Same as COLIT-GA 2912 and CINE-GT 2502
Conducted in English
Taught by Laurence Rickels
When J. R. R. Tolkien christened his new or renewed genre of choice “Fantasy,” he knew he was founding it in proximity to wish power. To block the narcissism of chaos resulting from a genre of daydreaming, Tolkien grounded the fantasy genre in the one fantasy that is true, the Gospel, and the other worlds of fairy in the prospect of Christian redemption. Philip K. Dick argued that the reader checked in and out of fantasy worlds whereas in science fiction every fictional reality the reader encountered remained a possible or alternate reality that could never be withdrawn. While the science fiction genre projected many realities that came true, in another area of fulfilment the genre piled up a ruinscape of misses and near-misses. The trauma of realization of prediction that beset science fiction during the Third Reich also meant that its psychotic sublime innovations never really left the range of the WWII origin of computing. But in addition to rocket science and artificial doubling of intelligent life, the computer held the digital relation in store.
According to Walter Benjamin’s understanding of modern allegory as the new legibility of defunct metaphysical systems, Christianity supplied the ruins for reading by falling short of delivery of its purchase on the future. The fantasy that is true is not Christianity (as Tolkien advertised) but instead the digital relation. This is why the fantasy genre has been in the ascendant within a mix of B-genres since the 1970s. By proximity and default, fantasy has come to represent our second nature as day-dreamers. We begin to understand how Star Wars became our oldest cultural memory.
Time to remember that it was the wish (der Wunsch) and not desire that was Freud’s cornerstone concept. His main philosophical precursor in this lineage of the wish was Arthur Schopenhauer, who speculated on a difference between our daily sense organ and the “dream organ,” our portal at night to liminal occult experience. Dreaming something as true, wahrträumen, draws from the will, the Ding an sich, but commences entertaining occult experience (like clairvoyance) upon reaching waking consciousness and translating what was drawn from the deep well of the will into the spatial/temporal/causal coordinates of wahrnehmen, perceiving, literally taking something as true. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud represented the sliding scale of the impact of the will through the wish power manifested in dreams. Freud brought his basic concept full circle as intrapsychic allegory when he skipped the night and approached waking fantasy or the daydream. In “The Creative Writer and Daydreaming,” Freud argued that while every wish fantasy binds the idealized past to the future of fulfilment in circumvention of the present, the trigger of the fantasying is stamped as Zeitmarke (date mark) upon the fantasy as a whole. The date mark identifies the expiration of the flight of fantasy by its backfire: historicization, the topical application of allegory.