We do not know how to renounce anything, Freud has once observed. This type of relation to the object indicates an inability to mourn.

The addict is a non-renouncer par excellence (one think of the way Goethe mastered renunciation) ; yet, however haunted or hounded, the addict nonetheless establishes a partial separation from an invading presence.


Discipline and addiction. Practice your scales. Repetitions. Bach on coffee. Berlioz on hallucinogen (but also on coffee and cigars): The Witches’ Sabbath, a concoction of Faust and the opium dreams Berlioz read in De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Mussorgky’s wine, Stravinsky’s cigarettes.


Crisis in immanence. Drugs, it turn out, are not so much about seeking an exterior, transcendental dimension – a fourth or fifth dimension – rather, they explore fractal interiorities. This was already hinted at by Burrough’s algebra of need.

Avital Ronell

(Crack War. Literature Addiction Mania. University of Illinois Press, 2004)

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