Saturday, March 10, 2012

Objectivism As "FLOATING SIGN" of Atlas Shrugged - Zizek Reading Lacan

Rand's Atlas Shrugged

Zizek: Reading Lacan

So while I consider the twin pedestals of metaphysics and epistemology in Objectivism to be in serious error, they are so only when considered as attempts at serious scholarship. They become something quite different if we think of them as extended footnotes to readers of her novels; "asides" made to them by the various characters of Galt, Reardon, Taggart, Roark, et al., for the purpose of strengthening the plausibility of the story, and, ultimately, maintaining that all-important suspension of the reader's disbelief. The philosophy of Objectivism (especially its metaphysics and epistemology) — like Atlas Shrugged itself — is ultimately meant as entertainment, not scholarship.

In contemporary art, we often encounter brutal attempts to 'return to the real', to remind the spectator (or reader) that he is perceiving a fiction, to awaken him from the sweet dream. This gesture has two main forms that, although opposed, amount to the same effect. In literature or cinema, there are (especially in postmodern texts) self-reflexive reminders that what we are watching is a mere fiction, as when the actors on screen address us directly as spectators, thus ruining the illusion of the autonomous space of the narrative fiction, or the writer directly intervenes in the narrative through ironic comments. In theatre, there are occasional brutal events that awaken us to the reality of the stage (like slaughtering a chicken on set). Instead of conferring on these gestures a kind of Brechtian dignity, perceiving them as versions of alienation, one should rather denounce them for what they are: the exact opposite of what they claim to be - escapes from the Real, desperate attempts to avoid the real of the illusion itself, the Real that emerges in the guise of an illusory spectacle. (Reading Lacan - Lacan with Eyes Wide Shut - Zizek

Bertolt Brecht

What we confront here is the fundamental ambiguity of the notion of fantasy: while fantasy is the screen that protects us from the encounter with the real, fantasy itself, at its most fundamental - what Freud called the 'fundamental fantasy' which provides the most elementary coordinates of the subject's capacity to desire - cannot ever be subjectivized, and has to remain repressed in order to function.
(RL - Zizek)

Eyes Wide Shut - Ending
And here Zizek reads the ending of Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut through Lacan and Freud, as the false exit, (the fuck) the way to avoid confronting the horror of the phantasmatic netherworld, never so bluntly stated in a film.

Zizek  Video: Screening Thought with Paul Taylor
Zizek below also on youtube with Paul Taylor"" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Lacan's quip about awakening into reality as an escape from the real encountered in the dream holds true more aptly than anywhere else of the sexual act itself: We do not dream about fucking when we are not able to do it; rather we fuck in order to escape and quell the exorbitant power of the dream that would otherwise overwhelm us. For Lacan, the ultimate ethical task is that of the true awakening: not only from sleep, but from the spell of fantasy that controls us even more when we are awake.(RL - Zizek)

Jorge Luis Borges

“A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.”

Darren's interpretation is that Rand's  Objectivism is a footnote to Atlas Shrugged. Was Rand continuing the illusion of the Real (Atlas Shrugged the fiction) or was Rand trying to awaken us from  sleep and the spell of fantasy that controls us even more when we are awake???? (Lacan)

Maybe Rand was trying to wake herself up????

In formalizing Objectivism was Rand continuing the fantasy when she was awake to maintain the illusion of the Real? Was Rand trying to keep herself from the Real of the dream by her activity when awake? Was she, was she, was she........? Did she know? Did she suspect?   


curioushairedgal said...

Žižek vs Jameson on The Wire
"For Žižek, on the other hand, The Wire is ultimately not utopian or revolutionary enough. (It may be worth noting that Žižek considers Jimmy McNulty's crazy fake-serial-killer scheme in Season 5 "totally ethical and brilliant.") He argues that the series is too wedded to psychological realism, which, in his view, takes the modern individual's relationship to the world around him essentially for granted. To successfully critique the capitalist status quo, Žižek argues, you must step outside of realist representations (me: Lacan's waking up into the dream your life is). He cites Charlie Chaplin and Bertolt Brecht as storytellers who did so—and even suggests that Simon and company could have learned something from his "great enemy," Ayn Rand, who, in Atlas Shrugged, insisted on the destruction of the status quo, albeit with aims entirely opposite to Žižek's own." (Source: via Progressive Geographies

seymourblogger said...

I'm not replying to you because the threads get thinner and thinner. But I am replying to you.

Ahhhhhh! Zizek doesn't know that Rand knew! In his Reading Lacan Z deconstructs that speech of Rumsfeld about:

known knowns
known unknowns
unknown unknowns
and the one he left out
unknown knowns
and this is where I read Rand. Z regards her as his great enemy, when in fact, I think she was not; however, I think she was by default. She knew, but whe did not know she knew.

