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Aflagala

zizek letter of the law

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i was gonna post in the 'must use the state card' thing but i decidied to start a new forum. What does 'The Letter of the Law' say?

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there are two different cards that people refer to as 'the letter of the law' that i have seen.

 

they are both by zizek, i don't know what works.

 

the first is basically a card about how overidentification with the system has the possibility of 'exploding the fantasy' by somehow exposing the meaningless nature of its interactions. (Can someone who understands zizek better than me do a better explanation? my interp is probably a bit sub-par).

 

the other seems to me a much better card. it discusses the idea that intra-systemic reform is a better tool for change than extra-systemic uprising. the example zizek uses is how a 'reformer on the central committee is worth more than a thousand protestors outside its doors' *paraphrased*

 

this card is pretty useful against biopower/statism kritiks.

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there are two different cards that people refer to as 'the letter of the law' that i have seen.

 

they are both by zizek, i don't know what works.

 

the first is basically a card about how overidentification with the system has the possibility of 'exploding the fantasy' by somehow exposing the meaningless nature of its interactions. (Can someone who understands zizek better than me do a better explanation? my interp is probably a bit sub-par).

 

the other seems to me a much better card. it discusses the idea that intra-systemic reform is a better tool for change than extra-systemic uprising. the example zizek uses is how a 'reformer on the central committee is worth more than a thousand protestors outside its doors' *paraphrased*

 

this card is pretty useful against biopower/statism kritiks.

these two cards are saying the samething. The "reading the letter of the law against itself" card that you are reffering to is one of many cards regarding what Lacan calls 'traversing the fantasy'. What he says is that resistance to the imposed ideology of the superego is ultimately precisely what the fantasy needs to sustain itself and mask the underlying obscenity of the system. what he's basically saying is in order for the fantasy to function properly it requires remain at a minimal distance to it never fully following its explicit orders but when we ignore this unwritten rule and follow the direct "letter of the law"/fantasy it shatters the phantasmic support for the real system and causes its disentigration. in all reality this is not a "need to work within the state card" because i assume by the way you frame the question that you want a card to answer critiques and say that plan is best but the affirmative plan (unless it uses these cards as its solvency cards and motivation for its demand text) is precisely what Zizek is indicting because it remains at a distance to the fantasy in question and makes sure that nothing will ever be changed.

 

maybe this didn't clear that much up but that's not too suprising some of the theory behind this requires more reading than explanation from me for reference look to the first chapter of Welcome to the Desert of the Real, the chapter "Passionate (Dis)Attachments" in The Ticklish Subject, and "The Seven Veils of Fantasy" and the chapter after it in The Plague of Fantasies. there are other places in his books where Traversing the Fantasy is mentioned but these are the best. here is an excerpt from the one in "The Seven Veils of Fantasy"

 

Is not the attitude of the heroes of MASH, however, precisely that of an active disidentification? Of course, one can argue that this disidentification is something entirely different from the lesbian parodic imitation - subversion of feminine codes - none the less, the point remains that the difference is one between the two modes of disidentification, not between identification and its subversion. For that reason, an ideological edifice can be undermined by an all too-literal identification, which is why its successful functioning requires a minimal distance from its explicit rules. Is not an exemplary case of such a subversion-through-identification provided by Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Schweik, the novel whose hero reaks total havoc by simply executing the orders of his superiors in an overzealous and all-too-literal way?

(...)

The need for the phantasmic support of the symbolic order (materialized in the so-called unwritten rules) thus bears witness to the system's vulnerability: the system is compelled to allow for possibilities or choices which must never actually take place, since their occurence would cause the system to disentigrate, and the function of the unwritten rules is precisely to prevent the actualization of these choices formally allowed by the system. In the Soviet Union of the 1930's and 1940's - to take the most extreme example - it was not only forbidden to criticize Stalin, it was perhaps even more forbidden to announce this very prohibition: to state publicly that it was forbidden to criticize Stalin. The system needed to maintain the appearance that one was aloud to criticize Stalin, the appearance that the abscence of criticism (the fact that there was no opposition party or movement, that the Party got 99.99% of the votes at elections...), simply demonstrated that Stalin was effectively the best, and (almost) always right. In Hegel's terms, this appearance qua appearance was essential.

