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Fantasy Space, Private Myths, Visions

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Slavoj Žižek proposed an ethic of respect for the fantasy space of another. Under "fantasy" Jacques Lacan borrowed from Claude Lévi-Strauss the notion of a "private myth." But this fantasy is, Žižek says, illusionary, fragile, and helpless. Fantasy is the way everyone, each in a particular way, conceals the impasse of his desire. Psychoanalytic practice can be criticized as a radical destitution of the fundamental fantasy of the patient. The author argues that what Žižek analyzes as fantasy is a misfire of vision, and could only be recognized in a subject where visions are possible. But visions-the visions of visionaries and seers, and the visions of youth-have to be envisioned dynamically in their activity of formulating, shaping, and intensifying one's insights and one's feelings. Žižek assumes that the forces mobilized by drive, which takes hold of an organ and compulsively makes it repeat the same failed gesture, aim at the excessive and monstrous paroxysm of pleasure in pain, which is jouissance. The author argues that that jouissance can never appear as something possible in the organism, not because it would be a death drive for a finite and temporal organism, but because it is a by-product and not a goal.

Affiliations: 1: Pennsylvania State University


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