"Sometimes I feel like I’m not solid. I’m hollow. There’s nothing behind my eyes. I’m a negative of a person. All I want is blackness, blackness and silence."
"When [Alcibiades] was past his childhood, he went once to a grammar school, and asked the master for one of Homer’s books, and he making answer that he had nothing of Homer’s, Alcibiades gave him a blow with his fist and went away."
"Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure."
"What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music. And people flock around the poet and say: ‘Sing again soon’ - that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful."
A 'Bad Writer' Bites Back →
In the last few years, a small, culturally conservative academic journal has gained public attention by showcasing difficult sentences written by intellectuals in the academy. The journal, Philosophy and Literature, has offered itself as the arbiter of good prose and accused some of us of bad writing by awarding us ”prizes.” (I’m still waiting for my check!) <p> The targets, however, have been restricted to scholars on the left whose work focuses on topics like sexuality, race, nationalism and the workings of capitalism — a point the news media ignored. Still, the whole exercise hints at a serious question about the relation of language and politics: why are some of the most trenchant social criticisms often expressed through difficult and demanding language? <p>
"The accused then responds that ‘if what he says could be said in terms of ordinary language he would probably have done so in the first place.’ Understanding what the critical intellectual has to say, Marcuse goes on, ‘presupposes the collapse and invalidation of precisely that universe of discourse and behavior into which you want to translate it.‘“judith
"The Divine Comedy of punishment means we can retain the basic right to collapse in fits of laughter in the face of a dazzling array of perverse inventions, cynical discourses and meticulous horrors. A whole chain of phenomena, from anti-masturbation machines for children to the mechanics of prison for adults, sets off an unexpected laughter which shame, suffering or death cannot silence … [Jules] Valles has already contrasted the revolutionaries’ unique sense of gaiety in horror with the horrible gaiety of the torturer. Provided the hatred is strong enough something can be salvaged, a great joy which is not the ambivalent joy of hatred, but the joy of wanting to destroy whatever mutilates life."
"To recapitulate: Kantian Self-Consciousness is already minimally mediated/reflected: when I desire X, I can never say “I’m just like that, I can’t help desiring X, it’s part of my nature,” since I always desire to desire X, that is, I reflectively accept my desire for X—all reasons which motivate me to act or exert their causal power only insofar as I “posit” or accept them as reasons….Unexpectedly, this already brings us close to the psychoanalytic problematic; that is to say, one would think that “implicit reflexivity” is limited to conscious activity and is, as such, precisely that which our unconscious acts lack—when I act unconsciously, I act as if I am following a blind compulsion, as if I am submitted to a pseudo-natural causality. According to Lacan, however, “implicit reflexivity” is not only “also” discernible in the unconscious, it is precisely that which, at its most radical, is the unconscious. Take the typical attitude of a hysterical subject who complains how he is exploited, manipulated, victimized by others, reduced to an object of exchange—Lacan’s answer to this is that this subjective position of a passive victim of circumstances is never simply imposed on the subject from the outside, but has to be at least minimally endorsed by him. The subject, of course, is not aware of his active participation in his own victimization—this, precisely, is the “unconscious” truth of the subject’s conscious experience of being a mere passive victim of circumstances. We can now see the precise psychoanalytic context of Lacan’s apparently nonsensical thesis according to which the Cartesian cogito (or, rather, Kantian Self-Consciousness) is the very subject of the unconscious: for Lacan, the “subject of the unconscious,” the subject to be attributed to the Freudian Unconscious, is precisely this empty point of self-relating, not a subject bursting with a wealth of libidinal forces and fantasies."
Parallax View, pg.245-246.
"It is significant how, in his brief account of the evolutionary emergence of self-consciousness, Dennett basically relies on G.H. Mead’s famous account on how Self emerges from social interaction (from acts of imagining how I appear to another subject, and from “internalizing” the other’s view: in my “conscience,” I perform imaginatively, in “silent inner speech,” the possible reproaches that others may voice against my acts, and so on). Here, however, we should again invoke the difference between subject and person: Dieter Henrich was quite justified in pointing out how this dialectic of self-reflection as internalized social interaction can account only for my Self or “personhood”, for the features which constitute my “self-image” (my imaginary and/or symbolic identifications), not for the emergence of the subject itself qua $[S-bar]."
Parallax View pg.245
"The ‘a’ in question stands for ‘autre’ (other), the concept having been developed out of the Freudian ‘object’ and Lacan’s own exploitation of ‘otherness’. The ‘petit a’ (small ‘a’) differentiates the object from (while relating it to) the ‘Autre’ or ‘grand Autre’ (the capitalized ‘Other’). However, Lacan refuses to comment on either term here, leaving the reader to develop an appreciation of the concepts in the course of their use. Furthermore, Lacan insists that ‘objet petit a’ should remain untranslated, this acquiring, as it were, the status of an algebraic sign."
The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, Translators Note (Alan Sheridan)
#objet petit a
"“How are the Lacanian categories of the ‘symbolic’ and the ‘imaginary’ related to formal game theory? First of all, it may be noted that in game theory the very rationality of the players implies that they must put themselves in each other’s shoes so as to examine the situation from the adversary’s viewpoint. In so doing, each player perceives that the other has done the same in regard to him. The result is a play of mirrors, a specularity that is potentially infinite.” [Dupuy, 1989
Dupuy introduces in this text a series of games in which the solution requires not only the knowledge of the individual participants, but the knowledge of what the Other knows, i.e. ‘common knowledge’. His argument is that Lacan’s category of the ‘symbolic’ is not simply a transcendental structuring the situation, but can be shown logically to arise from the play of specularity among competitors. The symbolic has the form of “I know that you know that I know…” raised to infinity. Since one cannot actually reach infinity through counting, the enumeration of these levels of knowledge does not suffice to generate common knowledge. Rather, one must posit a knowledge which is not “owned” by any of the players, but generated inductively by the very structure of the game. Once posited, one finds that this knowledge was always there…"
Yao - “Lacan and Rational Choice,” p. 160
Clero (2008:10-1) put this differently, in an otherwise disappointing paper:
In the theory of games, the protagonists do not necessarily sympathize with the others; they put themselves in the place of others only to “know” how they would behave themselves if they were in their situation. There is no transcendent situation to make them feel how the other feels and make them run across or ignore the distance that separates myself from the other. Calculations put myself in the place of the other, only fictitiously. Affects are deceptive as long as those who feel them fancy this transcendence. It is a bringing forth of signs that stands for transcendence, which cannot be realized because of the uncertainty of the signified terms.
This is pretty cool
What is your stance on abortion?
I’m pro-death; we’re all spiritual infants and we need to work together to abort each other so that we can be reborn into higher forms.
"This whole field is strewn with the dead bodies of false theories."