Ah, the Arrogance of Whiteness: Lacan

www.vice.com/en_us/article/4w75en/jacques-lacan-was-sort-of-a-dick-323

Love this!

I like Chomsky’s “charlatan” name calling. It makes perfect sense to me, viewing Chomsky and his apparent approach scholarship.

Interesting also that in my previous posts I have been pondering why certain ideas of Lacan should have anything to do with actual reality.

To me Lacan’s ideas have a great sense about them, but, as we know well now through the problems with Postmodernism, intellectual sense and intension are not sufficient for an basis for an actual responsible activity.

Thanks Sourav Roy for this.

And if you are curious about race and whiteness, please check these out:

Race is Significant in our world.

The Local Psyche Global. (Lacan part 2)

Ok.

The question on the table is two parts:

  1. If The modern world is really the unrecognized embodiment of the reflection of one’s self, which is the the factual state of individual alienation, then what does it even mean that the alienated self-reflection is looking at cars, trees, space, planets, stars, deers, etc….?
  2.  What does this have to do with ego development, modernity, and philosophy

 

Of Firsts.

Philosophy can be said to be involved with a reduction which has already occurred.  What I call conventional philosophy sees the effort of philosophy to be the uncovering or discovering of the original reduction.  The word we use for this original reduction is ontology.

Philosophers love Lacan and psychoanalysis in general more than the psychologists. I asked my Theories instructor once about Lacan, and she said that she had never even heard of any psychotherapist who uses him, that his theory is very complex.  But in fact, Freudian psychotherapists in general are a minority now days, and I suspect mainly on the East Coast of the U.S and in Europe. (There is a comment to be made on this but it will have to appear elsewhere.)

I don’t prescribe to the Freudian lineage for psychotherapy.  But I do enjoy Lacan and often via. Zizek’s use of Lacan’s theory.  The question above that I pose really concerns how these two worlds might meet, or, how they interact or come together.

The reader should understand that it is always possible to come up with a theory about what the material is we deal with in mental health and how we treat it which will work or produce good mental health outcomes. Though Freud was the first popular psychotherapist in the sense we think of it now, very quickly his theory about ‘what and how’ stopped holding water for the treatment of patients and clients (medical doctors, neurologists and psychologists usually treat patients, while counselors more often treat clients). Freud, and the psychodynamic psychologists who followed him, believe in a very elaborate structure of the mind which functions primarily through various polemical psychic situations and motions involving an invisible energy.  Psychic energy was posed without any actual evidence of such energy. We are able to produce electricity, measure it, and put it to use in predictable ways, and Freud was speculating that we would be able to find the same things with psychic energy, but he could not, nor anyone since then.  But the system sounded really good; when you get into it, it does appear to have some sensibility to it.  But, like Freud, when we take that idea too far and attempt to use the model to fill in more and more evident holes, the more elaborate structural interactions required to account for the new issues simply become so vague and involved that what ever at one time appeared like some sensible dynamic of structure, fails. That is, unless you are really sold on the beauty of the simple beginning theoretical structure.

I would say then that the reason why philosophy like psychoanalysis but Lacan so much is that it begins pretty good.  Freud’s theory appears really nice in the beginning and seems to make sense.  So without having to actually observe anything beyond the initial evidence, Freudian psychoanalysis is fabulous, and philosophy that likes Lacan is usually about first or reduced things: Ontology is about what things truly are, how they are first;  epistemology is about how thought must first be in order for everything else to be able to be thought. So, the Freudian structure of the mind The Super-Ego is the rules or norms; the ID,  involves the ‘unbound’ instinctual drive which produces libidinal energy, and the Ego is that which harness both  extremities: the philosophical ratio, or the Rational Mind, so to speak; this fits very well into methods that involve first things: 1,2,3…presto!  It is simple and it makes a lot of very easy sense without having to think about it too much.  It also, quite coincidentally, reflects the philosophy which was arising around the same time as industrial science of the 19th century: Hegel, Marx, Freuerbach and many Enlightenment others basically were already philosophizing around these very same ideas.  But as I have said a few times already, when we apply them to any world that we actually encounter, this ‘philosophical mind’ falls quickly short of accounting. And this is to say, like I said above, unless you are really sold on the theory.

The philosophical question here, then, becomes whether or not we are fitting reality into the theory, or developing theory from what is being observed?

Enter modern capitalism.

I submit, that most conventional Western philosophy suffers from the attempt of fitting what is observed into the theory.  Hence, the reason(s) why philosophy often enjoys a psychoanalytical involvement with philosophy.

