Zizek continues his exploration of the impasses of OOO by examining its passage from subject to substance. His argument here is that far from escaping the problematic of the subject (which Meillassoux draws from Althusser and re-names “correlationism”) OOO reinforces the very dualism that it purports to escape. The naturalisation of the object is accompanied by the substantialisation of the subject, which in turn must be compensated by a more or less poetic re-subjectivation (or “re-enchantment”) of the real.
Zizek advocates a reprise of the contrary movement, from substance to subject, that is to say he proposes to undercut OOO’s secondary re-subjectivation of the object (regressive re-enchantment) by means of a renewed concept of the subject as de-substantialized. This movement of de-substantialization was accomplished, in Zizek’s view by Lacan and by the Deleuze of LOGIC OF SENSE.
Here Zizek’s terminology and argument become murky indeed, but the main lines are clear. We need a concept of pure appearance that is not the appearing of anything. This de-substantialization of appearance corresponds to Lacan’s semblance and to Deleuze’s simulacrum. It is only with this concept that we can conceive of the subject:
subject is the self-appearing of nothing
Zizek proposes this idea of self-appearing of nothing as a more satisfactory solution than OOO’s subject as based on the self-withdrawal of the object.
Zizek argues that this de-substantialisation of the subject is a way of avoiding the paradox of transcendental constitution that pervades OOO. It does not accede to an objective vision of subject-indepebdent objects but only to a transcendental vision of a substantialized real that is in denial of its own subjective basis:
the problem with subjectless objects is not that they are too objective, neglecting the role of subject, but that what they describe as a subjectless world of objects is too subjective, already within an unproblematized transcendental horizon.