Why this primordial loss, why this constitutive withdrawal from reality of a part of the real? Precisely because the subject is a part of reality. Because it emerges out of it. This is why, if the subject is to emerge as the non-substantial cogito, his being should be elevated into a spectral impossible object that forever haunts him (and that can assume many fantasmatic forms, from lamella to the double). The “official” transcendental correlation subject-object is thus redoubled by a kind of negative correlation of the subject and the impossible-real object: before relating to objects, which are part of external reality, the subject is haunted by its own objectal shadow. In the guise of this additional virtual object, the subject is ex-posed to the real, constitutively “de-centered,” much more radically even than in the symbolic order. This is how one can read one of Lacan’s re-statements of Descartes’s cogito ergo sum: “I am at that impossible piece of the real where I cannot think.” We can also see in what way, two lacks overlap in this impossible object: the constitutive lack of the subject (what the subject has to lose in order to emerge as the subject of the signifier) and the lack in the Other itself (what has to be excluded from reality so that reality can appear). Again, the object is not simply there at the crosscut of the two lacks: it literally, and much more radically, emerges through the overlapping of the two lacks. (Once Lacan got this point, he changed the status of objet a from imaginary to real.) So the real is not some kind of primordial Being lost with the opposition of subject and object (as Hölderlin put it in his famous Ur-Fragment of German Idealism); the real is, on the contrary, a product (of the overlapping of the two lacks). The real is not lost, it is what we cannot get rid of, what always sticks on as the remainder of the symbolic operation.

Slavoj Žižek 2012 Hegel versus Heidegger


v1 — v1‘ = v2 — v2


Here, however, Lacan points out how this solution requires a double delay and a hindered, interrupted gesture. That is to say, if all three prisoners are of equal intelligence, then, after the first delay, i.e., upon noticing that none of the others is making any move, they will all rise at the same moment — and then stiffen, exchanging perplexed glances: the problem is that they will not know the meaning of the other’s gesture (each of them will ask himself: “Did the others rise for the same reason as me, or did they do it because they saw on my head a black hat?”). Only now, upon noticing that they all share the same hesitation, they will be able to jump to the final conclusion: the very fact of the shared hesitation is a proof that they are all in the same situation, i.e., that they all have white hats on their heads. At this precise moment, delay shifts into haste, with each of the prisoners saying to himself “Let me rush to the door before the others overtake me!”*

* And, perhaps, the (future) master is simply the one who takes a chance and is the first make the move, i.e., to say “I am white”: he becomes a new master if his bluff pays off.

Slavoj Zizek 1993 Tarrying With The Negative

–can a flag or a gesture pass by itself as a synthetic a priori judgement?




I made one mistake in my life—when I signed that letter to President Roosevelt advocating that the bomb should be built. But perhaps I can be forgiven for that because we all felt that there was a high probability that the Germans were working on this problem and that they might succeed and use the atomic bomb to become the master race.


As I have said so many times, God doesn’t play dice with the world.