Disorders that in Freud’s time were still recognizable as disorders are today validated as forms of dissidence. Symptoms that testify to the diminished or wholly absent authority of the father are inverted into willful acts of disobedience against long-extinct patriarchal norms.
As a consequence, neurosis has become not only incurable but undiagnosable. The hysteric today is a model of the “strong” woman, the mother-dominated, inadequate male, a model of sensitivity. What used to be neurosis is now “marginalization,” which calls for “inclusion” and a strained intellectual effort to canonize deformity and flaccidity.
The result is a phallophobic culture that anathematizes its own traditions, devalues men and manly virtues, and insists on demoting reality to the status of a social “construct” subordinated to the self-esteem of snowflakes, morons, perverts, and shrews.
Listless and infantilized men and women may well imagine that technology has finally enabled them to become wholly artificial, genderless, and disencumbered of all inherited cultural and biological limitations. They have no inkling of where the indulgence of this fantasy will deliver them. For the artificiality they seek is itself a phantasm, an ego ideal constructed by gnawing self-hatred. The dream of the “post-human” can only yield a succession of ever-less-than-human until it finally reveals itself to be a death wish.