Sunday, July 5, 2015

Religious Hatred? or Envy?


Proximity towards the jouissance of the Other, or the neighbor, in Lacan’s seminar The Ethics of Psychoanalysis becomes a matter of ethical concern because the Other as das Ding (the thing) poses problems outside of the moral relationship. The proximity towards the excessive jouissance of the neighbor as das Ding presents a number of interesting ethical problems. Žižek’s confrontation with das Ding is a complex procedure that remains ambiguous, particularly in light of his sympathies towards the Christian Pauline agape version of radical love. Žižek’s treatment of proximity towards the Other seeks a total escape from the fantasmatic symbolic coordinates of the oppressive symbolic order, whereas with Santner, in his text The Psychotheology of Everyday Life, the “mental excess” of jouissance caused by confrontation with the Other as das Ding is sought to be converted into an owning of the excessive proximity into a “blessings of more life.”
- Daniel Tutt, "The Onject of Proximity: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis in Zizek and Santner Via Lacan"
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Is the post-68’ drive to jouissance - to reaching the extreme of forms of sexual pleasures that would dissolve all social links and allow me to find a climax in the solipsism of absolute jouissance - not the very opposite of the consummation of the commodified products promising jouissance? The first (best exemplified by the work of Foucault) stands for a radical, "authentic," subjective position, while the second signals a defeat, a surrender to market forces... Is, however, this opposition effectively so clear? Is it not all too easy to denounce jouissance offered on the market as "false," as providing only the empty package-promise with no substance? Is the hole, the void, in the very heart of our pleasures not the structure of every jouissance? Furthermore, is it, rather, not that the commodified provocations to enjoy which bombard us all the time push us towards, precisely, an autistic-masturbatory, "asocial," jouissance whose supreme case is the addiction to drugs? Are drugs not at the same time the means for the most radical autistic experience of jouissance and a commodity par excellence?

The drive to pure autistic jouissance (through drugs or other trance-inducing means) arose at a precise political moment: when the emancipatory "sequence" of 1968 exhausted its potentials. At this critical point (mid-1970s), the only option left was a kind of direct, brutal, passage à l’acte, push-towards-the-Real, which assumed three main forms: the search for extreme forms of sexual jouissance; Leftist political terrorism (RAF in Germany, Red Brigades in Italy, etc.) whose wager was that, in an epoch in which the masses are totally immersed into the capitalist ideological sleep, the standard critique of ideology is no longer operative, so that only a resort to the raw Real of direct violence - l’action directe - can awaken the masses); and, finally, the turn towards the Real of an inner experience (Oriental mysticism). What all three share is the withdrawal from concrete socio-political engagement into a direct contact with the Real.

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 the 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," inclusive of the space for their meaningful engagement. This is why Badiou recently started to elaborate this topic of world, the "logic of worlds": what if the impetus came from his deeper insight into capitalism? What if the concept of world was necessitated by the need to think the unique status of the capitalist universe as world-less? Badiou recently claimed that our time is devoid of world - [1] how are we to grasp this strange thesis?

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." The universality of capitalism resides in the fact that capitalism is not a name for a "civilization," for a specific cultural-symbolic world, but the name for a truly neutral economico-symbolic machine which operates with Asian values as well as with others, so that Europe's worldwide triumph is its defeat, self-obliteration, the cutting of the umbilical link to Europe. The critics of "Eurocentrism" who endeavor to unearth the secret European bias of capitalism fall short here: the problem with capitalism is not its secret Eurocentric bias, but the fact that it REALLY IS UNIVERSAL, a neutral matrix of social relations.

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 of 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."

Our first reaction here is, of course, that this absolute jouissance is a myth, that it never effectively existed, that its status is purely differential, i.e., that it exists only as a negative point of reference with regard to which every effectively experienced jouissance falls short ("pleasurable as this is, it is not THAT!"). However, the recent advances of brain studies open up another approach: one can (no longer only) imagine the situation in which pain (or pleasure) is not generated through sensory perceptions, but through a directly excitation of the appropriate neuronal centers (by means of drugs or electrical impulses) – what the subject will experience in this case will be "pure" pain, pain "as such," the REAL of pain, or, to put it in precise Kantian terms, the non-schematized pain, pain which is not yet rooted in the experience of reality constituted by transcendental categories.

