May 14, 2007

Discipline? Oh, yes! While I was out, a discussion ranged all over the place. Yet again I'm late to the discussion. But, I want to reply to some of Daniel's points here: antigram. Daniel writes: As BDSM fans and puritanical Christians, amongst others, have long clearly recognized, discipline and enjoyment are deeply entwined. As Lacan might have put it, they form a Möbius strip. The essential point is: they are not opposed. From Saint Anthony to contemporary vegans, there has always been great pleasure to be had from the renunciation of pleasure, deep enjoyment to be derived from the sacrifice of enjoyment. Thus one cannot reasonably call for the former against the latter Daniel then takes me to task for missing this point, citing Zizek: "a life oriented towards the pursuit of pleasure will entail the harsh discipline of a ‘healthy lifestyle’—jogging, dieting, mental relaxation—if it is to be enjoyed to the maximum. The superego injunction to enjoy oneself is immanently intertwined with the logic of sacrifice. The two form a vicious cycle, each extreme supporting the other." In other words, far from "disciple[n] and a spirit of sacrifice," functioning in Zizek's work as "objects jamming the machinery of enjoyment," as Jodi claims, they are the very things which, according to him, keep it happily ticking over. Daniel's error is that he fails to consider different kinds of discipline, collapsing the kind of party discipline Zizek suggests in his not very interesting discussion of 300. The superegoic enjoyment associated with contemporary hedonism is...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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