So it is that I came across our question above: Why should alienation have anything do with the world we are coming upon? In what way does the “mirror stage” of Lacan have anything to do with modernity beyond the theorizing?

I submit, that the reason is because if indeed we make an ontological theory of what is observed, actually form or develop a theory upon what is being presented to sense, then the Self no longer appears alienated from the world.

Some may know that Lacan said something like “the mind is structured like a language”.  This is because he was making a comment upon what is inherently problematic about modern subjectivity.  This is, the subject is always in context, but the nature of the operating psyche is that is does not function as though it arises in context, but rather as though it arises indeed from nothing.  This is to say that the modern subject understands and thus operates itself as not a true subject (arising always in context) but as indeed a subject only in a thoughtful reflection of itself, as though the thinker itself exists outside of the world and as indeed the essential nature of Being is dichotomy: object and subject.

So, the next question (#1), is what this has to do with the presence of the parents for the development of the ego, and why does this have anything to do with actually being in the world?

1655-ego-depletion-an-influential-theory-in-psychology-640

A common and modern belief is that the ego is not a modern ideal but a human one.

Use the corona-lockdown to see yourself in the world

HERE reposted : actually wanted to post this in 7 weeks, but because I see the population getting nervous and impatient amongst lockdowns and because it is my …

Use the corona-lockdown to change your life forever within 6 weeks

——————The re-post here starts out good; I like the introduction. The “solution”in the meditation practice, on the other hand, is up to the reader.

“Take what you need and leave the rest.”

Personally, I am not in a place Where I am able to understand and apply such practices as framed in a way such as this re-post does.

There is no argument that can be made to me, and I feel if we are honest with ourselves then there is no argument that needs to be made to me because If such practices were valuable and vital to my existence and being then they would make sense to me and I would practice them.

Ok.

However;

The beginning of that repost talks about how so few people see that the world is their own reflection. And then it gives a meditation that can help people to see the truth of the situation, or be free or whatever.

For me, it just reminded me of the philosopher/psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

In particular, if I am not completely misinterpreting his ideas, yet accompanying them with the sensible extrapolations of time:

The modern world of individual identity is based in the state of alienation. Alienation can be said to be brought about through an identification with the image. In Lacan’s idea, The child sees its reflection in the mirror and identifies with the reflection. It is called “the mirror stage”. The modern world, the modern social world, can be said to be caught in the mirror stage.

Identifying one’s Self with the image, is itself the ontological state of alienation. This, in a way, disembodied Self thus looks back into the Real world with anxiety, or angst, for it is unable to overcome the trauma which has occurred in the formation of ego around the image as it views its originating body. The non-Self (image) thus erects a fantasy to help relieve the trauma. It there by does not see its actual Being in the “non-image” but indeed sees a world that is not itself, which is in Lacan’s terms, the imagined world, ie the (modern) fantasy.

Symbols thereby become a sort of fetishized substance, a magical device, which are understood by the alienated identity to be able to bring the world into communion or coordination with its non-Self. This situation develops as a Marxist dialectic called ideology, but is what Lacan calls a “mistake” or “misunderstanding” of, what I call, the Truth.

The Truth is that the ideological world is ultimately the Self occupied with a mistaken identification, and this alienated state thus reflects the world as not the Self. Which, ironically, is the Truth.

Hence we have a segue into the meaning of Kierkegaard’s critique of Hegel: The irony of the “either/or” ontological question is that the question (as method for coming upon the world) itself is based in a mistake. As well, the imaginary “truth” which reveals itself at once as ideological as well as a way to overcome or get outside of it (revolution) arises in the encounter with the symbol because the symbolic world and the imaginary world are indeed what allows for the dialectical and thus ideological world to appear and function truthfully. So it is the Real world is that which actually is “absurd” with reference to the symbolic-imagined fantasy which arises through trauma as post-traumatized identity (modernity), which replays the originating trauma through disembodiment (reason, idea, etc…).

The issue thus is less how to overcome the fantasy, and more how to deal with the originary mistake which manifests through shame as trauma, that is, the inherent vacillation of guilt, shame, and anxiety that arise through the basic ideological default of existential choice, what Kierkegaard calls sin or despair to will to be oneself. Which is then the basic offense that The West in general knows colloquially as original sin.

