Patina of Desire V
Infinite (while we live). Desire. A patina laid over life itself. Finite. As we know but cannot imagine. So also configured through eternity. Imaginary correlate of the eternal present (infinite extrapolation of our self-presence). Most cogently when this, the founding illusion of our existence, is augmented by passion, by the force of desire. Or, in another context, our life long dependency on ritual repetition and its concomitant tides of intensity, individual or communal, evincing ritual force. What they hold in common? At their extreme limit of feeling. In their extreme delirium. An experiential, so visceral, would-be denial of time. When the thought of an end(ing) becomes unbearable… We want it to go on forever and the thought of anything else is anathema.
‘All joy seeks deepest eternity’ – and the greater the joy, the greater the denial of time, of temporality.
Does the intensity of experience always imply eternity? Is (human) intensity always configured in eternity? Does our grand illusion of the eternal present automatically lead us to eternity as the proper correlate of desire, of bliss, of pleasure in all its forms? (And what of mourning… what is proper to a mourning where the ‘it’ is the acuteness of loss that is eternal… and unwanted! Truly we have found here the human origin of the hell of the immortals, palace of pain, place of ‘eternal’ damnation…).
Is human desire always configured, experienced as eternity, even more so than the eternal present usually implies (and from which we extrapolate the ‘larger’ concept, but better ‘rhetoric,’ of Eternity). Most especially -although perhaps not exclusively- in the young where love, desire, passion (and this very lack of differentiation is the very sign of youth) is all consuming and so is felt to be eternal in implication – its ending, its death, like death itself, literally unimaginable to the one in the midst of that experience; life itself as desire. One desire (as arguably all life is but desire writ large, guiding our intentionality as long as our life persists… our period of desire, which we hypostasize, ‘Desire’). But this general covering, or patina of desire at its furthermost stretch, whose ghostly fingers touch all, is not our concern: rather than the nagging of a background reminder of something we had (almost) forgotten, like an itch or an occasional twinge of the appetite. Rather the focus is upon desire in focus; aim marked, and ourselves manacled to it. Maimed, in the sense of physically altered. An intensity such that it (is as if it) marries the self with the other for eternity, intersects with the arc of the sacred, realigns the constellations in a once and forever. This intensity punching through to the outside of time, a hole in everyday time (as in the fantasies of utopian messianism) and into eternity (or so we feel) depositing us, leaving us awash in a time outside of our normal time, as past and future vanish, evermore distant; receding horizons, retreating before the onslaught of the selfish present, bearing all before it, a tidal wave of desire, spray from the fountain of the eternal present blinding us to all other temporalities… The fields of our experience wet with the overflowing of a river, the flooding of the plain, meadows awash with the sun eternal in its glinting upon their waters. Bright waters. Washing away all; all memories of previous love(r)s, lives, learning; before us only the present moment, the present desire, the present passion…
The blessing of present passion.
Or so it seems to the young. To the older, the memory of such remains, the memory of many such (but here brute number, mere quality, is diluting instead of augmenting). So even the (surprisingly) intense repetition of the experience is a kind of denial of its uniqueness; rather an (unwelcome) reminder of its ubiquity (we have had it ((at least)) once before and so are prepared for it). So we should know better; the experience we have passed through is, after-all, one that was… unforgettable. But still the desire for a desire that will wash away all (desire)… A desire verging on the religious, as all other experience is cleansed in a (fundamentalist) orgy of active forgetting. Acid carnival where all memories are rendered pale by comparison, washed into black and white, then bleached quite away. A whiter shade of pale. Beyond the pale.
Reason, ghost at the feast; wielder of memories disinterred, catalyst for the return of Memory, of time, and so of a future that may be otherwise…
Even with reason… With reason we try to forget, our past (our reason, our reasons…) as we wish to return to that naïve lostness, the loss of self in passion – which, if we remember correctly, at the time seemed so debilitating, and so… well… silly. As well as so damn painful – not least when it all went wrong: and the mode of eternity called heaven, went and flipped into the one known as hell… eternal loss, and discomfort, the fires no longer fuelling bliss, but mental torture and (as it seemed at the time) eternal anguish… Tempered by reason; nevertheless we prefer to be lost to all reason. Tempered by reason (by our memories, our adulthood) we know that the game is finite – and that lastingness implies effort. Without which all will anyway just fizzle out… (as an all-sacrificing passion becomes a tepid bath of yesterday’s emotions, the damp left-over embers of a lost fire… a glow that can only remind, further paled by ((and yet further paling)) the memory of what once was…).
An infinity of desire pining itself to a finite object, pinning away after a finite object; seems too much to ask. After all, an eternity of being lost in another only lasts so long. The infinite nature of our desire takes care of that.
And actually the finite object is never just a finite object; rather (for us - and this is the only relation that counts, and it must never cease counting, whilst we live)… it too is infinite. As it lives only though our desire, so it too is reformed and renewed with each replenishment of desire itself, eternally returning (whilst we desire it) a facility next to desire (and so an object renewable as in ritual, cure for the entropy of all fixed relations, but also an object rather more easily exchanged for another then we would care to admit…).
And so faithfulness is irrelevant when we are inhabiting eternity with (only one) another: and no longer apposite when we have returned to the pluralism of everyday temporality with its point of comparison in the past, and its ‘what if’ and ‘then again’ of the future. Infinity replacing eternity in its aspect of restless desire. The rattle of our life-force that rocks the cradle of our would-be sojourn in eternity.
Finally leaving us still and always in an eternal present at the mercy of a desire as merciless as it is infinite.
Before finally leaving us.
Still and always.
(Face to face with a real eternity at last: something about which we can know absolutely nothing).
Copyright, Peter Nesteruk, 2010