The Imaginary is Ascendant | This has Political Effects
In the argument for Clinical Study Days 15, Thomas Svolos writes:
The word or the text is no longer enough, and language now needs an image to go with it, to be linked or connected to the text in the narrative.
The image is linked to the imaginary register, and text is linked to the symbolic. I read the quote above as saying that the authority of the symbolic has lost much of its power to act as the tool people use to make decisions. The image, how things will appear (i.e., how things will look to others), has replaced what things will mean.
Or, to put it more simply, people are more concerned with how things look than what they are.
Svolos points out that ordering things primarily upon the imaginary has political effects.
But, what about a very different realm of human experience, such as politics? Here too, we see a shift from the text to image. For centuries, in the West, politics has been founded on (ideologically, at least) foundational texts, such as the Magna Carta or the Constitution. These texts served as anchoring points for debate and discussion and the basis for the construction of political campaigns and legislative action. We now see, on the right, a very different basis for the construction of politics, one based on the image in replacement theory. This argument—that white, males are being replaced in Western countries—has been used, most recently in the Buffalo shooting, as the ideological justification for acts of violence, but has also been the basis for political campaigns, from Republican primaries in the United States to the most recent French presidential election. A key dimension of this political phenomenon is the replacement of foundational texts as the basis of politics with an image, the image of the white male and the perceived threat from people with different images. Of course, we might observe that it was the left that first constructed a politics based on identity and image. The right simply outmaneuvered them on that approach.