“Fortune telling and horoscopes: a totally contingent coincidence is sufficient for the effect of transference to take place; we become convinced that “there is something to it.”” – The contingent real triggers the endless work of interpretation that desperately tries to connect the symbolic network of the prediction with the events of our “real life.” Suddenly, “all things mean something,” and if the meaning is not clear, this is only because some of it remains hidden, waiting to be deciphered. The real functions here not as something that resists symbolization, as a meaningless leftover that cannot be integrated into the symbolic universe, but, on the contrary, as its last support. For things to have meaning, this meaning must be confirmed by some contingent piece of the real that can be read as a “sign.” The very word sign, in opposition to the arbitrary mark, pertains to the “answer of the real”: the “sign” is given by the thing itself, it indicates that at least at a certain point, the abyss separating the real from the symbolic network has been crossed, i.e., that the real itself has complied with the signifier’s appeal. In moments of social crisis (wars, plagues), unusual celestial phenomena (comets, eclipses, etc.) are read as prophetic signs.
SLAVOJ ZIZEK – Looking Awry
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