My discourse proceeds in the following way: each term is sustained only in its topological relation with the others.

Jacques Lacan | Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis


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LX:1 | Intentional Arc

Let us therefore say rather, borrowing a term from other works, that the life of consciousness - cognitive life, the life of desire or perceptual life - is subtended by an ‘intentional arc’ which projects round about us our past, our future, our human setting, our physical, ideological and moral situation, or rather which results in our being situated in all these respects. It is this intentional arc which brings about the unity of the senses, of intelligence, of sensibility and motility. (157)


Source

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception.  Trans. Colin Smith.  Routledge 2005. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

The Philosopher; Le Monde Perçu; If Photography Tends to the Literary; A Fundamental Quality of an Act; Freedom and Self-Emergence; Training of the Self By Oneself

Works and Days

Documents

 


Notes

 


LX:10 | Situated Freedom

The synthesis of in itself and for itself which brings Hegelian freedom into being has, however, its truth. In a sense, it is the very definition of existence, since it is effected at every moment before our eyes in the phenomenon of presence, only to be quickly re-enacted, since it does not conjure away our finitude. By taking up a present, I draw together and transform my past, altering its significance, freeing and detaching myself from it. But I do so only by committing myself somewhere else.  (528)


Source

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception.  Trans. Colin Smith.  Routledge 2005. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Act; A Fundamental Quality of an Act; Training of the Self By Oneself

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

 


LX:11 | The Public

The public is a host, more numerous than all the peoples together, but it is a body which can never be reviewed, it cannot even be represented, because it is an abstraction. Nevertheless, when the age is reflective and passionless and destroys everything concrete, the public becomes everything and is supposed to include everything. And that again shows how the individual is thrown back upon himself.

The real moment in time and the real situation being simultaneous with real people, each of whom is something: that is what helps to sustain the individual. But the existence of a public produces neither a situation nor simultaneity. The individual reader of the Press is not the public, and even though little by little a number of individuals or even all of them should read it, the simultaneity is lacking. Years might be spent gathering the public together, and still it would not be there. This abstraction, which the individuals so illogically form, quite rightly repulses the individual instead of coming to his help. The man who has no opinion of an event at the actual moment accepts the opinion of the majority, or, if he is quarrelsome, of the minority. But it must be remembered that both majority and minority are real people, and that is why the individual is assisted by adhering to them. A public, on the contrary, is an abstraction. To adopt the opinion of this or that man means that one knows that they will be subjected to the same dangers as oneself, that they will be led astray with one if the opinion leads astray. But to adopt the same opinion as the public is a deceptive consolation because the public is only there in abstracto. Whilst, therefore, no majority has ever been so certain of being right and victorious as the public, that is not much consolation to the individual, for a public is a phantom which forbids all personal contact. And if a man adopts public opinion today and is hissed to-morrow he is hissed by the public.  (60-1)


Source

Kierkegaard, Søren. The Present Age: On the Death of Rebellion.  Trans. Alexander Dru.  Harper Perennial 2010. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

The Red Ink
The Most Basic Sphere of Concern is Schooling

Works and Days

It's Hard To Say
Sunday September 7 2014

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Notes

 


LX:12 | Take Care of Yourself

The precept of the “care of the self” [souci de soi] was, for the Greeks, one of the main principles of cities, one of the main rules for social and personal conduct and for the art of life. For us now, this notion is rather obscure and faded. When one is asked “What is the most important moral principle in ancient philosophy?” the immediate answer is not “Take care of oneself” but the Delphic principal, gnōthi seauton (“Know yourself”).

Without doubt, our philosophical tradition has overemphasized the latter and forgotten the former. The Delphic principal was not an abstract one concerning life; it was technical advice, a rule to be observed for the consultation of the oracle. “Know yourself” meant “Do not suppose yourself to be a god.” Other commentators suggest that it meant “Be aware of what you really ask when you come to consult the oracle.”  (226)

[...]

There are several reasons why "Know yourself" has obscured "Take care of yourself." First, there has been a profound transformation in the moral principles of Western society. We find it difficult to base rigorous morality and austere principles on the precept that we should give more care of ourselves than to anything else in the world. We are more inclined to see taking care of ourselves as an immortality, as a means of escape from all possible rules. We inherit the tradition of Christian morality which makes self-renunciation the condition for salvation. To know oneself was, paradoxically, a means of self-renunciation.

We also inherit a secular tradition that sees in external law the basis for morality. How then can respect for the self be the basis for morality? We are the inheritors of a social morality that seeks the rules for acceptable behavior in relations with others. Since the sixteenth century, criticism of established morality has been undertaken in the name of the importance of recognizing and knowing the self. Therefore, it is difficult to see the care of the self as compatible with morality. “Know thyself” has obscured “Take care of yourself” because our morality, a morality of asceticism, insists that the self is that which one can reject.

The second reason is that, in theoretical philosophy from Descartes to Husserl, knowledge of the self (the thinking subject) takes on an ever-increasing importance as the first step in the theory of knowledge.

To summarize: There has been an inversion in the hierarchy of the two principles of antiquity, “Take care of yourself” and “Know yourself.” In Greco-Roman culture, knowledge of oneself appeared as the consequence of the care of the self. In the modern world, knowledge of oneself constitutes the fundamental principle.  (228)


Source

Foucault, Michel.  Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth.  Ed. Paul Rabinow. The New Press, 1994. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

A Fundamental Quality of an ActTraining of the Self By Oneself

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

 


LX:13 | Parrhesia

Etymologically, "parrhesiazesthai" means "to say everything — from "pan" (everything) and "rhema" (that which is said). The one who uses parrhesia, the parrhesiastes, is someone who says everything he has in mind: he does not hide anything, but opens his heart and mind completely to other people through his discourse. In parrhesia, the speaker is supposed to give a complete and exact account of what he has in mind so that the audience is able to comprehend exactly what the speaker thinks. The word "parrhesia" then, refers to a type of relationship between the speaker and what he says. For in parrhesia, the speaker makes it manifestly clear and obvious that what he says is his own opinion. And he does this by avoiding any kind of rhetorical form which would veil what he thinks. Instead, the parrhesiastes uses the most direct words and forms of expression he can find. Whereas rhetoric provides the speaker with technical devices to help him prevail upon the minds of his audience (regardless of the rhetorician's own opinion concerning what he says), in parrhesia, the parrhesiastes acts on other people's mind by showing them as directly as possible what he actually believes.


Source

Foucault, Michel.  "Discourse and Truth: The Problematization of Parrhesia." University of California, Berkeley.  Oct. - Nov. 1983.  Ed. J. Pearson. 1999. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

Creative Activity
The Red Ink
A Fundamental Quality of an Act
Standing Toe to Toe
Apologia 

Works and Days

Parrhesia and the Portrait

Documents

 


Notes

 


 

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