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
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…
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.
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.
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…).
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.
leaving us still and always in an eternal present at the mercy of a desire as
merciless as it is infinite.
(Face to face
with a real eternity at last: something about which we can know absolutely
Copyright, Peter Nesteruk, 2010