In his treatise on the ‘frailty of human bonds ’, Zygmunt Bauman claims that for modern societies love is eclipsed by power, and desire is eclipsed by spontaneous urges: ‘As far as love is concerned, possession, power, fusion and disenchantment are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ (Bauman, 2003: 8). For Bauman and numerous other sociologists of contemporary sexuality, the vision of the end emerges in a condition of crisis: love and desire become the ‘fear and trembling’ of the advanced world’s emotional, reproductive and sexual insecurity.1 More than anything else, the sexual and erotic desires that were associated with ‘lust ’, as the counterforce of love, have been reconditioned by a society that has grown increasingly intolerant of the deferral of gratification. In a context of cultural and economic urgency, love has become subsumed by a more exigent volition to pleasure. As outlined in previous chapters, this volition and the fantasy of infinite pleasure compounds love and desire in the densely mediated conditions of consumerism and the pursuit of pleasure through the pursuit of purchase. In Bauman’s terms, desire has become trammelled up into the needs of perpetual acceleration and the imperatives of spontaneous, consumer urges.
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- Reckless Desire: Love, Sexuality and Infinite Bliss
- Palgrave Macmillan UK