The Aesthetic Contingency Of Life – Narrating The Finite In A Time Of Images, Part 2 (Isabella Guanzini)

Below is a continuation of a series of articles corresponding to chapters of the book Preis der Sterblichkeit: Christentum und Neuer Humanismus (Freiburg im Bresgau: Verlag Herder, 2015), edited by Kurt Appel, translated by Rachel Thomas.  English editor, Carl Raschke.  This volume of essays represents one of the major works in the new Catholic “cultural humanism” from Central Europe. 

The following is the second installment an article, for which the first can be found here.

The instance of the Great Other indicates that there is a structural asymmetry in the human world that prevents a mere repetition of the same thing. What is needed is a positioning of the subject in relation to the other, or in relation to the language, inscribing the subject itself in a tripartite relation and the paralyzing fixations of the imaginary. In other words, speech replaces the mirror relations:

In order for a relationship to have its symbolic value, there must be mediation by a third person who realizes the transcendental element to the subject, thanks to which its relation to the object can be entertained at a certain distance.[1]

Human life is humanized through the intrusion of the father’s function, which implies the demand to be recognized by the Other. The helplessness of the subject is found in the law of the word, namely,  in the place of the symbolic, the possibility of becoming humanized. Every demand for the self-sufficiency of the ego shows its constitutive inadequacy against this background. Already in Freud the function of the father disrupts the incestuous desire. As Freud points out in Totem and Taboo, an initial loss of limitless enjoyment (the killing of the forefather, the father of the horde, who wants to own all women) is the condition for a humanization of life and the possibility of desire (of the other).

The humanizing power of fatherhood is also of fundamental importance in the Bible. Lacan’s epigrammatic and enigmatic allusions to religion are scattered throughout his work. His concept of the “name of the father” and the epistemological triad of real, symbolic and imaginary, which is reminiscent of the Trinity, clearly refer to fundamental motifs of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

This raises the question of the connection between the Jewish-Christian frame of reference and the father metaphor, or between the Lacanian version and the Jewish-Christian version of the father. It could even be said that the “name-of-the-father” notion is itself biblical, insofar as the relationship with the father establishes all other possible relationships and the dimension of subjectivity includes the possibility of accepting oneself as a son. Enjoyment is fundamentally characterized by the fact that it knows no moderation and no delay, because the drive to enjoy is constituted by having everything, to be everything, and to know everything. It is the denial of human experience of the limit and transcendence.

The symbol of the tree of knowledge points to the need for a postponement, as Appel writes, that is, an indeterminacy that opens up a space unreachable to human beings, “outside” order (or rather, beyond a dichotomy outside time itself.”[2] The tree of knowledge is therefore not to be interpreted simply as part of the negative register of the prohibition not to eat, but rather as a representation of the positive of the gift of desire. The name of the Father functions as a signifier within human language of the experience of the impossible. Biblically one could also call it the “seventh day.”[3]

Within that signifier lies the abandonment of immediate, sensual and total enjoyment, an enjoyment that is “enjoyed” without scissions or openings, in order that we may arrive at an understanding of language as the very condition for the possibility of desire. For Lacan, the “law of castration” is not simply the limitation of enjoyment, the prohibition of the incestuous drive, the interruption of symbiotic and destructive promptings. It is, on the contrary, the very gift of language allied with desire. It means that when we enter the field of language, we lose direct contact with our instinctual body.

If we are subjected to the great Other, then we seek our direct access to our own corporeality and can only have indirect access to it through language. The act of inscribing the word, as the Lacanian psychoanalyst Charles Melman states, implies that desiring is organized on the basis of the absence of the object. Language lifts the “thing” at a distance, as a lack, as loss of the thing that is to be enjoyned, which places every object within the shadow of disappointment.

Lacan presents the abstract subject “before language” with an S and considers it pathological. After the subject has accession to language (in the symbolic order), Lacan assigns to the subject the sign $ (“split subject” or “locked subject”). What is blocked or divided or divided here is the subject of enjoyment, of the body, which stands in opposition to the symbolic order. The “Real of Enjoyment”, namely, the one (and not the other) as the center of the dimension of an instinctual, self-generated body, which does not need the other, is to be castrated, so that the subject can enter the symbolic order.

