‘das Ding [the Thing] is at the center only in the sense that it is excluded. That is to say, in reality das Ding has to be posited as exterior […] something strange to me, although it is at the heart of me’ (Lacan, Ethics 71)
This chapter returns to ground already covered in Chapter 3, the pastourelle and the chanson, but from a different angle. In Chapter 3, an exploration of desire led inevitably to questions about the representation and operation of space and time in the songs. Here, it is hoped, an explicit exploration of those spatio-temporal issues may lead to a fuller understanding of masculine desire.
The stated demand of the masculine subject of trouvère song has two aspects which aim in different directions. In the high mode he looks upwards to la dame, who stands in place of the Thing and defers fulfilment. In the low mode, with a lust which he insists is not a desperate matter, he looks downwards to the shepherdess, an unsouled object, who can slake his lust but is not important in herself. She can, and indeed must, be replaced – a disposable item.
These two aspects do not divide him, as a woman is divided in the system, into separate entities. It is she who must divide in order for man to remain one. The system presents him as the same entity, whole and undivided, in spite of the generic division of his sexual cravings.