March 5, 2019•1,300 words
As pointed out by preeminent Neoreactionary pastor "Zero HP Lovecraft", 2019 is the year of the paypig. And yet, many still cannot fathom the nature of this position. They read, and wonder: what must be going on in the mind of the paypig, to subject themselves to such a thing? To understand this, I turn to Lacan's insights into the phenomenology of the pervert. Briefly, from nosubject, the Lacan wiki:
The pervert assumes the position of the object-instrument of the "will-to-enjoy" (volonté-de-jouissance), which is not his own will but that of the big Other.
The pervert does not pursue his activity for his own pleasure, but for the enjoyment of the big Other. He finds enjoyment precisely in this instrumentalization, in working for the enjoyment of the Other.
The paypig seems an archetypal example of this, with the pervert assuming a submissive stance in the practice of findom. But what does this mean? Let us dig a bit deeper.
The paypig first, as in all submissive perversions, elevates the dominatrix to the position of the big Other1. Which is to say, the dominatrix is not herself as a subject--a thinking human being--in relation to the paypig. To him, she represents the Other2: the paypig's internalized perception of the codes governing society. He elevates her not into a symbol of these codes but into the manifestation of the codes themselves. This is why Hassidic submissive relates BSDM to worship: God is not a symbol3, God simply is4.
His next step, then, is to reduce himself to the object-instrument of the Other, in relation to one of its drives. To do this, he must develop some idea of what the Other wants. We must recall that the Other is a phenomenological structure within the pervert; the Other is not "out there" but exists inside the pervert himself, constructed through his interactions with little others (other people). The Other's desire is likely something that the pervert is aware "society" desires on some level (he may even desire it himself: "man's desire is the Other's desire"). So, in the case of the paypig, we might guess that this desire is money.
Once he has established the desire of the Other, the paypig's final step is to position himself as an instrument, an object through which the Other can satisfy this desire. His enjoyment comes from acting on the Other's account. So, the paypig enjoys giving away his money. Right?
This is not the complete story. We must ask, in response to exactly what does the paypig enjoy himself? It is not simply the transfer of money, or else the paypig could give a donation to some cause and be done. No, the pleasure involves some action on account of the dominatrix, through which the Other's fundamental drive manifests, and which permits the paypig to transform into its instrument5. If we pay attention, we can see that the paypig feels they are satisfying the Other's invocatory drive: the desire to hear and be heard. It is not to the transaction, nor to the dominatrix as a physical object that the paypig responds, but to her voice, her command, her invocation: "you are nothing to me, send Venmo". And so we might classify findom as BDSM, the practice of invocatory perversions. BDSM stands in contrast to exhibitionism-voyeurism, a set of perversions in which the pervert acts as an instrument of the Other's scopic drive, the desire to see and be seen6.
Why might 2019 be the year of the paypig? Perhaps as authorities become more abstract, less human7, fewer have access to direct invocation. And yet there is still a part of us who wants to act in response to a command. Who will we obey? The dominatrix fills this gap, with the distinction that her fee is tightly coupled with the paypig's act of submission. Compared with other forms of BDSM, findom has lower transaction costs, meaning reduced waste, and increased surplus value. It is a highly efficient and incentive-aligned activity, a brilliant market-based solution to a fundamental human need. Isn't that what neoliberalism is all about?
The big Other designates radical alterity, an otherness which transcends the illusory otherness of the imaginary because it cannot be assimilated through identification. Lacan equates the big Other with language and the law, and hence the big Other is inscribed in the symbolic order. Indeed, the big Other is the symbolic insofar as it is particularized for each subject. Thus, the Other is both another subject in its radical alterity and unassimilable uniqueness and also the symbolic order which mediates the relationship with that subject.
Note the duality of the Other: it is "both another subject... and also the symbolic order." This refers to our relationship with the Other: it appears as a mass of known-or-felt laws that sometimes has a mind or will of its own.
It is easier for an attractive woman to embody the position of the Other, as she is already seen as commanding social power. To quote Žižek: "[an] exceptional particular then immediately gives body to the universal." ↩
"there is a jouissance beyond the pleasure principle" linked to the partial drive; a jouissance which compels the subject to constantly attempt to transgress the prohibitions imposed on his enjoyment, to go beyond the pleasure principle.
The brief version is that pleasure releases tension, while jouissance involves "enjoyable" behavior done on account of a drive. Pleasure is the result of satisfying needs, jouissance is the result of satisfying wants. Jouissance does not necessarily relieve tension; it might instead create it. An example: eating a meal while hungry gives pleasure, because it releases the tension of hunger. Eating and eating simply for the taste begets jouissance, because it is behavior you find somehow "enjoyable". Thus, satisfying the Other's "will-to-jouissance" involves providing it with something that, for it, creates this experience of jouissance.
For an excellent, if dated, Marxist-Freudian discussion on the topic of authority, consider Christopher Lasch's Haven in a Heartless World (1977) (pp: 184-189): ↩
Since authority no longer commands respect, the authorities have to impose their will through psychological manipulation... Authorities no longer appeal to objective standards of right and wrong, which might serve to clothe power in a higher morality but might also justify resistance to it... The new mode of social control avoids conflicts and direct confrontations between authorities and the people on whom they seek to impose their will... Society itself has taken over socialization or subjected family socialization to increasingly effective control. Having thereby weakened the capacity for self-direction and self-control, it has undermined one of the principal sources of social cohesion, only to create new ones more constricting than the old, and ultimately more devastating in their impact on personal and political freedom.
Perhaps, if the desire for findom emerges from the same place as the desire for a more expansive state apparatus, a 70% tax rate truly is findom after all?