“ We should appreciate the strict symmetry between ideological fundamentalism and liberal hedonism: they both focus on the Real; the difference being that, while liberal hedonism elevates into its Cause the extra-symbolic Real of jouissance (which compels it to adopt a cynical attitude of reducing language, the symbolic medium, to a mere secondary irrelevant semblant, instrument of manipulation or seduction, the only “real thing” being jouissance itself), “fundamentalism” enacts a short circuit between the Symbolic and the Real—that is to say, in it, some symbolic fragment (for instance, the sacred text, the Bible in the case of Christian fundamentalists) is itself posited as real (to be read “literally,” not to be played with, in short: exempted from all dialectic of reading).
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