Or - to put it another way - the paradoxical role of unwritten rules is that, with regard to the explicit, public Law, they are simultaneously transgressive (they violate the explicit social rules) and more coercive (they are additional rules which restrain the field of choice by prohibiting the possibilites allowed for- guaranteed, even - by the public Law). When universal human rights were proclaimed in the late eighteenth century, their universality, of course, concealed the fact that they priveleged white men of property; however, this limitation was not openly admitted, it was coded in apparently tautological supplementary qualifications like 'all humans have rights, in so far as they are truly rational and free, which then implicitly excluded the mentally ill, 'savages', criminals, children, women.... Fantasy designates precisely this unwritten framework which tells us how we are to understand the letter of the Law. And it is easy to observe how today, in our enlightened era of universal human rights, racism and sexism reproduce themselves mainly at the level of the phantasmic unwritten rules which sustain and qualify universal ideological proclamations. The lesson of this is that - sometimes, at least - the truly subversive thing is not to disregard the explicit letter on behalf of the underlying fantasies, but to stick to this letter against the fantasy which sustains it. In other words, the act of taking the empty gesture (the offer to be rejected) literally - to treat the forced choice as a true choice - is, perhaps one of the ways to put into practice what Lacan calls 'traversing the fantasy': in accomplishing this act, the subject suspends the phantasmic frame of unwritten rules which tell him how to choose freely - no wonder the consequences of this act are so catastrophic.

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im really confused...

 

fantasy, traverse, superego ect... could you explain this in lay terms? lol

fantasy- a construction of the subject to attempt to mask the Real (the traumatic core of whatever system or object whatever that is impossible to schematize/symbolize/enter into the symbolic order) a good example of this is (and this is taken from The Plague of Fantasies) two friends who are in a competition with each other to get a promotion but when one finally gets it the proper thing for him to do is to offer to withdraw so his friend gets it instead and the proper thing for his friend to do is to reject the offer. in this scenario the fantasy is that of freedom because although officially/or explicitly the friend is aloud to accept his friend's offer to withdraw he isn't really supposed to do it so in reality there is no free choice here and the fantasy is one of freedom. other examples include things in terms of identification with sociopolitical or national forms like the "American Dream" (SUV, house with the white picket fence, loving wife or husband and 2.3 kids).

 

traverse- to overcome to cross over more explicitly. we use the word traverse as in the sense to cross over as the real solution to overcoming ideological declarations is not to resist them and thus walk away but to embrace them expose their impossibility or ridiculousness and thus cross over.

 

superego- according to google is "in Freudian psychology, the component of the human psyche that has internalized the values and standards of society. As it embodies the morality principle, the superego is opposed to the id. The inevitable conflicts between the force of the id and the superego are mediated by the ego." basically the superego is the underlying ego that tells us how to choose freely. it is the ego that governs our decisions in life and traps us in our sociological positions/decisions/ideology/whatever.

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im really confused...

 

fantasy, traverse, superego ect... could you explain this in lay terms? lol

the law has its obscene supplement: think of the night life at a college campus where the seniors haze the freshpeople and they have a whole set of rituals and activities planned. but the law also has the regular routine: think of daily life at college when the seniors cant haze the freshpeople because there is a law that must be followed. the regular law cant function without its obscene supplement though because they wouldnt have anything to do at night, and the daily life is sustained by the nightly routine which would be frowned upon in the day. so, zizek's argument is that we should make the night life people stick to the laws that are maintained during the day. so now the seniors cant haze the freshpeople, even at night, and the fantasy (nightlife) collapses which destroys the functioning of the law (daily life). basically, you are making the state follow the laws it has established, making the seniors follow the laws of the college all the time (even at night), and making the fantasy conform to, and i forget the correct terminology, the law.

 

this is basically zizek's argument.

let me know if this helps or not, ill try to explain better if necessary. or catch me on aim - ro0t115

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So when the state is forced to follow what it actually wrote down as opposed to what it actually does, there will be a contradiction and everything explodes?

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