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  • mono 6:34 pm on September 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bachelor's degree, , , , , Cultural Studies, Culture of Japan, Introduction, , life coaching, , The Eyeslit-Crypt,   

    A Belated Introduction to this Enterprise 

    Earlier this year, there was a void in my creative life. Perhaps, it was the lethargy of living for so long in a foreign country, amidst a foreign tongue, falling out of touch with artistic communities in the USA and so on. Friends leave. The day job repeats its yearly cycle. All those nice “daily life” things that happen.

    On one normal Saturday afternoon, I decided to take yet another leap into social networking territory and start blogging. I chose WordPress randomly, having heard its name before and, upon signing up, enjoyed the ease of use and the interface. Around that time, I was reading books everyday, taking notes on what I was reading and, often times, re-reading the same texts for various purposes. But, I had no one to discuss my texts with and wanted someway to share my findings, to learn more about the texts by committing them to writing and hope for some kind of feedback. I wanted to develop my written “voice.” I dove into E.M. Cioran, Bernard Rudofsky, Jacques Lacan, Carl R. Rogers and others, with all my might. Their world’s came alive to me. Their feats and ideas challenged me. Explicating the reading, helped bring it to life for me. This holds true for today, too.

    After exhausting myself, I started studying the styles of other bloggers. I had no idea as to the power of the blog and the great labyrinth of sites that are available, obscured by search engine optimization. The well seems to run deep. The blogs I read helped craft new articles for this blog, articles about social networking sites, publicity and Japanese culture. From this, I blended explications and Communications pieces with more “techie” articles. This was not the part of some master design, but more the workings of a mind with a lot of strings attached to it, too many limbs reaching around and finding things of interest. My sporadic pulling of different things can be seen in the piece “Crowley + Cioran + Morita,” a synthesis of three seemingly unrelated thinkers, a hopeful article.

    At times, the seemingly apparent connections would slip away from me and I felt sorry for my readers, those of you kind enough to read my words and spend time with me. I have been like a whack-a-mole, popping up somewhere different just as you slam the hammer down upon my head. Hopefully, you find some comfort or value in that.

    Recently, I have been working to filter down The Eyeslit-Crypt, to narrow the passage a bit more. In the recent months, I have taken great interest in writing about living and breathing people, people whom I admire and who I think are doing great things, whether in art, film, music or literature. I have written about the wonderfully prolific Ken Tanaka, America’s Funnyman, Neil Hamburger, Adult photographer/Film director Dave Naz and more. For some reason, studying other people makes me happy. I don’t mean this in a shallow “I’m so happy, its sunny today,” kind of happy, but a deep respectful happiness to see the work of someone who has sacrificed a life of ease, for a life of creative action. It is the least I can do to connect with these people and help spread their work around, work, which I truly believe in.

    So, if you look to the left-hand column, you will see “The Eyeslit-Crypt Information” been altered, reconfigured and I will briefly try to explain that change. It has been broken down into three sections:

    1. Creative Expression: I know this is still a large category, but basically, encompasses all forms of expression, the people who express and/or art/business that is making a difference, taking a more difficult path. It is about art that moves me or music that makes me want to go crazy (in a good way). It is also new social media tools, books, music, film and fashion.

    2. Life Coaching: This includes ideas and strategies of living from Lacanian Psychoanalysis to Constructive Living. Hopefully, pieces falling under this broad category will in some way be relevant to you while you set out making your own life and facing your own personal challenges.

    3. Cultural Studies: This is tied in closely with Creative Expression, but will focus more on language use, media ecology, interface humanities, sartoriasis and other topics. Awhile back, I wrote an article on the Japanese expression “KY,” which would fit nicely under the “Cultural Studies” umbrella.

    I hope this brief elucidation brings together the aims and purposes of The Eyeslit-Crypt.

