Theology’s Icon and its Idol

The following is largely excerpted from my upcoming talk on icons:

The icon has, from a very early time, marked a central trope in theological thinking about Christianity’s God. From Paul’s formula of Jesus as “icon of the invisible God” springs the icon as perhaps the paradigmatic object of thought for figuring representations of the divine in the finite, whether in terms of names, images, or concepts. In addition to an object for thought, the icon names a practice: the “writing” and the “veneration” of painted images, particularly on wood, of devotional figures in Orthodox Christianity. For theological thinking, these ‘icons’ have been thought as mirrors of each other: the icon as an object of theology legitimates and theorizes the icon as venerated image, while the venerated image provides specific content by which theology knows that it does not—when it speaks of the icon—speak in vain.

Insufficient attention has, I claim, been given to the distinction between these two icons; indeed, the linkage between the two is precisely a source of significant currency for the icon of theology, even in traditions in which the veneration of images does not figure significantly. Typically, the phenomenological engagement with the icon—schematized according to a looking “through” or “beyond” the icon to that which lies behind it—is compared analogically with religious speech. The structure is always one of a word, a picture, or a concept that stands in; the unique experience of seeing-through becomes the basis on which intelligible God-talk is possible without the reduction of that God to an entity given to metaphysics. It is in part this uniqueness that I wish to challenge.

The icon as I’m considering it here is primarily the icon as an object of thought; an object for theology and for philosophy of religion. To give an account of writing and veneration would always require a specificity of place, of material, of power and practice unavailable to theology’s presumed self-sufficiency to think the icon.

A Competition of Phenomenologies

Jean-Luc Marion’s God Without Being will serve as my model of theology’s use of the icon. Marion frames his account of the icon in terms of two competing visibilities. Eikōn is necessarily opposed to eidolōn; both are only available to traditional theological discourse as they are approached in their mutual antagonism. Rather than a conflict between, say, pagan and Christian art, the idol and the icon manifest “a conflict between two phenomenologies”[i] An object that manifests as an idol in one time and place might manifest iconically for another and vice versa. Thus, the distance between idol and icon is not a question of the choice of referent, which is why you can find Jewish and Christian prohibitions of “idols” of even the “correct” God. Both idol and icon are semiotic; their ability to take one or the other position depends on their ability to refer to something other than themselves. Each takes up a different relation to the gaze, and each ‘signs’ differently as a signifier of some signified.


The idol is, from the perspective of sense, primary for Marion. This is in large part because of the special relationship the idol holds with sense as such. The idol does not, strictly speaking, lie. It is not a question of an object that prevents one from seeing what is, or that shows one something that strictly isn’t there, but of perfect visibility; the currency of the idol lies in its ability to exhaust sense, to give sense perfectly, to construct the visible for the subject and (it follows) to construct the subject herself.

The gaze, then, “precedes” the idol; an object’s ability to exhaust visibility derives from the gaze that gives it sense. The idol is that object which “catches” the gaze, or which falls into the structural hole already opened by the gaze as the representation of sense. Rather than precipitating or suggesting a beyond, (as, we will see, in Lacan) the gaze cuts off a beyond for Marion, fixing on an object that renders all other thing visible; in other words, available to sense.[ii] The idol “concretizes” the gaze’s stop; its entry into full vision. Before the idol, the gaze does not strictly see, but ‘transparently transpierces’ the visible. Without the idol as the object that falls into the gaze and concretizes its arrival into the visible, no seeing—no sense—is possible. “The idol thus acts as a mirror, not as a portrait.”[iii] The idol gives the subject herself as constructed by the aims of her gaze. The idol is thus a model of perfect ideological interpellation: “If the idolatrous gaze exercises no criticism of its idol, this is because it no longer has the means to do so.”[iv]


How, then, is the icon’s visibility to be figured, in contradistinction to the idol? “The icon does not result from a vision but provokes one.”[v] The visibility of the idol is inverted in the notion of the icon. In the idol, the distinction that arises is between seen and not seen (or sense and nonsense), and what is not seen is figured as precisely unseeable; it’s simply not there; disqualified. Conversely, in the icon, the invisible is rendered as invisible; the invisible is figured as present but behind—or more correctly beyond—visibility. The invisible (nonsensical) manifests as excessive in the sense of an addition to­—or transcendence of—the visual field.

