Saturday, October 26, 2013

Being In the World

“Dasein exists. Furthermore, Dasein is an entity which in each case I myself am. Mineness belongs to any existent Dasein, and belongs to it as the condition which makes authenticity and inauthenticity possible.”
- Dreyfus, H., "Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

You Ain't Gots ta B'lieve, Hon'!

William Butler Yeats, this arch-conservative, was right in is diagnosis of the XXth century, when he wrote: "...The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / the ceremony of innocence is drowned; / the best lack all conviction, while the worst / are full of passionate intensity." (The Second Coming, 1920). The key to his diagnosis is contained in the phrase "ceremony of innocence," which is to be taken in the precise sense of Edith Wharton's "age of innocence": Newton's wife, the "innocent" the title refers to, was not a naïve believer in her husband's fidelity - she knew well of his passionate love for Countess Olenska, she just politely ignored it and staged the belief in his fidelity... In one of the Marx brothers' films, Groucho Marx, when caught in a lie, answers angrily: "Whom do you believe, your eyes or my words?"

This apparently absurd logic renders perfectly the functioning of the symbolic order, in which the symbolic mask-mandate matters more than the direct reality of the individual who wears this mask and/or assumes this mandate. This functioning involves the structure of fetishist disavowal: "I know very well that things are the way I see them /that this person is a corrupt weakling, but I nonetheless treat him respectfully, since he wears the insignia of a judge, so that when he speaks, it is the Law itself which speaks through him". So, in a way, I effectively believe his words, not my eyes, i.e. I believe in Another Space (the domain of pure symbolic authority) which matters more than the reality of its spokesmen. The cynical reduction to reality thus falls short: when a judge speaks, there is in a way more truth in his words (the words of the Institution of law) than in the direct reality of the person of judge - if one limits oneself to what one sees, one simply misses the point. This paradox is what Lacan aims at with his les non-dupes errent: those who do not let themselves be caught in the symbolic deception/fiction and continue to believe their eyes are the ones who err most.

What a cynic who "believes only his eyes" misses is the efficiency of the symbolic fiction, the way this fiction structures our experience of reality. The same gap is at work in our most intimate relationship to our neighbors: we behave AS IF we do not know that they also smell badly, secrete excrement, etc. - a minimum of idealization, of fetishizing disavowal, is the basis of our co-existence. And doesn't the same disavowal account for the sublime beauty of the idealizing gesture discernible from Anna Frank to American Communists who believed in the Soviet Union? Although we know that Stalinist Communism was an appalling thing, we nonetheless admire the victims of the McCarthy witch hunt who heroically persisted in their belief in Communism and support for the Soviet Union.

The logic is here the same as that of Anne Frank who, in her diaries, expresses belief in the ultimate goodness of man in spite of the horrors accomplished by men against Jews in World War II: what renders such an assertion of belief (in the essential goodness of Man; in the truly human character of the Soviet regime) sublime, is the very gap between it and the overwhelming factual evidence against it, i.e. the active will to disavow the actual state of things. Perhaps therein resides the most elementary meta-physical gesture: in this refusal to accept the real in its idiocy, to disavow it and to search for Another World behind it. The big Other is thus the order of lie, of lying sincerely. And it is in this sense that "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity": even the best are no longer able to sustain their symbolic innocence, their full engagement in the symbolic ritual, while "the worst," the mob, engage in (racist, religious, sexist...) fanaticism? Is this opposition not a good description of today's split between tolerant but anemic liberals, and the fundamentalists full of "passionate intensity"?

