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 ( in an important conference called NIPS ( i’m now preparing its poster.



hmm we have red x black, two symbols for each…
we also have numbers x faces… numbers connect back to themselves with an A=11 (or was it 14?) like in a möbius band… and faces are arranged as J – Q – K


for example in solitaire you have to switch colors, some kind of an incest-prohibition… many other metaphors can be found to find structural relations. but what are the *basic* metaphors?


and all of this has to do with the figure of joker (as objet a?)



also has to do with alice in wonderland:


and they are also symbols that were carried to digital games in 2000 with a sequel in 2011



playing cards are structured as a whole plus joker.

but there are also non-all logic of trading card games

slavoj zizek was somewhere telling about his fascination with the infinite complexity of children’s trading card games


non-all of imaginary figures materialized..



Sublime Object, page 149

Today, we can find this same fantasy at work in various products of ‘mass culture’, for example in animated cartoons. Consider Tom and Jerry, cat and mouse. Each is subjected to frightful misadventures: the cat is stabbed, dynamite goes off in his pocket, he is run over by a steamroller and his body is flattened into a ribbon, and so forth; but in the next scene he appears with his normal body and the game begins again – it is as though he possessed another indestructible body. Or take the example of video games, in which we deal, literally, with the differences between the two deaths: the usual rule of such games is that the player (or, more precisely, the figure representing him in the game) possesses several lives, usually three; he is threatened by some danger – a monster who can eat him, for example, and if the monster catches him he loses a life – but if he reaches his goal very swiftly he earns one or several supplementary lives. The whole logic of such games is therefore based on the difference between the two deaths: between the death in which I lose one of my lives and the ultimate death in which I lose the game itself.


we can see ‘gambling’ and ‘lottery’ as two complementary mechanisms that try to contain this childish indestructibility: gambling/trading tries to derive from it a logic of countable commodity exchanges, whereas lottery tries to confine it into an official/national ‘deck of cards’ (its official ‘joker’ being the ideological symbols of the capitalist state itself)


which brings me to…. radiohead Your ears are burning / Denial, denial / Your ears should be burning / Denial, denial


Why do we dream? Freud’s answer is deceptively simple: the ultimate function of the dream is to enable the dreamer to stay asleep. This is usually interpreted as bearing on the kinds of dream we have when some external disturbance – noise, for example – threatens to wake us. In such a situation, the sleeper immediately begins to imagine a situation which incorporates this external stimulus and thereby is able to continue sleeping for a while longer; when the external stimulus becomes too strong, he finally wakes up. Are things really so straightforward? In another famous example from The Interpretation of Dreams, an exhausted father, whose young son has just died, falls asleep and dreams that the child is standing by his bed in flames, whispering the horrifying reproach: ‘Father, can’t you see I’m burning?’ Soon afterwards, the father wakes to discover that a fallen candle has set fire to his dead son’s shroud. He had smelled the smoke while asleep, and incorporated the image of his burning son into his dream to prolong his sleep. Had the father woken up because the external stimulus became too strong to be contained within the dream-scenario? Or was it the obverse, that the father constructed the dream in order to prolong his sleep, but what he encountered in the dream was much more unbearable even than external reality, so that he woke up to escape into that reality.


i believe this is where we pass from oedipus to anti-oedipus. because the father wakes from his dream, in order to… where? into another dream. the logic is that of a switching of dreams. ‘real’ is the logic of context swiching of ‘realities’: suture – taking-the-place-of (j-a.miller) now i have to go to a meeting about the poster… to be continued


freud speaks to an audience. lacan establishes audiences by speaking. zizek shifts the modes of existing audiences.


follow the cards in Less Than Nothing
1) hegel’s limit is ours now
2) choosing silence in jukebox
3) “family resemblances”
4) Badiouian “subtraction”: withdraw by rendering visible the “minimal difference”

some cards don’t make up a house, so subtraction won’t help there.



Hegel’s solution here was very pragmatic–he opted for secondary palliative measures like colonial expansion and, especially, the mediating role of estates (Stande). And his dilemma is still ours today, two hundred years later. The clearest indication of Hegel’s historical limit lies in his double use of the same term Sitten (customs, social ethical order): it stands for the immediate organic unity that has to be left behind (the Ancient Greek ideal), and for the higher organic unity which should be realized in a modern state.

It is easy to ***play the historicist card*** here and claim that Hegel was unable to grasp the capitalist dynamic proper because of the limitation of his historical experience. Jameson is right to draw attention to the fact that, “despite his familiarity with Adam Smith and emergent economic doctrine, Hegel’s conception of work and labor -I have specifically characterized it as a handicraft ideology- betrays no anticipation of the originalities of industrial production or the factory system” -in short, Hegel’s analyses of work and production cannot be “transferred to the new industrial situation.”


In the old days of the jukebox, some diners offered a simple solution for those guests who preferred silence to the noisy music: the machine would contain a disc with nothing recorded on it lasting the length of an average song, so the customer who wanted peace just had to slip in the appropriate coins and select the silent disc -a nice structural mechanism for “marking” silence itself as present: after the empty disc was selected, not only was there no longer music playing, but, in a way, silence itself was playing.

But does this difference between place and content not remain too formalistic? Do we not, as ***card-carrying Hegelians***, have to take a further step towards the full dialectical overlapping of form and content?


In late Wittgenstein, on the contrary, the problematic of the Ineffable disappears, yet for that very reason the universe is no longer comprehended as a Whole regulated by the universal conditions of language: all that remains are lateral connections between partial domains. The notion of language as a system defined by a set of universal features is replaced by the notion of language as a multitude of dispersed practices loosely interconnected by “family resemblances:’*

* In Yu-Gi-Oh, a massively popular card game of neo-Gothic mythical content, the rules are endless: new cards are always added, each card containing its own precise rule of application. All the cards together thus can never be subsumed under a general set of rules-they form a kind of Lacanian “non-All” multiplicity, in clear contrast to the classic games with their limited number of cards and clear finite rules.


No wonder, then, that Badiou’s “subtraction” functions like Hegel’s Aufhebung: it contains three different layers of meaning: (1) to withdraw, disconnect; (2) to reduce the complexity of a situation to its minimal difference; (3) to destroy the existing order. As in Hegel, the solution is not to differentiate the three meanings (eventually proposing a specific term for each of them), but to grasp subtraction as the unity of its three dimensions: we should withdraw from our immersion in a situation in such a way that this withdrawal renders visible the “minimal difference” sustaining its multiplicity and thereby causes its disintegration, in the same way that ***removing a card from a house of cards causes the collapse of the entire edifice***.

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