Does the Other exist?

One of the things that Lacan is famous (or perhaps more accurately infamous) for saying is that ‘the Other does not exist’.  Like many pronouncements attributed to Lacan, this one needs to be treated with caution.  What Lacan did say is that there is no Other of the Other, and also that there is no metalanguage.  The (non) existence of the Other is a blog in itself, but just as a starter I was thinking of how the Other manifests itself nowadays.

What do we mean by the Other?  One way to view the Other is as an external reference point or guarantee.  Certainly the Other existed for Descartes – the only guarantee that the thinking subject was not deluded or being mislead by malicious demons.  And this Other was God.  Today, many people profess not to believe in God – and yet they still believe in the Other.  In other words, they still cling to the idea of an external reference point, a guarantee of their world, their identity, their existence even.  During the Enlightenment science provided such a guarantee.  During the twentieth century science was joined by a number of political ideologies.  Nowadays the Other seems to crop up all over the place.  And one interesting manifestation of the Other is the spreadsheet……………..