Thursday, May 23, 2013

THAT IS Borderline Hysterical!

That is the vicious circle of hysteria: on the one hand, hysteria is secondary, a reaction against interpellation, a failed interpellation, a rejection of the identity imposed on the subject by the predominant form of interpellation, a questioning of this identity ('Am I really what you're saying I am?'); at another, more fundamental level, however, hysteria is primary, it articulates the radical, constitutive uncertainty as to what, as an object, I am for the other; and the symbolic identity conferred on me by interpellation is a response, a way out of the deadlock of hysteria. In other words, one could say that hysteria expresses the feminine subject's refusal of the predominant patriarchal symbolic order, the questioning of the authority of the Name-of-the-Father; however, one should simultaneously assert that this symbolic paternal authority itself emerges in order to render invisible, to 'gentrify', the impasse of hysteria. Or--to put it even more pointedly--it is not that "Woman doesn't exist' because, on account of patriarchal 'repression' she is not allowed to express herself freely and constitute her full symbolic identity, but, rather, the other way around--patriarchal symbolic authority emerges in order to 'gentrify' the scandal of 'Woman doesn't exist', to constrain the feminine subject to a determinate place in the symbolic structure. [....] Lacan's 'Woman doesn't exist' means that, precisely, 'woman' cannot be constructed: 'woman' is an entity whose symbolic construction necessarliy fails, in opposition to 'man', who does exist--that is, who can be constructed (in the logical sense of the term, since there is a limit, an exception, which allows for this construction). Lacan's point, of course, is that this 'less' is 'more': the claim that 'woman' cannot be constructed equals the claim that the status of the subject is feminine--that which eludes logical construction, the reef of impossibility at which symbolic construction fails, is precisely the subject qua $, the lack of the signifying chain.
- Slavoj Žižek, "The Indivisible Remainder: On Schelling and Related Matters" (London: Verso, 1996 & 2007). The preceding citations were from the 2007 edition pp. 163-165.

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