And Z does not or has not read her that way.

In his Lacan, he uses the term PC feminism. 2006 cright 2007 1st American printing. I don't know if I was the first to use it or if it was just in the air, but I got attacked on The Dailykos for using it (abbeysbooks there).

Now the great Z uses it. I am vindicated!

Jameson I read long long ago. While in psychoanalytic training.

seymourblogger said...

Rumsfeld left out the 4th permutation not Zizek. Zizek comments on it. He does not mention the significance of the fact that it was left out.

curioushairedgal said...

Cool movie I watched last night, Stranger Than Fiction. About life as fiction or fiction as life or life as fiction as life or...or...or...

seymourblogger said...

As simulated reality increases one can get more and more confused. You have no idea how confused I am about that right now. It is appearing to get even "worse".

curioushairedgal said...

"To successfully critique the capitalist status-quo, Žižek aruges, you must step outside of realist representations (...) and even suggests that Simon and company could have learned something from his "great enemy" Ayn Rand who, in Atlas Shrugged, insisted on the deconstruction of the status quo" i.e. on stepping outside realist representations, on trying to wake herself up from the dream.

In this particular case, Jameson in "Realism and Utopia in The Wire" (link to pdf of it on the first source link above) stated that there are utopian elements in The Wire that pierce through the reality and the present, while Žižek argued that it's not utopian and revolutionary ENOUGH to be challenging.

I read the above quote as a confirmation that according to Žižek Ayn Rand was stepping ENOUGH out of reality into the dream that we live. Can it be then said that Žižek not only doesn't know she knew, but that he doesn't know he actually knows she knew?

How does this reflect upon Objectivism as a "floating sign"? Is it philosophy or fiction? A philosophy masking fiction or fiction masking philosophy?(Similar question could be asked of Žižek. Can he be considered as a serious philosopher as he's constantly referring to movies, TV shows, the jokes he incorporates into his lectures are to entertain the audience or parts of philosophical discourse?)

Italo Calvino's "If on a winter's night a traveler" is a funny little book. Not exactly fiction, not exactly facts, not exactly a reading manual, not exactly a philosophy of life....
“Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined?”

Philosophy or fiction = either/or = closed system
Philosophy or fiction or philosophy as fiction or fiction as philosophy or...= either/or...or...or... =open system

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.” - I. Calvino,Invisible Cities

When my Rand finally arives, in a couple of weeks, I'll read it as written according to the second option above (either/or...or...or), as giving space and making endure that which is not inferno. This is also where your reading of Rand is, and beyond because if she didn' know she knew, then she was giving much more space to that which awakens. She didn't know she was entering it with everything she had, but nevertheless she did. (what is likely to happen in an open system from Darren's post below fits in here somehow but still don't have words for it.)

You always make my head spin (now I'm thinking Prufrock) and I love it.
And thanks to Darren,the maker of avis par excellence, if he's around.

curioushairedgal said...

"Worse" as in better or what? Fifty fifty? Can't decipher, mail me.

seymourblogger said...

"Worse" as in Baudrillard through Nietzsche. Simulated reality is a spinning place inside. Scary. Yes, fifty.

seymourblogger said...

Is there any sexual voyeurism ? Not at all. Almost no sexual scenery. But people dont want that, what they secretly want to see is the spectacle of the banality,which is from now our real pornography, own true obscenity - that of the nullity,of insignificance and platitude (i.e. the extreme reverse of the "There of the Cruelty"). But maybe in that scene lies a certain form of cruelty, at least of a virtual one. At the time when media and television are more and more unable to give an image of the events of the world, then they discover the everyday life, the existential banality as the most criminal event, as the most violent (in)actua-lity, as the very place of the Perfect Crime. And that it is, really. And people are fascinated, terrified and fascinated by this indifference of the Nothing-to-see, of the Nothing-to-say, by the indifference of their own life, as of the zero degree of living. The banality and the consumption of banality have now become an olympic discipline of our time - the last form of the experiences of the limits.

This is Rand in Fountainhead when Dominique insists that Wynand get dressed to go to the theatre to see a play The Banner has raved in a review. The play is described in Baudrillard's language above. The elevation of the banal. Toohey has been the power shaping public opinion, review by review, editorial by editorial, headline by headline, to regard the banal as excellence.

In The Intelligence of Evil Baudrilard will repeat the same, as in The Violence of the Image.

This is what robsessedpattinson is turning Rob into: a banal image in everyday life, stealing his reality, his aura, his mystery. Yes I know, I am repeating myself.