Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mania: Abel Tasman and Freud

In an essay that has become more analysed and used in this decade (amongst literary-cultural studies types like moi), Freud wrote about mania as being a failure to re-cathect (to re-invest) the libido to a new object of love. In the manic phase this failure is something like the actions of an old telephone-switchboard operator, grabbing one plugged-lead after another and making connections. But . . . the connections are ephemeral. Overheard conversations (intimate, bureaucratic) between other-people. The mania is in the flurry of connecting and in the electricity of the making of connections. An image of how I imagine the brain synapses are sparking during a manic episode.

What has been lost - whether ideal, artefact, person - must instead, Freud argues, be mourned. And this work takes time - new objects must replace the lost. If only it were that easy.

What then might it mean to reside in the meat-world in Tas-mania? A state of connective hits on the switchboard of global society? Tasman comes from Abel Tasman - Dutch explorer & mercantile scout. A small island state in a federation of states - the Commonweath of Australia. Is this state also one of loss - of overhearing the intimate and bureaucratic conversations of others?

Looking around where I live, a sort of village-suburbia not far from the capital city of Tasmania, the sense of loss is marked in the Bushfire memorial at the end of Beach Rd, Snug; in the Cemetry next to the small Catholic church; in the stories of the Carbide Works on the hill towards Electrona. More melancholy than mania. Although to look down my street towards some hectares that were farms, and see two disconnected, dead-end roads with kerb and guttering still fresh and large signs advertising lots with sold-stickers announcing the coming of more residences, shops. A sort of mania of development.

A rhythmics of dissonance? Arrhythmia?

Something is being lost here. And what is new has manic rhythms: iso- and ar-rhythmics, perhaps.

If Abel Tasman's name inaugurates this mania of development, these manic rhythms, then what might it mean to be in Eurhythmania?

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