Vertigo, Wanton Sickness, and the Vanishing Fetish

 

My health is failing me. I just had my blood pressure read and that’s when I knew that it dropped to 90/50, which explains a time when I was feeling terribly weak and dizzy that I had to stop teaching – I was in vertigo even just by lying down in bed. Every time I struggle to stand up, I would feel the need to lean on something or to hold on to a railing or that sort. On the other hand, what a nice feeling: I want to fall, naturally. Nothing feels more vulnerable than this. It’s nausea at long last! I am literally almost always in the edge of falling. It would be nice to find myself that way, without me noticing it, when I would just collapse in pallor at some unknown place and disclose another mystery.

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But I am not Scotty in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo associating my condition as mere acrophobia. I have looked into my disposition, did a little research and found out that this is just a precursor to something I have yet to discover by surprise. A threatening illness perhaps resulting from the immense stress of the Real. Even at this very instant when I am writing this, my head is revolving and I have no way whatsoever to describe this except some kind of vertigo that is making unsteady not only myself but the future. For me, it entails an a priori of an apocalypse – a lead from my previous premonitions that I will not live long. If this were a Pokémon skirmish, I would have hurt myself in my confusion, but no: I am enjoying every absurd moment that it provides for me a fruition having the same effect as leftovers. I recover by pinching on this sickness that is now slowly reaching out for its being as an event; it makes me rethink the past about my health conditions: the frequent nosebleeds, fatigue, lightheadedness, irritation, and so on.

What this sickness is, I do not know. And that is the perfect way to live this. The degree of anonymity is high that I want to be caught in surprise. A registered health agent gave some suggestions that seem to render this an easy cure, attributing it to mere anemia (a friend in the medical fields also gave it a second opinion as vertigo), suspending the drama and bringing it closer to a remedial reality. Why the hassle-free prescription? I have found out that this isn’t a sickness, but a disorder. And no, this is not me in hypochondriasis letting my body auto-suggest its 10% influence to me, although such chronic anxiety to personal well-being may be closer to the forms of religious meditation practice I was accustomed for a long time.

This may be bleak, stagnant, and austere. But the inner chaos that this begets is astoundingly lively to my excitement. It might be the spirit of Dionysius intoxicating and making more beautiful the grandeur of what identity-discharging living means. Not only this personal lookout but also the social relationships I have made transference with are being highlighted, a few true people I want to cherish and exempt from my cynicism against human relations in general. The rarity of my contacts with them, keeping Platonism at bay, is enough to extract the essential elements of our friendship. Although it’s not the end yet, moments of fading, drunkenness, and unconscious moving forward is a form of self-medication having complex surprising effects, in which I am getting more and more eager to live out. It’s charming; circumstances are seducing me, flirting as if inviting into something unreasonable, unknown, and much more enigmatic. In this sense, this disorder or pseudo-sickness assumes for me the personal touch of amiable wantonness and I am loving it!

But let me delve on the pertinent cause provoking the autosuggestion. The first premise that needs expounding is that this health disorder has become an event: yes, it turns out that I have perfectly avoided this before by automatically clinging to comfortable places with less stringent activities. And the seminary has for years accommodated me well for that. Now that the lifestyle is taken away from me, the symptoms start to emerge. On an immediate level, this might just be an environment shock but after months outside, it should not be the case anymore. I felt the need to visit home and live there for a while, although even that is still theory and will only be viable for a certain duration of time. On a deeper level, homesickness is profoundly linked to the love commodity-fetish, such that a strong indicator has to point somehow to being love sick – a condition almost irrationally inclined directly resulting from a heart break, a melancholic longing from a past experience of bliss. It can also be a state in which a degree of freedom in a sense of its being able to relieve and express a higher form of liberality is in danger of vanishing totally from one’s life. Something like this might explain the gravity of loss I am facing, which in psychoanalysis can only be articulated through the dichotomy of two different coinages, namely: object of desire versus object a (objet a petit) or object ‘cause’ of desire, the unattainable object of desire.

In order to understand such complex terms, which I cannot fully explain, I would have to utilize examples that in one way or another might shed a light. I however disclaim primarily about the precision of this self-analysis and would highly be flexible whenever an adjustment is necessary. It does not help the argument but I defend by perspectival license, my own honest mistake; so, back to my hypothesis.

