Legible Desires & the Other

OMG. This week is kicking my ass, and I'm super tired. Be that as it may. I'm still reading (at this point, it is re-reading, again and again) The Invention of the Partner by Jacques-Alain Miller. I have thoughts. I don't know if they will make sense outside of my brain, but here they are:



Miller talks about three different things, which he says are not the same thing:

  1. Desire
  2. Jouissance (Drive)
  3. Love  

Desire is NOT instinct: I wrote about this here.

Now, onward.

Desire is shared:

Miller also reminds us that, unlike instinct which happens no matter what, desire is not something that happens in isolation; it involves something outside of the subject, something Other than the subject.

[D]esire is not only mine. The instinct is. It is supposed to be inscribed in my nature, to function automatically. But this is not the case of desire. Desire depends on the circumstances, on the situation and most of all on the Other to whom it is addressed.

I think about how desire is impacted by an Other and how the Other responds to our desire. Does the Other...

  • Encourage our desire?
  • Match our desire?
  • Forbid our desire?
  • Make fun of our desire?

The list could go on, but you get the point. Desire happens when we interact with others or the world outside of ourselves and discover that there is something outside of ourselves that we want but don't have.

Our desire plays find & seek with the object in the Other.

Desire Can be Recognized; it is Legible:  

Miller also says that we can recognize desire in ourselves and other people. We can say, "I desire you!" or "I can see you desire him/her." Desire is visible and even legible. As Joan Copjec reminds us, we can read our desire and the desire of others.

We address our desire to the Other. The Other receives our desire and responds to it with its desire. Then we read the desire of the Other, which is a response to our desire, so on and so forth.

Desire makes an interesting loop: I sense that you desire, that I desire, that you desire, that I desire.  

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