at stake was a sign of power [9]. The consequences of this struggle go much further because they take place at the same time as the separation from nature — the two phenomena are, in fact, indissociable. This dynamic took on a different import depending on the sexes. Women did not want to dominate nature because men tended to reduce it to an ‘it’ (or matter); men wanted to dominate nature and thereby dominate women. As a result, the condition of children could only worsen, being propelled more and more into artificiality and thereby abstracted from the continuum of life.

What is most interesting and fascinating to me in the work of J.J. Bachofen is his passionate investigation of the relationship between men and women in the passage from what he calls gynaecocracy (which can be translated as the period when women have power) to patriarchal society, which finds its justification in seeking to be free of the manifestations of nature. Let’s see what Bachofen brings to this discussion:

“The mother’s bond with the child rests on a material relation: it is perceptible to the senses and always remains a truth of nature; on the contrary, generative paternity presents, in all its elements, completely different characteristics: deprived of any visible relation with the child, paternity can, even in the marital link, never be stripped [dépouiller] of its nature as a pure and simple fiction. Because birth is uniquely a matter of maternal mediation, paternal action is always a distant power. (…) All these characteristics of fatherhood lead to the following: in the paternal principle the spirit is emancipated from the manifestations of nature; and in its victorious affirmation, human reality rises above the laws of material life. The maternal principle is common to all spheres of telluric creation. But man, thanks to the pre-eminence which he confers on generative power, escapes this bond [lien] and becomes aware of a higher vocation that he calls his own [10].

“There, linking to matter; here, spiritual development. There, unconscious obedience to laws; here, individualism; there, gift of oneself to nature; here, elevation above her, destruction of all the old limits of existence; Promethean tension and suffering, instead of lasting rest, peaceful enjoyment, and eternal minority in an aging body.”

“Paternity is always fiction. In the matrimonial context, it arises from the marriage itself, and the exclusivity that gains recognition there.”

“The reign of the idea belongs to man, just as that of material life belongs to woman.”

“Paternity reaches the immutable kingdom of being…”

Let’s see how we can integrate this into our approach to child repression and the evanescence of affectivity and sensitivity.

The clash between the sexes takes place between the woman as mother and the man as father. The man is only a man if he accedes to paternity. In other words, there is a curtailment of women which men, over the centuries, have wanted to maintain, whilst reserving access to the totality for themselves. However, from the first, a woman’s maternity is undeniable and is an immediate certainty. This is not the case for man, his paternity is not obvious [11]. Consequently he must postulate the existence of a higher principle to which he is apt to accede; a principle which gives life to matter: the mind. But here we no longer have a begetting, a procreation, but a production. We can relate this to the establishment of agriculture and animal husbandry in the Neolithic era, where the paradigm of species-activity becomes production and man becomes a producer. It is obvious that to reach this point it was necessary to pass through various stages in the dynamics of separation, be it the founding of woman as mother, the introduction of marriage, inheritance, in relation to the development of private property and, especially for the West, the emergence [surgissement] of the state [12].

Another modality of opposition and affirmation of the two sexes concerns becoming and being. The first would be related to the woman, especially to the mother, a becoming which implies birth and death and therefore dependence. In order to evade this and therefore the mother, men have sought the immutability of being and transcendence in order to escape from dependency. This was affirmed in the Greek region with the first philosophers, such as Parmenides, and it imposed itself up until the Alexandrian period with Plotinus or Proclus. But it was the same in the Hindu area where thinkers sought an absolute which does not depend on anything.

“In the first place what is striking is the great concreteness they attributed to the act of knowing: to intuit a form of reality does not mean for them to remain in face of it by reflecting it in oneself, but by remaining separate; on the contrary it is an absorption in oneself of the object, an appropriation of its essence; it means “getting it” or, most of the time, “becoming” the thing itself. The act of knowledge is an act of identification. […] And in the situations they report, the anguished search for this knowledge is dominant, as it is thanks to such a knowledge that the One becomes the All” [13].

This identification makes it possible to fully escape from dependence, therefore from a childhood which must always be occulted [escamotée]. Finally, whether in Greece or India, this unfolding of the process of knowledge strikes me as a first approach to virtuality.

We note that, in all the work of J.J. Bachofen, the debate between the sexes concerns adults the break between them, as with nature, involves an immense rationalisation which is in fact a securing action [entreprise de sécurisation] that reassures them. Given that separation from nature generates an anguish, which asserts itself unconsciously, Man is affirmed in his loss by the fact that the real in all its totality is no longer a factor of consideration. Children are only taken into account insofar as they are a medium of contestation, of affirmation, never for themselves, because it would then cause their naturalness to be brought into consideration, and this is something that adults absolutely want to annul because of how it illuminates their dependence. Children are ultimately occulted.

