? The Final Cut | Main | News to me ?

December 21, 2007

The empire of the self

K-punk considers paternalism without the father. Following Slavoj Zizek's Tarrying with the negative, he thinks through Spinoza, health and some policy implications for the metapsychology of late capitalism (and vice versa).

Late capitalism certainly articulates many of its injunctions via an appeal to (a certain version of) health. The banning of smoking in public places, the relentless monstering of working class diet on programmes like ‘You Are What You Eat’, do appear to indicate that we are already in the presence of a paternalism without the Father. It is not that smoking is ‘wrong’, it is that it will lead to our failing to lead long and enjoyable lives. But there are limits to this emphasis on good health: mental health and intellectual development barely feature at all, for instance. (When will there be a Channel 4 programme called ‘You Are What You Read?’) What we see instead is a reductive, hedonic model of health which is all about ‘feeling good’. To tell people how to lose weight, or how to better decorate their neo-liberal burrow, is acceptable; but to call for any kind of cultural improvement is to be oppressive and elitist.

Much to think about particularly on the subject of administration. That said, he is quite mistaken in his later argument regarding Solaris: A sequel yet more horrendous than the original does not render the original any better. Nor does it render the original anything more than a Soviet attempt to reproduce 2001; that was an original.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 21, 2007 06:37 AM


The PoMo Tranzi's view of "health" has always been interesting to me. As it must be predicated on the notion that there is no God and there is no afterlife, then it must attempt to prolong this life as much as possible.

Thus, we get physical health programs solely for life extenstion... so long as you toe the Party line, of course. Otherwise, you get those 100MM dead mentioned in the Black Book of Socialism.

Me, I'm dying when I die, with whisky in my glass, a pipe in my hand, and red meat in my bowels.

Posted by: Clayton Barnett [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 21, 2007 10:02 AM

I have the same plan, though I shall be drinking whiskey.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2007 07:59 AM