Recently I wrote about psychoanalysis and film, but today I am going to write about psychoanalysis and code (or perhaps interactive systems). I am thinking of this in the schema of Flusser who talks about images as a communication medium (the stone age, magic), writing (the bible, science), and digital systems (endlessly combinatorial systems where the skill is in the production rather than in the writing or the painting).
In psychoanalysis of film, we consider film as the psyche of a culture. So a psychoanalysis of film helps us understand the psychological dimensions of a culture. Does this mean a culture has a mind? Do we need a mind in order to engage in psychoanalysis. Does this mean that an aggregate of minds – that have created a film – are different than an individual mind? All good questions. It ties into the essay I recently read by CS pierce on the generations of ideas, but I will leave that to another post.
So what would it be to analyze the code of a culture, or the technology of a culture? Is there a psychology of code? What does technology represent versus a film; what does code represent?
Code seems analogous to the ego. It is intentional and follows logic. The bugs and non-linear results (the black stack), is the unconscious and the shadow. A psychoanalysis of code shows us how we think as a society. It is a blueprint to our cultural logic. The bugs and our symptoms (ie, how we handle the bugs), show us the kinks in our logic.
Normally we think of the unconscious as presenting alternate options (content) to ego. But in the case of a psychoanalysis of code, the unconscious presents alternate logics or decision making capacities (form).
I detest the old division between form and content. But different cultural products of our society represent different ways aspects of our thought. This is a binary: form and content, but there is perhaps a multitude. It is not just god and devil but a plethora of gods. We have capitalism (or economics) to represent how we relate, we have cooking to represent our sustenance by the earth. Rather than integrating form and content together, what can we add to the categories of form and content to round out our conception of thought?