Two inexistences and a separation: God-Nature to will-system — Işık Barış Fidaner

In Interrogating the Real, Žižek describes the modern subject via the double loss of Destiny and God:

there is no substantial Destiny which predetermines the symbolic coordinates of the hero’s existence, no guilt they have to assume in a pathetically heroic gesture of self-sacrifice. ‘God is dead’, the substantial Universal for which the subject is ready to sacrifice the kernel of his being is but an empty form, a ridiculous ritual devoid of any substantial content, which nonetheless holds the subject as its hostage.

Later in the same book, Žižek describes the notion of a hidden Master behind the public Master:

the true conspiracy of Power resides in the very notion of conspiracy, in the notion of some mysterious Agency that ‘pulls the strings’ and effectively runs the show, that is to say, in the notion that, behind the visible, public Power, there is another obscene, invisible, ‘crazy’ power structure. This other, hidden Law acts the part of the ‘Other of the Other’ in the Lacanian sense, the part of the meta-guarantee of the consistency of the big Other (the symbolic order that regulates social life). The ‘conspiracy-theory’ provides a guarantee that the field of the big Other is not an inconsistent bricolage: its basic premise is that, behind the public Master (who, of course, is an impostor), there is a hidden Master who effectively keeps everything under control.

For the modern subject, the couple of public Master and hidden Master emerges as a replacement for the other couple that (s)he has irremediably lost: Destiny and God. Just like the hidden Master who stands behind the public Master in order to guarantee the consistency of its big Other, God is the agent that stands behind Destiny (or even Nature, since God provides purpose and meaning to Nature) in order to guarantee the consistency of its big Other.

In brief, God (or hidden Master) is the Other of the Other, whereas Destiny (or Nature or public Master) is the big Other. Here we have a duality of God-Nature which can only be resolved by the realization of two related inexistences: The inexistence of the Other of the Other (God), and the inexistence of the big Other (Nature).

In my terms, Nature is pure-absolute Exigency, whereas God is pure-absolute Enjoyment; [1] and we can resolve their contradiction by relativizing these two terms [2]. So there is a double task to be achieved in order to realize the two inexistences:

1. We must relativize God within Nature, which brings the idea of a particular subjective will. We must realize that there are only particular subjective wills: there is no Other of the Other, no hidden Master pulling the strings behind the public Master (just like there is no God behind Nature).

2. We must relativize Nature within God, which brings the idea of a particular knowledge of a system. We must realize that there are only particular knowledges about particular systems: there is no big Other, no consistent Society (just like there is no Destiny, no Nature).

These two tasks realize two grounds: will and system, i.e. subject and knowledge. These two terms ground the two sutures that take place in a symbolic order: Will is the ground of authorization (symbolic suture) whereas system is the ground of embodiment (real suture) [3].

The third task is to separate the two sutures from each other. If authorization is confused with embodiment, we become alienated in the resulting symbolic order, relying on an embodied fetish. If authorization is separated from embodiment, we achieve separation and the symptom is embodied as the “part of no-part” of the symbolic order [4].


Işık Barış Fidaner is a computer scientist with a PhD from Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. Admin of Yersiz Şeyler, Editor of Žižekian Analysis, Curator of Görce Writings. Twitter: @BarisFidaner


[1] See “Exigency and Enjoyment” and “Redefining God and Nature for a post-Žižekian universe”

[2] See “Classical Physics of God and Nature”

[3] See “The Separation of Authorization (Symbolic Suture) from Embodiment (Real Suture)”

[4] See “Authorization and Embodiment in Fetish and Symptom” (see also “What Makes a Symbolic Order?”)


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