Susan Sontag almost correctly observed that it is in Buddhism that human consciousness reaches its zenith. My admiration for Buddhism arises from its capacity to dissolve the harshness of the world. Reading Nagarjuna turned out to be one of my greatest spiritual exercises. A simple sentence of Nagarjuna that “as long as you are able to distinguish Moksha (salvation) from samsara (world ) you are in samsara”, toppled me over. Schopenhauer found in Buddha what he could not see in Christ; a holy pessimism. Buddhism provides strong edifice to fall apart. Buddha embodies the stillness that ebbs in the deepest corner of the universe.
Tears and smile differentiate Jesus and Buddha. Buddha smiles after the realisation that everything is folly and illusion. Buddha’s advise is to laugh away your wrinkles and pain. Jesus cries after the realisation that nothing is still folly, nothing is still nothing.
Jesus is not as bold as Buddha, Jesus allows some sort of consolations in his either/or, but Buddha burns away the ships of returns. Jesus and Buddha advocate the kingdom of heaven. Jesus would say: search for the kingdom of God and everything will be added to it. Buddha would say: search for the kingdom of God then you would need anything else. here lies the boldness and negation of Buddhism.
But Buddha was afraid of desire, he saw desire as a fire that swallows up everything. And desire is sorrow. If you want to alleviate your pain, root out your desire. It is where Buddha turns me away.
What is the problem with desire?
Desire is the another name of our instinct. When we are destroying our desires we are uprooting our instincts. sure, we need to curb our animal instincts, the instinct to murder and exploit. but if we loose our instincts, we are good for nothing. Buddhism has a strange acrimonisity to self. It believes that self is an enemy of love. But christianity sees differently, love doesn’t destroy the self but restores. Nirvana is a plunge into a selfless ocean. Resurrection is a restoration of your divine self.
You cannot love without yourself. God is not only Agape(selfless love). God is Eros, the love that desires the other self. God sustains the world in sexual love.
According to Alain Badiou, it is this love that desires that puts us in a truth process. In this truth process you become a some-one, a himself who “thus caught up in what attests that he belongs to the truth-process as one of its foundation points is simultaneously himself, nothing other than himself, a multiple singularity recognisable among all others, and in excess of himself, because the uncertain course of fidelity passes through him, transfixes his singular body and inscribes him, from within time, in an instant of eternity”
You can be yourself only by dissolving yourself in love. Alain would say “the manner in which our lover will be entirely ‘himself’ in the sustained testing of his inscription in a subject of love”
When you get yourself out to reach the horizon to involve in an artistic creation or a mathematic solution or in a love, you are becoming some-one in a truth process. It is made possible by your desire. Alain Badiou clarifies the ethical maxim of Jacques Lacan: “do not give up on your desire”. According to Lacan desire is the basic element of unconsciousness. it is what we don’t know of ourselves. so ‘do not give up on your desire means “do not give up on that part of yourself that you do not know” Alain after examining the role of fidelity that is charged by desire spells out his ethic of truth: “Do all that you can to persevere in that which exceeds your perseverance. Persevere in the interruption. Seize in your being that which has seized and broken you”
So, desire is a seizure. Something sizes you, an art, mathematics, poetry or a love and you are in event. You cannot escape from this seizures, because it is what your unconscious thirsts. It is what your desire is.
Desire is not man’s weakness. Lacan Writes with much enthusiasm to fortify us “Desire, what is called desire, suffices to prove that it would make no sense for life to create
Alain Badiou ( born 17 January 1937) is a French philosopher, formerly chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS). Badiou has written about the concepts of being, truth and the subject in a way that, he claims, is neither postmodern nor simply a repetition of modernity.
Lacan, Jacques (1901–81), French psychoanalyst and writer. A notable post-structuralist, he reinterpreted Freudian psychoanalysis, especially the theory of the unconscious, in the light of structural linguistics and anthropology.