Nonetheless, the Freudian form of the unconscious is not the same as the Hegelian one. But, more importantly, instead of automatically taking this gap that separates Freud from Hegel as an indication of Hegel’s limitation (“Hegel could not see that …”), one should reverse the underlying question: not only “Can Hegel think the Freudian unconscious?” but also “Can Freud think the Hegelian unconscious?” It is not that there is something “too radical for Hegel” missing from his thought, something with regard to which Freud is more consistent and “goes further,” but the very opposite: like Hegel, Freud is a thinker of conflict, struggle, of “self-contradiction” and inherent antagonisms; but, in clear contrast to Hegel, in Freud, a conflict is not resolved by a self­-contradiction being taken to an extreme and, with its self-cancellation, a new dimension emerging. On the contrary, the conflict is not resolved at all, the “contradiction” is not brought to its climax, but is rather stalled, brought to a temporary halt in the guise of a compromise-formation. This compromise is not the “unity of opposites” in the Hegelian sense of the “negation of negation,” but a ridiculously failed negation, a negation which is hindered, derailed, distorted, twisted, sidetracked, a kind of clinamen of the negation (to use the neat formulation proposed by Mladen Dolar) In other words, what eludes Hegel (or what he would have dismissed as trifling or accidental) is overdetermination: in the Hegelian dialectical process, negativity is always radical or radicalized, and consistent-Hegel never considers the option of a negation that fails, so that something is just half-negated and continues to lead a subterranean existence (or, rather, insistence). He never considers a constellation in which a new spiritual principle continues to coexist with the old one in an inconsistent totality, or in which a moment condenses (verdichten) a multiplicity of associative causal chains, so that its explicit “obvious” meaning is there to conceal the true repressed one.

Slavoj Žižek 2012 Less Than Nothing, p.487




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