Radical Psychology
2007, Volume Six, Issue 1

Consenting to the discourse of power

Klaus-Jürgen Bruder

The time before September 11th
the world seemed to be in order.
When we spoke about “power”, we were still in the process of tracing it from
the -personal- power relationship as a paradigm of social power conditions
(which could be declared as to be found “always and everywhere”)
power, related of course to the Great Powers.

We were amused by this artistic derivation of power
especially the power of the child over the mother, 
regarding the ability to make her amazed or furious - 
the power of the patient over the therapist.

Then came September 11th (and everything else that followed)
It has taken the veil from our eyes
Has taken our silly-serious game out of our hands
And has shown us power in its apocalyptic dimension:

the power of the “evil” 
to which the power of the “good” 
did not hesitate very long to answer

The “good” power has in its “infinite justice” 
at least doubled the amount of innocent victims, 
and, as we meanwhile could read, has even multiplied these.
(not to forget that the “good” power has long preceded the “evil”)

We, who were in the position to follow these gladiator fights 
as spectators 
had the opportunity to let “our hearts beat for “Austria-Hungary” 
as Freud stated in a letter from 1914.

Shortly afterwards – about one year later – 
before the first criticism about the war could be heard 
Freud realized that he had fallen prey to a phantasm
The phantasm of power.

Emperor Franz Joseph, the mighty father, did his duty
and called for supreme sacrifice
The sons must have been filled with pride to have such a father, 
they too were striving to become like him
and to see things as he did

In 1914, Freud was also taken by this position:
From a regressive perspective he had experienced 
world politics as a variation of his family history

(His own father had not done what Franz Joseph did, 
to take revenge for his humiliation)

The phantasm (of the good governor) creates the illusion
that one could depend on the leadership to do good
and that it will be protective -- as it was once hoped for --
but disappointed -- by the father

The phantasms of power:
are to be seen in the legitimizing images 
by which domination becomes recognizable

They are produced by fantasies of megalomania and omnipotence 
crystallized in the phenomenon of domination
and the fascination which emanate from them.

These enable a “magical participation in power”
of those who live under its rule 
which act as an inhibitor of aggression
resulting from the degrading and insulting aspects of their lives

These images are in the service of putting 
the provisions of domination 
into the realm of the unconscious.

It is those perceptions -- which -- would they become conscious -- would motivate individuals to change their situation --
that need to be repressed and put into the realm of the unconscious

Putting things into the realm of the unconscious 
builds the basis for the belief in the legitimacy of power. 
This is the ground upon which consensus is built in a class society 
between rulers and those who are ruled by them.

Completely unbelievable attempts of justification 
by the ruling class 
are believed, 
because these help repress an unpleasant reality.

They allow for an escape into illusion 
by incorporating and redeeming the subjects’ feelings 
of megalomania and omnipotence

That is why 
Franz Joseph’s declaration of war in 1914 
was believed 
even though it was foremost a question of honor: 
war had been declared as a duel between the good and the evil.

To the degree, that Freud’s phantasm began to crumble 
the hypocrisy of power and 
its legitimizing reasons for violence 
became visible again

“By getting one-sided information…
we go crazy over the meaning 
of the impressions and value judgments we create”

Once the process of repression had been stopped --
during which one is supposed to experience that 
which is to serve the legitimization of power --
Freud’s criticism of the state and its power was relentless: 

“The individual member of the community 
can discover with a fright in this war (1914) 
what has gradually been intruding on him during peaceful times, 
that the state prohibits the use of injustice 
not because it wants to eliminate it, 
rather it wants to monopolize it, much like salt and tobacco.

The state allows for every injustice and violence, 
which would lead every individual to dishonor. 
The state not only uses cunning, 
conscious lying and intentional deception of the enemy . . .

The state demands the utmost of obedience and sacrifice 
from its citizens.  
At the same time it puts them under tutelage 
by excessive secrecy and censorship 
of information and free expression of opinion.

