Since the 1980s, human beings have started consuming beyond the planet’s capacity to regenerate its resources. Immersed in an increasingly savage capitalist logic, the rhythm has not stopped accelerating, to the point that the younger generation, those who see their future at risk, are starting to unite to fight the threat of an ecological catastrophe. Those, that is, who will have to face the return of castration in the real in the most direct way. That said, I have to say that I myself would like to have grandchildren.
From the standpoint of psychoanalysis, castration is a real because it is an index of impossibility and ignoring it has consequences. The only thing that the politics of the ostrich ensures us is that we are in the best position to receive a kick in the backside. Castration, this somewhat disturbing term for those who are not familiar with the psychoanalytic jargon, means that language doesn’t reach far enough, that not everything can be said, or known, that human beings are mortal, make mistakes, misunderstand, miscalculate. The bond with the other is therefore far from guaranteed, always depending on our ongoing efforts of invention. This is a perspective to be put very much at the heart of the question of the future of the European community. If globalization is unstoppable, we have to find a way to make it liveable: and on our own we are even more fragile.
The capitalist economy increasingly shows itself to be based upon the denial of castration. Such happiness! But everything that ex-sists occupies a space, and if you don’t make space for it, it will find its own way -as the principle of Archimedes teaches us. This is possibly one of the reasons why Lacan was so interested in topology at the end of his teaching. If the economy doesn’t make the necessary turn to sustainability, it will go off the rails. The logic of capitalism implies the production of objects for consumption, ad infinitum. And in its headlong race, it ignores castration, which now takes the form of the exhaustion of natural resources, the resources that support this pseudo-discourse (pseudo, because for Lacan a discourse is the use of language that creates a bond and capitalism, by structure, destroys it). While some dream of colonising other planets or overcoming death in the name of science, an extreme meteorological phenomenon could wipe them off the earth, together their expensive laboratories, and everybody else. This headlong race turns out to be driven by the death drive.
Perhaps the society of the 21st century will be forced to renew itself or die, forced to become a society of responsible subjects, one by one. It is necessary to vote, to read, to inform oneself about those who claim to represent us in parliaments. There is always the hope that the so-called feminine politics, which has perhaps until now remained too silent but is beginning to deploy itself in various forms, will be able to reintroduce castration into political calculations. The feminine has the inconvenience, as well as the virtue, of not being represented by language. As there is no term that represents woman in a univocal way – as is the case of a man, even though the logic is different, given that it is based on having – beyond what each one of us can come up with, women, one by one, have long known that impossibility has to be confronted. It is either that or we might end up falling off the planet. Independently of any pensions we might be entitled to, whether we get them or not.