Emphatic remembering versus symptoms

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Wed Mar 1 04:01:05 PST 2000

>From Ken M. to Curtiss:

>> I agree it's impossible to stand outside of history,
>> but why does that render it impossible to make certain
>> judgements?
>Because we're still caught in the effects of history (contingency).

No, the other way around. It's *because we are part of history* that we can, and cannot but, make judgments. No one stands outside of history, hence there is *no other kind* of judgment than those made in history. This recognition is in itself neither here nor there, however; it's merely a statement of a fact. The question then becomes how to judge, and now it is necessary to make a *post-metacritical turn* to reality (what is and, more importantly, *what produces what is & what can be*), or else navel-gazing begins.

>> Epistemology is true as long as it accounts for the impossibility of its
>beginning and lets itself be driven at every stage by its inadequacy to the
>things themselves."(p.25)
>Ie. historical thoughts are true if they don't understand themselves... (if
>we're going to take impossibility seriously, then it isn't all that easy to
>derive a typical truth claim).

While Adorno is very close to Lacan (due to the futility of all left-Hegelian thoughts), there is difference after all between them. Adorno says: "what is vaguely put is poorly thought" (_Negative Dialectics_); there is no better criticism of Lacanians than this remark. Further, Adorno would have seen reification, the autarky of conceptual fetishism ("in the end, having ceased to be a concept of anything at all, it would be nothing" [_Negative Dialectics_]), &, worst of all, the jargon of authenticity in a claim like Ken's ("historical thoughts are true if they don't understand themselves"). More importantly, unlike Lacan, Adorno was not in the business of eternalizing "the wrong state of things": "Regarding the concrete utopian possibility, dialectics is the ontology of the wrong state of things. The right state of things would be free of it: neither a system nor a contradiction" (_Negative Dialectics_). This concrete utopian possibility is what is entirely missing in Lacan. Instead of negation of negation (or, better yet, absenting the generative mechanisms of objective ills, to depart from the Hegelian dialectic), Lacanians tarry with the negative, ad infinitum. Bad infinity returns, and the re-enchantment of the concept puts Lacanians under its spell.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list