Zizek and Lacan (with a moment about Deleuze) Obscurity. Part 1.

Amorinblog and I have been having a loose conversation here and there. My reply to the most recent comment I have made into a post because it seems that I am unable to keep my answers very short. Lol.

Here it is:

Amoreinblog: “This has a lot in common with your post on obscurantism. This constant referring to outside source material. Now- this criticism is often leveled at Lacan. I wonder what you think about that, because Lacan is the theoretical underpinning of Zizek, who seems to be one of the least obscurantist philosophers of the modern day. Did Zizek in your mind “de-obscurantize” or “de-metaphysicize” Lacan? Did he make psychoanalysis into common sense (because I think Lacan’s precise point about the unconscious is that it is precisely not the common sense view that the unconscious exists, and it can only be proven inductively)”

Strangely enough, I don’t have a problem around referring to outside material in general. The issue I have is around, as you say, ‘constant’ referral, such that often enough you cant even have a discussion with someone let alone a debate because you can never get them to engage with, what I see as, or what I naturally understand as, their view. Their view thus appears to me to be a kind of ‘no view’, or a view that finds itself in a positive form of ‘not viewing’, which manifests through a constant referencing to other sources. Their opinion is always about what so and so says and this and that idea, and then whether they agree with it or not, as if that is their view. The issue is really what they are using the references for, but not just this, how they are using them becomes quite apparent to me, which then goes to, what I tend to call, their ‘orientation upon objects’.

It does, of course, take a little bit to get the feel of a descriptive terrain, to understand what people (authors) are saying, but this in itself is not an end or standardized form – or rather it is all too often understood as a sort of a priori methodological ground: Finding one’s voice through the constant referencing is taken to be, as it becomes, one’s view, such that by the time the person has looked around everywhere, the view they have by then comes off as tentative and unsure, yet fortified by the aggregate of students (as a general term for all seekers) who have taken the method as unquestionable methodological dogma such that they then propose (inherently) to take the position of the method itself as if the method could indeed constitute a position (but indeed it can. This is the question that I pose to philosophy as an endeavor to its object and purpose; namely, we need to clean up what philosophy is doing, is capable of doing, and not only what it addresses, but more precisely what it is able to address.)

Sorry, my rambling. There is a lot going on here in your small question, but Ill try to get back to your question, shortish form.

The type of obscurantism I am railing against in the post to which you refer, is about the Deluezian-Derridian congregants. If I remember correctly, someone was saying something about how those guys, but particularly Deleuze, how his works are so obscure, they must be speaking about something very significant, and he goes on to talk about ‘end of the world manifestations or system collapse’ and such things, in political and ideological this and that, or something like that, I think. My point there was that, yes, it is the fault of the writer, but more those who would constantly refer to what he (they) said here and there, using their terms and definitions (almost verbatim) to support their (the person Im talking to) argument about whatever we were talking about. In this case, I believe it was a congregant who had a post I made a comment upon (a positive one, where I thought I was agreeing and supporting and then offering something more, and then questioning into it), who then came back upon me as though I didn’t understand what he was saying about Deleuze, and he became accusatory, saying that he didn’t know where I came up with such and such notions about his post, etc… And basically that he didn’t agree with me because [put Deluezian quote or paraphrase here]. I continued to ask what that meant, brining in comparisons with other authors, and I got another somewhat accusatory answer about my ignorance and how the other author I mentioned has no relation to his posting because [followed by another Deleuze quote]. For some reason, he could not produce for me a response that answered my question because his answers were always in reference to what Deleuze said. I think he was frustrated and thinking that I was accusing him of not understanding Deleuze, which I was not, and I was (I felt) actually agreeing with his point of his post, which apparently, he could not see beyond to understand my point. Lol ! Quite a slapstick exchange if there ever was one.

The post of mine, then, “Obscurity”, was a complaint (lol) but then also I was saying that Delueze’s apparent obscurantism was because he was too close to the Event. What Event? You ask. Well, that is an entirely different discussion. Nevertheless, I consider Delueze and Derrida verbosity to be due to the fact that they were still pretty tongue tied over what was occurring * and that it is more a particular institutional identity that allowed them to have so much traction in the philosophical world, at that (dare I say), because the point of departure for their discourses is obvious, that they could take twenty paragraphs of all sorts of convoluted text to say what might be summed up in one. (ah ha!! Im a dork.) Yet strangely anti-significant, what they say is sensible and of course, but the conclusions many congregants gather from them is reactionary, for once you understand the point of departure it is only a matter, for each piece of writing, to discover where the insertion takes place, and then what vector of meaning they are pursuing. Then the reactionary fear arguing that arises in the offense (or excitement that someone is talking about something that was so particular to your understanding) drifts away. In this particular case, then, of failing to discern the point of departure yet making comments upon the meaning of the text, the fault of obscurity falls back to the reader (but not to the extent that one is still open to learning).

More in a bit…

  • note: this kind of controlling of astonishment for the confinment to discourse, is similar to what I mention of Lacan below (part 2 or 3) , of his situation as a medical doctor. The comparison can be held to notice as a kind of Event, but one that is normalized in particular method, for the example with Lacan, of medical practice. In the situation of Deleuze, though, we have a particular astonishment that is still felt because it has not been standardized to method, such that encounters with the subject (or ‘patient’) matter are still a bit difficult to ascertain a treatment for. Hence the verbosity (obscurity) here is of a similar kind (of overcoming a ‘gap’ for metaphysical unity toward standard application) as Lacan.

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