Can this actually be true? The role of Religious Institutions (and I don't overlook such establishments as the Rational Church of Psychoanalysis, the Scientific Church of Reason, the Political Church of Democratics etc) has always been to dig neural trenches for the rivers of human existence to flow through. Whether or not its wrong to kill people is an entirely separate issue to whether or not killing people will disrupt the social sphere. Lets face it, murder is pretty antisocial behaviour. The solution? 'Ethicise' and normalise social desire and, thus, behaviour. If we people believe our behaviour to not only be normal and natural, but also the conscious undertaking of our chosen way of life in this liberal, democratic part of the world, then all the better and easier for the R.I.'s who have the ungodly task of organising us.
But where do desire and satisfaction come in? The underlying principle of most (if not all) R.I.'s is that we people, as 'individuals', of course, are incomplete- souls in need of salvation; sick in need of curing; consumers in need of product. A particular salvation. A particular cure. A specific product. Not just anything will do. But the funny thing is that we aren't even aware of our 'needs' until we are 'made aware' of them- we are so incomplete that we are not even capable of recognising our own inherent inadequacy. So, basically, we can define the role of the social machine as: the production of lack (and individual lack is social lack) in the name of Desire. Or, the production of demand disguised as the production of supply.
So what is desire if it is not just the extension of a suggested lack? "Wishful thinking", it is suggested- fantasy, of course. But, it cannot be denied that the production of desire is the production of the real. Something is being produced by desire. And if something is being produced it must be real, only the question is what kind of reality is being produced? Yet fantasy is not real in the same sense as desire, it is not a production but more of an inversion or reproduction. Desire is centrifugal, fantasy is centripetal- at least to begin with.
The first noble truth of the Buddha is that everything is sorrow. The second is that sorrow is caused by desire. The conclusion? Shut down desire.
The christian approach is not much different (even if a little less advanced). It labels desire as 'sin' in an economy of morals handed down by some god. By plugging desiring production it is hoped that the human vessel will discharge its built-up frustration into the 'holy' avenues of social reproduction and R.I. perpetuation- the insistence upon their subordination. And the more distanced people become from their material existence- the less important it becomes- the easier they are to manipulate, persuade and convince.
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him... Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must not we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it?"
- Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Experience tells that the omnipresence of god is the omnipresence of fascism, and its not just restricted to the chosen ones. You don't have to be a believer to be a fascist. We may have killed god but we have yet to kill ourselves. So long as we model ourselves on the god we have killed, the fascist in our hearts will survive. Fascism will only die with our egos. The point is that the social is and cannot be anything but the individual. The solitary, isolated individual- no matter how romantic- can only be a lie. We are packs within packs (within packs within packs...). Desiring production is a network process, folding back on itself beyond any notion of opposition between 'the individual' and 'society'. Both exist, but not separately or simultaneously. There is only a complex interaction of desiring 'machines'- one feeds another which feeds several more, some of which feed the first along with some new ones which in turn feed a variety of others, and so on. There is no 'individual', no 'society', only complex assemblages of such machines.
As above so below? As within so without? Do these time-old phrases not imply a distinction, separation, opposition to begin with? Do we not just convert our experiences into biunivocal structures- oppositions, binaries, dichotomies, contradictions etc? Or are we just drawing conclusions from our understanding and experiences? Perhaps our acceptance of an intrinsic lack (where "I want"= "I lack") motivates us to extend false realities into our environment. Maybe we are so used to seeing things in terms of mutual exclusivity that we consider it a basic 'fact' from which to begin with rather than attempting to overcome it in our processes of reassessment. In other words, by trying to unite 'opposites' and reconcile 'contradiction', are we not already dictating the terms, reducing both to an identity of the same, and defeating ourselves before we even begin? Why not accept the difference of experiences, of ideas, of people, of things?
It would be naive, self-deceptive and basically a waste of time to start from any fixed point that has not been recognised as relative, arbitrary and thus false. Yet, there is no reason why we should not start there (except perhaps that habit may prevail, tricking you into 'belief') if you take this sort of thing into account. Any point of reference is theoretically as 'good' (ie: useful) as any. It is therefore a personal matter and comes down to individual preference.
Contextualisation appears to be the only way out. Feeling inadequate, we cling to something rigid, something secure. Eventually, usually after everything around us has shifted, we find ourselves in a spot riddled with inconsistency. Our environment has left us behind- with our fear, vanity and lack=desire firmly secured to our reality. What has produced me? Are my desires really mine? Or are they fantasies? etc? etc? etc?