"Why are so many problems today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation, or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, or even armed struggle? The source of this culturalization is defeat, the failure of directly political solutions such as the social-democratic welfare state or various socialist projects: ‘tolerance’ has become their post-political ersatz.
[…] It is as if, in today’s permissive society, transgressive violations are permitted only in a “privatized” form, as a personal idiosyncrasy deprived of any public, spectacular or ritualistic dimension. We can thus publicly confess all our weird private practices, but they remain simply private idiosyncrasies. Perhaps we should also invert here the standard formula of fetishistic disavowal: “I know very well (that I should obey the rules), but nonetheless… (I occasionally violate them, since this too is part of the rules.” In contemporary society, the predominant stance is rather: “I believe (that repeated hedonistic transgressions are what make life worth living), but nonetheless… (I know very well that these transgressions are not really transgressive, but are just artificial coloring serving to re-emphasize the grayness of social reality)."
Slavoj Zizek, Living in the End Times
(New York: Verso, 2010).
"All ‘culture’ is in a way a reaction-formation, an attempt to limit, canalize — to cultivate this imbalance, this traumatic kernel, this radical antagonism through which man cuts his umbilical cord with nature, with animal homeostasis. It is not only that the aim is no longer to abolish this drive antagonism, but the aspiration to abolish it is precisely the source of totalitarian temptation: the greatest mass murders and holocausts have always been perpetrated in the name of man as harmonious being, of a New Man without antagonistic tension."
Žižek S, The Sublime Object of Ideology.
About Happiness & Intoxication
Against the suffering which may come upon one from human relationships the readiest safeguard is voluntary isolation, keeping oneself aloof from other people. The happiness which can be achieved along this path is, as we see, the happiness of quietness. Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by some kind turning away from it, if one intends to solve the task by oneself. There is, indeed, another and better path: that of becoming a member of the human community, and, with the help of a technique guided by science, going over to the attack against nature and subjecting her to the human will. Then one is working with all for the good of all. But the most interesting methods of averting suffering are those which seek to influence our own organism. In the last analysis, all suffering is nothing else than sensation; it only exists in so far as we feel it, and we only feel it in consequence of certain ways in which our organism is regulated. The crudest, but also the most effective among these methods of influence is the chemical one — intoxication. […]
The service rendered by intoxicating media in the struggle for happiness and in keeping misery at a distance is so highly prized as a benefit that individuals and peoples alike have given them an established place in the economics of their libido. We owe to such media not merely the immediate yield of pleasure, but also a greatly desired degree of independence from the external world. For one knows that, with the help of this ‘drowner of cares’ one can at any time withdraw from the pressure of reality and find refuge in a world of one’s own with better conditions of sensibility. As is well known, it is precisely this property of intoxicants which also determines their danger and their injuriousness. They are responsible, in a certain circumstances, for the useless waste of a large quota of energy which might have been employed for the improvement of the human lot.
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930).