There is No Big Other
“There is great disorder under heaven; the situation is excellent.” This is an idea Mao purported, being structured in Marxist thought integrally. Although one could say Karl Marx’s economic analysis was purely descriptive, one must keep in mind his revolutionary remarks which were clearly inscribed into his descriptive analysis: capitalism needs to be overthrown, and this is possible through social disorder which enables class consciousness, thus enabling a revolutionary proletariat. This of which brings us back to Mao’s statement about disorder, with social disorder being structured as it is today, are we really able to say ‘the situation is excellent’?
With the rapid growth of depression, especially among the disillusioned youth,¹ it is no surprise capitalism is falling out of favor:² failing to establish a stable economic safety net, resulting in people stressing about their financial predicament. It is no coincidence that depression has arisen in the greatest amounts during the COVID-19 pandemic for low-income households.³ This of which illustrates the great absurdities of our situation, wherein despite the vale of tears that eclipse us, capitalist realism finds its peak in and through our defeatism fueled by depression. The energetic social bodies are losing their potency, with depression disabling the ability for even envisioning a greater future (let alone achieve it).
This makes all the more difficult Mao’s statement regarding the situation being excellent. For, it requires a sort of religiosity, communism being regarded in this sense as an all powerful being that wills into reality that which is perfect, in-spite of all possibility. As Slavoj Zizek put it, Mao regarded communism as an “inexorable logic of historical processes,”⁴ that of which “discreetly regulates social chaos.”⁵ This view of which parallels the capitalistic notion of inevitability, not recognizing the power of the social body. As Zizek notes, “the situation is decidedly not excellent, and that’s why one has to act.”⁶ There is no big Other which guarantees our future, we are the only ones which have a say in our future.
- “Depression Is on the Rise in the U.S., Especially among Young Teens.” Columbia Public Health, 30 Oct. 2017, https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/depression-rise-us-especially-among-young-teens.
- Saad, Lydia. “Socialism as Popular as Capitalism among Young Adults in U.S.” Gallup, 20 Nov. 2021, https://news.gallup.com/poll/268766/socialism-popular-capitalism-among-young-adults.aspx.
- Pikul, Corrie. “Depression Rates Tripled and Symptoms Intensified during First Year of COVID-19.” Brown University, 5 Oct. 2021, https://www.brown.edu/news/2021-10-05/pandemic-depression.
- Zizek Slavoj. Heaven in Disorder. OR Books, 2021, p. 1.
- Ibid., p. 2.