For many illusions it is easy to find owners--people who proudly declare their belief in things such as life after death, human reason, or the self-regulation of financial markets. Yet there are also different kinds of illusions, too, for example, in art: trompe l'oeil painting pleases its observers with anymous illusions --illusions where it is t entirely clear who should be deceived. Anymous illusions offer a universal pleasure principle within culture. They are present in games, sports, design, eroticism, manners, charm, beauty, and so on. However, it seems that this pleasure principle is increasingly misinterpreted. The proud proprietors of certain illusions are longer capable of recognizing that they also follow anymous illusions. As a consequence, they mistake happy, polite others for naive idiots or savages --the possessors of stupid illusions whose happiness is an obscene intrusion into the lives of more rational creatures. The misrecognition of anymous illusions thus becomes a crucial ideological bedrock for contemporary neoliberal policy. Hatred of the other's happiness leads to the destruction of the public sphere and to a state that, rather than fostering and stimulating its citizens' capacities, interpellates them as victims and limits itself to providing protective or repressive measures directed against them.
Robert Pfaller teaches Philosophy and Cultural Theory as Associate Professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria.