VICTIM: the Triple Whammy
In most legal systems the principle of “double jeopardy” applies which, in the name of “natural justice”, means that one cannot be tried in court a second time for an offence one has been fully acquitted from, or tried and sentenced for the same offence twice.
By contrast this notion of “justice” has it seems little purchase within capitalist discourse where most subjects routinely finds themselves acted upon in multiple and layered ways that militate against their own self-interest in favor of the interests of capital. Here the ideological apparatus of capitalism, namely neo-liberalism, creates a “victim” who arguably finds it increasingly difficult to either “know” or protest against the way in which their own interests are subverted, and further, where most attempts to do so merely reinforce the status quo.
While for some this is no doubt familiar territory, I would like to label here three aspects of the workings of this ideological effect in our contemporary world as: “the lie”, “the act of harm” and “the deception” and in doing so attempt to say something about the subtle nature of “victimhood” that the modern subject – no longer, or only exceptionally, subject to direct force – must contend with.
Of course, from a psychoanalytic point of view it is important to highlight how, in one sense at least, we are all victims as there is no way to escape from the trauma of sex. In other words, from the fact that there is no natural answer to the sexual relation for the speaking-being, but rather, one that must be forged with the aid of language as one attempts to deal with the jouissance of one’s own body, or with that of the Other.
Moreover, as Freud in “Civilization and its Discontents” (۱۹۳۰) pointed out, trauma and unhappiness are not unusual experiences as in life we invariably encounter sources of suffering:
“ … from our own body, which is doomed to decay and dissolution and which cannot do without pain and anxiety as warning signals, from the external world, which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless forces of destruction, [and] … from our relations to other men”(p.77).