Thursday, March 6, 2014

Smashing the Radar Screens

The problem with today's superego injunction to enjoy is that, in contrast to previous modes of ideological interpellation, it opens up no "world" proper - it just refers to an obscure Unnameable. Even Nazi anti-Semitism opened up a world: by way of describing the present critical situation, naming the enemy ("Jewish conspiracy"), the goal and the means to achieve it, Nazism disclosed reality in a way which allowed its subjects to acquire a global "cognitive mapping," including the space for their meaningful engagement. Perhaps, it is here that one should locate the "danger" of capitalism: although it is global, encompassing the whole worlds, it sustains a stricto sensu "worldless' ideological constellation, depriving the large majority of people of any meaningful "cognitive mapping."

In what, more precisely, does this "worldlessness" consist? As Lacan points out in his Seminar XX, Encore, jouissance involves a logic strictly homologous to that of the ontological proof for the existence of God. In the classic version of this proof, my awareness of myself as a finite, limited being immediately gives birth to the notion of an infinite, perfect being, and since this being is perfect, its very notion contains its existence; in the same way, our experience of jouissance accessible to us as finite, located, partial, "castrated," immediately gives birth to the notion of a full, achieved, unlimited jouissance whose existence is necessarily presupposed by the subject who imputes it to another subject, his/her "subject supposed to enjoy."
-Slavoj Zizek, "The Politics of Jouissance"

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