“The icon,” Marion writes, “lays out the material of wood and paint in such a way that there appears in them the intention of a transpiercing gaze emanating from them.”[vi] The gaze as figured in the icon then, is precisely the gaze from the icon. It is a gaze that manifests as emanating from the icon and apprehending the viewer, enjoining the viewer to peer beyond or behind the icon, towards the origin of the gaze. As we are seen, we see that we do not see.

Theology’s Icon and Ideology

The icon, in the traditional account, depends on its idol. The coherence of this form of the icon is guaranteed only by its distinction from an object that is strictly cut off from any gaze that is not identical with the look of the viewer. In this respect, one might note that the idol is structurally homologous with the panopticon of screen theory; it perfectly constructs the visibility of its viewer, leaving no indeterminacy. The idol is the enemy of uncertainty, of any indeterminacy on the part of the visible. On might pose a rather simple question, then, to this panoptic model of power: if the discourses that construct the subject construct her perfectly, then how do these discourses themselves arise in history? If the only terms for figuring the world are those already given, then the emergence of new regimes and new figurations cannot be accounted for; perfect construction leaves no room for the emergence of constructive discourses in the first place.This is not, on the face of it, of a problem for the idol/icon distinction, however. It is, in fact, precisely the argument that this icon depends on for its legitimation: if vision produces (only) vision, if sense produces (only) sense, then under the traditional argument, it follows that one needs a transcendent condition or outside provocation to figure the encounter with the gaze. The mechanism for any possible novum must come from beyond.What I want to suggest then is not that, in the duality of the idol and the icon, the icon is formally impossible. Rather, I want to suggest that it is the idol that is is formally incoherent. If the structure of vision as such depends on the interpenetration of sense and nonsense—if (as Lacan would tell us) vision is always-already haunted by definition by the play of light—then an object that functions as an idol in the traditional sense simply cannot exist. An object which refers to and makes sense of a thought world without the gaze of the Other—in other words, without some dimension beyond bare representation, an image—could not occupy the idol’s constitutive role as an infuser of sense into the surrounding world. The only way to maintain this division would be to divorce vision from its dependence on sense. Without this dependence, however, the traditional distinction between idol and icon again collapses; the whole phenomenological distinction by which an object might manifest variably as one or the other disappears. Without the idol to infuse the icon, we are left in the domain of the gaze, in which the icon as figured by the traditional account corresponds with the gaze as a means of control.[vii]

[i] Jean-Luc Marion, God without Being : Hors-Texte, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 7.

[ii] The concept is the privileged form of the idol in modernity for Marion. Art objects can’t, for the modern subject, as readily occupy this space as they once did.

[iii] Ibid., 12.

[iv] Ibid., 13.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid., 19.

[vii] I have in mind here a distinction that Gilles Deleuze highlights in the work of Michel Foucault; whereas disciplinary society reaches a zenith in the 20th century, “control” names the way formerly institutional sites of subject-formation (the school, the factory, the hospital, etc) that make up disciplinary society de-materialize into simultaneously differential and generalized forms under late capitalism. “The different internments of spaces of enclosure through which the individual passes are independent variables: each time one us supposed to start from zero, and although a common language for all these places exists, it is analogical. On the other hand, the different control mechanisms are inseparable variations, forming a system of variable geometry the language of which is numerical (which doesn’t necessarily mean binary). Enclosures are molds, distinct castings, but controls are a modulation, like a self-deforming cast that will continuously change from one moment to the other, or like a sieve whose mesh will transmute from point to point.” Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” October 59 (1992): 4-5.

Lacan on the Subject and Object – Tad Delay

The following is an excellent post by Tad Delay picking up on some of the issues we are dealing with in talking of subjects, objects and immanence. Tad is currently a PhD student at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA.Image

“Truth is nothing but what knowledge can learn that it knows merely by putting its ignorance to work.”1

Lucas and I have had our share of conversations over the notion of immanence in relation to critical theory and pedagogy. What seems to make for a roadblock in those conversations is some combination of 1) the differences in influences a Husserlian and a Lacanian naturally bring to the table and 2) the sheer amount of gin we consume during those conversations. But after his recent post, I think I am beginning to regarding subjectivity (or inter-subjectivity), and I think my trouble understanding had less to do with an irresolvable difference and more to do with the differing starting points of our respective theorists. So I’m going to start with where that difference might be located—which is our different meanings of subject and object—and I am going to conclude by saying we are not subjects interacting with objects but instead objects interacting with subjects.