Today, though, often enough, this kind of discussion is discredited outright in the move toward an ideological importance of reality. This is due, then, to the basic denial that arises when individuals (but the world, society) find the symbolic way through the trauma is closed off. Hence the fantasy routes modern individuals back more firmly into the fantasy, such that the questioning itself becomes blocked (PTSD) as, now, an ideological mandate: A true religious commandment (again, see Kierkegaard): Thou Shalt Not…

The alienation is thus overcome through a new religious devotion to the truth of the fantasy. The dialectic which then will arise is de facto a continuance we know as PTSD.

There is much more to be said here, but we can get much of it through Slavoj Zizek’s Philosophy.

Secularism vs. Pluralism; a comment

I had the opportunity to participate in a live podcast episode with InkleDeux for the third time. Our topic was“Secularism vs. Pluralism.”We had a …

Live Podcast Episode: #3 Secularism vs. Pluralism

I didn’t listen to this whole podcast. But I listen long enough to have something to comment upon. I couldn’t really listen much longer than I think around seven minutes, because it had already brought up so many philosophical problems just in the introduction that I already knew pretty much what they were going to talk about, what vector they were taking.

I don’t mean that so much as a condemnation as I do really as an indication that there is a discrepancy involved with the use of the word “philosophy” that is not regularly recognized and in fact is assumed to be nonexistent in what I call a conventional philosophical Orientation upon things.

Anyways…

The point at which I stopped in the podcast was when they introduced the idea of secularism with reference to the US Constitution which guarantees a separation from church and state. Their comment upon that establishes philosophical ground as though it is common, and I’m not sure that we can assume the route that they took, even though they speak as if it is indeed a common ground, as it is indeed something that is “common sense”. And, I’m not arguing that it is something that I don’t understand or is incorrect as a line of reason; I’m not arguing against their further arguments. I’m arguing against the assumption that they make from which they build the rest of their discussion.

Nonetheless; the discrepancy that I am indicating could be located exactly at that point where I stopped listening to the podcast. The discrepancy arises where we understand the difference between extrinsic mythology and intrinsic mythology. That is, what actually occurs in the establishment of A government which runs according to our along or in correspondence to a separation of church and state, is a government which understands its own theology as implicit to what is common.

And this is to say that by that amendment we suddenly are able to point to something else as if we are not the embodiment of what we are pointing to. To me this is the significance of secularism: it is a faith which does not recognize its theological grounds. In a way, exactly the psychoanalytical “mirror stage” which leads to alienation as identity (Lacan/Zizek).

 The reader can find various comments about how I develop this philosophical theme further back in my posts on this blog.

But in short, America, if I can generalize, establishes its self as a global religion through the missdirection of calling religion as identified with something else. This goes to an evolution of the human being as indeed humans are evolving not separately from the universe, as opposed to the human being that has pretty much been the same for thousands of years and is evolving Only in some intangible manner. Indeed, the issue that they in the podcast argue as foundational to a secularism is is a foreclosure of bringing transcendence into what we can talk about. Again, with that motion it is actually bringing the transcendent into imminent conversation, or communion, as the case may be. The amendment there by establishes its own religion in distinction to other things that are basically “false religion”, basically believing in “false gods”.

It is not difficult to trace this kind of thinking back through Protestantism, but I am not arguing that America or capitalism is based in Protestant thinking. But indeed has been at least one author, weber, who argued Protestantism as a basis of a proper secular society. But that point is nearly moot.

I’ll stop there.

Perhaps some of your readers wanna listen to the whole podcast and see if they entertain or see if they’ve gone kind of the long way around to get to the same conclusion. Then maybe you could let me know.

Or perhaps you could see where their discussion comes nowhere near what I’m talking about.

I don’t know. Let me know either way OK?

Or you could tell me that what I’m saying makes no sense. If you cannot understand what I’m saying, please ask, and I’ll try to say it more clearly.

I’m sure the podcast is a good discussion because I enjoy listening to her philosophical things, even as I might disagree with them fundamentally.

But I’m short for time right now.



Harman’s review of Badiou’s seminar on Lacan

my review of Badiou’s seminar on Lacan

https://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/my-review-of-badious-seminar-on-lacan/
— Read on doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/my-review-of-badious-seminar-on-lacan/

Of course Harman does a great job at giving us a view into this book.

Nevertheless, I have so many comments that span the presentation itself: into What we can see of Lacan through Badiou; What we can see of Lacan and Badiou through Harman; What we can thus see of Harman. And what we can understand more of Badiou.

And then the critique of the whole thing.

