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LACANIAN INK 18 – Spring


SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK – Il n'y a pas de rapport religieux
The Drawing Center,
March 20/2001

Žižek and Ayerza

[...] it is the non-rapport in the Other... that is in language - language obstructs the sexual rapport.

Miss Sweden and Miss Guatemala (by German photographer Jurgen Teller), on the covers of issue 18 embody the line of sight that defines desire on behalf of the word that invests them. If it focuses on an object that is a mystery, an obscure object, it is nevertheless set out to conquer a universal stance. Whether you like her or not Miss Universe will hold the scepter which represents the desire of all men. Yet after a year a new flower will bloom, rekindling the desire of all men. And this is the fate of the contemporary Aphrodite - propped in the one by one.

In Seminar II (1954) Lacan says "the most naked rivalry between men and women is eternal." Love then is the illusion standing for the absence of rapport between the sexes. Man does not enjoy the body of the woman, only the part body-sexual drives go solely towards the partial object. "Body parts, says Jacques-Alain Miller in his "Lacanian Biology..." can certainly be represented beside with other natural elements, yet they account for signifiers. They are imaginary signifiers whose matter is taken from the image."

Between man and woman there is no instinctual rapport because the signifier marks sexuality... confronts human beings with a specific hole in the real: call it jouissance. Says Richard Klein in Gender and Sexuation, "Nothing like a hole to indicate that something that does not exist can still operate."

Freud surmises a void in the real when he affirms that there isn't a feminine libido, but the one and only - of a masculine type. Also he goes on to install the phallus and the castration complex at the center of boys and girls sexual life.

Lacan contrived this void, this absence, through the aphorisms: "There is not such thing as a sexual rapport," "The woman does not exist." Two anatomical sexes, yet one sexual principle: the phallus, which besides could be rejected by the subject... A blind drive, acephalic, demanding satisfaction on a permanent basis - in fact, contrary to sexual abstinence, drive abstinence does not exist. And these are the basis of sexual ambiguity.

This issue explores the non-rapport throughout biology, in sexuality, in psychosis, in religion... As something tied to the real, sex opposes sense. Says Žižek: to the point where woman is one of the names of God there is no religious rapport...

[The following is an excerpt from Slavoj Žižek's lecture.]

Slavoj Žižek

[...] So in some way there is identification with ideological delusion, which will render individuals insane. You know, if I want to take you seriously, I'm your beloved leader... I think that what would drive me crazy is also the suspension of the belief... I need some precise distance, I need not to identify with the official belief, but I need the diction that there is someone else from the big Other who believes. If I am deprived of that other who believes, my whole universe collapses. So this, ideally, what Lacan aimed at when he explained that the reformulation of modernism is not that God doesn't exist, but God is unconscious. Let me, for the record, quote Max Brod, Kafka's friend, "...about Kafka, things like money, the stock exchange, the foreign currency, administration, the typewriter are for him truly mystical. What they effectively are not only for us, they are us." Once you read this statement against a Marxist analysis of the moneyed class, the fetishist illusion resides in our real social life, not in our perception of it. The bourgeois subject knows very well there is nothing magic about money, money is just an object which stands for a second set of social relations, but he nevertheless acts as he than to believe that money is a magic thing. Kafka was able to experience directly this network of Thomas Macke beliefs which we normal people disavow is about Kafka's magic is what Marx liked to refer to as the theological priggishness of commodities. This admission of theology points out a way to answer the boring scandal, reproach, we hear again, and again, and again against the application of psychoanalysis to social, theological, processes. Maybe all the time we are bombarded with the question, "Is it legitimate to expect the use of the notions which were originally Freud for the treatment of individuals to expand them to social entities or connective entities event audiencewhen we speak, for example, religion as a collective obsessional neurosis?"

I think this is the wrong question. The answer is that the focus of psychoanalysis is different, the social, the field of social practices and socially held beliefs is not simply that they are at a different level from the individual's experience. The point is not first I develop individual, the notion of the individual neurosis and then in order to analyze social phenomena... use Pythagorus for social entities, collective psychosis, compulsive neurosis. The point is a different one. The point is that the social field, the field of social practices and beliefs, is something in which the individual human person has to relate with the individual, has to experience as a normal, which is minimally reified, externalized. The problem is not how to jump from the individual to the collective, the problem is how should this collective social order of psychoanalysis practices or beliefs be structured if the subject is to then suffer sanity, his or her normal functioning which delusions should be deposited out there so that I as an individual can remain sane. Recall the proverbial egoist who simply dismisses the public system of the moral law. As a rule, such a subject can only function in the system which is out there, publicly recognized, that is to say, its important to me the private sphere, I have to presuppose the existence of others that really believe. [...]