alenka zupancic

The Puppeteer and Their Insatiable Desire—Jacques Lacan, the Big Other, and Endless Obsession

The Puppeteer and Their Insatiable Desire—Jacques Lacan, the Big Other, and Endless Obsession

Much can be said about Jacques Lacan, but as far as biographical notes, I’ll stick to the essentials here. Lacan was a French psychoanalyst, strongly influenced by the work of the late Sigmund Freud; and like Freud, Lacan managed to stir up a good deal of controversy in the course of his career. In Paris he delivered yearly lectures from 1953 to 1981, many of which have been translated into English—though not necessarily with great clarity. …

I’m not exactly an expert on Lacan, and truth be told the controversies that swirl around his scholarship are concerning, but he’s one of the primary influences of a philosopher I enjoy reading from time to time: Slavoj Zizek. Zizek is a Slovenian continental philosopher, and while I don’t see eye to eye with him in all things, it’s hard for me to find a moment when I didn’t enjoy reading his work. Like Lacan, Zizek too can be somewhat obscure, but never in an unrewarding way. And in order to more fully understand Zizek, I have recently attempted to understand Lacan—in so far as I can, of course.