personal kernels, universal kernels

(this is a long post, but there's a question at the bottom, and I'd appreciate a little clarification/a swift kick re the connections I'm wondering about)

The following quote stuck with me:

"The Lacanian thesis is, on the contrary, that there is always a hard kernel, a leftover which persists and cannot be reduced to a universal play of illusory mirroring. The difference between Lacan and 'naïve realism' is that for Lacan, //the only point at which we approach this hard kernel of the Real is indeed the dream.// When we awaken into reality after a dream, we usually say to ourselves, 'it was just a dream', thereby blinding ourselves to the fact that in our everyday, wakening reality we are //nothing but a consciousness of this dream.// It was only in the dream that we approached the fantasy framework which determines our activity, our mode of acting in reality itself" (47).

Several aspects strike me as particularly interesting, the first being that Zizek manages to assert a kind of 'mature realism' (as opposed to 'naïve') that is consonant with postmodernity. Identifying a permanent nugget of reality that is not contingent upon anything (right?) seems, on the face of it, decidedly not postmodern, perhaps even platonic in the bluntest sense. So I love how he makes the hard kernel compatible with pm.

This passage draws on theories set down in the book's opening pages, that the only fetishistic concern that matters is the fetishism of form, the 'secret of the form itself' (11). In Zizek's/Freud's dream theory, the latent dream-thought, the normal, conscious train of thought, is somehow translated into the 'manifest content' of the dream, the dream's literal phenomenality. The 'mc' obscures the 'latent dt', but figuring out what is hidden is like digging up your own time capsule--disappointing. There's something else at play: a deeper desire that has nothing to do with the latent dt, but which has been transferred onto it, and transforms it into the mc.

The transference of this deeper desire--"an unconscious wish, derived from infancy and in a state of repression"--onto the latent dream thought is necessary for the latent dream thought to become what is experienced as a dream, to become the manifest content. The deeper, unconscious desire is the 'secret of the form itself'; it is the secret to the form dreams take. It seems to function like a quasi-invisible printing press to the latent dt's raw material and the manifest dream text's final product. Or perhaps like a mystery enzyme, for all the science kids out there. (textual support: 'The real subject matter of the dream (the unconscious desire) articulates itself in the dream-work, in the elaboration of its latent content.' and: '[the unconscious desire] articulates itself precisely through the (faux) "kernel" of a dream, its latent thought' (13).

I like that Zizek concentrates everything of interest into the inscrutable space of the function box--the mysterious 'unconscious desire' responsible for the dream. This interstitial space strikes me as similar to the interstitial spaces described elsewhere, perhaps to the fundamental antagonism, 'the original "trauma", [the] impossible kernel which resists symbolization, totalization, symbolic integration' (6). There are at least two (more? fewer?) kernels being tossed around here: the dream's kernel (unconscious desire) and this ur-kernel (the leftover Real that symbols can't account for (6)). Here's a question: is the unconscious desire kernel the same as this ur-kernel? Both seem to harbor the unalienable qualities of their respective subjects. And is the unconscious desire the same as the 'fantasy framework' the same as the ur-kernel?: 'It was only in the dream that we approached the fantasy framework which determines our activity, our mode of acting in reality itself' (47). If dreams are the only way to access the fantasy framework, which is 'our mode of acting in reality in itself', is the personal kernel the same as the universal kernel? Or at least similarly structured? Thus, the dream world and the waking world operate with a similar logic, where, the hard kernel is invisible and only accessible unconsciously ... ?

I’m wondering if what Zizek offers as the definition of ideology might be useful here . . . “’ideological’ is a social reality whose very existence implies the non-knowledge of its participants as to its essence” (page 21). It seem like there is a very paradoxical scenario here, similar to the kernel of truth one, in which knowledge of the ideology at play (or vision of the kernel) negates its existence in the first place.

I don’t know where to go with this, I just saw a similar, frustrating situation in which the thing you are seeking to unearth slips through your fingers once you begin to acknowledge its presence.