The Most Sublime Hysteric: Hegel with Lacan
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What do we know about Hegel? What do we know about Marx? What do we know about democracy and totalitarianism? Communism and psychoanalysis? What do we know that isn't a platitude that we've heard a thousand times - or a self-satisfied certainty? Through his brilliant reading of Hegel, Slavoj Zizek - one of the most provocative and widely-read thinkers of our time - upends our traditional understanding, dynamites every cliché and undermines every conviction in order to clear the ground for new ways of answering these questions.
When Lacan described Hegel as the ‘most sublime hysteric’, he was referring to the way that the hysteric asks questions because he experiences his own desire as if it were the Other's desire. In the dialectical process, the question asked of the Other is resolved through a reflexive turn in which the question begins to function as its own answer. We had made Hegel into the theorist of abstraction and reaction, but by reading Hegel with Lacan, Zizek unveils a Hegel of the concrete and of revolution - his own, and the one to come.
This early and dazzlingly original work by Zizek offers a unique insight into the ideas which have since become hallmarks of his mature thought. It will be of great interest to anyone interested in critical theory, philosophy and contemporary social thought.
The Iliad The Odyssey horizon of understanding Hugo, Victor Hyppolite, Jean Idea absolutism of the Platonic Idea idealism absolute evolutionary German post-Kantian pre-Hegelian speculative subjective identity Absolute self-identity compulsion of and difference Hegel and non-identity of opposites self-identity self-referential difference trans-symbolic identity identity-in-itself identity-with-itself ideological anamorphosis ideological commandments ideological
conceptualized as the pure signifier, without signified, the signifier that does not designate any positive, real property, the signifier whose quintessential example is the proper noun, the tautological signifier that only references the pure Unity of the object, its being-one [être-un], the Unity that is, for its part, performatively constituted by the signifier itself. And what is this Void, if not precisely the signified of the pure signifier? I am even tempted to determine this Void, the
it would be worthwhile to describe the logic operating behind the three stages of Lacanian doctrine. There are a couple of lenses through which we could do this. For example, it is possible to demonstrate that each of these three stages corresponds to a specific determination of the end of the analytical process. (1) Symbolic realization is the accomplished historicization of the symptoms. (2) The experience of symbolic castration (“the original repression”) is the dimension that gives the
However, as Freud emphasized in several places, there is nothing unconscious about the “thought latent in the dream” in itself, it is an altogether “normal” thought that can be articulated by the syntax of ordinary language. Topologically, it belongs to the “conscious/preconscious” system. Ordinarily, the subject is conscious of it – perhaps even excessively so; it might gnaw away at him constantly. Under certain conditions, this thought can be ejected from the conscious and pulled into the
guided only by “pathological” motivations (pleasure, profit, utility, …). Quite the opposite, in fact: evil became a matter of the eternal and autonomous character of the person in question, stemming from an original, a-temporal decision. Lacan's paradoxical coupling of Kant and Sade – along with the Kantian view of evil – was illustrated, in Kant's own time, by the emergence of a whole series of literary and musical figures who embody Evil as an ethical position, from Mozart's Don Giovanni to