[-empyre-] Re: love, sacrifice, and the eternal return

Owen J. Ware owen.ware at utoronto.ca
Sun Oct 19 01:09:17 EST 2008

It may be that love discourse runs both ways.  The 'I' of the other is  
called into question in being addressed second-personally.  That might  
explain why love speech is often unwanted.  Saying "I love you"  
threatens the position of the speaker by making him or her vulnerable  
as an "I", but it also renders the other's "I" vulnerable.  In other  
words, love speech seems to carry the force of a double threat, a  
double sacrifice.

Quoting Yvonne Martinsson <yvonne at freewheelin.nu>:

> Owen et al,
> Love and sacrifice are intimately intertwined throughout history. Or
> should we say surrender rather? But, what is sacrificed or what is
> surrendered to?
> In a Lover's Disourse Barthes says he wants to say 'I love you' in
> Spanish - te quiero -  because the subject is dropped in Spanish
> syntax. And even more preferably, he would like a language that drops
> the object as well. The subject - object sacrificed, excluded,
> eradicated, the word 'love' becomes affirmative. In love 'I' don't
> exist - which is very contrary to contemporary culture of taking
> control, getting in charge etc that situates us in the violence of
> language, control issues and so forth.
> Barthes also says he wants the lover to be a 'mute object'.
> Interestingly enough he calls the lover an object here in the
> discourse of love. A case in point for the 'tyranny of language'? As
> soon as language returns, we fall into its violence, and the violence
> and hence the I need to be sacrificed, if we want to surrender to the
> affirmative  'love' [you].
> Yvonne
> ====================================================
> http://freewheelin.nu
> ====================================================
> 13 okt 2008 kl. 03.00 skrev empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au:
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>> Today's Topics:
>>   1. Re: love, sacrifice and the eternal return (Nicholas Ruiz III)
>> Från: Nicholas Ruiz III <editor at intertheory.org>
>> Datum: söndag 12 okt 2008 15.34.13 GMT+02:00
>> Till: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>> Ämne: Re: [-empyre-] love, sacrifice and the eternal return
>> Svara till: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>> hmmm...a possibly interesting relation,
>> perhaps...love, sacrifice and the eternal return? i
>> suppose that depends upon how one renders such a
>> concept as the eternal return, no?  Whose eternal
>> return are you referring to...there are many...?
>> --- "Owen J. Ware" <owen.ware at utoronto.ca> 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?
>>>> NRIII
>>>>> 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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