Desire is the Desire of the Other – Lacan
Love your neighbour as yourself – Jesus
Imagine a cupcake sitting on a table in front of you. The cream topped pastry tempts and haunts you with its delectable experience. Its voice beckons you: consume me. eat me, whole. in that moment the cupcake became your other. now, the other is that which has the ability [and most of the time does] tells you what you think, how you live, how you interpret reality, relationships and even more importantly – tells you What to desire. essentially what are met with is Lacan’s notion that as humans we don’t naturally know how to desire, but rather are told to desire. for Lacan, speech itself is an after-effect of desire. why do we speak? to be known. to express identity. to express wants and needs. to be acknowledged. when we meet the other, in this case, the cupcake, we want to consume it because it has what we want. the cupcake is somehow inhibiting me from enjoy it, hence why I must consume it. It is the promise of self-satisfaction that draws me to it.
another point about the neighbour (the other) i want to make is that when we spend so much energy on the neighbour we create a drastic objective distinction between me and the other. we make the neigbour objective and ourselves subjective [to them]. In a simple sense, ‘heroizing’ them, and imposing a self-fulfilled prophecy upon them, meaning i expect certain things about them to be true of them, and if for some reason they dont fulfill those roles or expectations then i myself become disillusioned and lose faith/hope in the person or even the process that we hoped would change them.i force my fantasy and interpretation upon them. is this not the vulgarity of the notion of salvation? claiming that people ‘need/must’ utter certain words, get baptised and join a community (ultimately, what we’re saying is that they need to become just like us).
but this is in error for many reasons, one major one being that this behaviour and mode of being towards the other has nothing to do with the other, but rather to do with the fact that we dont love ourselves well. mostly, because we have learned to define ourselves by the same vulgar gesture we have come to define the neighbour as – as a commodity. as an object that only has worth if it is tradeable in an economic system; in theis case, the economic system is now referred to as: relationships. and so what we then do is create a system where people only have value based on how they meet our needs and make us happy and/or make us feel whole. and the main issue with this is that we must learn to love ourselves without objects or identification with anything, rather define ourselves minus ‘things’/likes/objects (i.e., job, marriage, children, and etc.) and learn to love the very essence of who we are….when we are capable of this, we then become capable of loving the other.
the problem with loving our neighbour is that we have imposed our need for the neighbour to be just like us, thereby negating the neighbour because we forget that its familiarity is our own. [because we have imposed our understanding and interpretations upon the other] We don’t know our neighbour and the problem is we Think we do. the only way out of such a deadlock is to love our neighbour as our enemy. our enemy is someone we cant consume and who quite easily frustrates us because they don’t fulfill us or promise satisfaction. and yet we are challenged to love them. and so the way to love our neighbour [this includes people we think we ‘know’; family, wives, children, friends, bosses, and etc.] is to love them AS the enemy; as someone who cant be tamed by our desire to consume or to assume.
to truly love your neighbour is an offensive act, because it could cost you your very life, your very identity, to find ourselves in the other is where love and neighbour rest together comfortably. but not the kind of love projected on a movie screen, but the violent kind of love that is more like suicide [is that not the sacrificial nature of unconditional love known in the greek as agape?], imagine a society built on agape, if it were so, as a social mechanism, if i died to myself and you died to yourself and so on, things like poverty wouldnt need to be an issue.