Friday, August 27, 2004

An example of how Fink cuts to the chase vis-a-vis Lacan:
Demand is, of its very nature, repetitive. The patient's insistent, repetitive demand for an instantaneous cure gives way to something that moves, that is intrigued with each new manifestation of the unconscious (or "unconscious formation"), that attaches itself to each new slip and explores it; in a word, the patient's demand gives way to desire, desire which is always in motion, looking for new objects, alighting here and there but never sitting still. In a sense, the patient has exchanged demand for desire—not completely, of course, since patients make further demands on their analysts throughout their analyses, demands for interpretation, recognition, approval, and so on. But the patient has been willing to let go of certain demands, and a demand always involves a kind of fixation on something (which is why one repeatedly asks for the same thing, that thing one feels one cannot do without). Thus, the patient has given up a certain fixation for desire, for the pleasure stemming from the metonymy of desire, the term "metonymy" here implying simply that desire moves from one object to the next, that in and of itself desire involves a constant slippage or movement. Desire is an end in itself: it seeks only more desire, not fixation on a specific object. (26)
Among other things, this paragraph helps make tangible for me Barthes' distinction between the text of pleasure and the text of jouissance: the former yields to the reader's pre-existing demands (one of the strongest of which being that the text "recognize" the reader and the way she constructs her world) while the latter provides the pleasure-in-pain of renouncing demand and instead flitting from one object to the next—a movement or interval of flitting (I think of Fourier's papillone passion) taking place within the book, paragraph, sentence, or word (the shorter the interval the more intense, to speak literally, the frequency is: so Finnegans Wake [note: this is the corrupt edition; if you want the real deal track down a copy of the one with the green-and-white cover] remains the ne plus ultra of les textes de jouissance). I think I still prefer as a reader those texts which provide one or more anchor-points of demand or pleasure around which the vertiginous play of desire can romp, like a dog tied to a stake. The high frequency free play of desire experienced when I read a text like the Wake or Tjanting (which is, fittingly, slightly broader in band than Joyce; that is, the movement is more often from sentence to sentence rather than within a word, between letters and languages) is something I can only handle in small doses. That's why it's taken me and my Finnegans Wake reading group three years to read maybe one hundred pages.

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