🤣

And what I would say I think it is already presented in my blog here, and so to put forth a reply that would probably take an hour and a half to read on this blog — I think I’ll wait until I Figure out how to write and submit papers to various journals to make my comments.

In the meantime, this post is really just a marker for me, and as well as some interesting information for you.

The Unconscious Mind, Part 2

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Here is the link to the part one post concerning the unconscious mind.

It seems obvious. An Unconsciousness seems to be a good name for what is occurring in oneself, as a feature of the mind: There is this, in a way, Whole Consciousness which is made up of parts which are functioning at all times. There is the “aware” part (conscious), and then there is a part that is functioning as well of which we are not aware (unconscious). Maybe there is even another part which does something else (subconscious?). Freud’s idea seems to be nearly self-evident in its obviousness: There is an Ego which attempts to get what it wants through negotiating with reality, the world, social norms, etc. there is thus also the “norm” part (the super-ego) which tries to enforce ‘what is right’, and then there is this ‘animal drive’ which just plain Wants and desires things (Id). It all seems obvious and sensible. It seems to sensible that all sorts of ideas about the world and how its works and how human beings function psychologically stem from it even without having any requirement to look into ‘what it really means’. some might even ask: what do you mean “what does it mean”? Because such a organization of consciousness and the mind appears so axiomatically and reflexively obvious that we don’t even need to refer to any history or ‘proper theory’ of it, because, it seems, any intelligent person can access this structure of mind to be able to come to certain conclusions about it.

But this is where is gets…strange.

This is where we get into such idea as intrinsic and extrinsic mythology. Less ideology than philosophy, a very large problem arises for people when we come up against what we generally know as a Postmodern proposals, but which really goes back probably further than Wittgenstein, but at least with him.

The Very Large Problem of Consciousness (VLPC) is that what we seem to understand as so obvious and true of the universe and everything in it, including our own minds, is itself organized around a use of discourse which has no relation to any other discourse. A mediated and compromised version of this is in effect when we look out into history and we talk about ‘mythologies’ or ‘religions’ that thought in whatever way, or had views of the world so different than ours and we think often out loud (because its so obvious) how such people were not so smart, or didn’t know as much as we do now, as though such individuals or cultures or civiliations exist by virtue of and for the purpose of my or our personal and absolutely righteous and perfect knowledge of how the world is in its progression and development.

But I digress…

I looked back at the development of the word “unconscious (mind)” and, at least in the Western Book of Knowledge, I found that the term itself occurs first at the beginning German Romanticism; I think Wiki and various Philosophy Encyclopedias list the philosopher  Friedrich Schelling as the first to bring up the idea. But I found that Eduard von Hartmann might have a better say.

Regardless; the notion of the unconsciousness is based in a particular romantic notion that there must be a Oneness of things, that the Universe must indeed be a Whole Thing. In this Whole thing there are human beings who think, and the short of it is, because human beings are not separate from the Universe, thinking itself must be an operation of the Universe and that we should thus be able to somehow “join” with the motion of the universe in its motion.

In my feeble opinion, this is the short short short version of the entirety of Georg Hegel’s philosophy and Phenomenology in general.

Unconsciousness, then, is that aspect of what we are able to be aware of in the universe as that part of the universe that we are not readily aware of (mark Heidegger’s “readiness at hand”). Whatever part we are consciously knowing, according to this ideal of the Whole Universe From Which We are Not Separate, the unconscious mind is that which operates as that which contributes to our ability to be and know, yet in a sort of negative sense. In other words, similar to Jaques Lacan proposal that consciousness is structured like a language, the unconsciousness mind is merely a theoretical argument that behaves like a meme; discourse orders and structures reality, and the meme ‘unconscious mind’ works to support and reinforce such reality, serving as a conveyor or carrier of the truth of that reality through communication.

I question this model this model of the unconscious mind.

Philosophy and Racism.

The other day, I commented on a post over at Larval Subjects.

Someone replied to my last comment:

Racism is socially constructed. Just like gender. They are just signifiers without a signified. Now how do you think you can explain and convince someone who doesn’t even know this kind of thinking exists?

This is a damn good question, so I am offering my take here.
—-
While I disagree with the general form of a “signifier without a signified”, nevertheless
another way of putting her question is “How do I break into the game?”

The short, short answer is, you don’t.

I will try to not make this answer the very involved answer because if I were to do that I would be merely still playing the game, and part of the answer to her question is, indeed, that we are already playing the game. And besides, I could probably write a book answering just this question.

