“Alienation is a foundational claim in Marxist theory. Hegel described a succession of historic stages in the human Geist (Spirit), by which that Spirit progresses towards perfect self-understanding, and away from ignorance. In Marx’s reaction to Hegel, these two, idealist poles are replaced with materialist categories: spiritual ignorance becomes alienation, and the transcendent end of history becomes man’s realisation of his species-being; triumph over alienation and establishment of an objectively better society.”
in the following clip from ‘fear and loathing in las vegas’ with johnny depp, several themes are developed. one being a notion of normative behaviour. as in, there is an over all assumption that social behaviour is metaphysical and categorized. that one’s essence is determined by how they act, talk, walk, use their eyes, and ultimately in the way the interact with others. in fact, if someone does not follow these rules they tend to be marginalized, rejected and alienated because they did/do not fill certain criteria. in this sense, the one being alienated is the one who lies out of the symbolic order (the world). in the alienation of the other is the salvation of the other because they are rejected by the one’s who support the symbolic order and are therefore outside of the constructed reality.
however, just the opposite occurs for the one who alienates, they are deeper entrenched in their arrogance and ignorance, they ultimately fall prey to the spiritual dogma of the self-preservation of the ego (the constructed self). and in this moment defend nothing more than the evil that hides behind the idealistic self. the idealistic self searches only for the ideal because it attempts to conceal what it lacks at the deepest level of the soul. it seeks salvation from itself and so it either seeks to consume/eradicate the other and make it like themselves or completely reject them. this is also racism, denominationalism, tribal terrorism and so on. a defense of the act of alienation is the greatest of errors, because in the hope for creating a society of norms, the most abnormal are the one’s who seek normalcy and reject everyone who does not fit the cookie-cutter design. this is why Zizek states that ‘only one fantasy can survive in a room with many fantasies’ meaning that eventually normalization will occur because of the dogmatism behind ideology.
censorship is that which denies anyone the ability to speak, it is not that you cannot say certain things, but rather it is the pervasive act of speech itself that offends censorship. censorship defines itself as that which is a policing agent against offensive matieral against the masses. however, it presents itself as a self-mediated entity, but in reality is perverse big other that seeks to mediate through the religion of normalcy.this is why wikileaks was such a big deal, because it upset the normalcy, it disrupted ‘reality’ as everyone knew it. this is also why the nebulous nature of the current ‘occupy movement’ frustrates most people, because they are not offering conventional answers, which tends to be defined by a majority and also that which emerges out of the modern methodology. censorship fears speech, because speech that is true, will silence the need for censorship.
in socialism is the idea that society work together for a better goal, and not that we have to give up what we believe or uphold but in the name of which we believe we defend the benefit of the other, of the alienated, even at the risk of losing socially normative behaviours/ethics.
in the greek there is a notion known as grace, one definition is the ‘attraction to something beautiful’. attraction is spontaneous, it erupts when one least expects it. it is the libidinal energy and search for jouissance (enjoyment) that drives the ontology of grace. if it is spontaneous, then it naturally disrupts the normative (that which is stayed, historical and contractual). it denies one access to the constructed self and in a sense brings a sort of death to alienation. there is not enough grace. this is why racism is still present today. this is immigration is such a hot topic, because the nation is afraid of that which is alienation.
that which is other is traumatic. because an experience of trauma (the word itself means ‘wound’) is something that comes outside of the subject and permeates itself through any outer protection and throws the subject off guard. the other is a wound and creates for the masses that reject it. this is why it is called alien-nation. that which is foreign to the masses. that which is foreign to the historical structures in place.
in the clip, the hotel represents the normalization of community. the structure in place. its quite fitting the clip itself is titled ‘hotel on acid’, as we can see it is hunter s thompson (depp) who is the one who physically took the drug, but the one’s receiving the after-effects are the pedestrians. acid, as you can see, is a fantasy-inducing drug, it distorts reality. and yet, the one’s distorted are the one’s depp meets and interacts with. when he stares into the mirror back onto himself, this is the only moment he sees himself and we the viewer see no distortion as if to claim that he is really the only normal one there. it’s as if he has entered hell and charon (aka, the ferryman) (del toro) is the one who is leading him out and away from the hell of normative behaviour.
the hotel itself is the structure, the historical vicar who commends to his congregation that this is they way one behaves. yet, the true addicts and distorted heathens are the one’s who have given themselves over to the narcotic dichotomy and winning/losing. in this is the irony that when they win something, they are getting deeper into the psyche of the hotel and ‘playing the game’ to win (playing by rules) and when they lose, they ultimately lose even more of a sense of reality and fall prey to banality (the narcotic of losing and then playing ‘just one more time’ in case there is a chance of winning).
once we remove structures in place (including the ‘historical’ idea of ‘place’) we then find the other awaiting our embrace, or even moreso, we await the embrace of the other…