Law: From Superego to Love

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Žižek's account of law is built upon the reiteration of the idea that law is split or that there is a parallax gap between the public letter and its obscene superego supplement.[1]

(This chapter focuses on the split in law, drawing out its repercussions for thinking about law more generally.)

For Žižek, law is necessary and potentially liberatory.

Appearing in mutiple arrangements - the symbolic law of language and norms, the public law of states and regimes, the transgressive "nightly" law of superego, as well as the religious law of Judaism and the Pauline law of faith - law persists as a constituent element of human practical experience.

Yet law as such is incomplete.

Law's Founding

Founding Crime

Founding Law

Split Law

The persisting Real of violence is law.

How does this violence persist, and what is its relation to split law?

Violence persists as superego, that is, as the punishing, powerful, obscene, dead father killed by the primal horde.


As a nonintegrated surplus, violence gives law the form of an injunction, rendering law as that which is to be obeyed.

Law is constitutively senseless: it is obeyed not because it is good, just, or beneficial, but because it is law.

As Zizek explains, "The last foundation of the Law's authority lies in its process of enunciation."[2]


Enjoying Law

Love With Law

The Object in Law: From Superego to Objet Petit a

Attachment to Law: From Enjoyment Through Duty to Enjoyment in Love

Conclusion: Hope in Law


  1. Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006. p. 10.
  2. Žižek, Slavoj. "How Did Marx Invent the Symptom?" in Mapping Ideology. Ed. Slavoj Zizek. Verso: London, 1944. p. 318