Lucas uses the term immanence to describe an irreducible embeddedness of subject and object, all the more so when that object is another subject. He concludes we should examine “one’s existence as verbal, as ‘ ing’ in construction, ‘ -ing’ in-the-world with and as entities(y), constituting the most basic stuff of what we refer to when we talk of ‘discourse.’ As such, critique must be always thought in the face of the imminently human.” As a Lacanian, I say yes to the verbal nature of subjectivity (after all, the phrase the unconscious is structured like a language appears in nearly every essay and all seminars), but I think the big difference in starting points I mentioned comes from my disposition to see subjectivity—the Lacanian subject—as primarily unconscious. There is a wide difference between the totality of the I and the conscious perception of the me.

“The specular relationship with the other…can only reduce to its effective subordination the whole fantasmatization brought to light by analytic experience by interposing itself…between this shy of the Subject and this beyond of the Other, where speech in effect inserts it, insofar as the existences that are grounded in speech are entirely at the mercy of its faith.”2

The difference between the I and the me is described in Lacan’s “L Schema.”3 Two of these positions are (partly) conscious and two are unconscious. And to be clear— because this is almost always obfuscated— the un in unconscious is not a simple negation of conscious the way pre- Freudians and Jungians use the term; conscious is not to unconscious the way that

black is to unblack.4 Unconscious is a phenomenon that insists rather than exists.5 “The unconscious is a concept founded on the trail left by that which operates to constitute the subject. The unconscious is not a species defining the circle of that part of psychical reality which does not have the attribute (or the virtue) of consciousness.”6 In the “L Schema,” S (the subject) and A (big Other) are unconscious, and a’ (ego, the moi that I consciously perceive myself as) and a (the object, or object cause, of desire inasmuch as it enters the imaginary register7) are at least partly conscious. The object of desire is always accidental, never perfectly calculated the way our egos would like to imagine.8 L’objet a is not a “thing” qua actually-existing-thing but instead a structural position that the psyche maps an idea onto, which is why nothing we acquire finally satisfies the drive. These four positions are asymmetrical; think of the Subject as both its own position and that which contains the totality of the other three positions where Autre is the primary actor. And S, if it is properly split into conscious and unconscious ($) as it is in neurotic and perverse individuals, is a projection of the A, the big Other, which Lacan calls the discourse of speech.

This Other shouldn’t be confused with a Jungian collective unconscious, but if I understand Lacan’s intention correctly then there is no clear division between the big Other of the individual and the big Other of the culture creating that individual’s ego. The big Other is purely a function of the symbolic register; like the objet a, the Autre is a phenomenon and a position in the psyche rather than anything that actually exists in the world. It’s worth clarifying, because the big Other is often used as a synonym for God. God is one manifestation of the big Other, as are any number of social expectations, pressures, injunctions, identities, etc., but anytime we name something we are no longer talking about the symbolic big Other but instead are figuring a representation of the Other within the imaginary register. But moving on, analytic therapy is not simply a relation of two egos, one ego seeking help from the other. “…I teach that there are not only two subjects present in the analytic situation, but two subjects each of whom is provided with two objects, the ego and the other, the latter beginning with a lowercase o.”9 Lacan’s most basic matheme for the neurotic subject’s relationship to an object of desire is written as ($<>a).10

“In the unconscious, which is not so much deep as it is inaccessible to conscious scrutiny, it speaks…”11

“Why not look for the image of the ego in shrimp, under the pretext that both acquire a new shell after every molting?”12

In other words, when I perceive that I desire something, my ego (a’) is investing in an object (a) at the behest of unconscious injunctions and/or drives. This process is called cathexis by Freud and is most evident in the transference of love and hate. The stronger the cathexis, the more the ego has identified itself with an ideal and the more that ideal becomes part of the superego. “Over-thinking a relationship/job/conflict/etc.” is what cathexis feels like. There’s more to be said about object-libido and ego-libido (narcissism), but I will leave that aside. So we love and we hate, but we do not always have much of a rational reason explaining why we love or hate. That lack of rationality is because our ego has been directed (sometimes only in part, sometimes