Niels Bohr, who gave the right answer to Einstein's "God doesn't play dice" ("Don't tell God what to do!"), also provided the perfect example of how such a fetishist disavowal of belief works in ideology: seeing a horse-shoe on his door, the surprised visitor said that he doesn't believe in the superstition that it brings luck, to what Bohr snapped back: "I also do not believe in it; I have it there because I was told that it works also if one does not believe in it!" What this paradox renders clear is the way a belief is a reflexive attitude: it is never a case of simply believing - one has to believe in belief itself. Which is why Kierkegaard was right to claim that we do not really believe (in Christ), we just believe to believe - and Bohr just confronts us with the logical negative of this reflexivity (one can also NOT believe one's beliefs...). 1

At some point, Alcoholics Anonymous meet Pascal: "Fake it until you make it.." However, this causality of the habit is more complex than it may appear: far from offering an explanation of how beliefs emerge, it itself calls for an explanation. The first thing to specify is that Pascal's "Kneel down and you will believe!" has to be understood as involving a kind of self-referential causality: "Kneel down and you will believe that you knelt down because you believed!" The second thing is that, in the "normal" cynical functioning of ideology, belief is displaced onto another, onto a "subject supposed to believe," so that the true logic is: "Kneel down and you will thereby MAKE SOMEONE ELSE BELIEVE!" One has to take this literally and even risk a kind of inversion of Pascal's formula: "You believe too much, too directly? You find your belief too oppressing in its raw immediacy? Then kneel down, act as if you believe, and YOU WILL GET RID OF YOUR BELIEF - you will no longer have to believe yourself, your belief will already ex-sist objectified in your act of praying!" That is to say, what if one kneels down and prays not so much to regain one's own belief but, on the opposite, to GET RID of one's belief, of its over-proximity, to acquire a breathing space of a minimal distance towards it? To believe - to believe "directly," without the externalizing mediation of a ritual - is a heavy, oppressing, traumatic burden, which, through exerting a ritual, one has a chance of transferring it onto an Other...

When Badiou emphasizes that double negation is not the same as affirmation, he thereby merely confirms the old Hegelian motto les non-dupes errent. Let us take the affirmation "I believe." Its negation is: "I do not really believe, I just fake to believe." However, its properly Hegelian negation of negation is not the return to direct belief, but the self-relating fake: "I fake to fake to believe," which means: "I really believe without being aware of it." Is, then, irony not the ultimate form of the critique of ideology today - irony in the precise Mozartean sense of taking the statements more seriously than the subjects who utter them themselves?

In the case of so-called "fundamentalists," this "normal" functioning of ideology in which the ideological belief is transposed onto the Other is disturbed by the violent return of the immediate belief - they "really believe it." The first consequence of this is that the fundamentalist becomes the dupe of his fantasy (as Lacan put it apropos Marquis de Sade), immediately identifying himself with it. From my own youth, I remember a fantasy concerning the origin of children: after I learned how children are made, I still had no precise idea on insemination, so I thought one has to make love every day for the whole nine months: in woman's belly, the child is gradually formed through sperm - each ejaculation is like adding an additional brick... One plays with such fantasies, not "taking them seriously," it is in this way that they fulfill their function - and the fundamentalist lacks this minimal distance towards his fantasy.

Let us clarify this point apropos Elfriede Jelinek's The Piano Teacher, which can also be read as the story of a psychotic who lacks the coordinates of the fantasy which would allow her to organize her desire: when, in the middle of the film, she goes to a video cabin and watches a hardcore porn, she does it in order simply to learn what to do, how to engage in sex, and, in her letter to her prospective lover, she basically puts on paper what she saw there... (Her psychosis and lack of fantasmatic coordinates are clearly signalled in her strange relationship with her mother - when, in the middle of the night, she embraces her and starts to kiss her, this displays her total lack of the desiring coordinates that would direct her towards a determinate object - as well as her self-cutting of her vagina with a razor, an act destined to bring her to reality.) 2 At the very end of The Piano Teacher, the heroine, after stabbing herself, walks away (from the concert hall where she saw the last time her young lover) - what if this self-inflicted wound is to be conceived as "traversing the fantasy"? What if, through striking at herself, she got rid of the hold of the masochistic fantasy over herself? In short, what if the ending is "optimistic": after being raped by her lover, after she got her fantasy back at her in reality, this traumatic experience enables her to leave it behind? Furthermore, what if the fantasy she puts on the paper she gives to her lover is HIS OWN fantasy of what he really would really like to do to her, so that he is disgusted precisely because he gets from her DIRECTLY his own fantasy?

