From Here to California
An excerpt from Germany: A Science Fiction
Laurence Rickels has long been postulating the existence of a technophantasmic mode of German literature he calls “psy fi.” He has used (avant-gardish) psychoanalytic literary techniques to show, among other things, how Philip K. Dick was not simply a viable subject of such analysis but a knowledgeable and engaged participant (I Think I Am: Philip K. Dick, 2010) [Amazon], and that the Cold War erasure of Germany from the history of science fiction was followed by a spectral return which reflected the post-war integration of Germany and the onset of collective mourning (Germany: A Science Fiction, 2014) [Amazon]. It is in this latter book that these three threads – psychoanalysis, Philip K.Dick, Germany – are wound together into the forceful and timely argument that the untenable android testing for empathy or its failure, psychopathy, in Dick's postwar worlds, offers an inside view of the complex relationship of future mourning to the combo of technological fantasy and psycho violence that found its most spectacular political manifestation in Nazi Germany. Rickels is currently completing a study tentatively titled Critique of Fantasy, which explores not just the borderlands of the fantasy and science fiction genres as the Heimat of blockbuster culture, but looks at daydreaming and wish fantasying, that is, the psychoanalytic poetics of the same, with some consideration of its policing by philosophical ethics.
The following is a chapter from Germany: A Science Fiction.
Future worlds made in Germany were left unattended during the Cold War reception of science fiction. Then, beginning in the 1980s, the Metropolis look was in our faces in films, music videos, and the redesign of Disneyland's Tomorrowland. It is this watershed of return, rather than the decade or so that lies between them, which gives divergent styles to the first movies made of the American superheroes. In Donner’s Superman: The Movie (1978) the city called Metropolis is as modern as 1970s New York and the hero’s secret bachelor pad from Krypton is of the same era, but befitting a Las Vegas wedding chapel. While Gotham City in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) belongs by its gadgets to the present, even the future, to look at it is to pass through a relay of Lang’s film sets. The return of German science fiction left a fork in the look of the future between 1950s modernism with futurama accents (the original style of Tomorrowland) and the art-deco future in the past, a souvenir of New York made in Germany. Even the 2010 film Inception, ostensibly free to dream up alternate dream realities, was stuck in the turnstile of alternation between two choices: James Bond or Metropolis.
It is no surprise that Blade Runner (1982), Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), belonged to the avant-garde of this blast from the past. Dick's collected work inherited the metabolization of “Germany” in science fiction, from the establishment of “German” science fiction—as the transformation of the wound of gravity and grave into the wonder or miracle of takeoff—to “Germany” as the problem and object of integration in the postwar future worlds of science fiction. In his 1964 novel The Simulacra, Dick confronts us with a new entity, the USEA, the future state of cohabitation of the United States or California with Germany. If there is a bicoastal dialectic whereby symptoms of Nazi German provenance wash up onto the Coast, then Dick brings it to its crisis point with the prospect of Germany’s postwar integration so close to home. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ubik (1968), the difficulty of this integration was carried forward as the ongoing social problem of psychopathy, in which the failure to empathize and mourn tests the limits of tolerance.
Martian Time-Slip (1964) and The Simulacra offered two perspectives on one future world seen now from Mars, now from Earth. The future belongs to America or California but with Germany and Israel as its most proximate, overlapping, even internal neighbors. The first Californian co-op housing unit to be built on Mars bears the name AMWEB, an acronym standing, in lieu of translation, for Alle Menschen werden Brüder. While the theory behind the therapy is immersed in German, the treatment of schizophrenia on Mars is conducted in American at hospitals in New Israel. In the off world, which faces incipient psychosis as the greatest risk and chronic psychosis as a new social contingency, the autistic-schizophrenic ten-year-old Manfred, whose family emigrated from West Germany, is the one to watch and rehabilitate. The Californian settler Jack Bohlen, a repairman and recovering schizophrenic charged with building a delay chamber for the translation of Manfred’s perceptions, undergoes the task of society’s project of integration as a painful proximity to the youth, especially on the inside. While working to add a lapse in time to the boy’s sensorium, he begins to undergo a relapse. Like Melanie Klein’s patient Dick (in her 1930 study “The Importance of Symbol Formation in the Development of the Ego”), Manfred suffers from premature onset of empathy and capacity for grief. The condition that amounts to a paradoxical intervention in Dick’s regimen of testing leaves Manfred wide open to every unconscious thought crossing the minds around him. But what he sees via the fast-forwarding of his time sense is the tomb world: the ongoing prospect of entropy’s omnipresence.
Whereas on Mars schizophrenia is rampant, on Earth psychosis retains an endopsychic privilege held by one figure at a time. In The Simulacra, Kongrosian is the identified psychotic whose symptomatology coextends with Rollo May’s Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology (1958). This collection of studies by practitioners of existential analysis first made available to the English-only readership Ludwig Binswanger’s “The Case of Ellen West,” Dick’s source for the image of the tomb world, which he used over and again as an interface between psychotic delusional states and the relationship to mourning. Kongrosian, himself a close reader of the literature on psychosis, cites Minkowski, Kuhn, and Binswanger (63) as among the few who could help him if they were still around. The obsessive compulsive disorder he presents is modeled on Minkowski’s essay in May’s collection, but the diagnosis “anakastic,” which Kongrosian applies as fitting his case (60), shows that he knows von Gebsattel’s contribution as well. What seems not to be represented at all in the case of Kongrosian is Roland Kuhn's study of Rudolf, who was hospitalized in Switzerland following his attempted murder of a prostitute. In his introduction, May singles out Kuhn’s study as the best demo of the existential-analytic reconstruction of a patient's complete world, which in the case of Rudolf conjoins psychopathic violence, arrested mourning, and fetishism. Lost in the translation of Kuhn’s title in May’s collection is the specification of the case-subject up front as “depressive fetishist.” When he lost his mother at age three, Rudolf applied activity in the missing place of affect. He found his dead mother and talked to and touched the corpse he did not take for dead. When this body was taken away, he searched for his living mother. Thus commences the section “Everyday Life” that Kuhn won from the static in the course of reconstructing Rudolf's history. “A small boy is searching the house looking for his dead mother. After having found the body he speaks to it and touches it. Later, after the body is lost to him through the funeral, he rummages through the entire house . . . In all these instances Rudolf is acting, behaving in a peculiarly active fashion which already reveals a certain industry. There is nothing contemplative to be found in his early memories” (397). In the beginning was activity, productivity, even industry in lieu of recognition of loss.
When his father died, what returned was the dead body that Rudolf, now a young man, could again manipulate, searching for signs of the life sustained by his looking. Kuhn concludes that “it is certain that in the night during his bizarre activities” with the father’s corpse, Rudolf “did not feel like mourning” (403). What was back next day, as he witnessed the coffin being removed from the interior of the home, was the loss of the dead body. Whereas, according to Kuhn, absence of the body tends to stabilize the initial mourning affect, for Rudolf “the affect emerged precisely because of the loss of the body” (411). Kuhn searches for Rudolf's motivation: “Since to him the matter of the body represents its essence . . . living man and dead body are not so very different, in certain conditions” (414). In fact, “the materiality of man is more fully represented by the dead body, since in man, alive, other factors disturbingly interfere” (ibid.). Stopped in the tracks of his first murder attempt following the double loss of his father in 1938, Rudolf spent the war years under Kuhn’s care reclaiming his history of delayed mourning from the narcissism of his chaos. In time, he could get out of the tight spot he was in with the dead bodies of his parents by projecting the machinery of repair upon his relationship to all the bodies that mattered: “in various dreams . . . he occupied himself, mostly with the help of complicated machines, with the body of his father or of people unknown to him, predominantly of the female sex. In most of these dreams he succeeded in bringing the dead back to life, a result that gave him the feeling of indescribable happiness” (373). As preliminary and prerequisite to a happy treatment outcome, one that begins to feel like mourning, Kuhn separates out the violence from Rudolf's psychopathic industry, which he reapplies toward recovery. Ellen West gets bogged down in the tomb world of her schizophrenia, but “Rudolf stays productive and alive” (424).
