Oh! So You Call That Jouissance, Do You?

Van der Ouderaa, Jouissance Spirituelle
Van der Ouderaa, Jouissance Spirituelle

Well! If you want to call that jouissance – don't let me stop you...If you consider this to be jouissance, you must be the master of your own definitions, you must define your own terms. After all, who am I to define terms for you? If you say your cup overfloweth, who am I to say it is not yet filled to the brim? Perhaps I am standing at the wrong angle to see it, and there is a riot of desire, pleasure, and abundance just out of my view –  

Not at all! Not at all! Not at all! And by no means! And far be it from me, you know – far be it from me, very far indeed. If you tell me something is Rabelaisian, it is Rabelaisian. What do I know about Rabelais? Only what you tell me.

Well! Well, well! And well, well again! If this is what you call élan vital, all I can say say is good luck to you and to your élan both! What can I do but wish you more of the same? You tell me you are breaking through barriers! Is it then your fault if I cannot see them? Ah bah! The shortcoming is my own, who fails to see what is real to you! By all means – sparks and fluids, the stuff of life, magnets and animals, tides and forces, that sort of thing, wheels within wheels. If this is what you call the limitless...! But why not?

Call it riot! Call it lawlessness! Call it the festival of misrule, if you like; I had thought a festival of misrule would look a little less charming, a little less sedate, a little less safe; I was wrong, that is all. I suppose that little bit over there, that is meant to be the green world pouring in...? Ah. I thought it might have been. Well, there it is.

Creeping in, I would say – but I have no business saying anything. There is the green world, here is your riot, this is your jouissance, nothing could be clearer. Here we are! Here we are! And here we are – ha hah!

Advance and retreat, destroy and rebuild, here they all are, the little pleasures, the little unseen pleasures that draw us in and send us scuttling back, the fantasies of the body, the passing through, as you say. May it serve you well, is all I can say! If this is all you've been able to dredge up to serve as jouissance, I wish you nothing but the best, and the very best of luck to you.

It's very nicely done, very nicely framed, you should be very proud of yourself, you are very proud of yourself, and of course it's all here, not a thing missing, everything as it ought to be, just so. The joy which disturbs and upends all things – this is what it looks like – just as you say. Well. Well! Call it whatever you like, says I. Why not jouissance? If the cup is small, the surplus arrives all the sooner. Bonne chance! Bon vivant! Laissez les bons temps rouler! ...If you call that rolling, of course. And why shouldn't you!