Tag Archives: fidelity

“want a violent girl / who’s not scared of anything”

True love is modest, like that of a couple in a Marguerite Duras novel: while the two lovers hold hands, they do not look into each other’s eyes; they look together outwards, to some third point, their common Cause. Perhaps there is no greater love than that of a revolutionary couple, where each of the two lovers is ready to abandon the other at any moment should the revolution demand it. They do not love each other less than the amorous couple bent on suspending all their terrestrial links and obligations in order to burn out in a night of unconditional passion—if anything, they love each other more … From what we know about love among the Bolshevik revolutionaries, something unique took place there, a new form of amorous couple emerged: a couple living in a permanent state of emergency, totally dedicated to the revolutionary Cause, ready to sacrifice all personal sexual fulfillment to it, even ready to abandon and betray each other if the Revolution demanded it, but simultaneously totally dedicated to each other, enjoying rare moments of extreme intensity together. The lovers’ passion was tolerated, even silently respected, but ignored in the public discourse as something of no concern to others … the radical disjunction between sexual passion and social-revolutionary activity is fully recognized.
— Žižek, L it ET, 109, 114

The above quotes are precisely how to turn a particular fondness for an individual into an event in the field of love. Not necessarily in terms of “revolution,” but in terms of “cause.” A dear friend of mine says: “Revolutions aside, perhaps there always has to be a common Cause for there to be love” (LN).

This is especially true today because, let’s face it, there is no revolution—there will be no revolution. An ecological disaster may force us to change, but hoping for a political revolution is vain. However, if it is possible for The Two to unite, not only in fidelity to one another, but also in a common cause both hold dear, there is hope for a revolution in the field of love. The time is coming when possible future events in this field will be foreclosed by the ever encroaching non-evental necessity of economics; “love” proper will be atomized into commodities such as “gender,” “passion,” “sexuality,” etc.

The questions inevitably arise: what is a cause in terms of love? How does one, or, more precisely, how do The Two identify their common cause? When and how to decide to betray the lover for the sake of the cause?

In the most basic terms, a “cause” is an interest. It could be an interest in nearly anything—what turns it into a cause, and hence into love, is commonality between “The Two.” This interest should NOT be a passion because passion is the desire for total unity with the object, for totalizing the truth, for forcing the truth to appear, which are all sure paths to disaster. It is possible to be passionate but a relationship based on passion alone is doomed.

In order for an event to take place on the horizon of “interest,” the notion of totality must be absent. The field of love must be open and open itself to the possibility of developing into an Event in the order of (mere) Being.

But in what sense are we to understand the term “interest?” One unexpected meaning we may give to the term can be borrowed from the jargon of finance. “Interest” in the sense that The Two invest themselves, their being, in a cause and this investment leads to an “accrual” of commitment and fidelity to the Cause.

Another way to understand the term “interest” is through the syntagm “self-interest.” Because, we know, according to Rimbaud, “Je est un autre,” the interest in “self” is, properly, an interest in the other. This is not meant to give advantage or primacy to the other insofar as s/he is other, but is to recognize that, in love, the other is the self that is loved by the loving subject; this is to be considered the dialectical nature of a truly loving subjectivity and the subjectivity of being loved.

The notion of “conflict” must also be considered along with the term “interest”—that is, “conflict of interest.” Even when an interest is shared between The Two, conflict should be ineluctable. We might call this the “amorous parallax”—when The Two, viewing the same object-interest, see it from mutually exclusive (theoretical) positions, from radically different subjective vantages. This is the point: the possibility for either betrayal or an event is at its most potentially explosive. Only by maintaining fidelity to the Cause above all else will The Two discover where love will lead them. The “lost cause” emerges when The Two choose each other, or one chooses the Cause above the lover.

Identifying a worthy cause is the task of a lifetime. To find another who shares the same interest is a matter of great fortune or determined investigation: both equally difficult. There is no knowing whether the Cause that aligns The Two is worthy of them, no guarantee that truth will emerge from their fidelity to each other or their Cause. All they can do is love and wager and hope that with effort and thought the conflict between their subjectivity will lead to an event, to deeper understanding. If it doesn’t, they will need the strength to realize that their Cause was a simulacrum of truth, and, as such, could only lead to disaster and betrayal. They will not see this as tragic. Instead they will find joy in being proven wrong, getting a chance to start anew, striving to find another Cause. The alternative to this would be to betray the Cause, leave it behind, and find another interest to devote themselves to.

How does one decide to betray the lover in favour of the Cause, or the Cause in favour of the lover? Betraying the closest thing to you is difficult—but betraying what is “in you more than you,” is near impossible. This is how it is: it is difficult to betray the one you love, but it is even more difficult to betray the cause you believe in. There is no easy way to decide which is “correct” because there is no guarantee that the decision to break will produce the effect one desires. All that is possible is to decide, to break from what is believed to be an obstacle to either the fidelity to the Cause or fidelity to the lover, and stick to that decision. This decision should not be easy to make, but it should be effortless to act upon and this is how one can identify the time for betrayal.

