14. Jouissance: The Uncivilized Desire, A Shattering of Identity and Law

“Living under the same roof has become a luxury we can’t afford. Loving is a rare commodity.”

Est-ce que vous pourriez supporter la vie que vous avez?”– “Can you bear the life that you have?”

Lacan on jouissance Jacques Lacan

Jouissance is an ecstatic energy, felt but never captured, that pushes us away from any form of domination, representation, or restraint, and compels us towards fierce wild-ness and unmitigated recalcitrance. It is “the process that momentarily sets us free from our fear of death” and which manifests as a “blissful enjoyment of the present,” or a “joy which we cannot name.” Jouissance is the richness of life evoked by resistance, the spirit that allowed Maria Jakobovics to continue her acts of sabotage despite the sting of the club or the threat of the noose, and the spirit that perhaps allows many of us to lead lives of resistance in absolutely overwhelming circumstances. It is the visceral experience of negation as ecstatic liberation.

Serafinski, Blessed is the Flame

Jouissance is that which animates resistance for its own sake so that even if we have no future, we can still find life today…. In juissance, we find a richness of life unattainable under the status quo.

Serafinski, Blessed is the Flame

We are all in captivity. Our day-to-day life replete with the little “dramas” of our jobs, friends and family relationships, is a little smoke screen covering the excessive amount of filth commensurating all of it. We are so comfortable in captivity, and so sublimed, that any elaborate attempt at rising up will even be shut down by “us”. You see we have all our jobs, and families, dogs, cars, lovers and relationships to maintain, and owe it to them to live “stress-free” lives. We “sacrifice” and “feel” good about our achievements, our handling of things and managing our shit. We have got it all under control. The TV is our friend, in mainstream media we trust, and internet is our intimate lover. We are lovers of commenting, of posing, of democracy on display on tv. We have watching parties and “stories” to tell every 24 hours. Living under the same roof has become a luxury we can’t afford. Loving is a rare commodity. We don’t say much. We keep on pushing for progress and change. “Yes we can”, we chant while sipping on wine watching on TV, as insurgents are being dragged by the hair and spit on by the police. Let’s “Make America Great Again” we sing along in the shower with water running and the sound of the news fading in the background, with images of riots breaking out and people resisting. We nonchalantly nod our heads after hearing a life was taken at random by the police and complain about all “the violent content” filling our newsfeed.

“The first thing that drug addiction teaches psychoanalysis is that the object is a semblance, not a substance. It is precisely in drug addiction that we can find the most strongly sustained effort to incarnate the object of jouissance in an object of the world…. The true object of jouissance – if that word means anything – is death. The quest is not, as some say, for ‘some pleasure’; the quest is more precisely for the verification of the colour of emptiness surrounding jouissance in the human being.”

Eric Laurent, ‘From saying to doing in the clinic of drug addiction and alcoholism’, in the Almanac of Psychoanalysis – Psychoanalytic stories after Freud and Lacan

We anonymously comment and write about shit, but are still cautiously avoiding “getting caught”, and make sure we are not found out and fired from our jobs. we wear t-shirts with words of resistance and cynicism, encouraging this and that. We wave flags in the air in front of the TV and keep our distance. Give us a “stress-free” life, a job and things, and we shall work on all fours. Let us fill our libraries with books on anarchism, socialism, Marxism, fascism, capitalism, fuckupism, and self-serving-ism. Give our bread, and pour us the wine, and we shall conquer in the name of “it all”.

“Castration means that jouissance has to be refused in order to be attained on the inverse scale of the Law of desire.”

Jacques Lacan, (Écrits)

On occasion, we choose to take off the blindfold and resist, just to make us feel satisfied. We every once in a while, puncture without any weighing of risks, because at that moment, juissance is all that matters, and all that feeds our desire to rebel against the master. This is the essence of jouissance. Life itself, as Lacan describes it, is simply an “apparatus of jouissance”, serafinski brilliantly put is as “that which shatters our objective enslavement to capitalist civilization.”

what really counts is the strength we feel every time we don’t bow our heads, every time we destroy the false idols of civilization, every time our eyes meet those of our comrades along illegal paths, every time that our hands set fire to the symbols of Power. In those moments we don’t ask ourselves: ‘Will we win? Will we lose?’ In those moments we just fight…. Neither victory nor defeat is important, but only the beautiful shining of our eyes in combat.

A Conversation Between Anarchists