"Neurotheologians" applied this insight to religion, by way of identifying the brain processes which accompany intense religious experiences: when a subject experiences himself as timeless and infinite, part of the cosmic All, delivered of the constraints of his Self, the region of his brain which processes information about space, time, and the orientation of the body in space "goes dark"; in the blocking of the sensory inputs which occurs during intense meditative concentration, the brain has no choice but to perceive the self as endless and intimately interwoven with everyone and everything. The same goes for visions: they clearly correspond to abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the temporal lobes (the "temporal-lobe epilepsy"). The counterargument here is: while, of course, everything we experience also exists as a neurological activity, this in no way resolves the question of causality. When we eat an apple, we also experience the satisfaction of its good taste as a neuronal activity, but this in no way affects the fact that the apple was really out there and caused our activity. In the same fashion, it is totally undecided whether our brain wiring creates (our experience of) God, or whether God created our brain wiring… Is, however, the question of causality not simple to resolve? If we (the experimenting doctor) directly intervene in the appropriate parts of the brain, causing the brain activity in question, and, if, during this activity of ours, the subject "experiences the divine dimension," does this not provide a conclusive answer? The further question here is: how will the subject who is aware of all this subjectivize his religious experience? Will he continue to experience it as "religious" in the appropriate ecstatic sense of the term? The extreme solution is here that of a US religious sect which claims that God, who observes us all the time and took note of the lack of authentic religious experiences among his believers, organized the discovery of drugs which can generate such experiences… Further experiments show that when individuals are able to directly stimulate their neuronal pleasure-centres, they do not get caught into a blind compulsive drive towards excessive pleasure, but provide themselves pleasure only when they judge that they "deserved" it (on account of their everyday acts) – however, do many of us not do the same with pleasures provided in a "normal" way? What all this indicates is that people who experienced directly generated pleasures do not suffer a breakdown of their symbolic universe, but integrate smoothly these pleasure experiences into it, or even rely on them to enhance their experience of sacred meaning. However, again, the question is what disavowals do such integrations involve: can I really accept that the industrially fabricated pill that I hold in my hand provides a contact with god?
- Slavoj Zizek, "Religion between Knowledge and Jouissance"

30 comments:

Gert said...

Femen? Stupid does as stupid is, as far as I'm concerned.

-FJ said...

So what motivates them to so forcefully proclaim their hatred of religion? If it's not a "fear" of the Other's jouissance, then what is it? Envy?

-FJ said...

I submit that it's heterophobia... fear of the Other's jouissance.

beamish said...

Perhaps it is envy of the heterosexual procreative force.... Like the communist fantasy requires a capitalist society to "change" - they can't build a society from their own groundwork.

The homos need religion to legitimize them, because their attempts at legitimizing themselves with their own church are just making churned shit. Pun intended.

convergentsum said...

Isn't it just retaliation? Don't think there's envy involved, although why shouldn't a sane man envy a madmen his more pleasant delusions? Isn't there something enviable about a manic-depressive's mania?

-FJ said...

So many "mirror neurons". So little time to construct a "reasonable" meaning from them! ;)

Gert said...

I don't really care what it is. I'm more concerned that this is the tight little no-internal-dissent group that could end up talking itself into blowing things up.

The sawing down of the cross was particularly stupid in post-Soviet persecution of Xtian Russia. Real dumb.

-FJ said...

The passage a l'acte is certainly one way of "resolving" the cognitive dissonance surrounding the Che Vuoi? question ("What does the Other want?"), no doubt. Ultimately, it is how every "hysteric" resolves their 'unverbalized' symptoms. It's a kind of symmetrical reverse of the paralysis of the motor-inhibitor neural circuits experienced during sleep.

beamish said...

Gert,

Studies have shown that male homo households / domestic partnerships are far more likely to be violent homes that their hetero male + female counterparts. That could be just a doubling of the fact that males tend to be the violent partner in abusive hetero relationships, but regardless I believe the homos will destroy themselves before they make any appreciable move towards trying their hands at violent terrorism.

More than likely, being that a homo is 86 times more likely to be infected with AIDS than a hetero, they will select walk away bioterrorism donating at blood and plasma centers.

Speedy G said...

I think it's kinda interesting that the Femen seem to know "what the other wants" and are intent upon re-writing "the other's desire" so as to correspond with their own (the cause they scrawl across their naked breasts). Are they afraid of "his" jouissance? Or envious (we want to F*ck our daddies)?

beamish said...

