DL_Adolescents today : hyper-individualism (4/5)

The age of consumption makes the subject a product of the capitalist market. Thus, companies are no longer the only ones to present their offer and convince the Other of their suitability. The individual is also immersed in making his or her self a product ready to be shown and approved. In this way, the self becomes a product regulated by marketing techniques, with personal branding being the quintessence of these selves converted into avatars ready to be consumed at the click of a button. 

Subjected to the tyranny of semblances, the subject is forced to constantly reinvent themselves, depending on the frenetic rhythm of trends. An effort that paves the way for the transhuman -the symbiosis of body and machine- leaving the subject at the mercy of specular illusions that ultimately direct his or her behavior. 

Lipovetsky called this phenomenon the process of personalisation where the private and public spheres are confused because the subject tries to differentiate themselves from the rest by valuing their intimacy. Personification combines with narcissism to create a fragile pairing that, if weakened or broken, leads to the appearance of anguish. As long as this binomial is working, the subject's fall, before the incessant kaleidoscopic gazes, goes unnoticed. 

And so the subject, anesthetized in the narcissism of appearances, tiptoes around without asking too many questions about what lies beyond these images. The adolescent comes to this new symbolic order seeking experiences that link them to their peers, putting their individuality at stake in this dance of masks. 

However, the hyper-connected world inserts them into a hyper-individualized system where connections are ephemeral. The disorientation of the adolescent in the face of the multitude of possibilities is evident and the clinic confirms it: absence of ideals, uncertainty and an excess of desire that are manifesting in symptoms without an evident origin or history, violent acts, substance consumption and affiliations to extreme groups at the service of interests that the adolescents themselves are unaware of. 

After the pandemic, there is a discontinuity in this symbolic order, a discontinuity that may well be called helplessness and which leads young people to find an Other who responds. What can psychoanalysis do at this juncture? The psychoanalytic clinic of the adolescent is a challenge for the psychoanalysts today. Questioning the foundations of our work would be the direction to follow in order to be able to better orient ourselves in the face of the challenges involved in helping today's adolescents.

Helena Mateo Valldeperes