More generally, when one is passionately in love and, after not seeing the beloved for a long time, asks her for a photo to keep in mind her features, the true aim of this request is not to check if the properties of the beloved still fits the criteria of my live, but, on the contrary, to learn (again) what these criteria are. I am in love absolutely, and the photo a priori CANNOT be a disappointment - I need it just so that it will tell me WHAT I love... What this means is that true love is performative in the sense that it CHANGES its object - not in the sense of idealization, but in the sense of opening up a gap in it, a gap between the object's positive properties and the agalma, the mysterious core of the beloved (which is why I do not love you because of your properties which are worthy of love: on the contrary, it is only because of my love for you that your features appear to me as worthy of love). It is for this reason that finding oneself in the position of the beloved is so violent, traumatic even: being loved makes me feel directly the gap between what I am as a determinate being and the unfathomable X in me which causes love. Everyone knows Lacan's definition of love ("Love is giving something one doesn't have..."); what one often forgets is to add the other half which completes the sentence: "... to someone who doesn't want it." And is this not confirmed by our most elementary experience when somebody unexpectedly declared passionate love to us - is not the first reaction, preceding the possible positive reply, that something obscene, intrusive, is being forced upon us?

In a kind of Hegelian twist, love does not simply open itself up for the unfathomable abyss in the beloved object; what is in the beloved "more than him/herself," the presupposed excess of/in the beloved, is reflexively posited by love itself. Which is why true love is far from the openness to the "transcendent mystery of the beloved Other": true love is well aware that, as Hegel would have put it, the excess of the beloved, what, in the beloved, eludes my grasp, is the very place of the inscription of my own desire into the beloved object - transcendence is the form of appearance of immanence. As the melodramatic wisdom puts it, it is love itself, the fact of being loved, that ultimately makes the beloved beautiful.

Let us return to our fundamentalist: the obverse of his turning into a dupe of his fantasy is that he loses his sensitivity for the enigma of the Other's desire. In a recent case of analytic treatment in UK, the patient, a woman who was a victim of rape, remained deeply disturbed by an unexpected gesture of the rapist: after already brutally enforcing her surrender, and just prior to penetrating her, he withdraw a little bit, politely said "Just a minute, lady!" and put on a condom. This weird intrusion of politeness into a brutal situation perplexed the victim: what was its meaning? Was it a strange care for her, or a simple egotistic protective measure from the part of the rapist (making it sure that he will not get AIDS from her, and not the other way round). This gesture, much more than explosions of raw passion, stands for the encounter of the "enigmatic signifier," of the desire of the Other in all its impenetrability. Does such an encounter of the Other's desire follow the logic of alienation or that of separation? It can be an experience of utter alienation (I am obsessed with the inaccessible obscure impenetrable divine Desire which plays games with me, as in the Jansenist dieu obscur); however, the key shift occurs when, in a Hegelian way, we gain insight into how "the secrets of the Egyptians were also secret for the Egyptians themselves," i.e., into how our alienation FROM the Other is already the alienation OF the Other (from) itself - it is this redoubled alienation that generates what Lacan called separation as the overlapping of the two lacks.

And the link between these two features of the fundamentalist's position is clear: since fantasy is a scenario the subject builds in order to answer the enigma of the Other's desire, i.e., since fantasy provides an answer to "What does the Other want from me?", the immediate identification with the fantasy as it were closes up the gap - the enigma is clarified, we fully know the answer...

