In Lacanian Affect, Collette Soler argues that in the capitalist age, the age where God has died, there is no longer a social relation or bond and that “semblance” has collapsed. We are reduced to bodies relating to things satisfying needs, appetites, and desires. By “semblance” she means grand values such as justice, beauty, emancipation, universality, truth, goodness, etc. These values on behalf of which we would act depart from the world and we are left with a naked or bare world; a world where all of these things are seen as ways of being duped. Instead everything comes to be seen as dynamics of power, appetite, and need. I wonder about the degree to which the hermeneutics of suspicion has contributed to this collapse. Everywhere, in suspicion, we show a dirty secret behind what is highest; a dark motive or desire; a form of oppression. The irony is that we undertake this form of critique in the name of justice, truth, and emancipation, only to find that the very values that drove us are instead lures or masquerades. We try desperately to continue believing in these things, but fall into a cynicism that sees a dark play for power behind each of them. All of them are a sham, we think. We end up howling into the void, unable to proceed.
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