The beginning of the symbolic implies the dissolution of the thing, even if the symbolic order can not extinguish the whole thing. Due to the impossibility of complete annihilation, the great Other, as the last instance of this order, harbors a remnant of inconsistency. In other words, it is structured around a defect, which is the lack of enjoyment. There is always something left over that the symbolic order cannot grasp. This remainder is generated by the language, but represents something that the language can not symbolize.

Lacan calls this remainder, this surplus of the symbolic operation object petit a, or “small a”. This indicates that the symbolic order can not capture the whole of the real in its web. The subject’s desire revolves around the object, because it is precisely that which sets desire in motion, not as a material cause, but as a causative emptiness, a split in the subject, which is the entry into language produced. Like the “seventh day”, the object is small a “that addition, that opening space, that leap and that withdrawing transcendence which, insofar as it can not be reproduced, can not conclude an individual science”[4].

One could say in Appel’s conclusion that imaginary desire, that is, namely,  the desire of objects and the search for one’s own satisfaction, which seems to be reproducible and belongs to the first six days. The seventh day as the “object-ground” of desire escapes objectifiability and thus creates the space for the subjectification of human beings and for the living, which without this addition could lead to mere zombie existences as machines, as living dead.”[5] This addition is at the same time a lack of enjoyment and an excess in desire.

The law of castration as an effect of language introduces this unimaginable dimension into life. For Lacan, is not merely a threat to emasculation, but a symbolic interdict that simultaneously represents and effects the introduction of the subject into the experience of the limit and the impossible. The law of the Father introduces the impossible and thus corresponds to the traumatic but also the healing power of the law.

It is traumatic in so far as it deprives us of the object of enjoyment, but at the same time it is wholesome, because the existence of the law has the purpose of making desire possible. In this sense, the experience of the impossible first enables the possibility of desire. Lacan’s designation of the father metaphor with the name of the father clearly addresses the issue of prohibition and the law through the French homonymy of the nom / non. The father is the substitute, the mediator of the law, and in this function enables the child to be separated from the mother and thus the subject composition.

In Subversion of the Subject and Dialectics of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious (1960), Lacan writes that the Father can reconcile the law and desire with each other, although this only happens in an unsatisfactory way because the will to enjoy this pact of Law and desire impeded. Lacan even speaks of a “kind of cocoon formality between them”[6] and thinks that no one understood better than Saint Paul the dialectic between desire and law[7].

As Paul has already noted, law and desire arise essentially simultaneously (Rom. 7: 7), although this origin is to be understood beyond any literal interpretation of the law. This means that it is necessary to avoid the trap of a law that nourishes its own transgression in order to assert itself exactly as a law. It means that it is necessary to avoid the trap of a law that nourishes its own transgression in order to assert itself precisely as a law. When the law separates from desire (and thus perverts it), it becomes either the bureaucratic law of society or the family and the small order without desire, or the deadly and inhuman law of the concentration camp.

Therefore, according to Lacan, it is necessary to transcend the idea of a superego law as the humiliation of desire and as the victim of desire. It is an inhuman and succinct law that generates resentment and aggressiveness. In the scene of the meeting of Jesus and the adulteress (Joh 7,53 – 8,11), this literal automatism of the law comes into play as an example. While the scribes want to stone the woman in the name of the law of Moses,  Jesus puts the situation on another level, namely forgiveness and love. “And when they heard this, they went out one by one, beginning with the elders” (John 8: 9). The superego is indeed not a heir of the law, but its usurper unable to speak a saving word. He knows only one judgmental and deadly word that transforms us into living dead. As Paul writes, “For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3: 6). In a similar way, Lacan claims:

We have to explore what human beings have been able to work out in the course of time to transgress this law, which places it in relation to the desire that overcomes this prohibition band and introduces eroticism beyond morality.[8]

In the same vein, Slavoj Žižek asks whether in a Pauline perspective it would not be possible to think “love within the limits of the law, love as a struggle against the excess of sin that generates the law”.[9] According to Paul, love is not merely a transgression or annulment of the law, but rather its abrogation, in which alone the law can find its fulfillment[10]. In fact, a desire encounters an opposite risk when it breaks the law. When desire emancipates itself from the law, when it breaks away from castration, it becomes jouissance mortelle,  namely, the will to enjoy until death.

