Miller on Desire v. Drive

I wrote a bit about this earlier, and today I'm going to return to the short text The Invention of the Partner, Jacques-Alain Miller.

What I want to look at this time is the difference between desire and drive.

Desire is not an instinct because the instinct knows, even if this knowledge remains opaque. The instinct says silently always the same thing, it is constant. Desire, on the contrary, does not know, is always linked to another question, is itself a question: what do I truly desire? Is it my true desire? Is my desire a good or a bad one, is it harmful, is it forbidden? Is what I believe to be my desire not an illusion? And this question about desire can lead to perplexity, to immobilisation. Therefore, desire does not know. ... [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.

The way I read this: Desire is an opener, it is what leads to more desire, more questions, more living.

To desire something we have to lack it. If we have what we desire we can't desire it! Desire is always aimed at what is out of our grasp. To live is to experience desire, lack, to experience not having something but wanting to have it.

Drive is something that leads to death, an end, a cessation of desire.

This idea gives credence to the idea that all drive is death drive.

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