Life as Art
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Life as Art

Deleuze and Psyche 3

To Paint the Mind in the Open

Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay

The psyche is a repository for an open-ended set of problematics.

The ego, as the central apparatus of a closed psychic structure, is a fleeting actuality camouflaging the underlying multiplicity of unconscious forces. The self is constantly in flux.

The self of psychoanalytic psychic repression is a means only of facilitating social repression; a construct that territorializes behavior.

On the other hand, the overriding forces of deterritorialization in society parallel the immanent unconscious forces of which the human mind consists.

The psyche is constituted by forces that connect and disconnect, fold and unfold within and without.

It is clear then, when we speak of values such as authenticity and critical freedom, we refer to them in the context of the open self:

A self characterized by desire overflowing, sourced in an unconscious that consists of a multitude of forces in flux.

We repress when we deny the overflowing self.

On the other hand, if we are open to the psychic forces generated within and expressed without, we are in a position to create authentically. We are in a position to accept and embrace change in life, to adopt differing perspectives in life, to grow with life, to become.

The psyche is fragmented if viewed spatially in its actuality, a snapshot of purported urges and tendencies. But as a virtual force viewed temporally, the psyche is pure difference. It is both the many and the one.

We can sense this when we open up to the stream of thoughts that arise in our mind. Akin to William James’ concept of the “stream of consciousness,” the psyche is pure relations, events, tendencies over time; a succession of forces and thoughts that blend and possess a rhythm.

The mind is a series of resting-places, “flights and perchings.” (James, The Principles of Psychology)

And we remain closed to this psychic rhythm at our own peril. If we stay closed, we fail to dream, fail to experiment, fail to grow. We negate life.

The point is to get in touch with the multiple psychic forces within, and instead of repressing them, to express and mobilize them within and without.

To mobilize the unconscious forces within is to give expression to overflowing desire without; to freely create and experiment, without shame or guilt, and irrespective of any resentment and bad faith in society.

Creativity depends on a psyche that is de-centered, fragmented at any point in time, for it is only such a mind that can create something new, remarkable. Only such a mind can clear the canvas of cliché and paint something never painted before.

To paint the mind in the open is to explore the psychic forces within: to be open along the edges, to be open to the affects and percepts informing all of reality, to be open to the singularities and multiplicities rising and falling within.

It is to stay with the question, the problem, of how to create enchantment with this world.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading!


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Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Becoming: A Life of Pure Difference (Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of the New) Copyright © 2022 by Tomas Byrne. Learn more here.



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Tomas Byrne

Tomas Byrne


Jagged Tracks Music, Process Philosophy, Progressive Ethics, Transformative Political Theory, Informed Thrillers, XLawyer