Ten Comments of eight Thesis on Phantasmagoria
10 Comments of 8 Thesis on Phantasmagoria
for Marc Berdet
1. Phantasmagoria is the highest stage of capitalism, in the sense that it is the latest stage of false consciousness. As such, phantasmagoria is as abstract as concrete; it is a social relation and the mystification of that same relation in reified forms and structures.
2. Phantasmagoria produces society by providing an always already false synthesis of partial and conflicting social/class interests into a desire for harmonious conviviality.
3. Phantasmagoria is not simply a degenerate utopia, it is a utopian degeneration: it is the crowing of decadence as the destiny of humanity.
4. As such, phantasmagoria is a hysteric condition: a condition of demanding and sanctioning an immediate access to reality to the exclusion of the always mediated real.
5. This collective imaginary identification with existing reality as the only possible desire and at the same time as the only possible reality is constantly rewarded by a symbolic register of interlaced alibis.
6. Phantasmagoria not only collects and synthesises these alibis, it produces reality in their image, neutralising the delay of the real by means of a perpetual murmur with no semantic content. Hence its fear of the void.
7. Phantasmagoria conceives of the void to be averted at all costs as the consciousness of the gap between the Two. For Phantasmagoria there can only be the One and the Multiple which is one and the same thing: a continuous chain of unmediated images.
8. The dream of social harmony, the fantasy of the end of history, the desire for non-mediation is the highest form of Thanatos. Exploiting and cultivating the death drive, phantasmagoria is the concrete expression of the collective unconscious of capitalist society.
9. As such, phantasmagoria is not only a dream; it is the dream of the dead. The dream that the dead will not live their second death and thus cease to exist. Phantasmagoria is the utopia of eternal life, for the dead.
10. As the utopia of the dead, Phantasmagoria seeks the eternal return of the same. No longer simply a narration of ‘harmony with enjoyment’, it takes the form of myth in that it demands the constant everyday ritual re-enactment of the impossibility of the real, the inconceivability of social antagonism, the unthinkable potentiality of the class war.
Christos Lynteris: St Andrews, September 2010.