The same is true even to an ironical extent with regard to the right of freedom which is sometimes considered to be the very essence of human rights. There is no question that those outside the pale of the law may have more freedom of movement than a lawfully imprisoned criminal or that they enjoy more freedom of opinion in the internment camps of democratic countries than they would in any ordinary despotism, not to mention in a totalitarian country. But neither physical safety—being fed by some state or private welfare agency—nor freedom of opinion changes in the least their fundamental situation of rightlessness. The prolongation of their lives is due to charity and not to right, for no law exists which could force the nations to feed them: their freedom of movement, if they have it at all, gives them no right to residence which even the jailed criminal enjoys as a matter of course; and their freedom of opinion is a fool’s freedom, for nothing they think matters.
These last points are crucial. The fundamental deprivation of human rights is manifested first and above all in the deprivation of a place in the world which makes opinions significant and actions effective. Something much more fundamental than freedom and justice, which are rights of citizens, is at stake when belonging to the community into which one is born is no longer a matter of course and not belonging no longer a matter of choice, or when one is placed in a situation where, unless he commits a crime, his treatment by others does not depend on what he does or does not do. This extremity, and nothing else, is the situation of people deprived of human rights. They are deprived, not of the right to freedom, but of the right to action; not of the right to think whatever they please, but of the right to opinion. Privileges in some cases, injustices in most, blessings and doom are meted out to them according to accident and without any relation whatsoever to what they do, did, or may do.
Hannah Arendt, ‘The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man’ in The Origins of Totalitarianism.
One cannot go further along this line of thought than to demonstrate that no signification can be sustained other than by reference to another signification : in its extreme form this amounts to the proposition that there is no language (langue) in existence for which there is any question of its inability to cover the whole field of the signified, it being an effect of its existence as a language (langue) that it necessarily answers all needs. If we try to grasp in language the constitution of the object, we cannot fail to notice that this constitution is to be found only at the level of concept, a very different thing from a simple nominative, and that the thing, when reduced to the noun, breaks up into the double, divergent beam of the “cause” (causa) in which it has taken shelter in the French word “chose”, and the nothing (rien) to which it has abandoned its Latin dress (rem).
These considerations, important as their existence is for the philosopher, turn us away from the locus in which language questions us as to its very nature. And we will fail to pursue the question further as long as we cling to the illusion that the signifier answers to the function of representing the signified, or better, that the signifier has to answer for its existence in the name of any signification whatever.
For even reduced to this latter formulation, the heresy is the same — the heresy that leads to logical positivism in search of the “meaning of meaning,” as its objective is called in the language of its devotees. As a result, we can observe that even a text highly charged with meaning can be reduced, through this sort of analysis, to insignificant bagatelles, all that survives being mathematical algorithms that are, of course, without any meaning.
Jacques Lacan, The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud
The Surrealist approach in terms of its lofty and bold ambitions is unique. It aims for nothing less than overcoming the reified oppositions whose expression has long found its shadow-puppet theater, culture: dualisms of matter and spirit, exteriority and interiority, rationality and irrationality, wakefulness and dream, past and future, sacred and profane, art and nature. For Surrealism desires not merely a ‘synthesis’ but the process that in Hegelian dialectics is referred to as Negation (Aufebung), the conservation of opposites, and the overcoming of them to attain a higher level.