In the short, short answer, and without going into all the verbosity of metaphysical ins and outs, Lacan and Zizek psychoanlysis calls this game the “The Master Signifier”.

The problem with a question such as hers is, as I just said, you , we, are already playing the game. You are already part of the game of the Master Signifier.

It is not “All Good”. Zizek somewhere lately has said (had been saying) that the problem with what he calls “the Left” is that it has no balls; it is disorganized and it is failing because it has no ground, that is, because its members cannot agree on the ground. The problem is inherent to this manner. The problem, basically, is that I can have my “good” morals, but everyone else is allowed to also have what is ‘good’ for themselves: It bends both ways, and then both ways again, and then back upon itself. In short, there is no strict philosophical reasonable manner to overcome this dilemma because what I call conventional philosophy is already a part of the Master Sginifier.

I will try to show what I mean by this through an analogy.

*

Addiction.

How many of you have ever watched the show “Intervenion”?

Go watch an episode, or one of that type, or go find a freind who is addicted to something. You probably have a friend who is addicted in a bad way, or likely, at least, a freind of a freind.

Anyways,
After the set up and the slice-of-the-day-in-the-life-of-the-addict, the Interventionalist comes in and sits down with the family and loved ones of the addict. What does the Interventionalist do or say everytime? What is the point of meeting with the group of loved ones?

Often, the family is a mess also, over their loved one being an addict and all the nonsense they do. So the Inteventionalist tells them right off that this is not the place to argue among youselves. And then she says that you will not engage with the addict in argument, that this is not the place to deal with whatever direct issues are going on between you and the addict.

The point of the intervention is to disrupt the fantasy in which all the family and loved ones are involved. This is also why if one of the (interventioning) family members has issues like drugs or drinking also, or codependacy, or anger problems, then the Interventionalist will offer help to them also. The point of getting together with the famlily is to get them to behave as if from outside the Master Signifier. The way you do this is to consider the whole situation, not just the ‘subject’ or the addict in this case, and stop interacting in that situation.

While this analogy can only be taken so far, It has some good uses for our philosphical/critical race theory uses. The main thing to notice is that interaction does not cease; only interaction with a certain dynamic. Conventional philosophy would have it that everything is contained under the one rubric of infinite possibility and that this is the domain of philsophy: Everything it sees fit to call unto its own. I generalize this motion into indicting its reason, but again, with the caveat (similar to the family/interventionalist/addict situation), that I am not speaking about a category in which all human beings participate at all times.

The point is not that somehow I get to or am able to get outside of a Master Signifier; that idea merely retains the fantastic frame of the Master Signifer itself, though using the parameters of the fantsy to contruct a fantasy about getting outside of it. The main issue is reason. Here, the reason in question is the crowning government of a body of generalizable anarchists.

Just as a manner of speaking, you cannot make an argument about the problems with anrachy using the terms of anarchy and you likewise cannot effect the anarchists from being chaotic by imposing a ‘sensiblity of government’. Both manners simply play into the scheme of signification that is already occurring. The anarchists will hear such anarchistic rhetoric as supporting thier cause, and they will hear the plea to order as the reason thier ideals are founded in a ‘more correct’, manner of appropriating the situtation.

*

Catherine Malabou might be onto something with her ‘passionate enagement’ and ‘plasticity’, and even ‘climate change’.

Why do you think the family in the intervention gets all emotional in following the instructions that the interventaionlist gives them? That is, that they must not engage in argument with the addict, that they must have a bottom line beyond which they will not relent?

The intervention is not an arguement with the addict; it is not an attempt to convince through reasonable discussion that addict to get treatment. It simply places boundaries against which the addict is thus able to view the situation that is outside of the fansasy. This outside is ultimatly still part and portion of the Master Signifier, but what the intervention allows for, in L-Z psychanalytical terms,  is a viewing of the Real object. Of course, this object is not some sort of “real real object”. It is that object which the Master Signifier signifies to be the impossible case of any condition; these impossible cases are ‘suspended’ in every situation. What the intervention does is allow for a stable platform, a butress perhaps, a wall, against which the addict is able to view the impossible sitation that arises outside of the codependent and fantastic family dynamic.

