In the context of Zizek’s ‘naivety’, we find a translation that describes the state of this reality as the carnival not stopping. We find this ‘not stopping’ also in the psychoanalytical context of desire and its object (which I will not go in to here). In quite provocatively real and serious language we find an association between the carnival of desire and the inability or refusal to move out of this alienating state, and call this addiction. In this state, it is not enough to simply know that it might be something we want to stop, or that it is something that we notice as not so good; in fact, it is well known in recovery circles that an addict will often come to this conclusion herself even without an intervention of negative repercussions. In either case, though, often enough, the addict still will not be able to stop and stay stopped; this is called recidivism. In actuality, (and we need not get into the various arguments about what constitutes addiction proper here), we are able to define the state of addiction by its resiliency, which is to say, by what it takes for an addicted person to actually stop, stay stopped, and – this is the clincher — live comfortably without the substance of their addiction.
Though we must deal with all cases of substance tolerance and abuse with the same level of severity, we can judge what we might call ‘true addiction’ in a relative sense by what it took for the person to succeed in each of those criterion of sobriety (stop; stay stopped; be happy). Many addicts can stop, but they cannot stay stopped for long, and many addicts can stay stopped for a long time, but they do not live happily (or they retain a ‘background fear’ of using again), which often and eventually leads back to using the substance (active addiction; some might even say that the addict who is not using and unhappy is still addicted). Nevertheless, for our point here, the significance of addiction is found in as much as the person must have a total capitulation of self resource in order to recover. As they say in the recovery world: The person must “give up”. We can take this philosophically to mean that a person can no longer maintain the organization of thoughts that coalesce to grant the addict’s world. So long as the addict hangs on to the idea that their world is ok and or that they simply need to rearrange some of the components, or semantic or ideological (world maintaining) structures of their world in order to get sober, they will not succeed in meeting the three criteria.
So it is with all worlds. It is not dysfunction that brings about change; it is destruction. So long as a world is still tenable, as long as there is still a recourse to aspects of the world to forge a solution, those resources will be utilized and the world will stay viable, even as it is crumbling, or understood to be.
Yet what qualifies our theoretical discourse here, of Zizek’s, is that indeed the world will still continue ‘unchanged’ because the psychoanalytical world has infinite resources for solution, as it also has infinite permutation of problem. The Bureaucratic Socialism is a kind of speculative ideal, a sort of idealized state. It is not the result of some violent revolution will arise to kill the old world; we already know this from Delueze. It is that the world is a violent place.
What qualifies the need of Zizek to speak of his nativity in the context of a political discussion, is the post Trumatic state that cannot be spoken of directly for its implications to the traumatized subject. One cannot speak to the traumatized subject of its trauma without offending that subject, without that subject resorting and going deeper even into its trauma.
This essay is not the place to go entirely into psychoanalysis, so we will leave it be to the small excerpt.
- This is an expert from an upcoming book of The Philosophical Hack called “Hacking Zizek”. Coming to a theatre near you, and probably book outlets also, in 2018-19.