Zizek 04

Organs without bodies by Zizek 紀傑克:沒有身體的器官

Translated by Springhero 雄伯譯

32hsiung@pchome.com.tw

 

Memes, Memes Everywhere

模擬,模擬,到處都是模擬

 

In the 1990s, a Japanese toy called tamagochi was very popular. It reduced the other with whom we communicate ( usually a pet animal) to a purely virtual presence on a screen. The game played with it involves acting as if there is a real, living creature behind the screen—we get excited, cry for it, although we know very well that there is nothing behind, just a meaningless digital network. If we take seriously what we just said, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the Other Person with whom we communicate is ultimately also a kind of tamagochi. When we communicate with another subject, we get signals from him, we observe his face as a screen, but, not only do we, partners in communication, never get to know what is “ behind the screen”; the same goes for the concerned subject himself ( i.e., the subject does not know what lies behind the screen of his very own ( self) consciousness, what kind of a Thing he is in the Real! ( Self) consciousness is a surface-screen that products the effect of “ depth,” of a dimension beneath it. And yet, this dimension is accessible only from the standpoint of the surface, as a kind of surface-effect; if we effectively reach behind the screen, the very effect of the “ depth of a person” dissolves. What we are left with is just a set of meaningless processes that are neuronal, biochemical, and so forth. For that reason, the usual polemics about the respective roles of “ genes versus environment” ( of biology versus cultural influence, of nature versus nurture) in the formation of the subject misses the key dimension, namely, that of the interface that both connects and distinguishes the two. The “ subject” emerges when the “ membrane,” the surface that delimits the Inside from the Outside—instead from the Outside—instead of being just a passive medium of their interaction—starts to function as their active mediator.

 

在九十年代,一種被稱為電子雞的日本玩具非常流行。它將我們溝通的對象(通常是寵物)簡化成為在螢幕上純粹虛擬的存在。這個遊戲好似有一個真實的活生生的動物在螢幕背景後,我們為之興奮哭泣,雖然明知背後啥都沒有,只是無意義的數位網絡。假如我們剛才所說的認真看待,我們無法避免這個結論:我們平常溝通的對方終究也是一種電子雞。當我們跟另外一個主體溝通,我們從他那裡得到訊號,我們察言觀色當著螢幕,但是我們作為溝通的伙伴,我們不但不知「螢幕背後」是什麼,對於相關的主體也是一樣(例如,主體不知道他自己意識的螢幕背後是什麼,在真實界他是何許人也。)自我意識是一種表面螢幕,產生底下向量的的「深度」效應。可是,這種向量只能從表面的標準才能靠近當著表面效應。假如我們有效地達到螢幕背後,「一個人的深度」的效應就會瓦解。我們所剩餘的只是一堆無意義的過程,像中子及生化等等。因此,在形成一個主體時,「基因對抗環境」(生物對抗文化影響,自然對抗教養)所扮演的各別角色的通常爭辯常忽略這個關鍵的向量,換言之,連接及區別兩端的介面向量。「主體」會出現,當「薄膜」,也就是除掉內外界線的表面,開始充當他們主動的中介者時,而不僅僅是被動的互動媒介。

 

   The conclusion is then that, even if science defines and starts to manipulate the human genome, this will not enable it to dominate and manipulate human subjectivity. What makes me “ unique” is neither my genetic formula nor the way my dispositions were developed due to the influence of the environment but the unique self-relationship emerging out of the interaction between the two. More precisely, even the word is not quite adequate here, insofar as it still implies the mutual influence of two given sets of positive conditions ( genes and environment), thus failing to cover the crucial feature of Selbst-Beziehung ( the self-referential loop due to which, in the way I relate to my environment, I never reach the “ zero-level” of being passively influenced by it, since, instead, I always –already relate to myself in relating to it, that is, I always-already, with a minimum of “ freedom,” determines in advance the way I will be determined by the environment, up to the most elementary level of sensible perceptions). The way I “ see myself,” the imaginary and symbolic features that constitute my “ self-image” ( or, even more fundamentally, the fantasy that provides the ultimate coordinate of my being), is neither in the genes nor imposed by the environment but in the unique way each subject relates to himself, “ chooses himself,” in relationship to his environs, as well as to ( what he perceives as ) his “ nature.”

  

    結論因此是,即使科學界定並開始操控人類的基因,它也不能夠支配或操控人的主體性。我之所以「獨特」,既不在於我的基因公式,也不在於由於環境的影響所發展的我的性情的方式,而是在於兩者之間互動所出現的獨特自我關係。更準確地說,即使是「互動」這個字眼都未盡貼切。因為它依舊暗示兩組特定條件的互相影響(基因跟環境),因此未能涵蓋自我的特徵(自我指涉的圈套,我跟環境的關係,我從未到達被動被環境影響的「零度」,因為跟環境相關時,我總是已經先跟我自己相關,換言之,我總是已經擁有少量的「自由」,事先決定我被環境決定的方式,我有基本的認知的感覺。)我「看待自己」的方式,組成我「自我形象」的想像及符號特徵(跟基本地說,供應我存在的最後座標的幻見),既不是在基因,也不是環境所賦予,而是在每個主體如何自我相關,「自行選擇」跟環境相關,及跟自己所認知的「天性」相關。

 

   We are thus dealing with a kind of “ bootstrap” mechanism that cannot be reduced to the interaction of myself as a biological entity and my environment; a third mediating agency emerges ( the subject, precisely), that has no positive substantial Being since, in a way, its status is purely “ performative” ( i.e., it is a kind of self-inflamed flame, nothing but the outcome of its activity—what Fichte called a Tathandlung, the pure act of self-referential Selbst-Setzung). Yes,  I emerge through the interaction between my biological bodily base and my environs—but, what both my environs and my bodily base are  is always “ mediated” by my activity. It is interesting to note how today’s most advanced cognitive scientists take over ( or, rather, develop out of their own research) this motif of minimal self-reference that the great German Idealists were trying to formulate in terms of “ transcendental spontaneity.” So, in the case of human clones ( or, already today, of identical twins), what accounts for the uniqueness of each of them is not simply that they were exposed to different environments but the way that each of them formed a unique structure of self-reference out of the interaction between his genetic substance and his environment.

 

   我們因此所處理的是一種「拔襪帶」機械,無法被化簡到自我的互動是生物的實體及環境:還有第三個仲介機構出現(準確地說就是主體),它沒有正面的實質存在,因為它的地位在某方面是「生成的」(例如,它是一種自我燃燒的火焰,僅是它行動的結果,菲希特所謂自我指涉的純粹行動。)是的,透過我生物的身體跟我的環境的互動,我才出現。但是我的環境跟我的身體總是要先由我的動作來「仲介」。我們感到興趣地注意到,這個基本的自我指涉的主題,以前是德國唯心論哲學家設法用「超驗的自發性」來詮釋,今天由最先進的認知科學家接管(或經由他們研究的發展)。所以就基因(或同卵雙胞胎)而言,他們獨特性的解釋不僅僅是,他們暴露在不同的環境,而是他們各別用他的基因材料跟境的互動,組成一個獨特的結構。

 

   The Deleuzian topic of pseudo cause can thus be correlated to the Hegelian notion of the ( retroactive) positing of presuppositions: the direct causality is that of the real interaction of bodies, whereas the pseudo causality is that of retroactively positing the agent’s presuppositions, of ideally assuming what is already imposed on the agent. And what if this also accounts for the emergence of the Subject as a free/autonomous agent? The only “ real” causality occurs at the bodily level of interacting multitudes, while the Subject acts as a “ pseudo cause” that creates events in an autonomous way—again, Deleuze here comes unexpectedly close to Hegel. In the modern sciences, this closed circle of the self-referential “ positing ( of ) the presuppositions,” which Hegel already perceived as the fundamental characteristic of a living entity, is designated as “ autopoiesis”; in a kind of retroactive loop, the result ( the living entity) generates the very material conditions that engender and sustain it. In the tradition of German Idealism, the living organism’s relation to its external other is always-already its self-relationship ( i.e., each organism “ posits” its presupposed environment.)

