A Symbolic Ethnography of Hope in the Era of Hyper-Consumption: Uncovering Love as a Nordic -Transylvanian Synthesis through Bureaucratic Sublimation

  • Abstract:
    The proposed text is a “thick description”(Geertz, 1973) of the “symbolic order”(Lacan, 2006:12) mediating love letters, emails, and sms-es in the contemporary context of consumption-oriented and media-driven emotional blunting and hypersensitivity to clichés. The text is left on purpose in its raw format in order to allow for an unmediated understanding of the mechanisms inherent to it. The purpose is to show the paradoxical nature of the symbolic and its transformative potential to the imaginary, which in turn might constitute the very seed of hope for an alternative scenario of contemporary emotional experience. The alternative is uncovering itself through the language of “the system”, “the bureaucratic” or “the symbolic”, understood here inter-changeably, while at the same time working towards a continuous sublimation of its very medium and, by this, making space for itself to be discovered, manifested and preserved. The two subjects involved in the construction of an inter-subjective space seem entrenched in the symbolic order of Kafkaesque bureaucratic language when they refer to themselves as “The Bureau” in their subliminal attempts to approach and eventually uncover “the real”. However, it is by the very means of bureaucratic language that the subjects attempt to transgress its limitations and to mainstream their desires. In this sense, the struggle for uncovering the “real” could be understood as just another illustration of “the system destroying itself” (Žižek, 2011) and of deconstructing its repressive wholeness. The text could be regarded as an ethnography of self that could only be translated to the “other” in a wholesome manner through a (cross)disciplinary narrative. For this purpose, the text could be read through the lens of Lacan’sdistinction (2006) between “the real”, “the symbolic” and “the imaginary”with the hope that it “mirrors” furtive glimpses into “the real”.