Enjoy Your Symptom!: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out from the psychoanalyst and philosopher Zslavoj Zizek exposes a number of psychoanalytic principles via Zizek’s analysis of carefully selected hollywood films. Those briefly include:
- Death and Sublimation
- The Imaginary, Symbolic and Real
- Woman as a Symptom of Man – Suicide, Freedom, the Sacrifice
- The Lacanian Act and Repetition – Identity and Authority
- The Phallus – The Real, The Synthom, The Thing, The Anal Father
- The Humiliated Father
- Multiple Reality – The Gaze, Perversion
Enjoy your Symptom! has for me been surprisingly helpful in clarifying those Lacanian theoretical concepts listed above. Zizek is obviously so comfortable and at home with psychoanalysis and philosophy that those analysis he offers in his book seem almost unimpeachable. Zizek’s way of illustrating his chosen psychoanalytical concepts makes those readers already versed in Lacan (that still needs to be said) go “So this is what Lacan meant!”. To use Lacan himself it would be appropriate here to evoke the notion of so many ‘points-de-capiton’ anchoring a particular concept to its corresponding signifier (say, Sublimation, the Real, etc). I, for one, was most impressed by Zizek’s analysis about Sacrifice, and how tragic it may be for some to choose a life in which the Other has almost taken complete predominance, but also the bigger price for rejecting the sacrifice of alienation.
But this perhaps is going a little too fast. Zizek takes us first through the mechanisms of dialectic and how something and its opposite (its antagonism) is effectively constitutive of reality. One is defined in relation to the other and simply cannot exists without it. Enjoy Your Symptom! then takes us on an exploration of the Real and as a result produces something coherent and consistent, if not a little bit felt as a challenge to grapple with at first. Reading Enjoy you Symptom! may take you by surprised by its depth and steepness, but it also presented for me something of a riddle I felt the urge to crack. The reader can feel the desire of the author all throughout the pages. Just like a mountain the climber has scaled through sheer resilience to finally enjoy a well earned view, Enjoy your Symptom! may just be this invitation (an injunction, rather) from Zizek for his readers to effectively enjoy their symptom, the symptomatic act of not simply resting content with not knowing, but to enjoy the heap of transformative phallic Jouissance his analysis offer.
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