And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Monday, May 30, 2022

Symbolic Desire/Disgust

Slavoj Žižek, "The object-cause that drives desire (objet a) and the abject that clouds desire"
Could the abject be close to Lacan's little object a [objet petit a]? The little object a, which is the 'indivisible remainder' of the process of symbolic representation, functions as the ever-already lost object-cause of desire and, by its overflowing nature, plays an intrinsic role in the symbolic process, the untouchable ghostly embodiment of the deficiency that motivates the desire sustained by the (symbolic) Law.

Unlike the object a, which serves as the constituent blind spot or stain within the order of meaning, the abomination is "radically excluded from the realm of symbolic community and draws me to the place where meaning will collapse": "In my disgust the following element that exists in the pre-object ancient relation is preserved: the ancient violence that separates one body from another body so that it may exist." In other words, the experience of abjection is the precursor to great distinctions such as culture-nature, internal-external, conscious-unconscious, repression-repressed – what is meant by my disgust is not immersion in nature (Mother Nature), but rather a process of violent differentiation, a "disappearing intermediary" between nature and culture, the "formation of culture" that disappears as soon as the subject begins to reside in culture.

Ugliness "is the one who disrupts identity, the system, the order. It is one that does not respect borders, positions, rules", but not in the sense of undermining all cultural divisions by the flow of nature; disgust brings to the surface the "fragility of the law," including the laws of nature, which is why when a culture tries to stabilize, it refers to the laws of nature (regular rhythms: day and night, the regular movement of the stars and the sun, etc.). Encountering disgust is frightening, but this fear has no specific object (such as snakes, spiders, heights), but rather a much more fundamental fear of the collapse of the separation between us and external reality: it is not that the open wound or the dead body frightens us, but that it blurs its internal-external boundary.

The conceptual matrix underlying the notion of disgust is the idea of a dangerous ground: The area that disgust points to is the source of our vitality—we draw our energy from it, but we need to keep it at an appropriate/correct distance. If we exclude it, we lose our vitality, but if we come too close, we are swallowed up in the self-destructive vortex of madness – which is why my disgust does not step outside the Symbolic, but plays with it from the inside: "Disgust is perverse because it neither abandons nor assumes a prohibition, a rule, a law; it pushes them aside, it confuses and corrupts their targets; he uses them and takes advantage of them so that he can better deny them."

This disgusting/disgusting outburst may also appear in the guise of the "indivisible remainder" of Truth that resists the process of idealization/symbolization – in this context Kristeva speaks of her praise of the residual notion of pagan opponents of Western monotheism; He keeps the movement open forever by preventing the spiritual inclusion of residue creation: "The poet of the Atharva Veda exalts the remnant (uchista), which stains and regenerates, as a precondition for all forms. ' What Remains of the Sacrifice includes name, shape, and world... Both the real and the untrue are in the Flames, death and power.'" The relic here supports the notion of a cyclical universe, what makes the universe reborn. (We find traces of this logic even in Kabbalah: the evil in our universe is considered a remnant of previous universes that God destroyed after He created and was dissatisfied with the result he received – the residue is the ground for the repetition of creation.) It is easy to blame Hegel and Christian monotheism here: they tend to completely eliminate the so-called Evil residue and achieve the Good, they have adopted an exprocity that compensates all of the previous lower stages...

Kristeva's theory of disgust is limited to an attempt to find a middle ground between the symbolic order and the disgust, which she considers two extremes; it neglects the very task of examining how the symbolic order is in terms of disgust. It is not just a matter of the fact that the symbolic order is embedded in the ever-already feminine hora (Kristeva called hora Semyotic) but only the deterioration of the purity of symbolic expressions by the material influence of hora's inherent libidinal rhythms; if the symbolic order now exists, it is certain that it has removed itself from the hora by a violent act of self-differentiation or division. After all, if we are to call this self-differentiation by Kristeva's term 'disgust', then it is imperative that we distinguish between hora and disgust: Ignorance refers to the movement of withdrawal from hora, for the formation of subjectivity it is necessary to retreat from hora.

That is why we must add to Kristeva's diagnosis: the reason why the Judeo-Christian compound "unilateral calls to return to what it suppresses (rhythm, impulse, feminine, etc.)" produces fascism (such as Céline's works) is not because this call falls back from the Symbolic point, but precisely because it covers up the disgust, it covers up the "presuppression" that gives rise to the Symbolic. Such attempts do not want to suspend the Symbolic, they say "let both the (symbolic) cake stop and my stomach be fed", that is, they want to be accommodated in the Symbolic without paying the required price (this price is "precomotion", the ontological confusion of the subject, its conflict, its out-of-control, the violent separation/crack of being differentiated from the natural substance) – this ancient dream is that a universe of masculine meaning also preserves its root in the main substance of hora. To sum up: The element that is covered up in fascism (or even erased from the notebook) is not the Symbolic itself, but the crack that really separates the Symbolic. Figures such as the Jew are therefore needed: if the distinction/rift between the Symbolic and the Truth is not included in the organization of the Symbolic, if it is possible for the Symbolic to "home" the Truth, then the cause of their conflict must be a contingent external invader – and the Jews are more suited to this role than anyone else, because they have rejected paganism, which remains connected to the earth (Offering) by violently asserting the monotheistic symbolic Law...

Of course, we do not necessarily consider the field called "inner experience" to be completely off the agenda; rather, we should focus on a minimum change that the subject empties himself, which is revolutionary in the most fundamental sense. There is a profound irony in the fact that revolution is generally considered to be opposed to evolution: "revolution" actually means the circular motion of the planets. So in evolution, things change, evolve, go somewhere else, and "revolution" returns them to the same place – how, then, did "revolution" mean radical change? The meaning of knocking over an object that stands upright as in Turkish does not exist in English.] Nevertheless, there is a deep meaning in this paradox: in evolution there are changes in the same space, and in revolution this space itself has changed, so that when one returns to the same place, that place is no longer that place, but radically changed. This brings us to the notion of minimum change. The Truth, which Kristeva calls disgust, is disguised as the externality of an abyss that threatens to swallow up and tear the subject apart, so its dialectical counter-move is to focus on a minimum difference—not a gigantic degradation that ruins everything, but a minimal change, but an absolute change nonetheless, a change that leaves nothing the same, even if it doesn't really change anything. "Even if nothing happened, something definitely happened, but we didn't notice it"]

From Disparities (2016)

Turkish: Işık Barış Fidaner

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