Well they certainly can't be envious of daddy's beer gut. Why is it that lesbians on TV are attractive models, and lesbians you see in real life look like someone beat the fuck out of Danny Trejo?

Gert said...

Beamish:

If gays are indeed committing {I do not believe that, BTW] it must be the slowest collective suicide evah.

Gert said...

I detect wishful thinking, Beamish.

beamish said...

I don't have to wish, and math and science don't give a shit if you are offended. It is a fact that heterosexual men live an average of 20 years longer than homosexual men, and that homosexuals nearly monopolize the incidents for STDs, domestic violence, and clogging up the phone queue at the suicide hotline.

20 years from now, we wont be talking about today's gays except in obituaries.

convergentsum said...

beamish: It does require you to add up straight. 20 years is towards the upper end of a range of estimates (8-21 years) that arose from a 1990s study from based in Vancouver. Why cling to the worst case scenario from an HIV hotspot from an era when HIV was untreatable?

Gert said...

Beamish:

It takes a lot to offend me, nor did I show any indication of being so.

I'm going to see if I can find some peer-reviewed statistics myself.

Finding dubious 'studies' that serve political goals in any field of the humanities isn't exactly hard. No country in the world (bar perhaps Uganda - LOL) has such a rich subculture pointing to 'teh ghey agenda' as the US. But considering that once you told me 'to get off YOUR planet', my point won't impress you much.

Gert said...

It would also help if you [Beam] would link to your source on gay mortality rates.

convergentsum said...

I expect the ultimate source of his claim is http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/3/657.abstract

beamish said...

It does require you to add up straight. 20 years is towards the upper end of a range of estimates (8-21 years) that arose from a 1990s study from based in Vancouver. Why cling to the worst case scenario from an HIV hotspot from an era when HIV was untreatable?

A) because homosexuals are 86 times more like to be HIV "hotspots" themselves, and b) 20 years from now the most long-lived of them will be dead.

I'm not writing for peer review, and don't have to. It's up to you to explain why homos have higher STD rates than heteros, why homos have higher domestic violence rates than heteros, why homos seek mental health services and suicide prevention counseling in higher rates than heteros, and why heterosexuals tend to live longer.

If you want to argue homosexuality is a healthy, safe alternative to cis-, er, not fucking abnormal lifestyles, you're going to have to try harder than imagine reality has an agenda.

beamish said...

Nature vs. nurture, born vs. made, birth defect vs. mental disorder.

beamish said...

not safe for work look at "gay activism"

Yeah, totally appropriate for church fellowships and weddings.

convergentsum said...

I can explain it easily, IMO the dominant causes are higher promiscuity (mostly confined to a few super-promiscuous individuals, but this has a significant impact on the epidemiology) and ostracization.

Monogamous gay sex is as safe as monogamous straight sex: discuss.

beamish said...

What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul.

What does a gay man bring on a second date? What second date?

Male homosexuality makes up around 2/3rds of the gay community, and gay men themselves more often than not scoff at the idea of monogamy, so there's really nothing to discuss until you get gays themselves to buy into the concept of sexual fidelity with a single partner. While there's still a few not on deathbeds.

convergentsum said...

"gay men themselves more often than not scoff at the idea of monogamy"

source?

"get gays themselves to buy into the concept of sexual fidelity with a single partner"

Hmmm. I wonder. Is there any social apparatus that's helped heterosexuals maintain monogamous relationships throughout civilization? I'm sure there's something. Anyone? Anyone?

Gert said...

Beamish:

Let's for argument's sake only assume that you're correct.

Then what? Plan? What to do?

beamish said...

Convergentsum:

Social aparatus? Maybe they can ask Johnny Carson or Donald Trump how to avoid getting infected.

Gert,

Do something? Market condoms as disease control rather than birth control?

beamish said...

Not sure there is a path to making homosexuality "fit for survival" if indeed it is a genetic mutation rather than a morbid social construct. The reason people don't wear spacesuits all the time is because it's easier to stay on Earth.

Gert said...

Market condoms as disease control rather than birth control?

Yeah, that'll work.

Meanwhile back on planet Earth...

beamish said...

Well, homos sticking appendages in each other's orifices and chanting "La La La we're not epidemiological diseases vectors La La La" isn't working, here on Earth.

Thersites said...

Sure it does, beamish. Science answers all problems, from AZT to sperm and egg fertilization/ cloaning. Science is all about enabling the homo.