Oedipus or Non-Oedipus? Notes On Fadini


From The Wizard of Oz, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939

by Claudia Landolfi

In recent years there has been great attention paid to the so-called Italian theory in the field of political philosophy. This definition has brought to the fore Italian thinking, but at the same time also covers many reflections of the past several decades, by creating a category easily disclosable but also restricted to a few authors and topics. To this regard, I want to highlight the philosophical work of Ubaldo Fadini, professor of philosophy at the University of Florence, who for many years has been dedicated to the German and French philosophical tradition, crossing different disciplines and combining aesthetic and ethical issues to frame the subjectivity and the institutions into the post-Fordist era.

Since his work is multi-faceted and broad, I would suggest first reading Il desiderio in America (The desire in America) for his ‘achipelago-politics’. Fadini addresses the issue of desire in Deleuze with an approach that escapes the opportunity and claim to be an interpretive key from which to see everything systemically. His work wisely touches on several authors and issues, from Kafka to Melville, Spinoza and Nietzsche, and many others, addressing the dynamics of a desire, debt, conscience, responsibility and law. These are, therefore, multiple inputs to desiring, which does not hide the dotted plurality of the brothers in the world, beyond the tight grip of the Oedipal triangle, i.e. the father-mother-child relationship. It follows a not only a psychological issue but also a political one, thus it regards the delineation of a field of forces in which ‘who’ acts – and speaks – is not only the person (a term which in Latin refers to theatrical mask, but well-defined identity fictitious necessary to enter the scene and carry on a story), but the scene itself, produced by relations not illuminated by the light of the show. The plural world of the brothers is the American one, in which the Oedipal relationship with the father-homeland is cut in the name of equality, contrary to colonial subjection (of which Fanon has also shown the psychic character revealing the mechanism of the colonized that internalized the oedipal function of the dominus. Fanon, in fact, has linked the production of subjectivity employee with the apparatus of colonial subordination).

To this aside to Deleuzian thought, Fadini adds another, but productively connects to the first: from the cut with the father was not born the son (as in Hegelian-Lacanian interpretation or dialectical-psychoanalytic who wants the definition of the son from by the conflict with his father), but the brothers, the concrete manifold in which the father is not necessary but is placed from time to time in the decision-making function of the uncertainty, in the mobile uncertainty of the brothers in their organization. That this is happening is not a scandal. That this would represent a danger, as Fadini states, is a necessary point to be aware. Maybe, the problem arises when this function is preached the need: no, the fathers are not necessary. And even mothers. We reiterate: it is a political issue around which affirms or denies the legal capacity of the many in favor of the one. The one may be different persons: those who came before, the old, the wise, the priest who runs the border between the world and underworld with the rules applied on the swinging from one place to another, the legislature, the owner. The reason why the scope of the one is so problematic is mainly related to the mechanism he establishes so to ex-istere. It is a mechanism for fault-liability-debt, such as a pyramid which is based on a ‘primary’ concept, namely that of the absence. The paternal function certainly sums up everything in a person: the father is the legislator, he was there before, is older, closer to the world of the dead, but even in that of the living, owns the world, provides rules – even interpretation – to be applied to the fluctuations of life. A really great invention, no doubt about it, higher than that of basileus-priest, more functional, yes, more functional.

As in The Wizard of Oz, a narrative that is served in an American election campaign and, as Graeber reminds us, explains the necessity of the idea of debt so to found the new relationship between money and gold, the legislator is microscopic compared to the effects of the conviction that is produced on a large scale, not only on his community but also on the foreigners who come to him in search of completeness. The vacuum is once again an instrument of domination, nothing else. Lack of confidence, of course. Lack of confidence in the ability of the brothers. In the story of The Wizard of Oz, the wizard was well-intentioned and therefore the trick is revealed, however, he reaffirms his role by giving foreigners a certificate of completion that settles the existential debt. Lack of confidence and perhaps even the reading of fairy tales. We don’t need ‘real’ narrations but concrete tales, and, as Fadini says, archipelagos and pirates and cartographers.

About the Author:

Claudia Landolfi, philosopher, is author of books and essays on modern and contemporary Western philosophy with a special sight on the subjectivation processes in neoliberal apparatuses which rearticulate the relation between nature and culture, desire and power. She is elaborating a theory on the ‘governamentalization’ of the emotions in digital media, focusing on the concept of what she calls ‘psychic enclosure’. Her aim is to propose an Ethics of affects on Empiricist basis, stressing the concepts of imagination, indetermination and invention, criticizing the anthropological paradigm which she calls ‘the legal subject’.