Abjection Accomplished - On Jouissance as an Ontological Factor (2021)
Lacan’s concept jouissance marks the both painful and joyful disturbance of a mind’s libidinal equilibrium which also gives coherence to the basic structure of reality from the point of view of the individual. Because someone can live a fulfilling life and be happy at all levels of what modern society has to offer, and yet may not resist a very specific form of jouissance – to risk all in favor of a small and obscene deviation from the ordinary: through a WhatsApp message to a minor showing oneself half naked, through cocaine use or a photo of a preteen Thai girl which is hidden in a drawer. The life of the individual becomes condensed as symbolic in confrontation with this minor and sinful deviation from the conventional (the nude photo from Thailand, the drugs, etc.) which, paradoxically, is effective only by being potentially capable of destroying the symbolic universe of the individual. The seemingly ‘slight deviation’ (Epicurus) may influence as traumatic and overly intense encounter with an other the subject’s ability to accept the full ontological weight of her or his world experience. Lacan’s notion of jouissance helps us understand this kind of transgression, which an individual mind might have to risk, as a reenactment of what Lacan calls the “forced choice” of subjectivity.
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