Kuhn was Binswanger's disciple; he also inadvertently introduced outpatient psychopharmacology when he discovered that an anti-psychotic medication they were trying out in the hospital was useless in its prescribed purpose but seemed to be effective in relieving depression. The drug in question, Imipramine, is offered for Kongrosian’s treatment by a representative of one of the Berlin-based chemical cartels that recently pushed through the prohibition of psychoanalysis in the USEA. Throughout society, everyone’s expertise is called on to deliver Kongrosian from his incapacitating symptoms. A psychokinetic virtuoso who plays piano without hands, Kongrosian alone raises the middlebrow of official entertainment, which otherwise shows live from the White House selected acts from the amateur hours, talent shows, or auditions taking place non-stop in every cooperative housing unit. Since, as star of White House TV, he is inside the hub of USEA’s government, Kongrosian’s psychic ability, which represents an acausal factor, one that even time travel-enhanced surveillance cannot control or predict, poses a threat to the best-laid plans of political intrigue. Pembroke, the head of police plotting to become dictator, allows one psychoanalyst, Dr. Superb, who was treating Kongrosian, to remain in business, ultimately in order to help anticipate and somehow bind this wild card in the pack. The sessions of the last psychoanalyst connect up all the subplots in the novel. But it is Kongrosian’s paranoid refusal of drug treatment that leads to the first manifestation of his psychokinetic tendencies outside the concert setting. Pembroke, the one it takes to know one, identifies this new series of Kongrosian’s violent removals of organs from bodies and of bodies to places far away as a political act (167). Following the drug to swallow, Kuhn’s study emerges as the subtext of Kongrosian’s switch from identified psychotic to society’s Everyman, who politically activates the psychopathic violence that USEA aims to contain even as its sole content.
During the long term of Kuhn’s treatment of Rudolf, D. W. Winnicott was beginning to retrofit what he would rename neurotic analysis to admit the psychopath. Under wartime conditions, juvenile delinquency in the UK was treated as mental illness for the first time. Winnicott worked out his initial approach to treating the new ailment by improvising group therapeutic support for the children and teens who, evacuated from cities under air attack, were under evaluation for disorders first modeled by shell-shocked soldiers. During the postwar era, Winnicott sought to nip the budding psychopath by intervening early in the antisocial tendencies of children; the disturbances he thus addressed were developmentally earlier than the advent of the capacity for mourning, toward which he, in theory, was ushering his clients. “Mourning in itself,” Winnicott advises and admits, “indicates maturity in the individual,” while “the immature ego cannot mourn” (“The Psychology of Separation” 132). But Winnicott himself was uncomfortable with mourning, which he handed over to his precursors Freud and Klein for theorization. He situated his psychopathic analysis within the corridors of an institutional approach to the containment of acting out that he was reclaiming and revalorizing for analytic understanding. Winnicott preferred to the role of long-term analyst, that of on-call consultant, who, with one opening interview, established the teamwork of therapy for which the child’s family was commandeered as a site of recovery. The antisocial tendencies in young children—which can, once consolidated and rationalized for secondary gain, spawn the psychopath—symptomatize deprivation in what Winnicott termed the holding environment prior to the egoic maturity set for mourning, but at an age old enough to be beyond fateful internalization of this environmental fault line. In Winnicott's estimation, there are certain advantages to the industry of the psychopath over the psychotic’s playing dead or the neurotic’s endless involution of dependency.
According to Winnicott, the child, whose grounds for stealing or acting destructively are as yet unconscious, signals with each delinquent act both the importance of the environment and the return of hope (“The Antisocial Tendency” 123). These two senses or directions of delinquency must be met halfway and held together by analyst and family if testing for love in all the wrong places is to be reversed and the child replaced on the path toward integration and mourning. In “Delinquency as a Sign of Hope,” Winnicott identified the hope that begins to emerge as the “hope of a return of security.'' (95). What returns, in other words, is an environment the child can reality-test for its capacity to endure and contain inner turbulence. “Lack of hope is the basic feature of the deprived child who, of course, is not all the time being antisocial. In the period of hope the child manifests an antisocial tendency” (“The Antisocial Tendency,” 309).
Winnicott argued that when the stealing or destructive child replaces his unconscious objective with a denial of the deprivation or loss, that which he steals or destroys becomes a thing with dangerous properties of its own that the child must master over and again. At this turning point, the act no longer communicates hope. Instead, “the secondary gains that arise out of the skill that develops whenever an object has to be handled in order to be mastered” support fetishism, which Winnicott sees as heading hope off at the impasse of denial (“Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena” 19). But Winnicott's criteria for treating or scheduling the treatment of antisocial patients cannot cancel the new legibility he at the same time extended to the limit. Winnicott's attribution of hope’s expression to the antisocial child’s first delinquencies resonates with a sense of hope to which the history of the word tracks back; this is especially the case given the importance of the environment these acts illuminate. Preserved to this day as the cognate verhoffen in the German language of hunters, hope originally designated the startle response that allows you to consider, in pulling back before a blockage in the intended path, the alternate directions to take within a suddenly altered environment. The moment of hope thus gives pause for thought or reality testing. Within this extended sense of hope inherent in delinquency, the development of a fetish can be considered not only as blockage but also as the very transit center for a deferral process that carries the onset of integration forward as gainful maintenance and repair.
Freud saw the fetish incorporate the last and lasting memory at the border of traumatic amnesia, which it supports (“Fetishism” 155). But according to the non-sexological examples he cites of two sons who both know their fathers to be dead and don't acknowledge that they're gone (155-156), Freud discovered, in lieu of psychotic foreclosure, fetishistic dissociation as the new functioning in a world shaped by traumatic histories. The unstuck momentum or oscillation in this border zone between neurosis and psychosis inspired Walter Benjamin in his media essays to identify the sensorium of dissociation as gadget love, the new reality testing. In the twittering occupation with push buttons and switches, Benjamin recognized fetishism to be protective of function, which administered shocks or shots of inoculation against the otherwise psychoticizing direct impact of technologization and massification. That the camera, according to Benjamin, imparts with each click a posthumous shock to the moment taken illustrates the protective loop of delay as specific to this immunizing relationship to and through gadgets (“On Some Motifs in Baudelaire” 328).
In The Simulacra, German is not the USEA’s second language but the sacred one that supplies all key terms governing society. For this postwar state that contains Californians and Germans in strained cooperation and includes representatives of Israel in foreign policy deliberations internal to this cohabitation, the split-level social division is between the Ges and the Bes, the Geheimnistraeger, those privy to the secret or, literally, those who carry the secret, and the Befehlstraeger, those who carry out commands. The Ges know or carry a double secret. The two leaders of the USEA, der Alte, as Konrad Adenauer was known, and First Lady Nicole Thibodeaux, who is modeled on Jackie Kennedy, are not only mere figureheads but also fakes. Der Alte is an android, whose replacement with each new election upsets the whole balance of power in the ensuing rivalry over the commission to build the next one. Nicole Thibodeaux, who is long dead, has since been played by actresses selected for their resemblance to the original. The USEA incorporates two date marks, then, the opening season of the German Federal Republic under Adenauer’s direction and the Kennedy presidency, famous for the stamp of identification accorded West Germany on the occasion of wounding division but as the highpoint of the economic miracle or Wirtschaftswunder.
