Lacan claims that the gods belong to the order of the real. This, I think, can only be understood in the context of Levi-Strauss’s theory of myth. Myth is that which fills in structural contradictions, impasses of formalization, antagonisms, and fissures in the symbolic. So long as we understand the Lacanian real as reality, we’re doomed to miss his meaning. We will think Lacan is saying the gods are real in the colloquial sense of “real” (in the sense that we say, in ordinary language- not “Lacanese” –that “the sun is real”). The Lacanian real just is these fissures in the symbolic (akin to Kant’s paralogisms and antinomies). The idea of the gods (like ideology) tries to cover over the real, to veil and clothe it. The question for a post-ontotheological ontology is whether the real can be endured as such without gods. Insofar as philosophy begins with the project of breaking with myth (and therefore, also, ideology which is the modern variant of myth), this question is not peripheral to philosophy, but at its heart.
August 18, 2014