This leaves those 
who are thus intellectually repressed 
susceptible to any unfavorable situation and wild rumors.

The state breaks away from all agreements and contracts, 
by which it was bound to other states 
and instead admits openly to its greed and to its power drive.

Each individual is supposed to approve of this 
in the name of patriotism.6

In spite of this clear criticism of the state’s behavior, 
Freud did not really free himself from the phantasm of power:

In 1930 Freud (still or again) maintained his idea 
of the necessity of the state’s power 
for reasons of solving “one of the main problems of culture”: 
the taming of the aggressive instinct/drive.7

It is particularly this power 
which Freud had “identified with fright” earlier 
as to “openly admit” to its “greed” and “striving for power”, 
to use every “injustice” and every “violent behavior 
which would dishonor any individual” 
(should he dare attempt to do the same)

It is the power 
which would not eliminate the use of injustice 
but instead will monopolize it in its own hands.

It is the same power 
he considers fit and able 
to accomplish the task of “taming” the violence (in us all).

If we did not already recognize 
this way of thinking as Freud’s way, 
we would certainly shake our heads in disbelief 
over this change of thinking of such a rational man as Freud.

But it is not a change
Instead, Freud’s disillusion got stuck half way:

In 1915 he had already written:
“In this war, 
two things have created our disappointment:  
- the states’ poor level of ethics on the outside, 
that in the inside claim to be the guardians of ethical norms and 
- the brutal behavior of individuals
who were considered incapable of doing such deeds
being members of the highest human culture.”

Why do we say, he got stuck half way?
Was it not just one, but rather a dual disillusion?

- Disillusion over “states”
- Disillusion over “individuals”

It is precisely this, where Freud differentiates 
his disappointment twofold,
that he does not see the obvious connection between the two

Does he not see 
that the brutal behavior of the individual 
is nothing other than the individualized expression of 
(or the result of) the “poor level of ethics” of the states?

However, Freud clearly sees a connection:
in the “deepest nature of the human being”
In his – destructive – drives
which he considers to be of “elementary nature” and 
“equal in all human beings”.

How could it be different:
The psychologist’s phallacy (as James could have ridiculed) 
has penetrated here:

When Freud postulates
“human nature”, its “drive foundation”
not only to explain its behavior
but to explain at the same time 
the behavior of the states.

Freud draws no difference between the “state” and the “individual”
in terms of the foundation of their behavior.

He attributes the behavior of the state 
as well as that of its citizens 
to “drives/instincts” 
which are supposed to be “equally present in all human beings”

He thus takes the drives/instincts of man 
and turns them into the foundation 
for the drives/instincts (behavior) of the state.

As if states could be equated with men,
instead of considering states to be artificial creations --artefacts--
even though they are created by men!

And even though, these creations do not “behave” by themselves 
rather they are set into motion and kept in motion 
by the behavior of men, 
which always influences the actions and form of the state,

he does not take into consideration 
that the way of satisfying and managing the drives 
not only depends on the intensity of the drive 
but also on the available means of satisfaction.

These available means of satisfaction 
are brought under official control in society 
They need to be differentiated according to “social place”  
briefly: they are distributed to an unequal degree 
amongst the different classes of society.

In terms of the assumed equality in all of us --
( -- because of the existing drives in man -- )
this inequality disappears 
just as the difference in “social place”
and the difference between the actions of the state, 
which monopolizes injustice 
and the action of the individual ,
who is requested to be obedient, being put under tutelage, 
and rendered defenseless.

This means, Freud’s recourse on drives/instincts being destructive and present in all human beings 
cannot explain the difference.
It can not explain the inherent inequality,
the inequality between the state and its citizens
between the ruling power and subject
between the political and civil power.

Is it in the extinction of this difference 
between the state and the individual,
between the ruling classes and the classes who are ruled by them -
in the extinction of inequality and power?
that lies the meaning of the mentioning of the drives
and with it - the meaning of the theory of drives/instincts --
which gains momentum “behind the back of the theorist” (Freud)?