entirely) by the unconscious. Anger is experienced at the imaginary register, but underneath it is “…the failure of an expected correlation between a symbolic order and the response of the real.”13 There is always a significant element of backwards-engineered justification by the time an idea becomes conscious, and this is why psychoanalysis does not locate subjectivity in the system-conscious. You see this backwards-engineering all the time when you discuss a concept with someone whose identity seems to depend on an easily falsifiable and/or completely indefensible position. You can strike down claim after claim (façade of a after a), but nothing changes one’s mind. The ego is actually defending the integrity of the big Other, and the big Other can simply redirect the subject’s ego to attach itself to the next object/idea. In therapy, this is a defense mechanism that gives me an infinite number of justifications to maintain self- sabotaging behavioral patterns. The big Other manifests as a repetition injunction. But this conversation began as a vicissitude of sublimation or repression of a drive, so the thing (with a lower case t, the façade) you are consciously discussing is already a few steps removed from the Thing/objet a of the drive. But every once in a while you stumble onto the conception of a particular a that big Other cannot stabilize itself without, and there is a cascading reaction where a particular form of the big Other looses operative power over the subject. At that point, the argument (or therapy) is over. So this is why Lacan’s goal was to traverse the fantasy, to “pierce through the imaginary dimension which veils the symbolic and confront the analysand’s relations to the Other head on.”14

“It is true that I am incomprehensible… I’m not afraid of people leaving. On the contrary, I am relieved when they leave.”15

So where then am I differing with Lucas? Well at the risk of oversimplifying—indeed, this whole piece is a bit of an oversimplification of Lacan’s schema—Lucas is rightly talking about the embeddedness of subject interacting with objects in order to discuss immanence and intersubjectivity. It’s just that Lacan doesn’t let us talk about subjects interacting with object; instead, I (at least, the me of the I) am an object interacting with subjects. Or further, moi is an object contained by a subject interacting with other objects contained by other subjects, and then this relationship becomes further complicated by group identities (which yields more and more complex conflicts of inter- and intra-group psychopathology). The analyst has to affiliate herself with the healthy part of the subjects ego, or applied differently, we have to realize that our conversations with others present a fiction that amounts to an interaction with only one part (momentarily conscious) of only one register (the imaginary), but we have an infinite depth to us, symbolic and real. At any rate, the moi is not where the Lacanian places the emphasis.

“Desire is what manifests itself in the interval demand excavates just shy of itself, insofar as the subject…brings to light his lack of being with his call to receive the complement of this lack form the Other—assuming that the Other…is also the locus of this lack. What it is thus the Other’s job to provide—and, indeed, it is what he does not have, since he too lacks being—is what is called love, but it is also hate and ignorance.”16

“We need not, in psychoanalysis, broaden people’s minds,”17 but for further reading on topics discussed:

Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Freud, The Ego and the Id

Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis

 Lacan, “Position of the Unconscious” in Écrits

Lacan, “The Freudian Thing” in Écrits

Lacan, “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’” in Écrits

1 Lacan, Écrits, 675.

2 Lacan, Écrits, 40.

3 Lacan, Écrits, 40.

4 Lacan, Écrits, 704.

5 Read all of Seminar II!

6 Lacan, Écrits, 703.

7 This is a bit oversimplified, and l’objet a has as much (or more, depending on which seminar we draw from) to do with the real as it has to do with the imaginary. It is not the actual object that exists in reality, but reality’s objects become an objet a through all three registers and normally become expressed by the imaginary register. The objet a is the object of a partial drive—all Lacanian drives are partial, all are death drives—and the drive can only reach jouissance by endlessly encircling its object instead of directly acquiring any object. What I am describing here is admittedly a mix of Lacanian drive and Freudian cathexis regarding their shared origin in object-libido. Each use these terms, but Freud might be in more agreement with my use of the terms here than would Lacan.

8 Lacan, The Triumph of Religion, 46.

9 Lacan, Écrits, 357.

10 Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 99.

11 Lacan, Écrits, 364.

12 Lacan, Ecrits, 217

13 Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 103.

14 Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis, 35.

15 Lacan, The Triumph of Religion, 83, 85.

16 Lacan, Écrits, 524.

17 Lacan, Écrits, 305.

Criticism II: Issues with Critique

What We are Doing    

In the last five posts from Joel and I, with four of those posts being from Joel (overachiever?), we have sought to direct our readers toward the critical project of Kant. The purpose of this direction is to firstly communicate tensions that Joel and I have discussed with regard to our own respective research projects. In addition, we are seeking to examine other tensions that lay beyond the purview of our immediate research contexts.

Regarding the first goal, Kant represents a particularly interesting turn in the history of thought as Joel and I (and Sean I’d wager, though I’m waiting to pick his mind more on this/convince him over a few drinks in the next week to be sure) think through how to think ‘hope’ and ‘utopia’ in relation to eschatology, political theory and personhood. I will say more about this in in the next post which will tease out a working thesis regarding Kant’s importance for thinking these concepts in relation to phenomenological projects, beginning with his influence in the work of Brentano and more importantly Husserl. For now, it suffices to say that Kant’s turn to the subject and the characterization of his particular turn as a ‘critical’ notion occupies much of our attention as it pertains to thinking through the pronouncement and enactment of critique.