Here, in fact, the dimension of love opens up, which is the only real possibility for Lacan, as he writes in Seminar XX[11], of reconciling life as enjoyment and life as desire.

The Father of the Covenant and the Master of Power

This alliance of desire and law, desire and word is at present threatened, inasmuch as the desire to enjoy, namely, to desire without castration, without limit, without word. What is needed is the biblical father of the covenant, who makes possible the humanization of life. Opposite him stands the Father of Power, the Father of the Federation, the forefather of the Freudian Totem and Taboo. The Father as a figure of sublimation can be understood as the answer of Lacan to the Father as leader, as Duce – whom the masses worship.

Lacan sees the return of the totemic father and the longing for his absolute protection without fail in close relationship with the social downfall and the epochal evaporation of the father. The great totalitarian ideologies are, according to Lacan, an attempt to nostalgically reclaim a more archaic matrix. They represent a perverted form of the mother as a metaphysical illusion of universal harmony. The father-leader appears at the same time as a dramatic compensation for the impotence of the father[12]. This destiny of the Father can be found in The Seminar. Book III (1955-1956). The Psychoses, which deals with the treatment of psychoses and contains important considerations of Lacan’s father’s function[13].

Lacan’s psychoanalysis, as we have seen, is not free from theological undertones. This is also shown by the fact that psychosis develops its own form of theology, which can be grasped in parallel with Christian theology. In contrast to the biblical figure of the Father as word and covenant, Lacan shows that in the psychotic subject, a theological delirium unfolds, in which the other is the place of subjugation and abuse between an excessive presence and oscillates an unmotivated withdrawal. This degradation of the symbolic covenant to arbitrary power means for Lacan the negation of the possibility of a humanization of life through the generation of subjective desire. 

The “Schreber Case”, which is a classic of psychoanalysis and stands in the middle of this Lacanian seminar, represents nothing but the embodiment of the lack of symbolism, namely, the rejection of the father’s function. In his book Memoirs of a Nervous Man, a Complex and Comprehensive Report on His Paranoia and Delusions, analyzed by Carl G. Jung, Sigmund Freud, Elias Canetti, William G. Netherland, and Jacques Lacan. Dr. Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911), President of the Senate at the Dresden Higher Regional Court:

The concept of morality exists only within the world order, namely, the natural bond that God holds together with humanity; Once the world order has been broken, there remains only one question of power in which the law of the strongest decides. The morally offensive, then, in my case, lay only in the fact that God had set himself outside the world order, which was also decisive for him.[14]

While the figure of the Father in the Judeo-Christian tradition is the place of the logos, the law, and the order of the world, the Father in psychosis is the place of a fundamental disorder and a fundamental disorder – namely, the place of chaos and lack of law. The psychosis corresponds to the absence of the paternal signifier, which Lacan calls “forclusion” and in which the symbolic father function is overridden. God, for Schreber, remains indifferent to his creation, which appears completely passive. This God does not understand the human needs and only wants to enjoy his creatures. He is a radical and sadistic version of the enjoyment of the Other that guarantees no world order and does not protect his creation. Its existence is the fundamental perturbation of the universal order and its characteristic is that it always speaks:

Here he is, this God. We already know that it is the one who speaks all the time, the one who does not stop to speak, to say nothing. This is so true that Schreber devotes many pages to the recital, as the saying goes, that God who speaks, not to speak, yet speaks incessantly.[15]

The function of language is completely destroyed in psychosis, in that what speaks is not the subject, but rather the language itself. The language of the other speaks the subject, so that the subjective word is abolished by being spoken by the other. Bruce Fink writes:

According to Lacan, the psychosis results from the fact that the child does not assimilate to the “original” signifier, who would otherwise structure the symbolic universe of the child. As a result, the child is not anchored in language and without an inner compass that could orientate itself. A psychotic child can certainly assimilate the language, but it will never be in the same language as a neurotic child. Since he lacks this basic anchorage, the other signifiers are condemned to floating around.[16]

All imaginary disturbances and cataclysm of the psychotic subject are due to a dysfunction of the other, namely,  the language, in a hole in the symbolic order, in a rejection of the father signifier, whom Lacan also calls master signifier[17]. The psychotic subject has not assimilated the Lord Significant or the Name of the Father, so that the symbolic inactivity of the father function leads the life into nonsense – such as in melancholy – or allows life to be flooded with meaning and words. In this case, the subject experiences a (linguistic) paranoia.

At the same time, the comprehensive extension of the sense in which the transitive nature of things is over-determined, however, removes the sense[18].  This wavering between a meaningless life and a flood, an unlimited expansion of the meaning corresponds to the wavering of the psychotic subject. Either life does not make sense, or all nonsense dissolves[19].

Life is a question of meaning, and the father should be the one who brings life and meaning together, though this does not mean that the father should have the last word on the meaning or nonsense of life, but a word the recognition and a word of lack. The father function has the task of showing the limit of the symbolization by the reference to the dimension of the real, namely,  to something that defies the process of symbolization but is indispensably dependent on representation.

The fatherly answer can not simply protect against the burning, treacherous, and contingent encounter with nonsense. This would be the characteristic of the new rose, which is a “passion for justification” that can not endure any shortage. For Lacan, therefore, it is necessary to distinguish the speech of the Father from the speech of the Lord, because the Father is the one who can give the word and therefore the one who is able to speak and to remain silent.

The dialectic of silence and speech, of desire and law, of father function and individuation, of enjoyment and castration is overridden in psychosis. The absence of the father function leads to the destruction of any articulation of the relation between message and code, and therefore into a catastrophe of signification. The place of the Other transforms from the condition of language to a place of persecution. The singular word (parole) no longer finds its structure and its condition of possibility in language (langue), but language speaks the subject and makes it idle.[20]

Therefore, it seems necessary to consider the subject as surplus and resistance rather than passive dependence on the signifier. Without the inscription into the symbolic, the singular dissolves into an inconsistent individualism, while the universal, unrelated to the singular, evaporates into a general emptiness. We are not mere machines or fictions of the symbolic order, which, because only the language (langue) speaks, can not pronounce a word (parole).

Like the replicants in Blade Runner, who have false, programmed, and fictional memories, we can recount our memories, more subjectively, so that they can become one story. What is at stake here is the responsibility of subjects in terms of the possible variations and unfoldings of the symbolic order. The process of subjectivation is realized through the imprints and contingent inscriptions in the field of the other, which singularize the universality of the structure. Subjective life can be understood as a complex arc of this daily rewriting of a collective text, within a space of resistance and exposure, of acceptance and closure, of enthusiasm and disappointment.

The crucial question, which is both ontological and ethical and anthropological, concerns the possibility of such subjectivation. It is always an effective “resurrection” of “subject-being” within the symbolic order, as a singular, vulnerable, and contingent vocation to move with intensity and parresia within the discourse of the Other, namely, without indulging in one’s own desire[21]. The subject is always subject to the other, but it is also the constant possibility to subject this submission to one subjective. How to subjectivity to desire more subjective? Represents the guiding question.

The Ruse of Capitalist Reason

When Lacan emphasizes that the Great Other no longer exists, he also intends to say that the symbolic order, namely, the law of language is no longer able to orient life. Therefore, human enjoyment aims to go beyond boundaries and refuse the experience of the impossible. We are in the age of an “evaporation of the Father”. This announces a society without third and v. a. without the big third, which prohibits the real possibility to desire.

Massimo Recalcati and Charles Melman diagnose a tremendous transformation that has incalculable anthropological consequences[22]. They notice the direct link between a liberal, unleashed economy and a subject that is free of the past and future generations and therefore without the future and the past.

