From Spectral Pasts to Inorganic Futures (Talk 16.06.2022)

Talk at Workshop “Politics of Death Drive. Dis/Identification, Transgression, War

From Spectral Pasts to Inorganic Futures. On the Temporal Politics of the Death Drive

Freud’s spectral archeology of the death drive marks it as the compulsion of the organism to repeat its traumatic origins in the inorganic. It is a demand to assimilate an exorbitant death, which cannot be bound by the living but presents itself paradoxically as its very condition. The impossibility for the organism to recover its condition introduces a radical temporal linearity, which for Freud can only appear as the haunting of an inassimilable excessive trauma insisting within the conservative economy of the organism; as non-dialectical negativity. Deleuze’s critique of Freud’s empirical model of Thanatos (in Difference and Repetition), attempts to undo this binding and instate the death drive in its proper transcendental function as the pure empty form of time; as non-conceptual positivity.

The paper will use this temporal typology of the death drive to map various political uses of Thanatos in contemporary discourse (including accelerationism, New Materialism and psychoanalysis) and will question their implications and possibilities for current political struggles.