attention, barrier, deconstruction, lacan, language, metaphor, signifier, structure, subject, Thought, unconscious

For Lacan

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The question of vigilance is important. It is as if a demon plays a game with your attention [lit. “watchfulness.”]

Lacan

To identify a “subject” is not only difficult, but truly impossible: we always only ‘nominate’ in the last instance one of its barriers; or rather, we indicate only what is barred, but we do so by signifying the barrier.

How can we understand this barrier — this imaginary line of symbolic exchange? In what sense does it have an “articulable” structure?

We may risk the following thesis. There are two poles or dissymmetrical operations to metaphor, not quite internal and external, but rather ‘intimate’ or ‘extimate,’ characterizing the relationship of the barrier to what is ‘barred’ (from speech, consciousness, etc.)

For example, we can speak of a line of variation (instead of the ‘actual’ — intimate — varieties of matter); but we can also we speak of multiple figures or forms (instead of the ‘virtual’ — extimate — force of pure multiplicity.)

Thus ‘figurate speech’ is that which thinks by tying together the two figurative series, itinerantly circulating between the extimate and intimate poles of metaphor. The “subject” comprehends and expresses his reality metaphorically; the subject is a metaphor.

But what is metaphor, but a primary and formative organ of thought operative at the heart of consciousness — and especially in what is ‘beneath’ consciousness — metaphor, that which is “always thinking”? Metaphor is naturally and enormously creative, a living source of power — indeed, it is that power which makes “power itself” real.

Metaphor is barred thought, a limitrophe — that agency thinking without ceasing — but which also polices the barrier to thought, and to what is beneath. The metaphor bars itself, it is structurally a deconstruction.

Has every single one of our “limitations,” our boundaries, only ever been metaphorical…? At the least we can say: there is no meta-language, there has only ever been metaphor. We “are” metaphoric “uses” of language — circulating around a precise structural disjunction.

The barrier itself is the signifier, that which blocks or halts interpretation, thought, consciousness. Yet behind the barrier thought continues unabated, we have simply been — distracted…

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