Lacan or Not

Here I am yet again writing about something I am not particularly equiped to do. In other fora, I’ve been directed again to Lacan vis-à-vis a thread about Lacan’s perspective on the real. I’ve commented on Lacan before, usually in the context of eschewing any philosophy founded on psychology—especially psychoanalysis. Explaining that I have a reading backlog extending beyond my likely lifespan, it was recommended that I read Jacques Lacan by Sean Homer, so I am sharing the recommendation. Anything by Bruce Fink was another reco. Noam Chomsky takes an ad hominem swipe at Lacan here.

I decided to watch a few videos (including this, this, and this) to survey some of Lacan’s ideas, knowing that something could be lost in the translation. Let’s just say that I was underwhelmed.

In a nutshell, my biggest contention is the notion of the unconscious as an active agent.

According to my understanding, Lacan posits that there is a ‘real’ out there, but it is obscured by language and subject to interpretation. To him the real is a Void.

⁠Psychoanalysis presumes being able to get closer to the ‘truth’ of reality. Like astrologers and fortune-tellers, Psychoanalyst primary defence is that not all knowledge is evidence-based or falsifyable. My problem is that I am not open to another way of experiencing the world, but they somehow have privileged access to this truth. Of course, this is a similar to religious claims of some special spiritual access that opens when you believe.

To me, the Void is as apt a metaphor as any. And while we both agree that the real is inaccessible, I don’t accept the impostition of the how and the why. What Lacan does—and Freud before him and psychoanalysts more generally—is to inject hows and whys into the story. In this narrative, the unconscious has active powers, (as opposed to negative space), where memories (in whatever form) may be repressed and actions may be triggered (or activated) by unconscious urges or desires. I consider this last train of thought wholly imagined and fabricated. This void and the unconscious has no purpose.

Along the way, I do agree with Lacan’s poststructuralist position. I have no issues with symbolic or metaphoric concepts and speech. The contention arrises when one attempts to claim the metaphoric to be concrete. This is the same contention I have with people who take the metaphoric text of the bible and cencretise it. There are other problems there, but I’ll quit now.


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7 thoughts on “Lacan or Not

      1. What I like about Zizek. Is he takes the intention of Hegel and turns it into something meaningful to living now, same with Lacan.

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      2. It’s called “introducing the con, a graphic guide”. Of course, I got to go for the comic version of any explanation.😛

        But I came to knowledge about Lacan through Zizek. And then I’ve read since then many other peoples take or explanation of L. All of which pretty much verified what I gained through reading Z. But so and then I have his main book called Ecretis. Or something like that. I’ve paged through that here and there it’s very dense. So I decided to get this graphic novel Version for 10 bucks.

        It basically confirmed what I already knew, but then also filling out some of the more strict psychological aspects. It goes really step-by-step and, at least for me, gave me a Moore psychology historical grounded context through which to understand L as L, that is, not filtered through Z.

        I’ve read Hegel , and, like I said, Z for me grants the most pertinent reading of those authors so far as to actually living life as it is right now.

        And one of Z notions embedded in those other two authors. Is that there is no “actual“ Hegel or Lacan That we can know, but also we can’t resort to pure post modern phenomenology of just making the sense that comes to us.

        The notion of the real, that you were kind of struggling with in your post here, comes out of the tension between a knowable author and a strictly phenomenological subjective semantic.

        Because ultimately we cannot weigh in one or the other or we’re going to fall into certain paradoxes, certain parallax, and thereby avoid the other two that Z talks about.

        Anyways, I think that tiny little graphic novel has a depth of information and I think pretty much anything else that you would want to know about him is pretty much useless unless you were some sort of strict academic or some sort of diehard religious psychoanalyst.

        Enjoy!

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      3. Lol: “Lacan. The graphic guide. “. It’s a tiny little book it’s about 10 bucks. It’s like a graphic novel but not like a fictional story.

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