A Head-Spinning Loop of Connecting Paradigms Concerning...

Listening to Pete Rollins’ 2005 Greenbelt talk and reading Renata Salecl’s (Per)Versions of Love and Hate at the same time, creating a head- spinning loop of connecting paradigms between, rather concerning, love and our relationship with others, the Other, and God (creating for now a separation between the Other, Salecl’s work thusfar {only one chapter in after many weeks of reading} largely owing to Lacanian psychoanalysis, the questions of what separates other, Other, and God being rather present). Rollins’ posit as love as a spiritual core, something beyond ourselves, without reason, giving without return. Salecl’s love as narcissistic longing for the Other we do not, cannot possess. And a desire (self-referencing) for the thread that connects the two.

For each discourse can be said to be defined by a system of specific constraints that function as the law of the language; and the effects of this discourse are the products of the constraints. In the case of the unconscious, the constraints that function in this discourse produce the libido as its effect; in the case of ideological discourse, the constraints produce the effect of (mis)recognition. (Salacl, p17)

Both texts are fully quotable, making choosing a quote or describing any conclusions without reference to the entire text futile. Salacl’s book is available in part on Google, as is the aforementioned first chapter as part of another collection. I have not been able to find a transcript of Rollins’talk, but of course he has an entire book out covering many of the same subjects, although perhaps the bias of his audience(s) and the subsequent editing quelled the power of his words.

One tiny piece of the thread is Rollins’ reference to ambiguity, uncertainty, followed by reference to this love, presumably of God. Psychoanalysis, particularly as presented through Salacl’s Lacanian lens, defines love as only accessible through the impossibility of our desire in the other our internal lack of the Other. (At this point it does not matter to differentiate or join the socio-psychic Other and God, a place of thought I have held for some time now.) (I haven’t read enough, but isn’t this the common thing with most of these people?) Rollins’ (and much of the emergent movement) discontent with a definable God that escapes mystery confirms the psychoanalytical definition of love. His high references to love fit nicely into these (admittedly) modern structures. (Salecl’s point is to actually figure out what this means in the context of a postmodern society, so further reading will no doubt create more threads.)

So if love is simply the positing of our Ego Ideal in either an other or the Other, some narcissistic attempt at self-actualization, where is pure love? What is pure love? Where does that leave our ideas of partnership, interdependency, family, independence…faith? The “theological” position I described to my pastor some weeks back, that of love for God as expressed in love for another human being (in particular a partner), is this just a Lacanian drama, and a “return” to God just a retransferrence of the object petit a to the Other in the absence of the other for whom I truly desire? And what does it matter? What does it mean to then just choose happiness, to choose love (although often times those conflict), over two hundred years after it was written that the pursuit of such was an unalienable Right endowed upon us by our Creator? We’re idealistic, romantic humans, but we are humans nonetheless, and our comedies and tragedies have been played infinitely before us, and yet we fail to learn from them.


After all that deconstruction, here’s a new Polyphonic Spree song I’m particularly jammin’ to these days at this post on Modern Music.

Word of the day: lugubrious.

Something about broken wine glasses and spilt wine. Sins of the Father. I was there, actually.


Wouldn’t you know, later in the day I get into chapter two…

Lacan thus says [in his seminar on transference]:

Desire is at root and in its essence the desire of the Other; and it is here, properly speaking, that one finds the impetus of the birth of love, if love is what is happening in that object toward whom, led by our own desire, we are extending our hand and who, at the moment when our desire bursts into fire, for a moment offers a response in the form of that other hand that extends toward us as its desire

But the problem is that reciprocity never exists between the two subjects. Even if the loved one returns his or her hand and thus becomes a desiring subject by subjectivizing him- or herself, this does not mean that we have reached the harmony of love, since the loved one, although being now also the loving one, will also search in the other for the objects, the agalma, that he or she does not possess.

(Salecl, 47) (bold emphasis mine)

That’s the last thing I’ve read. But it’s already getting good.