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LIBIDINAL ECONOMY AND THE LIFE OF LOGOS by Gene Fendt ?rule of judgement between heterogeneous genres of discourse is lacking in general."1 Therefore every litigation between persons is a différend waiting to happen. So, too, is every agreement between persons. For there can be no agreement in general where the rule in general is lacking. Agreements, then, are happy accidents; disagreements unhappy necessities, and diat in one of two ways. The disagreement is eitiier a litigation, what Frater Taciturnus calls a misunderstanding2 —in which a rule for coming to agreement is available, or a différend—in which a rule for coming to agreement is not available. It being the case that every happy accident and every misunderstanding is an accidental agreement in phrasal regimen or genre, and so subsumable under a general rule, we should not be deceived into thinking that any two people (or any larger group) can form a more permanent union. A permanent union in the face of the différend requires either the rule of force (which attempts to sacrifice the other) or the rule of love (which gives itselfup) . One may choose as one's place and manner of deatii either the battlefield ofwar or the hill of crucifixion. There are no other possible deaths. Politics, which depends in die last analysis on force, has war as its generic mode of proceeding: die aim of politics is to make the other die for one's own desires. Let us call religion that general mode of proceeding which gives itself up. That various religions praise, encourage, or demand war proves something about the religion, but is nothing to the idea. Religiously speaking, a happy accident is a blessing, a litigation or Philosophy and Literature, © 1994, 18: 320-325 Gene Fendt321 misunderstanding is a trial, a différend is a crucifixion. And as a rule in general is lacking, crucifixion underlies every blessing and trial. Politically speaking, a happy accident is a capital gain, a litigation or misunderstanding is a tax, and a différend is war. And as a rule in general is lacking, war underlies every capital gain and tax. Politics is the pursuit of war by other means. There is the economy of voluntary loss, and the economy of permanently attempted gain. The one economy loses itself, the second loses the otiier; the one economy loses the world, die other may gain it. Ifloss of one's soul is the cost ofwinning the whole world, one's soul must be understood as the other; tiiat is the cost of doing business in the economy of permanendy attempted gain—the political economy. Desire is, then, always at another's expense. Therefore celibacy is enjoined. Marriage is allowed, and permanent, because within its confines desire is forced to recognize itself and either destroy the other or sacrifice itself. A marriage is either a battleground or a Golgotha. In either case it may be largely peaceful, but that is an accident. The libidinal economy, like capital, is essentially multinational, one without a confinium, and in this way it is not forced to come to terms with its destruction of the other, since it moves immediately to anotiier market.3 It is, in fact, already diere. It is already outside the market it has profited in; it will remain in that market only so long as the capital gains are lightly taxed. It will stay under heavy taxation only if the profits are sufficient or there are no other feasible and available markets. A peasant woman witii only passing looks is advised to "sell while you can, you are not for all markets" (AYL). Wealth, as Cephalus admits, allows an old person to stay in the market longer. In sexual desire every woman or every man is an entire market for the libidinal economy ofevery other. The question is always what profit at what tax? The profits and taxes are also always libidinal; diere is no special tax for "immorality," it isjust that some markets may close to you for such reasons. To marry under a libidinal economy is to attempt a long term contract under favorable terms. There is no such thing, for the...


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