Charles Melman speaks of people without gravity, quasi-mutants who have processed, internalized, assimilated the market model and filter their relationship with reality through the paradigm of positivist scientism. Within a human landscape in which the objects of consumption multiply again and again and new possibilities of existence are constantly produced, the desire experiences a repression or even its annihilation.

For Lacan, capitalist discourse is a discourse of the dissolution of all relationships. The subject is led to establish himself in the immediate satisfaction of his objective needs, in a continuing exalted enjoyment of all attachments. Therefore, it is a discourse at the limits of discourse, from the moment in which it transcends the law of the word, to affirm the domination of the object and the enjoyment of the one as one’s own, not as difference, instead of the desire of the one to assert others.

In the present epoch, the occidental ego tends to settle in the field of the one, where everything seems to demand to be grasped and consumed, and where consumption is consumed last. It could be said that the subject even consumes nothingness by successively abstaining from anything substantial. It is emptied of history, hope and injury content and met his real nudity. Appel states, “that man faces an almost unfathomable, all-consuming emptiness (the ‘evil one’)[23].

Gilles Lipovetski has referred to our time as the “era of emptiness”[24] to designate the post-revolutionary and post-traditional, permissive and individualistic status of the postmodern era, in which an absolute presence dominates. This means that any relationship with the “eschatology of desire” and therefore with the dialectic of attraction and repulsion of the object must yield small a to the immediate consumption of the ever-available goods, within a nihilistic circularity of a river without time. 

Within this scenario, the current atmosphere feeds on what Badiou calls a “generalized desire for atonality”[25]. In this the social atomism and the emptiness of the references produce the general illusion of a self-construction of the ego without limits, orientations and prohibitions. The subject becomes the plaything of the inescapable abyss of the jouissance, namely, an expansion of the own in every possible direction. Fredric Jameson speaks of a decay of affectivity: it is not that the postmodern era is without feeling, but it fluctuates freely, impersonally, and tends to be dominated by a specific “kind of euphoria”[26], the intensity of memory and intimate temporality is lacking to focus instead on the synchrony of a present “without gravity”.

The enthusiasm of this unleashing, initially perceived as a liberating detachment from the inanimate bonds of our conditioning and the imperatives of a society of discipline, gives free rein to the process of psychologizing the mind, where relationships are fabricated without commitment, outside the fertile soil of a collective humus to stay alive. The hypermodern state of our society is characterized by an emptying of the symbolic order, ie. by emptying the figure of the Father and the Law of the Word.

Although Lacan’s entire psychoanalytic perspective is, as it were, circling around the question of the “name of the father,” Lacanian psychoanalysis by no means seeks to rehabilitate the traditional father function, but to discuss the question of the consequences of its dissolution. Lacan seeks to designate not only an epoch of liberation from the firm and despotic ideals of tradition, but also the time of chaotic drift and destabilization, in which, paradoxically, the subjects, after their release, flee into authoritarian and despotic identities and dissolve in the individual cult of the object.

The border(s) and the frictional resistance that promote the desire and vitality of the subject are pulverized. Thus, the existence that seemed capable of finally being considered liberated and emancipated becomes extremely susceptible to whisperings. A double bind between the narcissistic search for absolute and individual freedom and indirect forms of control and manipulation ultimately proves unmanageable to the subject, sliding between rushed jouissance and the absence of the law.

This leads to weakening and eroding the identity. The Italian philosopher Fulvio Carmagnola states that we are currently living in a context “where the overlook turns into blindness, into potential cynicism”[27]. We are immersed in a constant insecurity, between amazement and terror, trust and cynicism, passivity and omnipotence. Today’s subject, like Eric Packer, the protagonist of Don DeLillo’s novel Cosmopolis, feels “overly cautious, lethargic and intractable”[28].  This 28-year-old billionaire, in his limousine cramping every room and every time, represents the incarnation of finance capitalism, giving shape to a new contemporary eloquence of alphabets and numerical systems moving in a binary grammar of the new digital world.

