Desire and the Parrhesiac


What is a true desire? It is a phrase I have spent years scoffing. Full of theory and education. Full of knowing postmodernity and sophisticated detachment. If you practice being clever long enough you might convince yourself and few others who don’t notice, being too busy convincing themselves of the same thing. Sardonic smiling and quotation. What is a true desire? And a monologue of truth, production, simulation, spectacle…etc.

Its simple and its lived. Its immediate. Experienced. Forget clever words. Reason has nothing to do with it. It is not marked by yearning or craving. It is not addiction. Obsession is something else. True desire doesn’t come as desire. Or it might begin that way. Authentic desires present themselves like facts. The sun is hot. The sea is wet. But with none of the banality. True desires present themselves as facts without history. True desires come only in one form: the certainty of necessity.

Can we deny them when they come? Its impossible. A true desire can’t be denied. It can be acted for. It can be risked. There is no win or lose because win or lose is secondary…mathematics has no bearing on it. What is authenticity; another laughed at and distrusted term. I should know, being among those who has laughed and turned away. Authenticity is simple. Its undeniable. It is standing with one’s substance. It is knowing.

A question. Like all questions it is a trick. When one knows, when one desires, is it right to ignore that? Our culture is full of “just do it”…”if you know what you want then go for it”…and is that a lie? Or is it that consumer culture has to exploit truths of our composition? I think its the latter.

I know. I desire. I am standing with my substance. There are no consequences to be feared. Either way one is standing within the essence.

All of this can be condensed into an aphorism:

Where one has a true desire one has no right not to act for it. To deny a true desire is to deny one’s own substance. With knowledge one is committed to true action and true speech.


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