Freud’s dual disillusion shows itself as a single one:
He can not really be disappointed about an individual, 
rather about “states”

Freud’s disappointment over
”The cruelties and injustice 
of which most civilized nations are guilty
the various ways in how they judge their own lies, their own injustices and that of their enemies 
does not lead him to 
but rather “affirms psychoanalysis and its measures”

And according to Freud’s conviction 
Psychoanalysis is not only right in assuming the equal equipment of drives/instincts 
as the foundation of our behavior 
and as that of states,
but furthermore “that the original drives of man, 
present in each of us, 
can never be eliminated . . .

And that is why wars can not be eliminated, 
as Freud concluded in a letter to Einstein (1932).

By this is we have arrived at the last reason
The reason of all reasons:
The affirmation of existing conditions, 
of ubiquity and the continuous return of war and aggression
of power and inequality.

at this occasion of the letter to Einstein 
Freud uses the same argument of “never to be eliminated” 
not only for human aggression 
but also for (explaining) the inequality of society.

This as well, can never be eliminated because it is “innate”
He really does maintain that this is innate, 
that society is divided into leaders and dependents.
“The latter ones are the huge majority, 
they are in need of an authority 
to make decisions for them 
to which they usually subjugate unconditionally.”

Again, we have the statement that something 
“can not be eliminated”

With this statement Freud gets dangerously close 
to the imminent connection between cruelty and inequality:

One could say that as long as inequality is not eliminated 
cruelty will persist.

And also: against the (attempts of) elimination of inequality, cruelty will surface

(in the knocking down of revolts) 

However, this is not what Freud meant.

He explicitly said, it is an illusion to believe that 
human aggression could be eliminated “ 
by satisfaction with material goods” and 
with the achievement of “equality among the members of a community”

Of course, Freud got entangled here in wicked contradictions by asserting that inequality (between authority and its subjects) 
is innate and can not be eliminated

as is the equality (of the basic drives “amongst all members of a community”)

which is supposed to be the reason for violent behavior 
(of the “authority”, as well as that of its “dependents”, 
of the state as well as that of the individual)

But he puts up with this contradiction because 
he is convinced of the argument of “it can not be eliminated”

It is part of the discourse of power

that it is presented as “never to be eliminated” 

with his reasoning Freud contributes to this discourse of power:

his argument that the “theory of drives” “never to be eliminated” 

by declaring aggression as “never to be abolished/eliminated”

power turns out to be the same:

the foundation of the theory of drives/instincts 
becomes its “agenda”:

The conditions of the origins of aggression 
are to be shifted from power on to

the foundation of drives of the subjects

This is: the rendering unconscious of the origins of aggression

(of the oppressed against the oppressor)
by putting its reasons into the realm of the unconscious:

power and domination

(the aggression of the oppressor against the oppressed).

So here we find again: the phantasm -

not of the “good power”

but of power itself,    
and its characteristics of “never to be eliminated”

Phantasm of the good power, perhaps

By assigning to it the “civilizing” task of 
taming the aggressive instinct

which is seen by Freud as “one of the main problems of culture” (1930)

Contrary to this:

Power produces the “main problem of culture” in the first place

Which it claims it is able to overcome:

it creates aggressiveness and violent behavior

aggressiveness of the oppressed

as well as aggressiveness of the rulers

It creates aggressiveness by producing the oppressed

- dependency, poverty, hunger, misery and distress – 

the oppressed resist against this

and this oppression appears in itself as a form of aggression

its own striving for power

as well as that of the oppressed

(One only has to take a look at the present cases of oppression and numbers of wars: 40 )

And that is why it is true that power is “necessary”:

“the huge majority” is in need of an “authority” 
which makes decisions for it . . .

