Sunday, September 6, 2009


From Slavoj Žižek: Interrogating the Real, edited by Rex Butler and Scott Stephens (London: Continuum, 2005, 2006), pp. 367-8:

Žižek often turns to Kafka's The Trial to consider the notion of ideological interpellation: his point is that what Kafka exposes in his parable of the door of the Law is the way that ideological interpellation exists only after it has been taken up. Through a kind of distortion of perspective, what we do not realize is that the Law does not exist until after us--thus both Žižek's notion of love taken from St Paul and diabolical evil taken from Kant are ways of speaking of that 'freedom' or 'guilt' before the law, before the necessity of following the law (even in refusing or transgressing it). It is this 'distance' from the law that at once enables it--'before being caught in identification, in symbolic (mis)recognition, the subject is trapped by the Other through a paradoxical object-cause of desire, in the midst of it, embodying enjoyment ... as exemplified by the position of the man from the country in the famous apologue about the door of the Law in Kafka's The Trial' (p. 255)--and opens up a certain way of thinking what is 'outside' it in the sense of coming 'before' it--'the true conspiracy of Power resides in the very notion of conspiracy, in the notion of some mysterious Agency that "pulls the strings" and effectively runs the show' (p. 230).

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