acting upon one’s desire/not compromising [one’s desire,] can no longer be grounded in any “pathological” interests or motivations, and thus … “following one’s desire” overlaps with “doing one’s duty. …
The opposition is thus not between the egotist search for pleasures and ethical care for others, but between … betrayal of … and … fidelity to the “law of desire” beyond the pleasure principle (which can assume the form of fidelity to a sexual Truth Event of love, the form of fidelity to an ethico-political Idea, the form of fidelity to one’s artistic or scientific engagement …)

s. zizek [on how one can egotistically follow one’s of sense of duty (duty to one’s own desire) and act ethically in this very strive]


What is the miserable evil of a Sadean group orgy in comparison with the “diabolical evil” that pertains to a pure ethical act?” … The Sadean perversion emerges as the result of the Kantian compromise, of Kant’s avoiding the consequences of his breakthrough. Sade is the symptom of Kant. While it is true that Kant retreated from drawing all the consequences of his ethical revolution, the space for the figure of Sade is opened up by Kant’s compromise, by his unwillingness to go to the end, to retain the full fidelity to his philosophical breakthrough. Far from being simply and directly “the truth of Kant,” Sade is the symptom of how Kant betrayed the truth of his own discovery – the obscene Sadean jouisseur is a stigma bearing witness to Kant’s ethical compromise. The apparent “radicality” of this jouisseur figure (the willingness … to for to the end of his Will-to_Enjoy) is a mask of its exact opposite. … The horror is not a Sadean orgy. It is the real core of the Kantian ethic itself. …

Zizek. [The core of Kantian ethics is that one should not act with regard to what is Good for the community etc. but with regard to what I make my own duty. This formalism would be one of a “blind, cruel justice”]

Consider the small child’s narcissistic attitude of illusory omnipotence: to become mature, we have to accept our limitations. What lurks behind the narcissistic attitude is the Freudian death drive, a kind of “undead” stubbornness denounced already by Kant as a violent excess absent in animals – which is why, for Kant, only humans need education through discipline. The symbolic Law does not tame and regulate nature, but, precisely, applies itself to an unnatural excess.

Slavoj Zizek, Less Than Nothing,
From The Phallic Signifier To Object a