chapter  1
As you desire me
Pages 17

I am looking for the face I had . . . What exactly are we looking for? Yeats hints that it is the face I had before the world was made, that is, the face of a person who has not yet had to be an exteriority to itself (i.e. who has not yet assumed the position of observer to itself ). It is the face of the `I' who has not yet had to be separate and had to depend on the other's look. It is the face unblemished by reality, by what we have to bear in ourselves, and with others, as we develop. It is also, he says, the face I had ± not just past, lost, but also that the self once possessed. Indeed what has to be relinquished ± what is lost ± and what we all keep trying to recreate, more or less compulsively, is the omnipotent state of mind in which one believes one is what one has (e.g. I have a small nose and hence I am `good'/lovable) (Lemoine-Luccioni 1983), and in which what one has, is of one's own creation, that is, we are the artist and the canvas. This excess of narcissism conceals from us what actually de®nes us: an insuf®ciency, a lack. It is a state of mind that is inimical to the vicissitudes of desire, and therefore to relating with others because, in its more extreme form, its hallmark is the delusion that the other does not exist.