    Some people who read “The Eyeslit-Crypt” may be wondering a little about who I am, where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’ll be brief, but hopefully clear. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from an American university and spent a great deal of time studying Communication Theory and Japanese. My undergraduate thesis was about the phenomenology of the garment and its relation to the human body. I have made a lot of music in my life and have albums available through records labels like Audiobot, Pac REC, Obscurica, N0-age, Impossible, Swampland and Self-Satisfied. I also have one album available through the iTunes music store. I’ve been behind the camera as an actor for many non-nationally distributed and viral films/videos. I’ve written and directed some of those films, too. Contact me if you want to see them. You may get a laugh out of them or not.

    I have worked in corporate marketing, participated in training seminars and conducted face-to-face training/advising with corporate backing. A bit scattered, but relevant, I spent one week working closely with the Australian rock band AC/DC, translated four chapters of a Japanese philosophy book from Japanese to English, played concerts in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

    Well, these are the things that come to mind at this point as some of the more memorable things that I have done. I know that they are just fragments, but hopefully they will give you some insight into where I’m coming from, experientially.

    Thank you for lending me your attention.

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  • mono 9:56 pm on April 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cultural Studies, , , , , , Nonhuman, , , Social Form, , , Tentacle   



    The body adorned, the body’s metamorphosis into a garmented state – the interactive process – elevated both physically and imaginatively; The fashioned body as locus of reciprocity and individuality. Layering as self-transformation, on the periphery of self-visualization, never fully able to realize this realization in its wholeness. The fashioned body: the sticky tentacle for the other’s gaze and for the imagined representation of one’s self. Fashion: the disappearing-blossoming flesh of creative infusion with the expression of the designer’s work, an assemblage of vortexes surrounding the body, imaginatively composing the social body…The crevice between body and garment, that nether world, the beginning of the body.

  • mono 12:20 pm on March 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cultural Studies, How to Read Lacan, , , , , , , The big Other, The Triad of the Real   

    Lacan through Zizek: On ‘the big Other’ 

    Triad of the Real

    It seems that Slavoj Zizek’s book “How to Read Lacan” is a wonderful starting point for both students of Zizek and, of course, for new students of Jacques Lacan. At least in my case it has provided a graspable yet engaging starting point for my study of both of these thinkers. I have stumbled through several of Lacan’s “Ecrits” and bumbled my way across the pages of Zizek’s “The Sublime Object of Ideology” and “The Parallax View,” to little avail ((dense)). The struggle will continue, though.

    In the first chapter of “How to Read Lacan,” Zizek lays the groundwork for concepts such as “The Triad of the Real,” “The Big Other” and “Empty Gestures.” I will do my best here today to put the idea of ‘the big Other’ into my own words in hopes of being able to better understand it. If you have spent time with the works of Zizek and/or Lacan and would like to clarify, correct or challenge my interpretation of what is discussed here, please do so. I am a humble student and it is my hope this year to better familiarize myself with the works of both Zizek and Lacan.

    The Lacanian idea of ‘the big Other’ comes through human interaction/communication. ‘The big Other’ is the virtual regulator of etiquette and social conversation. That is to say, ‘the big Other’ is the ambience of the situation that comes through human ways of following situational “rules.” That is, without human beings, there is no ‘big Other.’ When I shake someone’s hand, I am performing an act with no real significance to me. The shaking of the hand is the expected way of greeting in American culture (similar to the empty question: “how are you?”). The shaking of the hand is done in accord with the virtuality of ‘the big Other.’ For Lacan, the big Other operates on three interconnected levels: The imaginary, the symbolic and the real. The ‘imaginary’ is the virtualization of the other. It is seeing one’s lover as being more than just a skeleton with decaying flesh, it is covering the other with an imaginary image. The symbolic is the way of interacting with the other. That is, it is the following of grammar, “going on” in conversations, shaking hands, bowing, etc. The real is the surrounding forces of the situation, it is the unpredictability of the environment, disaster, unexpected happenings and so on. Of these three, the ‘symbolic’ is most important in understanding ‘the big Other.’