I reach out and what do I feel? I know that you analyze a thousand things every ten minutes. Patterns, ratios, indices, whole information diagrams. I love information. It is our sweet and our light. It is a wonder around the world. And we are important to the world. People eat and sleep in the shadow of our actions. But at the same time, what?[29]

The snare of capitalist reason and its discourse is the ability to systematically exploit the constant excitement and widespread disorientation and install it as a kind of system. Spontaneity, individual expression and self-realization are today imperatives in a society of universal consumption, in which enjoyment, in a cunning and all-pervading way, replaces traditional duties and is directly subordinated to the capitalist circularity of goods.

Capitalism is thus in some ways more compromising and suppressing than the ancient commandment. Pasolini put it this way: the subjects have become consumers.[30]  In a famous lecture, held in Milan in 1972, Lacan speaks of the “discourse of the capitalist,” who further developed the “discourse of the Lord,” which emerged from a historical affirmation of capitalism[31].  The society of the market globalizes the necessity of “not remorseful consumers”, namely, consumers who do not feel shame in their enjoyment and who do not conceive limits. The capitalist discourse operates in a circularity without interruptions, as perpetuum mobile of continuous production and distribution. 

Isabella Guanzini is Professor of Fundamental Theology at the University of Graz. She is the author of Hegel e Paolo: L’amore fra Politica e Messianismo (Vita e Pensiero, 2013) and Europa mit oder ohne Religion? (Vienna University Press, 2015).

[1] J. Lacan, Name of the Father, Vienna 2006, 38.

[2]K. Appel, God – Man – Time, First Transition. From world time to celebration and death, 26.

[3]“Its purpose lies in an open transcendence of the six-day work, which prevents time being a totality that can be filled by works and is under the control of man, and that time in world time is exhausted” (ibid., 21 )

[4] Ibid, 22.

[5] Ibid.

[6] J. Lacan, Names of the Father, 84.

[7] “I think that, for a moment, some of you have at least suspected that it is not me talking anymore. In fact, with the exception of a small change-thing in the place of sin-St. Paul’s speech on the relationships of law and sin, Romans, chapter 7, paragraph 7. The relation of the law and the thing could not (Lacan, The Seminar, Book VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, Weinheim, Berlin 1996, 104).

[8] J. Lacan, The Seminar. Book VII, 104.

[9] S. Žižek, The Fragile Absolute: Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting for ?, London / New York 2000, 100

[10] With regard to the dialectics of law and love in Paul and in the young Hegel, I refer to I. Guanzini, Il giovane Hegel e Paolo. L’amore fra politica e messianismo, Milano 2013 and the like, Catarge and Annoyance: Paulinian Origins of Hegelian Dialectic ?, in: Annali di Scienze Religiose 7/2014.

[11] “A subject, as such, does not have much to do with enjoyment. But, in contrast, his sign is capable of evoking desire. There is the realm of love. The journey we will continue next will show you where love and sexual enjoyment meet. “See J. Lacan, The Seminar. Book XX. Encore (1972-1973), Weinheim / Berlin 1986, 55.

[12] See Recalcati, Jacques Lacan 145 –147, in: M. Recalcati (ed.), Forme contem- poranee del totalitarismo, Torino  2007.

[13] J. Lacan, Das Seminar. Buch III. Die Psychose, Weinheim/Berlin 1997

[14] D. P. Schreber, Memoirs of a nervous patient with supplements and an appendix on the question: “Under what conditions may an insane person be held against their declared will in a sanatorium?”, Leipzig 1903, 69.

[15] Lacan, the seminar. Book III, 151.

[16] B. Fink, Lacan’s subject. Between Language and Juissance, Berlin / Vienna 2011, 84f.

[17] The symbolic order consists of a “chain of signifiers” (chaine du signifiante), which is assigned, structured and guaranteed by the existence of a “master signifier” (name-of-father). The Lord Significant enables the subject to take a firm place in the symbolic. See E. Laquièze-Waniek, “Lord Significant”: discourse, symbolic order and change of power in Jacques Lacan, in: I. Gurschler / S. Ivády / A. Wald (ed.), Lacan 4 D. The Four Discourses in Lacan’s Seminar XVII, Vienna / Berlin 2013, 165-195.

