LAW AND DESIRE

prohibitionprotestors

Law represses desire. But how could such a thing come about? What must the society fear in order to control precisely what we crave for? Is it a fear of the desire, or of what the desire consumes? Isn’t the negative force of desire this power to burn up everything that gets in its way?

It is what can be destroyed by desire that makes it so feared, and we need to remind ourselves of that. We, who have bent all laws for the spirit of freedom, for the unshackling and unleashing of desires. We must now contemplate what might be the real price to pay for our daring. We consume the world that engenders and supports us. We consume more than we need, with the simple justification that we are feeding our emancipation. However, liberation from necessity can only create a greater necessity.

Law does not repress desire enough. The definition of vice has to be amplified to include the unnecessary consumption, exploitation or degradation of anything which is necessary for human well-being or survival. Natural resources are obvious candidates for protection against their over-exploitation, but it’s time now to nip the canker at the bud. It’s time to declare the abuse of money as a vice.

WISDOM AND LAW

law is blind

“…out of what knowledge does one make law?”[1] asked Jacques Lacan. What knowledge should the System possess that grants it the privilege of making laws? Knowledge or power? Or perhaps we should ask, what knowledge should power possess? Here the should hangs heavily: it should possess lots of knowledge, after all it is making the laws which means it is creating justice, and isn’t justice born out of wisdom? And doesn’t wisdom imply a possession of knowledge? But the should is heavy because this is not necessarily the case. In fact, the correct answer – correct according to praxis – is that power does not need any knowledge other than the dogma of its own ideology. Knowledge is variegated whilst ideology is monochrome. As such, knowledge has to be avoided by power as it starts to stain its own monotonous ideology with colour and this makes it too hard to clearly define one ideology from the others – so important when the time comes to vote. And so we see that it’s the democratic system, and indeed the demands of the voters themselves that creates this turning away from knowledge that seems so characteristic of the System and its Parliaments.

Power gives us laws, and what would wisdom or knowledge give us? A sense of grace or virtue: the acquiring of the habit of virtue. The System based on laws tells us what we must do, even though the demands of power may be a contradiction of real needs. For example anti-ecological, pro-consumerist laws like the commercial laws regulating planned obsolescence (notably the light-bulb conspiracy) at a time when resources are depleting; or laws that regulate abortion or other contraceptive methods in times when demographic expansion is becoming unsustainable. A system based on knowledge and virtue would be able to comprehend reality and real needs. If wisdom were to make laws instead of power, justice might even be possible.

Perhaps we need to take the blindfold off justice and let her see as well as hear.

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[1] Jacques Lacan, SEMINAR XVII, XV22