Saturday, 5 June 2010

Wide-eyed presentation of actualities

Benjamin probably was the most peculiar Marxist ever pro-
duced by this movement, which God knows has had its full share
of oddities. The theoretical aspect that was bound to fascinate
him was the doctrine of the superstructure, which was only
briefly sketched by Marx but then assumed a disproportionate
role in the movement as it was joined by a disproportionately
large number of intellectuals, hence by people who were inter-
ested only in the superstructure. Benjamin used this doctrine
only as a heuristic-methodological stimulus and was hardly in-
terested in its historical or philosophical background. What fas-
cinated him about the matter was that the spirit and its material
manifestation were so intimately connected that it seemed per-
missible to discover everywhere Baudelaire's correspondances,
which clarified and illuminated one another if they were prop-
erly correlated, so that finally they would no longer require any
interpretative or explanatory commentary. He was concerned
with the correlation between a street scene, a speculation on the
stock exchange, a poem, a thought, with the hidden line which
holds them together and enables the historian or philologist to
recognize that they must a11 be placed in the same period.


xtina said...

‘The imaginary is
decipherable only if it is rendered into symbols’ (Lacan, 1956b:269). This use of the
symbolic is the only way for the analytic process ‘to cross the plane of identification’
(S11, 273).

xtina said...

1. In the 1950s, memory is understood as a phenomenon of the symbolic order, related
to the SIGNIFYING CHAIN. It is related to the concepts of remembering and
RECOLLECTION, and opposed to imaginary reminiscence.
Lacan makes it clear that his concept of memory is not a biological or psychological
one; ‘the memory which interests psychoanalysis is quite distinct from what
psychologists speak of when they display its mechanism to us in an animate being in an
experiment’ (S3, 152). For psychoanalysis, memory is the symbolic history of the
subject, a chain of signifiers linked up together, a ‘signifying articulation’ (S7, 223).
Something is memorable and memorised only when it is ‘registered in the signifying
chain’ (S7, 212). In this sense, the unconscious is a sort of memory (S3, 155), since ‘what
we teach the subject to recognise as his unconscious is his history’ (E, 52).
The phenomena associated with memory which most interest the analyst are those
moments when something goes wrong with memory, when the subject cannot recall a
part of his history. It is the fact that he can forget, that a signifier can be elided from the
signifying chain, that makes the psychoanalytic subject distinctive (S7, 224).
2. In the 1960s Lacan reserves the term ‘memory’ for the biological or physiological
concept of memory as an organic property (Ec, 42). It thus no longer designates the
symbolic history of the subject which is the concern of psychoanalysis, but something
which lies outside psychoanalysis altogether.

xtina said...

the hidden line which
holds them together and enables the historian or philologist to
recognize that they must a11 be placed in the same SIGNIFYING CHAIN.

Anonymous said...

good site!

xtina said...

The concept does not question, or compete with, the notion of causality. Instead it maintains that, just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by meaning. A grouping of events by meaning need not have an explanation in terms of cause and effect.