The latter sort of engagement reflects our constructive insistence on re-appropriating Kant, insofar as this constructive insistence exercises a critical function upon a particular sort of discourse that is related to but not identical with our respective research projects. Our concern here is rooted in our feeling of a tendency in thought to make particular use of that adjective ‘critique.’ My approach toward this use is, as one might expect, an approach that assumes a possible misuse. Here I want to name or at least direct attention to the possibility of that misuse’s occurrence in discourse. In so doing I do not wish to lay claim to singular definition of critique’s definition, contra this targeted notion. Rather, this is the attempt to tease out a feeling of an occurrence that I perceive in my own interactions with people and in readings that concern themselves with the use of critique (i.e. critical theology, pedagogy etc.)

A Posture Toward Criticism

 To begin, I take as necessary a rigorous and self-reflexive posture toward the occurrence of critique so as to elucidate and safeguard any intelligibility of the notion whatsoever. It is important to realise this engagement, which in the verbal and written form we call ‘discourse,’ as one itself an ‘occurrence(s)’ in which one takes on or ‘is’ that entity-which-inquires as a mode of Being for the agent involved.[1] Such an occurrence for the person is with regard to another occurrence, or, to use the more familiar phrasing, phenomenon, that manifests among other types as the impetus for our becoming that particular entity, namely the object(s) of inquiry. Discoursing, the draw from Heidegger’s descriptive account, is always verbal, always itself “_‘ing” and in reference to _ in-the-world.[2] This is I believe to recognise, despite Heidegger’s best efforts (to say nothing of Husserl on this point for the time being), one of the most important recognitions by Kant. Namely, the realness of the person’s complicity in the creation of discourse, the recognition that this complicity is one of thought in-the-world, that the space in which thought occurs is real. This is the “space for intuition.”[3]

Recognising this as a basic understanding of how discourse, human lividness and cognition relate, I am not sure we know what we mean when we recourse to the concept of critique as our conceptual-object of meaning or action. Generally speaking we know that critical theories are all about emancipation of agents and exposing the ideological oppression at work in the world. This seems a simple enough definition but I want to question the notion that to schematize critique in this way is enough, that this reflective notion of critique in its most basic form is not without further assumption with regard to something like the constitution(s) of the person. For in addition to the necessary nature of recognising the person as constitutive in the constructive process of discourse, what do we decry if not the mechanization and dehumanization of people? To engage in the descriptive task of critically speaking of the experience of coercion by those who are viscerally oppressed is always a prescriptive activity. To decry is verbal, and with regard to a declaration of rebellion against forces of domination, a verb that requires a subject immanently present and known as authoritative for such speaking of critique.[4] Here I feel a tension with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s work in The Undercommons insofar as they point toward the necessity of recognising the immanent person, while chastising a logic that would seek to ground action in anything other than the immediate. . They note, “Uncut devotion to the critique of this illusion makes us delusional.[5] Yet, this is situated always in the self-possesion of persons without need for anything more than proleptic moments of hope that correspond directly with the unknowing of the present.[6]

The philosophical linkage between subject and object is, in this case, one for immanence as the beginning space, relation or context of construction in-the-world.[7] Construction is the rupturing of the communicative horizon by the newness we call ‘truth’ or ‘knowledge’. The ‘always relation’ to an object implies an immanent immersion with other entities in-the-world.  By so conceiving the relation one is not making objects dependent on the thinking entity, that is that entity-which-constructs. Rather this affirmation of the relation is to recognize the reality of the world and one’s existence as verbal, as “_-ing” in construction, ‘_-ing’ in-the-world with and as entities(y), constituting the most basic stuff of what we refer to when we talk of “discourse.” As such, critique must be always thought in the face of the imminently human. To speak without this recognition or without reflective description is to run the danger of our critical speech becoming nothing other than jargon.

[1] Heidegger, M., Being and time. 1967, Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 26-27. Heidegger points us to the complicity of Dasein in asking the questions that comprise discourse. Indeed, this complicity is an integral part to any sort of investigative truth that the discourse might elucidate. “Looking at something, understanding and conceiving it, choosing, access to it-all these ways of behaving are constitutive for our inquiry, and therefore are modes of Being for those particular entities which we, the inquirers, are ourselves.” (Italics are mine).

