Currently showing posts tagged book

  • Artwork for The Cynic & the Fool

    This spring, my second book will go to print. I have been so excited to see this out there ever since publishing God Is Unconscious. While my first book was exactly what I wanted and needed it to be at the time, I've always felt there are definite limits to how much my work matters unless I also learn how to communicate a without the academic language. So I set out to alternate between writing academic and more accessible books every year or two. The Cynic & the Fool: the Unconscious in Theology & Politics aims to strip away the clinical jargon and deliver a critical philosophy mixed with more personal experiences and interspersed with stories in between each chapter. 

    I didn't, of course, plan for this to feel like so timely, but I organized the book around one question: when we hear a claim that cannot possibly be true, is the false claim pouring forth from the misinformed yet honest fool, or is the claim being twisted by a cynical nihilist who knows perfectly well know to manipulate and mislead? With everything going on in the world at the moment, there's never been a more important time to ask this question of those who have (unfortunately) found themselves in power. 

    Thanks to Jesse Turri for once again delivering the cover art. He won't tell you this, but he created the art for GIU and C&F without asking for anything in return except donations to nonprofits. 

    And if you know the writing of Kester Brewin, the forward definitely has his no bullshit style.

  • A Review of God Is Unconscious

    This is the first review I’ve seen of God Is Unconscious (which is also now on Kindle).  There was apparently some pushback, so a follow-up post is here.

    “Tad DeLay's wonderfully written book on the interface of theology/religion and psychoanalysis, God is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis & Theology (Wipf and Stock, 2015) is a fascinating recollection and meditation of the discipline's unfolding into the intellectual worlds of the 20th and 21st centuries. I identify the work as a 'book' because I have not decided just what genre the book should be received into; and that could be a good thing. I recall that Michel Foucault once said his major works were more like novels than philosophy. I'll therefore stick with 'book,' though genealogy, novel or rhapsody would work just as well.”

  • Thanks

    You can now order my first book God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis & Theology at Amazon. For those interested in reviewing the book, we will have details soon.

    A theory of the unconscious is such an odd thing to write about, first because the unconscious itself is not something that exists at all but rather insists. It's a fiction with a potential, not a hidden tier of synaptic connection in the way that most people talk about “subconscious” motives.  It’s a method of speaking indirectly to schematize behavioral repetition and patterns of thought, a way of showing every attempt at meaning or tribalism becomes infused with a false consciousness retroactively justified with limitless creativity all for the purpose of propping up a semblance of security.  

    Second, as the subtitle suggests, I am crossing not one but two theories of fictions, and instead of privileging one over the other I let them expose one another with the hope of producing more than the sum of their parts. And third, almost by definition, you can’t write about psychoanalysis without saying more than you mean to say about yourself. That’s unusual for an academic work, and it scares me a little, but it makes the project all the more personal to me. I researched this book during a very challenging time, and it's to those friends who were there while I researched, processed, outlined, wrote, edited, and rewrote this project that I owe this book’s completion.

    So to just a few of you:

    To Kester, you took an interest in my work early on and were the first to tell me over and over “write that book!” Back when it was merely an embryonic idea in my first year of doctoral work, I couldn’t imagine anyone would care what I had to say. You convinced me it was time to store the material in a book and launch it out into the world. You hosted me in London and talked through so many of the early ideas over late nights on your patio.  You care so deeply about your friends, and you have a natural curiosity that I hope I can always emulate.

    To Clayton, you went out on a limb and vouched for me back when you barely knew me.  You’ve been a perfect academic mentor, always happy to be a sounding-board, and you’ve given feedback on talks and the early manuscript. Beyond your scholarship which clearly influences mine, I’ve seen how much your students genuinely love you, and that’s the kind of professor I hope to be.  You have a reputation in our circles for enthusiastically supporting everyone you can, and I can vouch for that.

    To Pete, in addition to writing the forward, you’ve been a constant source of encouragement with talking about how you conduct your work.  It’s odd to think I started reading you within a week or so of beginning to read philosophy so long ago in my undergrad days, and it was your first book that put me on the path of seeing some nascent potential in applying philosophy to my interests in religion. I suppose I’m saying that this is your fault! We really only happened to become friends around the time I started writing this, and you’ve been there for me to the final product.