[18] This tendency to over-interpretation, which leads the world perception to the brink of breaking, finds an explicit representation in The Fear of the goalkeeper in penalties by Peter Handke. Jacob Deibl mentioned a passage in this book to illustrate the abundance of meanings and metaphors: “Bloch, who had already observed a lightning rod at school, immediately took this repetition as an intention; it could not be coincidence that he hit a lightning rod two times in a row. ‘The transitive character of things in the world, which can never be viewed in isolation, is increased here to the limit of the collapse of a meaningfully interpretable world. The relational structure in which all things stand is overstretched, as if endlessly extended, everything is a metaphor for something else and can stand for everything else. Things and events are constantly questionable and rel- evant in their meaning, because something else must still be found behind them. “(J. Deibl, Narration and Transformation by Peter Handke, Hölderlin Metamorphoses in the

“Repetition”, in: J.-H. Tück / A. Bieringer [Hg.], Transforming by counting only. Peter Handke in the area of ​​conflict between theology and literary studies, Freiburg i. Br. 2014, 159f.).

[19] “This discourse presents itself to the subject Schreber in the section of his illness of which he speaks to us, with a dominant character of nonsense *. But this nonsense * is not easy. The subject who writes and confides in us describes himself as suffering this discourse, but the subject who speaks – and they are not unrelated, otherwise we would not qualify as crazy – says very clear things, like these, that I say As you have already quoted, all nonsense rises *! “(Lacan, The Seminar, Book III, 146).

[20] See Recalcati, Jacques Lacan, 159-162.

[21] The only fault that recognizes Lacan is “having yielded to his own desire” (Seminar VII). “Ne pas céder sur son désir” is the basic principle of the ethics of psychoanalysis for Lacan. It is about an infinite responsibility that leads the subject to understand that there are no signifiers, no others, who can take that responsibility in my place. When psychoanalytic ethics asks about the problem of human satisfaction, it is first about the call to have one’s own desire received in a singular way. Did we absorb the urge of our own desire or did we betray it? The betrayal of this urge is what Freud called “repression.” Repression can also be interpreted as a betrayal, an avoidance of the ethical task of absorbing desire in a singular way. Repression means not wanting to know about it, it is ignorance of desire. Lacan claims that the ethics of psychoanalysis leads to the acceptance of one’s own calling, which as a sign of faithfulness is constantly being repeated to this desire.

[22] See M. Recalcati, L’uomo senza inconscio. Figure della nuova clinica psicoanalica, Milano 2010; Ch. Melman, La nouvelle économie psychique. La façon de penser et de jouir aujourd’hui, Toulouse 2009; J.-P. Lebrun, Un monde sans limite. Essai pour une clinique psychanalytique du social, Toulouse 2007.

[23] K. Appel, God – man – time. First Transition – From World Time to Feast and Death, 27.

[24] G. Lipovetsky, L’ère du vide. Essais sur l’individualisme contemporain, Paris 1989.

[25] A. Badiou, Logiques des mondes, Paris 2006, 443.

[26] F. Jameson, Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, in: New Left Review 146 (1984), 64.

[27] F. Carmagnola, Il consumo delle immagini. Estetica e beni simbolici nella ficti- on economy, Milano 2006, 95.

[28] D. DeLillo, Cosmopolis, München 2003, 10.

[29] ibid, 15 .

[30] In the introduction to the art of acting, Michel de Certeau brings this condition to light with a certain hardness: “This work thus seeks to identify possible combinations of actions that also (not exclusively) lead to the formation of a ‘culture’. It seeks to bring back to light the characteristic models of action of consumers whose status is hidden by the ruling (that does not mean that they are passive or adapted) consumers under the shameful name of consumers. The everyday consists of all kinds of poaching “(M. De Certeau, Art of Action, Berlin 1988, 12

[31] Lacan, Radiofonia, televisione, Torino 1982. For Lacan, the discourse of the Lord represents the function of prohibition and interdiction as a universal rule, in which the power of the signifier imposes rigid identifications upon the subject and thus the rule of the law.

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