Zizek Urinalysis: a question regarding Hegelian urination and insemination

I am working through Zizek’s portions of God in Pain.  On pp. 114-115, he quotes Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, 210:

The depth which the Spirit brings forth from within–but only as far as its picture-thinking consciousness where it lets it remain–and the ignorance of this consciousness about what it really is saying, are the same conjunction of the high and the low which, in the living being, Nature naively expresses when it combines the organ of its highest fulfillment, the organ of generation, with the organ of urination.  The infinite judgment, qua infinite, would be the fulfillment of life that comprehends itself; the consciousness of the infinite judgment that remans at the level of picture-thinking behaves as urination.

Then Zizek continues:

A close reading of this passage makes it clear that Hegel’s point is not that, in contrast to the vulgar empiricst mind which sees only urination, the proper speculative attitude has to choose insemination.  The paradox is that to choose insemination directly is the infallibale way to miss it:  it is not possible to choose directly the “true meaning”; one has to begin by making the “wrong” choice (of urination)–the true speculative meaning emerges only through the repeated reading, as the after-effect (or by-product) of the first, “wrong” reading…as, we may add, Sarach can have her child only after Hagar has hers.

Now, I kind of get Zizek’s point about Sarah and Hagar that he continues on with in the chapter (“A Glance into the Archives of Islam”), but could someone explain to me what is the real benefit or payoff of Zizek’s urination analysis here?  Am I missing some subtext behind Hegel in this passage?

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5 Responses to “Zizek Urinalysis: a question regarding Hegelian urination and insemination”

  1. Adam Kotsko Says:

    This is a passage from Hegel that Zizek quotes again and again (and his commentary is virtually identical each time as well). I don’t really know why it is such a fixation for him — perhaps because the very “grossness” of the example emphasizes the general point (the “lower” thing is necessary), perhaps because the connection with the penis provides a nice reference to the Lacanian phallus, etc.

  2. Christopher Rodkey Says:

    Yes, I am pretty sure I have encountered it before, but it always puzzles me a little, and in this case, it seems a little dangerous to make this point when we’re talking about Abrahamic sex. Regardless, this is helpful to hear, Adam. Thanks.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Perhaps we have an explanation for why the promised son was so long in coming?

  4. GF Wahlquist Says:

    Kotsko, that last comment is the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

  5. Christopher Rodkey Says:

    Nietszsche did say something about this regarding thunder and lighting requiring time.


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