Thursday, October 24, 2013

No Object #7: When a Subject Objects

Zizek opines, in "For they know not what they do" (2nd ed., London: Verso, 2002), that "a signifying chain is 'subjectivized' precisely by way of its metaphoricity: what we call 'subject' is ... a name for the very gap that prevents human language from becoming a neutral tool for designation of some objective state of things... . In other words, our speech is 'subjectivized' precisely in so far as it never 'says directly what it wants to say'." That's on page 49, but he goes further with this later in a footnote on page 95 where he asserts that his hero Lacan would have it that "it is not enough to say that the subject's identity is always, constitutively, truncated, dispersed because of the intrusion of an irreducible outside" because "the 'subject' is nothing but the name for this 'mutilation,' for this impossibility of the 'substance' to realize itself fully" in us. This is in a note to a paragraph that asserts that the "'identity' of an object consists in the feature that re-marks the asemic space of its inscription" with what is always already "one trope too many" in the attempt to designate the object precisely. All that philosophy baggage is part of Zizek's careful and thorough project of reclaiming Hegel's original sense of dialectics as including the little excess by which the object is out of our grasp and how we sense ourselves really only in this subjective grasping effort. That is what makes the world, as we know it, go round. This concept opposes the most common "objectivism" and reaches toward the greater reach of The soi-disant Objectivists. This becomes more engaging when the "object" and "subject" are grasped in a politico-historical dimension, and more engaged, of course. On page 100, simply by putting the words "class struggle" in the objective position, Zizek unfolds a sharp example: "Although 'class struggle' is nowhere directly given as a positive entity, it none the less functions, in its very absence, as the point of reference enabling us to locate every social phenomenon not by relating it to class struggle as its ultimate meaning ('transcendental meaning') but by conceiving it as an(other) attempt to conceal and 'patch-up' the rift of the 'class struggle,' to efface its traces." This reading tool lets us grasp things as having that lost dimension of effacement not quite in them but without which they are not what they truly are but only what they would be seen as.

This very computer offers itself as a neutral tool accessing a common space, but as soon as "I" put "class struggle" next to it both "neutral" and "common" have to answer to class differences in access to and accent in this machine's usage.

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