Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to read Lacan

From Zizek's "How to read Lacan":

"The melancholic is not primarily the subject fixated on the lost object, unable to perform the work of mourning on it; he is, rather, the subject who possesses the object, but has lost his desire for it, because the cause which made him desire this object has withdrawn, lost its efficiency. Far from accentuating to the extreme the situation of the frustrated desire, of the desire deprived of its object, melancholy stands for the presence of the object itself deprived of our desire for it - melancholy occurs when we finally get the desired object, but are disappointed at it. In this precise sense, melancholy (disappointment at all positive, empirical objects, none of which can satisfy our desire) effectively is the beginning of philosophy....

"The status of this object-cause of desire is that of an anamorphosis: a part of the picture which, when we look at the picture in a direct frontal way, appears as a meaningless stain, acquires the contours of a known object when we change our position and look at the picture from aside. Lacan's point is here even more radical: the object-cause of desire is something that, when viewed frontally, is nothing at all, just a void - it acquires the contours of something only when viewed sideways....

"This is objet a: an entity that has no substantial consistency, which is in itself 'nothing but confusion,' and which acquires a definite shape only when looked upon from a standpoint distorted by the subject's desires and fears - as such, as a mere 'shadow of what it is not,' objet a is the strange object which is nothing but the inscription of the subject itself into the field of objects, in the guise of a stain which acquires form only when part of this field is anamorphically distorted by the subject's desire."

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