Started the blog very recently. This post isn’t about how exciting this is going to be or anything like that. What’s interesting, rather, is a bit different.

When you delete the standard template that Word Press gives you at the beginning of your blog – the page that says “Hello, World!” and then gives a sample blog entry, describing along the way the things that usually go into a blog post – there is essentially nothing on your blog site… The page is empty, so that when you type in the URL, you’re taken to a template with virtually no content, form without substance; there’s a title page, a list of tags, etc., but no post. And so Word Press, very appropriately, puts this in its place:

“Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.”

We’d like to introduce you to our blog in just this way. As Lacan would have put it, ‘there is no Big Other’: the thing that you’re looking for us to tell you, the particular content that you think will satisfy your desire, is horribly incapable of doing just that. (We see this reflected in the way that a site like Stumble Upon draws you in, keeps you searching, never really ‘helping’ you to stop; you simply see more and more interesting things, each of which ‘begs,’ in a way, for your attention). And so the proviso of this blog is: watch your step, and laugh a little. We don’t (any of us) have ‘the’ answers. But hopefully we can provide you something to believe in, something that might engage you in a way which would suggest that you belong to a community, in a kind of solidarity: that, indeed, is what we can hope for today, ‘belonging’ in a radically unqualified sense, with a sense of irony, which entails a fundamental act of faith, of belief.

This is belief that makes no excuses for itself; first there was thought, but then there was action: belief is a gap in reasoning (Kierkegaard), an abyss (Camus), a momentary suspension of the symbolic (Badiou), and a revolutionary act (Zizek). Instead of a typical post-modernist interpretation of our lives – along the lines of Derrida or Foucault or Lyotard, an all-encompassing radical deconstruction, obsessive analysis in search of a justification for action – we should insist on belief in all its splendor. Its ‘sublime’ aspect is that it cannot be justified. The point is not to buy into the illusion that if we could somehow get rid of all the illusions, then we would have reality; rather, there will always be illusions; the point is not to blindly obey, nor to rationalize or simply think, but rather to obey and to think. The properly moral act, and the properly political act, can only happen once this myth of the fantasy/illusion-free existence is dispelled.

So, ‘you are looking for something that isn’t here’ is the message we should read anytime we think of the reason why we go on doing what we do. It is not the ‘thing’ but rather the looking that matters: precisely, it is the form of desire which deserves our attention, not any actual object of desire; there is no ‘object’ to be attained. The object, rather, is a ‘partial object,’ a pseudo-thing, a sublime thing – beautiful or horrific, it doesn’t matter – which forces itself as an imposition to enjoy, an object which is, as it happens, in this particular, contingent moment, the thing which serves to quell desire, which constrains its focus, occupies the entire space surrounding its lens, creates a ‘vanishing point,’ towards which the gaze can then direct itself, maintain itself as a sacrificial offering to this peculiar ‘abeyance’ of rationality.

That is the form to notice, underlying all of the particular contents of any kind of media, and, indeed, even of the most basic medium, the medium of language as a communicative tool. What we have to realize, per Lacan (via Zizek, as he elaborates in The Plague of Fantasies and elsewhere) is that there is no ‘deep structure’ underlying the ‘surface structures’ we deal with in everyday life: rather, the surface structure is the very same level on which the ‘deep structure’ exists, plays itself out – the particular content changes only in virtue of the ‘fluidity’ it gains as a result of the intrusion of the Real (the would-be deep structure or formal drive). And so the plane of the basic and the everyday is simultaneously the plane of ideology; the structure of reality is built on multiple overlaid fantasies, imaginary relations which function to short-circuit the thought, “but what if…?”

Join as a participant, not as an idle spectator! Maintain your desire, but maintain it in your own hands.

Advertisements