Archive for the 'Lacan' Category

Semiotica Agriensis 2009

September 3, 2009

With almost 100% certainty, I’ll be at the seventh Semiotica Agriensis in Eger, Hungary. My topic tackles psychoanalysis, schizophrenia and Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted and the (rather-exploited story of) Fight Club, under the title of The elusive logic of Haunted and Fight Club: A Lacanian journey into the semiotics of Chuck Palahniuk’s fiction.


When in Fight Club, Jack realizes Tyler, being his “other”and schizophrenic self, this actualization takes place from an external position. It is an openly lacanian moment: we define ourselves from an external agency (i.e Big Other). Tyler ex-sists, being the embodiment of Jack’s repressed (and most-inner) desires. This repression requires that external (id-)entity (mind you that this play with the words is inevitable: what we repress dwells in our id-s) re-defines the subject, hence the elusive logic.

The concept of elusion develop

ed by the Scottish psychiatrist, R. D. Laing talks about an external, imagined self- position from which the subject can imagine his original self back.

Contract with the (Pervert) Other

June 22, 2009

What Žižek tells us about the anxiety of the Other in his Welcome to the Desert of the Real seems to be working in the staggering Milos Forman movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. What is this about?

In his seminar on Anxiety, Lacan designated the true aim of the masochist: it is not to provoke jouissance in the Other but to generate anxiety. That is to say, if the subject acknowledges/admits his submissive position in the game, he also wants to make the rules and precisely this rule-making act is what makes the Other anxious: just think of the “innocent” rape fantasies.

For example in the movie, Choke a woman gets her desire fulfilled by meeting up strangers telling them the script (i.e how she wants to be “raped”) in great details- she admits her submission, but it is exactly which gives her the upper hand during the “play”. The Other might find the situation hard to control, that is why, for example in this movie, Victor leaves the room, being perplexed by the exact wishes from her.

In another recet reading of mine, The Collector, we can also recognize this pattern: the castrated character Frederick willingly admits his inability to cope with his dream having come true- hence the Lacanian “curse”:  we should be aware what we wish for, it might come true.

In the Forman movie, these mechanisms of setting the rules by the lunatics shows the growing tension and anxiety within the staff, precisely because their professional reaction to subversive elements such as McMurphy only involves ECT ( abbr. for electroconvulsive therapy). The method might mute the deliquent to a braindead state, but this is exactly what impotent person does: they annihiliate the weaker to prove his potency, no matter what. This is the most-inner fear of the staff: the ECT-machine embodies their inability to cope with the ‘lunatics’. Instead of curing therapy (think of how Billy’s stuttering stopped after a night spent with a hooker), the choose a pervert method of humiliating attitude towards the inmates.

Within this heterotopia (Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Pendleton, US-OR), we can see the weakness of the medical Other: the  the able body is the image of the Other, here, are the ‘lunatics’ and ‘perverts’ different from Nurse Ratched – whose name refers to ‘wretched’?

Daniel Quinn the sinthomatic subject per se

June 1, 2009

As I was looking for some ending thoughts for my seminar paper, I stumbled upon a riveting analysis of le sinthome – my latest and absorbing issue – here. paramodern studies claims – referring to Paul Verhaeghe and Frederic Declercq that the subject is called Lacanian Neosubject if he:

“tries to come and go with the Real of the jouissance

dictated by its own drive, without falling back into the previous trap of stuffing it full of signification”


This helped establish a point in my discussion of the sinthomatic subject in the comic adaptation of Paul Auster’s “City of Glass”, apoint where further inquires can be made. Daniel Quinn, at least I believe, is the Lacanian Neosubject as he subordinates himself with his on his sinthome (i.e writing), stemmed from a trauma and unconsciously identifies himself with detective Paul Auster. The essay, entitled “Empty texts: The Lacanian (con-) textualization of the a-chiasmatic logic of the sinthomatic subject in the comic book adaptation of Paul Auster’s „City of Glass”(1994). This paper dealsi with the one-way misidentification.

sinthome..saint homme..again

May 27, 2009

There is something mysterious in le sinthome: it is an effect of the Real that haunts us from the outside. As being transferred from the Real in it symptomatic form, the effect of le sinthome is what connects the subject to his fantasy, that is we can enjoy our fantasies through the symptomatic joussaince.(more precisely, the joussaince of the symptom). Then, the symptom is thought from the fantasy.

That is, we are bound to the primacy of our sinthome (∑), as Jacques Alain Miller put it in “The Sinthome, a Mixture of Symptom and Fantasy”. So, my question is quite simple: how is it possible that an Order of such importance resists to verbalization, or description?


Sinthome 23

May 18, 2009

Sometimes I just can’t help noticing phenomena that could be mere coincidences. For instance, if a mediocre movie called Number 23 makes me realize that it is a manifestation of  a Lacanian-Joycean interpretation of le sinthome. As soon as I realized that the Baader Meinhof phenomenon is present when I talk about the movie and the sinthome (FYI it was Lacan’s 23rd Seminar, where he dealt with this Order), it suddenly struck me: isn’t it just the same proble Joyce was involved in, or what the notebooks connote for Paul Auster?

