Enjoy Yourself

I wanted to tie together a couple threads that I see emerging here and see if they don’t fit into a paradigm that Zizek constructs about enjoyment:

The idea that the late capitalist superego injunction is “enjoy” is something that Zizek expands on elsewhere, suggesting that it further develops into something like “be true to yourself” or “be authentic” or something along those lines. Don’t believe me? How do we sell beer? Better taste? Status? No, it’s part of being true to yourself:

Go to the beach! Protest! Concerts! Break-ups! Badly-drawn graffiti! Riding across a bridge in the back seat looking sad! Make the most of your life some way or another, we don’t know or care how, but please associate our beverage with your authentic discovery of your own true self! (Or perhaps a promotional tool for “Stuff White People Like”)

Energy drinks are in on this too:

Once again, the taste of the beverage, it’s efficacy, it’s social status aren’t really relevant, it’s more with the injunction to go an be true to yourself and jump into space or go surfing or something else that will make you enjoy the experience of your own life.

Alain de Botton has pointed out that we live in a society where the official story is that anyone can grow up to be or do anything (this is false, by the way, but that’s the way it is imagined) and so if we are unhappy or unable to find satisfaction in our post in life our sadness or anger can only properly be directed back on ourselves. (It’s tempting at this juncture to ponder about the rise of pharmaceuticals for every kind of mood disorder, but that would be a digression.)

That someone in this social and economic system would want to give birth to animals or make up new gender-less pronouns suddenly seems not only plausible but almost expected as a sort of reaction to this command to enjoy, be true to one’s self.