These are my notes on the goal of Psychoanalysis for Zizek which is “subjective destitution”. Jousaince, objet petite a, subjectivity, and other areas and terms of Lacanian Psychoanalysis are also explored.
For Zizek the goal of psychoanalysis is to carry the unraveling to the end and to choose this. That is, to recognize that the fantasmatic support for one’s subjectivity, ie the big Other, does not exist.
The big Other is the Symbolic Realm that supports, creates, or interpellates–to use Althusserian terms–the subject. The big Other can also designate a fill in for the Symbolic Order. The big Other (from here out A) is both the Symbolic Order and a representative of that order, which means that A is also the Master Signifier.
But A does not have to designate the MS but could designate another symbol that represents that order as a whole, such as a judge. A judge is not the Law, and also is not the MS for the Law, but is a representative of the Law and a fill in for it and thus is A.
Back to the goal of psychoanalysis. It corresponds to two shifts. First the subject is striving after the object-cause, or objet petite a. This could be the ultimate sexual experience, an undisclosed amount of wealth, fame, etc–we will term this goal x. What the subject does not realize is that her desire for x is really not for x, because x does not exist. What the elusive x is covering up is jouisance–the left over peace of the Real that the Symbolic Order has not covered up–which is also objet petite a. When the subject realizes that x does not exist, the subject’s desire turns into the repetitive process of drive, which is itself the most fundamental aspect of jouisance as well. Jouisance is the left over of the Real, and in Zizek’s reading of Schelling we see that the ground of being is a repetitive process of drives.
Therefor the subject of desire, the subject that still believes he or she desires x itself, is propelled by the lack of x, or the lack of objet petite a. In contrast to this the subject of drive sees that the quest itself is objet petite a, because drive is the most fundamental form of jouisance. Thus the symptom is seen by the subject of drive as what holds him or her together. The symptom, or the subjects need for the elusive x, is what constitutes his or her own subjectivity because x can only exist within the Symbolic Realm, in fact x is a product of the subjects interpellation into the Symbolic Realm. (When the subject names herself, says “I”, and enters the Symbolic Realm, she is alienated from herself as she the subject of the ennuciation is also the subject of the statement.)
Lets suppose that for the subject Betsy x is the desire/quest for money. Betsy
‘s x only makes sense in a Symbolic Realm in which money has a meaning, a function and a status attached to it, if the Symbolic Realm falls apart than x will no longer be desired because money will have no worth. X will be seen as a false desire, but again, because x is a part of the subject who is a part of the Symbolic Realm, in order to get ride of this symptom, which is the unquenchable desire for x, the subject must become desubjectivised, or torn asunder. This is why Lacan calls it synthom, the symptom is the synthesis of the subject. The symptom is the subject.
When the subject realizes that her desire for x, which constituted her, is none other than drive, which is jouisance, and that she is therefor jouisance or objet petite a, she has gone through “subjective destitution”. She has gone through or undone the fundamental fantasy and thus the most extimate–the most intimate core of herself which exists in the Symbolic Order and is thus external to herself–kernel of the subjects being (the fundamental fantasy) which has been externalized as real in the Symbolic Order, is now recognized as internal or fantasmatic. This causes the subject to collapse, unravel, come undone in, on herself.
At this moment the subject, or patient of psychoanalysis, is at a moment of freedom. In theory the subject can now choose the next big Other or Master Signifier to construct a new fundamental fantasy and thus re-predestine herself. This choice is a vanishing mediator, because once it is completed it disappears, because the subject could not be aware of the choice and act towards the big Other rightly.
For a picture and explanation of Lacan’s Desire line see here.