File nietzsche/nietzsche.0801, message 2

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Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 15:52:31 -0500
Subject: [Nietzsche] Zizek & Koenigsberg on The Matrix,


The Matrix, Human Batteries and the Symbolic Order
By Richard A. Koenigsberg


The Matrix, Slavoj Zizek concludes in his analysis of the 1999 film
<> , represents the "big Other;" the
virtual symbolic order that structures reality for us. The central image of
the movie is that of millions of human beings leading a claustrophobic life
in water-filled cradles. Each human being is a fetus-like organism immersed
in pre-natal fluid, kept alive in order to generate electricity for The

Beneath the delusion of vibrant existence lays the reality of utter
passivity. The human being is connected to The Matrix by what amounts to an
umbilical cord. The Matrix feeds human beings with illusions, but it is
human energy that feeds the matrix. Zizek suggests that human beings are the
"ultimate instruments of the Other's (Matrix's) jouissance." 

The film depicts human-beings as batteries whose purpose is to sustain the
matrix. As the matrix or symbolic order provides us with the illusion of
reality, so does it suck our life-substance. The Matrix requires a "constant
influx of jouissance of those who constitute it."



Richard A. Koenigsberg

ISBN: 978-1593118587
 The Fantasy of Oneness and the Struggle to Separate
* Previously published as SYMBIOSIS AND SEPARATION.

INDIVIDUALS: Please email for information on
how you can order your own, personal copy.


Based on my research on warfare
<> , I
posit similar dynamic linking human beings to the maintenance of the
symbolic order. This relationship is conveyed aphoristically in the title of
my online publication,
<> "As
the Soldier Dies, so Does the Nation Come Alive."

I suggest that the soldiers in war--like human beings (batteries) in The
Matrix provide energy that renews the symbolic order. The body and blood of
the soldier--sacrificial victim in warfare--feeds into and regenerates the
body politic.

Roger Griffin concludes
<>  that the First
World War can best be understand as a collective act of redemptive
self-sacrifice--"transcendent meaning produced by the relentless flow of
blood." An analysis of the published letters of French soldiers by John
/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199894074&sr=8-1>  delineates this
relationship between blood sacrifice and national regeneration.

One French soldier--looking at the warriors that had fallen around
him--wondered whether the "gift of their blood" was not the "supernatural
source of the renewal of life which must be given to our country." This
metaphor conveys the idea of death in battle as a transfusion--the moment at
which blood contained within the body of the soldier passes or flows into
the body politic, acting to energize the latter and keep it alive.

My monograph The Fantasy of Oneness and the Struggle to Separate (2008)
theorizes that human beings exist in a symbiotic tie to their societies. We
identify deeply with and imagine that our egos are fused with our nation. We
live within the symbolic order as if fish within an ocean, scarcely
distinguishing ourselves from the matrix in which we are immersed.

When we turn on the television or read newspapers, it is as if we are
plugging into The Matrix: connecting to images of gratification or enjoyment
as if by an umbilical cord. We feel symbiotically connected to the
mass-media, which offers us an omnipotent fantasy of "national life" that
citizens share in common.

It is the symbiotic tie between human beings and society that the film The
Matrix conveys. We are bound in a condition of abject passivity to the
symbolic order, yet entirely unconscious of the fact that we live in such a
condition. Our relationship to the world is that of someone dreaming while
imagining he or she is awake.

The mass-media is The Matrix: a magical world with which human beings
imagine they are united; an umbilical cord that seems to provide endless
gratification. What the film suggests is that as the mass-media feeds us, so
do we feed it. We are like batteries from which society draws its energy. We
feed the fantasy. As Zizek puts it, The Matrix runs off jouissance that it
drains from deluded subjects.



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