The subject is what is lacking to knowledge. Knowledge in its presence, in its mass, in its own growth regulated by the laws which are different to those of intuition, which are those of the symbolic operation and of a close copulation of number with a real which is above all the real of a knowledge, this is what it is a matter of analysing in order to give the status, the true status of what is meant by a subject at the historical moment of science.

Just as all modern psychology is constructed to explain how a human being can behave in the capitalist structure, in the same way the true core of the research about the identity of the subject is to know how a subject sustains himself before the accumulation of knowledge. It is precisely this state, this extreme state, that the discovery of Freud offers to you, a discovery which means and which says that there is an “I think” which is knowledge without knowing it. That the link is quartered (écartelé) but at the same time tips over from this relationship of “I think” to “I am”. The one is *entzweiet* [split] from the other, there where I think, I do not know everything that I know, and it is not where I am discoursing, where I am articulating, that there is produced this announcement which is that of my being as being, from which I am being. It is in the stumblings, in the intervals of this discourse that I find my status as subject. The truth is announced to me where I do not protect myself from what comes in my word.

The problem of the truth re-emerges. The truth returns in experience and along a different path to that of my confrontation with knowledge, of the certainty that I may attempt to win in this very confrontation, precisely because I learn that this confrontation is ineffective, and that where I have a presentiment, where I avoid, where I divine one or other rock that I avoid, thanks to the extraordinarily rich and complex construction of a symptom, what I show as a symptom proves that I know what obstacle I am dealing with, alongside that, my thoughts, my phantasies construct, not alone as if I knew nothing about it, but as if I wished to know nothing about it. This is the *Entzweiung* [splitting]. The value of this image, the one that I put on the right, which is easy for you to reproduce because it is one of these constructions that one can make very simply by manipulating a strip of paper. It is still the Moebius strip but a Moebius strip that is in a way crushed and flattened.

I think that you will rediscover there the profile that I made familiar to you of the interval where in the interior eight there is knotted together the Moebius strip, namely, this strip which is stuck together again to itself after a simple half-turn and which has as a property, as I told you, this surface, of having neither a front nor a back, it is exactly the same.

Jacques Lacan 1964-65 Seminar 12: Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis



il n’y a pas de grand Autre

We can see now why Lacan’s motto “il n’y a pas de grand Autre” (there is no big Other) takes us to the very core of the ethical problematic: what it excludes is precisely this “perspective of the Last Judgment,” the idea that somewhere -even if as a thoroughly virtual reference point, even if we concede that we can never occupy its place and pass the actual judgment- there must be a standard which would allow us to take the measure of our acts and pronounce on their “true meaning:” their true ethical status. Even Derrida’s notion of “deconstruction as justice” seems to rely on a utopian hope which sustains the specter of “infinite justice,” forever postponed, always to come, but nonetheless here as the ultimate horizon of our activity.

The harshness of Lacanian ethics lies in its demand that we thoroughly relinquish this reference to the big Other -and its further wager is that not only does this renunciation not plunge us into ethical insecurity or relativism (or even sap the very fundamentals of ethical activity), but that renouncing the guarantee of some big Other is the very condition of a truly autonomous ethics. Recall that the exemplary dream Freud used to illustrate his procedure of dream analysis was a dream about responsibility (Freud’s own responsibility for the failure of his treatment of Irma) -this fact alone indicates that responsibility is a crucial Freudian notion. But how are we to conceive of this responsibility? How are we to avoid the common misperception that the basic ethical message of psychoanalysis is, precisely, that we should relieve ourselves of responsibility and instead place the blame on the Other (“since the Unconscious is the discourse of the Other, I am not responsible for its formations, it is the big Other who speaks through me, I am merely its instrument”)? Lacan himself pointed the way out of this deadlock by referring to Kant’s philosophy as the crucial antecedent of psychoanalytic ethics.

Slavoj Žižek 2012 Less Than Nothing, page 127



As is well known, the conceptual matrix that underlies the opposition of the two modes of the Sublime is set up already in the Critique of Pure Reason, in the guise of the difference between the two types of antinomies of pure reason (CPR, B 454-88). When, in its use of transcendental categories, Reason goes beyond the field of possible experience by way of applying the categories to entities which cannot ever become objects of possible experience (the universe as a Whole, God, soul), it gets entangled in antinomies, i.e., it necessarily arrives at two contradictory conclusions: the universe is finite and infinite; God exists and does not exist. Kant arranges these antinomies into two groups: mathematical antinomies arise when categories are applied to the universe as a Whole (the totality of phenomena which is never given to our finite intuition), whereas dynamical antinomies emerge when we apply categories to objects which do not belong to the phenomenal order at all (God, soul). What is of crucial importance here is the different logic of the two types of antinomies. This difference concerns first of all the modality of the link between the elements of the series whose synthesis brings about the antinomy: in the case of mathematical antinomies, we are dealing with a multitude (das Mannigfaltige) accessible to sensible intuition, i.e., with a simple coexistence of the elements given in the intuition (what is at stake here is their divisibility and their infinitude); in the case of dynamical antinomies, we are dealing with intellect, a synthetic power which reaches beyond a mere sensible intuition, that is to say, with the necessary logical interconnection (Verknuepfung) of the elements (notions of cause and effect).

Slavoj Žižek 1993 Tarrying With The Negative

— question:
what has “gambling” to do with these two antinomies?

