[Marxism] Zizek on Tibet

Mehmet Cagatay mehmetcagatayaydin at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 18 11:34:12 MDT 2008

Zizek's letter reminded me the theoretical affectionism
occasionally recurring on Marxmail: There is almost always a
person on the other side of the Internet deeply connected
with the subject matter waiting in ambush to reveal your
theoretical indifference or geographical distance to the
topic. He is the one who understands better, interprets
rigorously, etc. but paradoxically he is the one interrupts
the epistemological jump from philosophy to science, from
interpretation to the act to change. As Lacan once declared:
"The important thing is not to understand, but to attain the
true... Naturally, I understand - which proves that we all
have a little something in common with delusionals".

The quote above is from Seminar 3, Psychosis, in which Lacan
recounts an interesting story on how he made a fundamental
mistake in a session with a paranoid patient. In sum, the
patient in the anecdote runs across an "ill-mannered" guy in
the hallway and says, "I've just been to the butcher's"
(The charcutier, which sells pork products)… "I said - I've
just been to the butcher's, and then she blurts it out to us,
what did he say? He said - Sow!" And Lacan interprets her
expression as a reference to pig, and she agrees entirely.
According to him this is the exact mistake, trying to
understand the massage which is meant be understood: "That
was what she wanted me to understand. It was perhaps also
what she wanted the other to understand. Except that this
is precisely what one must not do". But the essential
question is why there is a message to be understood in the
first place: "You understand, you are wrong. What it is,
precisely, that has to be understood is why there is
something there given to be understood. Why did she say,
I've just been to the butcher's and not Pig?" 

I think the lesson here is radical analysis (but I have no
intention to qualify every triviality as radical) is
certainly from outside. It is like conspiracy from the 
external enemy and it always serves for the enemy. As a
little joke, any given broker in the Wall Street
understands capitalism better than any given Marxist.
There is no tension between his language and the massages
of the socio-economical order. But he has no idea on the
truth of capitalism. 

But, I don’t "understand" why Zizek, a devoted Lacanian
and Marxist, recently stated "Maybe, as good Marxists, we
should turn it around. Maybe we are trying to change it
too much. It’s time to redraw and to interpret it again,
because do we really know what is going on today?" 
Who knows, maybe he is not Lacanian or Marxist enough. 

Mehmet Çagatay


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