same "natural" foundation). These properties are the meta-transcendental conditions for the event of the advent of thetranscendent(al) subject
$. A psychoanalytic theory of subjectivity informed by German idealism is able to contendthat, strange as it may sound, autonomy immanently emerges out of heteronomy as an excess or surplus that cannot bere-inscribed back within the ontological register out of which it grew. As Lacan indicates in his later seminars, thefreedom of autonomous subjectivity is possible only if being is inherently incomplete and internally inconsistent,asymmetrical and out-of-joint with itself. If, by contrast, being is entirely at one with itself, if material nature is a perfectly functioning machine in which each and every cog and component is organically coordinated into the single,massive whole of an uninterrupted One-All, then no space remains, no clearing is held open, for the emergence of something capable of (at least from time to time) transcending or breaking with this stifling ontological closure. Beingmust be originally and primordially unbalanced in order for the subject as a trans-ontological excess to becomeoperative.
As Schelling himself succinctly states, "Were the first nature in harmony with itself, it would remain so.It would be constantly One and would never become Two."
Those points and moments where being becomesdysfunctional (i.e., when, to put it loosely, "the run of things" breaks down) signal the possibility for the genesis of subjectivity as that which cannot be reduced to a mere circuit in the machinery of a base material substratum in whicheverything is exhaustively integrated with everything else.Schelling, in his Clara dialogue, speaks of the "horror of nature,"
claiming that, "within nature there wassomething nameless and frightful."
He then points to the "hideous" necessity of nature's transient nature.
The Ages of the World
, he maintains that intuiting the "inner life" lying beneath the "peaceful" façade of reality'sappearances is liable to provoke "terror."
This Schellingian theme, which comes to the fore in his later post-idealist texts starting in 1809, is incredibly important for a metapsychologically based transcendental materialist theoryof subjectivity insofar as it tacitly advances two axiomatic theses crucial for such a theory: One, the underlyingontogenetic base of the subject consists of the materiality of a certain Real, more specifically, of an internally conflictedlibidinal economy at odds with itself from the very beginning (i.e., the Schellingian "vortex of drive" (
) as thevolatility of, so to speak, substance against itself); Two, the subject is genetically produced as a consequence of the factthat the disturbing discontent of this initial state prompts efforts at taming and domesticating this "corpo-Real,"
efforts that come to constitute and define the fundamental contours of subjectivity itself (as a subject-positioncharacterized by a (pseudo-)transcendence of embodied materiality).For the sake of rigorous clarity and precision, it must be asked at this juncture: What is the difference between, on theone hand, dialectical materialism, and, on the other hand, what is here referred to as "transcendental materialism?"Invoking Badiou is again useful. In a seminar from February 7th, 1977 contained in the 1982 text
Théorie du sujet
,Badiou presents a table succinctly portraying the basic differences between five philosophical paradigms: subjectivemetaphysical idealism, objective metaphysical idealism, dialectical idealism, metaphysical materialism, and dialecticalmaterialism.
Two columns of the table run next to each of these five paradigmatic types: a column under theheading "thought" (
) and a column under the heading "being-in-itself" (
). In the row for type one (i.e.,subjective metaphysical idealism), a circle closing in upon itself is drawn under the heading "thought" and the area beneath the heading "being-in-itself" is crossed out (indicating that this philosophical type represents something alongthe lines of Berkeley-style solipsism). In the row for type two (i.e., objective metaphysical idealism), a circle closing inupon itself is drawn under the heading "thought," but with an arrow connecting it to a point of reference under theheading "being-in-itself" (indicating that this philosophical type represents models involving a correspondence betweenthe mental representations of subjective cognition and the material entities of objective reality). In the row for type three(i.e., dialectical idealism), a circle closing in upon itself starts from a point in the domain of "thought," moves throughthe domain of "being-in-itself," and returns to its initial point of departure in "thought" (this philosophical typeobviously depicts an orthodox, textbook conception of Hegelianism). In the row for type four (i.e., metaphysicalmaterialism), the area beneath the heading "thought" is crossed out and there is only a relation between points under theheading "being-in-itself" (indicating that this philosophical type represents varieties of severely reductive eliminativematerialism in which the existence of everything associated with subjectivity is either denied outright or dismissed asmerely epiphenomenal). Finally, there is the fifth type of philosophical paradigm depicted in Badiou's table, namely,dialectical materialism-its visual schema is one in which a spiral starting from a point in "being-in-itself" loops back-and-forth between "being-in-itself" and "thought." That is to say (borrowing language from classical German idealism),the core dynamic of dialectical materialism is one in which the ground of the immanent material Real gives rise to theexistence of the transcendent more-than-material Ideal (in Lacanian terms, Imaginary-Symbolic reality), with thetranscendent more-than-material Ideal then coming to exert a transformative influence altering the immanent materialReal-with the thus-altered Real then proceeding to transform the Ideal which altered it, and so on indefinitely. In short,rendered in this way, dialectical materialism posits an oscillating interaction between "being-in-itself" (i.e., theasubjective Real) and "thought" (i.e., the Imaginary-Symbolic subject); through this posited interaction, it asserts that aconstant, continual process of reciprocal modification links disparate orders/registers. The Imaginary-Symbolic subjectof
and the asubjective Real of
remain tethered to each other-subjectivity never achieves a self-relatingautonomy in relation to its ontological underbelly.