In name, the postwar miracle resonated with the earlier transformations of wounds of lack or loss into the wonders of German science fiction, which underwent realization as the Wunderwaffen, the miracle weapons of WWII. When in the 1950s these miracles were reclaimed in name for the onset of the repair of wounds inflicted during the Nazi era , the science factional track of the once projected exploration of the outer limits was to be continued by the Space Race and the Californian culture industry. Both syndications first came together in 1955 in two Disneyland TV shows starring Wernher von Braun and dedicated to the Tomorrowland of interplanetary travel. NASA was founded in the late 1950s after the US was back in the race following setbacks that were reversed under von Braun's new direction. Responding to U.S. taunts that Soviet advances in rocket technology rode on the backs of captured Nazi scientists, Krushchev declared that Americans had no excuse for their space impotence since the mastermind behind the Nazi V-2 rockets was at their disposal. Unstuck by this doubling of the negative, von Braun's postwar career began to take off until he could be found sharing photo ops with President Kennedy, who gave NASA the direction and funding to land on the Moon in the immediate future.
The acceptance that von Braun’s successful satellite launch in 1959 automatically brought with it – as the first proof positive that the U.S. was still in the Space Race – led the rocket scientist into two excursions through fictionalization. In First Men to the Moon (1960), von Braun gave himself license to the writing of passage through Outer Space. While an earlier science fiction, Project Mars, also largely conveyed real time science of the day that already counted down to takeoff, there was still that stretch of fictionalization required for the flight to Mars, which implied a future past of successful Moon landings, and an intervening history of satellite weaponry and final world war. First Men to the Moon is launched in the present while the fiction of the two astronauts interpersonalizes the scientific forecast of a round trip to the Moon as NASA’s next step, which is presented by a layout of fact-driven “pop ups” surrounding the narrative. The fiction von Braun introduces into the demo largely conjugates out of human frailty a succession – almost a sitcom – of mishaps that the team of two survives. The smell of the fish one astronaut savors makes the other one sick; but there’s a fish bowl-like gadget handy that was specially designed for this among other items on the list of what’s hard-to-do under gravity-less conditions. Double duty is served: while he’s throwing up he remains out of range of the bullet-size meteor that suddenly cuts through the craft.
Von Braun’s other exercise in fiction or propaganda was a wrap: the film I Aim at the Stars (1960) was about him. His proximity to Nazi war crimes, the involvement with the exhaustion of “human material” in post-Peenemünde rocket production at the underground Mittelwerk plant, is edited out. The history of his V-2 rocket career ends with the British raid on Peenemünde; his decision to surrender to the victorious U.S. forces follows. However, a charge from his past must be admitted, ultimately as immunological part of the whole to be excluded. Curd Jürgens as von Braun is pursued by a wandering witness: but it is an American GI turned journalist, who lost wife and child in a rocket attack on London. Preferable by millions is the witness who gratingly interrupts von Braun’s assimilation to U.S. interests – until even the witness must come around to acceptance of the American hero following the successful launching of the satellite. The administration of this inoculation consists in the repeated hard-to-prosecute charge of von Braun’s criminal responsibility for specific casualties among the collateral damage of warfare. His invention of the rocket as infraction is negotiable, especially if war is conceded to be a flawed but implacable standard of moral behavior. The British director, J. Lee Thompson, would go on to make the Hollywood film Cape Fear (1963), about the relentless pursuit of upstanding U.S. citizens by a homegrown psycho. While the horror symptomatizes the earlier assimilation-cum-disappearing act of the Nazi past, the decision at the end not to kill but to imprison the psycho for life reflects the postwar concession to integration.
The launching of von Braun's American career as pop culture star internalized turbulence, as so often is the case in acts of idealization, although the volatility his case for mascot status had to pack away was historically unique. The founder of the self-esteem support franchise EST, for example, would base the new motivational therapy on his own name change in 1960 from John Rosenberg to Werner Erhard, the first name a tribute to von Braun, the second to Ludwig Erhard, who was Adenauer's minister of finance during the economic miracle. In Werner Erhard's words: “Freudians would say this was a rejection of Jewishness and a seizure of strength” (“Werner Erhard”). The attempt to reverse the taboo bust through subsequent revisionism turns up the volume on the original breach: Erhard would later claim that his first name, which he had happily misspelled in the original appropriation, always referred to Heisenberg instead.
On the Disney shows in the early 1950s, von Braun's stage fright played to a double audience. In the studio's recent past, while Walt Disney alone received Leni Riefenstahl in 1938 on her state visit to Hollywood to show and promote Olympia, his own technical staff refused to project her film. Nervous, as though he at least felt he was getting away with something or leaving something unaddressed, von Braun nevertheless worked hard to help establish in and with the Disney shows a continuous, upbeat history of invention. Throughout his career, von Braun demonstrated highly focused industry in turning over vast sums of debt into the prospect of Outer Space exploration, which promised the unification of peoples and promoted his own integration inside and out. As soon as von Braun arrived, he recognized that, in the United States, a space program could be funded only upon becoming part of popular culture. He tried his hand at science fiction, conceiving and commencing what he called his “technical tale” in 1946. He packed into the fiction of a mission to Mars endless mathematical and technical calculations as the testimony given by experts to governmental agencies from which support for the Mars voyage had to be obtained. When his novel was turned down, von Braun turned to popular science, a genre in which he published numerous projections of future voyages based on the science and technology of the day. The Disney shows animate text and illustrations of some of these books that von Braun used to advertise not only the possibility of space travel but its funding in the first place.
The second Disney show starring von Braun folded Kurd Laßwitz's 1897 novel Two Planets, the ancestral work of German science fiction, into its official timeline of imaginative projections of travel to Mars. Whether this was under his direction or brought about by one of the émigrés on the staff, von Braun gave an endorsement of the continuity passing through them for the first English language edition of Laßwitz's novel in 1971: “I shall never forget how I devoured this novel with curiosity and excitement as a young man. . . . From this book the reader can obtain an inkling of that richness of ideas at the twilight of the nineteenth century upon which the technological and scientific progress of the twentieth is based.”
Laßwitz's Two Planets projected Martians as benign figures who, like friendly ghosts from an idealized cultural past, bring to Earth the news that the foundation for limitless cultural and intellectual innovation constitutes a transformation of the struggle for survival of the fittest into an acceptance of the fit with technology. Because Earthlings can't rise above the brutal view of survival, their instructors from Mars suffer from the prolonged contact and then contract Earth fever, which makes them short-tempered, arrogant, corrupt, even violent, and in desperate need of treatment back home. The Martian view of techno leisure-time as the setting for perfectibility of our evolutionary legacy of intelligent life is unique in early science fiction. The tradition that prevailed, beginning with H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds in 1898, sees technological progress, via the Martians, as a calamitous agency of evolutionary regression.
