Capitalist Being and Nothingness: Enjoying Existential Freedom

  • Peter Bloom


This chapter expands on the previous one by interrogating the deeper psychic relationship between capitalism and nothingness. Taking its cue from Sartre’s famous philosophical text “Being and Nothingness”, it contends that capitalist existence is built on positing a continual nothingness—or sense of experienced lack—that only the market can fulfil. In times of crisis, this turns apocalyptic with capitalism being posited as the only thing that can prevent total nothingness. At the affective heart of the embrace of this market “unfreedom” is the underlying fear that without capitalism we would dissolve into nothingness, a worry captured in the notion of the “real” first put forward by the renowned psychoanalytic thinker Jacques Lacan—our fragmentary “true” nature that must be masked by a comforting fantastic “reality”. It concludes by positing the need for creating a radical fantasy of freedom that embraces this nothingness as part of a fundamental drive to be eternally dissatisfied with hegemonic forms of freedom such as those linked to capitalism and therefore seek out new ones.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Bloom
    • 1
  1. 1.Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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