Saturday, March 29, 2014

No, Object #4: Form is empiness, emptiness form.

It appears that Zizek's dozens of texts aim at a few points only, and that chief among them may be the same point the Tibetan Buddhists have written thousands of texts to make for us. It is the point of the Prajnaparamita Sutra that has been set forth so many ways, including Lou Harrison's beautiful American Gamelan Esperanto version, to say that emptiness is in the nature of things. We have gotten this so often bassackwards in our cherished Puritanical realization that stuff is empty and we should sublimely get past it, just as American Buddhism likes to say in all its self-righteous ways these days.

Zizek's use of Lacan makes it clear that the Real is not something you can bump into or be hit over the head with by your roshi, not something you might rise above if you tried perfectly. It is the hard kernel of what is that is always already ungraspable, an effect of affect posed and poised where we cannot look directly at it. "It cannot be negated because it is already in itself, in its positivity, nothing but an embodiment of a pure negativity, emptiness" (The Sublime Object 170). Form, Feeling, Perception, Concept, and Consciousness are not simply hollow; they are filled with this emptiness, exactly like the Sutra says. Thus, Shariputra, these five skandhas heap up the Real, which is but does not exist.

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