The Ethics of Sublimation

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 Ethics of Sublimation

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This chapter builds upon the insights of the previous one to provide an analysis of Lacan's ethics of sublimation – an ethics that asks the subject to pursue the echo of the Thing even at the cost of its wellbeing or social convenience. Portraying sublimation as an antidote to contemporary society's nihilistic inability to locate any traces of the transcendent within everyday life, the chapter explains that sublimation demands the ability to envision a version of reality that deviates from the one dictated by the dominant reality principle. It proposes that Lacan's theory of sublimation holds an ethical thrust precisely because it reaches beyond the reality principle to the sublime echo that resonates in ordinary objects and that connects the subject to the utter idiosyncrasy (the “truth”) of its desire. The chapter ends by making a case for the idea that anxiety might be the necessary – and thus ultimately unavoidable – flipside of creativity.

Keywords: the ethics of sublimation; the echo of the Thing; the transcendent; the reality principle; the idiosyncrasy of desire; anxiety; creativity

Chapter.  8799 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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