December 03, 2004

Chronic demotivation


A response to Infinite Thought's not-before-time not-before-time attack on stoners.

What is supposed to be good about dope? The problem with it is not just the resultant pyschosis but the ACTUAL STATE it puts people into in the first place - chronically demotitvated, lethargic, filled with the kind of idiot porcine self-satisfaction that is the dialectical obverse of feeling paranoid. 'Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied....': not for stoners, whose only commitment is to the pleasure principle, to the shortest route to total relaxation. Thought, thought requires effort man, stop oppressing me, let me sit here and babble senselessly, coz that's creative, right, don't mess with my mojo, but buy me some munchies when you go to the shop, yeh?

What could be better proof of Lacan's claim that the nirvana principle - the drive towards the total extirpation of all tension - is not the death drive proper but merely the highest expression of the pleasure principle? Stoner stupefaction seeks only to remove tension, to become a zombified consumer, shambling to the fridge or the late-night garage to satisfy the constant craving of the insatiable Tungsten Carbide stomach of Kapital opened up in your organism by the dope.

The meat, and all it wants....

Thought, meanwhile, begins beyond the pleasure principle. As Houlbecq says in relation to Lovecraft, only those who are dissatisfied with life want to read and think. What from the perspective of those slaved to the pleasure principle is the introduction of a discordant and dysfunctional element ('hey, Infinite Thought, why you going to the library? Why don't you mong along here with us? Come and play with us, Nina, FOREVER....') is from the POV of anti-naturalist kommunist konstructivism the positive libidinal motor of an ever-complicating process of intelligence-production.

I know someone, probably Gleebot, will immediately leap on what I'm about to say and produce some counter-examples which will allegedly disprove it, but most stoners are males, aren't they? More than that, and here's why any empirical refutation won't wash, smoking makes you male. Self-satisfied, concerned only with yourself, unable to care about others even if you wanted to.

One of the many myths about stoners is that they are not aggressive. It's true that, in themselves, they don't FEEL agressive. Their blissed out idiot state of hyper-relaxed slackness precisely wipes away any feeling that would interrupt their communion with their own organism. But when this onanistic self-involvement is threatened, well, then we see how irascible, irritable and bad tempered stoners can be. Stoners demand the right to their own (passive) aggression, but detest any show of aggression from others, precisely because any antagonism - particularly political antagonism, my god antagonism and rationality, what could be more of a DOWNER? - disrupts their 'right' to take pleasure. Bad vibes, man.

I need hardly underline the point that young people voluntarily subordinating themselves to this pacification program is not exactly politically positive. It's not only because they all smoked it themselves when they lolled about on a full grant or because their kids are all smokers that the government is in favour of relaxing the legal penalties on the smoking of the supposedly harmless drug. It's because it is politically expedient. What could be better for the Komissars of Kapital than if half the population spends all their spare time (i.e. convalescence from reproduction of Kapital time) smoking dope and the other half spends it on SSRI anti-depressants?

Fukuyama's Brave New World inspired argument against SSRIs was that, in producing a feeling of wellbeing they remove the psychological motivation for action, for proving yourself. Though Fukuyama's argument is obviously advanced in the services of pro-Kapital enterprise, its logic can also be used by communists. You will not struggle against Kapital - you will not struggle against anything - if you are emolliated by narcotics.

Of course, the obvious counter-example that people will reach for is Rastas and dub. But the rasta relationship to dope was very different to that of most white workers toking on their time off, or students spending all day in what The Fall, gloriously, called 'a State-subsidized cannabis haze'. It was not only that the level of downpression to which the Rastas was much greater than the 'hard week' of the white worker, it was that their consumption of drugs was part of a disciplined religious and political ritual. Exactly the opposite, then, of those who turn to dope as a means of fugging out the world.

Posted by mark at December 3, 2004 06:43 AM | TrackBack