Yesterday I forgot to ask about the game of four-corners that Zizek suggests one can make out of certain distinctions Heidegger makes. UniSing, you love the square – maybe you could draw one up and post it here? If you don’t know the section I’m talking about, I’ll give you the page reference later (I’m not at home).

On another note, I thought of a reading idea for either the newly formed Lacanian reading group or for us after we finish The Tick. It pertains to the short discussion we had on symptoms just before The Thing had to leave. While there is no ‘beyond’, where the unconscious is fully external an in the world in the form of our actions, there is nonetheless something odd attached to it all . I referred to Freud’s “Repetition and working through” and the idea that intellectualizing or being able to speak about the ‘cuase’ of your symptom was not enough to bring about the end of analysis. This morning I remembered that in that same paper he refers to something that he feels is fundamental, but that he can’t get go into because its too controversial and involved to include in the paper he’s writing. There is a reference at that point, however, to the “rat dude”.

What we find in the rat-man study is an elaboration of ‘constructions of analysis’, something that must be logically supposed to happen, but will never be remembered by the subject in question. It seems to me that this is akin to Lacan’s (Zizek’s) ‘fundamental fantasy’.

So…

I thought a one or two week reading list on this topic might look like this:

  1. “A child is being beaten” (Freud)
  2. “Constructions of Analysis” (Freud)
  3. Selections from the Rat Man case study
  4. “Lacan’s Myths” (Dorian Leader in the Cambridge Companion to Lacan)
  5. Sections of SOI where Z talks about Benjamin’s Gonads (er… Monad)

The obvious gap being that I’m not sure what Lacan we would read. I think there’s a seminar on Fantasy, but is it in English, and which sections of it would we read (rather than doing the whole thing?)

G

I am reading “Embracing the Paradox: Zizek’s Illogical Logic” by Shelia Kunkle (IZJS, V2#4) and it’s driving me nuts. She ape’s Zizek’s style too closely, using movies to talk about what she aims to talk about. I admit that she makes some good observations about some of these, but it none the less is driving me to the docks. It is the right thing (Zizek’s ‘method’/style) in the wrong place (someone else’s paper). There’s just something pathetic about seeing someone so closely identify with the philosophy of another.

I was reading little sections of the Interpretation of Dreams last night, and there’s a section (Chapter 4 “On Distortion in Dreams”) on identification where Freud writes that a whole room of hysterics will take on the same symptom because they unconsciously realize that they can enjoy their own hidden wishes by means of the same symptom. The same seems to be the case of intellectuals: they know they can avoid the same problems as does their master by taking on their personal ticks, their ‘contingent’, particular methods of approaching problems. In this case, it’s the problem of the concreteness of Zizek’s examples. The problem is still here (in Kunkle’s paper) couched in terms of the Hegelian concrete, which is not the same as that of Marx – She fully accepts Zizek’s frame of reference.

One observation that she makes, (and outside these sorts of examples, incidentally – see page 3) is that when one gets to the other side of the parallax view it is not only one’s subjective position that changes, but also the object with which that subject is engaged. So, SB’s comment that “nothing substantial changes” in formal conversion does not mean that only the subjective position changes, as I took it to mean. It means that the object, which has no essence but is only surface, also changes. This completely erases the difference I perceived between our perspectives.

In the case of Andrea Yates, the formal conversion could have ended in the realization that it was not her mothering that was the problem but the form of mothering: if she realized that she enjoyed the particular family formation she could have also come to realize that it was a particular formation, she could have come to see what processes made it what it was, that it was not the closed, reified, object that she took it to be. She could have seen it differently and approached it differently.