Jacques Lacan Parle

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The Trick

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This guy is drowning.

This is a joke I heard.  While I have no idea of its source this particular version is based on one from Dom DeLuise...

This guy is drowning.  He’s having a very hard time in the ocean.

A boat comes by and the captain says to the guy: “Are you all right?  Do you need any help?”

The guy says: “It’s OK.  I have faith in God.  Move on.”

The boat goes away.

A helicopter comes by and the pilot says to the guy: "Are you all right?  Do you need any help?”

The guy says: “It’s OK.  I have faith in God.  Move on.”

The helicopter goes away.

The man drowns. He goes to heaven.

The man looks at God and says: “I prayed and prayed for you to save me.  What happened?!”

God says: “I sent a boat and a helicopter.” 

YMMV.  Though, it occurs to me, that when read (or re-read) this in conjunction with "God as the ultimate jokester"  and this scene from the film The Pervert's Guide to Ideology we are presented with a new avenue for understanding this particular piece of humor.  We are, in a sense, given a new lens with which to see the same thing - as well as the things around us - in a different light: 


What dies on the cross is precisely this guarantee of the big Other.  The message of Christianity is here radically atheist.  It’s the death of Christ - is not any kind of redemption or commercial affair in the sense of Christ suffers to pay for our sins - paid to who, for what, and so on.  It’s simply the disintegration of the God which guarantees the meaning of our lives.  And that’s the meaning of the famous phrase Eli Eli lama sabachthani - "Father why have you forsaken me?"


The message of Christ is “I am dying but my death, itself, is good news.”  It means you are alone, left to your freedom, be in the Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, which is just the community of believers.  It is wrong to think that the second coming will be that Christ, as a figure, will return somehow.  Christ is already here when believers form an emancipatory collective.  This is why I claim that the only way, really, to be an atheist is to go through Christianity.  Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism - which can claim there is no God and so on but nonetheless it retains a certain trust into the big Other.  This big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution, or whatever.  We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within a harmonious goal of evolution, whatever.  But the difficult thing to accept is, again, that there is no big Other.  No point of reference which guarantees meaning.





The Pervert's Guide to Ideology.  Dir. Sophie Fiennes.  Perf. Slavoj Žižek.  Zeitgeist Films, 2012.



The selection from the film posted here is from YouTube.  Information on the entire film can be found here.

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