 

    德勒茲所謂假原因的議題跟黑格爾預設的(反動)關念密切相關:直接的因果律是身體真實互動的因果律,而假原因的因果律則是反動地提出代理者的預設,理念上假設代理者所已經賦予的東西。這樣即使能解釋主體的出現當著是自由或自動的代理者又如何?唯一「真正」的因果律會發生在互動多重性的身體層次,而主體則充當「假原因」,以自主的方式創造事件。在這一點,德勒茲出乎意料地接近黑格爾的說法。在現代科學,這種自我指涉的「提出預設」的封閉圈套,黑格爾曾認為是生命實體的基本特徵,被指明是「自體更生」;以一種反動的圈套,結果(生命實體)產生物質條件,再由物資條件產生及維持生命實體的結果。在德國唯心論哲學的傳統,生命有機體跟它外在它者的關係總是已經在它的自我關係(例如,每個有機體「提出」它預設的環境)。

 

    The problem with this autopoietic notion of life, elaborated by Maturana and Verela in their classic Autopoiesis and Cognition, does not reside in the question “ Does this notion of autopoiesis effectively overcome the mechanistic paradigm?” but, rather, in the question “ how are we to pass from this self-enclosed loop of Life to ( Self) Consciousness?” Other ( Self-consciousness also reflexive, self-relating in its relationship to an Other. However this reflexivity is thoroughly different from the organism’s self-enclosure. A ( self-) conscious living being displays what Hegel calls the infinite power of Understanding, of abstract ( and abstracting) thought—it is able, in its thoughts, to tear apart the organic Whole of Life, to submit it to a mortifying analysis, to reduce the organism to its isolated elements. ( Self) consciousness thus reintroduces the dimension of Death into organic Life; language itself is a mortifying “ mechanism” that colonizes the Organism. ( This, according to Lacan, is what Freud was after in his hypothesis on the “ death drive.” It was ( again) already Hegel who formulated this tension ( among other places) at the beginning of the chapter on Self-Consciousness in his Phenomenology of Spirit, in which he opposed the two forms of “ Life” qua self-relating through relating to the Other: ( organic-biological) life, and ( self) consciousness. The true problem is not ( only ) how to pass from preorganic matter to life but how life itself can break its autopoietic closure and ex-statically turn into the mortifying objectivization of Understanding). The problem is not Life but the Death-in-Life ( “ tarrying with the negative”) of the speaking organism.

 

   莫丘蘭達跟范銳拉在他們經典「自體更生及認知」中,所構想的生命自體更生這個觀念的問題,並不在於「自體更生的觀念能有效地克服機械範例嗎?」,而是在這個問題「我們如何從生命這個自我封閉的圈套傳遞到自我意識?」自我意識在跟一個它者相關時的自我關係時,也是反射性的。可是,這個反射性完全不同於有機體的自我封閉。一個(自我)意識的生命展示黑格爾所謂的理解的無限力量,抽象的思想。在思想中它能夠拆解生命的有機整體,並將它做令人羞任辱的分析,將有機體化簡到孤立的元素。(自我)意識因此重新介紹死亡的向量到有機生命:語言本身就是一個令人羞辱的「機械」殖民化這個有機體。(依照拉岡的說法,這是佛洛依德在論「死亡驅力」的假設時所追求的。)黑格爾在「精神現象學」論自我意識這一章的開始,也已經說明這個緊張。在此,他將生命的兩個形式,透過跟大它者相關而自我關係:(有機體跟生物)的生命及(自我)意識。真正的問題不但是如何從有機體之前的物質傳遞到生命,而是生命本身如何突破它自體更生的封閉,動態地開始更它外在的大它者相關(這個動態的開放也轉變成理解的令人羞辱的客觀化)。這個問題不是生命,而是生命中的死亡,言說主體的(負面等待)。

 

