The Revolution as Semblant

I recorded an episode of the InForm: Podcast with Jason & Chris from the Regrettable Century earlier today. Part of that conversation was about how revolutionary politics could be what Lacanians call a semblance.

I did not have this on hand during the conversation, but I looked it up afterward. It is from the

Lacan's description of objet a as a semblant that fills the void left by the loss of the primary object. If we can explore the nature of this semblant, we shall be able to come to a better understanding of some aspects of objet a. For Lacan a semblant is an object of enjoyment that is both seductive and deceptive. The subject both believes and doesn't believe in semblants but in any case opts for them over the real thing because paradoxically they are a source of satisfaction, better than the real thing that one avoids any encounter with at all cost. Or more accurately, because the semblant fills a lack, we should say that the semblant comes to the place where something should be but isn't, and where its lack produces affects focusing on anxiety.

This is from The Concept of Semblant in Lacan's Teaching by Russell Grigg.


What I think is useful here is the idea that a semblant is seductive, deceptive, and a source of satisfaction.

I take this to mean that the semblance of "the revolution" will not be something that creates any real change, yet it is something that offers an appealing promise of change toward a better world. People will enjoy working for the promise even if the promise does not deliver.

I think it is important to recognize the semblant as a semblat, rather than believing that the semblant is the thing itself.

I'm writing this late. I've been teaching or grading all day, and I'm exhausted. Sorry if it does not make sense outside of my brain.

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