Dolar attempts to take our focus away from the observable and empirical voice by reminding us that there is always a negative: that which is not said, not meant, the object voice that point to the other.
“Yet it never appears as such, it always functions as the negative of the voice, its shadow, its reverse, and thus something which can evoke the voice in its pure form” (152).
This passage occurs in the second final chapter of the book (chapter 6: Freud’s Voice) where Dolar turns from the individual threads that had been the focus of the first five chapters back to the questions that deal with the whole cloth, the voice. In fact, Dolar introduces his investigation of the object voice with a series: an epigraph, a joke, and an anecdote. In the rush to dig in to the treatment of the subject, the worst mistake we could make as readers would be to rush past these openings, to dismiss them as mere stylistic decoration. Therefore one could safely say that the significance of the questions and answers that Dolar works through are contained within the series of overtures which function as threads combined to make a piece of cloth. While the threads of Dolar's inquiry are all present in this series, set forth in a manner that preserves their complex inter-relationships, reading them requires that we first pulled them from the cloth and held them up for inspection, we should then reconsider them in terms of their role to hold the cloth together. As such, my goal in this reading is to repeat the pulling of the threads that Dolar implicitly seems to suggest. I literally perform the act of pulling a thread by separating the sentence from its main clause -“Silence seems to be something extremely simple, where there is nothing to understand or interpret”- to highlights the striking repetition of the predicate nominative pronoun “it” and its possessive form. I will try to demonstrate that there is no such thing as silence in Dolar’s text; the only thing exist is voice presented in different forms.
The subject of the main clause is “silence,” its replacement by the predicate nominative, “it,” freezes its function as the grammatical subject of the sentence and turns the latter into another undetermined but speaking subject that could be read as “silence’s” other voice. Though the speaking subject of the sentence is unspecified, the repetition of “it” creates a sounding that makes the determined subject of the main clause (silence) function and resonate differently, almost as a voice. The juxtaposition of the two sentences-“Silence seems to be something extremely simple, where there is nothing to understand or interpret. Yet it never appears as such, it always functions as the negative of the voice, its shadow, its reverse, and thus something which can evoke the voice in its pure form”- effaces the function of the grammatical subject as the subject of enunciation (sujet enonciateur). As such, the predicate nominative “it” operates as the voice of the other that imposes itself upon the subject of enunciation (silence). Beneath the enunciation of silence as the grammatical subject of the sentence lies the assumption that it is the speaking subject that voices out what the sentence holds from us. One may wonder about the effect of the absence of a vocal voice in the sentence, it may be that in the silence of presence of the voice, one is left with a subject (silence) and its other (it) whose tie clashes.
In the sentence, the resonance of silence rehabilitates and pursues its aestheticization. I want to pose this aestheticization of the silence against Dolar’s psychoanalysis of the voice. If the danger of aestheticization is the attribution to the aestheticized object of “a meaning beyond any ordinary meanings,” then the process of aestheticization is a suspension apart from meaning. As such, the “aesthetics of voice” is the chapter missing from Dolar’s book, because he dismisses its possibilities too quickly.
I would like to add that I am thinking about blogging as adding a different level to the aesthetic implications of silence in locating the place of the voice. If the voice itself already can be considered as an always in between the medium of silence, the blogging – virtual online speaking – increases the instance of in betweeness. Similar to most of the abilities of modern and mostly digital devices it allows a remark, opinion to come in at a instantaneous and spontaneous level, which so far related most of the time only to a real-time remark, a heard voice. At the same time blog posts and comments connect to the written comment, which traditionally are considered as the captured voice of writing. Finally I would like to make here a connection between the blogging voice and the captured, disembodied voice of the analysand in psychoanalysis. Both bear marks of spontaneity which is much harder to constitute for publication of thoughts which went through the process of self-verification before being expressed.