The family is crying because they too are part of the fantasy of the Master Signifier and they are being asked to stop playing in it. Or rather, to bring about by Being actual subjects the Real object in the play of all possible outcomes, which is to say, “in the last instance”. They themselves must, in effect, lie. In order to be fidelitous to the truth of the situation, they must not tell the truth, which is to say, the ‘truth’ of how they see it, the ‘truth’ of how pissed off they are and why, the ‘truth’ of all the things they ‘know’ and ‘feel’. They must take on faith what the interventionalist is saying to do will reveal the truth of the situation of the fantasy to all participants. They are told to simply talk about the facts, how it used to be between them, how much fun they had together before the addiction, how they love them, and how they will not interact with them at all if they do not walk into the space of the unknown that is being opened for them at this moment.

*

Again, this analogy only goes so far. But we cannot abide someone destroying our house simply out of love for them. At some point we just accept the facts of the situation despite what argument may ensue about whther or not they are the facts, or what constitutes facts. Indeed, we do not shut them down if they wish to continue in thier way; they can do what they want. But once the facts have spoken, then things becomes really real.

We cannot convince racist or sexist people that their practices are racist or sexist if they are not willing to at least take a step into the unknown. But we also do not simply accept the repercussions of thier destructive activity.

Zizek and the Event of the Past: Part 2.

AMOREINOBLOG commented in part one and asked me a question, the answer to which, I think helps clarify what Im saying in the original post. So I am posting it here.

Please comment.

from-body-to-spirit-from-illusion-to-reality

 

AMORINOBLOG: “I find this post really interesting. But I need clarification, because I’d like to defend Zizek vis-a-vis the quotes you gave. But I understand where you are coming when you say “discursive gymnastics”, so rather than be a mindless sycophant for Zizek, I need to understand more about why you say his discourse is breaking down here. Is it because he’s just stretching how much the psychoanalytic theory really applies to reality? It seems to me he is definitely being metaphorical to a certain extent. For example, with the Event changing the past- its just a more complex version of “who controls the past, controls the future”. Or is it the apparent lack of self-awareness about the metaphorical aspect of this discourse?”

LANDEK: I am not exactly sure where your quote comes from, but I feel Ive heard it before and with my understanding of Z Id say it is similar. That being said, there is little that Zizek says that doesn’t come right around into everything else he says; it doesn’t really matter what occasion is presented to him. Also; I think I could agree that he evidences a certain ‘lack of self awareness’, but Im not sure what you mean by metaphorical. Could you elaborate on what you mean there?

There a lot going on in your question, I will try to be specific and brief but Im not sure how well I am able to stick to that ideal. Lol.

First off, I should admit that I am a sort of Zizekist. lol.

Second; Id have to admit that Im sure there are other instances of this ‘breach of protocol’ throughout Zizek.

Third; Id have to ask, how familiar with Zizek are you and have you read “Event”? You don’t have to answer that, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind, because I might naturally refer to things that are native to his ideas.

Second Third; I would have to ask into psychoanalysis. I think that Z uses a certain kind of vagueness in using this term, but he wont deny it; the cool thing about Zizek is that there is really no ‘getting one over on him’ because hes got an answer for everything. And he knows it; I think there is no comment that can be made about his work (his philosophy, critical theory, discourse, etc..) that he has not accounted for in his work itself somewhere. So see that my post concerns this aspect of him: That so far there really isn’t anything that one can successfully argue against what he says because hes already got an answer for why his discourses say what they do. It’s a kind a intrisicity. My answer to this second question is that it is this intrinsic and innate aspect to Zizek that defines what he means by psychoanalysis, and also in the sense that I have of him (and it).

See that he is not talking about Lacan; he is not merely saying again or putting forth some belief he has of Lacan. Zizek accounts for this in various places: He is using Lacan psychoanalysis to position himself, to gain a footing for what he has to say, which is, quite ironically, quite coordinate with Freudian and Lacan psychoanalysis.

I am not a scholar of Lacan or Freud, btw, but I know a little bit, enough to be able to read through Zizek to Lacan and Freud. Again, Zizek is using Lacan’s theory, but he is not expressing what Lacan was saying exactly: He is expressing what Zizek has to say.

Likewise, Zizek is not ‘speaking Hegelanese’; he is using Hegel. He is speaking Zizek.

This is the point of why he uses these discourses: Because together they, the three of them, their discourse, indicate a certain condition of discourse in its totality. To be brief: This is what I call the ZLH scaffolding, for which I am comfortable in replacing with psychoanalysis.

Yet also this is why he wants to make the argument about how the event changes the past even while the unchangeable (and transcendent) past remains unchanged: Because this is the condition that he finds himself within, this is the bearing of his discourse, how his discourse comes about. He is speaking only the truth, yet the truth is contingent upon there having been a condition whereby he could be Zizek: Two basic conditions are Hegel and Lacan. The truth then is not stable, it is developed in the event that is Zizek coming upon discourse in the manner that he does, such that he can only express his subjectivity through those conditions, conditions which he argues from as he is changing them.