— follow-up question:
then, what has “probability” to do with these two antinomies?

— follow-up question:
then, what has “risk” and “loss” to do with these two antinomies?

— note regarding significance:
i’m a computer engineer studying probabilistic models. a few weeks later we’ll present a paper that proposes “entropy” (as per-element information) as a measure different from probability (http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.0509) in an important conference called NIPS (http://nips.cc/Conferences/2013/). i’m now preparing its poster.


Continue reading “cards”

cyber police

— truth: has the structure of a fiction, makes one smile.

— image below: barış atay smiles at such a truth, while being detained by turkish “cyber police” because of his “redhack connection”:

— cyber police: a fictional entity, newly established by our capito-islamist government.

— redhack: a popular leftist hacker group with anonymous-like activities, one of the symbols of gezi resistance.

— barış atay: an actor, born in germany. he played a student called “saffet” in “backside desks”.

— backside desks: a very popular TV series. story: an idealist teacher trying to sort things out in a forgotten gang-ridden local school called “great victory high school”

— barış: a name that means “peace” in turkish.

— saffet: a name that means “pureness” in arabic.




teacher’s day

this is something difficult to explain but i’ll try.

1) 24 novermber is “teacher’s day” as established by the turkish republic (founded after the example of french republic -and other western republics-, in place of ottoman empire) and its founder kemal atatürk(“father-turk”) also called a “master-teacher”.

2) some of gezi resistance consists of kemalists, mostly younger generation of public or related sector families

3) pm erdoğan’s government represents ottomanist ideology although integrated with global capitalism through its own islamist bourgeoisie

4) on 23 november, (relatively kemalist part of) gezi resistors celebrated 24 november teacher’s day (also protesting capital-islamist erdoğan government)

5) erdoğan’s police applied excessive violence to all the teachers, causing serious physical injuries to teachers, and causing an outrage online and offline

6) next day, a police department put this message, and it must be intentional:

we celebrate the teachers’ day of all our teachers.
we are your creation.
-bakırköy district police department

my question:
what kind of violence is this?


return to Hegel

Let us then return to Hegel: revolutionary Terror designates the turning point at which the appearance of an equivalent exchange collapses, the point at which the subject gets nothing in exchange for its sacrifice. Here, however, at this very point at which negation ceases to be “determinate” and becomes “absolute,” the subject encounters itself, since the subject qua cogito is this very negativity prior to every act of exchange. The crucial move from revolutionary Terror to the Kantian subject is thus simply the move from S to $: at the level of Terror, the subject is not yet barred but remains a full, substantial entity, identical to a particular content which is threatened by the external pressure of the Terror’s abstract and arbitrary negativity. The Kantian subject, on the contrary, is this very abyss, this void of absolute negativity to whom every “pathological,” particular positive content appears as “posited,” as something externally assumed and thus ultimately contingent. Consequently, the move from S to $ entails a radical shift in the very notion of the subject’s self-identity: in it, I identify myself to that very void which a moment ago threatened to swallow the most precious particular kernel of my being. This is how the subject qua $ emerges from the structure of exchange: it emerges when “something is exchanged for nothing,” that is to say, it is the very “nothing” I get from the symbolic structure, from the Other, in exchange for sacrificing my “pathological” particularity, the kernel of my being. When I get nothing in return, I get myself qua $, qua the empty point of self-relating.*

* Hegel and Kierkegaard are here far closer than may appear. The exchange of “something for nothing” by way of which the subject qua $ emerges is namely the very act of abyssal/noneconomical sacrifice which, in Kierkegaard, defines the religious stage: the ability to accomplish this move is what distinguishes the “knight of faith”: “The person who denies himself and sacrifices himself for duty gives up the finite in order to grasp on to the infinite; he is secure enough. The tragic hero gives up what is certain for what is still more certain, and the eye of the beholder rests confidently upon him. But the person who gives up the universal to grasp something still higher that is not the universal, what does he do?” (Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling [ Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 ] v p.89).

Slavoj Žižek 1993 Tarrying With The Negative, page 26




formulas of sexuation
“i was expecting you.”–> not everyone is expected; no one is unexpected.
“put these on!”–> everyone has these; you don’t.


As regards self-injuries of my own, there is little that I can report in uneventful times; but in extraordinary circumstances I find that I am not incapable of them. When a member of my family complains to me of having bitten his tongue, pinched a finger, or the like, he does not get the sympathy he hopes for, but instead the question: ‘Why did you do that?’ I myself once gave my thumb a most painful pinch when a youthful patient told me during the hour of treatment of his intention (not of course to be taken seriously) of marrying my eldest daughter. I knew that at the time she was lying critically ill in a sanatorium.

Freud, PoEL


love and sick-nursing

This is perhaps one of the reasons why in the anamnesis of hysteria we so often come across the two great pathogenic factors of being in love and sick-nursing. In the former, the subject’s longing thoughts about his absent loved one create in him a ‘rapt’ state of mind, cause his real environment to grow dim, and then bring his thinking to a standstill charged with affect; while in sick-nursing the quiet by which the subject is surrounded, his concentration on an object, his attention fixed on the patient’s breathing – all this sets up precisely the conditions demanded by many hypnotic procedures and fills the twilight state produced in this way with the affect of anxiety. It is possible that these states differ only quantitatively from true auto-hypnoses and that they pass over into them. (Breuer)

Sigmund Freud & Josef Breuer 1895 Studies on Hysteria