[-empyre-] love and sacrifice

Christina McPhee christina at christinamcphee.net
Wed Oct 8 03:59:55 EST 2008

> s the logic of sacrifice bound up with eternal return?

maybe but Love isn't.  Because She proliferates (ie not just a closed  

On Oct 6, 2008, at 5:21 PM, Owen J. Ware wrote:

> Nicholas,
> Let me try to address your first question about the 'superfecundity'  
> of love.  There's something of a paradox here.  On the one hand,  
> there is what we might call the 'tyranny of love' as a force of  
> speech or signification that, as you put it, 'assaults' us from  
> every direction.  This is the threat I see Barthes struggling with:  
> the threat of love becoming cliches.  For Barthe, love-cliches are a  
> symptom of a deeper exclusion, perhaps the exclusion of an excess  
> that animates love and its discourse.  The other half of the puzzle  
> is that it doesn't seem there is anything else to love than its  
> repetition.  So the force of repetition in love, the condition of  
> possibility for love becoming banal, common-place, dead, is also the  
> condition of possibility for its life and affirmation.
> In my article, this is what I identify as the "Nietzschean" quality  
> of love discourse.  For Barthes, it is the fact that "I love you"  
> must also somehow mean "Let us begin again."  It must always be the  
> affirmation of a repetition--not, however, the repetition of the  
> same, but the repetition of the different.  This, then, would mean  
> that love (as a discourse) has no 'content', unless we want to  
> define that content in terms of an eternal return.  Perhaps this  
> connects to your other questions.  Is the logic of sacrifice bound  
> up with eternal return?
> -Owen.
> Quoting Nicholas Ruiz III <editor at intertheory.org>:
>> The signs of love are ubiquitous...we are assaulted by
>> 'love'...it's superfecundity...perhaps this, alone, is
>> its content?  Or else, we might ask, why hasn't it
>> already disappeared, like, some might say, God?
>> The love of exclusion by sacrifice, a sort of
>> scapegoating, can be traced at least as far back as
>> the ideology of ancient near east...via the scapegoat
>> sacrifice, where the love or desire for a certain
>> outcome is ensured by sending an animal off to its
>> destruction, or of course, more directly, by bleeding
>> an animal or human sacrifice.
>> Considering some theses that posit 'love' as tainted
>> with exclusivity of a religious variety (e.g. Girard's
>> 'Violence and the Sacred,' Bataille's 'The Cruel
>> Practice of Art' or Nirenberg's 'The Politics of Love
>> and its Enemies' Critical Inquiry, V.33, No.3, 2007)
>> that is, love generates enemies by exclusion; the
>> loved excludes the unloved...we might ask: does love
>> render solely an aporetic circumstance of human
>> existence?
>>> forwarded by our guest contributor, Owen Ware:
>>> "Once a discourse is thus driven by its own momentum
>>> into the backwater of the 'unreal', exiled from all
>>> gregarity, it has no recourse but to become the
>>> site,
>>> however exiguous, of an affirmation."
>>> - Roland Barthes, A Lover?s Discourse
>>> Thirty years after Barthes wrote these words, we
>>> must
>>> ask: Can theory carry out this task of affirmation
>>> today?  What conceptual resources are now available
>>> to
>>> bring love and its discourse back from exile?
>>> The resources are multiple: we can speak of the
>>> experience of love (phenomenology), its performative
>>> forces (speech-act theory), its tensions in ethics
>>> and
>>> politics (feminism, Marxism, deconstruction).
>>> But how do these resources become a site of
>>> affirmation?  That is the question - and perhaps the
>>> task - of thinking through the various
>>> meanings, practices, and performances of love.
>>> _______________________________________________
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Christina McPhee

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Department of Film and Digital Media
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