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  • The Freudian Psychic ApparatusA Biopolitics of Resistance and Alteration
  • Rosaura Martínez Ruiz (bio)

The limit is a contact-barrier that cancels, yes, but it also, and at the same time, produces, designs, and brings into being. Without limits, there would not be anything—or perhaps a night where all cats are black, no, there would not be any cats, not even a cat, because a cat has boundaries, contact-barriers that differentiate it from other things, from other beings. There cannot be just one cat. There has to be the non-cat. Now, the difference between one thing and another is certainly not a relation between whole identities, because, among other reasons, identities are not relations. One thing and another always have a correspondence of sameness, for difference is always an economic and speculative matter. That is, there are communicating vessels between one thing and another, borderlines are always porous, limits between one thing and an other are always moving, the point belonging to A later belongs to B, the origin of X is always the alter-ation of Y. Being is an economy of alteration. If limits resist alteration that is only because they face the other, thus, they must be thought of as contact-barriers. The one and the other face each other, they speculate each other, and their seeing each other modifies both of them.

Resistance, thus, is not only a force that looks after the unity of one, but also, and at the same time, is an affirmative force that drives, and thus alters, the other. Resistance is the limit that brings one and the other into being. Moreover, it is not one force but instead a relation of forces that ceaselessly changes, for there [End Page 47] cannot be either two constant forces nor two forces of the same intensity; this would mean a paralysis of being, the end of history, and the holding still of time; the world would be a frozen world. Forces, like singularities, are in constant struggle with one another (a clash), where the effect of their encounter leads invariably to an interchange of quantities. Indeed, we are talking again of an economy.

At the origin we find resistance and violence. But this phenomenon does not show a linear temporality where we could tell a simple story of causes and effects. Resistance and violence unveil paradoxes. The force that protects itself from the other is violence against the other, but at the same time is violence against the self, for the one, as has been said, cannot be without the other. The difference between resistance and violence is quantitative. Singularization is the effect of a certain violence against the other, but when one rids oneself of the other, this expelling leaves a trace in both. Therefore, one inhabits the other, one is the other, without this meaning identities, they cannot become an identity, for the one and the other don’t fuse into each other; they alter each other. I quote Derrida:

As soon as there is the One, there is murder, wounding, traumatism. L’Un se garde de l’autre. The One guards against/keeps some of the other. It protects itself from the other, but, in the movement of this jealous violence, it comprises in itself, thus guarding it, the self-otherness or self-difference (the difference from within oneself) which makes it One. The “One differing, deferring from itself.” The One as the Other. At once, at the same time, but in a same time that is out of joint, the One forgets to remember itself to itself, it keeps and erases the archive of this injustice that it is. Of this violence that it does. L’Un se fait violence. The One makes itself violence. It violates and does violence to itself but it also institutes itself as violence. It becomes what it is, the very violence—that it does to itself. Self-determination as violence. L’Un se garde del’autre pour [End Page 48] se faire violence (because it makes itself violence and so as to make itself violence).

(Derrida 1998, 78)

In other words, singularization is the effect of a certain violence...


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