The power (authority) also fulfills 
certain functions for the subordinates

(otherwise it would not be able to hold up its authority)

But this does not mean that it couldn’t be renounced,

that the people, the citizens, the subordinates 
could not fulfill this task themselves

The majority needs the authority
because of the results produced by this authority in the first place

- in order to suppress again the aggressiveness of the oppressed and

- in order to compensate for what it has destroyed before
(the culture of the oppressed)

In this process, power achieves cultural accomplishments

( But who really achieves those? 
As Brecht asks: “Who has built the 100 gates of Thebia? )

power achieves cultural accomplishments which surpass the ones

that were previously destroyed,

if one may find the Renaissance surpassing 
the Gothic cities destroyed 

or the Baroque of the Reconquistas surpassing 
the Moorish Gothics

or the Mayan Temples

(all of which were power “accomplishments” in themselves)

The great “achievements of civilization” by power
are preceded by the expropriation of the subjects,

their self-determination and their skills.

Thus, power is “necessary”

after it has appeared

after it has destroyed what it has found

after it has expropriated the subjects from their own power

And by building ”anew” what it previously destroyed, 
by “returning” to the subjects 
what was initially taken away from them, 
it is “necessary”, 
it brings forth necessary cultural accomplishments 
(without power, the previously expropriated subjects would not be 
in their possession:  
without Hitler – no autobahns)

But power does not return everything 
it has taken away from its subjects

Its “gifts” do not only originate 
in the bare necessity of compensation due to 
previously destroyed cultural accomplishments.

These are always equally connected to 
its interest in creating a “surplus”:

Power keeps its tribute from what it gives to its subject:

Its tribute of wealth and freedom

These are used to increase its power

by enlarging power

it simultaneously increases the powerlessness of the subordinates.

Power produces (more) power

Augmentation of power 
(and with it the powerlessness of its subjects)

is its “meaning”

It is the “meaning of power”

Herein lies  its “necessity”

Its “law”

Its “telos”

Its goal is “to realize itself as an omnipotent power”

“Power does not restrict itself”

The “sovereign” power 
is sovereign towards its subordinates

It is independent of them and of their “will”

(Max Weber’s definition)16

unbound by its laws and organs,

by its “assurances and contracts” (Freud)

This “emancipation of power” is at the same time

a goal which can never be achieved

Power has to “take into consideration” the will of the people

(this does not mean that it will follow this will, 
but it will “interpret” it instead).

Its actions will be presented as if 
the people’s will has been fulfilled.

Its actions will be “explained” to the people

and this ends up as “co-creating” the will of the people, 
forming it and thus producing it in the first place

And this is the function of political discourse:

To manufacture an -- agreeing/consenting -- “majority” --
to manufacture “the will of the population”

(and with it: the manufacture of the “population” itself)

and the consideration of that which the power did produce earlier.

This is the function of the discourse of power 
its “performative” function

In this discourse, power does not speak only in one voice:

because the “population” does not consist of just one ear 
(but of classes)

all need to be addressed.

Power has to explain itself to all

to consider the will of all in a forming way

(even though the multiplicity of voices also expresses 
the rivalry of the different power groups, 
which jointly woo for the mandates of the voters.)

But they never leave the “common grounds of the democrats”

which is the “fundamental consensus” of power

If one should be accused of doing so 
he will be made an example of to all those who dare to do the same 
by demonstrating what  can happen as a consequence.

The goal is to intimidate the population 
by hitting the opposition over the head

In this scenario of difference and opposition

(the “opposition of her majesty”)

the “fundamental” difference between power and subordinates 
is “hidden”:

which is the principle of the discourse of power

(Bourdieu: Hiding by showing)

Hiding by showing:

Is this also the principle of Freud’s discourse ?

He “shows” us: 
our aggressiveness as being ruled by drives /instincts,

through this he “hides”: 
its determination by power

It is the function of the phantasm of power:

to put the reality of the ruling power 
into the realm of the unconscious

Hiding by showing:

as a principle of the discourse of power and  
its performative function

The performative act creates that 
which it proposes

by maintaining it

It is the principle of power itself
of its execution and its expansion

Power creates itself

by stating that it is executing power:

“Performance” of power

But this performance is not realized by itself

It is put into realization because it is 
“accepted/believed” by those who submit to power.