But what is most frightening is that even in the case where children are wanted, this occultation persists. Indeed, the passion of the child, the irrepressible desire to have one, all this is not questioned. In fact, the child is desired as a child saviour  — which asserts itself in an unconscious way even if it sometimes touches the conscious realm — as well as for purposes of forming a community, certainly of a small scale, but a community nonetheless; this latter being a dynamic which is one of the main foundations of overpopulation [14].

The child, the baby, is not really taken into account even when it is ardently desired. The child is for the adult and not itself; in this way the child is an object. This is very evident in the practices of private adoption firms; if the adopted child does not meet the requirements of the adoptive couple, the child is returned.

However, until now, the baby, then the child, has not been totally assimilated to the status of an object, even if it has often been the object of manipulations. This is no longer the case with the development of medicalized reproduction, i.e., with the intervention of scientists in this area (synthetic biology). In fact, from medically assisted procreation, uterine leasing, the production of gametes from somatic lines such as stem cells taken from the skin, up to the development of the artificial uterus we are brought into a phase of ‘generalized assistantship’ [15]. The embryo, the fetus, the baby, all formerly engendered by a natural process in continuity with the whole process of life, become products, objects. In addition, such a production can be interrupted at any stage. Parents become evanescent before possibly disappearing altogether later. In fact we are witnessing a “liberation” – the dispossession of reproduction and the end of a function of continuity which can also be presented as the future instauration of an expulsion from the process of natural life. Thus, if land ownership was an important mediation for kinship relations during the period of women’s pre-eminence, then during patriarchy the movement of capital, especially in its current autonomizing form, dissolves all kinship relationships.

As regards those people who, from the outset, put children aside, openly shrug them off, things are very clear.

“Now, this ‘obvious’ link between sexuality and reproduction has been singularly distended in our modern Western societies. On the one hand, the new techniques (the IUD, the pill, the morning-after pill, not to mention abortion which is widely legalised) make it possible to think of a sexuality without reproduction, and on the other hand, other processes (the artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, test-tube babies, and why not in the future of ex utero gestations, even reproductive cloning), make it possible to think of reproduction without sexuality. As we can see, sexuality and reproduction are two practices that can be even more disjointed than they already are. From then on, would it be the triumph of the autonomy of the heterosexual couple, or, on the contrary, would it entail that heterosexual culture could lose its historical legitimacy and be condemned to disappear? Of course not, but such a culture would no longer have the evidential force it had in the past. Heterosexual couples would no doubt continue to exist, but not for reproduction as there would be specific techniques. These couples would meet, form, like homosexual couples, for sheer pleasure. As for children, we would use the ad hoc techniques available to all [16].”

This citation calls for some remarks. First of all, let us point out that the possibility of reproduction without sexuality has long been established. On the other hand what is new is the possibility of its actually being realized. The same applies to the separation between sexuality and love, which is not even mentioned in this text. In its place is pleasure and its multiplication, which evokes the ‘butterfly or alternating passions’ (which avoids lassitude) that inspired Charles Fourier [17]. In addition, the satisfaction of a pleasure is often reduced, within the framework of our society, to a release of tensions, where each of the partners is ‘shut-in’ [enfermé] and each sees the other only as a prop. 

Then, of course, the exclusion of children is affirmed, of whom we can moreover ask ourselves at what moment the necessity of their production will be imposed and if, ultimately, they will become a minor consideration as they could be educated and reared by robots in conformity with the dynamics of substitution prevailing within speciosis.

Thus today’s reality tends to render effective what was denounced more than a century ago: 

“… the French theatre is a theatre where we always talk about love and never children. It means that there is no relationship between these two things” [18].

Nowadays, children’s behaviour bears witness more and more to their enormous difficulties in adapting to this world [19]. The fact that they have to adapt means that they have no autonomy and that they depend on their environment which imposes a way of being on them. If this were not the case, it would not be a question of adaptation but a search for a modality of being that is compatible with their process of life. And this has also occurred at the level of the species from the moment it separated from nature and no longer worked symbiotically with it, but must adapt to separation. The dynamic thus imposed implies constantly having to produce relations with the environment because the function of continuity is no longer operational.