The issue is that psychoanalysis is and is not a theory. It is in so much as he references it; it isn’t in as much as it is indeed describing the situation at hand.

I am saying that if we can understand the totality that Zizek is expressing at every juncture, then for him to be able to reach outside of it to say that the ‘act’ in a general human sense – that is to suggest that he is talking about all human beings – changes the past which allows for the event itself, he has then made a metaphysical statement, a statement that shows that psychoanalysis is no longer in operation for that moment and has been transformed, right at that moment, briefly, so he can quickly dodge back into the psychanalytic a moment later. It is not that he is not allowed to do this, though; it is that psychoanalysis does not admit this.

Usually Zizek stays comfortably right in the psychoanalytic, using every occasion to speak about himself and his condition. But right at that moment, the moment where he reaches outside to admit that there is another human being(s), but one who thus falls into his psychoanalytic as an agent who is also subject to a psychoanalytical condition that is not Zizek’s and yet is, right there he opens up his discourse to critique that cannot be repaired back into the totality that is the psychanalytic method without admitting that psychoanalysis is merely another theory, and thus not reflecting a totality, but merely an opinion that is partial.

The reason why this is important is because Zizek is the subject of psychoanalysis that exists within a space that is excluded in its inclusion (Parallax). To suggest that his condition is repeated for all human beings is simply not true; it is not repeated in every human subject in the multiplicity of subjective possibility; it is repeated in non-philosophical objectivity. The simple fact is that for psychoanalysis, contingency is not a real aspect, it is a symbolic and imaginary aspect. Yet, he is suggesting that a pure past is contingent upon the act. Anything that is contingent is real; all anyone has to do is reflect upon their own experience: I am not a metaphysician nor ‘believe’ that metaphysical speculations approach truth, but it does not take a genius to look around and see that everyday, throughout the day, we make choices upon definite situations. If there is a psychoanalysis that accounts for experience, then we understand that choice (the act, or choice-act) is determined by the condition in which it arises, totally. And that to view choice as an aspect of contingency is to admit the reality of the greater human species of individual human beings that all behave through the same basic mechanisms, albeit individually, essentially: Thus psychoanalysis in the theoretical sense, but not in the total sense.

From my window, Zizek is using the situation that is naturally (commonly) excluded through the theory of psychoanalysis; this is to say, he is betting that no one will look at crucial moments, and no one will see when he must ‘suspend’ his true and total psychoanalytical situation for the theoretical one.

Zizek usually does not let such contradictions lay; that is, if they are noticed.

 

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Im not entirely sure what this option below does, but please try to use it. And then tell me what happens 😉

Lacan and Zizek Obscurity; Part 2.

Part 1 of this long post is HERE.

The obscurity of Lacan is of a different sort, I think, than that of covering for one’s lack. First thing to note is he was a psychiatrist. I feel one should always consider the discipline that the author identifies through as a sort of light upon the scene, or maybe as a sort of background upon which the scene is set. (I can feel myself already sinking into the book form, of long deeply explorative paragraphs, lol, but Im trying to keep it to the topic you bring….) As I read Latour, as you mention lately, I am always reminded that he is an anthropologist (my undergrad is in cultural anthro; somehow that makes me more critical of him); the manner through which he approaches issues is informed by a certain ‘ontological treatment’, if you will, that allows me a point of purchase into his ideas that are not included or addressed. I agree with you, I think; I mean this in a very (non-?)philosophical manner, and not merely a necessarily the usual cross-discipline manner. I think this could be what really makes significant cross-discipline dialogue significant because there still seems a spectre hanging of a kind of ‘modern pluralism’ wherein specialties proclaim righteous power over respective fields, but at this point I have not formulated the dynamics involved with this ‘feeling’.

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I am hesitant to frame Z and L through the kind of structural lens you put in play above, where Zizek makes Lacan more accessible. I am reminded of the process and form that seems usual for academic dissertation (Smith and Wesson, 1958) You find it everywhere (Griffendor, 2010); you need it to be considered for most academic journals (Steadfats, Raliegh, Deade, 2016); they teach it, (Stumfed, 2000) you learn it if you want to pass and get your degree (Stuffed, 2001, 2005 cf.) and be taken seriously: The bibliography (Stander, 1994). It is so ubiquitous (Mouce and Catt, 1972) now days to read a paper where (Heckle and Jeckle, 1965) every sentence has a site reference to other authors (Rumpelstiltskin, 2003).

