The Good Intense “Loves” the Bad Intense: Intensity and the Death Drive

[sic]. 2019;9(2) DOI 10.15291/sic/


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Journal Title: [sic]

ISSN: 1847-7755 (Online)

Publisher: University of Zadar

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Literature (General)

Country of publisher: Croatia

Language of fulltext: English, Croatian

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Dejan Durić
Željka Matijašević


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The article analyzes the concept of intensity promoted in late capitalism, and its difference from the teleological intensity of the countercultural sixties. Intensity is approached through psychoanalytic lenses as related to Freud’s drive theory, and to Lacan’s concept of jouissance. Counter-depressive intensity persists today devoid of any meaning, as it is a self-legitimating strategy of the most perfect and best conformed capitalist subject. The notion of the culture of intensity covers the natural privileging of late capitalism towards ‘the good intense.’ This paper analyzes its reverse: ‘the bad intense,’ and the tragedy of dysphoria. The movie Shame (2011), directed by Steve McQueen, is interpreted as an example of the transformation of the countercultural value of sexuality in the sixties to its mere reduction to both intense and numbing experience. Keywords: intensity, Eros, death drive, jouissance, euphoria, countercultureThis paper analyzes the concept of intensity promoted in late capitalism as the only life worthy of living. Immoderation, extreme experiences, intensity gone astray and energy gone awry, living your life to the full, transgressing the borders which previously separated life and death, have been inherited from the countercultural sixties. Yet, the moment in which the mainstream culture adopted intensity, it itself lost all of its revolutionary and countercultural potential. Counter-depression, the denial of depression, and (hypo)mania seem to be operating in the mainstream discourse as late capitalism defences. What is the main difference between the still teleological intensity of the sixties and the intensity in the 21st century? How does the famous trio “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll” fare in the first decades of this millennium?