martes, 5 de febrero de 2008

Enjoy! - The Hawaii Chair.

Another wonderful example of Zizek's observation that today's (permissive) biopolitics of control and extreme hedonism take part as two sides of the same phenomenon. In today's striving for self-realization, individualism and happinness, instead of enforcing the Law by banning excess, excess is rather encouraged by already offering itself as a mechanism of control. This is done precisely by making the object itself the agent for censorship: the object is already in itself deprived of it's illicit component.

Thus we get a series of objects deprived of their malignant property: 'beer without alcohol', 'safe sex', 'sweets without sugar'. Self-realization is possible only by avoiding the malignant inhibitions that might interrupt our process of unmediated enjoyment. In this way, the ideal of a 'healthy life' is, for example, promoted as the objectified course through which the prohibition to commit exceses is regulated (decaf coffee, non-alcoholic alcoholic beverages, etc). You can enjoy all you want, on the condition that you do not harm yourself in the process. Biopolitical control is the obverse side of the apparent consummerist, hedonistic urgency to enjoy. In a nutshell: "you are free to do what you want, on the condition that you do the right thing".

Transgression is no longer something one must not disobey, but one it becomes something one effectively cannot disobey, something one obeys by following the very injunction to enjoy. The object thus functions as its counter-agent; it is already desubstantialized for consumption, so one can 'freely enjoy' and commit excesses in order without violating the Law. The regulation of micropractice (to use Foucault's term) is thus driven to the point where through the injunction to enjoy ideology is mobilized in modern capitalism. The latest in this list of desubstantialized products ... The Hawaii Chair!

Take the work out of your workout: Enjoy!