Getting a little too Close to my Computer- by Unheimlich Maneuver

Keeping it weird at Remains of the Desi…A few words on Computers and Psychoanalysis by our guest writer, U.M.


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Recently, on Mother’s Day, I realized that I was spending a quantifiably larger time alone with my computer. And, isolated in my cyber mausoleum, I began to wonder whether my laptop had begun to take on an almost familial metaphor in my repressed and disquieting life. For Lacan, the object “a” is the thing or person that “causes speech”. In other words, your desire is formed, from infancy, in relation to an object which appears to want something from you. If your mother wants you to walk or eat or crap then you learn that those things are “good” things to do…and hence your capacity to desire is formed. And as you grow older and fall in love, that new object becomes in some ways, a substitute for the original Object “A”, towards which you try to project your desire and to whom you address your acts and speech.

From there on out Lacan becomes inordinately complex but there is one point that always rings with a degree of clarity in my head and it is this. For Freud and Lacan the most important part of psychoanalysis is looking at the difference between what your rational mind (language apparatus) “SAYS” it wants and looking at signs of what your unconscious really wants.

Now I have all sorts of reasons and excuses for why the internet is so utterly fascinating and for why I have so much work to do on my computer….but if I take away the lively rhetoric I am left with this…..I spend hours and hours a day sitting like a manacled lobster in a tank, with my eyes glued to a glowing screen and my hands caressing a keyboard.


Lacan might have argued… “perhaps what you really want…what you really desire…is not all of the erudite and intricate plays of word in cyber space….what you really desire is simply to sit for hours clutching an object which invites you to act upon it….(your substitute mommy/lover/Object “A”) and stare longingly into the gaze of the bright square glare. Perhaps computers have replaced our mothers (providing instant gratification and an eternal invitation to write more…) and our lovers (providing porn) and our friends (as we chase comments from blog to blog). I’m not sure if it is something to worry about…just something I’ve noticed…my computer causes my speech (my typed words) more frequently than anything else. But if my comp is becoming my object “A” then I am becoming something caused by a computer…something made of typing fingers and straining eyeballs, staring staring into an abyss of mechanical pleasure. It all feels very apocalyptic and cyborg…but I like it…


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