“Within psychoanalysis, this knowledge of drive, which can never be subjectivized, assumes the form of knowledge about the subject’s ‘fundamental fantasy’, the specific formula which regulates his or her access jouissance. That is to say: desire and jouissance are inherently, even exclusive: desire’s raison d'etre (or ‘utility function’, to use Richard Dawkin’s term) is not to realize its goal, to find full satisfaction, but to reproduce itself as desire. So how is it possible to couple desire and jouissance, to guarantee a minimum of jouissance within the space of desire? It is the famous Lacanian objet petit a that mediates between the incompatible domains of desire and jouissance. In what precise sense is objet petit a the object-cause of desire? The objet petit a is not what we desire, what we are after, but, rather, that which sets our desire in motion, in the sense of the formal frame which confers consistency on our desire: desire is, of course, metonymical; it shifts from one object to another, through all these displacements, however, desire none the less retains a minimum of formal consistency, a set of phantasmic features which, when they are encountered in a positive object, make us desire this object -objet petit a as the cause of desire is nothing other than the formal frame of consistency. In a slightly different way, the same mechanism regulates the subject’s falling in love: the automatism of love is set in motion when some contingent, ultimately indifferent, (libidinal) object finds itself occupying a pre-given fantasy-place.” -from Zizek’s Plague of Fantasies
I am, of course, doing as Deleuze encourages me: writing at the edge of what I know. And I mainly bring that up in case I manage to totally fuck this up. That said:
The main thing that inspired me to copy this paragraph, word for word, from the book is that it has brought me closer to an understanding (or rather crystallized my instincts about it (of the objet petit a (translated as the small object (as I have ever gotten before. This mainly has to do with Zizek’s association of it with the metonymical: or the way one isolated object can set off a whole chain of associations: a process often driven by desire. And I hate to be perverse here (but then how does one not when talking about Zizek or Lacanian Jouissance without doing so? (but consider the foot fetish. A foot, in itself, is awkward and ungainly. But the foot of a woman arched and slicing the air (the objet petit a (as if actually rubbing against it, is everything to the man making love to her since it is a sign of her jouissance. We can see the same dynamic at work in a hardened nipple on the breast which is also known to be a sexual cue.
In fact, as Desmond Morris pointed out in his largely forgotten The Naked Ape, women tend to be experts in the objet petit a in the way they make themselves up before going out: the red lipstick that suggests a swollen vagina as well as rouge which suggests the flushed regions that emerge when a woman is sexually attracted to a man.
(Of course, women since Morris’ time have responded by painting their lips black (Goth chicks don’t smile; but I’m guessing they still have jouissance (but that only points to the semiology involved by rejecting it.)
The main point I am trying to get to here is that the objet petit a can only set one out on a journey to fulfillment that can never be truly fulfilled. And it is fantasy that drives that journey forward. This, as far as I’m concerned, is the main problem with porn. It veers from the subtlety of jouissance (that subtle mix between pleasure and displeasure (by heavy-handedly representing what is, ultimately, an internal experience through what can be externally seen (the climax (through the money shot which, via the grossness of it, alienates men as much as it might women. The money shot leaves men feeling disgusted with themselves.
Granted, porn does exploit women. But it alienates men as well by moving beyond the signs (the objet petit a’s (and failing to see the real turn on: the way the woman responds: the metonymical circuit of signs.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.
When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).
Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.
First we read, then we write. -Emerson.
All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.
You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.
I refuse to be taken seriously.
Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.