While in Laßwitz's fiction the rarefied Martians select the Germans as the most advanced Earthlings for the experiment of elevating humankind to Martian or Kantian standards, Wells's imagines that the Earthlings, who can't defeat the technologically advanced vampire brains from Outer Space, will nevertheless prevail by dint of their own mortality, the evolutionary milieu that guarantees survival of what Wells names in the title of his autobiography an ordinary brain. The microbial organisms that attack human bodies when they lapse into lifelessness take the Martians for dead and set about disposing of them as corpses while yet alive. “But by virtue of . . . natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many—those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance—our living frames are altogether immune. . . . By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth” (380). To be taken for dead while alive and yet to survive is the closing image of the ordinary human bond of relationality that Wells's narrator gives as his conclusion. “And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's hand again, and to think that I have counted her, and that she has counted me, among the dead.” This surviving acknowledgment of the death wish at close quarters as the intrapsychic counterpart to the victory over the Martians did not make it into the narrative's conscription for total psychological warfare. Already in 1938, when Orson Welles broadcast his radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds as the breaking news, the Outer Space narrative was pulled through the passing comment by H. G. Wells's narrator that the public reacted to the reports of the Martian landing with less excitement than they would to news of an ultimatum to Germany. That ordinary people miraculously triumph over the unbeatable foe against all odds would become the organizing injunction of US propaganda. Only the Death Star foe threatens to win out of mastery; those gathered together as slapdash crew on the good side must win, but as potential victims and losers, never as outright winners. Roland Emmerich, the highly successful Hollywood genre filmmaker, switched at film school in Germany from production to direction when he saw Star Wars and was able to recognize the true formula for success, which its second nature for Americans concealed from them. In the States the success formula behind Star Wars was attributed to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. But Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996) proved the rule by its consummate redevelopment of the Allied propaganda pattern that Lucas had perhaps unwittingly hitched to Fantasy heroism in 1977. Emmerich’s later skirmish over the transfer in The Patriot (2000) of an incident of Nazi atrocity to the account of the British in his rendition of the American Revolution, a score his 2011 film about Shakespeare not being Shakespeare (Anonymous) was still settling, fits the PR profile of Wernher von Braun’s US assimilation. To this day, the preservation of the good war—in which every foe of Anglo-America is again the Third Reich, but as an intact and unexamined threat—is a hideout for war profiteers, who can get off only via evil. But the fantasy derived from WWII propaganda also keeps a secret and holds in store an object of repair as the good that comes with mourning.
What remained largely unaddressed in post-WWII science fiction—as, indeed, in the public sphere at large until some turning point in the 1980s, an absence the nervous von Braun on Disney TV tries to pass beyond in the pitch and toss for space exploration, was the Holocaust. In his 2003 foreword to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Thomas Pynchon identifies the place of this absence in the work written in 1948, the date mark the title preserves by metathesis. “There is some felt reticence, as if, with so many other deep issues to worry about, Orwell would have preferred that the world not be presented the added inconvenience of having to think much about the Holocaust. The novel may even have been his way of redefining a world in which the Holocaust did not happen” (xvii).
If Nineteen Eighty-Four passes over the Holocaust, then this motivates a reading of the doomed future world of Newspeak as a kind of natural history exhibit of the extinct possibility of a victorious postwar Nazi world. The import of the protagonist’s decision to begin keeping a journal lies in the past tense of the closing appendix on Newspeak: the project of Big Brother is struck out in the turning of the diary page. Reframed as alternate history and Bardo delusion, P. K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962) installed another display case in the wonder room of false forecasts: for all its dead weight the novel’s prospect of Nazi victory securing a postwar world proved vulnerable to the deregulation of history to which it owed its fictional account. More than the pen, what is mightier than the delusional world in Nineteen Eighty Four is the word given in adolescence. The salient feature of Newspeak, the amalgamation of abbreviations and acronyms, is at the same time the very essence of linguistic metabolization before which the ideological goal of language's neutralization pulls up short and surrenders. Big Brother's death sentence is issued in or by adolescence as the original occupation or cathexis of language in the mix of the buffering metabolization of the techno-massificatory pressures that are upon us. The original authorial upsurge of personalized language in adolescence isn't a phase or phrase that passes. Its essence continues as jargon in scientific and theoretical work or as the punning of news-speak.
Winnicott argued that Nazi Germany sought to harness adolescent energy to its project of total warfare by establishing the teen as superego. By thus skipping the personalization of the death of parental guidance, a process otherwise developmentally constitutive of adolescence, the Nazis placed the teen in the position of Big Brother. “Rebellion no longer makes sense, and the adolescent who wins too early is caught in his own trap, must turn dictator, and must stand up waiting to be killed—to be killed not by a new generation of his own children, but by siblings. Naturally, he seeks to control them” (“Contemporary Concepts of Adolescent Development” 146). Once total war is taken out of the equation and replaced by chronic conflict pulling up short before the prospect of nuclear destruction, the now less likely scenario of the Nazi socius no longer speaks to teens. According to Winnicott, the atom bomb was dropped on war as we knew it. If war once extended via prep work into the training and containing of adolescent energy, then without the ideology or rationale of future total war, adolescence was deregulated and, following the introduction of effective contraception, here to serve as the metabolic site of sex and violence. As Winnicott concluded in 1963, “Adolescence now has to contain itself, to contain itself in a way it has never had to do before. . . . So adolescence has come to stay, and along with it the violence and sex that is inherent in it” (“Struggling through the Doldrums” 151).
In containing itself, adolescence reaches to the border it shares with psychopathy. Winnicott comments: “[T]here is nothing more difficult than to decide whether one is seeing a healthy boy or girl who is in the throes of adolescence or a person who happens to be ill, psychiatrically speaking, in the puberty age” (“Deductions Drawn from a Psychotherapeutic Interview with an Adolescent” 326). Only time will tell, just as the passage of time or maturation is the “only one real cure for adolescence” (“Struggling” 145). At the group level, the one who begins to fit a psycho profile reduces the pressure on the other group members to act out: “[I]n a group of adolescents the various extreme tendencies tend to be represented by the more ill members of the group. . . . Behind the ill individual whose extreme symptom has impinged on society . . . are grouped a band of adolescent isolates. . . . The ill one had to act for the others” (153). Adolescence and psychopathy inhere in one another now as inoculum and expiration date, now by proxy and antibody.
In the SF horror movie The Blob (1958), basic assimilation of adolescence for realigning the socius in the face of psychopathic violence is demonstrated in good breast/bad breast alternation by the local cops. The good cop enters into a tentative alliance with “the kids” over and against the protests of the bad cop. “He acts like he was still fighting the war.” But: “it’s not a crime to be seventeen-years-old.” Later the bad cop will counter the excuse “they’re just kids” with: “Every criminal in the world was a kid once.”
In the beginning protagonist Steve McQueen and his date take care of the first casualty of the menace from Outer Space, an old man who touched the stuff, which, clinging to him, progressively absorbs him. Following the instructions of the doctor (to whom they brought the ailing man), they go back to the setting to find out more about what in fact happened to the victim. On the way the protagonist and his wondrous date, who by her voice alone mediates, moderates, and modulates the tension between group and couple, are held up by a car race to which three friends in a truck challenge them. This detour through the short attention span of adolescence introduces the good cop, who is around to referee the traffic violation but then decides to give McQueen, who is after all trying out a two-seater relationship, another chance. Remembering his doctor-prescribed duty, McQueen enlists the three friends to join in the search for evidence. They find in what looks like a point of impact the cracked sphere out of which the goo first flowed. They also find the old man’s house: the date decides to bring along and care for his “doggie.”
Because the good cop is not always on duty and is anyway biding his time in the face of the bad cop’s dissenting opinion, McQueen and his date are on their own. The three friends have hooked up with a larger group to watch a midnight screening of “spook” films. The vigilant duo shows up to enlist the greater group for help in warning the community that the monster of mass murder is at large. The kids don’t jump to; aw, they wanted to see the movie. But then, after all, they do rally. But their attempts to raise consciousness in the community meet only with midlife criticism/crisis. When the first door opens partying midlifers want to absorb the teen fun and play along with the “Paul Revere” gag. Another try annoys an adult bar tender, who deals all the time with “monsters” and tells them to “beat it!” But the group warning expedition also disturbs a couple of young people necking behind the foliage and withdraws from this limit internal to its own dynamic.
