In the various movements for ecological, social, and economic justice there is a recurring question as to how participants conduct themselves in order to get the best results for their cause. For protecting the environment there is the issue of reducing material pleasure in order to consume and pollute less. For social justice there is the issue of preserving equality while recognizing difference. For economic justice there is the issue of allowing people to be able to make a living but not to engage in gross conspicuous consumption that is also exploitation. All of these discussions revolve around how to be serious in the movement, and the need to sacrifice for the purported goals. But this debate appears to cover over the possibility of desire to be expressed as a political act, which would in turn rearrange the whole process of being in a movement and the criteria for meeting long-term and short-term goals. Acknowledging desire as pivotal to a new type of political practice, especially a practice outside of the confines of the nation-state and capitalism, requires an introduction of enjoyment as a pleasure in creativity. In other words there must be a politics of joy in order to make the movements have a strong foundation that spans beyond generations. But it must be an enjoyment and joy that is always escaping the limits of simple and safe pleasure.
The state and capitalism both exercise a certain relationship between power and the body that limits full enjoyment while replacing it with predetermined pleasure. They both exert discipline, which is the regulation of life in order to preserve it. Public policy becomes a kind of science of life where the health of the biological human is tied directly to the health of the state, outside of the will of the human in question. It is a regulation through public institutions such as the hospital, asylum, school, prison, and military. What results is the formation of docility within utility and the setting of standards of life that fulfill this goal. This discipline within various public institutions is completed by control which is the internalization of methods of discipline. Intead of containment within schools and prisons, control is a constant modulation of regulation practices. The human becomes identified as a subject who has an unconscious acceptance of the definition of life by others in the system of power. The subject is completely visible and the system is completely invisible. At a certain point this constant and ubiquitous control appears as natural, eternal, and normal but the defining of the human characteristic is taken away from individuals. The system of power as a ubiquitous whole understands that desire can have a revolutionary potential.
The rediscovery of enjoyment as an act of freedom must understand that pleasure can be creativity. The relationship of being and existence must separate itself from an overarching transcendent structure that dictates the law of authority. Instead of transcendence what actually occurs is an immanent field of existence where everything can affect everything else. The particular case of being articulates itself through this field, and can be expressed in multiple modes, while these modes of existence deals with and addresses the general state of existence. Humans realize their existence in a particular point in time and space, but this particular point is made possible by the general state of existence. Desiring-production is the desire that is based on a plenitude of creative energy, rather than an internal lack that needs to be filled by external objects. It is an expression of desire that creates products to fulfill this desire. The needs and wants are an effect of the production. Being satisfies itself by being productive rather than being dependent and needy. What results is the creation of new elements within the world. Sensation is usually placed into categories of form and formless, but desiring-production gives form to the formless. The world may exist before humans, but it is human creation that can reorganize parts of the world.
The distinction between the virtual creative act and the actual created objects can illuminate how desiring-production can be subverted into a definition of desire as lack. Since the virtual is the array of possibilities, the actual created objects as manifestation of potential is the primary way to understand general reality. However, the created objects obscure the overall act of creation where the virtual becomes the actual. The process of creation is broken up into objects isolated from each other that humans seek in order to fill an artificial lack. Here desire is replaced by pleasure and self-interest that is channeled into precluded choices. Desiring-production as a creative act is the recognition of desire on a collective and individual level. It is a creativity within the world that is organized by structures of power, meaning, and production. These structures are disrupted by the event which is unpredictable and that introduces elements in reality that are previously outside of structures. The gap between the world and the event is what desiring-production uses as the raw material for creative effort. The trace of the event can form new creations in the world, and the creative subject is a relationship between the trace and the creations. In other words, humans that engage fully in desiring-production are able to reach outside of the structures that limit human action and understanding by creating things that are not predetermined as useful or beautiful, but may in fact alter what is defined as useful or beautiful. In this respect, desire can be considered as anti-social.
Desire is at the same time creative and destructive. Humans have an immanent identity within the limits of the world, where everything is consistent with everything else because of structures. Here humans can only have the pleasure or thrill of substitutes for death within life. The full void of reality exists as a transcendent difference outside of the limits of the world. As a void outside of structures there is the sacrifice of life within death. Creativity and production is an immanent differencethat moves in and out of structures by incorporating the event into the structured world. While moral systems within society perpetuate pleasure or sacrifice as a method of control, desire as creativity disrupts both passive consumption and active loss. Desire is therefore not determined by the forms of the social, but over a process of creativity where desire is not limited it can cultivate new social forms that serve human needs. Desire needs to be free in order to be used to create tools that will solve political, cultural, and economic problems.
Out of a fear of chaos or some sort of rampant hedonism, desire and its enjoyment through creation has always been subject to containment or obstacle. There can be considered a major and a minor type of repression depending upon how desire can be made to want its own repression. Structural alienation as a major repression is the formation of identity by external systems of meaning. What follows is the formation of a divided subject by the internalization of this identity where a blind spot in the constructed identity defines desire as an artificial internal lack. When desire is defined as an inherent lack that must be fulfilled by external objects, there is the uncertainty and discontinuity of desire without structures. This can also be known as freedom without being, and it is the point when humans can willingly submit to structures for an existential shelter. Structural mediation follows as minor repression and is when desire is channeled toward those small partial objects of desire. These small partial objects of desire are directly connected to overall structures of power, meaning, and production and serve as a method of regulation. Desire is here limited to a desire for repression, maintained by the appearance of these small partial objects of desire seeming to be directly connected to reality and seeming to be part of the truth. Humans experience a sense of certainty and continuity of desire through structures, which can be known as being without freedom. In other words, humans may see that there is a sharp contrast between absolute determination and absolute freedom from an objective perspective. But they may go through a process of repression that is supported by both sides, since the feeling of absolute determination can closely resemble absolute freedom from a subjective perspective. Desire in this case is framed as reactive rather than active. However, desire can be transgressive in such a way as to escape these two types of repression, and it does this by its inherent productive nature outside of the influence of any structures.
