Exemplified Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
In conscious life, we achieve some sense of ourselves as reasonably unified, coherent selves, and without this action would be impossible. But all this is merely at the 'imaginary' level of the ego, which is no more than the tip of the iceberg of the human subject known to psychoanalysis. The ego is function or effect of a subject which is always dispersed, never identical with itself, strung out along the chains of the discourses which constitute it. There is a radical split between these two levels of being - a gap most dramatically exemplified by the act of referring to myself in a sentence. When I say 'Tomorrow I will mow the lawn, ' the 'I' which I pronounce is an immediately intelligible, fairly stable point of reference which belies the murky depths of the 'I' which does the pronouncing. The former 'I' is known to linguistic theory as the 'subject of the enunciation', the topic designated by my sentence; the latter 'I', the one who speaks the sentence, is the 'subject of the enunciating', the subject of the actual act of speaking. In the process of speaking and writing, these two 'I's' seem to achieve a rough sort of unity; but this unity is of an imaginary kind. The 'subject of the enunciating', the actual speaking, writing human person, can never represent himself or herself fully in what is said: there is no sign which will, so to speak, sum up my entire being. I can only designate myself in language by a convenient pronoun. The pronoun 'I' stands in for the ever-elusive subject, which will always slip through the nets of any particular piece of language; and this is equivalent to saying that I cannot 'mean' and 'be' simultaneously. To make this point, Lacan boldly rewrites Descartes's 'I think, therefore I am' as: 'I am not where I think, and I think where I am not.

Terry Eagleton
Indeed, he could not be long in discovering that people beyond a suspicion of unbalance, or not obviously coveting the moment's arrest of attention gained them by their statements, never had experience with or knowledge of the restless dead. Slowly accepting this as evidence that no such things existed, Mr. Lecky found terrors deeper, and to him more plausible, to fill that unoccupied place - the simple sense of himself alone, and, not unassociated with it, the conception of a homicidal maniac quietly pursuing him. The first was exemplified by chance solitude in what he had considered deep woods. No part in it was played by natural dismay which he might have felt at finding himself lost, and none by any tangible suggestion of danger. Mr. Lecky could not even remember where or when it was. Long ago, under a seamless gray sky which would probably end with snow; in an autumnal silence free from birds, unmoved by the least breath of wind, he had come to be walking at random impulse. Leaves, yellow, tan, drifted deep and loose over the difficulties of an uneven hillside. His feet crashed and crackled in them. He was not going anywhere. He had nothing in mind. It might have been this receptive vacancy of thought which let him, little by little, grow aware of a menace. The unnatural light leaf-buried ground, the low dark sky, the solitary noise of his unskilled progress - none of them was good. He began to notice that though the fall of leaves left an apparent bright openness, in reality it merely pushed to a distance the point at which the woods became as impenetrable as a wall. He walked more and more slowly, listening, hearing nothing; looking, seeing nothing. Soon he stopped, for he was not going any farther. Standing in the deep leaves beneath trees bare and practically dead in the catalepsy of impending winter, he knew that he did not want to be here. A great evil - no more to be named than, met, to be escaped - waited fairly close. So he left. He got out of those woods onto an open road where he need not watch for anything he could not see.

James Gould Cozzens
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