Places of escape
The nagging issue that I have with Speculative Realism is how synchronicity fits in. Since having first read Brassier in the Summer of 2008 this issue has not stopped bothering me and, no doubt, it has to do with Lacan as my ‘first master.’ Though I would not refer to myself as a Lacanian I remain convinced that Lacanian psychoanalysis is the best form of ‘applied philosophy’ that, opposed to phenomenology, psychoanalysis is, in terms of correlationism, self aware.
Yet, what seems most annoying about Lacan is his relationship to science which, as far as I can tell, is always formulated in terms of logic and epistemology. In My Teachng Lacan, after discussing the computational oddities of the human brain, argues that the mind body duality should be discared and that the primal divide is that of the psychical and the logical. Or in other words, the logic of the conscious versus that of the unconscious.
What gets lost between the psychical and the logical is reality as composed of matter and forces or of a non-Kantian/non-Hegelian nature. That is, the divide between logic and irrationality gels quite well with nature as both pure interiority and pure exteriority and nature as all that can be sensed and all that can be thought. The hiccups in these formulations, such as in terms of the organism for Kant or the central issue of representation in Hegel, points to the chasm.
Levi, in a recent post discusses Brassier’s championing of science in relation to neurology and correlationism explains clearly the extended grasp of scientific thinking . What interests me particular as mathematics as an access to the thinkable but unexperienceable. At one level, I wonder what the differrence between Meillassoux’s Cartesian formalism and Brassier’s concept of philosophical access is. In Collapse V, the final piece by Paul Humphreys suggests that computers allow thought without concept. While I would not argue that his relates to string theory (as it seems that it is grossly polluted by the aesthetics of harmony and balance) it would seem that this is along the lines of Brassier’s realism. How ever, to think like a computer is to think locally and not globally or that is, diachronically and not synchronically.
The interruption of Lacan, then, would be that the gap of experienceable and thinkable is self contaminating – that his topographical hereness, that is our stuckness in language and our place limit (via his famous splitting of the cogito – that we are thinking or there thought) – always skews our thought. This is why Zizek loves drawing Hegel and Lacan together – the concern is not how biogenesis occured, or even or thought occured, but how given we are already in the realm of thought, how is is that representation as such occurs, why is there meaning?
If, as we might surmise from Lacan’s comments that he has no concern for the Stoff, that we cannot think of what moves the power plant of discourse in terms other then as a kind of act of God, then how does the ontological sit within, or next to psychoanalysis? It would seem that this is the fundamental difference between phenomenology and psychoanalysis – phenomenology thinks from the cage of the experienceable whereas psychoanalysis thinks from the position of thinking as that which is situated in the breakdown of thinking and being’s relation.
The issue becomes of the moment (or the place) of the switch from ontology to psychoanalytic ontics which cannot be the emergence of thought if we are to avoid a Badiouian deadlock that is, the humanism of the event. If we are to take Graham’s metaphysics to heart (that is the importance of non-anthopic waltzes of matter), might it be emergence of relation or is it simply madness to think that matter and relation can be divided?
Filed under: Brassier, Hegel, Kant, Lacan, ontology, psychoanalysis, Speculative Realism, transcendental materialism | Leave a Comment