[Sunday morning coffee reading from a few weeks ago]
So we read about the medieval literary construct of The Lady/ Courtly Love as discussed by Lacan, Zizek and others.
Alleged impossibility of finding love through sexuality? We want what we can't have and then we call it love? A bourgeoisie game still relevant today and in play regardless of sexual orientation or gender. As a mask for realness or truth we place a barrier between ourselves and It? Are two broken people able to fix each other?
Zizek's article Courtly Love, Or Woman As Thing is available to download online. ('aarg')
'The Lady is thus as far as possible from any kind of purified spirituality: she functions as an inhuman partner in the sense of a radical Otherness which is wholly incommensurable with our needs and desires; as such, she is simultaneously a kind of automaton, a machine which utters meaningless demands at random.' SZ
The next crucial feature of courtly love is that it is thoroughly a matter of courtesy and etiquette; it has nothing to do with some elementary passion overflowing all barriers, immune to all social rules. We are dealing with a fictional formula, with a social game of ‘as if’, where a man pretends that his sweetheart is the inaccessible Lady. And it is precisely this feature which enables us to establish a link between courtly love and . . . masochism . . . a specific form of perversion articulated for the first time in the middle of the last century in the literary works and life-practice of Sacher-Masoch. . . .
It is the servant, therefore, who writes the screenplay—that is, who actually pulls the strings and dictates the activity of the woman [dominatrix]: he stages his own servitude. . . . Furthermore, violence is never carried out, brought to its conclusion; it always remains suspended, as the endless repeating of an interrupted gesture.
It is precisely this logic of disavowel which enables us to grasp the fundamental paradox of the masochistic attitude. That is to say, how does the typical masochistic scene look? . . . [T]he masochist constantly maintains a kind of reflective distance; he never really gives way to his feelings or fully abandons himself to the game; in the midst of the game, he can suddenly assume the stance of a stage director, giving precise instructions (put more pressure on that point, repeat that movement . . .), without thereby in the least ‘destroying the illusion’. Once the game is over, the masochist again adopts the attitude of a respectful bourgeois and starts to talk with the Sovereign Lady in a matter-of-fact, businesslike way: ‘Thank you for your favour. Same time next week?’ and so on.
[this particular paraphrase exists here]
'The place of the Lady-Thing is originally empty: she functions as a kind of 'black hole' around which the subject's desire is structured. The space of desire is bent like space in the theory of relativity; the only way to reach the Object- Lady is indirectly, in a devious, meandering way - proceeding straight on ensures that we miss the target.' SZ
[Archetypes, Robert Burton, Angela Carter, Disney, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Georges Bataille, Impossibility, Les Choses Secretes, Brilliant Love, Paradox, Zen, Oscillation, Opposition, Watts, Osho, Patriarchy, Existential Pain, Reflections, Separateness, Desire, Love, God]