The Return of the Repressed

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How are we to understand the hip hop of the self on the internet across the networks on the web?  Jacques Derrida speaks of writing with ghosts. Maybe this form of writing might give us an insight into the monkeying of the self on the web. Mark Wigley tells us that etymologically of the word haunting has links to a house. Haunting is always a haunting of a house or space.  Haunting, therefore, implies interiority, construction of an inside.  Hence, monkeying on the web may be a struggle to construct an inside. The web offers possibilities of withdrawal for us to enter an inside. It opens the space for a dislocated self to seek stability.  The question, therefore, that arises is: does the inside come about? It appears that the monkeying is an effort to build an inside that is somehow incomplete.  The fact of the incompleteness of the inside/ the crypt makes the web a haunted place that keeps returning to the self of the internet to return to his/her monkeying ways on the web. 

This is the return of the repressed. We can understand this in the light of the notion of the latency stage taught to us by Freud.  What has been repressed eventually forces its way out and the web has become the latest outlet for it.  What returns to haunt is the unsaid and unsayable in our experience that we have pushed into the depths of repression. The silence or the gap of our experience is displaced in the worlds of the internet. See how our children have seamlessly walked into the web that offers a cover, a crypt from the prying eyes of the parents and other authorities. Everyone is busy building an inner vault, a hiding place to find peace and security from the society ruled by the superego. 

Derrida invites us to rethink the subject as a non-place.  What he is trying to tell us is that the subject is a haunted site.  This means the subject or the self is always an addressed one. He/ she is called to pay a debt that actually does not exist. He/ she has to keep a promise that he/she has never made. This insight might enable us to sense how the dislocated/haunted self strives to incorporate a balancing space that he/she seeks on the web.  The web therefore may be rendering itself as a psychic apparatus of incorporation.  It offers the fort/da tensive space that seems to bring an anchor to the self but always displacing it again.   The fort/da game played by the nephew of  Freud to cope with the absence of his mother offers us an analogy of the way the self of the web plays hide and seek on the web to cope with vagaries of life. Thus he /she seems to be enacting a hide and seek play that never seems to end.  The play of the self is therefore always becoming (secret).

This is why we may have to agree that the dance of the self on the web is a return to non-linearity that is not subjected to successivity as well as the logical order of time. It takes us to the mythtogram of the old days, where meaning is not subjected to the successivity, logical time and irreversible temporality of sound.  Hence, we may say that the writing of the self of the web is writing with ghosts that appear and disappear from all sides.  The linear schema of life being experienced as disrupted. the self of the web finds the place on the web to build an interiority, a balancing point to cope with the breakdowns that he/she has experienced in life.   The writing of the self that is hiding its brokenness and seeking to be wholesome on the web can be called cryptomimesis.

The dance of the self of the web being a cryptomimetic practice, we can view his/ her writing with the eye of grammatology as de-composition. It being such breaks down all that we hold sacred and inviolable in the light of our linear either/ or thinking.  Derrida teaches that the aesthetic principle of writing as de-composition is disgust. Hence, it has affinities to abjection.  We can clearly trace how the self of the web abjects linearity and embraces non-linearity in/to its monkeying on the web.  We may not see the dance of the self of the web as a pathology.  It is a rebellion against the linear ordering of life. Life is non-linear but we have ordered it in a linear manner. Linearity offers us the affordability to attach teleologies to it. Within linear thinking, we can also include circularity.  Both linearity and circularity have determinability. Life is indeterminable and non-linear in its raw form. In the state of nature life, therefore, is non-linear. In the civilized state, life is organised on the line whether circular or linear. Hence, we can see how the non-linearity of the dance of the self of the internet becomes an effort to return to a state of nature.  

The displaced and dislocated self that tries to monkey on the web suffers the problem of spacing.  The unsayable and the unbearable experiences that was pushed into repression force themselves out into various forms. Hence, it’s a struggle to cope with the return of the repressed desires of the self. Pushed by it the self is carving out space on the internet.  It is a secret interior that the self of the web strives to erect. No one is allowed to enter these sacred and secret cosmologies.  Thus, a displaced self of the web attempts to find a home, a crypt in the web only to be displaced continuously.

The fantasy of the crypt in the web lasts for a time but lacks lasting lustre and the dislocated and displaced self is back with himself/herself that is falling into the pit of life.  Therefore, one has to deal with the real issues of life.  Although the web may provide some solace, it is transient and does not last long. We have to deal with repressed desires that we push into the vault of the crypt within us. Once we accept these desires and deal with them/  mourn for them, we may set ourselves free from the dislocations that we face. This in its turn will transform the net into a free space for us to enjoy without being inhibited by repressed desires.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao