Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling in Action

David M. Boje

Book being prepared for Routledge, due March 2018

To cite this document: Boje, David M. (2018) "Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling In Action", (March 15), URL = <>


STREAM 5 - Žižek’s Revival of Hegelian Dialectics

Please begin with the Hegel study guide before attempting this one

and Barad Study Guide

mabel video

In this episode David Boje and Mabel Sanchez review Slavoj Žižek Hegelian critique of Karen Barad's Agential Realism, from his book Less Than Nothing (2012). In the video Mabel gives her rendition on what Barad might say about this. This is part of a series on organizational research methods. Study guides available at


Žižek Relational Process Ontology © D. M. Boje, 2017

Figure 1: Slavoj Žižek Relational Process Ontology (figure © D. M. Boje, 2017).

Description: Žižek, Slavoj seminal text, LESS THAN NOTHING (2012)- see last chapter of his dialectic systems extension of Karen Barad's work Žižek in the later part of his book, raises a number of questions about Barad's work on intra-activity. Žižek suggests that Hegel dialectics is at work in the intra-activity of materiality with human discourse. Main point of the book: "With Hegel, we begin with the obvious historical question: "in what meaningful sense can one still be a Hegelian today, bearing in mind the radically changed historical constellation?" (Žižek, 2012: 5). Žižek (1989) applies Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to Marxism, and extends to political-ideological rather than clinical field.

Some References for this Study Guide:

Žižek, Slavoj. (1989). The sublime object of ideology. Preface by Ernesto Laclau. London/NY: Verso.

Žižek, Slavoj. (2009). The Parallax View. Cambridge/London: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. On line free pdf.

Žižek, Slavoj. (2012). Less than nothing: Hegel and the shadow of dialectical materialism. London/NY: Verso Books.Online free pdf at

Žižek, Slavoj. (2004/2012). Organs without bodies: On Deleuze and consequences. London: Routledge. 2004 1st edition, 2012 with new introduction.

Zizek, Slavoj. (2014). Absolute recoil: Towards a new foundation of dialectical materialism. London/NY: Verso Books. Online free pdf without page numbers.


Slavoj Žižek, (1989) includes Laclau’s Preface. According to Laclau first, Žižek applies his Slovenia school reading of Lacanian point (de capiton) to ideological operation of fantasy that conceals spirit (antagonism) through which the social field is structure and ideologically constituted. Lacanian enjoyment (jouissance) concept allows us to understand the logic of exclusion in racism discourses. Second Žižek applies Lacanian categories and Hegel to classical philosophical texts: Plato, Kant, Marx, and Heidegger.

Žižek (1989: 11), reading of Lacan, is Marx invented the notion of Freudian symptom comedy fetishism, in that the world of commodities produces symptom of dreams, hysterical phenomena, and so on. The secret of cocmoidy is the hidden depth of fetishism. Žižek takes this into a pansexualism of Freudian approach to dreams, and how unconscious desire is at work. The implication is unconscious sexual desire (fetishistic inversion) is at work in unconsciousness of the commodity-form of the political economy (Žižek, 1989: 16). The “real abstraction” is not in the sense of the real properties of commodities as material objects, or use-values (form, colour, taste), or material object of money in consciousness, but rather in the symbolic order of unconsciousness (“Mother has not got a phallus”, “money as a ‘pre-phasic’, ‘anal’ object”) (Žižek, 1989: 18).

Therefore the ‘real’ ‘reality’ has nothing to do with material properties of actants, but rather with the unconscious ontological status of the symbolic order. This is the epistemological (way of knowing) confusion, inattention to how the symbolic order of the unconscious enters the material exchange process (material empirical appearance) or “atomised individuals in the market” (Žižek, 1989: 19-20). It is not Marxian ‘false consciousness’ some illusory representation of material ideality, rather the ‘symptom’ is how people ‘enjoy’ their symptom in Lacanian sense of jouissance.

In Hegelian notion of society (rational totality) Žižek (1989: 23) wants to include how reason encounters unreason in commodity fetishism relation between things. “The place of fetishism has just shifted from intersubjective relations to relations ‘between things’: the crucial social relations, those of production, are no longer immediately transparent in the form of the interpersonal relations of domination and servitude (of the Lord and his serfs, and so on); they disguise themselves — to use Marx’s accurate formula — ‘under the shape of social relations between things, between the products of labour’” (Žižek, 1989: 26).

The social relations between individuals has become “disguised under the shape of social relations between things” which creates an “hysteria of conversion” in late modern capitalism and the “dialectics of commodity fetishism” (Žižek,, 1989: 26-27). The Hegelian “negation of the negation has become perverted by the reign of cynical reason in which truth claims are unable to distinguish between symptom and fantasy (Žižek, 1989: 30-31): “… already the effective world of commodities which behaves like a Hegelian subject-substance, like a Universal going through a series of particular embodiments” in the world of commodities.

“ If our concept of ideology remains the classic one in which the illusion is located in knowledge, then today’s society must appear post-ideological” the prevailing ideology is that of cynicism; people no longer believe in ideological truth; they do not take ideological propositions seriously. The fundamental level of ideology, however, is not of an illusion masking the real state of things but that of an (unconscious) fantasy structuring our social reality itself)” (Žižek, 1989: 33).

Rather than a dialectical opposition between persons and things, Žižek’s Lacanian reading, is in late capitalism, we imagine we are free (emancipated) of feudalistic ideological beliefs and superstitions, and are driven instead by rational utilitarian selfish interests is embodied in “social relations between things” in a mystification, “the things themselves believe… in their places” (Žižek, 1989: 34). In Žižek’s Hegelian reading, for example the windmill is not just moved around by the wind, rather “the wheel itself is praying for me”. In “the Marxian notion of fetishism… fetish conceals the positive network of social relations, whereas in Freud a fetish cancels the lack (‘castration’) around which the symbolic network is articulated” (Žižek,1989: 49). For Žižek, the real always returns to fetishism, surplus-value becomes surplus-enjoyment, in a Lacanian constitutive lack. Rather than “vulgar evolutionist dialectics of productive forces” historical process, Žižek theories an unseen working of unconscious desire, the sublime object (Žižek (1989: 53).

Žižek’s (2004/2012) reading of Deleuze is movement that desire is without destination. Rather, the free flux of desire (will to power) deteritorializes and reterritorializes. Žižek finds Deleuze’s critique of Hegel (and refusal of dialectic of Spirit), ironic because “there is no transcendent or negating subject of creation that lmicc need time in order to become conscious of itself or otherwise catch up with itself” (Žižek, 2012: x, citing Deleuze). Žižek concludes that Deleuze has merely misread Hegel, and actually has much in common. For Žižek, Deleuzian notion of virtual movement invites a Lacanian reading. Žižek overlooks that Deleuze and Lacan were not strangers to one another’s work. Deleuze desiring machines and Lacanian drive in ‘organ without a body’ for Žižek “precedes the Oedipal triangulation and its dialectic of the prohibitory Law and its transgression” (Žižek, 2004/2012: xii).

We can learn something important in Žižek and Deleuze, about the gap of body without organs (BwO), flux of desire is a possible way out of hieratic-harmonious Whole of organs, in organization studies, with organ’s place and function in corporate forms of organisation. What is reengineering and downsizing if not the desire for BwO? Ever subversive Žižek reverses the Deleuzian formulation, from BwO to OwB in the Deleuzian-virtual and Lacanian virtual-’Real’ (Žižek, 2004/2012: xii).

For Žižek (2004/2012) there is an ontological difference between the Virtual and the Actual, that quantum physics wave-particle which “the genius of Deleuze… notion of ‘transcendental empiricism’” that “is infinitely RICHER than reality— it is the infinite potential field of virtualities out of which reality is actualised” (italics, caps, in original). This is somewhat parallel to Roy Bhaskar’s notion that the Real is greater than Actual, which is far greater than Empirical. But what Deleuze by Žižek’s reading has don it compile opposites (“transcendental + empirical … points toward a field of experience beyond (or rather beneath) the experience of constituted or perceived reality” (Žižek, 2004/2012: 4). In Bhaskar the empirical experience (aka retrospective sensemaking) is less than actual (event) and both are less than Real (generative mechanisms). Deleuze pre-reflexive desire-machine is a generative mechanism of Becoming, BwO. Unlike Heidegger Being-in-the-world, Deleuze’s notion is “pure becoming without being” (Žižek, 2004/2012: 9, italics and boldness, original). For Deleuze, the corporeal entity is in relation to incorporeal, actuality in relation to unactualized, instantiated in relation to uninstantiated, and so forth.

The Hegelian negation of the negation, is for Žižek (2006: 9) a Descartes move of the cogito, what Karen Barad (2007) calls agential cut. The difference is for Žižek the negation of the negation is a dialectical process of of the parallax, the “irreducible gap between the phenomenal experience of reality and its scientific account/explanation, which rages its apogee in cognitivism”, between third-person near-biological and first-person experience, a between without common ground, thus the parallax gap between the quantum and the social engagement of collective social action.

For Žižek, as always, the dialectic ‘progress’ is “through a series of variations with regard to the relationship between face, sexual organs, and other bodily parts, and the modes of their respective uses: the organ remains the phallus, but the opening to the penetrated changes (anus, mouth). Then, in a kind of ‘negation of negation,’ no only does the object to be penetrated change, but the totality of the person this is the partner passes into its opposite (homosexuality). In a further development, the goal itself is no longer organism (fetishism) …” (Žižek, 2006: 12-13).


Here is the key to why Žižek contends that Barad needs Hegelian dialectic to explain the 'dash' ('-') in agential-realism:

“Complementarity in quantum physics (wave or particle) excludes any dialectical relationship, there is no mediation between the parallax gap that separates the two aspects-is this gap the non-dialectical ground of negativity? The old metaphysical problem of how to name the nameless abyss pops up here in the context of how to name the primordial gap: contradiction, antagonism, symbolic castration, parallax, diffraction, complementarity ... up to difference. As Jameson hinted, perhaps one should leave this gap nameless, but what we should not abstain hom is at least an interim outline of the ontology implied by such a universe” (Zizek, 20112: 950m boldness mine).

Žižek (2012: 947-949) finds six dualities in Barad’s agential realism, to be positivities that lack the mediation of dialectical process relationship of the negation of the negation:

1. Intra-action versus interaction
2. Phenomena versus things
3. Attending to detailed & fine-grained features versus reifying simplification
4. Entanglement of subject and object within a phenomenon versus the fixed opposition between the two
5. Complex network versus binary oppositions
6. Diffraction and reflection as rude binary opposition between truth and illusion

STUDENT FACILITATOR - Step ONE: Analyze all 28 occurrences of Barad in main text and especially footnotes in Žižek's Less than Nothing book.

In quantum physics, after the Copenhagen interpretation of the double slit experiment, the collapse of the wave function has the proposition that objects occupy two places at once due to a fundamental duality of (extended) wave and (compact) particle. Bohr’s solution is that the ontological status of complementarity (wave or particle) in the microscopic system must always include the macroscopic apparatuses used to display wave or particle aspects, only the classical physic concepts are used to report the results. Rival propositions to explain the weird wave/particle duality result are numerous (Žižek: 2012: 916):

1. wave collapse is an act on subjective consciousness; our observation creates reality (our mind creates reality)
2. wave collapse never actually happens because there are local-hidden classical physics variables restoring our faith in cause-effect determinism
3. Instead of wave collapse, the object is responding to randomly fluctuating environment,
4. wave collapse does not happen and instead all possible futures of the object are actualised in different worlds of the multiverse

Karen Barad prefers Bohr’s answer to that of Heisenberg, and she dismisses each of the four rival propositions as “an act of cognitive repression on the part of the proposers” (2007: 287).

Bohr’s answer is the complementarity principle: particles themselves do not have determinate position and momentum, and we must abandoning standard not of ‘objective reality’ of things with determined set of properties (Žižek, 2012: 924). Bohr’s complementary principle means quantum physics deals with measurement and the measures, not Things-in-themselves. Bohr argues against Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, that one can determine the effect of observation (measurement) interaction with the measured object. Barad agrees only with Bohr, that measurement of particle position and wave momentum requires exclusive apparatuses, and “we cannot subtract the effect of the measurement and they deduce the properties tat the particle (is presumed to have) had before the measurement” (Barad, 2007: 113, as cited in Žižek, 2012: 930).

Heisenberg’s answer is the uncertainty principle (aka, indeterminacy principle), that we cannot simultaneously measure position and measure momentum of a particle because the act of measurement intervenes and disturbs the thing-coordinates. Our common sense is that , what appears a solid body (bones, veins, skin, brain tissue, and so on), but if we are waves of energy. We are wave-oscillations. “Heisenberg’s version of indeterminacy (the ‘uncertainty principle;) still leaves enough room not only to save the notion of an objective reality independent of the observer (if out of the observer’s reach), but even to determine it, to get to know it as it is in itself: if the inaccessibility of the In-itself is due only to its distortion by the measuring apparatus, is it not then possible to determine the effect on the observed object of the measuring procedure and then, by subtracting this effect from the result, get the measured object the way it is in itself (or the way it was, prior to measurement)?” (Žižek, 2012: 929).

Zizek proposes a fifth proposition, that Hegel and Lacan agree with Bohr and Barad on many points, and here and there provide insight that goes beyond Barad. For example, Žižek (2012: 918) says, although Bohr avoid the trap making quantum result a separate part of the story, Bohr asks “properly philosophical transcendental reflection” and his storytelling of how we make sense of ordinary reality emerging through the collapse of the wave function in the act of the measuring apparatus changing the empirical experience and the actual event, means “ordinary empirical reality constitutes itself through measuring: does not explain how “the measuring apparatuses themselves which are part of this same empirical reality”?

What is the ontological status of quantum phenomena? For Žižek it is nonsensical to speak of quantum processes as constituting an autonomous sphere of Being since ontologically our ordinary everyday reality is all there is.

Hegel dialectics is invoked byŽižek (2012: 921) to explain the double-slit experiment results: “Perhaps, then, insofar as retroactivity is a crucial feature of the Hegelian dialectics, and insofar as retroactivity is only thinkable in an ‘open’ ontology of not yet fully constituted reality, the reference to Hegel can be of some help in bringing out the ontological consequences of quantum physics.”

As a Hegelian dialectician, Žižek (2012: 925) makes a negation of the negation move: “What if we posit that ’Things-in-themselves’ emerge against the background of the Void or Nothingness, the way this Void is conceived in quantum physics, as not just a negative void, but the portent of all possible reality?” Zizek then asks, in the form of negation of the negation, “Why is there nothing rater than something?” and “How is it that, the more we analyse reality, the more we find a void?” (IBID). For Hegel, things emerge as ontologically not fully constituted, incomplete, and indeterminate. “Ia properly Hegelian way, then, it is our very epistemological limitation which locates us in the Real; what appears as the limitation of our knowledge is the feature of reality itself, its ‘non-All’” (Žižek, 2012: 925). The double-slit experiment is an epochal disclosure of the nature of Being, and the role the abyss (Void) of nothingness plays by being a multiplicity of entities that can emerge ‘out of nothing’, and ultimately “there is nothing but the Void” (Žižek, 2012: 926).

Žižek (2012: 928, bracketed addition, mine) asserts “Perhaps contemporary cosmology needs such a ‘Hegelian’ conceptual systematisation of the underlying matrix that generates the multitude of actually existing [quantum] theories?”… “all things are just ephemeral fragments which emerge out of the primordial Void and will inevitably return back to it?” and "from the Hegelian standpoint, the Void names the extreme tension, antagonism, or impossibility which generates the multiplicity of determinate entities.” The wave and article are never symmetrical, the complementarity is the gap between the Void (nothingness) and two somethings (wave and particle). Quantum ontology is at the subatomic level of reality, every thing is constituted by discrete quanta-parts, what are infinitesimally dividable. In our common sense reality particle trumps wave, but in quantum ontology, wave and particle are both possible in irreducible duality.

Žižek (2012: 930-931) gives a long quote from Hegel (1910) The Phenomenology of Mind (pp. 73-75) to support Niel’s Bohr’s 1928 complementarity principle, light and electrons are sometimes wavelike and other times particle-like behaviour, and knowledge of both wave and particle together result in fuller description. That said, small-scale subatomic behaviour of waves and particles does not behave the same way as large-scale billiard ball particles or ocean waves. The small-scalp quantum and the large-scale classical physics are incompatible, but knowing both is more comprehensive. Further, it is not possible to measure the full properties of wave and particle at a particular moment. Hegel (1910: 73-75) says that “if knowledge is the instrument by which to get possession of absolute Reality, … the application of an instrument to anything does not leave it as it is for itself, but rather entails in the process, and has in view, a moulding and alteration of it.” In other words, just as in quantum physics today, Hegel proposed that observation measurement apparatuses are not a passive medium to gain the truth, because each observation instrument has its own end, and cannot be removed from the result to find a purity of truth. Hegel concludes the passage “Or, again, if the examination of knowledge, which we represents as a medium [of measurement instrument], makes us acquainted with the way of it refraction, it is likewise useless to eliminate this examination [subtracting measurement] from the result” (1910: 73-75, bracketed additions, mine). In other words, Hegel has anticipated the conclusion that Bohr reached in the principle of complementarity, don’t subtract the measurement to get to some antecedent state of Being of the subject and object or invoke a measurement language, when what is needed is an act of reflexivity.

Agential Realism Barad’s theory of agential realism is given a Hegelian reading, and this brings in a dialectic that Barad refuses. Agential realism, rejects the notion of reflexivity by the observer, as a form of the vilest representationalism. Hegel, on the other hand, want to invoke reflexivity, ontologically, in the dialectic negation of the negation, to approach the Void of nothingness, out of which, multiplicity emerges.

In footnote 32, p 931, Žižek (2012) repeats Barad’s challenge to reflexivity as vile representationalism:

“Reflexivity takes for granted the idea that representations reflect (social or natural) reality. That is, reflexivity is based on the beliefs that practices of representing have no effect on the object of investigation and that we have a kind of access to representations that we don’t have to the objects themselves. Reflexivity, like reflection, still holds the world at a distance: (Barad, 2007: 87).

Žižek (2012: 931 footnote 32) response to Barad, she “simply misses the core of Hegelian reflexivity, which is the inclusion of the act of reflection in the object itself: for Hegel, the distance between the object and its reflection is not external… but is inscribed into the object itself as its innermost constituent——the object becomes what it is through its reflection.” Zizek then digs into Barad’s concept toolbox and says that Hegel’s reflexivity as innermost constituent is precisely what Barad calls “exteriority within”.

Žižek accepts that objects and observational apparatuses are inseparably entangled, but invokes Hegel’s reflexivity “we do not produce our knowledge from afar, observing reality from a distant, objective, non-entangled position” prior to the act of measurement because in Hegel :our knowing of reality is included in reality itself” (p. 932). Zizek, agrees “knowledge is grounded in material practices, and reminds the reader the objective reality does not exist independent of us, in some naive materialism, as either richer than our empirical sensemaking of it, or as a poorer experience than our subjective sensemaking of it.

Agential Cut, another Baradian concept, in which agencies of observational measurement apparatus makes a cut, to constitute the object of observation. Agential cut, for Žižek, is not just a ‘subjective’ mental decision, but agential cut is materially enacted and materially conditioned.

Within in organizational system, different agential cuts are possible to carve out a a different part of the phenomenon as an observed object to be measured. We need a different kind of agential cut to measure both the measurement device and the cutting of the object into some new object to get at entanglement, and how the measurement cut is part of the phenomenon, cutting lines of separation in classical, non-quantum ways. Žižek agrees with Barad (2007: 350-1), “there simply is no outside of the universe for the measuring agencies to go to in order to measure the universe as a whole…. there is no way to describe the entire system…. only one part of the world can be made intelligible to itself at a time, because the other part of the world has to be the part that it makes a difference to.”

The observer is always part of the system, within the world. Žižek wants to locate the ‘agential cut’ within the “quantum non-All” but questions if classical reality should be reduce to quantum reality, as duality, when it is possible to declare a dialectical third way. In other words, quantum’s way of dealing with classical reality, is to reconstruct cause of measurements observed in their classical terms. The duality, constitutes hierarchy, where quantum becomes the higher ontological order over classical, the lower order “in this case, quantum reality which is ontologically ‘higher’ (causing and encompassing classical reality) has to appear, within this reality, as something subordinated to it and grounded in it” (Žižek, 2012: 935). The point is Barad has not been self-reflexive about her own agent cut, that has created hierarchy of quantum reality over the subordinated and subsumed classical reality.

Žižek (2012: 935) concludes, “The reason Barad does not take not account this more radical ontological cut lies in her implicit naturalism.” Naturalism, in that Barad, asserts a posthumanist position, that does not privilege the human standpoint, over other species, over macrobiotics, and over subatomic energy. For Barad (2007: 149): “intelligibility is an ontological performance of the world in its ongoing articulation.”

Storytelling, in Barad agential realism, becomes non-human-dependent and even “beings without brains … emerges as partaking in the world’s active engagement in practices of knowing” in the ways “matter and meaning are mutually articulated” (Barad, 2007: 149, 152).

Barad’s focus is on how observational measuring apparatuses farm agential cuts that are not just material part of nature (posthumanist naturalism), but are also social and ideological discursive practices.

Žižek (2012: 936) challenge to Barad, is that she is sliding down a very slippery slope: “Barad here risks a fateful step further into a full ‘naturalisation’ of the very motion of discourse” rejecting ‘humanist remains’ in Bohr’s epistemology (his identification of the ‘observer’ with human subject).

“Barad’s conclusion nonetheless works all too smoothly: true, it liquidates the last ‘humanist remains’ — that is, it removes the final vestiges of … ‘transcendental correlationalism’ (the axiom that every object or part of reality emerges as the objective correlate of a ‘positing’ subject) — but the price it pays is that of ontologizing correlation itself by locating meaning directly in nature, in the guise of the unity of apparatuses and objects” (Žižek, 2012: 936).

Žižek explains that the agential cuts cut causes from effects, but what is missing in Barad’s ontology is how the series of cause-effect cuts works in repetitions and differences. Here Zizek (2012: 936-937) invokes Deleuze (1993/2–1: 119-120): “given two heterogeneous series, two series of differences, the precursor plays the part of the differentiator of these differences.” and its path of cutting is invisible and becomes visible only in reverse, and lacks its own identity (paraphrase). Between the two series, there must be a signifier of the signified for the effect-sense to take place (Deleuze, Logic of sense), which for Zizek is also a Lacanian call for ‘pure signifier’ or ‘quilting point’ where the two series in nature are as yet without meaning, just denotive signals, and not yet sense, and it is “what makes sense” that is missing in Barad’s agential realism claim of meaning in pre-human nature (Zizek, 2012:937-938).

It is here Zizek (2012: 938) specifies the “crux of the problem: the aim of our critique of Barad’s conclusions is not to propose a new version of the classical gap that separates humans from animals by claiming that the short-circuit which ‘makes sense’ out of nonsense is specifically human.” Rather, as expected, Zizek (2012: 938) invokes Hegel, more accurately “Hegelian reversal” to the problem “how can we pass from the classical universe to the universe of quantum waves?”. Why does quantum agential realism require the wave function to collapse coherence into classical universe? (paraphrase, p. 938). Perhaps quantum is hung up on some bit of classical reality by formulating measurement in classical physics is necessary to keep quantum mechanics consistent? Barad fashions two different levels of reality: quantum (obeying micro-laws) and classical (obeying macro-laws). Fro Barad, reality is also one, but is the one of entangle phenomena which obey quantum laws” (Zizek, 2012: 939).Barad SECTION 2

For Barad, reality is entangled intra-action of classical ontology with classical agential cuts of measuring apparatus and quantum ontology whose agential cuts are inherent to quanta phenomenon that obeys quantum laws. This suggests two sets of laws, quantum laws at higher reality level than the classical laws. Somehow the mystical particle know which universal laws to obey. In contextuality, it is the possiblity of these distinguishing paths, that condition the actual measurement (Barad, 2007: 305-6).

Bothpast and future are created once the agential cut coordinates get set in the plurality of phenomena: pure quantum potentiality, in an emergence out of nothing.

Quantum law: global instability is basis of local stability (Zizek, 2012: 942).

Classical law: local instability is basis of global stability.

A dialectical third way is that every classical local is part of quantum global, and every quantum local is part of classical global. In Hegel’s notion, singularity is elevated to universality. For example:

“quantum effects allow black holes to emit black body radiation from just beyond the event-horizon; this radiation does not come directly from the black hole itself, but is the result of virtual particles being boosted by the black hole's gravitation into becoming real particles: vacuum fluctuations cause a particle-antiparticle pair to appear close to the event-horizon of a black hole; one of the pair falls into the black hole whilst the other escapes, and to an outside observer it would appear that the black hole has just emitted a particle… Higgs boson is also called the "God particle": it is a "something" of which the "nothing" itself is made, literally the "stuff of nothing:' ” (Zizek, 2012: 943).

“Barad is right to commend Bohr for transposing the merely epistemological "uncertainty" of measurement into the ontological incompleteness of the (measured) object itself; but she fails to make the same move apropos ideality: what if all the "bad" features she enumerates ("essentialist" notions of identity, and so on) are also not only a result of the observer's epistemological mistake, but, as it were, the result of a "mistake" inscribed into reality itself?” (Zizek, 2012: 948).

“To put it another way, Barad proposes a list of features opposing ("good") diffraction and ("bad") reflection: diffraction pattern versus mirror image, differences versus sameness, relationalities versus mimesis, performativity versus representationalism, entangled ontology versus separate entities, intra-action versus interaction of separate entities, phenomena versus things, attending to detailed patterns and fine-grained features versus reifying simplification, the entanglement of subject and object within a phenomenon versus the fixed opposition between the two, complex network versus binary oppositions, etc. But is not this very opposition between diffraction and reflection (or between performativity and representation) itself a rude binary opposition between truth and illusion?” (Zizek, 2012: 948).

Žižek finds six dualities in Barad’s agential realism, to be positivities that lack the mediation of dialectical process relationship of the negation of the negation:

1. Intra-action versus interaction
2. Phenomena versus things
3. Attending to detailed & fine-grained features versus reifying simplification
4. Entanglement of subject and object within a phenomenon versus the fixed opposition between the two
5. Complex network versus binary oppositions
6. Diffraction and reflection as rude binary opposition between truth and illusion

“Closely linked to this critical point is another: Barad also repeatedly claims that meaning is not an ideal entity, but a material practice embedded in apparatuses, and so forth. But how are we then to account for its ideal status, illusory as it may be? Concepts may be always and constitutively embedded in material practices, but they are not only this. The problem is not to locate concepts in material practice, but to explain how material practices can generate the ideal entity we experience as a concept” (Žižek, 2012: 948-9).

“In a similar way, Barad repeatedly deploys the motif of the Cartesian subject as the external agent of disentangled observation, to be replaced by agential entanglement: we are part of the observed reality, the cut between subject and object is contingently enacted, and so on. But the true problem is to explain how this "false" appearance of a disentangled subject can emerge in the first place: can it really be accounted for in the terms of the agential cut within the entanglement of a phenomenon? Is it not that we have to presuppose a more radical trans-phenomenal cut as a kind of transcendental a priori that makes intra-active agential cuts possible?” (Žižek, 2012: 949).

Zizek gives a more radical reading of diffraction. As Barad notes, "diffraction has to do with the way waves combine when they overlap and the apparent bending and spreading of waves that occurs when waves encounter an obstruction” (citing Barad, 2007: 74, as cited in Žižek, 2007: 949).

“Diffraction itself is thus diffracted into combining and splitting, into overlapping and spreading. This duality does not refer to two consecutive phases of a process, like a wave which, upon encountering an obstruction, splits into two waves which then, meeting up again on the other side of the obstacle, interfere. Rather, the duality refers to two aspects of one and the same process: diffraction is a splitting which generates what it splits into two, for there is no unity preceding the split. In other words, we should conceive diffraction not as a liberating dehiscence of the One, but as the very movement of the constitution of the One, as the disunity, the gap, which gives birth to the One” (Žižek, 2012: 949).

KEY: “Complementarity in quantum physics (wave or particle) excludes any dialectical relationship, there is no mediation between the parallax gap that separates the two aspects-is this gap the non-dialectical ground of negativity? The old metaphysical problem of how to name the nameless abyss pops up here in the context of how to name the primordial gap: contradiction, antagonism, symbolic castration, parallax, diffraction, complementarity ... up to difference. As Jameson hinted, perhaps one should leave this gap nameless, but what we should not abstain hom is at least an interim outline of the ontology implied by such a universe” (Zizek, 20112: 950m boldness mine).


Žižek invokes Lacanian train of Real/symbolic/imaginary.

Real measurement, the measuring apparatus registers a result of nature’s ‘real’ contact between quantum micro-reality and ordinary macro-reality of classic physics. E.g. “a stone, for instance, ‘knows’ what laws of gravity to obey when it falls” (Zizek, 2012: 919). Peirce performed this same experiment to demonstrate one of his natural class theory. In the double slit experiment the particle knows where to go, which electron orbit to jump to and not to jump to. “If, in the famous double-slit experiment, we observe an electron’s trajectory in order to discover though which of the two slits it will pass, the electron will behave as a particle; if we do not observe it, it will display the properties of a wave—as if the electron somehow knew whether it was being observed or not” (Zizek, 2012: 921).

Symbolic language inscribes and registers the quantum result into language (symbolic network) shared by the community of classical physics researchers. There is a delay in temporal retrospective sensemaking: “the present registration decides what must have happened —for example, if, in the double-slit experiment, an electron is observe it will not only (now) behave as a particle, its past will also retroactively become (‘will have been’) that of a particle, in the homology with the symbolic university in which a present radical intervention (the rise of a new Master-Signifier) can retroactivity rewrite the (meaning of the) entire past” (Žižek, 2012: 921).

Imaginary sensemaking perceives by desire, the result by act of consciousness invokes a single reality, but what trajectory of wave and particle, might have happened remains in virtual background.

Quantum researchers debating the double slit experiment result, signals an kind of ontological inconsistency in quantum physics.

STUDENT FACILITATOR - STEP TWO: What is the Žižek-dialectical process?

Short answer, it is the negation of the negation, and how it hovers over the Void (abyss) out of which the multiplicy of possiblity emerges.

Summary: Slavoj Žižek begins with insights into Plato dialectic, challenging contemporary conclusions that Plato is an Idealist, and reminds us that Platonic dialectics had an originary move, rooted in Parmenides, and a reading of Parmenides that is ontological. This re-reading of Plato ond Parmenides gets to an insight about the nature of Hegel's dialectic. It is way beyond the simplistic thesis-antithesis-synthesis. The Hegelian dialectic is rooted in the contradiction, between epistemic and ontologic, that drives the movement of dialectical process. Žižek see a contemporary struggle between what I ahve been calling the relativity of recent versions of social constructivism (post Berger and Luckmann, 1966) that have turned relativistic (e.g. Gergen). Here Žižek would be in agreement with Latour (1997) ANT dialectics and with Barad (2007) that the materiality must come back in. However, there is more too it. The completing version of materialism is dialectic, dialectical materialsim. Žižek is addressing the 'negation of the negation', kind of dialectical materialism, and wants to trace how epistemico transmutes with ontologico. Note just how close this is to Barad (2007) epistemico-ontological agential realism, intra-active entanglement of materiality with discourse in the movement of iterative re-configuring. But Žižek in the last chapter of his 2012 book, Less that Nothing is looking back into Plato, through Hegel, into Barad's work on quantum physics, to resituate a dialectic in the intra-activity, the 'dash' (or '-') in rendered dialectic.

Žižek does his "detailed explication of Hegel's basic thesis on the Absolute as not only Substance, but also Subject" and the limits of that thesis in today's historical moment (p. 5). Žižek wants to invoke Hegel, but set some limits.

"Yes, antagonism is 'reconciled', but not in the sense that it magically disappears-what Hegel calls 'reconciliation' is, at its most basic, a reconciliation with the antagonism. Yes, in the course of a dialectical process, its ground (starting point) is retroactively posited by its result, but this retroactive positing never closes in a full circle, a discontinuity always persists between a ground and what the ground grounds, and so on" (Žižek, 2012: 951).

For example, system-wholeness is retrospectively-positied, as an organic-system-unity, but what if this System One-ness never existed, and is only a product of retrospective sensemaking? Instead the organizational system is a pure multiplicity, its antenarrative Being-ness before narrative cohereness into an original organic-system-unity. The original organic-system-unity alienates itself from itself, since system-wholeness-Oneness never existed in the first place, and is a "retrspective-fantasy" (Žižek, 2012: 952). This relates to Boje's (2008, 2014) premise that systemicity is the unfinalizedness and unmergedness of system-parts, whole-system is a retrospective sensemaking fantasy. In quantum storytelling, for example, Democritus, the pre-ontological would be "multiplisity of less-than-Ones" (Žižek, 2012: 957).

FACILITATOR - WHAT IS HEGELIAN DIALECTICS? Answer: not thesis-antithesis-synthesis, rather its the negation of the negation. In Hegel dialectics according to Žižek (p. 957), the "epistemological obstacle becomes an -ontological freature of the Thing itself." "'Thing-in-itself' from a dialectical-materialist standpoint" is illusory appearance that arises out of the void "only if something less than nothing" emerges (Žižek, 2012: 957), which is the title of the book. System Real-in-itself is irreducibly inconsistent, antinomic, multiplicity, becuase the System-Thing-in-itself is not exteral to the Real, "the Real is nothing but the gap or antagonism that thwarts the symbolic from within --- the symbolic touches the Real in a totally immanent way" (p. 957).

"The transition, or becoming, sublates itself in its passage; the other that in this transition comes to be, is not the non-being of a being, but the nothingness of a nothing, and this, to be the negation of a nothing, constitutes being. Being only is as the movement of nothing to nothing, and as such it is essence; and the latter does not have this movement within it, but is this movement as a being that is itself absolutely illusory, pure negativity, outside of which there is nothing for it to negate but which negates only its own negative, and this negative, which latter is only in this negating" (G. W. F. Hegel, The Science of Logic. trans. A. V. Miller, Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press 1969: 400., as cited in Žižek, 2012: 38).

Some examples of Žižek dialectical relational process. It does not only matter what a Thing is, as a positive feature it matters what a Thing is not. It does not matter what you say as an Organizational Behavior instructor, it also matters what you don't say, while saying what you say. The curious Thing is what you are not teaching in Organizational Behavior: Being against racism, sexism, slavery. Do you teach OB ideological distortions? Do you teach OB without race deconstruction or without slavery deconstruction? Sorry, we are the university that does neither.

"Desire has reserved to itself the pure negating of the object and thereby unalloyed feeling of self. This satisfaction, however, just for that reason is itself only a state of evanescence, for it lacks objectivity or subsistence. Labour, on the other hand, is desire restrained and checked, evanescence delayed and postponed; in other words, labour shapes and fashions the thing" (Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind, p. 111, as cited in Žižek, 2012: 203).

For example, the University is the All and its parts (socially, the faculty, students, staff, workers, and administration) which encounteres itself as subordinate to the hierarchical order of State power in New Mexico, and confronts the hierarchical order of market economy forces, and the still higher hierarchical order of quantum physics. This is an example of dialectics in suspense (a concept from Walter Benjamin, see Žižek, 2012: 964). There is a dead-point in the dialectic in suspense, a case of the pure contradiction between the level of quantum and level of State power and level of University and us on the lower level. There is no dialectical mediation in this series of dead-points until some form of meantipatory engagement is enacted, such as when Legislature attempted to counter the Governor's budget veto, and the Chancellor confronted the governor, and then was fired. The politics of the Monarch has position power, but does not legitimate any form of democratic leadership. The conflicts are played out, not to the death, but in a civilility, so the dialectical process does not come to a grinding halt. NMSU budget politics is not a fight to the death, without restraint. It is an implied conflict with convivial restraints. At the heart of Being, is a "self-relating negativity" and understanding that faculty-student-and-even-chancellor or vulnerable and fagile in the face of State power. Political conservative ideology-narrative exerts material power in making free market ideology power-over higher education. A friend of me works in an OB department that is being restructured out of existence. Similar things are happening in our university. In the dialectical process, we know what is happening, but we are in university and college meetings and do not saying anthing about the pending catastrophe. Others, know and see very well what is happening, but choose to ignore what we see and know. People see to rationally deal with it, as if, its not happening, and go about their teaching. Ideology resides in this underlying sensemaking selection, knowing you know, but acting as if you do not know. This is the fettish dialectic of ideology. Life based on a lie, but repress it in what you do. The illusion is the difference between espoused theory, and theory-in-action.

ZIZEK Less than Nothing

“The dialectical exercise, which ranges over the whole field of discourse and considers all the logical permutations of any proposition, is a meditation for freeing the mind from clinging to any one philosophical position or assumption, thereby opening it up to mystical illumination. It is the Platonic via negativa” (43).

“Perhaps Hegel was right to see in this dialogue the summit of the Greek dialectic. What if we reject both options and treat the
“contradictions” not as signs of the limitation of our reason, but as belonging to the “thing itself”? What if the matrix of all possible relations between the One and Being is also effectively the matrix of the “impossible” relations between the signifier and the Real?” (44).

“When such division involves an “antagonistic” either/or (Good against Evil, freedom against oppression, morality against hedonism, etc.), there are, r oughly speaking, two philosophical approaches to it: either one opts for one pole against the other, or one adopts the “deeper” attitude of emphasizing the complicity of the opposites, and of advocating a proper balanced measure or unity. Although Hegel’s dialectic seems like a version of the second approach (the “synthesis” of opposites), he actually opts for an unheard‐of third version: the way to resolve the deadlock is neither to engage in fighting for the “good” side against the “bad,” nor to try to bring them together in a balanced “synthesis,” but to opt for the bad side of the initial either/or. Lacan made the same point in his seminar …ou pire: in the choice between “le père ou pire” (the father or worse), the ethical choice opts for what is worse. Of course, this “choice of what is worse” fails, but in that failure it undermines the entire field of the alternative and thus enables us to overcome its terms. (Say, in politics, in the choice between organic unity and destructive terror, the only way to arrive at the truth is to begin with the “wrong” choice of destructive terror.)… Therein resides the insurmountable difference between Hegel and the New Age notion of balancing opposites.” (57).

Rather, there is a hole in the positive order of Being, in which many things do not exist, and are fictions. It is not the Plato dialectic.

“It is, rather, uncannily similar to the Hegelian dialectical process in which—as Hegel had already made clear in the Introduction to his Phenomenology—a “figure of consciousness” is not measured by any external standard of truth but in an absolutely immanent way, through the gap between itself and its own
exemplification/staging. An Event is thus “non‐All” in the precise Lacanian sense of the
term: it is never fully verified precisely because it is infinite, that is, because there is no external limit to it. The conclusion to be drawn is that, for the very same reason, the Hegelian “totality” is also “non‐All…. The reference to Hegel is crucial here, since, especially in the Anglo‐Saxon tradition, he is often perceived as the ultimate “sophist,” abandoning any objective rational criteria of truth and succumbing to the mad self‐referential play of the Absolute Idea. The element of truth in this reproach is that, for Hegel, the truth of a proposition is inherently notional, determined by the immanent notional content, not a matter of comparison between notion and reality—in Lacanian terms, there is a non‐All (pas‐tout) of truth. It may sound strange to invoke Hegel with regard to the non‐All—is he not the philosopher of All par excellence? The Hegelian truth, however, is precisely without an external limitation/exception that would serve as its measure or standard, which is why its criterion is absolutely immanent: a statement is compared with itself, with its own process of enunciation” (63).

What is True Storytelling? For Zizek’s Hegel revival it is the Hegelian dialectical process, the truth of a proposition is notional, determined by immanent notional tonne, not a matter of comparison between notion and reality (Zizek, p. 63). True storytelling is not the measure of any external standard of truth, but rather without external limitation/exception. True storytelling, for Hegel, is “immanent to the symbolic process —— the truth is measured not by any external standard, but by the ‘pragmatic contradiction,’ the inner (in_consistency of the discursive process the gap between the enunciated content and its position of enunciation (Zizek, pp. 63-4).

“What this means is also that Hegel really is the ultimate Christian philosopher: no
wonder he often uses the term “love” to designate the play of the dialectical mediation of opposites. What makes him a Christian philosopher and a philosopher of love is the fact that, contrary to the common misunderstanding, in the arena of dialectical struggle there is no Third which unites and reconciles the two struggling opposites.” (p. 89).

“When, in Hegel’s dialectics, we have
a couple of opposites, their unity is not a Third, an underlying medium, but one of the two: a genus is its own species, or, a genus ultimately has only one species, which is why specific difference coincides with the difference between genus and species.” (111).

“Hegel’s solution here
involves the transposition of the epistemological limitation into ontological fact: the void of our knowledge corresponds to a void in being itself, to the ontological incompleteness of
reality” (114).

“When Hegel says that a Notion is the result of itself, that it provides its own
actualization, this claim which at first cannot but appear extravagant (the notion is not
simply a thought activated by the thinking subject, but that it possesses a magic property of self‐movement …), loses its mystery the moment we grasp that the Spirit as the spiritual substance is a substance, an In‐itself, which sustains itself only through the incessant activity of the subjects engaged in it. Say, a nation exists only insofar as its members take themselves to be members of this nation and act accordingly; it has absolutely no content, no substantial consistence, outside this activity” (142-3).

For example, the ensemble is a Notion that provides its own actualisation (In-itself) in its self-movement. Ensemble exists only insofar as members take themselves to be members of the Ensemble, with no substantiality outside this activity.

Is It Still Possible to Be a Hegelian Today?

Hegel’s dialectical method and system,

“Hegel’s name for this absolute
immanence of transcendence is “absolute negativity,” as he makes clear in an exemplary
way in the dialectics of Master and Servant: the Servant’s secure particular/finite identity is
unsettled when, in experiencing the fear of death during his confrontation with the Master,
he gets a whiff of the infinite power of negativity; through this experience, the Servant is forced to accept the worthlessness of his particular Self:

For this consciousness was not in peril and fear for this element or that, nor for this
or that moment of time, it was afraid for its entire being; it felt the fear of death, the
sovereign master. It has been in that experience melted to its inmost soul, has trembled throughout its every fibre, and all that was fixed and steadfast has quaked within it. This complete perturbation of its entire substance, this absolute dissolution of all its stability into fluent continuity, is, however, the simple, ultimate nature of self‐consciousness,
absolute negativity, pure self‐relating existence, which consequently is involved in this type of consciousness” (148).

“Hegel’s interest in the “conflict of the opposites” is thus that of the neutral dialectical observer who discerns the “Cunning of Reason” at work in struggle: a subject engages in struggle, is defeated (as a rule, in his very victory), and this defeat brings him to his truth” (150).


“If there is a “semantic choice” that underlies Hegel’s thought, it is not the desperate wager
that, retroactively, one will be able to tell a consistent, all‐encompassing and meaningful
story in which every detail will be allotted its proper place, but, on the contrary, the weird
certainty (comparable to the psychoanalyst’s certainty that the repressed will always
return, that a symptom will always spoil every figure of harmony) that, with every figure of
consciousness or form of life, things will always somehow “go wrong,” that each position will generate an excess which will augur its self‐destruction” (155).

True storytelling, then is the endless process of untold worth of life generating more exceptions to retroactivity of grand narrative and living story. Untold story enacts a materialist reversal to the events of grand narrative.

In the course of dialectical development, things ‘become what they are’ (p. 163) not by temporal deployment that actualises pre-existing atemporal concept structure (foreconcept) because fore-structure is the result of contingent temporal decisions whose outcome defined the agent’s entire living story life. Hegel’s dialectics “has nothing whatsoever to do with the historicist justification of a particular politics or practice at a certain stage of historical development” (p. 163).


