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subrosa wrote


I can enjoy the absolute francophilia in this

object vs subject is a dead conversation, but maybe I just don't appreciate Lacan enough, idk


wednesday OP wrote (edited )

i found it relevant to a lot of anarcho-nihilist ideas (which is why i posted it, i doubt many people here are interested in Lacan for his own sake!) although i don't think the author is either a nihilist nor an anarchist.

edit: also in connection with Edelman and his anti-futurism which draws a lot on Lacan and is related to nihilism.


subrosa wrote

I know zero about Lacan, except for a handful of tidbits from that Machinic Unconscious podcast. Wondering what you get out of it. Guess I'm more Freudian than I would like to admit.


wednesday OP wrote

Wondering what you get out of it

i only started reading about Lacan because i wanted to understand Edelman better (and i only started reading Edelman because i wanted to understand baedan better), but while the psychoanalysis aspect seems pretty useless, his general ideas of the imaginary, symbolic and real seems quite useful, and some of his other ideas (like the Thing, and jouissance) are basically anarchist; or at least they reflect the way i approach anarchism these days (... which is strongly influenced by people like Edelman and baedan).

so i suppose what i get out of it is a framework to knit together various ideas that have been floating around in my head but couldn't really attach to each other in a meaningful way that could be understood.


wednesday OP wrote

The Thing is therefore an object of transgression, which is observable in behaviours that begin as seeking jouissance, and end in self-destruction. The Thing may be thought of as the object of the death drive: those who seek oblivion in heroin or people who strangle themselves in the name of sexual excitement may be acting out their search for the Thing. The search for the Thing exists in tension with the pursuit of the Phallus, and of the objet petit a; this dynamic of tensions set up between the different objects can be seen as the sum of the forces of creativity. (ibid.)


fortmis wrote (edited )

anytime I hear mention of the death drive I yell SABINA SPIELREIN


SPAC3MAN wrote

Could someone help me out with a clarification on this quote? I'm ashamed to say I found it somewhat opaque.


wednesday OP wrote

Lacan divided the psyche into three parts (conceptually, not physically): the Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary.

the imaginary is basically the realm of sense perception; it's what we directly perceive in an abstract sense (but not the realm of understanding what we perceive).

the Symbolic is the realm of signifiers, which are just ‘things that mean something’, so for example the English word ‘forest’ is a signifier for the concept of a forest as we understand it (but not a signifier for an actual forest, because ‘concept of a forest’ is not the same as the physical object forest).

the Real is the realm of ‘raw feeling’; it does not have any form or substance itself, but is “what is expelled when a signifier becomes attached to some morsel of reality: it is the bit that the signifier fails to capture”.

Lacan believed that by learning to access the Symbolic (which happens during early childhood), we are able to process concepts in a concrete sense, and this forms the basis of the Subject, which is more or less our ‘Self’ (not the way we see ourselves, as in the ego, but the more fundamental idea of understanding ourselves as something that exists; it could be called our ‘identity’ but that's not entirely accurate either).

essentially, we exist as people because we are able to construct our Subject by regulating the Real into the Symbolic, and if we were not able to do that for some reason, we would not exist.

“Because the Subject is brought into being by signifiers” is referring to this idea.

the ‘Thing’ is some sort of fundamental thing that we desire. we don't know what the Thing is, we only know that we don't have it and we desire it, so the Thing is defined entirely by its lack. the Thing is ‘unsymbolisable’; it cannot be signified (named) and so it cannot exist in the Symbolic order from which we construct our Subject. the desire to find the Thing is called jouissance.

jouissance is fundamentally self-destructive (and associated with the death drive) because if we ever actually found the Thing, we would have had to go outside out of our Subject and into the Real to find it; since we cannot exist in the Real (which is why we construct the Symbolic) doing that would cause us to no longer exist as people—to be annihilated.

the reason i posted this quote is because i find it a neat summary of the nature of anarchist nihilism. anarchist nihilism is defined by its refusal of ordinary ‘pleasure’ or simple survival in favour of directly embracing jouissance, the search for something we can never have. this might appear superficially suicidal (because who would want to not exist?) but nihilism posits that jouissance can be an end in itself—especially when things seem so bleak that no other paths seem open to us other than one of literal suicide.

(to be clear, jouissance is not suicide, at least in the way that anarchist nihilism understands it.)

i think the foundational text here is Blessed is the Flame, but i personally found it difficult to understand exactly what it meant by jouissance without this additional context.