Discourse of the Analyst

June 8, 2008

Okay, apologies for not keeping up, but I just hit a road bump that shook me enough that I have to share it immediately:

“The Analyst’s discourse stands for the emergence of revolutionary-emancipatory subjectivity that resolves the split into university and hysteria: in it, the revolutionary agent (a) addresses the subject from the position of knowledge which occupies the place of truth (that is, which intervenes at the ‘symptomal torsion’ of the subject’s constellation), and the goal is to isolate, get rid of, the Master-Signifier which structured the subject’s (ideologico-political) unconscious.” (Parallax 298)

This strikes me as quite different form the goal of producing new master signifiers, no?  Less like getting the bondsman to produce enjoyment, more like stealing his enjoyment away from him.  Analyst as the one who steals away your subjective consistency, rather than helping you find it.


5 Responses to “Discourse of the Analyst”

  1. battleofthegiants said

    I think I read this section last night: Part of this is Z riffing on Miller, who proposes that today the analyst’s discourse is broken apart, that we’re in a perverse situation but not a perverse discourse… and only the analyst can help bring the ‘atomized’ discourse together…

    I think that in this section Z also brings up what seems to be a contradiction: i.e. the university discourse is that of today; and then he says the perverse discourse is. (He references Lacans’ XXth seminar as proof of this, but I looked at the reference and … it’s not there! So, he’s wither making it up or has misreferenced it…).

    The only way I can see this not being a contradiciton is if the Uni discourse is that of captialism on one level, but on the unconscious level, (i.e. the structure of our unconscious under capitalism/the uni discourse) we are in the pervert’s discourse (there is some evidence for this reading a few pages on… I’ll have to look for the references later…)

    As for the goal of getting rid of the MS “which structured the subject’s (ideologico-political) unconscious”, my guess here is that you have to make new ones in place of the old ones. He says in there somewhere that democracy is the current MS. The trick of analysis is to draw attention to one’s symptoms and turn then into “S1” in place of the current S1 so that they don’t appear as arbirtrary meaningless things, but the elements that make sense of the rest of our doings…

    Where Z goes, of course, is to Peter Hallward and the creation of ‘axioms’ as S1 that are not to be worked towards, but posited and acted upon as it they were already in existence. In place of democracy, you put “freedom”… (I think that’s the one he picks…)

    So, I think Z is saying that while we are ‘post-oedipal’ (we are against the limit as such, and no longer shielded by the “unworkable myth”[Lacan] of Oedipus) there is still a coherent symbolic order organized around ‘democracy’ as the MS. This order prevents us from discussing the end of capital as a possibility. To counteract this, we need not re-instate Oedipus and the Law (as he says “conservative analysts” are proposing), but move closer towards ‘freedom’ and a space beyond the division between law and its underbelly of enjoyment (the right to ‘not-enjoy’). The end of the chapter points to the economy (against Badiou) as the space where this can occur…

    There’s a lot there that’s probably not helpful (or new) but maybe it helps a little?

  2. sonnyburnett said

    Speaking of road bumps, I’m reading Z’s ON BELIEF & there are some parts that say the exact opposite of what I expect (and KNOW!) Z has said before. Good lordie. (I’m hoping it’s only b/c I haven’t picked up any book in over a month. But the upshot is I’m strong as an ox from moving boxes & furniture bet 4 houses. Anyone need a day-laborer? I’ll give you my discount rate.

    My thoughts on your S1 in the A-discourse. I’ve always learned that that lower righthand position is labelled ‘Production/Loss’. I think I got that in “Does the woman exist” by Verhaeghe. That always fit in real nice in my mind with Z’s Hegelian ‘the object only comes to be thru its loss’.

    Z’s Indivisible comes to mind here too; he contrasts S1 and objet a as conceiving them both as the Act, with S1 the Act in the state of Being, while the latter is the Act in the state of Becoming.

    And in On Belief, he’s going to some length to show that the Act is impossible. But still, the impossible does happen.

    Ok, I’m mangled myself here, lost my thread a bit, only have a few more mins on this computer. I think I’m trying to say something simple. That in the A discourse, the analysand produces these S1s in anaylsis with the eventual aim of getting him to realize that they are ONLY ever produced thru their loss. Very Hegelian.

    Then you can stand up like Z (or Baudrillard once did in an interview) & ask THE fundamental question: Why is there Nothing rather than Something? Z in a youtube video I saw looks to the camera, then out into his world & says “I see Nothing. I mean Nothing at all. Really.” Wacky, but how else to explain that he’s got hold of a relation to this idea that things only come thru their own failure to be what they are? That could only come thru analysis. Or madness?

  3. sonnyburnett said

    Indivisible p. 147 Always had a bit of trouble reading that…. is the S1 Being & objet a Becoming, like I wrote above? If anyone could confirm, I’d be mighty obliged.


  4. battleofthegiants said

    I haven’t read this book, but the paragraph you point out to me rings of parallax. I.e. “The master signifier is the act itself, perceived only from within”. That is, from the ‘horizon of meaning’ you see the thing that guarantees all meaning, while from another perspective (‘looking awry’) you’re able to perceive it as the embodiment of a lack, as the Real…

    That’s my guess.

    Somewhere in the fourth or fifth chapter of _The Ticklish Subject_ he writes that there are ‘acts’ possible at the level of R, S, and Imaginary, but that it is the symbolic act that creates change… not sure what to do with that, but it might be worth looking up…

    The Heidegger stuff makes it a tiny bit clearer for me: In his “work of art” essay, he describes how big ‘B’ Being makes a ‘world’ that is tightly tied to the ‘earth’. This big ‘B’ Being (ontology) makes little ‘b’ beings (things – the ontic) exist as such, but the big “B” disappears as it arrives. Heidegger argues that that is the reason why it’s so hard to think “Being” (ontology) – it hides itself. It seems to me that “world” is the equivalent of “symbolic” (and Z seems to use it that way in Parallax, with reference to both Heidegger and Badiou) and “earth” with “Real”. So, Being ‘becomes’ and then erases itself, but still stands as the basis for the “world”, the horizon of meaning…

    So, where the S1 is tied to the ‘a’, it’s a matter of ‘parallax shift’ in experiencing it. When the ‘a’ erupts, a new symbolic order with a new S1 must be created, or one is left without a ‘world’…

    Where Z says capitalism is world-less, he’s also arguing that we’re up against the limit of our enjoyment. I.e. There’s no more Oedipus to protect us, so all we have is enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! And the trick isn’t to reinstate Oedipus, but a new S1 and an open ‘a’, an ‘a’ that isn’t filled with an object that lets us think things are complete…

    I’m thinking that’s probably not much help because what I’ve written doesn’t make it any clearer for me.


  5. sonnyburnett said

    If it was perfectly clear, it certainly wouldn’t be any help. Gotta be a bit confused to get up to working at a solution. Your reference to Heidegger interests me. I’m looking right now at what I’m guessing are some of his ancient Gk influences, which must have been influencial to Z as well since his original work was on Heidegger.

    I’ll have to take a look at ‘the Tick’.

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