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Extra resources for An utterly dark spot : gaze and body in early modern philosophy
In Lacanese, Marianne at that point becomes a subject of lack, a desiring subject. The lover lacks something, yet he does not know what it is that he lacks. Marianne leaves the church "avec un coeur a qui il manquait quelque chose" [with a heart that was lacking something], "et qui ne savait pas ce que c'etait" [and that did not know what it was that it lacked] (64). Upon entering the church, Marianne firmly believed that she knew how to please, what it was that made her attractive in the eyes of the others-in short, she imagined she knew what she possessed, whereas upon leaving she does not know what she lacks.
According to Spinoza, no one can autonomously strive for selfdestruction. For someone to be capable of taking his own life, he must already have been "completely conquered by external causes,,25 and therefore be dead even prior to death. This is borne out by Althusser's fantasy of his own nonexistence: in his own words, Althusser wanted to destroy himself at all costs precisely because he believed he had never existed. 26 It is only retroactively that an individual can be said to have been conquered by external causes; however, there are undoubtedly many others who, dominated by external causes, act self-destructively and yet never commit the act of suicide itself.
In short, she becomes l'aimante, the lover, only when she abandons Ie soin d'etre aimable, the desire to please, to be worthy of love. In Lacanese, Marianne at that point becomes a subject of lack, a desiring subject. The lover lacks something, yet he does not know what it is that he lacks. Marianne leaves the church "avec un coeur a qui il manquait quelque chose" [with a heart that was lacking something], "et qui ne savait pas ce que c'etait" [and that did not know what it was that it lacked] (64).