“Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves?” (La Boétie, 2006, p. 22). The parlêtres of our epoch are fascinated by screens and demand surveillance. The signifier security is inscribed as an S1.
Étienne La Boétie, a 16th-century French writer and politician, mentioned by Miller in chapter 16 of Ultimísimo Lacan (The Latest Lacan, Miller, 2013), wrote the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude at the age of 18. This text was against absolutism and La Boétie asked the above quoted question there.
He thus locates the necessary complacency that should exist on the side of the subject for control to become effective. We ask ourselves: what form does this complacency take in our times?
In The Lyric Illusion (2015), a text published after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris, Jacques-Alain Miller eloquently describes the voluntary servitude of our times:
(…) Yes, we want to be watched, listened to, tracked, if life is at stake. The great flight to voluntary servitude. Did I say voluntary? Desired, claimed, required. On the horizon, the Leviathan, Pax et Princeps. (…) [E]ven the Republicans regarded “submission to absolute rule” as a lesser evil. (…) [T]he tendency today, contrary to appearances, is not resistance, but submission. (Miller, 2015)
Miller highlights the paradox of the answer of subjects in an epoch without the Other, submission.
How can we understand this paradox?
In our democratic societies, the hypermodern subject’s relation with leadership takes the form of a cooperation in the name of security. Leadership is not produced under the assertive form, but under the form of advice, even need. Subjects who obey incessantly and demonstrate for more police protection demand more surveillance cameras. In the 2013 Conference of the Lacanian Orientation School (EOL), Eric Laurent related this cooperative obedience with the illusion of a politics without master-signifiers which leads to the superegoization of the world, the dream of a politics that is sustained on S2, that is, without impositions.