Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Never Look Back (WhatWouldIDoIfIDidn'tHaveYou)

Barthes speaks of love as the polymorphous vicissitudes of the "Image-Repertoire" that composes the Other, oneself, and the relationship between them. These are fragments, "schemas" (Barthes' corrects his reader: "These fragments of discourse can be called _figures_. The word is to be understood, not in its rhetorical sense, but rather in its gymnastic or choreographic acceptation; in short, in the Greek meaning: σχυμα is not the 'schema,' but, in a much livelier way, the body's gesture caught in action and not contemplated in repose: the body of athletes, orators, statues: what in the straining body can be immobilized.")
Thus, the lover's discourse (and the text which will "simulate" this: _A Lover's Discourse: Fragments_) is a "dis-cursus" ("originally the action of running here and there, comings and goings, measures taken, 'plots and plans': the lover, in fact, cannot keep his mind from racing, taking new measures and plotting against himself.")
Yet, the image-repertoire is static--each image is paralyzing, and it is the terror of an overwhelming image that does not so much imply a modification in its substance, but rather, that its stasis produces an amplification of its aeffects simply because it will not go away. This is not boredom (though one could imagine a pleasant image growing worn, like a porno that just doesn't "do it anymore"--the "je ne ce quoi" has evaporated, its 'effervescence' effaced--what a beautiful vulgarity!)
Rather, it is the horror of not being able to be done with an image! It is the dyspepsia Nietzsche diagnoses as nihilism. The inability to be done with anything, the "trauma" (the dream), is an activity, not a passive affliction: one must will-to-possess the image, to dwell upon the image, to wish to undo it and re-imagine it as one wishes--that is, to neutralize the dis-comforting image, to make it conform to one's own comfort. (Not the same as a desire to punish: this is not masochism; I am describing an absurdity named "Sovereignty". It is a profound irony: that the pursuit of sovereignty leads only ever to subjugation.)
Love, then, is somewhat demystified: love is the acute sensation of being haunted by the image-repertoire of the loved other, of being incapable of being able to produce _new_ images (for this would be a violation, an artistic violence against the free-giveness of the Other), which must rely upon, which must learn to embrace, to be ravished by the images given freely by the Other.
Yet, Barthes' loved Other does not say a word (for it is a text, X does not speak, he is written). But more profoundly, the Other gives signs (like a prophet, whose true-discourse is hidden within himself alone, who cannot answer before a tribunal or a chorus of witnesses). This implies deciphering these signs, to dwell on them, to not let them pass before they have been apprehended fully. That is, the lover cannot but torture himself, cannot help but provoke the horror of an image.
To love is to be in this paradox. To be in love is to be impossibly polymorphous (to be suspended by these images, in the images, perpetually re-figured). To be a lover is to be in the flux of the schemata, to give and receive, to measure and run back and forth, here and there....Is there a meaning to all of this action? (How could anyone ask such a question?!)

One year ago I met J. at work. It was wholly unexpected. He left, he came back. In between there was a risk on his part, and a desire on mine (I never remember properly). Tomorrow we celebrate. Though, the festival of our rage, our tenderness, our exhaustion, our passion--this has never stopped.

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