    Within the history of biology, this topic of autopoiesis is part of the “ idealist” tendency of hylozoism: everything that exists, the whole of nature, is alive—it suffers and enjoys. There is no death in this universe; what happens in the case of “ death” is just that a particular coordination of living elements disintegrates, whereas Life goes on, both the Life of the Whole and the lif of the elementary constituents of reality. ( The Sadean “ absolute crime” aims at destroying precisely this second life that survives biological death. We find this position from Aristotle ( his notion of soul as the One-Form of the body) and traditional Soticism through Denis Diderot ( for whom even stones feel pain; it’s just that we don’t hear them—reminding us of the ingenious Patricia Highsmith short story about a woman who wa able to hear the trees shouting when being cut down) and the Schellingian Romantic notion of the World-Soul, up to the whole panoply of today’s theories, from the notion of Gaia (Earth as a living organism) to Deleuze, the last great philosopher of the One, the “ body without organs” that thrives in the multitude of its modalities. One should also add to this series thinkers as different as Francisco Varela, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Heidegger, who all search for the unity of body and subject, the point at which the subject directly ( is” his or her body.

 

    在生物的歷史中,自體更生的議題萬有生命論的「唯心論」傾向:存在的萬物,自然界整體,都是有生命的,它會痛苦及歡樂。在宇宙中沒有死亡;在「死亡」的狀況所發生的僅僅是,生命元素的特別座標瓦解而已,生命仍然繼續,不管是整體的生命或是現實界基本成分的生命。(沙德所謂「終極的罪」目標就是要毀滅這個生物死亡之後的第二個生命。)我們也找個這個立場,從亞力斯多德(他將靈魂當著身體的一種形式)及傳統禁欲學派,到狄特羅(對他而言,即使石頭都能感受痛苦,只是我們沒有聽見。這讓我們想到天才橫溢的海史密斯的短篇小說,描寫一位女人能夠聽見樹被砍伐時的喊叫),以及謝林對於世界靈魂的浪漫想法,一直到今天理論的整個氣氛,從歌亞的觀念(地球作為有生命的機體)到德勒茲這位一體論的最後大師,「沒有器官的身體」靠著眾多補助而生存。我們還有再增加一些不同的思想家,維銳拉、龐帝、海徳格。他們都尋求身體與主體的一致性,此時主體直接就是他或是她的身體。

 

    Against this tradition stands the Cartesian tradition to which Lacan fully subscribes: the body exists in the order of having I am not my body, I have it, and this gap renders possible the Gnostic dream of Virtual Reality in which I will be able to shift from one to another virtual body. For Lacan, the key implication of the Cartesian reduction of the body to res extensa is that jouissance is evacuated from bodies, in contrast to mylozoism, in which the body enjoys itself; “ ca jouit,” as Lacan and Deleuze put it. In today’s science and technology, a “ body in pieces” is emerging, a composite of replaceable organs ( pacemakers, artificial limbs, transposed skin, heart, liver, and other transplants—up to the prospect of genetically cultivatd reserve organs). This trend culminates in today’s biogenetics: the lesson of the genome project is that the true center of a living body is not its Soul but its genetic algorithm. It was already Wismann, one of Freud’s key references, who, more than one hundred years ago, established the distinction between an organism’s “ mortal” and “ immortal” parts; its “ soma,” the external body-envelope that grows and disintegrates, and the “ germ-cells,” the genetic component that reproduces itself, remaining the same from one to another generation. Richard Dawkins provided the ultimate formula of this distinction with his notion of the “ the selfish gene”: it is not that individual organisms use their genes to replicate themselves; it is, on the contrary, individual organisms that are the means for the genes to reproduce themselves.

 

     拉岡所認同的笛卡爾的傳統跟這個傳統剛好相反:身體存在於擁有的秩序,我的存在不是身體,而是擁有身體。這個差距使得諾斯神秘教派的虛擬真實界成為可能:我能夠從一個虛擬身體轉移到另一個虛擬身體。對於拉岡,笛卡爾將身體化簡到生理層次,關鍵的意涵是:從身體可以得到歡樂,不同於萬有生命論的:身體享受自己。如拉岡跟德勒茲所說的:自己爽。在今天的科學跟科技,「零件的身體」正在出現。一種可替代器官的組合(心臟起搏器、人工義肢、移植皮膚、心臟、肝、及其它移植,直到基因培育的預備器官。)這種趨勢在今天的基因學達到巔峰。基因計畫的教導是:身體生命的真實中心不是它的靈魂,而是它基因的軌跡。佛洛依德常引用的韋思曼,在一百多年前已經區別有機體「會腐朽」及「不朽」的部份:它的「細胞體」,外在的皮囊會成長及瓦解,及「細菌胞」,基因的成份會繁殖自己,從一代到另一代都保持一樣。李查、道慶對於這個區別用「自私基因」的觀念,提供一個最後的公式:不是各別的有機體使用它們的基因來複製自己,相反的,個別的有機體才是基因複製自己的工具。

