Chronic Deficiency of Meaning

On the subject of what we have been discussing in the thread about the death of religion, here is a great quote from Alfonso Pérez-Agote:

In general, we can say that modernity produces a chronic deficiency of meaning for the individual because of the systemization of the world and the privatization of the processes of production of life’s meaning. Postmodernity, with its distancing through globalization and systemization and through deterritorialization and anomie, further exacerbates the individual’s sense of deprivation.

When everybody is completely responsible for everything that happens to them – which is the neoliberal narrative of the self – that’s a very heavy burden for most people. If bad things only happen to you because you are a bad manager of the self, then you are completely alone with all of the bad things you might experience.

5 thoughts on “Chronic Deficiency of Meaning

  1. Yes, but that’s why I don’t like psychotherapy and so on, everything is always your fault. I think it is possible not to believe that while also not believing in these utterly weird, in my view, monotheistic, patriarchal and authoritarian religions. I see the point of needing to feel you have a friend in Jesus but not for these reasons. In jail, possibly.


    1. I like being the bearer of good news: in psychotherapy nothing is ever your fault. Guilt is a very destructive feeling, which is why a therapist can never make you feel guilty. Even when you are clearly guilty.


      1. Neoliberal self, though: I think that is what current psychotherapy teaches, and that it is an Althusserian ISA, like the church. It shouldn’t, but.

        So: religion is there to assure you that there is a meaning to suffering … hmm … I do see the difficulty of finding community in modernity/postmodernity and churches are communities …


        1. Exactly, that’s absolutely it. I’ve known folks who just can’t accept that life is “a vale of tears.” Whenever anything really bad happens to them, these are the folks who go to absolute pieces. Because it’s just so unfair that shitty things should happen to good people like them. And then all they can do is medicate the pain away because they have no conceptual framework to explain it.


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