The people submit to power

by agreeing to its proposition

(this is the dependence of power on the will of the population).

The two positions in this (language-)game of performance of power are not power and powerlessness.

They are rather: power and subjugation

The proposition of power and the acceptance of the proposition

Decision for its acceptance -

(it is a decision: in the language-game of propositions 
there is always the other possibility of refusing acceptance)

There need to be reasons for acceptance

To deliver these reasons is the task of the discourse of power

(this way, the one who decides 
remains in the realm of the language-game of this discourse)

At the same time, it is “only” a game:

A game of finding reason (not of finding causes).

The individual’s, decision is mostly due to (other) causes:

beyond the language – game

it is due to his “life-environment”.

In our (Western, capitalist) society

It is the market, the participation in it
(together with the associated “cultural“ meanings)

Which supplies the causes for accepting the proposition of power (Brückner)

“the material gratification for the acceptance of the system”

On the other hand:

In case these material gratifications are not supplied

once the market pulls back from the “life-environment”,

when the crisis becomes visible

when parts of the population become superfluous, unnecessary,

without being able to secure their means of living

then the consent and acceptance of the system becomes diminished

The reasons (offered by the discourse of power)

are rationalizations (for the population’s consent)
to the discourse of power, to power itself
given by participation in consuming

Its function, the function of the discourse of power, 
is to put these causes into the realm of the unconscious

Putting into the unconscious
is the function of the propositions of the discourse of power

(comparable to the phantasm of power)

Here we are dealing with two levels:

- The “official” (public) reason of behavior 
(discourse of power) of “what one says

- and the in-official, ”private” level

its unconscious, or denied causes of what not to discuss, 
(the individual motives), of “what one does not say openly and/or 
is not allowed to say 

In this context, it is suggested to associate these two levels 
with power:

It is power, that forces individuals into silence, 
into denial, into lies, into deception, 
(into putting certain aspects into the realm of the unconscious

Or, one could look at it the other way:

It is the attempt of the subjects  to live in the face of power 
(as subjects)

and to pretend, to act “as if”

One could call this the “binary” structure of  speech, 
which colors all of abstract thinking, 
i.e. one could deduct this dualism of thinking from 
the necessity of a “doubling” - in the face of power

even though this connection to power is more or less explicit.

Marx used this “doubling” of terms in his concepts of 
“exchange value” and “value of usage”

As a definition of the “dual character of the commodity” 

Similarly, Freud’s thinking shows this binary structure:

Conscious- unconscious
latent - manifest

Pleasure principle – reality principle

Life instinct - death instinct

Why, then, did Freud abandon this dualism in the case of power?

The dualism of (civil) power (conditions)

And (personal) power (relations) 

It is that the phantasm of power does consist of 
the negation of this difference

(the – personal – power - of the father is being “transferred” 
into the arena of abstract power conditions of the emperor)

It consists of the reduction of the differentiated power conditions
to the one dimension of personal relations

Why did Freud, after he was able to see through the phantasm 
and its mechanism

maintain his statement and continued to equate 
personal power relations with society power conditions?

Why did he deny this difference and made it disappear 
(in the “foundation of drives/instinct,

which is inherent in us all”)?

Why did Freud turn the role of power around

from “its monopoly of injustice”

to being able to fulfill the “civilizing” function 
(of “taming the drive/instinct):

this becomes the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of power and 
of its monopoly of violence.

One explanation could be found in power itself,

that it makes the dual aspects disappear

the dual aspects of the discourse, 
the difference between causes and reasons

As Marx said: the value of usage disappears behind the exchange value,

thus - personal - relations 
take on the characteristics and quality of the – 
abstract – society power conditions

The enlargement of power means also

(and happens simultaneously through)

entering into new arenas, previously not the realms of power (Brückner)

into the arena of the social (“civil society”), of the family, 
of the private, of relationships.

