Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Puppet Master

In his response to my last post, Writing Seduction, Fadi Abou-Rihan touched on what I think of as the aesthetics of process. What attracts me to marauders who violate the boundaries between philosophy and psychoanalysis. When my mind goes sour, it's like bicarbonate of soda in vinegar to read this kind of stuff... my thoughts fizzzzz over with pleasure.

Which makes me think of a passage in Abou-Rihan's post...

Writing as masturbation?

"No, he says.. . ”It’s not just that I’m pleasuring myself; I’m also externalizing and doubling myself. I’m entering that murky terrain that would otherwise mark the categories “self” and “other,” “me” and “not me,” as separate and discreet."

In an extract from The Abyss of Freedom/Ages of the World, Schelling-in-itself, in The Zizek Reader:

In short, by means of the Word, the subject finally finds itself, comes to itself: it is no longer a mere obscure longing for itself, since, in the Word, the subject directly attains itself, posits itself as such. The price for it, however, is the irretrievable * loss * of the subject's self-identity: the verbal sign that stands for the subject, that is, in which the subject posits itself as self-identical, bears the mark of an irreducible dissonance; it never 'fits' the subject. This paradoxical necessity on account of which the act of returning to oneself, of finding oneself, immediately, in its very actualization, assumes the form of its opposite, of the radical loss of one's self-identity, displays the structure of what Lacan calls 'symbolic castration'. This castration involved in the passage to the Word can also be formulated as the redoubling, the splitting, of an element into itself and its place in the structure."

The puppet master...

This is my idea of the artist's Working Subject--the alternate, or surrogate subject which/who performs the secondary work... that is, performs, as the puppet master's puppets perform their act, the externalized Word of the surrogate ego/Subject. The writer writing his story, does not write the story. He sets forth words, and the words foreclose possibilities and open possibilities, but of what? Not of the story. Not of the poem... not yet.

First comes the teller of the tale. The Voice of the poet... the Voice is what matters. More than a voice -- an alternate consciousness, the surrogate Subject that is no longer that of the Puppet Master﷓﷓ That is what/who writes the story, the poem, performs in the body of the puppet. The "writer," the one who signs his name, who picks up the check (if he's that fortunate)... he doesn't write the poem, the novel, the play. It's the work of the Puppet Master's Surrogate Ego, and at the same time, the deepest, most real subject of the any story, any poem. Everything else of what we call "content"... exists, in as much as it can be said to exist... only through the eyes, the Surrogate consciousness that posited itself as Word., Word that always bears the "mark of an irreducible dissonance--how else, the inexhaustible fund of interpretations?

To see the world through another mind... both why I write, and why I read.

other names: Willard Russell Johnson, Rusty, Russ Johnson... what's in a name?


  1. Your mind fizzzzzes over with pleasure but Zizek feels loss, dissonance, castration. How sad for Zizek.

  2. Perhaps I find it easier to lose myself in a state ecstatic delusion?