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Carveth, D.L. (2007). Lust by Michael Eigen; Middletown, ct: Wesleyan University Press, 2006, 118 pp.. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 15(1):194-197.

(2007). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15(1):194-197

Lust by Michael Eigen; Middletown, ct: Wesleyan University Press, 2006, 118 pp.

Review by:
Donald L. Carveth

In his latest book, Eigen offers us a freely associative discourse on the theme of lust. There is no organization into chapters, in fact there is little organization overall, with separate themes and aphorisms being marked only by

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a kind of squiggle. “With all my might,” Eigen writes, “I try to keep things open” (p. 5). While it is true that a closed mind may be an impediment to understanding, might not the same be said of one that is excessively open? In his resistance to what he calls “hallucinated certainty,” Eigen seems to have fallen prey to hallucinated uncertainty: as against singularity, he celebrates multiplicity; against knowing, not knowing; against stasis, flow; against totality, the partial; against plenitude, lack. In other words, against the metaphysics of presence, he embraces, in typical postmodern fashion-thankfully increasingly out of fashion—a metaphysics of absence.

Although generally opposing anything that might threaten to limit the multiplicity of possible meanings, he opens with a definition: “Lust, one of the seven deadly sins, is part of what gives life luster, heightening existence” (p. ix). Allowing that it “can be degrading and part of a will to power, an assertion of dominance,” he argues that lust can also entail “an act of self-affirmation.” He confesses, “Since childhood I've wondered why ‘evil’ is ‘live’ spelled backward,”

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