It grafts upon the fundamental processes of society

and imprints its own form of power onto  these

It thus reproduces these as power processes

as processes manufactured by power

and reproduces its products as products of power

It is by this way, that it changes their original character

That it turns the means for the reproduction of life

into means for reproduction of power.

The accomplishments of culture are turned into an expression

(presentation and representation) of power (“aesthetics of power”)

(autobahns are not simply broad streets for a great number of cars)

Power transforms personal relations and 
turns them into conditions of power

Power not only pulls out the “surplus”

which it needs in order to expand and enlarge its domain

It infiltrates into the forms of 
the created cultural accomplishments and relation,

determines these and changes their shape and meaning

in this way these take on its task and its spirit

The differentiation (of relation and condition) disappears

into the one dimension of power (condition)

In this way the selfdetermination of 
civil processes and personal relations are being abolished.

The “Content” (of “relations”) disappears

behind “form” (of power) conditions

the “form” becomes independent, becomes “emancipated”

The “emancipation of power”

In the end there is only power,

because power becomes everything.

“Everything” seems to be power

power seems to be all there is.

“Everywhere”: even in personal relationships, power “exists”

Power ”always” is, (what is “everywhere”, has “always” been there)

Power is “necessary” (what has “always been”, is also “necessary”)

Power is “good” (what is “necessary”, is also “good” and “reasonable”: Hegel)

Here we arrive at the affirmation of power

By the way of the Thought of power

And, simultaneously, we arrive at Freud’s way of thinking

which would have its cause in this:

In the emancipation of power.

At the same time, this “emancipation” of power 
is only an appearance

An “appearance” which has made itself independent:


Because power is always dependent on the consent of its subjects,

And therefore there is always the opportunity for rejection, 
refusal (and revolt)

In this context it can truly be considered an affirmation:

to “think” the emancipation of power

an affirmation to the discourse of power, 

Power forces its subjects into consent/agreement), 
wants to force them into it -

nevertheless, the subjects have to give their agreement,

to the propositions of the discourse of power.

By agreeing to them, and by taking these on,

they “voluntarily subjugate” themselves to these

“against their better knowledge”- 
which they “deny” and “put into the realms of the unconscious”.

They “subjectify” themselves ( Foucault)19

They turn themselves into “ subjects” of power

“Subjugated” to power (assujetté)

Within this discourse of power, 
the subjectivity of the subjects is to being created first


But it is the result of the subjects’ consent 
which creates their subjectivity.

And the “forgetting” of this consenting
Forgetting the fact that it was themselves 
who have given their consent 

And they “forget” the causes for why they have given their consent,

these are placed into the realm of the unconscious.

The causes behind the reasons

Consent to the discourse of power

This is also Adler’s topic:

In his theory, we find the – compensatory - striving for power 
out of feelings of powerlessness (and “inferiority”)

This striving for power and superiority is of course 
an affirmation of power

It is a consent to the discourse of power

which creates the feeling of being powerless

which should be overcome by consenting to power

The manifold strategies by which we attempt to overcome 
feelings of powerlessness

mostly result in hiding our feelings of powerlessness 
from ourselves:

the tricks of self-defeat, mistaking, camouflaging, the lies, 
the pretence, the self-presentation and hypocrisy, 
the feelings of being superior, the devaluation of others

which gives us a feeling of

being stronger, more powerful than they are,

gives us a feeling of having power over them

According to Adler, these strategies,

which usually involve humbling and hurting the other,

this aggression 
is not part of an aggressive drive/instinct,

but originates in feelings of powerlessness, 
subjugation and weakness,

which should be overcome in this way (compensation).

Therefore, the “main task of culture” should not be

the “taming of the aggressive drives/instincts” 
(as Freud suggests 1930)

but the “taming” of (the feelings of) powerlessness.

Nothing seems more obvious than holding power responsible

for creating such feelings (of powerlessness).

