The Masochism Tango

Apart from its physical expression, and if you start trying to make sense of it, the phenomena of sadism and masochism present a fascinating psychological mystery, especially for creatures whose nature is so greatly revealed by the pleasure-seeking principle of hedonism.

To derive pleasure out of conditions such as pain, humiliation, loss and longing, or to want to inflict these on others seems absurd and morbid when taken at face value...

Of course, that judgment might reveal more about me than about sadism or masochism, since being a man who does not quite understand these phenomena in any visceral sense I jump to conclude that it must be based on some insecurity. But I could be wrong...

In any case, I think we can all agree that the song below is hilarious :)


Listening to this hilarious song got me thinking about Jean Paul Sartre's analysis of masochism in his Being and Nothingness. Here are some essential excerpts if you feel curious (the full treatment can be found in chapter three of part three):
Conflict is the original meaning of being-for-others. If we start with the first revelation of the Other as a look, we must recognize that we experience our inapprehensible being-for-others in the form of a possession. I am possessed by the Other... The Other holds a secret-- the secret of what I am. He makes me be and thereby he possesses me, and this possession is nothing other than the consciousness of possessing me... Thus the project of recovering myself is fundamentally a project of absorbing the Other... The lover does not desire to possess the beloved as one possesses a thing; he demands a special type of appropriation. He wants to possess a freedom as freedom... He wants to be loved by a freedom but demands that this freedom as freedom should no longer be free... If love has for its ideal the appropriation of the Other qua Other (i.e., as a subjectivity which is looking at an object) this ideal can be projected only in terms of my encounter with the Other-as-subject, not with the Other-as-object... Masochism, like sadism, is the assumption of guilt. I am guilty due to the vary fact that I am an object, I am guilty toward the Other, for I furnish him with the occasion of being guilty--that is, of radically missing my freedom as such. Masochism is the attempt not to fascinate the Other by means of my objectivity but to cause myself to be fascinated by my objectivity-for-others; that is, to cause myself to be constituted as an object by the Other in such a way that I non-thetically apprehend my subjectivity as a nothing in the presence of the in-itself which I represent to the Other's eyes... But masochism is and must itself be a failure... Masochism is a perpetual effort to annihilate the subject's subjectivity by causing it to be assimilated by the Other; this effort is accompanied by the exhausting and delicious consciousness of failure so that finally it is the failure itself which the subject ultimately seeks as his principal goal.
You've got to admire a man who can talk about love and relationships as based on conflict, objectification and appropriation and still be a hit with the ladies :)
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