The movie may uncounsciously play with the breakdown of the external self-representing/defining mediums that constitute and guarantee the subject’s coherence. With Joyce, these mediums are veiled so psychoses was to be avoided, but the more interesting part in the movie is that they’re not hidden anymore: as our hero realizes his trauma that actually haunted him in the form of nightmares or in a certain number; so this trauma is revealed and the Symbolic veiling is shattered.

On the other hand, the character,played by Jim Carrey wants to identify himself with the main hero from the book, entitled “Number 23”, which is the opposite case as in the example of Joyce.

Visualizing Kristeva

March 8, 2009

In her text, The Speaking Subject, Kristeva analyzes the two Orders that constitutes the (speaking) subject en procés.  Her approach to visualize her two modalities (Semiotic and Symbolic) is to call Thom’s Catastrophe Theory to help. This theory is a part of the so called bifurcation theories and supposes that “all structures are the result of the interaction of two communicating spaces; spaces, however, which do not obey the same laws.”

The Semiotic – the quasi-dimension of the Lacanian Real and Imaginary- and the Symbolic are thus the constitutives of the subject and – I believe – can be visualized by the Lorenz attractors.

These are governing us together and this dynamic construction is what co-ordinates our mental “space”.

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (2007) – Getting close to the Real…

January 5, 2009

… might destroy you. The Sun is here can be the Sublime object or the representation of the Real with its inaccesible boundaries. If we talk about a piece of art that represents the Real (just like Žižek talks about the representation of the Real in Malevich’s painting Black Square), in this example of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine we can observe the Sun as an llustration of the Real. The space (not just the “the boundless regions of the infinite”) is man-proof and nobody can transgress it.29
As for Sun’s sublimity: the philosophic al notion of Sublime almost always involves one meeting Nature. The feeling, when standing on the top of a hill one takes a look around and suddenly feels terror and beauty at the same time. The Sun is a perfect example of the Sublime object: it is beautiful to look at and it is lethal.
Psychoanalysis is really skeptic about religion. According to Jürgen Braungardt:
God is an almost necessary response to the lack in the Other. God represents an (imaginary) closure for the lack. Heaven becomes a place of jouissance which is as such inaccessible for the subject. The belief in the reality of heaven reconciles the subject with the existence in an imperfect world.
There is a crew member of Icarus-1, namely captain Pinbacker, whose strong belief is that he has to stop the mission of reigniting the Sun at all cost, no matter if his mates die, because in this way he can be the last man who can meet God.sunshine
Following the logic of Braungardt; we can see that if we change the buzzword, heaven, to meeting God, we see that the situation is the same: Pinbacker is slave of his joussaince that is ahead of him, all he has to do is eliminate everyone around him.
There is a message in the movie: don’t wish too much joussaince for yourself, or you’ll end up either in madness or you’ll just die.

The Pure Horror in Analysis: S(barredA)

December 25, 2008

Lacan’s famous Graph of Desire – to be more precise, a certain part of it- tells us about a the point where language fails. No matter what our parents tell us about LIFE (pure existence, that is) and SEX (act of copulation) we won’t feel sartisfied with their explanations. We feel there is something missing. This part is when a failure is designated with the Lacanian formula of S (barredA)[S(bA) from now on] (and is marked with S (ø) in the picture)

It is a paradox situation. Why? Precisely, because the process of signification fails here- our parents are unable to utter, to linguistically formulate the essence of LIFE and SEX, so this crucial point is when a chain of signification (i.e what our parents are about to tell us) bears inadequacy to us. Paradoxically, to refer back, a signifier is what signifies the failure of signification for Lacan.

For example, if a patient comes to a session with  dream, where he fails to make a symmetrical form out of some assymetrical object; this dream can be the very association of unsettled family power relations. S(bA) is what marks this point of impossib1229292226271ility.


Introducing Lacan

December 22, 2008


Jacques Lacan is now regarded as a major psychoanalytical theorist alongside Freud and Jung, although recognition has been delayed by fierce arguments over his ideas.

The highly-illustrated book has become a guide for anyone who wants to chew on Lacan a bit. This thematized reader brilliantly introduces its readers to the notions of paranoia, foreclosure, falsifying action or Lacan’s RSI-system.


Visual Example of the 3 Lacanian Orders – UPDATED

October 29, 2008

Imaginary, Symbolic and Real. This three orders might not be easily graspable, but a visual metaphor should help. Imagine a photo,like this:

Your imaginary understanding of the picture would be that there is Salvador Dalí down there and a couple of women forming a skull-like human sculpture. Your Symbolic understanding would be to intellectually locate Dalí, and that this picture of group of women was used for the thriller/horror movie’s poster, namely The Silence of the Lambs:

on the butterfly, one can identify the picture

And the third order(Real) gives us no chance to visualize itself. Because it is what we can NOT observe, something, which is outside of our perceptual apparatus. It is on the picture, but we can NOT locate this perspective.

The Real is -though can not be represented or be integrated into the Symbolic, we might have a chance to illustrate the connection between the Symbollic and the Real. As Žižek points out, the interwining position of the two is represented by Malevich’s painting Black Square. The painting represents the kernel of the Real (white field), the center of which there is the black square – the sinthome– around which cohere the other three orders.