Magritte wrote:Where does the symbolic being primary enter into this?
It's the basic post-structuralist stance - expressed as "writing is primary" or "the media is the message", etc - & now I gotta use quotes again, sorry....
So if we can make machines or beings OUT OF OUR KNOWLEDGE BASE (and esp if, as Foucault says, all our knowledge is inextricably wrapped up in the histories of our various social systems of hierarchies, performances, competing, and controls) and then make a claim that somehow they can "know us better than we know ourselves", then, what's that mean? That, to me, seems problematic....The Symbolic: in contrast to the imaginary, the symbolic involves the formation of signifiers and language and is considered to be the "determining order of the subject" (Miller, 279). Seeing the entire system of the unconscious/conscious as manifesting in an endless web of signifiers/ieds and associations, Lacan claims that, "Symbols in fact envelop the life of man in a network so total that they join together, before he comes into the world, those who are going to engender him…" (Language, 42). And, "Man speaks therefore, but it is because the symbol has made him man" (39). The Symbolic Order functions as the way in which the subject is organized and, to a certain extent, how the psyche becomes accessible. It is associated with language, with words, with writing and can be aligned with Peirce’s "symbol" and Saussure’s "signifier." (see symbol-icon-index)
ETA- btw, Derrida, I bet,with his concept that meaning is always incomplete and deferred, would have grabbed onto your assertion on the other thread - "build a 'something' that knows us better than we know ourselves" - for it's obvious, messianic implication, the promise of someone or something finally overcoming the 'blind brain' and arriving at some actual 'meaning'....& even if we can't understand that 'meaning' for ourselves!