McQueen and his date enter the curiously abandoned store of his dad and for the first time both see the blob, which claims the doggie, whose loss elicits the first show of grief. They rally their posse of friends, but again can’t get past the on-duty bad cop’s dismissal of their call for help as a prank. So they make a ruckus that we first overhear and identify together with one adult couple as “air raid sirens.” But when we join the town gathered around the source of the noise: it’s just the kids in their cars honking. In the meantime the blob has left the store and targeted the packed movie theatre (it looks like no one there heard the sirens). Like an undeveloped analogy, it first seeps through vents into the projection booth. After the projectionist is absorbed, the projector stops and the film is reduced to its own blob-like celluloid stuff. But when the annoyed moviegoers look up to see what’s going on up there, they recognize the blob oozing down into the theater. That’s why when the cops and the witnesses turn away from the store, which, empty of evidence, looks like another false alarm, the unstoppable testimony of an incalculable number of people fleeing the theater and screaming out the warning of the blob’s ongoing menace undoes the bad cop’s aversion, just as it was verging on paranoia. Shortly before in the police office he announced that the kids were out to test him, to get him: “they heard about my war record. … They’re trying to break me down, figure out how I tick.”
The blob is revealed where the teens breed in groups. An available association from the lexicon of postwar science fiction lies between the gelatinous organic blob and the collected protoplasm of the race or species, from which future generations are engineered or replicated rather than reproduced. The replicational bonding of the teen group is thus lifted out of its frame (on one side, the off-limits and out-of-it parental couple; on the other, the future couple that is ambivalently stamped out of the group) to represent the dystopian prospect of a totalitarian alternative history. The cop with the war record learns to distinguish between the unframed youth of Nazi ideology and the family-next-door teens.
McQueen and his date are trapped in the path of the blob’s advance. A newly coordinated response follows. The good cop phones the small group inside the diner, which the blob has entirely enwrapped, counselling them to go down into the basement. Once the phone indicates that the diner is clear, the converted cop applies his artillery skill to sever one of the overhead electrical wires and electrocute the blob. It doesn’t work, in fact only starts a fire, a problem subsumed by the greater problem of the diner’s diminishing oxygen content. While the good cop faces the prospect of the loss of the good kids, the converted cop pats his shoulder in empathic recognition of the man’s grief. But then the diner’s owner automatically applies his extinguisher to the fire – and the blob retreats. It can’t stand the cold of the CO2 extinguisher, a specific brand that is, however, in short supply. But then the father of McQueen’s date, the otherwise wooden principal of the local high school, remembers that his institution is stocked with this particular brand. He goes there with the kids to obtain the extinguishers; when he can’t find his keys, he lifts the first stone to break into school. The reconfigured social group contains the menace. Now the military can be summoned in recognition of the threat: the frozen blob is transported to the North Pole. The blob can’t be killed but only stopped – “as long as the Arctic stays cold.” The classic SF closing line from this period is pronounced by McQueen. The bad cop’s paranoia gives way to the teen’s good paranoia, nice as ice. As long as the Cold War was the only greater container available, the problem of psychopathic violence could be integrated only up to a point by the post-war adolescent or group psychological response to it. The spook-show movie theater of teen projection and socialization made the problem manifest. But then it had to be surrendered to the Cold War opposition – until, beginning at some point in the 1980s, its containment came in from the cold.
In von Braun's science fiction novel Project Mars: A Technical Tale, completed and translated into English by 1948 but not published until 2006, the preparations for the voyage are staged in amusement-park-like settings that already project the Disney TV show's simulation of a voyage to Mars. “Even a Martian landscape was portrayed on the rolling carpet that passed before the eyes of the pilot as he synthetically flew along” (104). In German science fiction, rocket flight, which takes over where the pilot takes off as an auto-pilot merged with his machine in flight, is the ultimate android double, while in post-WWII science fiction, as already in von Braun's technical tale, a new android interface begins to fold out of the on-board computers that, when supplied with the right tape for the emergency scenario, can steer the spaceship clear.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Hal's psychopathic forwarding of deprivation twists free, internally, from the psychotic techno-doubling of Hel, the missing mother preserved in or as Metropolis. As one side of a defensive split, the android in German science fiction always introduced metabolic representation of the to-be-excluded—in the first place woman, in the same place reproduction and death—as the objective of technologization. What the postwar shift in reception adds to the mass-psychological transmission of the android passing through it is adolescence in the family setting. Adolescence, the time-based version of psychopathy, is the container in which we must face the psycho as our double at close quarters: there but for the grace of the good object go I. The android comes to draw the distinction we hold fast to in this tight corner between psychopathy and empathy. The prospect of what psychoanalysis considers as integration crosses the mind of the protagonist, tester, and android hunter in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? when he concludes that in future tests for empathy or its absence (which would continue, just the same, to be used to identify the difference between androids and humans), questions should be included that would test for the ability to empathize with androids, too.
Although it is in fact Dick's third android novel, We Can Build You (1972) was most likely written first but certainly sets itself up as opening installment by its origin story, which re-stages the other two android novels in the form of a genealogy. Androids or simulacra are invented and two demos built in anticipation of Civil War reenactments using replicants as the future of mass entertainment. Dick's origin of the android and the Disney development of Audio-Animatronics, which premiered in 1964 with the simulation of President Lincoln, coincided with the 1961-65 Centennial season of commemorative Civil War battle reenactments in the US. In We Can Build You, the investor, who is otherwise in the business of Outer Space colonization, reroutes the invention of simulacra for the production of simulated settings of stability to offset the psychoticizing effects of the isolation. This is how androids are marketed in The Simulacra: Colonists on Mars can expect to share a property line with a “famnexdo,” a family of androids who live next door.
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the rebound from this outer rim of containment introduces the problem android who, subjected as a famnexdo member to the very loneliness and boredom androids were built to deflect, grows up adolescent going on psychopathic. On Mars, alienated androids take drugs, consume pre-science-factual science fiction, drop out of their family settings, and follow their psycho-visionary leaders. Whereas German science fiction explored psychotic Outer Space via the android dyad, postwar science fiction that introjects Germany evaluates psychopathic violence in the family and group settings of androids as teens.
It is possible to link the victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany (as well as their follow-up success in winning the immediate peace) to the promotion of differentiating group or in-group formats in lieu of mass psychology. In Nazi Germany, television was installed in public places that admitted up to three hundred viewers. In the US, however, the direction was taken from TV to introduce as a group-psychological format the circle of family and friends that comfortably wraps around the set for optimal interaction. Hence the world according to Nazi German victory—in Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962)—never really makes it to TV land. “I wonder what it’s like to sit home in your living room and see the whole world on a little gray glass tube. If those Nazis can fly back and forth between here and Mars, why can’t they get television going?” (77). This cultural difference came to be reflected in publications by US psychoanalysts and military psychologists toward the end of the war advising what were the best conditions for the successful return home of the soldiers, which in time would also be the conditions to be met by civilians undergoing family systems therapy.
