Friday, July 31, 2009

Impartial Butterflies

I was studying the literature on Moon Landing Hoax a while ago, not because I’m concerned whether it is a hoax or not but just for its entertainment value. After a rigorous examination of arguments from both opponents and proponents, I felt obliged to admit that it is really a hoax, to the extent that everyone believes in the last analysis his dissidents are part of a hoax, if not just a foolish victim of ideological manipulation at best. This peculiar situation resembles Lacan’s reference to the famous dream of Zhuangzi. Lacan revises the dream which in his account situates Zhuangzi in position of the butterfly who knows he is only dreaming and asks this crucial question: “Is it not here that the: I am only dreaming, is only precisely what masks the reality of the look?” In the both controversial cases of Moon landing and Obama’s birth certificate, seriously engaged subject is a hoaxter, who is rightfully aware that it is just a dream. But it is his very consciousness which masks the reality of situation, the Real, does not resides in validity of certificates or “R” marks on allegedly prop moon rocks. It inhabits the look which investigates reality in differences and irregularities of a situation.

The loss of the real in the decline of symbolic marks the consciousness of hoaxters, paraphrasing Hegel’s allusion in “Phenomenology of Spirit”, that a plant is a suspicious creature on which “bursting-forth of the blossom” negates the bud, and subsequently the fruit refutes the blossoming and the winter postpones the question just to be re-emerged in the next spring. Alain Badiou’s one of the four affirmations against ordinary philosophy is “Situations are nothing more, in their being, than pure indifferent multiplicities. Consequently it is pointless to search amongst differences for anything that might play a normative role. If truths exist, they are certainly indifferent to differences.” Doesn’t his assertion resemble Lenin’s refusal that there is no neutral political non-engagement in a society brutally divided by class antagonisms. The reality is there is no choice except we are either socialists or the proponents of bourgeois ideology. One might be a self-conscious butterfly, who knows he is a man, but as long as “I” remains as a stain on the scene that distorts the reality that he is a part of this dream composition, he completely misses the Real of what he sees.

4 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

I'll have to think about this post. I'm straining trying to get through Lacan's language.

Nevin said...

"The reality is there is no choice except we are either socialists or the proponents of bourgeois ideology. One might be a self-conscious butterfly, who knows s/he is a man, but as long as “I” remains as a stain on the scene that distorts the reality that s/he is a part of this dream composition, s/he completely misses the Real of what he sees."

I struggle with this everyday!

Mehmet Çagatay said...

Hello Nevin,

I added a link to your blog.

In his critique of "transcendental subject", Adorno points out that by positing "egoity" as the unit of consciousness, it complies with universal domination of exchange which does not permit subjectivity beyond itself:

"The universality of the transcendental subject however is that of the functional context of society, that of a whole, which coalesces out of the individual spontaneities and individual qualities, limiting them in turn through the leveling exchange-principle and virtually removing them, as powerlessly dependent on the whole. The universal domination of exchange-value over human beings, which a priori does not permit subjects to be subjects, degrades subjectivity itself to a mere object, relegating that principle of universality, which asserts that it would establish the predominance of the subject, to untruth. The "more" of the transcendental one is the "less" of the empirical subject, itself utterly reduced.

As the extreme borderline case of ideology the transcendental subject comes to within a hair of the truth. The transcendental universality is no mere narcissistic self-exaltation of the I, not the hubris of its autonomy, but has its reality in the domination which ends up prevailing and perpetuating itself through the exchange-principle. The process of abstraction, which is transfigured by philosophy and solely ascribed to the cognizing subject, plays itself out in the factual exchange-society. - The determination of the transcendental as what is necessary, which conjoins itself to functionality and universality, expresses the principle of the self-preservation of the species. This last delivers the legal grounds for the abstraction, without which it cannot work; it is the medium of self-preserving reason." (Adorno, Negative Dialectics)

Nevin said...

You said: "the individual spontaneities and individual qualities, limiting them in turn through the leveling exchange-principle and virtually removing them, as powerlessly dependent on the whole."

I definitely agree with this statement!

We are all to some extend dependent on the "whole" and powerless as an individual. Because, if we dare to step out of the defined boundaries, we are either punished spiritually or physically.... There is always a price to be paid... and that is what makes us all slaves of the system, or to the "whole". Fear is an extremely effective tool of control.

You also said: "it is the medium of self-preserving reason.".... To find the medium is very hard for many. I think most of us are not even aware of such a spiritual or transcendental struggle....

PS: Thank you for linking me to your blog. I have returned your kindness and linked you as well.