“Potentialities are the non‐actualized cases of an indexed set of possibilities under
the condition of a given law (whether aleatory or not). Chance is every actualization of a
potentiality for which there is no univocal instance of determination on the basis of the
initial given conditions” (p. 171).

Throw the dice and by chance six turns up on in six throws. But in virtuality there is no number of faces on the dice, now fixity of potentialities (p. 171). Contrast this to Viruizaiton-Actualization-Realization triadic of Deleuze (1994, chapter 4).

For Hegel, is the philosopher of potentiality, the dialectical process of the eternal set of potentialities, the visual limitless potentiality dissipates the moment of becoming of contingent emergence. Hegel is a thinker of potentiality and a thinker of virility (173).

Zizek claims its starting point is pure multiplicity of Being. “Through self-mediation of its inconsistency, this appearing constructs or engenders the Essence, the depth, which appears in and through it (the passage from Being to Essence). Finally, the in passage form Essence to Concept, the two dimensions are ‘reconciled’ so that Essence is reduced too the self-mediation, cut, within appearing itself… its truth” (p. 175).

the Hegelian circle of circles how Wisdom, cycle of life, its generation and corruption, as change is actualised as nothing more than what is already there.


“Hegel does not actually start with negation,
he starts with an apparent positivity which, upon closer inspection, immediately reveals
itself to be its own negation: so, in our example, positive “bourgeois” freedom and equality reveal themselves (in their actualization) as their opposites, as their own negation. This is not yet negation proper, negation as a movement of mediation—the movement proper begins when the original form (which “is” its own negation) is negated or replaced by a higher form; and the “negation of negation” occurs when we realize that this higher form which negated the first effectively maintains (and even asserts more strongly) the starting point, in other words truly actualizes it, confers on it some positive content: the immediate assertion of freedom and equality really is its opposite, its self‐destruction; it is only when it is negated or elevated to a higher level (in the socially just organization of the economy, and so on) that freedom and equality become actual” (p. 219-220).

Negation of the Negation Negatiion in Hegel. We dont' really know what negation is. Žižek agrees with Heidegger, that Hegel fails to bring out the fundamental dialectical operation of negativity. In our blind reactivity to exploitation, is a way we are getting by, making the minimum waves. Non-productivity repetition, just strives for more of the same, but Hegel dialectic transforms contingent real through repetition to a passage from In-Itself to For-Itself.

"We do not have, first, some particular proposition, and subsequent to this the negation of it, and, then, a further negation of the negation that might give us back the proposition" (Žižek, 2012: 292)

In a contradiction, Thing destroys itself.

An intelligent critique of Hegel is in Deleuze, 'Difference and Repetition. The repitition has difference, but is not radically different, and it is how the new emerges, difference by difference, that is not radically new. A few repeitions, a course, can no longer be the same, and a few repeitions and a department is no longer the same, it spirals into difference. For Hegel repetition is a radical contradiction (See Žižek, Negativity in Hegel and Freud video). Soon by repetition with small difference, a course or a department or a college or a university, does not fit its own concept. It is a process of the negation of the negation, introducing a gap between what people say and what people want to say (or mean to say).

What is happening dialectically? There is minimal resistance, but enact a distance, not taking it very seriously. For example, most faculty do nto believe that outcome assessment is efficacious, yet we perform hundreds of hours in annual, monthly, weekly meetings, enacting outcome assessment protocols in core courses of the college. OB has become a fettish, in that we can teach about it, even as we don't implement it in our university life. We can pretend we accept the lie the way it is, in order to create a distance emotionally, from what we intellectually know. It is just a game of appearance to receive reaccreditation, so the fettish of outcome assessments, digital measures, and so on, is reenacted. We know very much what we are doing it, and that its ridiculous, but we act as if its the truth, and efficacious practice. The belief materializes in our university activity. We enact commodity fetishism. We can be realist in what we think and see, but the illusion is in what we are doing, going along with, pretending. One repetition with difference disappears and another different repetition, emerges. This is how cyclic antenarratives become spiral antenarratives that in turn turn aymmetrical one repetition of a whorl at a time, and turn rhizomatic, without symmetry, without centering, and moving in every direction until blocked. And its possible to move a system the opposite way, toward symmetry, cyclic repetition, and linear process. Production is doubly enscribed (reflexively redouble reflexivity; A influences B, and B influences back to A), in Hegelian dialectic that Marx continues. The Hegelian dialectical process always deals with clearcut resolutions, but misses the pragmatic compromises (see Žižek Negativity in Hegel and Freud).

The relation of thesis and antithesis in the dialectical process always explodes into radical resolution. Corruption of mast and slave goes on into self-negating subjectivity. Hegel's notion of society remains at the pre-capitalist stage (with some manufacturing).

Žižek is arguing that the "resistance to a dispositif" can be in reflectivity on network of Self's activity, but to disrupt the dispositf of various system mechanisms of administraiton, physical, institutional, knowledge strctures that engance the exercise of power wtihin the social body of State-University-Quantum the social body is in a dialectic of Hegel's amster and servant (master & slave), and the slave discovers her own fragile, vulnerable Being, of "self-relating negativity" (Žižek, 2012: 994). People play the game of power, at the level of capitalism, for fear the disrupitons of the market mechanism will result in a return to slavery, person-to-person explotation, returning with a vegence. Slaves can confront their own irrational unconscious forces, in what Žižek calls a dialectical twist "exploitation includes its own negation" (p. 1003). The capitalist circuit creates both surblus value and a reserve army of unemployed professors, in this university case. THe unemployed professors, the unfunded graduate assistants, are not employed at the university, are not working. The is grounded in the centrality of exploitation. The fight against exploitation of the poor to stay uneducated in the fight of wealth concentration, confronting that center, would mean a change to direct democracy from what Follett calls power-over. But in New Mexico there is a radical asymmetry, the power must apboligh itself as a calss, in the struggle with capitalism.

FACILITATOR --> In the example of modern day slavery, the slave wants to abooligsh itself as a class in the struggle with brands and growers. The modern slave wants to negate itself as a less than in late modern capitalism.

Žižek argues we are dealing with a third way, that is neither slave nor capitalist, because the slave itself tries to abolish its exploitative conditions, by enacting Fair Food, worker-driven monitoring of work conditions, and so on. The surplus value and the reserve army of unemployed farm workers is excluded from wealth accumulation, and this must be grounded in the centrality of exploitation, by enacting direct democacy power-with (in Follett's term). The third way of capitalism, is a capitalism with more social responsibility (Žižek, 2012: 1009), which is also what Savall and Peron (2016) and Follett (The New State) are advocating. It is a capitalism that denounces oligarchy (as Plato presents in The Republic), and "denounces plutocratic exploitation" and yet maintains capitalism (Žižek, 2012L 1009). Žižek is arguing against Aristotle's Law of the Excluded Middle, in this third way capitalism of direct democracy and social responsible capitalism. In the Law of Excluded Middle, given two contradictory propositions, one the neatagion of the other, one proposition must be true and the other false. There is not middle position of neither true nor false. It is also called the Law of Non-Contradiction. In storytelling, if one story is the negation of the other story, one story must be true and the other false. But if we take a third way, another story lies inside the negation dialectic. A story of the middle, can be both true and untrue at the same time (a violation of the Law of Excluded Middle), a story can Be and not Be.

"Hegel calls "reconciliation" is, at its most basic, a reconciliation with the antagonism. Yes, in the course of a dialectical process, its ground (starting point) is retroactively posited by its result, but this retroactive positing never closes in a full circle, a discontinuity always persists between a ground and what the ground grounds, and so on" (Žižek, 2012: 950).

If we look at the undialectic hierarchy of Quantum-Market-State-University-Administrative power-oven, then Kant has revenge over Hegel "that is, yet another name for a fundamental antinomy which can never be dialectically mediated or sublated. Hegelian reconciliation is a reconciliation with the irreducibility of the antinomy, and it is in this way that the antinomy loses its antagonistic character" (Žižek, 2012: 951). Žižek calls it the parallax gap of the undialectical.

" Take, for example, the impossibility of reconciling relativity theory and quantum physics in a consistent Theory of Everything: there is no way to resolve the tension between the two by means of an "immanent" dialectical reflection in which the problem itself becomes its own solution. All we can do is wait for a contingent scientific breakthrough-only then will it be possible to retroactively reconstruct the logic of the process" (Žižek, 2012: 909).

xxxx has this critique of Heidegger's revisions to Hegel dialectic process:

"... why Heidegger's criticism regarding Hegel's "machination" misses the point. According to Heidegger, the Hegelian process of experience moves at two levels, that of lived experience (Erlebnis) and that of conceptual machination (Machenschaft): at the level oflived experience, consciousness sees its world collapse and a new figure of the world appear, and experiences this passage as a pure leap with no logical bridge uniting the two positions. 'For us:'"however, the dialectical analysis makes visible how the new world emerged as the "determinate negation" of the old one, as the necessary outcome of its crisis. Authentic lived experience, the opening to the New, is thus revealed as being underpinned by notional work: what the subject experiences as the inexplicable rise of a new world is actually the result of its own conceptual work taking place behind its back and can thus ultimately be read as having been produced by the subject's uwn conceptual machination... Which brings us back to Heidegger's claim that Hegel fails to include the pheuomenal experience of negativity: what if negativity names precisely the gap in the order of phenomenality, something which does not (and can never) appear? " (Žižek, 2012: 868-869).

