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As I was visiting my parents the other day, I began my ritual of petting the family dog. As I ventured into the inane realm of mimicking the mannerisms of said dog, I quickly realized the asinine nature of the whole ordeal. My initial thought found itself to be accorded with the way in which Zizek often describes how the Lacanian notion of the Big Other functions in every day language. Zizek says that the Big Other is the actual referent of what we say to an other. Whenever we speak, there is an invisible, superego/third party implicated. This is beautifully illustrated in my imbecelic attempt at linguistic comunication with my parent’s dog. I do not actually expect the dog to understand what it is I am saying. His job is simply to witness my fulfillment of the socially constructed function of dog-speak. In other words, the Big Other is the true referent of my attempt at communication. And, as far as speech-act (and Habermasian) theory is concerned, the perlocutionary effect of a given locution is not necessarily comprehension/understanding. There is always another figure involved.

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