When theologians try to reconcile the existence of God with the fact of shoah, their answers build a strange succession of Hegelian triads. First, those who want to leave divine sovereignty unimpaired and thus have to attribute to God full responsibility for shoah, first offer (1) the "legalistic" sin-and-punishment theory (shoah has to be a punishment for the past sins of humanity-or Jews themselves); then, they pass (2) to the "moralistic" character-education theory (shoah is to be understood along the lines of the story of Job, as the most radical test of our faith in God - if we survive this ordeal, our character will stand firm...); and, finally, they take refuge in a kind of "infinite judgement" which should save the day after all common measure between shoah and its meaning breaks down, and (3) the divine mystery theory (facts like shoah bear witness to the unfathomable abyss of divine will). In accordance with the Hegelian motto of a redoubled mystery (the mystery God is for us has to be also a mystery for God Himself), the truth of this "infinite judgement" can only be to deny God's full sovereignty and omnipotence.

The next triad is thus composed of those who, unable to combine shoah with God's omnipotence (how could He have allowed it to happen?), opt for some form of divine limitation: (1) first, God is directly posited as finite (not all-encompassing, overwhelmed by the dense inertia of his own creation); (2) then, this limitation is reflected back into God himself as his free act - God is self-limited (He voluntarily constrained his power in order to leave the space open for human freedom); (3) finally, the self-limitation is externalized, the two moments are posited as autonomous - God is embattled (the dualistic solution: there is a counter-force or principle of demoniac Evil active in the world). However, it is only here that we encounter the core of the problem of the origin of Evil.

The standard metaphysical-religious notion of Evil is that of doubling, gaining a distance, abandoning the reference to the big Other, our Origin and Goal, turning away from the original divine One, getting caught into the self-referential egotistic loop, thus introducing a gap into the global balance and harmony of the One-All. The easy, all too slick, postmodern solution to this is to retort that the way out of this self-incurred impasse consists in abandoning the very presupposition of the primordial One from which one turned away, i.e., to accept that our primordial situation is that of finding oneself in a complex situation, one within a multitude of foreign elements-only the theologico-metaphysical presupposition of the original One compels us to perceive the alien as the outcome of (our) alienation. From this perspective, the Evil is not the redoubling of the primordial One, turning away from it, but the very imposition of an all-encompassing One onto the primordial dispersal. However, what if the true task of thought is to think the self-division of the One, to think the One itself as split within itself, as involving an inherent gap?

The very gap between gnosticism and monotheism can thus be accounted for in the terms of the origin of evil: while gnosticism locates the primordial duality of Good and Evil into God himself (the material universe into which we are fallen is the creation of an evil and/or stupid divinity, and what gives us hope is the good divinity which keeps alive the promise of another reality, our true home), monotheism saves unity (one-ness) of a good God by locating the origin of evil into our freedom (evil is either finitude as such, the inertia of material reality, or the spiritual act of willfully turning away from God). It is easy to bring the two together by claiming that the Gnostic duality of God is merely a "reflexive determination" of our own changed attitude towards God: what we perceive as two Gods is effectively the split in our nature, in our relating to God. However, the true task is to locate the source of the split between good and evil into God himself while remaining within the field of monotheism - the task which tried to accomplish German mystics (Jakob Boehme) and later philosophers who took over their problematic (Schelling, Hegel). In other words, the task is to transpose the human "external reflection" which enacts the split between good and evil back into the One God himself.

