A NOTE ON “LACK”

black-hole

Nothing changes until it can change. No changes happen, and no new things are created, until there is the technology and the know-how that can bring those changes about.

All lack can be abolished through knowledge and the application of technology, once that technology exists, to the abolition of lack. If the technology is lacking, know-how is needed to create it, and more know-how is needed to apply the technology to that other thing that is lacking.

But, what is lack?

Lack may be felt, or it may be imagined. It is in the realm of imagined lack that creativity becomes the protagonist. Lack can also be universal or local or individual. An egalitarian economy has to be based on a science of lack, which in turn, needs to be rooted in necessity. The social-utopian slogan “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” is, fundamentally, a question of lack.

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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.

law


[1] Jacques Lacan, SEMINAR XVII, XV22

OUR NEEDS ARE THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD

 

Our Will to Power conditioning has driven us to believe that being-in-the-world is not enough, we need to be important in the world as well; we want to add our grain of salt and shape the world, leave our mark, become eternal through the fame contained in our individual name.

But these ideas, this anthropocentric Will to Shaping the World for Ourselves, perceiving the world through the eyes of human culture and human history, make ethical judgements about the world based on what is good for humanity, and ignoring the a priori idea that our well-being is inextricably tied to the well-being of the planet. Our reshaping of the world to suit our growing needs has scarred the ecosystem in such a way that we must now scream the interrogative – how much more reshaping can the world endure before the ecosystem that we depend on collapses?

In order to make the world comprehensible, cultures have traditionally anthropomorphised it, allowing it to speak to us in our own languages through gods and spirits. If the Earth goddess could speak with us now, surely she would complain that she did not want any more reshaping, thank you very much. If we are going to cohabitate with the world on a permanent basis we have to spend a bit more time thinking about how Mother Nature conceives existence. Our human needs NEED to be driven in a harmonising way toward the NEEDS of the world.