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January 29, 2009

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mike

Hi Jodi,

Even under the conditions you outline here, I think that it's still impossible that "every thing the subject does is an ethical act."

For Zizek, there are several criteria that a subject's actions must meet in order for them to be considered an "ethical act proper." He outlines these criteria succinctly in "The Act and Its Vicissitudes," (http://www.lacan.com/symptom6_articles/zizek.html), which ended up being integrated into The Fragile Absolute in some form. The quote I'm thinking of here comes from his discussion of the presence of the ethical act proper in C.S. Lewis's Surprised By Joy:

"In a way, everything is here: the decision is purely formal, ultimately a decision to decide, without a clear awareness of WHAT the subject decides about; it is non-psychological act, unemotional, with no motives, desires or fears; it is incalculable, not the outcome of strategic argumentation; it is a totally free act, although one couldn't do it otherwise. It is only AFTERWARDS that this pure act is "subjectivized," translated into a (rather unpleasant) psychological experience."

Right there are most, if not all, of the criteria of the act.

Jodi

the question, then, is how this fits with drive: in what way does it make sense to say that drive is a decision?

mike

Unfortunately, I'm not too sure. . . . Sorry!

Jodi

thanks, Mike, that's honest, and the way I feel with this material much of the time. I can't figure out how drive is or can be a decision (particularly in that Freud gives four elements of the drive and Lacan repeats those elements--it's possible that because the object of the drive can shift and move and be nearly anything that any new object tells us something about a 'decision', but I haven't found Z making this argument)

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