In 1970 the Dutch philosopher and psychiatrist Jan Hendrik van den Berg announced the end of classical psychoanalysis. In an age without taboos, the mere idea no longer made sense to van den Berg. In the same year Mark Rothko’s stark Chapel in Houston, Texas, was completed at the point in the painter’s life when he had exhausted his experimental attempts to visualize sovereign, superhuman life. Both events are not completely unrelated. Both mark the point in Western culture when radical sovereign aspiration gained its final momentum. The year 2016 marks the point when this Luciferian aspiration achieved hegemonic dominance to occupy the core of cultural life. We are now in a position to look back on Rothko’s Chapel and ask ourselves if, in this newly dawned Age of Light, there still is, as the painter seems to have suggested, a dark side, a zone of inner, hidden depth, and if, contrary to van den Berg’s prediction, it still makes sense to psychoanalyze the Luciferian moment. This article reflects on these questions.
In the Zone of Pure Potential: Luciferian Speculations on the Age of Light
Ronnie Lippens is professor of criminology at Keele University. His research interests tend to focus on elements in what has become known as “visual criminology.” He has been working on what could be called prophetic art: art that somehow seems to announce—rather than merely express—the crystallization and consolidation of particular forms of life and the forms of governance embedded in them. He has published on this and other topics in a wide variety of venues.
Ronnie Lippens; In the Zone of Pure Potential: Luciferian Speculations on the Age of Light. Cultural Politics 1 November 2018; 14 (3): 327–343. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-7093338
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