Back to the topic of shoah, this brings us to the third position above and beyond the first two (the sovereign God, the finite God), that of a suffering God: not a triumphalist God who always wins at the end, although "his ways are mysterious," since he secretly pulls all the strings; not a God who exerts cold justice, since he is by definition always right; but a God who - like the suffering Christ on the Cross - is agonized, assumes the burden of suffering, in solidarity with the human misery. It was already Schelling who wrote: "God is a life, not merely a being. But all life has a fate and is subject to suffering and becoming. /.../ Without the concept of a humanly suffering God /.../ all of history remains incomprehensible." Why? Because God's suffering implies that He is involved in history, affected by it, not just a transcendent Master pulling the strings from above: God's suffering means that human history is not just a theater of shadows, but the place of the real struggle, the struggle in which the Absolute itself is involved and its fate is decided. This is the philosophical background of Dietrich Bonhoffer's deep insight that, after shoah, "only a suffering God can help us now" - a proper supplement to Heidegger's "Only a God can still save us!" from his last interview. One should therefore take the statement that "the unspeakable suffering of the six millions is also the voice of the suffering of God" quite literally: the very excess of this suffering over any "normal" human measure makes it divine. Recently, this paradox was succinctly formulated by Juergen Habermas: "Secular languages which only eliminate the substance once intended leave irritations. When sin was converted to culpability, and the breaking of divine commands to an offense against human laws, something was lost." Which is why the secular-humanist reactions to phenomena like shoah or gulag (AND others) is experienced as insufficient: in order to be at the level of such phenomena, something much stronger is needed, something akin to the old religious topic of a cosmic perversion or catastrophe in which the world itself is "out of joint." Therein resides the paradox of the theological significance of shoah: although it is usually conceived as the ultimate challenge to theology (if there is a God and if he is good, how could he have allowed such a horror to take place?), it is at the same time only theology which can provide the frame enabling us to somehow approach the scope of this catastrophe - the fiasco of God is still the fiasco of GOD.
-Slavoj Zizek, "With or Without Passion"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Imprint or In-Print?

That mirror
Which makes of men a transparency,
Who holds that mirror
And bids us such a breast-bare spectacle see
Of you and me?

That mirror
Whose magic penetrates like a dart,
Who lifts that mirror
And throws our mind back on us, and our heart,
until we start?

That mirror
Works well in these night hours of ache;
Why in that mirror
Are tincts we never see ourselves once take
When the world is awake?

That mirror
Can test each mortal when unaware;
Yea, that strange mirror
May catch his last thoughts, whole life foul or fair,
Glassing it -- where?
-Thomas Hardy, "Moments of Vision"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Posing Poseurs

So where are the liberal outcries about denigrating and exploiting Native American culture for monetary gain? Who will be the "magical Indians" whose lend "No Doubt" a PC Pass, or does "beauty" not need one?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Travels with Dante

This obscene virtual dimension is inscribed into an ideological text in the guise of the fantasmatic background that sustains the emptiness of what Jacques Lacan called the Master-Signifier. The master-Signifier is tha signifier of potentiality, of potential threat, ot a threat which, in order to function as such, has to remain potential (in the same way as it is also the signifier of potential meaning whose actuality is the void of meaning: say, "our Nation" is the thing itself, 'the supreme Cause worth dying for, the highest density of meaning - and, as such, it means nothing in particular, it has no determinate meaning, it can be articulated only in the guise a tautology - "Nation is the Thing itself"). This emptiness of the threat is clearly discernible in everyday phrases like "Just wait! You will see what will happen to you!" - the very lack of the specification of WHAT exactly will befall you makes the threat so threatening, since it solicits the power of my fantasy to fill it in with imagined horrors. As such, the Master-Signifier is the privileged site at which fantasy intervenes, since the function of fantasy is precisely to fill in the void of the signifier-without-signified, i.e., fantasy is ultimately, at its most elementarv, the stuff which fills in the void of the Master-Signifier: again, in the case of a Nation, all the mythic obscure narratives which tell us what the nation is... This gap between the Law and its superego supplement concerns the ambiguous status of political representation, the constitutive excess of representation over the represented. At the level of the Law, the state Power only represents the interests of its subjects; it is serving them, responsible to them and itself subjected to their control; however, at the level of the superego underside, the public message of responsibility, etc., is supplemented by the obscene message of unconditional exercise of Power: laws do not really bind me, I can do to you WHATEVER I WANT, I can treat you as guilty if I decide so, I can destroy you if I say so... This obscene excess is a necessary constituent of the notion of sovereignty (whose signifier is the Master-Signifier) - the asymmetry is here structural, i.e. the law can only sustain its authority if subjects hear in it the echo of the obscene unconditional self-assertion.

