Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I love you

But wait: this stage of the Two is not a being of the Two, which would suppose three. This stage of the Two is a work, a process. It only exists as a track through the situation, under the supposition that there are Two. The Two is the hypothetical operator, the operator of an aleatory enquiry, of such a work or such a track.

This to-come [ad-venue] of the supposition of a Two is originally evental. The event is the perilous supplement to the situation what we call an encounter. Properly understood, the event-encounter occurs only in the form of its disappearance or eclipse. It is fixed only by a nomination, and this nomination is a declaration, the declaration of love. The name which declares is drawn from the void of the site from which the encounter draws the bit-of-being [per d'etre] of its supplementation.

What is the void invoked here by the declaration of love? It is a void, the unknown [in-su] of the disjunction. The declaration of love puts into circulation in the situation a vocable drawn from the null interval that disjoins the positions man and woman. "I love you," brings together two prouns "I" and "you," that cannot be brought together as soon as they are returned to the disjunction. The declaration nominally fixes the encounter as having for its being the void of the disjunction. The Two who amorously operate is properly the name of the disjunct apprehended in its disjunction.

Love is interminable fidelity to the first nomination. It is a material procedure which reevaluates the totality of experience, traversing the entiire situation bit by bit, according to its connection or its disconnection to the nominal supposition of the Two.

-Badiou, "What is Love?"

[Last night we saw Frida again, though for all the alleged emphasis on period integrity, Julie Taymor apparently preferred a Salma Hayek sans armpit hair. This in particular bothered S. (I liked what she did with Titus, though no amount of Senecan brutality can contest with Campell Scott as Hamlet.) Slowly, in any case, I am trying to make some sense of Badiou.]

So in seeking to leave behind the transcendental third term or superaddressee (nadadresat)––(though perhaps not entirely the 'loophole'?)––Badiou ends up sounding not unlike either Barthes in A Lover's Discourse or Derrida (when he discusses, say, loving "the who" instead of merely "the what" in Amy Kofman's film).

Two irreducible singularities cannot love, yet understood as such they are also the very condition of possibility for 'love,' be this word understood in its strongest, im-possible, perhaps aporetic sense. "I love you" is a declaration crossing an abyss, as if founded on disjunction, as if also a little mad. But mad precisely inasmuch as it remains "dim." Moreover there is a difference between the first declaration and its subsequent repetition. Barthes:
je t'aime/I-love-you

The figure refers not to the declaration of love, to the avowal. But to the repeated utterance of the love cry... Once the first avowal has been made, "I love you" has no meaning whatever; it merely repeats in an enigmatic mode—so blank does it appear—the old message... The situations in which I say I-love-you cannot be classified: I-love-you is irrepressible and unforeseeable... I-love-you belongs neither to the realm of linguistics nor in that of semiology...in the proferring of I-love-you, desire is neither repressed (as in what is uttered) nor recognized (where we did not expect it: as in the uttering itself), but simply: released, as an orgasm. Orgasm is not spoken, but it speaks and it says I-love-you… This formula responds to no ritual; the situations in which I say I-love-you cannot be classified.

I am Crazy.

It frequently occurs to the amorous subject that he is or is going mad... I am mad to be in love. I am not mad to be able to say so; I double my image: insane in my own eyes (I know my delirium), simply unreasonable in the eyes of someone else, to whom I quite sanely describe my madness: conscious of this madness, sustaining a discourse upon it... Love drives me nearly mad, but I not communicate with the supernatural, there is nothing of the sacred within me; my madness, a mere irrationality, is dim, even invisible; besides it is entirely recuperated by the culture: it frightens no one.

After the initial avowal, "I love you" is meaningless. Or rather, it demands and refuses to wait for a certain response, immediate and yet sincere. But what is the nature of this response? A necessary affirmation, each repetition carrying within itself the promise of a double "yes,yes." But also the inadequacy of "I love you too," said with a gentle smile, sometimes almost apologetically, as if the second repetition was never performing quite the same ammount or quality of work, so much as acknowledging a risk, a void; the pretense of co-signature.

David Wills:
If love is to be distinguished from friendship, he maintains that it will be in terms of the question of reciprocity. As a result, "I love you" is spoken into a type of void, performed as a promise or prayer to which one cannot expect an answer. We might therefore imagine it turned around to the extent of being uttered from behind, so that even were one to proffer a response, even a symmetrical "I love you (too)," it would also be spoken into a type of emptiness in front of one.

In my short essay on Joyce I tried to deal only with the word 'yes' as it was...performed, so to speak, in Ulysses; and I tried to show how all the paradoxes which are linked to this question of the 'yes'...this has to do with the fact that deconstruction is a 'yes', is linked, is an affirmation. When I say 'yes' - as you know, 'yes' is the last word in Ulysses - when I say 'yes' to the other in the form of a promise or an agreement or an oath, the 'yes' must be absolutely inaugural. In relation to the theme today, inauguration is a 'yes', I say 'yes' as a starting point, nothing precedes the yes, the yes is the moment of the institution, the origin; it's absolutely originary. But when you say 'yes', if you don't imply that the moment after that you will have to confirm the 'yes' by a second 'yes' - when I say 'yes', I immediately say 'yes, yes' - I commit myself to confirm my commitment in the next second, and tomorrow and after tomorrow and so on, which means that the 'yes' immediately duplicates itself, doubles itself. You cannot say 'yes' without saying 'yes, yes', which implies memory in the promise; I promise to keep the memory of the first yes and when you, in a wedding for instance, in a performative, in a promise, when you say 'yes, I agree, I will' you imply, 'I will say 'I will' tomorrow and I will confirm my promise', otherwise there is no promise. Which means that the 'yes' keeps in advance the memory of its own beginning. That's the way it's a different word. If tomorrow you don't confirm that you have founded today your program you will not have any relation to it.

Tomorrow, perhaps next year, perhaps twenty years from now we will - if today there has been any inauguration; we don't know yet, we don't know, we can't today, where I am speaking... who knows? So 'yes' has to be repeated, and immediately, immediately it implies what I call 'iterability', it implies the repetition of itself. Which is a threat, which is threatening at the same time because the second yes may be simply a parody or a record or mechanical repetition; it may say 'yes, yes' like a parrot, which means that the technical reproduction of the originary 'yes' is from the beginning threatening to the living origin of the 'yes', which means that the 'yes' is hounded by its own ghost, its own mechanical ghost, from the beginning. Which means that the second 'yes' will have to reinaugurate, to reinvent the first one. If tomorrow you don't reinvent today's inauguration... it will have been dead. Every day the inauguration has to be reinvented. So that's one thing.

to be updated...

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