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Zizek, S. (2007). Anxiety: Kierkegaard with Lacan. Ann. Psychoanal., 35:179-189.

(2007). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 35:179-189

Anxiety: Kierkegaard with Lacan

Slavoj Zizek, Ph.D.

Kierkegaard's God is strictly correlative to the ontological openness of reality, to our relating to reality as unfinished, “in becoming.” “God” is the name for the Absolute Other against which we can measure the thorough contingency of reality; as such, it cannot be conceived as any kind of substance, as the Supreme Thing (that would again make him part of reality, its true ground). This is why Kierkegaard has to insist on God's thorough “desubstantialization.” God is “beyond the order of Being,” he is nothing but the mode of how we relate to him, that is, we do not relate to him; he is this relating:

God himself is this: how one involves himself with Him. As far as physical and external objects are concerned, the object is something else than the mode: there are many modes. In respect to God, the how is the what. He who does not involve himself with God in the mode of absolute devotion does not become involved with God [Kierkegaard, 1970, entry 1405].

The Christian passage to Holy Spirit as love (Christ's “whenever there will be love between the two of you, I will be there”) is to be taken literally: God as the divine individual (Christ) passes into the purely nonsubstantial link between the individuals. This absolute devotion is enacted in the gesture of total self-renunciation: “In self-renunciation one understands one is capable of nothing” (Kierkegaard, 1962a, p. 355). This renunciation bears witness to the gap that separates us from God: The only way to assert one's commitment to unconditional meaning of life is to relate all of our life, our entire existence, to the absolute transcendence of the divine, and because there is no common measure between our life and the divine, the sacrificial renunciation cannot be part of an exchange with God.

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