The Dignity of the Thing

Mari Ruti

in The Singularity of Being

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823243143
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823243181 | DOI:

Series: Psychoanalytic Interventions

The Dignity of the Thing

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This chapter presents an overview of Lacan's theory of sublimation – of raising a mundane object to “the dignity of the Thing” – in an attempt to clarify why the sublime is not always the converse of the worldly, but can also adhere to, and shine through, various worldly containers. Utilizing concrete examples such as Lacan's reading of Cézanne's applies and his famous anecdote about his friend's matchbox collection, the chapter details the mechanisms through which the dignity of the Thing discloses itself within ordinary objects (through which the sublime, as it were, becomes accessible within the folds of everyday life). At the same time, the chapter explains why it is all too easy to become seduced by the lure of false objects – for instance, the kinds of commercial objects that seem to contain the Thing's luminescent aura but that are in fact artificially manufactured to sparkle extra brightly so as to drown out this aura.

Keywords: sublimation; the sublime; “the dignity of the Thing”; Cézanne's applies; matchbox collection; everyday life; false objects

Chapter.  9306 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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