A colleague for whom I have a great deal of respect noted the use of the didactic “we” in my previous blog. After a quick analysis, I noticed that he was correct. It seems as though I shifted from the personal “I” of a former blog post to the impersonal “we”. I explained that the move seemed to be an attempt to avoid some minor anxiety that I was facing in the former “I”-post, anxiety which stemmed from my own panic disorder. Lacan noted that certain anxiety-signals come from the inability to establish a relation to the Other, the inability to ground oneself on the stage. I returned to my “we” post to find that the “we” was not meant as nosism, as pluralis majestatis (the “royal we”), since the distinction was made in reference to how common people understand anxiety. Here I have clearly grouped myself with common people. I said that this understanding was improper.
The royal “we”, or the spokesperson “we” – which is also the didactic “we” – is a patronizing and “exclusive” form of the “we” subjective. The “we” subjective of my post was “inclusive” inasmuch as it set out on a journey to get to the source of the question of anxiety for me and for any reader who cares to plumb the depths with me. Yet it was also most likely an attempt to mitigate some of the anxiety of the “I”-post by setting it back on the stage of the “we”. I recall an obscure point that Lacan made in my “I”-post about the fact that it is by achieving distance from the mirror that one can see oneself. Anxiety occurs sometimes when objects can not be understood by the ego. When I speak at the level of the “I” it seems that there is no distance, it seems to produce slightly more anxiety. Thus, I raised some problems with Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” – what could be more anxiety provoking? However, with the “we” I have the distance precisely because I can see the Other there with me, exploring the arguments with me.
The colleague claimed that this was a form of rationalization or justification. It certainly rationalizes and justifies the shift of a word, but it does not rationalize or justify the impetus for this shift. To be sure, my colleague did not note the “shift” but only the word. So – it seems to me that the shift the “subject” of my blog was a shift away from falling off of stage. Before jumping off of the stage, after a nudge from the audience, I regained myself, and started a new performance – this time with some necessary distance.