EROTICISM OF TRACE
This book belongs to my "desertic" cycle. Its key concepts, eroticism and trace, are derived from the poetics of the void. Similarly as it happens in my reading of Nietzsche's Unter Töchtern der Wüste (included in the volume The Desert. Essays on Emptiness), eroticism is taken here as a sphere without meaning (or, like in the Nietzschean text, without philosophy). To anticipate the conclusion, the meaninglessness of the eroticism and its power of "emptying the object" opens its surprising and paradoxical validity as a mystical path.
This story starts with a presence of a footprint in the sand, and the concomitant absence of Su'ad, in the famous qasidah al-burda by Ka'b ibn Zuhayr. The complex game of meanings in this short fragment (only the lyrical introduction to the qasidah is analyzed) establishes a paradoxical temporality: "belatedness of anticipation". Su'ad, a ever-changing female figure, the very image of incertitude and instability, gives a false promise, similar to those of 'Urqub, who, having promised the fruits of his palm tree, kept claiming they were not ripe yet - till it was too late.
The interplay of "not yet" and "too late" abolishes the momentaneous present of fulfillment. What emerges is a double negativity of emptiness and trace, a footprint without a foot.
The subject of this negative eroticism is kept in bondage by the emptiness - in love with a footprint, expectant of a false promise.
Is Lo ferm voler, the famous sextain by Arnaut Daniel, actually erotic? The mystery of trobar clus is beyond any definite and persuasive interpretation. Agamben quotes it all of a sudden in the middle of his seminar on Paul as an example illustrating the introduction of rime into the Christian poetry. I let myself inspire by the general direction of his arguments: rime introduces a certain basic pattern of temporality, that might reflect his messianic concept of Paul. I reinterpret it at the light of Banat Su'ad, as reflecting the abolishing move of "not yet" and "too late" that establishes the Desert of eroticism. Who knows, maybe at a certain stage this path will cross the messianic reading, flowing new light on the striking cross-section of eroticism and mysticism.
The hypothesis that the licentious poetry of Abu Nuwas may contain a hidden mystical core is not new. My perspective concentrates once again on the temporal aspect: the momentaneous, the ecstatic present that opens a paradoxical dimension.
The conclusions of this work, as I suggested, should put in the limelight the paradox of the coincidence of eroticism and mysticism. I'm very far from the Freudian hypothesis of sublimation. I would rather like to see a very specific line of reflection on time in which the momentaneous appears as an approximation to eternity. What did Kafka say? That the Messiah comes on the morrow of his coming? I feel it might be a transcription in positive terms of the double negation of Su'ad - hard to render in English, but clear in any Romance language: elle n'est pas encore, elle n'est plus.
This temporal loop might be seen as a structure of a fallacious promise, of a Messiah who had never meant to come. Yet I suppose there is more than this in this centuries long reflection on absence, withdrawal, footprints without a foot. It is all about the indicative character of the divine.