Note on Desire

Desire as it is now often described is the cosmological principle of our secular age. It is our natura naturans: it moves the stars in their courses, plumps the hazel shells, causes tumesence in mammalian sexual organs and, thanks to its inexhaustible capacity for displacement and sublimation, is the vitalising agent in art, science, religion, business, economics, politics and international relations. Under earlier metaphysical dispensations, desire had many names: it was eros and agape; it was love, lust, appetite, gluttony, cupidity, concupiscence, covetousness, ambition; it was need, wish, urge, impulse; it was hankering, longing, yearning, yen. The names of desire changed as its objects changed, and desires directed towards objects of a suprapersonal or supraterrestrial kind were distinguished by a special nomenclature from mere instinctual agitations. Nowadays this untidy multitude of forces is often perceived as a single force, and the welter of names is often casually condensed into a single name.

Malcolm Bowie, “Freud, Proust and Lacan: theory as fiction”

A book seen, which was not mine, but which I’ll need to get my own copy of. Intriguing title but this — from its introduction — sold it to me.

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