3 comments on “Who knew that Lacan and Zizek would show up?

  1. His idea of the parallax would help out here: the common definition of parallax is – the apparent displacement of an object (the shift of its position against a background), caused by a change in observational position that provides a new line of sight. The philosophical twist to be added, of course, is that the observed difference is not simply “subjective,” due to the fact that the same object which exists “out there” is seen from two different stations, or points of view. It is rather that, as Hegel would have put it, subject and object are inherently “mediated,” so that an “epistemological” shift in the subject’s point of view always reflects an “ontological” shift in the object itself. Or, to put it in Lacanese, the subject’s gaze is always-already inscribed into the perceived object itself, in the guise of its “blind spot,” that which is “in the object more than object itself,” the point from which the object itself returns the gaze.

    This inscription of the epistemic into the ontological would explain the power of the Other (Ancient) as in a Lacanian reversal the power of knowledge itself as the evil it pretends to confront: knowledge itself being the very evil that has shifted without our own awareness in a parallax view between the mediated shift from episteme to ontology. The gaze of the evil Ancient is our own unacknowledged power divided and separated from the truth of our own being gazing back at us not as symbolic reference but as the pure Imaginary. The fear we provoke is our own fear demonized as the Other.

    • Thanks for this – I had a reply that I just accidentally deleted. The short version is that the parallax is indeed useful, and I wonder how it fits into this discussion as a device once the genre gets more complicated. In particular, authors like Gene Wolfe and Iain Banks embrace what we commonly think of as the Other in sci-fi: I guess, as those who are aware of the mediation, perhaps this embrace shows some sort of double reflection of the gaze that you note…

      • Well think of the Other and the parallax as let’s say the difference between rich and poor, elite living in fantasia cities while the little ‘others’ live in slums, walled shanty towns outside the conclaves: the parallax vision is to see both not as mirroring the ideology of one into the other, but keeping with the double vision of the two separate opposing worlds through the lens of the parallax. Think of China Mievilles The City and The City where blindness and site align between the two worlds, and only our parallax vision true to both worlds sees the gap as the negation of the negation that produces the truth that one or the other could never in itself reveal. This double-vision of holding both at once without confusing the one or reducing one to the others ideological reflections.

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