Let’s remember that the break with the rest of nature is an insidious process. It is slow in response to a threat, which is of great concern to a species that is haunted by what it was, and what it is [20]. It consists in the realization of a discontinuity that operates over thousands of years up until today. Over the millennia, this break meant adaptation, and self-assertion consisted in separating oneself. 

The important moments of taking leave from nature occur in the Paleolithic age with the hunting of big game; in the Neolithic, with the coming of agriculture and animal husbandry; and in the 7th century, B.C., with the unfolding of the phenomenon of value: the universal currency which makes it possible to substitute all human relations with monetary relations (value) and to commercialize nature (to externalize is to manipulate), which has also made possible the consolidation of patriarchal domination. However, a certain continuity, generative of ambiguity, has been maintained with nature. 

At present, this ‘taking leave’ from nature is accompanied by a rupture that tends to deepen, and the ambiguity disappears given that men and women tend to want to evade it by opting for a future of artificiality instead. The process of rationalization of all aspects of the human life process, beginning with the process of knowledge from the late 18th century, has failed to eliminate ambiguity. It is only with the development of cybernetics, then of computer science, that this has been made possible by means of machines imposing rational norms even in the field of reproduction and emotional life. Henceforth, men and women are turning their backs on the introduction of the artificial by founding together a divergency with those who tend and will tend to choose the inversion.

The difficulties we have talked about become a factor in highlighting psychiatric illnesses and, from there, the development of all kinds of pharmaceuticals that are in fact drugs aimed at normalization; that is, to accomplish an adaptation that can’t be called into question. The various governments are fighting against a drug trade that supplies men and women with the means by which to escape what torments them (albeit illusorily and dangerously), but want to impose those drugs that are based on adaptation and dependence.

The production of children in vitro means the externalization and the separation of reproduction, generating the possibility of an absolute control over the child because the separation from nature in itself allows for manipulation. Taking into account that, at the same time the externalization of systems of knowledge takes place with the production of artificial intelligence and the deployment of cognitive sciences that accompanies it, we can say that, what we have in fact, is the externalization of the natural life process of the species [21]. Who will manipulate this artificial being? It cannot be Homo sapiens because, simultaneously, by various means, it undergoes an increasingly marked obsolescence. We will have, in fact, the annihilation of Being sought after for millennia.

This does not prevent some from considering what will happen: 

“That’s why even if the children will be born in a glass container, cloned from any cell, it will still be worthwhile to deal with the fantastic world that now presents itself to a micro-psychoanalytic investigation of the experiential themes and fantasies concerning the uterus. It is likely that when the mother is made of glass, that is to say that scientists will have at least partly realized the fantasies of self-reproduction that come from their cells (which self-produce) there will be others in whom ontogenesis and phylogenesis will be even more contrasted than they are today. That is to say, the phylogenetic experience of the mother of flesh will come into conflict with the ontogenetic experience of the mother of glass: we will be there to see” [22].

For those who place themselves outside this annihilating dynamic, it is not a matter of proposing an enmity with those who are becoming artificial, but of seeking to fully and unambiguously realize, thanks to their sensitivity, the continuity with their fellow beings, with all living things and with the cosmos. Henceforth, the forces necessary to achieve the escape from this world and the establishment of a different world can be deployed: the deepest affectivity-sensitivity that allows adherence to the continuum; empathy for living beings, nature and the cosmos; hence immediacy, concreteness, serenity and, encompassing the whole, certainty. These will enable everyone, each and every one, to assert themselves as both individuality and Gemeinwesen.

(June 2018)

Published simultaneously on Ill Will and Il Covile. Translated by Friends of Il Covile. Revised January 3, 2021.

Ill Will would like to thank the author for permission to publish the text, and the translators for their meticulous work. 

Image credits: Diego Brambilla, “Off the Mark”

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Translator’s Notes

Inversion: This word is described in the following manner in the “Glossary” on Revue Invariance: “Inversion refers to the establishment of a future contrary to that effected up to this day, which has consisted of: separation from nature, repression, refusal, abstraction, riots (uprisings, revolutions) but also wars and peace. Inversion can take place by accessing the Gemeinwesen dimension within us in the here and now, and amidst the community of those who converge and participate. It is therefore not a question of returning to an earlier phase, to an ancestral behaviour, but accessing something germinating in us, in this case: the deep naturalness which has always been repressed, (more or less occulted) as well as continuity with all living beings and with the cosmos.”

