“… man’s continued nescience of his desire is not so much nescience of what he demands, which may after all be isolated, as nescience of whence he desires.”
(Jacques Lacan, ÉCRITS, p. 689)
Our ignorance of where our desires truly come from, is the basis of all psychoanalyses. Might it not also be the foundation of all our socio-political disasters? Democratic processes give free reign to the expression of great, social desires and yet psychoanalysis tells us that we are in fact unaware of what those desires really are and where they come from. The modern trend of spreading Fake News in social media in order to sway elections or create systemic chaos, brings this problem of our ignorance of our desires to the fore. At the macro-political level, a nescience of desires creates a dangerous socio-pathology, that allows individuals to be easily manipulated and produces stress and anguish throughout the societies it effects. In order to desire what we truly need, we need to be able to understand what our desires really are, and where they come from. In order for society to progress in a purposeful way, it needs to understand its own drives. For societies to progress, there needs to be a political will to tackle head-on the question of whence our desires come from. More than ever before, societies need to place emphasis on educating our awareness of media manipulation. Big Brother IS watching, and we need to understand how that affects our own passions, longings and beliefs.
Ignorance is not an infirmity or an infection, it is a lack of knowledge and the capacity to deal with that information. When the society detects a lack in one of its fields that is detrimental to its own condition, then it must act and operate in the field in question, to fill the hole that has been formed within it.
However, in the case of social nescience, the field itself is lacking and needs to be created. Or, seen from the opposite perspective, the abyss that stands before us, and has always been there, must now be filled in and levelled out as a field, so that purposeful seeds of social-progress can be sown there.
The field to be studied could be called Manipulation Theory, that could be simplified to the subject of Wanting at primary levels of education. Recognition of desires and how they are manufactured and manipulated needs to be taught at the earliest age possible. Only through an educated populace, wise to the idea of where their desires come from, can a purposeful democracy ever truly be possible. Only when we are sure of the manipulation can we decide if we want to be manipulated or not. But in order to come anywhere close to having this capacity of understanding our part in the game, we have to create a culture of awareness and of aware individuals.