The Void, The Hole Void, Nothing But The Void — Işık Barış Fidaner

The schema from Lacan’s Encore page 90:

sema1One of the greatest merits of Žižek’s philosophy is that it opens up the space of the Void as the place of the subject. Since this Void is the ultimate reality for Žižek, he even modified Lacan’s schema from Encore: In Absolute Recoil chapter 9, he threw out the phallus Φ and dislocated the Other’s lack S(Ⱥ) in order to accomodate the subject $ [1].

But there is also a psychic cost associated with this achievement, detectable in Žižek’s strong aversion and negative transference towards God and Nature. For him, both entities are malevolent: God is ‘stupid, indifferent, and maybe outright evil’ and Nature is ‘a crazy bitch’ [2]. Of course, these statements are not to be taken at face value, they are made with some ironic distance, but they leave the crucial question unanswered, which is the following: How to deal with the losses of God and Nature in modernity? How to mourn God and Nature properly? [3]

Aren’t the real traumatic voids the ones left behind by the losses of God and Nature? Doesn’t it make more sense to switch the ‘void of reality’ with the ‘malevolence of God and Nature’, and assert (1) the ultimate un(a)voidable hateful malevolence of reality, and (2) the two voids left behind by the losses of God and Nature? If God and Nature don’t exist, we cannot blame them.

Lacan’s schema places the phallus Φ between the Imaginary and the Real, where the passion of hate is located, and labels it ‘reality’ [4]. Maybe it’s a bit hasty to (a)void the hateful reality of the phallus, and also a bit unnecessary to maintain negative transferences towards God and Nature. Maybe the feminine truth of S(Ⱥ) is not the ultimate reality.

Isn’t one of the lessons of ‘cancel culture’ (superego moralism) that feminine masquerade does not merely conceal “The void, the hole void, nothing but the void”? I am of course alluding to what the law is supposed to demand from the witness: “The truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth.”

The void is the truth of the Other’s lack S(Ⱥ), placed between the Symbolic and the Imaginary, where the passion of love is located. So it makes sense that Todd McGowan calls S(Ⱥ) ‘universality’ and loves it, like Badiou loves his ‘Truth-Event’. But isn’t one of the lessons of ‘cancel culture’ that S(Ⱥ) is not the ultimate reality, that S(Ⱥ) is a thin layer of love whose real function is to disguise the reality of hate (indicated by Φ on the schema)?

My answer to the question about mourning God and Nature is a pair of signifiers: Authorization and embodiment [5]. The loss of God means that we must authorize ourselves by our own will, and the loss of Nature means that we must concern ourselves with the (eco)systems that ground the embodiments in our world.

Since S(Ⱥ) and Φ on the schema stand for Nature and God respectively, the proper way to lose them both is to identify directly with the semblances (objects a) below them, by actively assuming one’s passion of ignorance (which resembles Žižek’s Absolute Knowing as the assumption of the Other’s ignorance.) I named this specific virtue ‘Görce’ in Turkish, which is why I compile my texts in e-booklets at this page: Görce Writings.

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

Notes:

[1] See “Masculine and Feminine: Truth, Reality and Semblances”

[2] See “Žižek’s Attitude towards God and Nature”

[3] See “Modern Mourning of God and Nature”

[4] For more about this schema, see “The Rock of Reality, The Paper of Truth, The Scissors of Semblances”

[5] See “There are only embodiments and authorizations”

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