Lacan, my Wife, Humanities, and John Lennon, (or “When I Wake Up Early in the Morning”)

JohnLennon (1)John Lennon used to sing:

“Please don’t wake, no don’t shake me, leave me where I am, I am only sleeping”

I always liked this song and, over the years, the reasons why I still do have deeply changed. Like everybody else, I attached emotions, memories, and entire sets of thought to this song (and many others of course). The effect this song has on me today, though, is quite peculiar. I don’t just recollect old memories, but I get once more to experience a specific feeling I used to have around 2005-2006 when I lived in Munich, Germany. I remember this song was part of a playlist I would play in the morning while sipping coffee in my tiny apartment in the east side of the city. I remember there were tons of Beatles songs on that list, especially from Sgt. Pepper and the White Album. “I am only sleeping” does not simply remind me of places, thoughts, objects and people, but, above all, it evokes a state of mind that I felt slowly vanishing over the years.

I was a 27 years old bachelor who was trying to understand what I was supposed to do with almost 15 years (back then) of humanistic education. Yawning, like John Lennon sang, felt like inhaling fresh air loaded with possibilities and unpredictable new events. I had faith that I could have been left alone in bed for a little longer and that the world outside would still be there in an hour or so: the real that, as Lacan, says, is always there and never changes place. Floating in the hair with my imagination, conscious of having something  to say, something that someone would be interested in hearing. After all, I was only sleeping, and waking up was a sort of necessary evil: the call back of time, of the work that was waiting to be done. A work that had to lead somewhere. But where? How would these humanities make me fit into that real that’s always there? In my humanistic education the real always there was the human being (if nothing else) but instead of finding THE human being, when I began working in the humanities I found “only”, so to speak, individuals, and nothing in this epoch makes possible to talk about any essence of being and even if the question of being remains still the relevant one, and the only possible one (at least if we consider the scientific discourse), there is no “humanity” left to debate beyond history, social relations, and alienation. I looked for essence and found vanishing beings; I looked for a significative Other being and found individuals all trapped in their struggle for survival.

That song reminds me of a vague and yet pleasant sense of uncertainty, of a romantic waiting for something great to come. Like Svevo once wrote, “it is easy to believe to be great, but of a latent greatness….” I could yawn along the song, feel the day was after all not so important in itself because something will have to come: the retribution of humanities, if not concrete, is supposed to be, as I was taught, at least spiritual.  The latent greatness that was about to come was, instead, the disillusion that I could pursue humanities by reaming human: there can be no humanism without obliterating the historical human subject, and whatever idea of “human” I had learned was only a chimera: working in the humanities de-humanized me and it distanced me from everything around me, making me believe in the actual existence of a higher speech, of a meaningful discourse to transmit to someone else. I believed for a second I could really become a “mentor” in humanities, but in humanities there are only students and not teachers; only individuals, not “human beings,” not beings but things, relations. There is no messianism in existence. No time to come. That is an old myth that contributed to the chasm of ideology:our feelings will matter in time, and they will receive retribution. Keeping people waiting is the best way to keep them inert: make them feel like a “larger” collective  being until they discover to be only one. One organism doomed to look for happiness within the constraints of the morality of the inexplicable “human being.”

When I stopped looking for that human being which, of course, I also believed to be  -that eternal essence that would make me both the same and diverse regardless of time-  I found my true little big other: my wife, the woman in whose eyes, I cease to be “just” human, and I become something “more than human:” I become the gaze that looks at itself as both becoming and being, as temporal and timeless, definite and yet unformed. She is the “epoché”, the suspension of the trap of the human. Her eyes are the great thing to come: the great event that repeats itself everyday; it is latent and present and makes “being” easy, almost irrelevant.

And “when I wake up early in the morning”, and I still float in my dreams, I see myself finally in the “real” real, the one where nothing is in the same place twice. And when I yawn I don’t breathe possibilities, but certainties: I am an empirical subject, I think, I feel, I fail, I succeed, I regret, I love, and I hate. And I am not ashamed of not being human anymore as everybody taught me I should be. One day I will die and whatever I thought I have understood will be pointless, and that’s why  already now, as the infamous future anterior of Lacan reminds us, I will have been the person who did not understand: the future is now. With you my love, but here and now all that matters is to be certain to feel and live, to grapple on your senses before they vanish into some pre- programmed machine, and it doesn’t really matter If I am human. Doesn’t really matter if you are human either. I don’t care of what “being” I am.

I am something that will have been something the day I die. I know it.  And that’s enough for today.


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