The fact of power ( with one person) 
creating powerlessness (in another person)

as well as instigating the (compensatory) striving for power

Power offers the Ideal

For overcoming feelings of powerlessness

(in the feeling of- having - power)

The discourse of power is shown in its most powerful dimensions
in the case of war - 
which was our original point of departure for this discussion.

In the case of war, the feelings of powerlessness 
by those who subjugate and consent to the discourse of power 
become most obvious.

There is a corresponding piece of writing by Adler:

“A study on mass psychology on the guilt of the people of World War I”

Adler’s statement is

“people did not enter war out of sympathy for war (…), 
but as “victims of a false sense of shame”.

Being dragged, pushed and shoved to the slaughterhouse

“people  felt ashamed of loosing all individual human rights 
and their freedom

In an attempt to escape from such dishonoring

they rescued themselves 
by assembling under the banner of its oppressor

and pretended that it was them  who had given the call for war.

This way, they no longer felt like beaten dogs, 
exposed to the shower of bullets,

no, now they were heroes, 
who defended that fatherland and their own honor!

It was a desperate attempt of freeing their souls

from deep feelings of being dishonored and humiliated.

Thus, they timidly evaded the realization

of being pitiful victims of foreign lusts for power.

Instead , they preferred to dream

of being heroes and doing heroic deeds, of their own will . . .”

They did not dream 
instead of fulfilling
on the contrary:
they were dreaming while fulfilling - 
what was then considered – a heroic deed.

“dream” and “reality” became congruent.

The dream, the thinking of the subjects, 
had “swallowed” the discourse of power

had swallowed “the God of the Generality”, 
and it was him, who spoke through them.

By this they had achieved a sense of security again and 
were able to get rid off the humiliation and sense of wretchedness.

Feelings of powerlessness

and the shameful realization

to be a pitiful victim

of foreign lusts for power

are being evaded through a sense of personal feelings of power,

as created by the consent to the discourse of power.

Also being denied is then the striving for power

in the “counter-fiction” of striving towards excellence,

towards  “honor, law and fatherland”

The denial of the reality of power by the dominated

It is at the same time the last phase of dominination. 

It is not Powerlessness 
on the contraray Powerlessness is the denial of having given consent

to the discourse of power:

(in itself a “fiction”)

At the same time:

the “last phase of dominination” is war

Domination, power in the register of violence


powerlessness is no longer “fiction”

But war is

“the continuation of politics”(of the discourse of power) 
with different means”

or as Foucault states (the other way around)

“Politics is the continuation of war with different means”.

War -- to return to the starting point of my lecture - 
that is conducted today, 
or in the meantime quite publicly prepared --
we are onlookers of this war, 
we feel like onlookers --
the “gladiator fights” I said

But simultaneously it contains a „message“ for us

Perhaps Freud´s image is better-suited 
to characterize our position and role:

„A child is beaten“

we are not in the position of the beaten child,
we look on

The message to us:
those who should -- and perhaps can --
move us to consent -- to power

the „population“ of the „metropols“
as opposed to:
the population of the Islamic world

We: the intellectuals
as opposed to the stupid masses
we: the readers of the FAZ, (or New York Times) who see through everything
with the conceited gaze
that doesn´t get involved, 
we of the better taste
we: the „noble“ in the court of power

Therin lies the consent to „our“ power

Biographical Note:

Klaus-Jürgen Bruder is professor of psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin and a psychoanalyst. 
His research interests include the history of psychology and psychological discourse, pragmatism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, the culture of youth, gender relations and discourse, and the discourse of power.
He is editor of the series Subjektivität und Postmoderne im Psychosozial-Verlag Giessen and co-editor of various journals.

His publications include:  Die biographische Wahrheit ist nicht zu haben. Psychoanalyse und Biographieforschung. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag 2003; Kreativität und Determination. Studien zu Nietzsche, Freud und Adler (mit Almuth Bruder-Bezzel). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2004

Mail: BruderKJ@Zedat.FU-Berlin.de

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