Prelude 11, Antonio Quinet

Kalimeros for 2014

“Radiant Himeros triumphs here, the desire born from the gaze of the waiting bride in bed”, says the Greek chorus.[1] Himeros is the brilliance of “victorious” desire, resolute desire, which makes Antigone the desiring desired. Himeros is the flower of desire that blooms in the field of the drive between two deaths. The heroine that Sophocles created is the paradigm of desire in act and she is the object cause of desire (particularly for Haemon, Creon’s son).

Himeros comes from the Greek verb himeirein, “to desire”. In mythology, Himeros is a god, twin of Eros, both of them present at the birth of Venus, the goddess of beauty. While Eros is the feeling of love, Himeros is sexual desire, properly speaking. Himeros is not desire as lack, aspiration or void of satisfaction, but rather the state of desire, of sexual excitation; desire in its assertiveness, becoming visible in the being-for-sex. Here, it is not about desire with impediments that are a consequence of its articulation with the Law, desire that is unsatisfied, forestalled or impossible, as in neurosis. This is not desire in its roaming, which leaps from object to object and is never satisfied because it is the metonymy of lack. Himeros is desire in its positivity, an assertive desire, desire in act – the foundation of the desire of the analyst.

Beginning with Lacan, psychoanalysis and art allow us to grasp the distinction between desire as lack, equivalent to the minus phi (-φ), and desire caused by the object a. The former is articulated with the law and impossibility; the latter with jouissance and the satisfaction derived from the presence of the object of surplus jouissance [plus-de-jouir]. Himeros is one of the names of desire in its assertiveness.

Beyond demand, here is desire and its real of jouissance: in the scopic field “desire on the side of the Other” [desir à l’Autre],[2] in the vocative field, “desire to the Other” [desir de l’Autre]. The gaze and the voice are the two modes [effaçons][3] whereby the subject vanishes in order to allow desire to shine.

The artist raises musical notes to the dignity of the voice as surplus jouissance [plus-de-jouir] – it is a “surplus voice ” [plus de voix] that makes itself heard. Just as the painter throws on the canvas a “surplus gaze” [plus de regard]. The artist’s act, realised in his resolute desire, puts into the work of art this something “of himself” that hardly belongs to him, that escapes him: the object a. There, the analyst must allow the artist to teach him.

The dawning of the light of day coming out of night’s darkness was a desired light for the Greeks. That is why the word for day is himera, as we have learned from Plato. “Good-day”, “kalimera!”, is literally, “Beautiful day”. Based on this, Lacan proposes a new salutation: “Kalimeros!” – “Good-day and Beautiful desire!”

Kalimeros for 2014!

Translation from Brazilian into French: Elisabete Thamer

Translation from French into English: Susan Schwartz

[1] Translator’s note: In the Penguin Classics translation of Antigone by Robert Fagles, these words are rendered: “Love alone the victor––/warm glance of the bride triumphant, burning with desire!”

[2] Translator’s note: See The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, session of March 11, 1964. In Alan Sheridan’s English translation, “desire à l’Autre” has been translated as “desire on the part of the Other” (p. 115, italics in the original).

[3] Translator’s note: “Effaçon” is a neologism created by Lacan. It suggests both “effacer”, to erase, and “façon”, a style, a way of behaving. See “Radiophonie”, Autres Écrits, pp. 427 and 434.