Tag Archives: Lacan

Scientific Jouissance and What Lies Beneath the “Pleasure Principle”

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“An ego thus educated has become ‘reasonable’; it no longer lets itself be governed by the pleasure principle, but obeys the reality principle, which also, at bottom, seeks to obtain pleasure, but pleasure which is assured through taking account of reality, even though it is pleasure postponed and diminished”


The cover of the March issue of National Geographic Magazine suggests that there is a “War on Science.”  The title of the feature article asks “Why Do Many Reasonable Doubt Science?”   I think the question should ask “why do so many unreasonable people doubt science.”  Or what makes them believe they are even capable of the task. When reasonable people “doubt science” we don’t ask why(?).  We call it the peer-review process, the healthy habit of scientific skepticism whereby scientists’ findings are meticulously put through the tests of rigor, of falsifiability and verification through reproducible results.

Indeed, in the article it is suggested that scientists even find a kind of professional pleasure in skepticism, in pointing out to their colleagues where their  studies may have faltered.  On the topic of “pleasure” Freud was one of the most famous to theorize that people (yes, even scientists) instinctually seek biological (material) and psychological (social.professional) pleasure and avoid pain therein.  Thus it’s not unreasonable, in a Freudian sense, for scientists to find pleasure in their professional, critical role; some might argue that its even a crucial part of the “success” of science.

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True Believers

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In 2001, the Bouncing Souls, a punk band from New Jersey you may or may not have heard of, put out their 5th studio album How I Spent My Summer Vacation.  One of the hit tracks on the album in is number called “True Believers.”  The song is a romance ballad about enduring comradery, built around shared belief, as we inevitably age and old friendships fade.  The chorus, belted out over that familiar punk-rock chord triad,

We live our life in our own way,
Never really listened to what they say,
The kind of faith that doesn’t fade away
We are the true believers
We are the true believers
True believers

couldn’t fail to convince anyone of the benefits of being a True Believer. Continue reading

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