Eric Santner

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The following was taken from Jodi Dean's I Cite:

Eric Santner's discussion of miracles in his contribution to The Neighbor is wonderful. I have only just started going back through this, but I was struck with how beautifully and systematically he uses Rosenzweig to make good on the Lacanian/Zizekian proposition that miracles do happen.

Santner (reading Rosenzweig) posits thinking as a mode of attentiveness to a particular kind of address, to a signifying stress that accompanies our 'creaturely' life. He writes:

To use a Heideggerian locution, our throwness into the world does not simply mean that we alwasy find ourselves in the midst of a social formation that we did not choose (our language, our family, our society, our class, our gender, and so on); it means, more importantly that this social formation in which we find ourselves immersed is itself permeated by inconsistency and incompleteness, is itself haunted by a lack by which we are, in some peculiar way, addressed, 'excited,' to which we are in some fashion answerable.

Reality is fissured by lack. Symptoms thus acculmulate around this lack, symptoms of past failures to act, past failures to, as Santner writes, "suspend the force of the social bond--call it the dominant ideology--inhibiting acts of solidarity with society's 'others.'" At a particular moment, these symptoms become legible as such, recognizable as missed opportunities. He writes:

Miracles happen when, upon registering their 'historical truth,' we are able to act, to intervene into these symptoms and enter the space of possibilities opened thereby . . . Miracles happen when we find ourselves able to suspend a pattern ... The crucial thought in all of this that such failures/defense formations persist as a peculiar sort of stress in the individual and collective lives of those in some way linked to them. It is the signs/symptoms of such stress that await, as it were, the 'miraculous' now of their recognizability.