onsdag 14 juli 2010

Enjoyment and Zoroastrian Ethics

But this is less than half the truth. Because these people are still the minority in contemporary culture. Enjoyment is not the same as pleasure!
Opposed to those you describe are the people who follow Freud's death drive maximally. Which is the vast majority in contemporary society.
This is people who get enjoyment from MINIMIZING the life experience. Who avoid all risks and controversies, live to aim to please others, concentrate on a career with financial rewards, and then slavishly follow the exisiting norm without ever questioning it. Especially since they marry and raise families with those who live according to the same principle of "minimal intensity" or "death drive" (live as if you're dead).
This is at least the standard for life in Europe today, Surely also among Americans and the nouveau riche in Asia. Including the majority of Zoroastrians (who neither get passionate about their religion nor any hardcore lifestyle in any way, their only prioritites are marrying the socially respected spouse and raising the perfect-looking stepfordish family, as if life was only one long cocktail party conversation).
This is also "enjoyment" but enjoyment as in "enjoying the AVOIDANCE of hedonism". This is why Lacan and Zizek use the expression "enjoyment" ("jouissance" in French) and NOT "pleasure" ("plaisir" in French).

2010/7/14 Special Kain

Dear Alexander
What I meant was that Lacan's, Badiou's and Zizek's conclusions follow Nietzsche's logic that has turned Christian psychology upside down: rather than identify luxury as the cause of apathy, depravity and degeneration, it's exactly the apathetic, depraved and degenerate people who are throwing themselves into "luxury" and debauchery - most exciting experiences and kicks, sensationalistic and transgressive entertainment, rock star hedonism, etc. And we see this unbearably intense and liminal experience as The Authentic Experience, because it's inherently violent.
It's because these apathetic, depraved and degenerate people NEED to experience such extremes. They simply HAVE TO THROW THEMSELVES unto the swords, because otherwise they won't feel a thing. They're numb. And quite often these people fall for other self-destructive club kids. Therefore, it's intensity = authenticity!!!
But I don't think that this simple calculation is "objectively true". I see it as a discursive effect. And I'd LOVE to discover the discourse that is governing this strangely attractive pattern!!!


--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 11.7.2010:

Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Enjoyment and Zoroastrian ethics
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 11. Juli, 2010 12:32 Uhr

Dear Dino

I agree 100%.
This is an issue which is rarely if ever discussed but absolutely true: How secularized Westerners ENVY religious people, and even religious fanatics, for the safety that religious people get from their religious convictions and activities. But they never admit this, rather they ATTACK religions for all the wrong reasons (for being bigotted, for being too loud etc, rather than attacks based on logic).
I believe this at least partly explains my own conversion to Zoroastrianism because I felt the secularized Western culture was hypocritical about its own needs and desires. And rather than wait for that need to explode in one's face, it is better to search for a RELIGIOUS alternative that is credible and then go for it.
We should discuss these highly important issues more.


2010/7/11 Special Kain

Dear friends

Following our recent discussion about the modern superego's command to enjoy, I'd like to share something with you that sounds like simplistic vulgar psychology, but is inspired by the Slovenian cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek.
I think that what we actually detest about others is their enjoyment that is so strange to us and/or that we secretly wish to experience ourselves. For example, your Turkish neighbours are too loud, you have the strangely exciting feeling that there is something inherently violent about their way of partying, but you would love to share this experience without admitting it to yourself.
This is where Jacques Lacan was 100% right - there is something inherently violent about enjoyment. It's what he called "jouissance" that is often entangled with Alan Badiou's "passion du réel" - the strong desire to indulge in self-destructive acts as a means to live fully and authentically.