It is similar with anti-Semitism: Jew is the Master-Signifier, the ultimate empty point of reference which accounts for the (inconsistent) series of phenomena that bother people (corruption, moral and cultural decadence, sexual depravity, commercialization, class struggle and other social antagonisms ... ); as such, the figure of the Jew has to be sustained/encircled by the swarm of fantasies about their mysterious rituals and properties. 6 However, in the XXth century, this link between power and invisible threat gets in a way redoubled or reflected-into itself: it is no longer merely the existing power structure which, in order to sustain its efficiency, its hold over its subjects, has to rely on the fantasmatic dimension of the potential/invisible threat; the place of the threat is, rather, externalized, displaced into the Outside, the Enemy of the power - it is the invisible (and for that very reason all-powerful and omnipresent) threat of the Enemy that legitimizes the permanent state of emergency of the existing Power (Fascists invoked the threat of the Jewish conspiracy, Stalinists the threat of the class enemy up to today's "war on terror," of course). This invisible threat of the Enemy legitimizes the logic of the preemptive strike: precisely because the threat is virtual, it is too late to wait for its actualization, one has to strike in advance, before it will be too late... In other words, the omnipresent invisible threat of Terror legitimizes the all too visible protective measures of defense (which pose the only TRUE threat to democracy and human rights, of course)if the classic power functioned as the threat which was operative precisely by way of never actualizing itself, by way of remaining a threatening GESTURE (and this functioning reached its climax in the Cold War, with the the threat of the mutual nuclear destruction which HAD to remain a threat), with the war on terror, the invisible threat causes the incessant actualization - not of itself, but - of the measures against itself. The nuclear strike had to remain the threat of a strike, while the threat of the terrorist strike triggers the endless series of strikes against potential terrorists... The power which presents itself as being all the time under threat, living in mortal danger, and thus merely defending itself, is the most dangerous kind of power.
-Slavoj Zizek, "Move the Underground"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Elisa - "L'Anima Vola"

The soul flies
It just needs some fresh air
If you look into my eyes
Search for my heart
Don't get lost in its reflections

Don't buy me anything
I am gonna smile if you'll notice me in the crowd
Yes, it is important that
I'll be for you in any case and anywhere
The one you have known forever

A kiss is like the wind
When it slowly blows and yet it moves everything
And a strong soul that can be on its own
When it looks for you it is just because it still wants you
And if it looks for you it is just because

The soul dares
It gets lost
And then finds itself again
And look how it dances
Whenever it knows you are there watching

Dont't bring me anything
As long as I'll know i can stop an instant with you
If I can make it
Then I'll be able to recognize you through a thousand storms

A kiss is like the wind
When it slowly blows and yet it moves everything
A strong soul who is not afraid
When it looks for you it is just because it still wants you
When it looks for you it is just because it still wants you
And if it looks for you it is just because...

The soul flies
Doesn't get lost
The soul flies
Doesn't hide
The soul flies
What does it need?
The soul flies
Doesn't fade away

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OVER-Identify with ME!