Now; I am not here knocking the academic process necessarily; certain skill sets serve certain applications. It is what it is; usually, we all got to do something to prove ourselves somehow, no matter what we are doing, and in some arenas it actually helps to have those sites. But, on one hand, if you are referring to the obscurity of references then if you think about Lacan as a psychiatrist, then you can kind of see that it is the way those medical doctors can do things. As well, if you are referring to the manner of his concepts, or how he presents them, we might also understand that he is a philosopher only in so much as he is involved with actual psychiatric patients, and particularly their psychological disorders.

We might want to understand how we are to apply the questions I put toward philosophy (above) in the context of Zizek and Lacan. I tend to eschew the want to unify and place everything, every production, person and being, within an assumption of commonality; it appears I am more concerned with teleologies than ontologies (though I am not so antagonistic toward Harman and his Ontology, I really did laugh out loud at your scathing comment on Harman).

I would venture to say that as a doctor Lacan was very much fixed upon a certain scientific approach that we find problematized in Zizek, if only under an implication of critique of ontological commonality, perhaps incipiently if not so overtly. Lacan was developing practice, experiments and theories based upon a particular Cartesian, if not pre-Cartesian, scientific situation that is unproblematized even unto calling forth the method of medicine and the doctor-patient relationship; the stitching up or mending of an open wound calls forth a very immediate and ‘inconsiderate’ consideration of the matter. The reflection that may have occurred with Lacan perhaps should thus be specifically referenced to the outward appropriation of information that is then applied to the inward generality of humanity that the psychiatrist is involved with as a one among many while perpetually denying this in the practicing of medicine. We might see that the philosophy of Lacan occurs within a particular ontological mode, and thus so, demands a particularly rigorous discourse to suture the actualities of physical distress (to use a broad term to include the ‘physical distress’ that is then the observed and theoretical ‘mental distress’ of the patient) to the epistemological and structural imperatives that go along with the metaphysical demands for coordination (unification) of inherently discrepant orders.

Zizek’s task is thus to be able to account for the unity that is not understood as problematic (it is given) within the medical appropriation of philosophy, while also accounting for the discrepancy involved with Lacan not being a medical patient of Zizek even while being under his philosophical care. Zizek is a self-claimed media and social critic. His interests and methods are automatically and inherently not medical; his approach was not gained through any analysis of human beings that ended up ‘under the scalpel’ of medicine. Despite what philosophies might want to argue, the social sites of Zizek’s consideration and practice are not the same as medical sites of practice. Medical doctors do not (too often or thoroughly) ponder the possibility of what is included as a medical site of practice *; it is not so much ‘given’ as it is merely obvious. They must act in the same manner that prevents them from undertaking or being a part of any overreaching ontological mode; their practice is entirely located in an ethical world (ironically. Is there a suspension of this? Under what conditions?). Indeed, Zizek makes this very same point about the ‘reneging’ of Event: something is only ‘given’ under particular conditions, and as those conditions change, so what is given changes, even to the extent that we might even imagine that what is given loses its capacity to be given. Yet there is a condition where what is given does not change. In contrast to Lacan’s ‘essential subjects’ in this light, Zizek’s sites are inherently ‘subjective’ sites that have a particular ‘objective’ flavor. If we can understand where this statement may not be a mere opinion, then we may be stepping from the ‘religious philosophical’ world of proper unities, and what appears as its necessary operations of hegemony and oppression, into the world of (scientifical?) philosophical facts.

*Note: I was talking with a friend of mine who is a surgeon graduated top of his class from Harvard medical, and asked him what he thought of existence and such. His answer was “I think its all energy,” basically a layman ontology based around a little modern physics. We didn’t really discuss too deeply, but for the most part, that was his big philosophical idea. And that’s OK; my point is that whatever metaphysical structures may be at the root of all existence has very little to do with fixing someone’s physical body, again regardless of the philosophies of psychology (we see an inversion here too) that would want to argue how deep human ‘unconscious’ psychological meanings permeate out from the darkness into the light of daily activity. My friend listens to Metallica and Zedd in the operating room while he does surgery. Am I going to reconsider whether I should let him operate on me because he has what I could consider a simpleminded version of philosophical reality and listens to inconstient genres of music? Even if he was able to discuss the intersections in Plato and Frauerbach with me, would that change my need or his ability?

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).
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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.