Hegelian dialectics presupposes the occultation of two ontologies: the hierarchic undialectic with the emergent contradictions in negation of the negation.


"The reason Barad does not take into account this more radical ontological cut lies in her implicit naturalism. Fully versed in Butler's and Foucault's discourse theories, Barad emphasizes how the apparatuses which provide the frame for agential cuts are not just material, in the immediate sense of being part of nature, but are also Socially conditioned, always reliant on a complex network of social and ideological practices. Her critical point against Butler, Foucault, and other historicist discourse-theorists is that, although they critically reject the Cartesian humanist position, they continue to privilege the human standpoint ..." (Žižek, 2012: 935).

Zizek (2016: 916, bracketed addition, mine) raises this question: "Does this debate [over how to interpret the double slit experiment results] not signal a kind of ontological inconsistency in quantnm physics?"

"Barad rejects the notion of reflexivity as a tool for conceiving the inclusion of the observer in the observed content, with the argument that 'reflexivity is founded on representationalism'" (Žižek, 2012: 932 footnote). It is the principle of indeterminacy that Bohr develops as the Copenhagen Interpretation.


Footote 32 (p. 931) "Barad rejects the notion of reflexivity as a tool for conceiving the inclusion of the observer in the observed content, with the argument that "reflexivity is founded on representationalism": "Reflexivity takes for granted the idea that representations reflect (social or natural) reality. That is, reflexivity is based on the belief that practices of representing have no effect on the objects of investigation and that we have a kind of access to repre&entations that we don't have to the objects themselves. Reflexivity, like reflection, still holds the world at a distaoce" (Meeting the Universe Halfway, p. 87). But this notion simply misses the core of Hegelian reflexivity, which is the inclusion of the act of reflection in the object itself: for Hegel, the distance between the object and its reflection is not external (Le., the object is in itself, the reflection is how it appears to the observing subject), but is inscribed into the object itself as its innermost constituentthe object becomes what it is through its reflection. The exteriority implied by the notion of reflexivity is precisely what Barad calls an "exteriority within"."

CHALLENGE TWO: Above, Žižek is raising a major challenge to Barad, pointing out that ontological reflexivity is not an act of representational (mirror) by Hegel. Rather, reflexivity is mterial, not externality, and is what Barad is looking for in 'exteriority within' the content being observed.


"The problem here is the implied continuity of the line leading trom the natural correlation between organism and its environment to the structure of meaning proper to the symbolic order" (Žižek, 2012: 936).

CHALLENGE THREE: "What this means with regard to the philosophical consequences of quantum physics and cosmology is that one cannot simply locate the "agential cut" which generates the classical universe within the quantum non-All, thereby reducing the classical reality to a phenomenon within the quantum universe, for quantum reality is not simply the encompassing unity including its "opposite;' classical reality. Here also, we must be attentive to the frame within which quantum reality appears to us: the encompassing frame itself is in a way already part of the enframed content. In other words, what we are effectively dealing with is classical reality, no matter how blurred it is: the wave functions and all other quanta are ultimately something we reconstruct as the cause of the measurements we observe and register in strictly classical terms. What we encounter here is the paradox elaborated by Louis Dumont as constitutive of hierarchy: the "higher" ontological order has to appear within the perspective of the "lower" order as subordinated to the latter, as its effect-in this case, quantum reality which is ontologically "higher" (causing and encompassing classical reality) has to appear, within this reality, as something subordinated to it and grounded in it. And it is not enough to dismiss this reversal as merely epistemological ("while quantum reality is the true reality which causes classical reality, relations are reversed in our process of knowledge" ) -here again we should transpose the epistemological reversal back into ontology and ask the key question: why is this reversal necessary for the ontological sphere itself?" (Žižek, p. 935).

Žižek's challenge is theat quantum reality becomes the dominant frame through which the subordinated classical realtiy is framed and grounded. Secondly, that we cannot locate the originary agential cut between the classical and the quantum, especially if the universie it the one-All.

Žižek (2012: 935), critique, "The reason Barad does not take into account this more radical ontological cut lies in her implicit naturalism."


Žižek is making a different moves than Plato's concept-dialectic, or Heidegger's disclosability of 'will'-dialectic. In terms of antenarrative process, there is a series of befores and afters, I would like you and I to understand as re-configuring (in Barad's term).


What does Žižek see in Plato's dialectical process (applied to modern-day slavery?

" Accordingly, apart from the Hegelian Thing, Less Than Nothing also deals with a series of befores (Plato, Christianity, Fichte) and afters (Badiou, Heidegger, quantum physics). Plato's Parmenides deserves a close reading as the first exercise in dialectics proper, celebrated by Hegel and Lacan" (Žižek, 2012: 6).

Plato's dialectic begins with Socratic dialogue, and introducing movement into Ideas, works to collapse definitions of "the big Other, revealing its cracks and inconsistencies" (Žižek, 2012: 48). Žižek (2012: 39) defines Plato's dialectic (rooted also in Parmenides), "the thesis that thre is only Nothing, that all processes take place 'from Nothing through Nothing to Nothing.'" As we saw in our earlier chapter, Plato's dialectic of concept clarification is about divisions of a genus into species should be made at their propoer joints, so that each of the subspecies has its own material positivity. The other way to do this move is by negativity, dividing human beings into Americans and not-Americans. For example immigrants do not fit the form of 'American' and therefore can become modern-day slaves, in coyote slavery practices of debt-contracting (you owe Coyote for your transport, food, lodging, etc.). In positivity, the identity of the immigrant, as Mexican, Guatamalan, Haitian, Dominican, etc. has its dialectic specieis. The coyote way, uses negative pseudospecies (immigrants are 'no-part' of the genus, and those who belong to 'immigrant' stereotype, are not covered. This is a 'contradcition' between what constitutes a Plato genus and its species, and something is embodied in an excessive group, such as 'immigrant' whose consistency is only the purely 'negative'. Žižek (2012: 39) says, this "is what sets a dialectical process in motion", to resolve that contraction, and " the surface of an Event that shines through a unique physical constellation" (Žižek, 2012: 39). Here we get at a profound insight into Plato, its true storytelling, a hidden fiminine material principle in Plato that radically changes our interpreation of Platonic dialectic to something in plain sight:

"One often hears talk of Plato's 'esoteric teaching' which runs counter to his official idealism-the two main candidates are, for New Agers, a Gnostic dualism positing the feminine material principle as a counterpoint to idealism, and, for Leo Strauss, a ruthless and cynical realism, downgrading the theory of Ideas to the status of a 'noble lie: 'What if it is Parmenides that delivers Plato's true teaching-not as something hidden, but in plain view' The trick is to take seriously (literally), as true ontology, what is usually seen as a playful dialectical exercise in following all possible hypotheses ad absurdum. The truth is not hidden behind the logical exercises, it is not the negative-theological message that the ineffable One is beyond the grasp of logic; it is simply that Plato really means what he says" (Žižek, 2012: 49).

In other words, there is a momentum for a shift from epistemico (immigrants as subjective) transforms into ontological challenge (hey, wait a minute, immigrants have material identity in their birthrite in a nation or in whatever nationalization has happended). A 'crack' a 'contradiction' happens in the dialectical process, and is what I call antenarrative. "This 'contradiction' between a genus and its species, embodied in an excessive group whose consistency is purely 'negative' is what sets a dialectical process in motion" (Žižek, 2012: 39). The antenarrative contraction cracks its way, embodied in advance, in the befores (forehaving, in Heidegger, 1962).

"By Heaven, can we be ready to believe that the absolutely real has no share in movement, life, soul or wisdom? That it does not live or think, but in solemn holiness, unpossessed of mind, stands entirely at rest? That would be a dreadful thing to admit.(248e)" (From Plato, as cited in Žižek, 2012: 49-50).

Why does Žižek (2012: 41) return to Platonic dialectics? Plato has an ontological analytic in which the real in this world has ontological structures to discern. Plato (as Badiou claims" has a founding gesture of "materialist dialecics" (nothing but bodies and discourses, "with the exception of truths") (p. 41). So for Badiou, matierlaity is not all there is, because there is another level of incorporeal truths. For Badiou this level of incorporeal truths is an 'immaterial' order of Truth, a transcendent Truth. "Plato's assertion of the meta-physical dimension of 'eternal Ideas'" (Žižek, 2012: 42). The alternative to Plato, "the postmodern universe of 'democratic materialist' historicist relativism, caught in the vicious cycle of the eternal struggle with ;premodern' fundamentalisms" (IBID). Žižek's conclusion is the two forms of materialism, democratic-relativism and Platonic-dialectica-Eternal-Truth, are in conflict in today's world. In other words, social constructivist-relativism (its all discoursive-historicism) is in conflict woth a Platonic-dialectic of Eternal Truth in transcendent level of real.

