Little Purring Heart

The Reverse Principle

In another place[1] I have described the many ways in which anthropomorphism relates to a desire to be owned by the other. In a conversation with my good friend Jacques, a great French philosopher, he summed it up neatly, thus (and I present this conversation here in its un-edited form, as recorded by Olga Broom in her video documentary: ‘J-’.):

TT (for this is I): Jacqui, What does it mean to reverse, really?

J: You mean in a car?

TT: No, in general, in a sense of going backwards, as in with cats, as we were discussing when we spoke about Freud and his pleasure principle?

Clink of glasses, I remember it had been a wonderful evening enhanced by some particularly fine Chablis.

J: Tomasz, how can you do this to me, with your un-specificity, your question … what are you asking of me? To reverse?

TT: But in relation to Freud?

J: To return to Freud … you could go read some Lacan.

Laughter, for several minutes, sporadic, clink of glasses, some attempts to regain equilibrium, silence, splutters.

TT: But seriously Jacqui, what do we mean when we talk of reversing.

J: Let me take you back …

More laughter, clink of glasses, sighs on both sides.

J: When I look at my cat I think what on earth is going on? Tonight, with this wine, and this video camera on my face, and with you Tomasz my friend, I ask myself when I stare at little Porcelina and I wonder what would it be to go back to before you caught my eye, cat, and to remember how I was then, before I had you in mind … and I realise I can see in these thoughts only myself. So when I wonder at my cat … I find only myself … A cat takes me back, a return to myself, before a cat. My cat. Porcelina.’

[1] ‘Beyond The Reverse Principle’, 2010.


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