A Sophism of
On Love as Comedy
to the Logic of
In Lacan's seminar L'angoisse one finds the following, rather peculiar statement:
Only love-sublimation makes it possible for jouissance to condescend to desire.1What is peculiar about this statement, of course, is the link it establishes between love as sublimation and the movement of condescending or descending. It is well known that Lacan's canonic definition of sublimation from The Ethics of Psychoanalysis implies precisely the opposite movement, that of ascension (that sublimation raises, or elevates, an object to the dignity of the Thing, Freudian das Ding).2 In this last definition, sublimation is identified with the act of "producing" the Thing in its very transcendence, inaccessibility, as well as in its horrifying and/or inhuman aspect (e.g. the status of the Lady in courtly love, which is, as Lacan puts it, the status of an "inhuman partner"). Yet, as concerns this particular sublimation that is called love - which is thus opposed to courtly love as worshiping of a sublime object - Lacan states that it makes it possible for jouissance to condescend to desire, and that it "humanizes jouissance."3
1. Lacan, Jacques, Le séminaire, Livre X: L'angoisse, March 13th 1963, unpublished.
2. Lacan, J., The Seminar, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960, New York: Norton, 1992.
3. Lacan, J., Le séminaire, Livre X.
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