It is against the background of this constitutive tension of the Law between public-written Law and superego that one should comprehend the extraordinary critical-ideological impact of the Neue Slowenische Kunst, especially of Laibach group. In the process of disintegration of socialism in Slovenia, they staged an aggressive inconsistent mixture of Stalinism, Nazism, and Blut und Boden ideology. The first reaction of the enlightened Leftist critics was to conceive of Laibach as the ironic imitation of totalitarian rituals; however, their support of Laibach was always accompanied by an uneasy feeling: "What if they really mean it? What if they truly identify with the totalitarian ritual?" -or, a more cunning version of it, transferring one's own doubt onto the other: "What if Laibach overestimates their public? What if the public takes seriously what Laibach mockingly imitates, so that Laibach actually strengthens what it purports to undermine?" This uneasy feeling is fed on the assumption that ironic distance is automatically a subversive attitude. What if, on the contrary, the dominant attitude of the contemporary "postideological" universe is precisely the cynical distance toward public values? What if this distance, far from posing any threat to the system, designates the supreme form of conformism, since the normal function of the system requires cynical distance? In this sense the strategy of Laibach appears in a new light: it "frustrates" the system (the ruling ideology) precisely insofar as it is not its ironic imitation, but over-identification with it - by bringing to light the obscene superego underside of the system, over-identification suspends its efficiency. (In order to clarify the way this baring, this public staging of the obscene fantasmatic kernel of an ideological edifice, suspends its normal functioning, let us recall a somehow homologous phenomenon in the sphere of individual experience: each of us has some private ritual, phrase [nicknames, etc.] or gesture, used only within the most intimate circle of closest friends or relatives; when these rituals are rendered public, their effect is necessarily one of extreme embarrassment and shame - one has a mind to sink into the earth.)
The ultimate expedient of Laibach is their deft manipulation of transference: their public (especially intellectuals) is obsessed with the "desire of the Other" -what is Laibach's actual position, are they truly totalitarians or not?- i.e., they address Laibach with a question and expect from them an answer, failing to notice that Laibach itself does not function as an answer but a question. By means of the elusive character of their desire, of the indecidability as to "where they actually stand," Laibach compels us to take up our position and decide upon our desire. Laibach here actually accomplishes the reversal that defines the end of psychoanalytical cure. At the outset of the cure is transference: the transferential relationship is put in force as soon as the analyst appears in the guise of the subject supposed to know - to know the truth about the analysand's desire. When, in the course of the psychoanalysis, the analysand complains that he doesn't know what he wants, all this moan and groan is addressed to the analyst, with the implicit supposition that the analyst does know it. In other words, i.e., insofar as the analyst stands for the Big Other, the analysand's illusion lies in reducing his ignorance about his desire to an "epistemological" incapacity: the truth about his desire already exists, it is registered somewhere in the Big Other, one has only to bring it to light and his desiring will run smoothly. The end of the psychoanalysis, the dissolution of transference, occurs when this "epistemological" incapacity shifts into "ontological" impossibility: the analysand has to experience how the Big Other also does not possess the truth about his desire, how his desire is without guarantee, groundless, authorized only in itself. In this precise sense, the dissolution of transference designates the moment when the arrow of the Question that the analysand pointed at the analyst turns back toward the analysand himself: first, the analysand's (hysterical) question addressed to the analyst supposed to possess the answer; then, the analysand is forced to acknowledge that the analyst himself is nothing but a big Question mark addressed to the analysand. Here one can specify Lacan's thesis that an analyst is authorized only by himself: an analysand becomes analyst upon assuming that his desire has no support in the Other, that the authorization of his desire can only come from himself. And insofar as this same reversal of the direction of the arrow defines drive, we could say (as Lacan does say) that what takes place at the end of the psychoanalysis is the shift from desire to drive.
Slavoj Zizek, ""Why are Laibach and NSK not Fascists?"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Driving to Desire

We can see, now, how we are to conceive the opposition between desire and drive. Insofar as desire remains our horizon, our position ultimately amounts to a kind of Levinasian openness to the enigma of the Other, to the imponderable mystery of the Other's desire. In clear contrast to this attitude of respect for the Other in its transcendence, drive introduces radical immanence: desire is open to the transcendence of the Other, while drive is "closed," absolutely immanent. Or, to put it in a slightly different way, desire and drive are to be contrasted as are subject and object: there is a subject of desire and an object of drive. In desire, the subject longs for the (lost) object, whereas in drive, the subject makes herself an object (the scopic drive, for example, involves an attitude of se faire voire, of "making-oneself-seen," not simply of wanting to see). Perhaps this is how we are to read Schelling's notion of the highest freedom as the state in which activity and passivity, being-active and being-acted-upon, harmoniously overlap: man reaches his acme when he turns his very subjectivity into the Predicate of an ever higher Power (in the mathematical sense of the term), i.e. when he, as it were, yields to the Other, "depersonalizes" his most intense activity and performs it as if some other, higher Power is acting through him, using him as its medium - like the mystical experience of Love, or like an artist who, in the highest frenzy of creativity, experiences himself as a medium through which some more substantial, impersonal Power expresses itself. The crucial point is to distinguish this position from that of the pervert, who also undergoes a kind of "subjective destitution" and posits himself as the object-cause of the Other's desire (see the case of the Stalinist Communist who conceives himself as the pure object-instrument of the realization of the Necessity of History). For the pervert, the big Other exists, while the subject at the end of the psychoanalytic process assumes the nonexistence of the big Other. In short, the Other for whom the subject "makes herself... (seen, heard, active)" has no independent existence and ultimately relies on the subject herself - in this precise sense, the subject who makes herself the Other's object-cause becomes her own cause.
-Zizek, "From desire to drive: Why Lacan is not Lacaniano"

