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Continental Psychoanalysis Module IV

August '22

Continental Psychoanalysis: Fatigue

Continental Psychoanalysis: Fatigue

When we’re asked, say, ‘How’s it going?’, we tend to respond either that we’re ‘tired’ or that we’re ‘busy’. But increasingly, these opposed answers are mutually implied and we hear their implication: ‘we’re tired because we’re busy’ or ‘we’re busy and so we’re tired’. Either way, activity and exhaustion seem destined for one another, a fate (pre)ordained by capitalism. In capitalist society, work is necessary and necessarily exhausting. But fatigue can be managed through capitalism itself, with the correct choice (also fatiguing!) of consumer goods: sleep (‘eight hours/night’, on a customized mattress), vacation, spa treatment, therapy, yoga, diet, exercise…

If capitalism produces subjects that ‘rest’ on a vicious cycle of fatigue (lack) and busy-ness (excess), can we do anything to break this cycle?  Can we separate fatigue from work and accomplish a subjective repose of creative action, human movement in stillness, a rested action? This course pursues these questions, paying close mind to Marx, Freud, Levinas, and Lacan, the recent work of Joan Copjec, Darian Leader, and Alenka Zupančič, as well as to Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s early contemporary dance, Steve Reich’s sound, and Abbas Kiarostami’s film.

About the Professor

Rohit Goel