On Prophets and Messengers

One of the defining characteristics of traditional Lacanian psychoanalysis has been its emphasis on speech and language. In other words, within an analysis – and this is also an ontological position – nothing is of interest outside of the speech. The best we can do is claim that there is something deep within speech that concerns analysis. This is why Lacanian psychoanalysis has kicked off in cultural studies and literature departments across the world. If anything binds the three fields of thought together it is an emphasis on the centrality of semiotics – the scientific study of the particles of language and speech and of their mutual relationship.

Everybody knows that the referent was bracketed.

However, recent concerns in philosophy – concerns which have most likely sprung about through the influence of psychoanalysis on philosophy – have placed primacy once again on factors and agencies existing outside of speech and language. Freud and Lacan were very suspicious of philosophy, even though they did not reject its insights. It was the enterprise or motive of philosophy that concerned them. For both thinkers, philosophy is always metaphysics and metaphysics is always an imaginative attempt to patch up holes in the universe of meaning.

Dialectics wasn’t taken serious enough.

We have returned to metaphysics but this time with the intention of demonstrating that metaphysics is itself an investigation into that which produces holes and gaps in speech and language. The crucial feature of the investigation is therefore to point out that this is an active intervention on the part of the real. We can derive logics, topographical figures, and formulae to assist us in our exploration of the real. And that is precisely what the new philosophy gives to psychoanalysts. And how does psychoanalysis respond except to indicate that these are great ideas – but they ought to be limited to basic principles. These speculations ought not be taken too far.

Philosophy ceases to offer insights to psychoanalysis when it gives up its supplemental or Borromean approach. That is, philosophy begins to patch up holes in meaning again when it refuses to accept that speech and language are still important avenues of research and intervention.

This leaves me with a question. Can human beings have a “real” power too, or, if you like, a “thing power” ? If they do then it ought to be conceived of outside of the coordinates of the master’s discourse. Thing power, emanating as it does from the human, implies that the human be situated outside of speech. Yet we know for certain that no neurotic human beings are situated outside of speech.

Do we now admit the existence prophets? The Greeks taught us that prophets (etymologically) are situated “before speech.” Yet, today’s prophets (I count Alain Badiou as one of them: he describes himself as “the prophet for the possibility of a new philosophical tradition”) are not without speech. This raises a problem. If, before, I reinterpreted the formulae of feminine sexuation to account for things – now I must reinterpret the formulae of mastery in favor of prophets.

There are prophets, except that they are also messengers.

Muhammed had to open his mouth to speak before 48 scribes passed his doctrine into the world. It is no different for today’s prophets.

There exists a prophet who is not submitted to speech, and all messengers, all human animals, are submitted to speech.

This opens up many avenues for future thought.


One thought on “On Prophets and Messengers

  1. i tend to think most of these issues overlap with issues in physics and math (a different dialect). (Badiou i gather –i;ve glanced at his stuff—does this a bit—i prefer the straight up hardcore versions (less metaphysics) though actually they end up the same place for me in many way–one can’t figure out what one is saying (and the experts acknowledge this at times)). i personally at this point can see no reason why i would want to create a new philosophy (i f that is what it is) to give to psychoanalysts. (they are a different tribe; if i come across them, i’d just have to see if there is any reason to give a ‘gift’ or exchange in trade or mutual aid). (semiotics —studied by alot of people i knew so i sortuh picked some up—i do think is a useful dialect, sortuh a theory of everything. now, to me the issue is whether its going to be only in the form of ‘big data’ (computer simulations, ai,..) or if there is any room or place for speech or written languages.

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