|So She Unfolds
by Josefina Ayerza
n the being that speaks, the cause of his desire is strictly equivalent, in what concerns its structure, to its fold, so to say, that is to what I called his division of subject...1
This is how I would say it to someone in the street: Situate two points in space; they allow for a line, right? These points have no dimension, but the line itself has one... now this line cuts a surface; the surface has two dimensions... but the surface cuts space, and this space has three... Take the two original points, wring them, join them together... Now you are left with a One, and a ring... And this is how Lacan nailed jouissance, mystical jouissance... there, where three fold into One.
That's how I would say it to you in the street, but this is how I am going to write it down here:
The line, from point a to b, has infinite points. The points are indefinitely close together, the logic is diffuse. Not the classical bivalent logic where there is an identity principle and an excluded third one, terms convey a meaning not identical to themselves - a man being a bit of a woman and a woman a bit of a man - there isn't one sex and an other, but only one, and the contrivance of the other sex.
With mystics it is the "Other jouissance" to sustain the jouissance of the One that is God, to the point of "her" becoming One in that jouissance. "And why not interpret a face of the Other, the face of God, as the support of feminine jouissance?"2
"It pleased the Lord that I should see the following... an angel in bodily form... his face so aflame that he appeared to be one the highest types of angel who seem to be all afire."3
Between the enraptured angel and Teresa de Avila as carved by Bernini in white marble, mutual passion nevertheless embraces an Other. Let us say of the vision of this Other, provided it entails a threefold jouissance, that it enclothes the contorted bodies, flickers in the pleats, conveys levitation.
Calling to mind the Trinity, the Holy Ghost - or the angel - is the phallus. Mystics take in the mediating phallus while subtracting it from the relation Father - Son; and this brings forth a "jouissance that goes beyond the phallus":4 the Other jouissance (of the Woman), as well as the jouissance of the Other (God).
"In his hands I saw a long golden spear and at the end of the golden tip I seemed to see a point of fire. With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times so that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew it out, I thought he was drawing them out with it..."
The purpose of the phallic spear, being not to pour something into the saint's body but rather to draw something out, it creates a hole therein, and a mark.
"The pain was so sharp that it made me utter several moans; and so excessive was the sweetness caused me by this intense pain that the soul won't be content with anything less than God. It is not bodily pain, but spiritual, though the body has a share in it - indeed a great share."
Something happens, but she does not know what it is. Absent from herself, giving up control, she lets herself go, but to something Other than a real man. If the body has a share in it, it is by virtue of the angel, on whose account the body hooks up.
"So sweet are the colloquies of love that pass between the soul and God..."
Colloquial love between the soul and God no longer discerns as a unifying experience. Bestowed with an additional jouissance, woman is not-all says Lacan, and in this sense she unfolds, should she want to be the angel - a phallus - an empty word - the mark.
1 Jacques Lacan, Seminar XX, Encore, 1972-1973.