Round 1 Michigan vs gbn jj 1NC



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Round 1 Michigan vs GBN JJ

1NC




To exist as a speaking subject within the larger structure of debate entails entry into the complex consensuses over meaning, norms, practices, and traditions as well as taboos which are constitutive of the register of the Symbolic. The elusive nature of the signifier forces subjects to confront a vague, overwhelming sense of loss which instills an unattainable chain of desire. This absence defines subjectivity and cannot be overcome by any individual—setting the foundation of the fruitless project of trying to satisfy the lack.


McGowan 16. Todd, Associate Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Vermont, Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets, Columbia University Press, 2016. Pg. 28-32

When he writes Beyond the Pleasure Principle in 1920, Freud begins to define the subject through its constitutive loss. From this point on in his thinking, he conceives of the subject as completely determined by loss, as driven toward its own destruction—a process that he misleadingly labels "death drive.” Though there are hints of this breakthrough in earlier works, the radicality of the 1920 revolution should not be understated. In fact, even Freud himself did not fully grasp its radicality, as evidenced by his failed attempt to reduce the subject's repetition of failure and loss to a tendency to return to an inorganic state. Death drive connotes a desire to die, which is why it leads readers of Freud (and even Freud himself) astray. What he is really onto with this concept is that the subject finds satisfaction in repeating loss, that the subject's satisfaction is inextricable from failure. No one sets out consciously to fail, and, even if one did, the act of making failure a goal would immediately transform it into a different form of success. Within consciousness the subject cannot give failure primacy. Consciousness is oriented around projects in which the subject aims at succeeding, and the failures of these projects, from the perspective of consciousness, are only contingent failures the subject can attempt to remedy by trying again or trying harder. Unconsciously, however, the subject depends on failure to satisfy itself. Failure and loss produce the object as absent, and it is only the absence of the object that renders it satisfying. Absence animates the subject, driving it to act, in a way that presence cannot. If we think about who marches in the street, it is those who lack, not those who have, and when those who have do march, it is because the threat of loss manifests itself. Even though they march for the elimination of this lack, it is absence that motivates them to march in the first place. It is also absence or the threat of it that enables us to get out of bed in the morning and go to work. The subject that had no absence in its existence would be unable to act and would lack the impetus even to kill itself. After seeing numerous patients display their attachment to absence and loss, Freud concludes that it holds the key to the subject's form of satisfaction. We can see this play out in sports fandom. Though we consciously root for our favorite team to win, we find more unconscious satisfaction in the persistent struggles of the sports team that we root for than in its unqualified successes. The close game is infinitely more interesting than the blowout because it enables the fan to experience loss while not having loss enter into consciousness. No one wants to root for a team that wins all its games, and if fans flock to the games of teams that win all the time, they go to see the loss (or potential loss) that will disrupt the winning, just like auto racing fans go to see cars crashing (or potentially crashing), though this desire remains unconscious. Even when our favorite team wins a championship, we begin almost immediately to consider how they might fare the next year. This is a way of leaving the terrain of success for that of potential failure. When we achieve the pinnacle of success, we seek out a way to return loss into our existence by imagining a new challenge or embarking on a new project. Loss injects value into the subject's existence and gives it an object that provides satisfaction. Freud's conception of the priority of loss and its repetition troubles other psychoanalysts (like Fairbairn, for instance) because it highlights the impossibility of any satisfaction associated with obtaining the object. After this point, for Freud, one simply cannot have the satisfying object. Any notion of success becomes unthinkable, and one must reconceive satisfaction in terms of how one fails. Failure becomes the only option. On the basis of privileging failure, Freud reimagines the object in a way that challenges both much of the history of philosophy and the psychic demands of capitalism. The object is not an object that the subject hopes to obtain but a limit that the subject encounters. The subject cannot overcome the limit but constitutes itself and its satisfaction through the limit. That is to say, the object that thwarts the subject's efforts at obtaining it retroactively creates the subject around the recalcitrance. The subject seeks out what it cannot obtain and latches itself onto these objects. Its failure with regard to them provides a satisfaction that completely defies the capitalist image of reality. Freud's conception of the object enables us to rethink the famous slogan from May 1968 in France. The mantra of this movement—jouir sans entraves (enjoy without hindrances)—expresses