Friday, January 04, 2008

Excessive Religion, Part 9: The Temporal Structure

Part 8

Recap of Part 8: What is the relationship between knowledge and non-knowledge, sacred time and secular time?

Part of the answer involves the difference between Lacanian jouissance and the Bataillian accursed share. Jouissance is rooted in the interplay of the registers of the subject. It is an aspect of the libidinal economy of the subject. The accursed share, however, is not limited to the economy of the subject. The accursed share is a movement in the general economy of the entire globe. The movement to non-knowledge, to the experience of radical excess, is to have access to that economy. Jouissance is a local phenomena; the forms of excess like the festival and war are global phenomena, and the moment of non-knowledge is an attempt to tap into the global economy rather than to enjoy a experience of the subject.

So the temporal structure is thus. Non-knowledge cannot be produced by knowledge; discursive reason and projects will never themselves produce excess. It is the subject’s experience of metonymic desire that pushes them into the future, chasing after object a. The moment of non-knowledge, unlike jouissance, is not a direct effect of a certain moment in the libidinal economy. What a relationship to one’s desire offers is fertile ground for such a moment to appear.

Bataille says that “in common conditions, time is annulled.” However, if we emphasize the “metonymic” time of desire? Projects and discursive reason put off life until “later,” which is an empty future in which one will only find more projects and more reason. Striving for an object cause, however, requires one to live their life in a current state, anticipating and working for a particular, contingent future. Life is not dramatized by the endless calculating of projects and discursive reason. Rather, it is dramatized by the grasping, charging, abandoned movement of desire. Bataille says that only reason can tear down what reason has built up - but the movement of desire which is active in “common conditions” underlies projects. Desire itself is neither a project nor reason, and thus it is desire that offers the ability to undo what reason has built up.

This is not entirely true for faith, however. The pleasure and enjoyment experienced by the faithful is rooted in the fantasmic belief that desire will be fulfilled in the future; the enjoyment received in dancing before one’s God is that of arousing the enjoyment of the barred Other. God must have several confusing characteristics for this fantasy to function. He must be a present to hand being, one among others. He must also occupy both a position in the imaginary register as object a and a position in the symbolic as Autre. The relationship to this object relies on a rejection of lack in the Other. Faith relies on a symbolic realm without lack. Faith has a powerful object cause and thus offer a powerful way to dramatize, but it relies on the impossible expectation of fulfilled desire.

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