 

   The properly materialist problem is, How does subjectivity emerge in this reproductive cycle of genes? The line from germ to genome radicalizes the notion of the body within a body, of the real “ immortal” body persisting, reproducing itself, through the generation and corruption of passing mortal bodies. The Lacanian subject is neither the organic Form-Soul—one of the body, nor the germ-genome, the body within the body. The emergence of subjectivity introduces a complication here. Richard Dawkins tries to elaborate a parallel between genes and memes—in the same way bodies are just means for the reproduction of genes, individuals are just means qua elementary units of meaning. The problem here is that, with the symbolic order, the passing individual is not just S, the soma, the disposable envelope, but $ , the barred subject, the self-relating negativity that perverts/inverts the natural order, introducing a radical “ pathological “ imbalance. It is the individual who uses the memes for his or her own purposes. “ Memes” the ( symbolic tradition) are a secondary attempt to reintroduce a kind of stability and order, to reestablish the proper subordination of the particular to the universal, that was disturbed by the emergence of subjectivity: “ subject” is the mortal vanishing accident that posits itself as a infinite end-in-itself.

 

    典型唯物論的問題是:在這個基因的繁殖循環中,主體性如何出現?從細菌到細胞的演變激化一些觀念,像身體中的身體,真正的「不朽」持續下去,繁殖自己,透過會腐朽身體的代代傳承。拉岡的主體既不是有機的靈魂形式,身體的一種,也不是細菌及細胞,身體中的身體。主體性的出現在此介紹一個併發症。李查、道慶設法構想一個基因跟模擬之間的對比,就像是身體只是基因繁殖的工具,個人只是作為意義基本單位的工具。在此的問題是,以這種符號的秩序,過程中的個人不僅僅是某甲,可用完即丟的細胞體皮囊,而是被禁制的某甲人,自我相關的負面使自然的秩序變態或倒轉,介紹一種激進的「病理學」的不平衡。這個個人使用模擬來當他或她自己的目的。「模擬」(符號的傳統)是其次的企圖要重新介紹一種穩定跟秩序,重新建立從特殊到普及的受到主體性出現而被擾亂的適當座標:主體是會腐朽的消失意外,現在提出自己當著無限的目標本身。

 

    One should be careful not to miss the specific level of the notion of memes. A “ memes” spreads neither because of its actual beneficial effects upon its bearers( say, those who adopt it are more successful in life and thus gain an upper hand in the struggle for survival) nor because of its characteristics that make it subjectively attractive to its bearers ( one would naturally tend to give privilege to the idea that promises happiness over the idea that promises nothing but misery and renunciation). Like a computer virus, the meme proliferates simply by programming its own retransmission. Recall the classic example of two missionaries working in a politically stable and opulent country. One says, “ The end is near—repent or you will suffer immensely, “ whereas the other’s message is just to enjoy a happy life. Although the second one’s message is much more attractive and beneficent, the first one will win—why? Because, if you really believe that the end is near, you will exert a tremendous effort to convert as many people as possible, whereas the other belief does not require such an extreme engagement in proselytizing. What is so unsettling about this notion is that we, humans endowed with mind, well, and an experience of meaning, are nonetheless unwitting victims of a “ thought contagion” that operates blindly, spreading itself like a computer virus. No wonder that, when talking about memes, Dennett regularly resorts to the same metaphors as Lacan apropos of language: in both cases, we are dealing with a parasite that penetrates and occupies the human individual, using it for its own purposes. And, effectively, does “ memetics” not ( re)discover the notion of a specifi symbolic level that operates outside ( and, consequently, cannot be reduced to) the standard couple of objective biological facts ( beneficent “ real” effects) and subjective experience ( the attraction of the meaning of a meme)? In a liminal case, an idea can spread even if, in the long term, it brings only destruction to its bearers and is even experienced as unattractive.

