and again… precisely.
what does conversation with the divine sound like? (perhaps it isn’t sounding?) Amy Hollywood, in Sensible Ecstasy, paints the picture of the painters of 13th century hagiography as voyeurs, theological peeping toms: men looking for the proof of god in a woman’s body.
…i may be wrong, but isn’t that what men are always up to?
but the question is not what men are up to, but what women are up for… who they are up for and what they are up against.
what am i talking about?
moving from bataille to lacan (though frankly i think bataille could have sat this one out) and from Christina the Asthonishing to Luce Irigaray, is it too much to say that Hollywood is brilliantly working a philo-theological Love Connection? Or is it more precisely, Hollywood Squares? It was a hokey show, but the grid was nice – 3 boxes across by three boxes down. What if we mixed the two game shows? Then we could plant Beauvoir in the upper right of our tic-tac-toe grid and quiz her. Just guessing, but it seems safe to say that her ideal date would be with God, I mean with man… what I am trying to say is it would be with the ideal(ized) man.
“When in the Second Sex Beauvoir argues that women attempt to justify their existences through an other, whether human or divine, she echoes these accounts of her own early adolescent experience (found in When Things of the Spirit Comes First as well as in Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter). In her autobiographical writings the movement is from love of God to love of man; in the Second Sex, she reverses this trajectory: ‘Love has been assigned to woman as her supreme vocation, and when she directs it toward a man, she seeks God in him; if circumstances deny her human love, if she is disappointed or demanding, it is in God himself that she will choose to adore the divinity’ (DS II 582; SS 743) In both forms of experience, women attempt to justify their existence through another. ” Hollywood, Amy. Sensible Ecstasy, p. 127
Back to our game grid, just to Beauvoir’s right, in the top row on center, we might find Saint Theresa of Avila whose writings are the intellectual sign of subjectivity beyond body, beyond sex. Saint Theresa and Beauvoir might meet up in human society, in their engagement with the world. Clearly Theresa’s ideal lover would be the object outside herself – be it God, or, as it would be for Beauvoir, project.
“According to Beauvoir, what marks Teresa off from other mystics is that the divine supports her in projects that go beyond the self and involve active engagement with the world and other beings in the world.” Hollywood, p. 134
To the right of Saint Theresa of Avila, Hollywood has already placed Jacques Lacan. Focusing on Seminar 20: Encore where Lacan articulates the fallibility of the signifier and introduces the concept of signifiance Hollywood’s Sensible Ecstasy tells the story of a breakup so divisive it is (de)foundational, not only for language, but for bodies as well. We now know this story as the tale of metaphysics’ impossibility, and also as the impossibility of masculine (phallic) wholeness and/or meaning. It is hard to pair Lacan with anyone on the Love connection. Not only does he theorize the unbridgeable gap between men and women, he refuses to partner with those who try.
Take Irigaray for example. Or don’t. Hollywood points out that the argument over Irigaray’s essentialism is largely based on a misreading (albeit one she invites via other problematics) of her textual injunction to create a feminine divine with stories, vocabulary and sociality strong enough to overcome the phallic slide and insight desire via mutual recognition. Lacan will hear nothing of it.
We’ll have to leave an X over his square. Or would a hollow O be more appropriate?
For tonight, the rest of these grid assignments and XOXO’s will have to wait until I am more awake.
“Beauvoir insists that this divine person is male. Whereas in a pathological case of erotomania, a woman explains that ‘each time I seek God, I find a man” (DS II 584, SS 745). the mystic sees God both in men and in their absence” Hollywood, Amy. Sensible Ecstasy, p 127
“Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Ernest Hemingway