What does Žižek see in Hegel's dialectical analysis?

Hegel is able to "treat the 'contradictions' not as signs of the limitation of our reason, but as belonging to the 'thing itself'" in the dialectical process as well as the dialectical analysis (Žižek, 2012: 50-51).

"... the point of dialectical analysis is to demonstrate how every phenomenon, everything that happens, fails in its own way, implies a crack, antagonism, imbalance, in its very heart. Hegel's gaze upon reality is that of a Roentgen apparatus which sees in everything that is alive the traces of its future death..." (p. 8).

What does Žižek find most unique in Hegel's dialectical process?

What makes Hegel unique? One of the ways to circumscribe this uniqueness of Hegel is to use the Lacanian notion of the 'lack in the Other' which, in Hegel's case, points towards the unique epistemologico-ontological mediation absent in all three other [German] Idealists: the most elementary figure of dialectical reversal resides in transposing an epistemological obstacle into the thing itself, as its ontological failure (what appears to us as our inability to know the thing indicates a crack in the thing itself, so that our very failure to reach the full truth is the indicator of truth). It is the premise of the present book that this 'fundamental insight' of Hegel has lost none of its power today; that it is far more radical (and a far greater threat to metaphysical thinking) than all the combined anti-totality topics of contingency-alterity-heterogeneity" (Žižek, 2012: 17, bracketed addition, mine).

Alterity means 'otherness'. The otherness in Hegel, is a epistemologico-ontological [dialectical] mediation, a transposing of epistemic obstacle into thing itself, as its ontological failure, actually cracks the thing itself as a failure to reach what in this book we call 'true storytelling.'


In the series of afters, in particular, the last chapter, is a Hegeleian and Lacanian re-read of Barad.

Slavoj ZiZek - How are we embedded in ideology? - Part 1, in Grand Narratives with ideology systemicities? Part 2, Part 3 (known unknowns), Part 4 (implicit rules & explicit ones of ideology), Part 5 (obscene underside of institutions), Part 6 (ideology of protecting the Big Other), Part 7 (learn, learn, learn joke), Part 8 (ideology of charity is lowest of them all; critique of ideology New Age ecology; i.e. harmonious balance systemicity ideology critique for Zizek its not lost eco balance, we are in one eco catastrophe crisis after another and ideology mystifies it). Discuss1, Discuss2, Discuss3 (critique of liberal & fundamentalist ideologies), Discuss4 (critique of Stalinist ideology).


By answering Žižek's Hegelian challenges to Baradian ontology, we can make contributions to organizaiton studies. What is it that he sees in Hegel?


" today's biological language starts to resemble, quite uncannily, the language of Hegel" (Žižek,, p. 910).

citing Barad, "The search for interpretations different from the Copenhagen interpretation very often is motivated by trying to evade its radical consequences, that is, an act of cognitive repression on the part of the proposers:" ; Formulated by Evelyn Fox Keller, this notion of "cognitive repression" refers to the "unwillingness to let go of the basic tenets of classical physics: the objectiVity and knowability of nature:'" (Žižek,, p. 916).

"Although Hegel's context is totally different from that of Bohr (if nothing else, Hegel was writing about the philosophical knowledge of the Absolute, while Bohr was struggling with the epistemological implications of measuring atomic particles), the underlying line of argumentation is strictly homologous: they both reject a position which first posits a gap between the knowing subject and the object-to-be-known, and then deals with the (self-created) problem of how to bridge this gap" (Žižek,, p. 931).


"The exteriority implied by the notion of reflexivity is precisely what Barad calls an "exteriority within:' subjective material practices of intra-acting within and as part of the world,... its basic ontological unit is the phenomenon in which both sides are irreducibly and inextricably entangled: phenomena display "the ontological inseparability of objects and apparatuses:' ... The subjectivist or idealist reading of quantum physics ("the mind creates reality, there is no reality independent of our minds") is thus patently false: the true implication of quantum physics is the opposite, compelling us to conceive how our knowing of reality is included in reality itself The lesson of Bohr is thus not that reality is subjective, but that we-the obserVing subjects-are part of the reality we observe" (Žižek,, p. 931-2).

"The boundary between the ''object of observation" and the agencies of observation" is indeterminate in the sense of the absence of a specific physical arrangement of the apparatus. What constitutes the object of observation and what constitutes the agencies of observation are determinable only on the condition that the measurement apparatus is specified. The apparatus enacts a cut delineating the object from the agencies of observation. Clearly, then, as we have noted, observations do not refer to properties of observation-independent objects (since they don't preexist as such)" (Žižek,, p. 933, citing Barad, 2007: 114).


"intelligibility is an ontological performance of the world in its ongoing articulation. It is not a human-dependent characteristic, but a feature of the world in its differential becoming ... Knowing entails specific practices through which the world is differentially articulated and accounted for. In some instances, "nonhumans" (even beings without brains) emerge as partaking in the world's active engagement in practices of knowing" (Žižek,, p. 936, citing Barad, 2007: 149).

"Barad's radical ontological conclusion is thus that "matter and meaning are mutually articulated" : "Discursive practices are the material conditions for making meaning. In my post humanist account, Ineaning is not a human-based notion; rather, meaning is an ongoing performance of the world in its differential intelligibility:'" (Žižek,, p. 936).



Žižek says, "The problem here is the implied continuity of the line leading trom the natural correlation between organism and its environment to the structure of meaning proper to the symbolic order. In nature, differences make differences: there are agential cuts which establish a difference between the series of "causes" and the series of "effects;' an organism measures its environment and reacts accordingly; nonetheless, what is missing is a short-circuit between the two series of difterences, a mark belonging to the series of "effects" which retroactively inscribes itself into the series of "causes:' Deleuze's nanle for this paradoxical mark is "dark precursor;' a term he introduces in Difference and Repetition: "Thunderbolts explode between different intensities, but they are preceded by an imperceptible dark precursor [precurseur sombre], which determines their path in advance, but in reverse, as though intagliated'" (Žižek, p. 936,citing Deleuze 1993, :119).


"Here we arrive at the crux of the problem: the aim of our critique of Bm'ad's conclusions is not to propose a new version of the classical gap that separates humans hom animals by claiming that the short -circuit which "makes sense" out of nonsense is specifically human. The insight that, in quantum mechanics, we encounter in nature (in, as it were, a lower power/potency) a weird proto-version of what we usually perceive as the speciflcally human symbolic dimension should be maintained; our thesis is that a proto-version of the differential short -circuit ignored by Barad can be found at work in the quantum field. To establish this, we must first repeat the fundamental Hegelian reversal: the problem is not "how can we pass from the classical universe to the universe of quantum waves?" but exactly the opposite-"why and how does the quantum universe itself immanently require the collapse of the wave function, its 'decoherence' into the classical universe?" Why and how is the collapse inherent to the quantum universe? In other words, it is not only that there is no classical reality which is not sustained by fuzzy quantum fluctuations; it is also that there is no quantum universe which is not always already hooked onto some bit of classical reality" (Žižek, p. 936).


"...the collapse of the wave function occupies an anomalous position within quantum mechanics. It is required by the fact that observations occur, but it is not predicted by quantum theory. It is an additional postulate, which must be made in order that quantum mechanics be consistent" Žižek, p. 939, citing Barad, 285)

Žižek's challenge: "Barad ... already concedes too much to classical ontology, since it implies that separated parts somehow interact), that a cut is enacted and the object is fixed as observed... But we should also not read this fact as the result of an empirical disturbance of particles by the process of measurement (it is not that a wave changes into a collection of particles when it is disturbed by photons measuring its path). What changes is the entire phenomenal dispositifwhich enacts a different agential cut, one which allows measur,ing.. In short, each phenomenon encompasses its own ('past" and "future" which are created once the coordinates of this phenomenon are set by an agential cut" Žižek, p. 939-940).

"This is why a mere possibility of measuring suffices: the interference pattern disappears with the mere possibility of distinguishing paths, even in the absence of any empirical measurement, not because individual particles somehow "know" their path is observed, but because the possibility of measuring is transcendentally constitutive of their field of intelligibility" (Žižek, p. 940).



"Barad offers many variations on the motif that "details matter": in every experimental set-up, aIle Inust be very attentive to material details which can lead to enormons differences in the final result (the "butterfly effect"); in other words, the experiment can never be reduced to its abstract-ideal coordinates. However, is not the opposite fact mnch more interesting, namely, that the same global form persists through all the variations of the details? What should surprise us is that this ideal form exerts its own efficacy, that it generates the same material effects" (Žižek, p. 948).