 

我們應該小心不要忽略模擬的觀念這明確的層次。模擬會擴大,不是因為它本身對於模擬者有實際的利益(例如,使用模擬的人生涯更成功,因此在生存鬥爭中佔上風。)也不是因為它的特性主觀上吸引模擬者(我們當然會認可給我們帶來幸福的觀念,勝過於僅僅帶來悲慘跟捨棄的觀念。)像電腦病毒,模擬僅僅憑藉程式一再轉變來繁殖。回想一下兩位在政治穩定而富裕的國家工作的傳教士的經典例子。其中一位說:「末日已經到了。懺悔吧,否則會痛苦萬分。」而另一位的訊息只是享受你的生命。雖然第二個訊息更加迷人而有益,第一個訊息會贏。為什麼?因為假如你真的末日來臨,你會盡巨大努力改變更多人的信仰,而另一外那一種信仰並沒有要求這樣一種激進的參與改變信仰。這個觀念讓人不安的地方在於,我們作為具有心靈的人類竟然不智地會成「思想疫病」的受害者,當這種疫病像電腦病毒般地擴散。難怪,談到模擬時,鄧尼慣常地使用跟拉岡談到語言時的相同的比喻。兩種情形都是在處理貫穿並佔據人類個人作為己用的寄生物。就效用而言,模擬難道不是重新發現運作在外的明確符號的觀念,結果無法被化簡成為兩三個客觀的生物的事實(有利益的真實效果)及主觀的經驗(模擬意義的吸引人)?就引發的情形而言,一個觀念能夠擴散,即使它最後會帶來毀滅給模擬者,甚至被當著不愉快的經驗。

 

    Is there not a surprising parallel between this notion of memes and the Marxist-Hegelian notion of alienation? In the same way memes, misperceived by us, subjects, as means of our communication, effectively run the show ( they use us to reproduce and multiply themselves), productive forces, which appear to us as means to satisfy our needs and desires, effectively run the show. The true aim of the process, its end-in-itself, is the development of the productive forces, and the satisfaction of our needs and desires( i.e., hat appears to us as the goal) is effectively ust the means for the development of the productive forces. This reversal, unbearable to our narcissism, is paradigmatic of modern science, of its production of knowledge that is, in a way, too traumatic t be incorporated into the beliefs which structure our daily lives. Already, quantum physics can no longer be : understood: ( its results cannot be integrated into our everyday view of reality). The same goes for biogenetics. Although we accept its truth, we simultaneously maintain toward it the attitude of fetishist disavowal. We refuse to believe not in a religious doctrine beyond scientific knowledge but in what scientific knowledge itself is telling us about ourselves.

 

   在模擬的觀念跟馬克思及黑格爾的疏離觀念之間,難道不是有著令人驚奇的對比?同樣的,模擬被我們主體錯誤地當著是溝通的工具,有效地在運作它的展示(模擬使用我門來繁殖及增倍自己),它的生產力,對於我們似乎是一種滿足我們需要跟慾望的工具,卻是有效地運作它的展示。這個過程的真正目的,本身就是目的,就是生產力的發展,而我們需要跟慾望的滿足(例如,滿足我們的目標。)在效用上洽是生產力發展的工具。這種倒轉,對於我們的自戀是情何以堪,卻是現代科學的典範,知識的生產在某方面是過於令人創傷,跟架構我們日常生活的信仰格格不入。量子物理現在已經不能讓人理解(它的結果不再能合併到現實生活的觀點裏)。生物基因學也是相同情形。雖然我們接受它的真理,我們同時也把它當物神般敬而遠之。我們拒絕相信,不是因為宗教的教條超越科學的知識,而是科學知識的本身所告知我們的令人匪夷所思。

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