Even though desire is anti-social, its enjoyment can be a social catalyst. Desire can create communities whose purpose is to allow a collective expression of desire. Desire is put into practice through power as a process of expression where one affects or is affected by actions or choices. The direct ability to affect is a natural right of power while also being a limit of this natural right. It is natural since it is the basic unit of power where all people or organizations operate regardless of size or scale. Collectives form as various types of relationships engaged in affecting and exchanging actions and choices. The collective form can be a multiple creative power in opposition to a more uniform conformity. Since the direct ability to enact power is local, and the plane where the power of liberation or the power of domination meet and confront each other, there is the possibility to formulate collectives that do not automatically subsume any individual freedom. The important aspect is whether the collective can articulate desire rather than redirect it to reproduce structures. Therefore, the collective form as liberation must be a multiplicity of singularities.
In comparison, the state is a collective form that actively prevents or manipulates desire. The social contract has previously been identified as the basis of the modern state, and it can be concluded that the best social contract is the one that allows the best expression of the articulation of being. The collective articulation of being within the state as a social contract can be called the multitude, as described by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. At this point one can see a division between the state form and its original form of the social contract when the state is the organization of the power of the multitude. Through ideology, the state as hierachy exerts the control of the multitude as it is communicating with itself. In other words, the state hijacks the ability and productive force of the multitude while isolating its parts to prevent its own effective organization. Instead of the collective aggregate, a multiplicity of singularities, that allows the expression of desire there is a uniform national identity that serves to perpetuate the structure of the state and demands a certain degree of conformity that denies the inherent trait of desire. The multitude is a group formation that is beyond traditional identities of class, race, or gender. But on a national and global scale the multitude can be a revolutionary body in confrontation with the state. The most important difference between the state and the multitude in their opposition between each other, and that influences all other differences, is that the multitude allows the various expressions and formulations of desire and applies it politically, culturally, and economically without a universal and limiting group identity. As the multitude is the expression of desire on a collective level, ethics can be a rediscovery of desire on the individual level.
Along with a new perspective of desire is a new perspective of ethics. Public ethics can be the first place to look at how desire, freedom, and the engagement with the larger social field can be reformulated away from the imposition of discipline and regulation, whether through the nation-state, religion, or capitalism. One can have the individual internalization of the collective experience, with the result that there would be the mediation of the ethical through reason. This is the effect of Kant’s Categorical Imperative where individuals understand ethics as a universal phenomenon that can easily lead to the ideology of morality. On the other hand, there can be the collective externalization of the individual experience with the mediation of the ethical through desire. Any universal sense of ethics is built up from concrete situations as well as expressions of desire and there would always be the possibility of changing the ethical landscape to better reflect how humans can actually exist with each other. The new sense of ethics carries with it the risk of going in unexpected directions that can transform what had previously been deemed as the true ethical choices. But an ethics influenced by desire, beginning with an attitude toward the self and going to an attitude toward the social, constantly puts any universal claim to what is right into question while still producing immanent and particular rules of conduct that can maintain and cultivate the social. This social field is always a work in progress and the experimentation of desire is the technique to implement it.
In order for desire to be the source of political action and solutions, then an emphasis must be placed on mental freedom. It is within the mind that one can see the effect of ideology and structural alienation as an imposition of power, meaning, and production from the outside. One vital type of mental freedom is the freedom to alter the mind, something that is not fully explored in the legal rights set forth by various nation-states. The unconscious is the first place of creative production where there are infinite imagined connections within the unconscious that structures reality as external to the mind. The creativity through enjoyment goes beyond any restrictions since it taps into the desire of humans and any subsequent products are based on that desire. Mental freedom must be the mind that is free to affect itself and be the starting point for creativity. It is the amplification of the ability to have enjoyment as pleasure in productive creativity. Humans, beginning from this premise, can begin to see what their own minds and their own bodies can do as actors in a larger political, cultural, and economic context. Therefore, mental freedom can be seen as the foundation for all free agency. If natural rights are directly connected to being as inalienable rights, then these rights can be subtracted from being as property as the creations of law. Natural rights need rights as property to fulfill itself as social tools. This is the conundrum of the discussion of rights contained within the assumed framework of the state as a social contract, where rights are both absolutely natural yet must be treated as something that can be exchanged within a society under the law. The right of creative desiring-production is the first natural right and it exists before all other conceptions of what rights are. Desiring-production enacts itself within the world through these other rights and the various structures created by desire. In fact, if humans were stripped of all social and material artefacts then desire would remain as the sole element that would rebuild the human experience and existence.
Desire is important as the foundation of political empowerment. Any political movement or organization that demands an asceticism from its members in order to meet its goals ignores the fact that desire begins as a creative force. It becomes self-centered and short-sighted only when it is put through the processing of structures of power, meaning, and production. Desire not only liberates as the heart or spirit of a revolution, but insures that any collective organization does not become monolithic due to its own structural characteristics. The Green Party can offer a truly new outlook within the potential of the enjoyment of desire as the creation of a new world in the shell of the old. Not only can these new political, cultural, and economic creations better satisfy human needs and solve problems than what existed before, but the entire context that limited possibilities can also be forever changed. The Green Party can work toward not only a new type of governance, but a new definition of social reality. It all begins with the recognition of desire as the first step.