Sunday, August 4, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 197/ 7
Love Decoded (7)
© Eso A.B.

In his book “Looking away” philosopher Slavoy Žižek writes (p 78): “…love is an exemplary case of what Jon Elster calls ‘states that are essentially a by-product’ an innermost emotion that cannot be planned in advance or assumed by means of a conscious decision (I cannot say to myself ‘now I shall fall in love with that woman’; at a certain moment, I just find myself in love….” 

Just as certainly the by-product of our ‘state of being’ can discover us in ‘love’, it can discover us falling out of love. All it takes is a loss or deprivation of ‘magic’.

Žižek explains: “…we can be sure that this ‘magic’ transformation has nothing whatsoever to do with some ‘irrational’ spontaneity: it is the big Other that produces the change.”

Thus, love and death, both, stand together before the big Other. We may wish to call the big Other God. Therefore the question: Who or what is the ‘big Other’? The answer comes by way of the psychiatrist Jacques Lacan whose thesis is that “the big Other does not exist”, but this non-existance exists only because the big Other “…does not exist as a subject of history”.  Maybe so, maybe not.

This brings to mind thefollowing anecdote:

A man finds himself in ‘love’ with a woman, who he knows is having an affair with another man. The man believes that in spite of the fact that his ‘love’ for the woman is prevented from being returned by her, because of the other male, a close relative of hers, he believes that wonders may nevertheless happen. He sees the possibility in the fact that her affair is not necessarily a matter of love, but of naked sexual desire, which makes her incestuous affair possible. He believes that incest will sooner or later become aware of itself as a perversion and cease of its own accord.

When (during an opportune moment) the man asks the woman whether she is sleeping with her relative, she denies it, and he accepts her answer. However, the matter is complicated by the fact that the woman has a child from yet another ‘love’ affair, whence a son, who is not yet of speaking age. One day the man invites his ‘love’ to come visit him at his home. The woman agrees to come and brings along her son. During the tete-a-tete, tea and cake, the child plays with a small pillow.

Everything goes smoothly, when quite by chance, the man turns his eyes away from his beloved to look at the boy. He sees that the child has placed a pillow on a nearby the couch and has put his head on it. At the same time the boy’s bum goes ‘bump. bump, bump’ against the edge of the couch, which movements reminds of the movement of sexual intercourse in a certain position. The man’s ‘love’, the woman, sees the same thing. However, she makes no response to what she sees and  it appears that as far as she is concerned, what she sees is ‘normal’ and needs no commentary. The man, however, sees in the child’s act a sudden intrusion, even the presence of the woman’s relative, yet recognizes that what he sees is a result of his imagination. He therefore says nothing.

There is only one apparent solution to the situation: either the woman understands what she has seen and takes actions that lead to love making, or she lets the moment pass and becomes for the man part of an ingrained memory.

The man’s response: as if nothing has happened, becomes a sign of impotence. This allows the event to become a festering memory. It is through this ‘memory’ (or big Other, or God) that the act of the child introduces before our eyes incest. This sudden revelation becomes as if a memory of something sordid, and becomes the cause that causes the man to fall out of ‘love’.

The magic of ‘love’ suddenly evaporates into ‘death’; nothing remains of the big Other, but a timely (perhaps unfortunate) turn of the head. This happenstance results in there being no affair or history except a telling anecdote, which, too, except for the turn of the head, might not have been.

To take the anecdote to its next level, it is worth reading what Žižek (and Lacan) have to tell about the transference of guilt. Žižek takes an example from Alfred Hitchcocks movie “I confess” . When Father Logan ‘confesses’ to the murder, because when (during confession by the murderer) he recognizes the murderer’s reasons as possibly his own, it is the moment that he becomes a Chris-tian in deed. Writes Žižek: “Jesus Christ himself… appears in a new light insofar as he assumes the guilt of sinners and pays the price for it, he recognizes the sinners’ desire as his own. Christ desires from the place of the other (the sinner), this is the ground for his compassion for sinners. If the sinner is a pervert… Christ is clearly a hysteric.”

This brings me to the point of this blog: What if the ‘pervert’ is not an individual, but the state? What if the state is represented by a mask named ‘Kazhocins’ (a name for a fur overcoat in Latvian), and who as an ‘all seeing eye’ and a policeman murders for us the spirit of the state? Might not the eye of a citizen lose the magic of ‘love’ for the government?

If one then takes the citizen and makes an analogy of him-her with Christ as Žižek (and implicitly Lacan) does, then he-she are “clearly hysterics”—in which the state the state will discover  justification for incarceration which may be compared to incest by force.

And what might citizens-‘hysterics’ do besides confessing that their  desires are the same as that of the state that wishes to kill him-her-them? Might not the citizen become like the dead-man behind a living mask disguised by a fur overcoat? Is not the state the glue or honey that keeps the bee to her hive and from freezing and dying for lack of food during winter?

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