Shutting-in: Camatte’s word is enfermement, which can be translated as confinement, imprisonment, locking-up, or shutting-in. Camatte decided on ‘shutting-in’ as the most appropriate terms to use in English.

Dereliction: In the Glossary entry for this word on the Revue Invariance website the following can be found: “A concept of theological origin: the state of the abandoned creature of god. It expresses total dependence and the loss of all support, of all reference points. The concepts of Hilflosigkeit (S. Freud), Geworfenheit (M. Heidegger), Loneliness (H. Arendt) and Crisis of Presence (E.de Martino) can result in dereliction.”

Speciosis-OntosisAt the very minimum the concept of ‘speciosis-ontosis’, developed by Jacques Camatte in his writings since the late 90s, could be linked to phylogenesis and ontogenesis. This minimum would have to be added to by the fact that these new concepts have arisen because, for Camatte, the notion of ‘psychosis’ is insufficient to describe the madness of a species that, over millennia, has transitioned from living in continuity with the rest of the living world to living in a discontinuity conditioned by the manifold traumas that this discontinuity brings about but which remain at the level of unconscious emotions. Speciosis-Ontosis, then, operates on the human being at the level of its species-being (phylogenesis) and at the level of its individually-lived life (ontogenesis), and these, as Camatte suggests are united (hence the hyphen) by being lived and experienced as simultaneously diachronous and synchronous. See Revue Invariance, Current End Point of Wandering, 14.2.2 — Structure of Speciosis.

Replay: Camatte’s word is rejouement. From the Glossaire: “Concept widely used by Arthur Janov, deriving from Freud’s notion of  “repetition compulsion”, indicating that we tend, unconsciously, to re-perform what we have experienced following trauma, or to re-perform what our parents have experienced.”

OccultedThe French word used is escamoter. This word can be translated as ‘retracting’, ‘evading’, ‘conjuring-away’.  For the most part we have used the word ‘occulted’. The Glossaire defines ‘escamotage’ as: “Dynamics that makes important facts disappear while often giving the impression of taking them into account.”

Notes 

[1] This text aims to complete The Becoming of Inversion (October, 2017) by pointing in particular to large-scale phenomena that we propose to study in other approaches.

[2] In fact, the baby has already suffered moments of rupture during childbirth and, sometimes, during intrauterine life. This is because we are at a distance from what A. A. Tomatis advised: “Do we know that everything depends on departure and that, in order to succeed in this new life, it is necessary to know certain essential facts which are none other than those inherent in listening to life? The child tells us what he wants, what he expects, what he hopes-for. But will we be able to hear the child and listen to it in utero?” Uterine Listening, Ed. Stock, pp. 138-139.

[3] Elena Gianini Belotti, On The Side of the Little Girls, Editions des Femmes, 1994, p.36-37. [Translated into English as Little Girls, Pluto Press, 1987.]

[4]  Idem, p. 43. She goes on to evoke the dressage operated within the institutions (p.44).

[5] Idem, in order, pp 44-45, 45, 48 and 50.

[6] Ed. Du Félin. To this, we may add Adult Domination – The Oppression of Minors by Yves Bonnardel with a foreword by Christine Delphy. Ed. Myriades, 2015: “Our modern civilizations are among the few where children, deprived of power over their lives, stay under guardianship for so long. They are hampered in social access to autonomy and voided of possibilities to make their own decisions in what concerns them. Our ‘developed’ societies seem to be the only ones to consider ‘children’ as ‘to be developed’: children are immature and therefore dependent. Incapable physically, morally and intellectually, led by their ‘passions’ and ‘impulses’, they are perceived as mentally and physically handicapped who must be helped, educated and protected – to protect themselves in the first place. In other countries, in most known societies, on the contrary, an ‘age of reason’ is considered that is arbitrarily situated between the age of four and thirteen, from which it is hard to imagine any differences in the capacity of people. Here too, children are generally also oppressed, similarly subject to the diktats of adults who have power over them; they are often abused and exploited, but they are not considered incapable or fundamentally different from adults; they are not ostracized from society.” (p.18) See also the short text Dictatorship Against Children, in Guerilla No. 23, May 1995.

[7] Book cited, p. 52.

[8]  Georges Vigarello, op cit, pages in order: 35, 38, 41, 75, 106, 113, 115, 117, 146, 165, 259, 322-323, 358.

[9] Johann Jacob Bachofen, Maternal Law – Research on the Gynecocracy of Antiquity in its Religious and Legal Nature, [1861] Translation by Étienne Barilier, p.126.

[10] Idem, pp. 56-57. The following four quotations are, in order, on the following pages: 58, 115, 135, and 786.

[11] Hence the mimetic and magical practice of the ‘couvade’ attested in many ethnic groups in recent times as in antiquity and which J.J. Bachofen points out. He attaches great importance to its adoption which implies the triumph of private property and a profound rejection of nature since the natural parents are rejected, denied.

[12] I only scratch the surface to stay on the level that interests me here, that of the lived experience of men and women as reflected in the work of J.J. Bachofen who carried out an extensive survey covering several centuries and various countries.

[13] Maryla Falk, Il Mito Psicologico Nell’India Antica (Psychological Myth in Ancient India), Ed. Adelphi, p. 18. This system of knowledge, where separation was not as effective, and which had a performative dimension, is closer to the Western than to the “original” one.

[14]  “The child, a dangerous passion? (…) The right to ‘have’ a child is potentially extended to the desire to have not only a normal and healthy child, but a perfect child; it is a project aimed at fulfilling the individual wish to make an improvement of the ‘race’. We can imagine what an added pressure this can be for the child who is likely to be a disappointment.”- Dominique Ottavi, The time of awakening: childhood, family, school, in History of Emotions, Volume 3 directed by Jean Jacques Courtine, From the end of the C19th to the present day, Edition du Seuil, p.135. This is the burden of the ‘child saviour’. The article ends: “This is why the historically determined context of the emotional awakening of the child of the C21st must become the object of greater care, so as not to see in the child the resurgence of an incomprehensible otherness.” p.138. This clearly reveals the permanence of the unimpoundable [l’insaisissabilité] naturalness of the child.

[15]  “Isn’t death more desirable than a life that is merely a preventive measure against death?” K. Marx, Debates on Freedom of the Press. This preventive measure is seen today in ‘generalised assistantship’. The loss of continuity entails the need to be assisted.

[16] Louis-Georges Tin, The Invention of Heterosexual Culture, Éditions Autrement, 2008, pp. 186-187.

[17]  On this subject see Jean-Claude Guillebaud, The Tyranny of Pleasure, Ed. Du Seuil. Guillebaud, reasoning according to the separation of nature that he endorses, says that “sexuality is not a function but a culture.” He points out that function implies dysfunction and the notion of norm. But does not culture also imply the notion of norm? The book includes much documentation and allows us to understand how sexuality has imposed itself as a trauma for the species and the resulting disarray ends in solitude. “Enclosed in this voluptuous solitude (‘There is no sexual intercourse’ said Lacan), having instrumentalized the other, we consider with impatience, even exasperation, the last of the prohibitions which still hinders our pleasure: the unwillingness of a partner.” p. 473.

[18] Observation of Father Bethlehem, quoted by Tin Louis-Georges, o.c, page 132. The men of the Church often sided with children and defended them, rescued them from the harmful consequences of relationships between men and women. On this subject let us note John Boswell’s book, The Kindness of Strangers – The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance Gallimard, 1993 – which details the remarkable actions of those who rescued children.

[19] “We have evidence from multiple deficiencies and deformities that the organism has adapted only imperfectly to the unnatural conditions of civilized life – and of school life in particular – which too often acts adversely on very malleable organisms.” Pierre Seurin, Physical Education at School. Quoted by G. Vigarello, o.c. p.370, note 1.

[20] In the study on speciosis we will show how, because of this threat, men and women resist affects. So the solution is to take leave of nature so as to be masters of oneself… is to control one’s emotions and reduce affectivity because such as these makes us dependent.

[21] This is perhaps the final stage of the dynamics of liberation-externalization that A.Leroi-Gourhan evokes in Gesture and Speech. In my opinion, as he proceeded according to a system of knowledge dominated by separation, he could only gain access to part of the total dynamics of the emergence of Homos sapiens. The study of the emergence of Homo Gemeinwesen must take into account this point of arrival as that of a wandering and the necessity of the realisation of an inversion.

[22] Nicola Peluffo, Gestation in Vitro: Epistemological Reflections. Nicola Peluffo (1930-2013) taught social psychology at the University of Turin. He carried out the groundwork for his psychoanalytic and micro-psychoanalytic investigations with Silvio Fanti, founder of micropsychoanalysis, which is a psychoanalytic research methodology of a Freudian nature that deepens the study of conscious and unconscious psychic data up to the discovery and verification of microscopic and ultramicroscopic elements in which the affective is concentrated. (Information provided by Cristina Callegaro).