Monday, October 7, 2013

The ShutNado Blues

You can't always get it
When you really want it
You can't always get it at all
Just because there's space
In your life it's a waste
To spend your time why don't you wait for the call

(Just gotta get used to it)
We all get it in the end

(Just gotta get used to it)
We go down and we come up again
(Just gotta get used to it)
You irritate me my friend
(This is no social crisis)
This is you having fun
(No crisis)
Getting burned by the sun
(This is true)
This is no social crisis
Just another tricky day for you

You can't always get higher
Just because you aspire
You could expire even knowing.
Don't push the hands
Just hang on to the band
You can dance while your knowledge is growing

(It could happen anytime)
You can't expect to never cry
(Patience is priceless)
Not when you try to fly so high
(Just stay on that line)
Rock and roll will never die
(This is no social crisis)

Another tricky day
Another gently nagging pain
What the papers say
Just seems to bring down heavier rain
The world seems in a spiral
Life seems such a worthless title
But break out and start a fire y'all
It's all here on the vinyl
(No crisis)

Repeat verse 1.

(Just gotta get used to it)
Gotta get used to waiting
(Just gotta get used to it)
You know how the ice is
(Just gotta get used to it)
It's thin where you're skating
(This is no social crisis)

Just another tricky day for you fellah

Friday, October 4, 2013

Entering Ideology - Will You Be My Mirror Frame?

paraphrasing: "Art has been reduced to a purely functional notion, ie- representing the function of beauty rather than exercising it"
- Zizek, "The Fragile Absolute"
The Lady of courtly love is an interesting concept, because she is not in any way defined by her own character. The Lady is, at a surface level, a woman that exists only as a wholly idealized version of what a man wants; however, at a deeper level, she is something a man avoids attaining because if he does, his Ideal will be shattered (Žižek 2407-2408, 2414). First, it is important to understand how the idealization of a woman works, as it is sort of a window to the rest of courtly love. Lacan said of her: “The Lady is never characterized for her real, concrete virtues, for her wisdom, her prudence, or even her competence. If she is described as wise, it is only because she embodies an immaterial wisdom or because she represents its functions more than she exercises them” (Lacan qtd. in Žižek 2407). According to Lacan’s idea of the mirror stage, the Lady is, for no real reason at all, a fantasy ideal, the “I” that the young child found in the mirror. The Lady is a representational object, something that man finds to have meaning simply because he desires it to be so: the Lady, “deprived of every real substance,... functions as a mirror on to which the subject projects his narcissistic ideal” (Žižek 2408). The Lady, is, then, one of the “phantasies” that is “manufacture[d]” by the mirror stage (Lacan 166).
- Caitlin Matwijec, "High Society Love, or Woman as Nothing"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Need Some Good Hollywood Bad Guys...Just Re-Brand Them as Republicans!

...for they are never the fungus among us.

Perhaps THAT is the root of "Communist/ Socialist" ideological filter. The herd uber alles. But only "one" herd... so we can love them "ALL" (which means there will always one whom we HATE! For the "Kulak" (aka "Republican") is "Great Enemy of the People".)
...just more proof that Hollywood has run out of "good" bad guys.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ideological Fueled Fantasies

The only 'good' bad guy, is the bad guy who can keep the flaws in your ideology from materializing and exposing its' falsity...