The uncertainties of desire.

Brief texts on strategy and seduction

ECIG, Genova 2005 (pp. 3-320)

desiderio.jpg What do we look for in our objects of desire? An attractive, undivided object, a new victim for the god Eros? Or rather an object which can split itself, can go beyond itself to become something new and reach new heights in its own flexibility? And what is the seducer’s flexibility?

Being incapable of stopping at one single object , the need to do justice, as Molière’s Don Giovanni says, to every desirable woman? We have to see, then, whether our fickle fidelity is bound to transform itself into a lie or deceit, or whether the seducer aims to find the truth: the truth of another being. Here seduction, unlike from the traditional view, is seen as the process by means of which a subject empties himself of his own Ego in or-der to reflect upon another subject: a perfect, narcissistic image, an ideal which is fleeting but at the same time potentially the desire for an unknown identity.

Strategic art, art of extremes, seduction leaves deep wounds that do not heal and perhaps should not be healed: since “tender-footed” Eros is the god of the impossible and of the void. This most flexible of gods makes even necessity become flexible: he forces it to wander through the mazes of time, he splits it up. In a way, that is even crueller than when Zeus split up the androgynes, he condemns it to the uncertainties of its own identity.


PART ONE: Lessons on Don Giovanni (Autumn 2004)

Logic above all else. From Empedocles to Plato’s “Symposium”

  1. 'De la logique avant toute chose' – The conflict in logic between Eros and Thanatos – The great fallacy of Separative thought – The most flexible opposites, correlatives
  2. Correlatives as a structure of ambivalence – No conflict with contradicters – Empedocles’ model
  3. The place of seduction in the field of desire – Certainties (Werther, pornography) and uncertainties – Spiritually determined sensuality
  4. Kierkegaard: “The idea of the seducer is completely lacking in Greekness” – Ancient and modern volubiliy
  5. The “Symposium”: a Platonic dialogue on Flexibility – Our nature is split – Eros απαλ?ς (delicate) and flexible (υγρ?ς) – Flexibility is not vagueness nor multiplicity – Metaphors and the object atopos – Socrates and Silenus’ statue
  6. Modal identity of Eros – Non–coincidence – αγαλμα in Agaton’s speech – The marriage between Poros and Aporia – μεταξ?
  7. The rise towards good: Eros συνεργ?ς – The resemblances between Silenus and Marsia – Socrates the skinner of identity
  8. An attempt at seduction – The relationships between tragic and comic (apples and half apples)
  9. Alcibiades’ delay – Platonism and agonism

The myth of Don Giovanni

  1. The role of the Statue – Guilt and punishment – Seduction that is not to be found
  2. Don Giovanni’s self portrait in Molière – A subject who empties himself of his own Ego – Dissonance
  3. The structural elements of the myth – Mozart/ Da Ponte – Don Giovanni’s names – The servant as a parodical double
  4. The identity of the hero – Psychology of the masses and analysis of the seducer – Lacan: two types of identification – The love for all women
  5. A man with no Ego – Zelig therapy – Identification through the mirror – "le dèpit alarma mes désirs": Don Giovanni and his rivals – Girard attacks Freud – A new reading of schema L (cfr. Lacan )– The multiplication and division of desire
  6. The Modal identity of character – Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness – Don Giovanni’s failures – The Statue

Kierkegaard, 1 and 3

  1. Beyond reality – Not the ideal, but the possible – A purely aesthetic sentence – The breath of the zephyrs
  2. Strategy – Flexible rules, not laws – The error of numerical conception – A rule of strategy includes necessity – “Damned chance!”
  3. Error is always possible (seduction is not a rite) – Experiments with reality – Comical situations, engagements
  4. The seducer’s bow – “All men are boring” – Flexibility of the spirit
  5. Energetism, pornography, n–sexes – Regression of the multiple to becoming an undivided subject
  6. Ariadne’s thread – Strategic rules are not arbitrary – Firstness and Thirdness
  7. Maze, modal categories, truth, cruelty
  8. Extreme identification
  9. Aporia in seduction: avoidable? – The house of Asterion

A note on Baudrillard

  1. “Everything is seduction, everything is not seduction” – The great enemy, reality
  2. Verifiable metaphysics: four criteria
  3. Baudrillard’s logic – The conjunctive regime without strategy – Seduction is held to be senseless

PART TWO: Texts on literature and on the cinema (1983–2004)

Military problems in “La Recherche du temps perdu” ( In search of lost time) (1983)

  1. Doncières
  2. Two types of love
  3. The rival
  4. Frictions
  5. Theory and criticism

Don José the mouse man. About Godard’s Prénom Carmen (1985)

  1. The clinic of the outside world – A neurotic falls in love with Carmen – Ambivalence: adoration / destruction

Decision and misadventure. Rohmer’s Contes moraux (1988)

  1. Mental tales – The elected one, the seductress
  2. Don Giovanni is indecisive – Three ways of running away – Temptation and rule
  3. “She is the one who desires me” – The man on the street
  4. Volubilità in morality
  5. The great decision – Claire’s knee
  6. Ethics with no content

Ethics and strategy in Racine’s Fedra (1997)

  1. Meanings of “tragic” – The flexibility of the genre as a field of virtuality
  2. Tragedy and conflicts of reason – Ethical device and strategy – Ethics absolve the law
  3. Théramène’s tales – Resemblances between law and chaos – Removing the ethical from the tragic

“No plot, no snare”. Isabel Archer’s error (1998)

  1. Ideology, history, nature
  2. Ethical device and knowledge device
  3. Addiction and lack

Kubrick versus Eros. On Eyes wide shut (2000)

  1. Psychoanalysis
  2. From Vienna to New York: reality and likeness
  3. Since no sexual relationship exists
  4. "Puer" and "senex": the individual and the pack
  5. The third term, the Phallus
  6. Double unconscious
  7. Kubrick and Kleist

Borges. “La muerte y la brújula” and the confutation of time (unpublished)

  1. Distinctions
  2. Confusion and the confusive
  3. Maze of the fourth type
  4. Rise in the possible and fall into the effectual
  5. Confutation of time. From Zeno to the garden of Epicurus
  6. Divided time

The seductions of nothingness (2004)

  1. The body and its double, its mask
  2. Style and appearance stylemes – Denying what you are not
  3. Dressing to confuse men
  4. One of Hawthorne’s tales (The Minister’s Black Veil) – Salome’s veil

IN THE MARGIN: The garter (1995)

Legend and truth about porte–jarretelles – Ornament and artifice – The garter as pole star – Fullness, void – Strip–tease theory – Perversions and parodies.


Index of the main concepts

Index of the names


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