Trump and the “dis-embedding”
The Birth of the I [Die Geburt des Ich (Krisis 1/2019)]
Aspects of Identity and Individuality
von Julian Bierwirth
Hardly anything seems as self-evident to us today as our way of existence as isolated individuals, as abstract individuals with particular interests and a delimited ego-identity. This way of existence is constitutively connected with the historically specific form of socialization of the modern, commodity producing society. …The formation i of the modern ego-identity is accompanied by a general “dis-embedding” of social relations and the increasing isolation in the process of assertion of capitalist modernity.
In the course of this process, which generated a specific form of insecurity in the individuals responsible for themselves, the idea of an object-like nature, understandable by laws and subject to human intervention, also emerged. In this way, the male, western and white human being became the subject. Women, blacks, and people from the economic periphery, on the other hand, were constructed as close to nature and not capable of reason – a process that in the postmodern social sciences is known as Othering.
While the historical development of the
commodity-producing order can be described as the enforcement of the
ego-identity and the subject-object-division associated with it, the
economic and social changes of recent decades are also reflected in a
crisis of subjectivity and the ego-identity in its traditional form. The
essay traces these changes and relates them to current political
challenges for an emancipatory practice.
and from Peter Samol, All the lonely people (2016)
Sigmund Freud was probably the most astute analyst of the subjective conditions of existence in bourgeois society. The psychoanalysis he coined represents the most mature theory of the sacrifices that our society demands of the individuals who have to live in it. However, Freud himself understood his approach as a scientific one, so that psychoanalysis atrophied into anthropology, where it could have been critical theory (Adorno)…
Narcissism is the result of the confrontation of the individual with the failures of social reality. The term refers to the turning away from this reality and the turning towards an inner world in which the individual has absolute, if only imagined, power.
As a result, bourgeois subjectivity basically knows only two states: on the one hand, the absolute feeling of powerlessness in the face of the heteronomy of one’s own existence, and on the other hand the fantasies of omnipotence including the illusion of absolute individual freedom, independence and unconditionality. The latter, however, demands a high price, because it leads to the immediate repression of human relationships and their replacement by more and more objectified, money-mediated relationships.
Convinced of his own magnificence, the narcissist suppresses the fact that he has little influence on the real world and deludes himself that he can be anything, while in reality there is only a great nothing in him. It is precisely for this reason that the narcissist represents the congenial subject form for capital, which in its endless and aimless exploitation movement also has only a complete emptiness as its content.