Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Foolish Consistency....

“Traversing the fantasy” does not mean going outside reality, but “vacillating” it, accepting its inconsistent non-All.


“Because he ignores this excess of drive, Stavrakakis also operates with a simplified notion of "traversing the fantasy" - as if fantasy is a kind of illusory screen blurring our relation to partial objects. This notion may seem to fit perfectly the commonsense idea of what psychoanalysis should do: of course it should liberate us from the hold of idiosyncratic fantasies and enable us to confront reality the way it effectively is... this, precisely, is what Lacan does NOT have in mind - what he aims at is almost the exact opposite. In our daily existence, we are immersed into "reality" (structured-supported by the fantasy), and this immersion is disturbed by symptoms which bear witness to the fact that another repressed level of our psyche resists this immersion. To "traverse the fantasy" therefore paradoxically means fully identifying oneself with the fantasy - namely with the fantasy which structures the excess resisting our immersion into daily reality, or, to quote a succinct formulation by Richard Boothby:
Traversing the fantasy' thus does not mean that the subject somehow abandons its involvement with fanciful caprices and accommodates itself to a pragmatic 'reality,' but precisely the opposite: the subject is submitted to that effect of the symbolic lack that reveals the limit of everyday reality. To traverse the fantasy in the Lacanian sense is to be more profoundly claimed by the fantasy than ever, in the sense of being brought into an ever more intimate relation with that real core of the fantasy that transcends imaging..


The ideologico-political dimension of this notion of “traversing the fantasy” was made clear by the unique role the rock group Top Lista Nadrealista (The Top List of the Surrealists) played during the Bosnian war in the besieged Sarajevo: their ironic performances which, in the midst of the war and hunger, satirized the predicament of the Sarajevan population, acquired a cult status not only in the counterculture, but also among the citizens of Sarajevo in general (the group’s weekly TV show was broadcast throughout the war and became extremely popular). Instead of bemoaning their tragic fate, they daringly mobilized all the clichés about “stupid Bosnians” common in Yugoslavia, fully identifying with them―the point thus made was that the path to true solidarity goes via a direct confrontation with obscene racist fantasies circulating in symbolic space, through a playful identification with them, not through the denial of them on behalf of “what people are really like.”
- Slavoj Zizek, "The Two Sides of Fantasy"

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