Wernher von Braun got the message that the related format of teamwork could draw his Faustian striving onward. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jürgen Klinsmann followed Wernher von Braun into the Californian Valhalla of team spirits. I have already analyzed the Governator’s rise to power out of his bodywork from Austria to Munich to world prestige (in California this time) and his follow-up prep work on screen. As an update I can quickly add that Schwarzenegger lost his emissary status on the coast, his synthetic position he long occupied between Freud and Hitler, when he confused his film therapy with the politics of his elected position. Still following the direction of his films to implant the good maternal object or breast and thus transform the paternal substitute running on empty, Schwarzenegger took on two powerful step-institutions early on in his term of office: the teacher’s and nurse’s unions. And then he was history. Klinsmann’s career, between California and Germany, is still open (in 2011 he was placed in charge of the US — really, the Californian — soccer team). The German soccer team was in a rut in 2006 when Klinsmann was brought out of his retirement in California to coach and manage it. While in California Klinsmann became a convert to the lifestyle, which he studied and packaged as the team-spirit model he then imported: the German team made third place in the world cup. Klinsmann returned to California, delegating his second in command, Joachim Löw, as the new manager. Löw kept the team, according to the model made in California, contest after contest, in a finals position until winning first place in 2014. Even this cumulative victory is imbued with the team model of momentum, which builds to victory out of losses or near-misses. I remember sitting in the tea room associated with Heinrich Heine on the North-Sea German island Norderney, watching with other vacationers the Moon landing on TV. I picked up the muttering among the assembled guests that this was their doing too, their triumph, Wernher von Braun, etc. etc. Even though Klinsmann did not lead the US team to victory in 2014, he brought the team into the world-cup semi-finals, a first, in which the German TV audience claimed a share: the double victory of 2014.
Von Braun understood that a total effort can count as realizable via a linking up of the different agencies in the US that would cooperate in the event of space travel. In the Introduction to his 1952 The Mars Project, which contained the projected science and math separated out from his abandoned science fiction novel, von Braun summarized the difference between space flight as entertained in science fiction and space flight as realizable now. “The central figure in these stories was usually the heroic inventor. Surrounded by a little band of faithful followers, he secretly built a mysteriously streamlined space vessel in a remote back yard. Then, at the hour of midnight, he and his crew soared into the solar system to brave untold perils—successfully of course” (1). Von Braun summarizes Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou's Woman in the Moon as the acme of these developments, making the symptomatic picture of German science fiction more complete: the central figures are joined together by various aberrant mental states (from traumatic neurosis to psychosis) and they leave behind no one to mourn them. What the future holds is teamwork: “Since the actual development of the long-range liquid rocket, it has been apparent that true space travel . . . can only be achieved by the coordinated might of scientists, technicians, and organizers belonging to very nearly every branch of modern science and industry” (ibid.).
Von Braun's Project Mars: A Technical Tale commences in 1980 California, which is now part of a global government established after the third and final war. Not the atom bomb itself but its launching from a satellite orbiting the moon put an end to warfare. Because of the satellite's role in the war, the peace on Earth was at the same time “the symbol of the final victory of man over space” (ibid.). For his fictional encounter between Earthlings and Martians, von Braun brings together the two receptions of our future projected upon Outer Space (i.e., those of Laßwitz and Wells) as the precondition for the future world's integration. Whether it is the early 1980s or the late 1940s, the postwar era gives up war for space exploration. The explorers encounter and acquire on Mars a “refined technology” that prompted Martians long ago to abandon “all regional concepts,” including racial prejudice, national or local patriotism, and nostalgia (178). “So integrated had their economy become that any trouble afflicting one locality was immediately painful to the entire planet” (ibid.). Earth has only begun to benefit from peace. On Mars, the Earthlings learn that a long burgeoning of culture will follow, but that in time the “inner urge to action” that drives invention will grow lethargic under global conditions of standardization (177). But the cultural pessimism of one Martian host gives way before evidence that the lassitude on Mars has been shaken up by contact with Earth. Now another brand of advice can be given in response to an Earthbound pessimism that the Earthling commander cites from recent terrestrial history. In the final war, mankind had come “so close to the abyss of universal cultural suicide” that “many Earthling thinkers . . . proclaimed that technology bore an eternal curse and that naught but a return to a simple bucolic existence of self-determination could preserve humanity from utter self-destruction” (203). But a Martian sage warns against the very thought of a return to Nature. “There can . . . be no turning back for any civilization which has once pinned its faith to the advance of technology” (Ibid.).
“Germany is Our Problem” is the title of Henry Morgenthau's 1945 book version of his proposal from the year before that postwar Germany be pastoralized to insure world peace. Carrying forward the sense of defenselessness in the face of unstoppable psychopathy, the book opens with Corporal Adolf Hitler weeping with hysterical rage on his hospital bed the day Germany signs the armistice. Then it's the next sentence and it's twenty-two years later—it's Hitler again, this time beaming and strutting for the newsreels, jump cutting his sense of loss with its reversal. “What had happened to the world's high hopes of peace?” Morgenthau asks. “So many precautions had been taken to prevent the Germans from breaking out again! But something must have been omitted” (1).
In Stimmen der Nacht (Voices of the Night), Thomas Ziegler implements the Morgenthau plan as an alternate historicization of WWII. The excess population that Germany’s pastoralization could no longer support moved to South America, with Nazi leaders in charge of this migration and movement. Unrepentant Germany reestablishes its might and mission in exile while Germany proper is a jungle chaos of fragmented rogue movements. The electronic bugs that spread advertising in The Simulacra—it was a persistent Nitz commercial broadcasting into his ear on the topic of body odor that drove Kongrosian to a renewed manifestation of his psychotic break, ultimately as psycho—convey the voices of the dead in Stimmen der Nacht. But the audio devices are now electric Kletten, burrs still clinging from the German forest but as typical “Nazi-invention. Paranoia crystallized in technology” (12). They start out besetting only Jakob Gulf as his wife Elisabeth’s static clinging. She planned her death on his live TV show as a preliminary gesture to her comeback. But by now, in parallel real time, the dead Nazi leadership is transmitting on the line that one man’s dead wife opened up. This is the deep reversal or alteration in Ziegler’s alternate history. What was heard on the postwar tapes of the Voice Phenomenon was a true underworld in which all the dead were clamoring for contact, their communication no longer regulated by opposition. In the postwar world of Germany’s punitive regression and split-off unity as continuous with the Nazi past, only the White-Night harangues and broadcasts of the Nazi murderers press for transmission. Now that the talking dead of the Reich are on the air, the aged surviving leaders, preserved on ice and cocaine in bunkers deep inside the Andes, are ready to let the Teutonic plates blow nihilism high. In Ziegler’s 1993 revision of his 1984 novel as a dream from which the new conclusion awakens to welcome the reunification of Germany, the change or typo that renders the original vergoß (169) vergaß (182) takes back the therapeutic termination. When Mengele, still alive in South America, hears the Führer’s live transmission, he sheds all the tears he denied the dead of Auschwitz. His shedding or vergießen of tears slips on the altered past tense, vergaß, and issues the verdict that he “forgot” all the tears.
Morgenthau's proposed intervention proved short-lived, however, once the problem it solved became part of the proposal. Critics in the States calculated that the aftermath of Morgenthau's plan was that at least twenty million Germans would have to go. It is this prospect of mass murder's renewal through sentencing of Germany (more than the immediate shift of the total war fronts to the new dividing line of the Cold War) that led to the project of Germany's integration in the postwar Western world. It was indeed the Cold War, however, that diverted the attention of the victors from the conditions Jewish survivors brought to the peace. Under no pressure from the Allies, Konrad Adenauer pushed through the policy of restitution that the German Federal Republic negotiated in the early 1950s with Israel. It counts as the premier and most lasting foreign policy of the postwar world. From within its perspective of restitution, the continued existence of the two postwar states could only be projected in tandem.
