… we get to certain aspects of objective reality only by insisting on the irreducibility of the subject. And not, for example, by a hasty, precipitate objectivation of the subject itself, as we find, for example, in the materialism involved in some versions of object-oriented ontology, positing that the subject is simply just another object—an object among other objects, with its own specific characteristics. If the subject were simply one object among others, there would be no need for the concept of the subject (in the strong philosophical and psychoanalytic sense); the term “person” (or “human being”) would suffce. The subject names an object that is precisely not just an object among others—this is the whole point, and there is no need for this statement to provoke in us an immediate attack of selflimiting modesty, inciting us to write on banners: “Down with the privileges of the subject! Down with its exceptional status!” For in doing this we are jeopardizing—among many other things—precisely that political dimension of ontology which inspires this kind of democratic and egalitarian project. The stronger thesis that I propose to defend is thus as follows: the subject is not simply an object among many objects; it is also the form of existence of the contradiction, antagonism, at work in the very existence of objects as objects. It refers to the way in which the impasse/contradiction of reality in which different objects appear exists within this same reality. The subject exists among objects, yet it exists there as the point that gives access to a possible objectivation of their inner antagonism, its inscription into their reality. In this precise sense, the fine-sounding thesis about the “democracy of objects” (all objects are ontologically the same, and all are equally worthy of our attention) could be seen as actually (and quite “subjectively”) obfuscating reality “such as it is”: antagonistic.


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