the critique of capitalism’s repressiveness, the critique that dominated much of the twentieth century. The problem with this slogan is that eliminating the barriers to enjoyment would eliminate the source of enjoyment. By slightly changing it to jouir les entraves (enjoy the hindrances), we capture the constitutive importance of the obstacle. Satisfaction exists in the obstacle that the object erects in the face of the subject's efforts to obtain it rather than in the eradication of all obstacles. But this is what the capitalist imperative to accumulate enables us to avoid confronting. The speaking subject satisfies itself through its process of failing to obtain its object, even if this goes unrecognized by the subject itself. The relationship between subjectivity and loss leads the subject to flee this recognition and find asylum in the framework of capitalist accumulation. The subject repeats a constitutive loss because loss is the only way that the speaking subject has to relate to objects, even though capitalism provides the image of an alternative. The signifier confronts the subject with an absence that forms subjectivity and that the subject can never overcome. But the loss that haunts the subject also constitutes the subject, which is why it seeks to repeat this loss. The signifier creates the subject through the act of removing what is most essential for the subject, even though this essential object doesn't exist prior to its removal. From this point on, the subject will remain unable to divorce satisfaction from loss. One might say that through the signifier the subject loses the object into existence. Loss generates the object at the same time that it marks its disappearance, which has a determinative effect on how the subject satisfies itself. The subject may find fleeting pleasure in success and achievement, but its only satisfaction will take the form of the repetition of loss. Subjects undermine themselves and self-sabotage not because they are stubborn or stupid but because this is their path to satisfaction. For the speaking subject, winning is only a detour on the way to losing. Even the winners in the world of the signifier are ultimately on the side of defeat, but just take a longer time to get there than others. When we understand the difference between instinctual beings and speaking subjects, the appeal of thinking about ourselves in terms of instinct rather than subjectivity becomes self-evident. Instinctual beings have the capacity to overcome loss and obtain satisfaction through the object they seek. Instinctual beings can become winners that suffer only contingent failures rather than remaining ensconced in perpetual failure. Instinct holds within it the promise of a satisfaction untainted by loss, a full satiation that, even if it soon disappears, can often be replicated. The being envisions a goal that would provide satisfaction and then either attains the goal or not. Success may be difficult and may not endure, but it's not impossible. But the subject attains satisfaction through the repetition of its inability to obtain its object. Failure is the subject's mode of success. Lacan describes this in one of his most lucid explanations of the structure of subjectivity. In Seminar XI, he separates the subject's goal from its aim and uses a metaphor to explain the aim. He claims, "When you entrust someone with a mission, the aim is not what he brings back, but the itinerary he must take. The aim is the way taken.” The satisfaction of the subject derives from the path that it takes. But what Lacan fails to add here is that this path necessarily involves an encounter with loss: rather than seeking out its object, the subject finds ways to miss it and to ensure that it remains lost. The lost object is constitutively lost, and the satisfaction that it offers depends on it remaining so. The subject has no hope that it might attain its lost object, which is why psychoanalysis must refrain from describing the infant's satisfying relationship with the mother's breast prohibited by the father. It is only in retrospect (or from the perspective of an observer) that this relationship appears perfectly satisfying. Freud first conceives of the appeal of loss in response to his observation of self-destructive actions that appear to violate the pleasure principle. It is the penchant for self-sabotage and self-destruction that leads Freud to speculate about the existence of a death drive that aims at a return to an inorganic state. But we don't have to indulge in this type of hypothesis if we recognize the constitutive role that loss plays in the subject's satisfaction. Without the lost object, the subject would lose what animates it and the source of its enjoyment. The act of self-sabotage, even though it detracts from the subject's pleasure, enables the subject to continue to satisfy itself. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud theorizes that the negative therapeutic reaction that subverts the psychoanalytic cure is not just the product of resistances. The subject does not want to be cured because it associates healing with the loss of its foundational loss, a prospect much more horrifying that the pain of the neurosis. With the recognition of the constitutive role of loss in the psychic economy, psychoanalysis must alter its conception of the cure. Rather than simply ending repression or even overcoming loss, the cure has to involve changing the subject's relation to its lost object, experiencing the intimate connection between loss and satisfaction.


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