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ENG 290- Journal 2

Sep 5, 2023

Answer the following question in this week’s journal…

What is used as the representation of the Society of Enjoyment and Society of Prohibition?

What did Neil Postman mean in his quote from Amusing Ourselves to Death?

What is Cyberspace in reference to Ch. 3 of Dissatisfaction? And how does the author relate it to the ego?

What is the difference between Imaginary Enjoyment and Real Enjoyment?

How do Transcendence and Distance relate to Prohibition and Enjoyment?

How does Lacan define objet petit a?

What does the loss of transcendent space result in?

What is Analytical Philosophy in A.J. Ayers words?

What is Death’s relation’s to the Society of Enjoyment?

 Journal 2 

What is used as the representation of the Society of Enjoyment and Society of Prohibition?

Society of Enjoyment is represented by imagination in general and images specifically while the Society of Prohibition is represented by the real world and the social order present within it as well as distance (McGowan, 2012, p.59). In the Society of Prohibition actions like incest are forbidden because of the various principles which guide the social order. Therefore, the Society of prohibition garners representation in the various principles and facets formulated by the society in order to keep the structural entity of the world intact. The real world through prohibition levels the enjoyment so that there is a peace that exists between its different elements. Society of Enjoyment persists through images that are produced through imagination. It is represented by the other. Even if people are unable to cross boundaries like the sanctity of marriage in real life, they can do so in imagination.

What did Neil Postman mean in his quote from Amusing Ourselves to Death?            

The quote that Neil Postman provides in Amusing Ourselves to Death is “Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images.” (McGowan, 2012, p.64)Through this quote, Postman reflects that the present state of the world is such that not only is the identification with images more than words but the dominance is to such an extent that an epistemological revolution is taking place. Human belief is more dependent on images that individuals identify with rather than the arguments they find convincing. Postman points to the progression in the aspect of advertisement, he states “the picture forced exposition into the background, and in some instances obliterated it altogether. By the end of the nineteenth century, advertisers and newspapermen had discovered that a picture was not only worth a thousand words but, where sales were concerned, was better. For countless Americans, seeing, not reading, became the basis for believing.” Initially, advertisements were dependent on argument in order to promote products, but as time went on the focus shifted to images, with which the audience could associate. This showcases the epistemological revolution.

What is Cyberspace in reference to Ch. 3 of Dissatisfaction? And how does the author relate it to the ego? 

Cyberspace as referred to in Chapter 3 is a wired experience in which individuals garner imaginary satisfaction (McGowan, 2012, p.70). According to the author, when an individual is in Cyberspace they do not have to associate with an intersubjective partner which could be dissatisfying to the individuals. Cyberspace represents an other that is formulated to fit the satisfaction of the individuals and is also capable of constantly changing so that it does not bore anyone. There is no probability of any kind of dissatisfaction or encounter with the real self. This also allows individuals to avoid dissatisfaction with themselves, by creating a cyber identity. This cyber identity is the realized version of a person’s ideal ego. Through this image, satisfaction is garnered which a symbol is incapable of garnering.  Henceforth the individual is left without any kind of lack or desire.

What is the difference between Imaginary Enjoyment and Real Enjoyment?

It is through the aspect of the image that people access Imaginary enjoyment (McGowan, 2012, p.70). The enjoyment that people garner in their imagination is known as Imaginary enjoyment. Real enjoyment occurs when the subjects realize that the Other is incomplete and there is an absence of objet petit a. A narcissist is incapable of having such an experience of real enjoyment. The subjects present in the state of Imaginary enjoyment, live in a state which is stated as narcissistic isolation. This is a kind of isolation that provides individuals with imaginary enjoyment. Imaginary Enjoyment as a state has the capability of providing plentitude as well as completion. Real enjoyment happens only when individuals refuse any imagery associated with completion. Real enjoyment destroys the symbolic order in place because it reflects indifference, before any kind of barrier associated with symbols. On the other hand, imaginary enjoyment is not actual enjoyment and therefore allows the subject in case to be rooted in their particular symbolic identity. Therefore even within the imaginary enjoyment subjects respect symbolic barriers. Though the subjects are offered a false illusion, that they are actually transgressing these barriers. Therefore, the symbolic order is not threatened in any manner. The avenue of Imaginary enjoyment allows people to fantasize about an adulterous affair, and it does not destroy the sanctity of the marriage in real life. Henceforth, imaginary enjoyment is a crucial feature of the symbolic order that needs to be functional. Real enjoyment is a threat to social order, as, within it, it is impossible for the contemporary command of enjoyment to find any sort of outlet. Imaginary enjoyment basically reflects the failure of individuals to enjoy their lives. Therefore it can be stated that the images that practice dominance in the society of enjoyment, give access to a kind of enjoyment that stabilizes the social order rather than destroys it, which is the case with real enjoyment.  Imaginary enjoyment doesn’t interfere with the established tenets of society but essentially flourishes it. The enjoyment garnered from the Real enjoyment has the potential to destroy or transform the social order. Therefore the symbolic law in place does not demand that the subjects sacrifice their imaginary enjoyment in order to persist in that order because it does not threaten their structural unity. They are in actuality intolerant of Real enjoyment. The law by making imaginary enjoyment prevalent is actually becoming more vigilant of real enjoyment. The symbolic law provides the subjects an avenue for imagination, in which they do not interfere. Though it should be noted as much the subject feels attracted to imaginary enjoyment, they miss out on the experience of real enjoyment. Imaginary enjoyment might seem like a disrespect to the symbolic authority. In reality, symbolic authority is functional because of imaginary enjoyment, as it keeps the subjects docile. The danger posed by imaginary enjoyment is imaginary, while in the case of Real enjoyment, it is destructive. Society of prohibition might fear Imaginary enjoyment but Society of enjoyment does not fear it, imaginary enjoyment is a fundamental duty as it keeps the citizens docile. Imaginary enjoyment in many ways keeps the citizens of the society productive. Real enjoyment makes people question and break the rules.

How do Transcendence and Distance relate to Prohibition and Enjoyment?  

The society of enjoyment where joy needs to be commanded is heavily dependent on images and human association with the images, while the society of prohibition is based on the aspect of distance (McGowan, 2012, p.75). The state in which enjoyment is explicitly prohibited gives rise to transcendence. Transcendence is defined as an idea that in the aspect of distance, or beneath the surface something exists which is radically different from others. The action of prohibition leads to a barrier, which individuals are instructed not to transgress. However, in the midst of this action, a space gets created beyond that barrier. The act of prohibition, in accordance with psychoanalysis, leads to a transcendent space. This space can only be experienced when the awareness of its absence is there. Its existence is negative, which means that individuals do not have access to it. Individuals cannot have access to the object they desire which gives them enjoyment in such a state and therefore a distance is present between the subject and the object. The nature of the distance could either be spatial or temporal. It could be possible that the subject needs to travel to his or her object of desire, or he or she might need to wait till the object becomes available. This aspect of traveling and waiting is associated with the object of desire and enjoyment and the feeling of not knowing because there is a lack of experience associated with the object of desire and enjoyment results in the idea of a beyond. It is in this beyond that the object of desire and enjoyment exists. In the absence of prohibition, this concept of ‘beyond’ will disappear, and take away all aspects of distance and depth. If transcendence does not exist all the objects of desire and enjoyment will seem reachable. The absence of transcendence will formulate a world where there is total presence, there is neither spatial nor temporal distance. Society will transform from an entity that prohibits enjoyment to one that commands it. This constant presence of enjoyment and disappearance of distance will cause suffocation to individuals. In the absence of distance, the concept of transcendence also disappears.

How does Lacan define objet petit a?       

Lacan defines objet petit a as a hidden object (McGowan, 2012, p.79). This object essentially, according to Lacan is infused with the ability to reflect the promise of inevitable jouissance with respect to the subject. In accordance with its nature, this kind of object remains impossible, it is always out of reach, and therefore in order to maintain its nature must always be hidden. If the individual somehow manages to gain access to an object then it will no longer be the object. Lacan believes that such an object is absent, is always present somewhere else, and is actually something else entirely. If individuals find the object they desire, the object will lose its transcendence. If the object is objet petit a, it will remain out of reach. The moment the object is found all the enjoyment present within it is lost. In order for the object to contain enjoyment it must remain out of reach. The state in which such an object promises ultimate enjoyment reflects imaginary enjoyment, but when the object haunts individuals with its absence the enjoyment in it becomes real. As the distance gets eliminated slowly individuals are getting closer to losing the real aspect of objet petit a.

What does the loss of transcendent space result in?       

The loss of transcendent space results in a society of enjoyment (McGowan, 2012, p.79). It also turns out to be one of the reasons behind individuals not enjoying the society of enjoyment. The loss of transcendent space is not only the everyday life of individuals but also theoretical and philosophical works in contemporary times. Its impact results in the production of various theories and philosophies in relation to immanence. These theories are formulated to militate against the concept of transcendence. These theories provide another hint that the logic behind the command to enjoy is pervasive. This pervasiveness manifests itself in the loss of transcendence present in both continental and analytic philosophy.

What is Analytical Philosophy in A.J. Ayers words?      

Analytic Philosophy rejects the concept of transcendence (McGowan, 2012, p.83). They are more in favor of the philosophy of immanence. In accordance with AJ Ayer, this rejection is not because of political or ethical factors, but because it is a ‘matter of logic’. In his opinion, there is no reasoning in the world that could cause a philosopher to think that transcendent reality is accurate. In his opinion logic insists that the phenomenal world, which is essentially the world of language cannot be transcended. He believes it is impossible to arrive at the real with the aid of logic. The attempt to reach reality with the help of logic leads to absurdity, according to Ayer. Ayer thinks that transcendent theory is nonsensical because it implies a transcendence from the world of sense. Humans survive through language and therefore their thoughts are captured in the medium of language.

What is Death’s relation to the Society of Enjoyment?           

In the confines of the Society of Enjoyment, death is an increasingly horrific albeit hidden phenomenon (McGowan, 2012, p.85). Death signifies the cessation of someone’s being as well as his or her failure to garner enjoyment. Death puts a conclusive limit to one’s enjoyment. If one accepts mortality that means one accepts that enjoyment will also achieve a limit. Therefore, as society transforms from an entity prohibiting enjoyment to an entity that commands enjoyment, the attempts to eliminate the necessity of death have increased. Human cell researchers are working hard so that death becomes a mere accident. These methods will not result in eternal life but will seek to not make death a necessity. It will extend the life span dramatically. Therefore the manner in which death posed a limit to enjoyment will no longer be present.


McGowan, T. (2012). The end of dissatisfaction?: Jacques Lacan and the emerging society of enjoyment. suny Press.

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