It was as traumatic neurotics that a line of reception awaited survivors of the Holocaust who qualified. This specialized area of evaluation was up and running on a massive scale since the WWI epidemic of shell shock. In both world wars, it was soldiers first, then women, children, and teens in the air war. That survivors of Nazi persecution were summoned to undergo a screening process administered according to insurance standards of suspicion gave rise to a rejection of the restitution policy as retraumatization. The search for an adequate relationship of and to restitution had to find alternatives to preexisting models (e.g., pension evaluation for psychological casualties of war or war reparations between states). When an interruption of professional development (as developmental problem under duress) was added to categories for compensation, the alternative notion of “good” productivity was introduced, not as an injunction to be productive, but as a measure of deprivation, the other’s as one’s own. In this way, restitution inadvertently but inevitably provided a language of valuation that former perpetrators of and heirs to psychopathic violence could recognize and use to address deprivation and loss without laying claim to ethical cleansing. With its introduction, restitution delivered the family value of adolescent promise from Nazi mass-psychologization to the victims to be integrated as applicants for the correction of the recent past. That inequities in the protection of productivity could be corrected (symbolically, Adenauer stressed) allowed postwar Germany to inherit German history as the history of this inalienable right. If it is true, as is generally claimed, that the policy of restitution was intrinsic to the Wirtschaftswunder, then the recovery at the foundation of the German Federal Republic happened not in spite of but because of the commitment to productivity as the standard of deprivation's measure and repair.
In 1960, her first year out of art school, Eva Hesse produced a body of work that E. Luanne McKinnon dubbed “the spectre paintings.” Hesse saw herself as an artist and a painter already in adolescence: at the appropriate age she allowed herself to be represented as such and her paintings to be reproduced in the magazine Seventeen. But in 1960 she decided to paint herself out, through and through (McKinnon 7). Several of the “spectre paintings” are identified as self-portraits. Hesse took two of these paintings to sessions with her psychiatrist at this time, a strong sign of their breakthrough status. The look of the work reaches back through Willem de Kooning to Edvard Munch (the trajectory most often noted) but also bounces off the saturated elegance of Milton Avery's art as well as making contact with paintings by German Expressionists like Ludwig Kirchner. While she was thus not working through the most contemporary influences in 1960, they do follow the summons of the Doppelgänger, the motif that occupies or cathects the foreground of this early work as its recognition value. In particular, the double portrait of monstrous ghoul and ethereal bride is resonant with many Gothic narratives of couplification shadowed by the unfinished business of haunting. But the double occupancy of these paintings is rarely quite so literal or literary. At times a figure appears alone, but stands off to the side, displaced by the felt blank that sets the place and pace of the unidentified double. When we discern a trio, the middle figure, like a substitute (like a stepparent), marks the loss or divide that just takes two.
At the first showing of the “spectre paintings,” one’s viewing was inscribed within a progress toward abstraction that would then have been the outcome of this season of painting. But there was also a thread of continuity to pull in Hesse’s use of line, which contributes to the compositional and thematic dynamic of doubling pursued throughout this work. In time, Hesse would regularly claim to be producing “non-art,” even “nothing” (Godfrey 48). She also struggled to reclaim this sweet nothing from another tendency in her art making. Hesse was often wary that her work strayed into the court of the beautiful. When one sculptural piece, “Right After,” proved too beautiful in her estimation, she in a sense remade it—without, however, tossing the prior version (Godfrey 32). Instead her 1970 “Untitled ('Rope Piece')” doubled but diverged from “Right After” largely through an immersion of the material in visceral-seeming latex, giving us the inside view of a body of work, but for zombies.
In German, the word most commonly associated with that which isn't beautiful, but ugly, “hässlich,” seems to carry forward the artist's own patronymic as modifier; in this capacity, it subsumes all the doubles it summons, gathers them in a space not of resolution or annihilation but of legibility. If the “spectre paintings” work through a past steeped in Germanicity, then it was another contact with “Germany” that allowed her to find an outlet for external innovation and to restart as a contemporary artist. Joseph Beuys, whose work came out of a German reception different from Hesse's own but turning on the same era, came to stand for a cluster of renewals that she, too, reclaimed from the returns. Stowaway in her husband Tom Doyle's 1964 residency in Düsseldorf a sense of secret or spectral agency came to attend this first contact with her native land since her rescue by the Kindertransport in 1938.
For Hesse's 1964 return, her father entrusted her with gathering materials for the family's restitution claims, specifically for losses her mother's family had to pack away. The father’s reckoning of reparation for the Nazi undermining of a German family's productivity, however, came after the mother was gone. The father separated from her, took a new wife, and received custody of the children. Then his forlorn ex marking the spot (she was in with survival)committed suicide when Eva was ten. In sync with the restitution policies that made it possible for Germany to continue in history, Eva's father followed out a larger structure of righting wrongs that did not subsume (though for the time being did contain) the insupportable responsibility to and for the dead. He inoculated his daughter with the task of reparation, which Eva Hesse in Germany went to great pains to fulfill meticulously on her father's account.
In the West German factory studio where she spent over a year pursuing what she would come to characterize as “non-work” (Sussman 9), Hesse followed her husband's recommendation that she experiment with the material lying around. As Doyle remembered it, “It was the string that got her going” (Danto). In the case of a boy studied by Winnicott who tied up everything with string, this symptomatic overuse revealed in his case that it was the interruption of his transitional bond with the maternal environment that sent him spinning around within an orbit of near-missing contact. In “Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena,” then, Winnicott distinguished between the use of string as communication (of separation and deprivation) and its use as denial of separation. On the one hand: “String can be looked upon as an extension of all other techniques of communication. String joins, just as it also helps in the wrapping up of objects and in the holding of unintegrated material” (19). On the other: “As a denial of separation string becomes a thing in itself, something that has dangerous properties and must be mastered. . . . In this case the mother seems to have been able to deal with the boy's use of string just before it was too late, when the use of it still contained hope” (19). But it was too late after all, we learn in the postscript: the boy didn't fill the blank of his depressed mother and the rest is the history of his drug addiction beginning in adolescence. That the mother and the analyst were able to string the boy along until he fell through the gaps, proves that the string medium itself is not limited to the framing conditions of the case study, namely communication or its failure, denial.
It was from between the lines of her drawing and painting that Hesse's sculpture began to fold out as the translation of line into string. The externalizable line was the residual charge of doubling, which she was able to wrap around a new period of non-work. For her signature sculptural works after 1966, Hesse temporalized the translation of line into string by re-projecting doubling as repetition. This was reflected both in the serial composition of the sculptures and in the imperative she heeded to remake several of the works during this period as more properly hässlich.
While one door opened in Germany for her future art, another door closed upon her past. The most telling re-encounter with her background during the residency in West Germany was her visit to what had been the Hesse family's home in Hamburg. When she introduced herself as a former occupant, perhaps as an opener to gain entry for a tour, the new inhabitant slammed the door in her face. The door opened and shut on the many lives that were allowed to proceed unprosecuted from the Third Reich unto natural death in West Germany. Set before her, however, is the uncanny yet inevitable prospect of postwar integration of “Germany.” Given its forever untenable placement, wasn't the place of “Germany” (in the sum of experience or even history) a true underworld in which the dead could no longer be organized according to any opposition of belief systems or precept of successful mourning?
Unconsciously on purpose, McKinnon gave to Hesse’s 1960 paintings the same name, British spelling intact, that Ian Fleming also gave the underworld organization he introduced into the Cold War setting of James Bond in 1960 while preparing his narratives for projection into the new medium of film. Up against the screen, Fleming stood an outside chance of assuaging the spectral figures returning by name and background (both as victims and as perpetrators) from the traumatic recent past. Eva Hesse's spectre paintings gave the foundation for her own explorations of the underworld, initially as the place of past losses and separations, then as the site of her innovative and Hesse-lich assembly of lines, the formal counterpart to the uncanny work of integration that alone renews our relationship to history as contemporary.
