Is the Real merging with the Symbolic?

There’s something strangely interesting about yesterday’s news about someone filming themself shooting someone. It would seem to say something about the society in which we now live. The way in which the killer wanted his horrendous act filmed seems to me to imply that it could only be real if it was recorded. It’s as if, in Lacanian terms, the Real and Symbolic are merging; as if the killer wanted to secure his deed in the collective memory, on the web. We see this in other areas too: more and more, people are uploading anything and everything – videos to Youtube, pictures to facebook – to cement an event online for posterity. It is as if we have all become insecure about the passing of time, and want to make it stop; we seek to cling to the past by rendering it into the online Symbolic, apparently desperate for others to witness it too. Yesterday’s killings were, of course, an extreme example, but it seems indicative of a very modern mindset: the desire to cling to ‘now’, the present, passing moment by rendering the real info the symbolic and making it available for all to see.

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