I do not speak of “true love,” but of the Truth of love as a field for possible meaning(s), of the site of love as a potential venue for an Event in Being.

on fidelity

“Fidelity should be strictly opposed to zealotry: a zealot’s fanatical attachment to his Cause is nothing but a desperate expression of his uncertainty and doubt, of his lack of trust in the Cause. A subject truly dedicated to his Cause regulates his eternal fidelity by means of incessant betrayals.”
– Z, LatET, n. 9, xiv

militant science

i found out about this mathematician, grigori perelman, a couple of years back and then forgot his name and forgot about him. what i didn’t forget about, however, is the story behind his achievements and its relationship to the procedure to truth in the field of science.

i won’t pretend to understand the significance of perelman’s discovery or its larger implications for mathematicians. the significance of perelman is that he rejected all attempts that were made to compromise him, including a $1 000 000 “prize.” not only did he arrive at truth by solving poincaré’s conjecture but he displayed militant fidelity to the event of his discovery by refusing to be awarded for his achievement.

if pure truth can be attained in the manner of perelman in science, there is hope in the other evental sites for the procedure to truth (art, love, politics).

Jealousy and the Political

The difference between “Politics” proper (the practice of a militant social procedure to truth) and the “political” (indecision due to indeterminacy over a name, a name’s property, or a name’s relation to the Real it represents) is to be inscribed as the difference between knowing one’s “rights” and asserting them. Politicians, as we know, only play at politics in public forums: I call this “play” “the political.” Politics, as we know, is practiced in secret by politicians in rooms behind curtains. Obscenity and scandal are now normal and assert themselves with complete complicity on part of the public: gone are the days when we could charge our leaders with the crime of betrayal – alas! the ballot box is not a guillotine.

There is no need to assert rights when there is individual knowledge of them; when the units operating within a symbolic order are “informed” as to their proper behaviour toward one another – rights are obvious, without being asserted. Of course, economic power relations turn the “obvious” into the obscure; the signs of economic status are ambiguous (as all signs are) – one is never sure what political procedures the Other followed to attain that status. Politics, in this regard, would mean determining whether or not the procedure the other followed was a lawful one according to the status of one’s knowledge of the situation – that is: whether or not the names used in the description of the procedure are the correct ones, whether the properties of the names are correspondences and not merely connections, and whether or not the representation of the name is the one best suited to represent the Real of the situation.

The exact place where jealousy and the political intersect is in the phrase “possession of rights.” Whatever form these supposed “rights” happen to take: human, animal, women’s, men’s, environmental, auto, consumer, employer, employee, “to pleasure, to pain,” etc – the result is the same: assertions. The desire for rights is irreducible but not irremediable: we can change the way we pursue and “act out” certain of our rights, for example: the freedom of speech is better exercised when circulating language (conversation, laughter, meaning, etc.), rather than bringing it to a halt (the internet, for such a refined technology, is filled with shit).

We are so jealous of the rights of others – especially if they have none, in which case we force them to assume the pose of “liberty” – we are forced to act and seem as free as possible. It seems as if the assertion of “rights” (ours or others) is an imperative or injunction that impels us to perform freedom: the political as a process of excess – politics as a process of subtraction. “Political” in the sense of a dramatic ritual, reduced to its bare elements, and reproduced as a code ad infinitum. “Politics:” actions / gestures to be interpreted, not for their dramatic significance but for their validity pertaining to the current situation (which may or may not be the site of an event for politics).

Paradoxically, as mentioned above, it seems for us to be a perverse desire to “liberate” those who are not free – or who do not want to be free. So-called political, medical, social “intervention” is nothing but this perversity. We want to make the slaves like us: into masters who do not know their own desire – except in the performance of the slave, constantly amused but never satisfied. Or the reverse: we are slaves that desire to see the masters’ in chains’ – to see them perform our fantasy. These examples are examples of the “political” at its worst: when the desire of the Other becomes little more than a game of possessive jealousy, to add to the other what they lack (or vice versa) in order to make them the same as us!

The current trend in our political situation, as far as I have observed, is to possess “difference” – as if difference were a thing that actually existed or an object with a clear definition. It is impossible to tell whether something appears different or whether its difference is singular; the decision to judge something in the name of difference is now the criteria of justice. However, difference itself is split: between being condemned to villainy and being a grace beyond reproach. My government (Canada) seems to be bent on promoting “difference for the sake of difference,” rather than pursuing difference as a possible evental site (which is not limited to politics). Asserting difference, not being different.

When there is no knowledge left – just names: this is where politics can emerge, where difference can be itself, and the social can begin to build a system based upon the basic elements of the situation. When knowledge becomes the prerequisite criteria for political representation – when even the signs of knowledge translate directly into political power: this is trying to own the language of the situation, a process of exclusion that, paradoxically, is ready, willing, and able to include any term as long as it’s new or belong to any trajectory of thought as long as it’s trendy. The state of “just names” means that each term must be evaluated by each: its value determined from localized points of view that both belong to and are included in the situation to be altered by the practice of politics proper.