Building Education for the Commons
Beyond the Emotions: The ‘affective sleepwalking’ for a Justice without Judgment
Abstract form the seminar on ‘Affects as the line of flights form judgment’
February 6, 2015 University of Florence
From Gilles Deleuze’s ‘To have done with judgment’ one can read:
“The world of judgment establishes itself as in a dream. It is the dream that makes the lots turn (Ezekiel’s wheel) and makes the forms pass in procession. In the dream, judgments are hurled into the void, without encountering the resistance of a milieu that would subject them to the exigencies of knowledge or experience; this is why the question of judgment is first of all knowing whether one is dreaming or not.
Moreover, Apollo is both the god of judgment and the god of dreams: it is Apollo who judges, who imposes limits and imprisons us in an organic form, it is the dream that imprisons life within these forms in whose name life is judged. The dream erects walls, it feeds on death and creates shadows, shadows of all things and of the world, shadows of ourselves. But once we leave the shores of judgment, we also repudiate the dream in favour of an “intoxication”, like a high tide sweeping over us. What we seek in states of intoxication – drinks, drugs, ecstasies – is an antidote to both the dream and judgment. Whenever we turn away from judgment toward justice,we enter into a dreamless sleep.
What the four authors denounce in the dream is a state that is still too immobile, and too directed, too governed. Groups that are deeply interested in dreams, like psychoanalysts or surrealists, are also quick to form tribunals that judge and punish in reality: a disgusting mania, frequent in dreamers. In his reservations concerning surrealism, Artaud insists that it is not thought that collides with the kernel of a dream, but rather dreams that bounce off a kernel of thought that escapes them.
The peyote rites, according to Artaud, and the songs of the Mexican forest, according to Lawrence, are not dreams, but states of intoxication or sleep. This dreamless sleep is not a state in which we fall asleep, but one that traverses the night and inhabits it with a frightening clarity. It is not daylight, but Lightning: “In the dream of the night I see grey dogs, creeping forward to devour the dream.”
This dreamless sleep, in which one does not fall asleep, is Insomnia, for only insomnia is appropriate to the night, and can fill and populate it. The dream is rediscovered, no longer as a dream of sleep or a daydream, but as an insomniac dream. The new dream has become the guardian of insomnia. As in Kafka, it is no longer a dream one has while sleeping, but a dream one has alongside insomnia: “I’ll send [to the country] my clothed body… For I myself am meanwhile lying in my bed, smoothly covered over with the yellow-brown blanket …” The insomniac can remain motionless, whereas the dream has taken the real movement upon itself. This dreamless sleep in which one nonetheless does not fall asleep, this insomnia that nonetheless sweeps the dream along as far as the insomnia extends – such is the state of Dionysian intoxication, its way of escaping judgment.”
To cross the night is our task, is the task of the cyborgs who, as dogs attack dreams, show its illusory. In dreams, in fact, acts the ‘master’s voice’ (Woolf) that guides our emotions and educates us, in the deep, to judge ourselves and the others. In the seminar we discussed the possibility of using the concept of affect, analyzed by Deleuze and resumed in last decades by Fadini and Villani, so to characterize the active dimension of contemporary subjectivity within the grip of digital, thus producing a transformation into the territories. Even in the digital, in fact, there is the voice of the master and the Internet is an example of how our emotions are been shaped.
No longer, however, the rational consciousness can save us and free us because it is a cognitive tool too much compromised with the apparatus of power. One should go back to the source of our affection to cross like sleepwalkers with ‘frightening clarity’ and build a justice without judgment, therefore: new institutions. Certainly the future of educational institutions are those that require from us the greatest effort of invention.
On the subject we are about to publish several texts with prof. Tiziana Villani (Paris) and prof. Ubaldo Fadini (Firenze): we will keep you updated!