If There Is No God…



As is well known, Jacques Lacan claimed that psychoanalytic practice teaches us to turn around Dostoyevsky’s dictum: “If there is no God, then everything is prohibited.” This reversal is hard to swallow for our moral common sense: in an otherwise sympathetic review of a book on Lacan, a Slovene Leftist newspaper rendered Lacan’s version as: “Even if there is no God, not everything is permitted!” – a benevolent vulgarity, changing Lacan’s provocative reversal into a modest assurance that even we godless atheists respect some ethical limits…

However, even if Lacan’s version appears an empty paradox, a quick look at our moral landscape confirms that it is much more appropriate to describe the universe of atheist liberal hedonists: they dedicate their life to the pursuit of pleasures, but since there is not external authority guaranteeing them the space for this pursuit, they become entangled in a thick web of self-imposed Politically Correct regulations, as if a superego much more severe than that of traditional morality is controlling them.

They become obsessed by the idea that, in pursuing their pleasures, they may humiliate or violate others’ space, so they regulate their behavior with detailed prescriptions of how to avoid “harassing” others, not to mention the no less complex regulation of their own care of the self (bodily fitness, health food, spiritual relaxation…).

Indeed, nothing is more oppressive and regulated than being a simple hedonist.

Slavoj Zizek, God in Pain – Inversions of Apocalypse, p.44

  • What are some examples of oppressive and regulated lifestyle of simple hedonist?
  • Why do irreligious beliefs lead to religious behaviors?
  • Why do religious beliefs lack the senses to connect to simple pleasures of life?

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