    Through Zizek’s elucidation of this Lacanian idea we find: “When we speak (or listen, for that matter), we never merely interact with others; our speech activity is grounded on our accepting and relying on a complex network of rules and other kinds of presuppositions (Zizek 9).” That is to say, our communication with others (and with our self, perhaps) is grounded in and acted out through ‘the big Other.’ The big Other comes through us in how we speak and in how we comprehend the other. Zizek akins it to the philosophical use of ‘one.’

    In Japanese culture there are myriads of culturally sensitive ways of interacting, proper expressions to use when interacting and such. When one gives a gift, it is correct to depricate oneself and the gift, while fully knowing that it is not a bad gift and that one is probably in fact very happy to give the gift. This following of verbal etiquette is adhered to and, for Lacan, I think that this would come through as a recognition of ‘the big Other.’ That is, the putting down of oneself (in many situations in Japan) comes through the use of language and the importance of following these linguistic rules. Moreover, it is not a written rule, but it is as if there is a spectral presence watching over the situation, a spectral presence that one recognizes and obeys.

    The origin of the big Other comes through language and as Zizek writes, elucidating a dense passage by Lacan: “The symbolic order emerges from a gift, an offering, that marks its content as neutral in order to pose as a gift: when a gift is offered, what matters is not its content but the link between giver and receiver established when the receiver accepts the gift (Zizek 12).” That is, in the above mentioned example of giving a gift in Japan and admitting that it is not a good gift, etc. is done knowing that it is necessary to sustain the link between self and other and this putting down of oneself is the way in which that link is sustained. Even for the receiver, the way that the giver gives the gift is more important than the gift itself.

    All quotations are from: “How to Read Lacan” by Slavoj Zizek (Norton Publishing)

    • mahesh hapugoda 4:44 pm on April 7, 2009 Permalink

      This is a wonderful essay since it very simply describes the concept ‘Big Other’ which is fairly difficult to explain.

    • Paul M 10:29 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      The best summary of the big Other I have found on the Internet. Thank you. I started reading Lacan with his 1955/66 seminars, The Psychoses. I should have started with Zizek.

    • prasy 11:39 pm on May 13, 2011 Permalink

      the wonderful article which give way a lot to the culture study through both Lacan and Zizek.thank U

    • Andy Welch 7:39 pm on September 22, 2011 Permalink

      Thanks for that summary.

    • Deborah 8:59 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink

      Thank you so much for this. I have an essay on this topic to write, and I’ve been going through about 10 different books and still struggled to understand the concept… Thank you so much, you’ve saved my… well… my essay !

    • ploy 11:06 am on December 17, 2012 Permalink

      this is very helpful. your concrete examples help clarify the concept of the big Other so well. than you very much.

    • Dan 6:50 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink

      Thank you jgrefe. Also a student of all this. Not easy to condense these things but this has helped.

    • JD 9:31 am on March 18, 2013 Permalink

      Thanks for the lucid explanation.

    • jgrefe 10:30 am on March 18, 2013 Permalink

      Thank you! I’m glad this explanation was helpful.

    • jgrefe 10:31 am on March 18, 2013 Permalink

      Thank you, Dan. I appreciate the positive thought.

    • jgrefe 10:31 am on March 18, 2013 Permalink

      Thank you. This particular post is quite popular.

    • Brandon 10:00 pm on October 25, 2014 Permalink

      Awesome! So both Zizek and Lacan have similar interpretations of the Other :) I had wondered why Lacan and Zizek are used interchangeably in speaking of the terms such as the Other, Symbolic and Real, the Order etc. So it seems Zizek was explaining Lacan in a more comprehensible manner. Glad for your clarification. Would like to know more about ideological concepts :)

    • prophemy 10:35 am on May 21, 2018 Permalink

      Very helpful interpretation! Check out this film interpolation with the big Other: https://wordpress.com/post/prophemy.wordpress.com/9

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