The object of desire is what one desires. In ancient formulas, the term is simply happiness, the ethical category defining the end point of action, preceded by repetitive good habits. The ideal phrase would have been the same as contemporary phraseology puts it: the pursuit – yes, a voyage towards something – of happiness. Along the course of this glorious finis, this basic desire in medieval times assumes a fundamental term: love. Love in this regard, specifically the Thomistic understanding of it as one of the passions, is a desire towards something. Something like this would explain the nature of the object of desire; it is a directed end that evokes happiness, but even during this direction, there is already a sustaining element that guides the desire as love. The problem with this schema of course is the misdirection of the apparently good passionate act, given that some passions are illicit and the pursuit of an end is often marred by unethical detours. So in order to sustain this object, a necessary distance has to mediate the desire. The classical scenario would be the mistress as an object of desire: one must keep a distance from time to time in this setting, yet still varied by cultural relativity; for some exceptions are the claims of relational maturity by the French wherein paramours are known and welcomed. The mixture and at the same time the distance – made possible by postmodern feminine division (recall the joke about a wife refusing to give oral sex to her husband and suggesting instead for him to put the sperm in a glass so that she can drink it the next day) – of licit and illicit ways in this setting labels itself as the happiness state; such that, when the wife leaves, the mistress loses her function also and would henceforward render the demolition of the whole state. The properly organized desire-state dividing the object from the desire, the mistress from the real source of the desire as the wife – for there would be no mistress if there is no wife – is not truly a separate case but is an altogether psychoanalytic case. Although presented as a postmodern division (mistress; object > wife; desire), this case in itself as a whole is the object of desire scenario, the fantasy of male chauvinists retaining superficially the mistress as the object of desire but actually the wife also defines the range of the object-desire simulacrum.

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On the other hand, object a is what makes one desire; the cause of desire, the unattainable cause of desire. The object cause of desire functions as a leftover – the counter-nuance as opposite from the leftovers Pokémon item. But this is not just a useless scrap remainder; it is a rather scary one that is excluded but nonetheless is part of the whole. What this further means is that it necessitates itself as the psychoanalytic term fetish, so that when this fragile source of ego, this Achilles’ heel, is targeted, it would be the end of it all. The danger of equating these two is obviously the mistake I am willing to assume here but let me advance the scenario anyway. A husband lost his wife when she died from a terrible illness, a truly horrific case no doubt. The gender element is crucial. It is statistically supported that women who lost their husbands tend to live longer than men who lost their wives. The idea is that women have a strong emotional flexibility than men. But in this case, the husband seems to have prolonged his life despite the drastic experience. When friends ask about this horror, of course he would still narrate it sadly and badly, but every time he does this, the friends noticed that all along, he was playing with a hamster and the hamster was the favorite plaything of his late wife. The hamster was the leftover, the fetish sustaining the essence of the wife, so that when the hamster died, the man collapsed and started to get sick, and so on. Something like this happened in the case of the 2014 film John Wick, a story about a retired renowned assassin who lost her wife. He was at a downfall but not absolutely because the dog that his wife gave kept him going. The dog here assumes the devotional object called the fetish, such that when it was killed, he suddenly reverted into the legendary killer that he was. The dog then was the last leftover of this scenario, but he never knew this consciously; it was the object cause of desire referring to his dead wife, something he can no longer attain. It was the love of his life defining the cause of all desire – when this vanishes, one can well imagine the tremendous end result that will happen: a heartless soul, an apathetic fool, a dead man walking, a person devoid of humanity, a retard allergic to love.

In conclusion then, I attribute my disorder as a disorientation, a vertigo confused of reality, when my fetish is slowly vanishing from me. This anonymity and unconsciousness prevents me from expounding more on the nature and particularity of my fetish but I am quite certain that it is gradually being taken away from me. In this sorry sense which I think is causing my condition, I am love sick; I am in the verge of a terrible transformation that will introduce me to a different person other than what I am. Still ecstatic, yes, but I am also afraid. What I shall become, I do not know. What fetish will I again welcome in my life I cannot be certain. All I know is that maybe, and a lot of what this self-examination close to hypochondria tells me, is that this is only a prelude to something I have yet to embrace as the new cause of living and loving. My health is failing me, literally, but if I emerge well after this, that is, if I survive, then I would surely point this to what Nietzsche says about convalescence in The Twilight of the Idols, “What does not kill me makes me stronger”, or in the mouth of Zarathustra: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star!”.

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