ONTOLOGY OF DESIRE
In Plato’s Symposium a story is told, of a time when every human being was originally an androgynous creature: a spherical figure with two heads, four arms, four legs and two sex organs. These human beings radiated an extraordinary power, so much so that they could aspire to climb the Olympus to dethrone the gods. Zeus, pushed by an increasing worry, decided to split all the androgynes in two to weaken their impetus and to tame their restlessness. Since then, human beings desperately wander in search of a lost half.
It’s the birth of Eros, ancient and primigenial force, that drives the desire through the attempt to mend a separation. The myth, in fact, identifies in the relationship with the Other the vital impulse that obliges each of us to restore a lost unity. It’s a pulsive magnet through which the Inner Self opens up to the world and the flesh confesses what went missing. Under such spell, the desire builds a combinative art made of recompositions that goes beyond identity, gender, orientation, preferences, practices, tastes. A proliferation of joints that disarticulate the subjectivities in the name of a burning magma that inflames existence.
The flow of incandescent desire goes through the extension and the vibration of interconnecting bodies. Bodies that turn on reserves of “erotic power” (A. Lorde) meant as joyfully liberating and transformative energy. Contrary to what has been handed down by a certain Judaic-Christian metaphysical tradition, aimed at separating the soul from the body, the latter cannot be seen as an accidental shell opposing the true essence of our subjectivities. The depth of human beings lies in their palpable flesh, in their skin. Existence is corporeal exhibition. It is Sexistence (J.L. Nancy). Interiority always unfolds through a sexed body. Psyche unintentionally offers itself extended on a tactile surface. On this hungry, eager, bewildered and never saturated skin, Eros has built its temple.
The clothes we wear perfectly stick to our skin, and more, they are its extension somehow. It is the skin we decide to live in: a sheer, material, haptic membrane, that has the power to define who we want to be. It is an identity artefact, but also an epidermic prosthesis that catapults us in the erotic game of life. Wearing a garment means to multiply our sensitive potential. It means to glorify our exhibiting essence. This is when the clothes transform the temple of Eros into a huge boudoir shook by the telluric force of desire. The rustle of clothing flings the doors open on the mysterious theater of the attraction.
Our erotic relationship with the world overwhelms everything: artefacts, dreams, clothes. Knowledge itself becomes an object of desire. As a matter of fact, the etymological roots of philosophy (φιλεῖν/phileîn meaning “to love” and σοφία/sophía meaning “wisdom”) reveal a loving investment in what we want to know. So the books of Freud, Nancy and Butler describe the universe of desire, and more, they become objects of attraction themselves. As a consequence, words transfigure into an amorous lexicon. Wisdom offers itself as an erotic body to know and smell. The epistemic subject becomes an insatiable lover. Even words are clothes that we decide to wear, after all. Clothes that tie again mind and body in an erotic weaving that connects us to the flesh of the world.