[2] Heidegger, M., Being and time. p. 56. “When fully concrete, discoursing (letting something be seen) has the character of speaking [Sprechens]-vocal proclamation in words.” The act of discoursing is itself then verbal, actively occurring in the world as a mode of Dasein’s Being and in tandem to its referents in-the-world. This process occurs in simultaneous fashion, on the same plane of action, the plane in which we speak of the Being of beings manifesting in such action.

[3] Kant, I., A.W. Wood, and G. Di Giovanni, Religion within the boundaries of mere reason and other writings. Cambridge texts in the history of philosophy. 1998, Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 5. In this first section of the work Kant makes a rather simple argument for how to think of what it means for oneself to “orient.” He runs through examples of geography and mathematical calculation and then proceeds to explicate the space in which one orients with regard to thought. “Finally, I can extend this concept even further, since it could be taken as consisting in the faculty of orienting myself not merely in space, i.e. mathematically, but in thinking in general, i.e. logically…By analogy, one can easily guess that it will be a concern of pure reason to guide its use when it wants to leave familiar objects (of experience) behind, extending itself beyond all the bounds of experience and finding no object of intuition at all, but merely space for intuition.”

[4] Horkheimer, M., Critical theory: selected essays. 1982, New York: Continuum Pub. Corp. pp. 244-245. Horkheimer writes, “Every datum depends not on nature alone but also on the power man has over it. Objects, the kind of perception, the questions asked, and the meaning of the answers all bear witness to human activity and the degree of man’s power. In thus relating matter-that is, the apparently irreducible facts which the scientific specialist must respect-to human production, the critical theory of society agrees with German idealism. Ever since Kant, idealism has insisted on the dynamic moment in the relationship and has protested against the adoration of facts and the social conformism this brings with it.”

[5] Harney, Stefano and Moten, Fred. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. 2013, New York: Minor Compositions. p. 18.

[6] Harney and Moten. The Undercommons. p. 18. Here I am thinking of the description by the authors of the necessity for the undercommons to take possession of themselves in the immediacy of their situatedness, which manifests as one of being surrounded by an enemeny force, behind enemy lines. Such self-possession breaks apart the categories of politics and ontology and leaves only the immediacy of the present. “In the trick of politics we are insufficient, scarce, waiting in pockets of resistance, in stairwells, in alleys, in vain. The false image and its critique threaten the common with democracy, which is only ever to come, so that one day, which is only never to come, we will be more than what we are. But we already are. We’re already here, moving. We’ve been around. We’re more than politics, more than settled, more than democratic.”

[7] Beginning is a notion that requires more delicate handling and definition in the future. However, the recognition of the turn to the subject in the space of the phenomena as beginning is important both for understanding the historical meaning of this in thinkers such as Kant and Husserl and for our present purposes of thinking the tension between discourse, immanence and critique. Here it is possible to tease our the necessity for such a notion as beginning in immanence. Moran, referring to Husserl, writes, “Husserl also recognised, however, a point that is often forgotten in the consideration of his philosophy, that this methodological solipsism could not be the whole of philosophy, but merely its beginning.” See: Moran, D., Introduction to phenomenology. 2000, London: Routledge. p. 61. Heidegger furthers the realization of this beginning in placing the question of Being, of the Being of beings, as we noted in footnote 2. Heidegger requires one to recognise the primacy of actualities, of particular beings and the respective actions and phenomenon when one seeks after and attempts to schematise essential definitions. This is a collapse of cognitive categories of metaphysics into the immanent plane of active existent reality. However, it is not a methodological move toward an immanence that dissipates the subject’s primary position with regard to the verbal occurrence of discourse. Heidegger retains the primacy of the Husserlian subject and the legacy of Kantian idealism, though with modification, in his privileging of Dasein in the task of inquiring after Being. In addition, it is worth noting how Daniel Barber’s notion of immenence as relation, in conjunction with what Heidegger does with injunction to recognise ontological difference, further illuminates the necessity of this recognition for thinking discourse. Barber, regarding the transgressive nature of naming immanence, writes, “being by recalling the difficulty engendered by the requisite refusal to make immanence immanent to something. This leaves us with an immanence that is autonomous, an immanence that is, as it were, in itself. Yet, immanence if we think of it as simply in itself, suddenly becomes a transcendent. Immanence cannot just be in itself, for this would make immanence relation into an object, into something that precedes the enactment or deployment of immanent relation.” (Italic are mine). See: Barber, D.C., On diaspora: Christianity, religion and secularity. 2011, Eugene, Or.: Cascade Books. p. 6.