Man is an animal whose primary function is to strive for the affirmation of its life. Not only is the principle of this teleological nature biological, it is also psychological. In this context, the principle of affirmation is codified or reified as desire. The biological nature of desire is indoctrinated, reordered, constituted, or amplified by the preexisting conditions of the social structure of the culture. If the biological desire is considered to be an essence, where the content is libido, or carnal desire, and the form is constituted by society, language, or even the orthodoxy of the day, any conceptual framework, then the arrow of this intentional desire is directed on a goal as object: power, control, pleasure, pain, contentment, or any other teleological formations.
In matters of libidinal desire, the goal is often a sexual one – and when the goal is not satisfied, the energy of the desire builds up, intensifies, and engorges the subject, until it is either re-channeled or suppressed.
Giving in to the demands of desire is to satisfy it. However this satisfaction is almost never immediate; it is usually repressed, largely due to the social conditioning of a culture. The habit of repressing desires tend to an overall temperament of resentment, a puritanical disgust of the vivid impression of pleasure as something carnal. Resentment, disenchantment, disillusion, a failed idealist, all these behaviors come from the function of a repressed disposition. The meaning of life is to make it, and the severe resentment of the repressed subject constitutes a “backworld” that is superior to this one. The impulse of religion emanates from a metaphysical fault, which is in Sartrean terms, the impossibility of human desire to be God.
Nevertheless, sublimation, the ability to re-channel the nature of desire by altering the objective of the desire, and the surplus of energy empowers creativity, the ability to recreate values or art is a rare achievement, a talent that is limited to the gifted.
What is impressive about sublimation is the not only the energy boost, but the creative output also constitutes the subject as well. Then the subject as a social construct is arranged by the forms of discourse. The language of social construction is the archaeology of knowledge.