Perhaps it could be said that with the shift to the universe of the capitalist there is a generalized collapse of trust. All institutions become suspect. All experts are seen as harboring a disguised motive. Climate scientists, for example, are seen as politicized, as making the claims that they make to get grant money or become famous or because they have a hatred of big business. Doctors are seen as being in the pocket of big pharma. Suspicion reigns supreme. This is embodied in the second permutation of the universe of the capitalist:
S1/a —> $/S2
On the left-hand side of this discourse we see the relation S1/a; the master-signifier over the objet a. In the position of “truth”, beneath the position of the agent, we find the objet a beneath the master. Every S1, every master-signifier, every term of authority or group identification (such as mass movements organized around a signifier), is seen as harboring an obscene jouissance (a), or a disguised interest. Recognition of this hidden interest behind every agency undermines trust in these movements, institutions, experts, and authorities. One suspects, and not without reason in many instances, that these S1’s are animated by an aim or interest quite different than the one they explicitly articulate. And with this collapse of trust at the heart of the social relation, we see that it becomes difficult to mobilize any action because one assumes, a priori, that one is being duped by S1. Cynicism reigns supreme and we all become paralyzed.
We thus see, in this discourse, the discourse of the obscene master, S1 addressing the divided or alienated subject. S2, knowledge, is the product of this strange social relation where suspicion reigns everywhere. But what sort of knowledge? A knowledge of the obscene supplement, the obscene jouissance (a), that animates our institutions, experts, authorities, governments, etc. Everywhere ($), the alienated subject, seeks out the hidden jouissance behind S1 as the truth behind S1’s gestures.