In this piece for RT, Slavoj Žižek discusses the impact of capitalism on America’s opioid crisis, exploring the factors that have driven people to use drugs to escape reality.
“Capitalism is the first socio-economic order which de-totalizes meaning: it is not global at the level of meaning. There is, after all, no global-capitalist worldview, and no capitalist civilization proper: In fact, the fundamental lesson of globalization is precisely that capitalism can accommodate itself to all civilizations, from Christian to Hindu or Buddhist, from West to East. Capitalism’s global dimension can only be formulated at the level of truth-without-meaning, as the reality of the global market mechanism.
This, then, is what makes millions seek refuge in our opiums: not just new poverty and lack of prospect but the unbearable superego pressure in its two aspects – the pressure to succeed professionally and the pressure to enjoy life fully in all its intensity. Perhaps, this second aspect is even more unsettling: what remains of our life when our retreat into private pleasure itself becomes the stuff of brutal injunction?”