Second Suture and the Žižekian Cause — Işık Barış Fidaner


Superego moralism is the contemporary form of the beautiful soul, which indirectly motivated the right-wing populist reactions to it. The present intellectual climate is unfortunately jammed between these two tendencies which have been co-developing for several decades now. Žižek’s work emerged concurrent with the initial rise of this opposition and he promptly showed the third way that can break out of this false binary.

Since its inception, the Žižekian third way always carried an unusual quality, exemplified by the recurrent use of jokes and popular culture products in his theoretical analyses. This specific trait made Žižek somewhat fashionable during the earlier decades, but as the abovementioned opposition eventually rose to political dominance, it became more and more convenient for both sides to repress (and disavow) Žižek, consequently putting Žižekian thought in the position of an historical symptom.

Žižek’s influence was initially focused on the imaginary plane with his documentaries and film analyses. His main operation was subsequently carried to the symbolic plane of philosophy and psychoanalysis as he published larger books about deeper questions. What finally took the upper hand was the latent force that had been gathering the Žižekian imaginary-symbolic formations: Due to the nature of his ultimate political message, he fell from the Master-Signifier status (on the symbolic plane) down to his current symptom-formation status (on the real plane). This trajectory is familiar to any Lacanian: imaginary → symbolic → real [1].

Back to the topic: Superego moralism designates the political deadlock of the present symbolic disorder [2] whereas right-wing populism designates the imaginary reaction that attempts to avoid this deadlock. The central problem is that this deadlock is unable to see and name itself: What superego moralism sees in the mirror is not “superego moralism” but simply humanism, liberalism or some other lofty ideal. One can recognize and name the deadlock as “superego moralism” only from the symptomatic Žižekian perspective. This privilege turns the Žižekian cause into a political opening: a possibility, if not yet a probability.

To follow the Žižekian cause means to bounce back from the real, jump back to the imaginary and the symbolic, and stitch the second suture: construct imaginary supports → weave the symbolic texture → access the real ground. But we can no longer rely on Žižek’s personal initiative, we must stitch the second suture on our own. Žižekian Analysis is the place where I initiated this second suture. I regularly write theory here and other authors also contribute texts.

This second suture is necessary because only the Žižekian cause can hold a mirror up to superego moralism. The difference of stances between superego moralism and the Žižekian cause can be summarized by the difference between “scare quotes” and “stress quotes” [3]. The former stance attempts to make use of words to construct an ego that is supposed to avert the imaginary threat of fragmented body (represented and exacerbated by the right-wing reaction), whereas the latter stance engages with the literal occurrences of words as part of its symptom-formation.


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 “Imaginary Žižek, Symbolic Žižek, Real Žižek, and Back…”

[2] See “The Opportunistic Media Ecology Has Supplanted The Law”

[3] See “Scare Quotes and Stress Quotes: Ego, Superego, Symptom of Words”


  1. I’ve been thinking about this for years. I never met anyone who could write or explain these thoughts so well. Thank you, I’m so glad this page showed up in the FB group.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve met few people who can push all assumptions and ritual habitat aside and then put it into words. Most people don’t indicate how little they know. I rarely think I’ve chipped the iceberg, but that’s the lesson.
    When you can separate the ego, one persona, acknowledge you don’t have to believe in a system that we’ve repeated over and over and over again, and for some reason, we think things will get better. Isn’t that insanity?
    It’s not easy when centuries of the same group of small individuals have ran the circuses. Where are the people who have the power to make a big difference? I don’t even know what that person would have to be capable of?
    Thanks again for the incredible writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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