The Subject as the Source of the Future. From an Absence of Meaning to a Sense of Meaning; or, the Birth of the Subject
Many agree that our society has no sense of direction, no search for meaning. Worse, says Chantal Lebrun, we are getting deeper into non-sense. Consumerism and the welfare state have given us the habit of passive dependence; we expect everything to come from outside.
We are stuck in a childlike state of dependency on an obsolete past which is dominated by a faith in progress and reason that we should abandon. The contemporary challenge is not to forge ahead in a search for substitute meanings, but to become ourselves the subject and rehabilitate the concept of desire. A sense of freedom to desire will give us the strength to escape from our dependence on needs and to thereby become responsible for our own future.
Let us therefore bury our past, stop being paralyzed by the uncertainties of the future and rely on our values as a resource for renewing ourselves. We shall then be able to conceptualize a desirable future which can give us the passion and energy necessary to rebuild, from a realistic perception of major trends, shared values and dreams.
On the strength of Lacan's theories, Chantal Lebrun is engaged here in a true psychoanalysis of modern society, and especially of the individuals which compose it. She invites them to be fully participant (as subjects) in a desirable future which demands courage, audacity and determination.