    To Jack, I don’t know if you’ll even see this, but I have a lot of respect for you and couldn't tell you how much it’s meant to me to talk through my ideas with such a great mind.  I’ll never forget talking late into the evenings at the bar in Cheltenham, and even though we have different opinions on psychoanalysis, you have been nothing but gracious and encouraging wherever we have had time to catch up.  I started my reading in this field of radical theology with your books in my first year of seminary, and what I have produced four years later is indebted to your work.

    To a great group of friends in Los Angeles and back home—Steven & Kelli, Keegan, Shane, Luanne, Billie & Rob, several Nates, Tim, Zach, Lucas, Sean, Barry, Tripp, and Bo—you all were there for me during the period where I was processing the material that is now in book form.  You all are among the very few who know me well enough to see exactly where my work—ostensibly about psychoanalysis and theology—is often enough just my attempt to process who I am.

    To the Wipf & Stock crew, you all put up with the revisions and questions that only a brand new author can panic about. And thanks to Dave, who said “hey, I know this publisher I can introduce you to.”  And to Jesse, I never imagined I would see so many people online, who know nothing about me or my work, becoming interested based purely on such a great first stab at a design.  You all are great at what you do.

    And finally Deven, you’ve been there through wins and setbacks throughout the whole time we’ve been together.  You edited the manuscript and offered so much feedback to the point that you probably deserved your name on the cover given the amount of re-writing we did together.  As a fellow educator who cares deeply about making the world a better place and who works so hard to make it so, you are the first to remind me that nothing we do matters if it doesn’t translate to enrich the common good.  You have supported me and believed in me all the way to the finish, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner.

    There are probably another fifty or so who have helped with questions, promoted my work online, responded to my talks, and encouraged me to run with this odd line of scholarship simply by helping me believe this material matters to people.  You all are the best.

  • Second excerpt from God Is Unconscious | Alienation and Separation

    “Our faith in others betrays in what respect we would like to have faith in ourselves.” - Nietzsche

    “It is when the Word is incarnated that things really start going badly.” - Lacan

    “The underside of a signifier’s power to tell us who we are contains an ever-present, if only latent, power to construct the most unforgivable narratives. And so in our twenties or thirties we enter therapy to begin to discern what happened to us in our earlier years. We imagine we begin the process for any number of reasons, but the psychoanalysts raised the idea that all these reasons are derivatives of two—and ultimately only two—reasons we seek this solution. First, we feel separated by a constitutive and fundamental lack in ourselves and suspect we will never be loved, accepted, or known as fully as we wish. Second, our alienation ensures we shall never fully escape our history, and it is profoundly disturbing to realize the best and the worst experiences mold us in ways beyond our control. We are irrevocably the symptom of the experiences shaping our desire, and we cannot regress to a neutral state of non-conditioned naïveté. 

    Our alienation begins the moment we learn as infants that there rules of the house we are powerless to protest. This trace inscription evolves into an elaborate latticework of self-imposed injunctions that shape our identities. Like the old Stalinist motto—the more you profess your innocence, the more you deserve to be shot—the more we obediently submit to the superego crafted precariously from our parents and friends, our political economies and our books, our demons and our gods, the more we are under its judgment. We live in the aftermath of the signifier’s incarnation, we adopt our psychopathological dispositions, and we anxiously feel the gaze of what became called the ‘big Other.’” 

  • Endorsement from Peter Rollins for “God Is Unconscious”

    My first book will release in March.

    From Peter Rollins:

    “[The psychoanalyst’s] teachings have not only been productive in generating new concepts and distinctions but have provided ways of challenging the very frame these disciplines used to approach their respective areas of inquiry…With God Is Unconscious, Tad DeLay has boldly entered this fray with an important contribution that offers clear coordinates with which to navigate the landscape of Lacan’s teaching while also preserving his unique voice…DeLay has spent years with Lacan’s teachings. He has sat with them, worked through them, and let them speak into him. The fruit of that labour is an insightful and fertile text that will prove invaluable for those who wish to grapple with Lacan seriously and theologically.”

    Special thanks to Jesse Turri for cover design.