MAUS and the Real

Art: “Samuel Beckett once said: ‘Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.'”

Pavel: “Yes.”

Art: “On the other hand, he SAID it.”

Pavel: “He was right. Maybe you can include it in your book.”

~Art Spiegelman

Heidegger believed that reflection on the reality of the world and of the null characteristic of social reality provided an opening onto the horizon of Nothingness. Not that nothing exists, but that things exist and there is nothing to do about them as such. Reality stands and we can ascertain no more than that reality, all else is speculation and an opening up unto forlornless.

Jacques Lacan speaks of the symbolic register of social reality, the imaginary register of relations and linguistic conceptions (e.g. Derrida’s binaries), and of the Real register: the Kantian noumena that manages in times of trauma or sublimity to peak its head over the veil of perceptions, which always already diminish and categorize the world, procrustean as they are. These moments provoke anxiety and their recurrence can manifest itself in the self as pathology, as madness.

Reality as such is jarring. Reality as such is unspeakable.


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