The capacity for mourning, the undeclared but pressing objective of the industry of Outer Space transport (which is overshot by the rocket's unimpeded progress through continuous history), is brought closer in The Simulacra through time travel. By its trailblazing exploration and construction of alternate realities time travel is science fiction’s own internal simulacrum. Time travel is the inner world of space exploration, and space exploration is the external reality in which time travel studies and contains itself. Time travel moves in the orbit of testing and mourning where Melanie Klein situated our all-important relationship to the inner world. As the safety zone of internalized good objects, this inner world must take the brunt of the impact of traumatic loss that, before it can be individually addressed or redressed, awaits the shoring up of the very foundations of this afterlife.What the external world is good for is that it provides a less phantasy-muddled version of reality that the inner world can use as a control in the testing and re-securing of its reserve of posthumous relations.
In The Simulacra, then, time travel takes over where the fetish function of Outer Space transport leaves off. Before it recognizes itself as science fiction, time travel functions as the essence of Christian and Oedipal fantasies. The overriding daydream wish that time travel would appear to fulfill is the circumvention of the present tense of ongoing tensions through the more perfect union between the idealized past and the future. Fantasies of attending one's own development from conception onward rehearse and repeat the ultimate fantasy: the death of death. Projected upon history, time travel could reenact the Civil War or WWII to bring about one's own private happy ending. But these illusions of time travel are ultimately not supported in The Simulacra. An Israeli who hides out in the counterculture, although all along he is the behind-the-scenes head of the USEA's government, Bertold Goltz, is the media Meister of time travel. “He was long since back there, at the time of his birth and onward into childhood. Guarding himself, training himself, crooning over his child self; . . . Bertold Goltz had become, in effect, his own parent” (152). When an assassin takes aim in the present and fires—Goltz simply drops dead. And when the First Lady and the Israeli foreign minister try negotiating with Göring a separate peace for the Jews in exchange for Nazi German victory, the Reichsmarschall, who has been brought back from the past on a time trip, is unable to think outside the box that claims him. His execution in the future does not even produce a ripple of change in the present. Indeed von Lessinger, who invented time travel technology during the foundation of the German-Californian state, warned that there were two exceptions to the enhanced surveillance that his technology provided: one, any psychic or psycho medium like Kongrosian, and two, the Third Reich. “I think that von Lessinger was right in his final summation: no one should go near the Third Reich. When you deal with psychotics you're drawn in; you become mentally ill yourself” (43). (In the 1978 German edition the “psychotics” are translated as “Psychopathen.”)
And yet unceasing industry goes into the attempted manipulation of boundary concept Nazi Germany via von Lessinger's time travel technology. Hitler's assassination is attempted many times over and, on one occasion, Hitler even receives twenty-first century psychiatric treatment. In their attempts to remove the Holocaust and lose the losses, time travelers, who cannot but run up against the limit built into the technology, would appear to begin reality-training to abandon redemptive fantasy and recognize the limits of reparation and integration. In time, then, the responsibility to and for the dead, mourning's ethical imperative, comes up from behind the limitation von Lessinger programmed into the very time travel that turns the denial.
Hawthorne Abendsen is the fictional author in The Man in the High Castle whose internal novel reintroduces a version of our reality into the external narrative’s alternate history of Axis triumph. In a letter to Joseph Milicia dated August 7, 1978, Dick identified Abendsen as Geheimnistraeger, “a carrier (knower I mean) of a secret, and it is a secret which frightens him” (181). If the ability to mourn means, bottom line, that there's a place in your psychic reality for absence, then Dick's opening exploration of the legacy of WWII in or as California could only initiate an approximation to the secret via the introductory offer of alternate histories. Two years prior to his exploration in The Simulacra of the outer limits of reparation and integration, Dick began with the construction of an alternate history in which the “absence” of California reserves a place for absence.
It all came back, full circle, with the onset of mystical or psychotic revelations in 1974. VALIS (1981), the science fiction that folded out of this breaking experience, was originally projected as a sequel to The Man in the High Castle. During the time of revelations, Dick suddenly woke up and saw a figure standing by his bed. He recognized himself—as did his wife beside him, who started screaming. “I trying to soothe her kept saying over and over, 'Ich bin's,' which the next day I looked up in my German dictionary. It is the idiom for 'It is I,' but I didn't know that. Later on, up to now even, in fact more and more, under abrupt duress, I can only speak in German” (The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick: 1974 101). While Dick couldn’t be sure what or who it was speaking through or to him when he spoke German, in the science fiction it is up to his namesake by translation, Horselover Fat, to recognize in the UFO a computer-like teaching machine, which projected reality “as a sort of mirror of itself, so that it can obtain thereby an objective standpoint to comprehend its own self” (The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick: 1977-1979 136). The loopy outreach of the VALIS trilogy added computing to the tighter testing situation in The Simulacra, where the rocket-and-Doppelgänger history of German science fiction gave the objective standard for the reality test by which the postwar inner world of time travel came to and through the past.
Dick never intended to deconstruct, as he puts it, WWII history (1977-1979 183). The historical fact Abendsen introduces after the fact must join a relay of variations on the history he reclaims from blank denial. In The Simulacra, the secret has been submitted to time traveling reenactment, which does not change history but folds out of what-history-shows alternate present realities that multiply or deconstruct the finite recording surface of remembrance.
Klein always addressed hope in conjunction with reparation in the span of their joint intervention or definition: hope is hope of making reparation. When less overwhelmed by destructiveness reparation becomes possible and the all-important process of integration takes place. And yet, in what would be her final but never finished essay, “On the Sense of Loneliness,” Klein showed how integration must pull up short before a “feeling of irretrievable loss” (301). The sense or direction of loneliness, which guarantees the incompletion of the analytic work of integration, harbors mourning, but as the final frontier.
At the height of the Nazi German threat to the UK, Klein undertook the analysis of the ten-year-old Richard, which, though it was condensed to fit the span of evacuation from the air war, ended up, in Klein's estimation, the best demo of her analytic innovations. Narrative of a Child Analysis, as she titled the document, is also her final completed work, prepared for publication on her death bed. Here the work of integration, reduced to its essential incompletion, requires that at least the two wars be brought into some kind of relationship. Debt or guilt must be expended on the work of repair, which is brought back as hopefulness, even happiness. As “the wish to restore” came more and more “to the fore” (50 n.1), the patient “became gradually able to face and integrate his destructive impulses” while “greater tolerance towards other people as well as towards his own shortcomings developed. . . . He no longer felt compelled to turn away from destroyed objects but could experience compassion for them” (466).
The war little Richard brought to session and reenacted as primal scenes was also the external war he followed and studied in the radio news broadcasts and three daily newspapers. He was Jewish and knew that for him there could be only one outcome to the war. But that didn't stop him from goosestepping up and down the office and giving the Hitler salute (164). It didn't stop Klein from interpreting the bad Hitler Daddy Penis inside him (158). Far more difficult and consequential than identification with Hitler was Richard's consideration of sharing the work of repair with the destroyed enemy. “This was shown, for instance, when he regretted the damage done to Berlin and Munich and, at another occasion, when he became identified with the sunk Prinz Eugen” (466). Even as the untimely deadline of the analysis was approaching, Richard remained hopeful, which Klein saw, together with his conduct of the war inside and outside him, as proof that his relationship to the good internal object had been re-secured.
Inadvertently the word chosen for the West German restitution policy, Wiedergutmachung, over and above its horribly banal promise of making it all better again, literally, and in accordance with Klein's Nietzschean understanding of the noble valuation of the internal object, spells out the making good again of objects of repair as preliminary to the onset of the capacity for mourning. Those who lose as winners would turn gravity or the grave around by the industry of their crypto-fetishism. But like Philip K. Dick, who decided, as he remembered it, to major in German in high school shortly after the United States entered WWII (1977-1979 117), Richard also takes winning as a victim to the next level. Both tendencies are shaped toward mourning in The Simulacra by a double exposure to the links and limits of time travel, the inner world as science fiction.