To avoid that dreaded categorization of "mediocre woman," I find myself compelled (I wish I could say by some inertia completely exterior to myself, but I know for a fact that that is altogether untrue) to endeavor an elucidation upon the ambiguously symbolic title of my log... Ego Nego. Why, hello there!

"Ego Nego," as I understand it, is a term that refers generally to artistic creation. Specifically, I believe, it refers to Joyce's aesthetic notion, as it is presented in the first chapter of Stephen Hero and Portrait of the Artist, that the artistic ego postures delusions of grandeur, righteousness, and elitism. While he may be offensive in posturing such delusions of righteousness and "ownership," the artist's ego does redeem him or herself (or Stephen's self, in the case of Joyce) by being unable, ultimately, to resist giving away all that he has been given, or has created, himself... be it translated into the form of art, words, or music.

Thus you have the ego, or the "spendthrift," who selfishly believes in his own capacities and individuality as something important. And thus you also have the nego, or "saint," who, in nurturing what is important in his character or talent, ultimately seeks to create, and in doing so, can't help but give everything of himself away. We needn't get carried away and extend the metaphor to "martyrdom," and, albeit the hegemonic Christianity of the reference, I think the point still holds.

If we break down the notion of the "spendthrift saint" into the two basic parts of "Saint" and "Spendthrift," I can't help but notice that it is almost like an addition equation of Lacanian and Miltonian notions of artistic creation. Rabaté talks about Lacan's sinthomme-- the ascetic saint who is able to "own, condense, and redeem the essential value of the world by excluding himself from it." Stuart Curran has written much on John Milton's Economy of Sin-"pernicious casuistry," or "felix culpa"-- Adam and Eve's "happy fall" from Paradise-- that fall from grace that established mankind's vulnerability to Sin and Death, while simultaneously offering man the opportunity to work, to create, to show the true extent of his capacity and dedication to God. Even Joyce's atheistic equation of negation can't escape it- religion and God, in literature, as the ultimate, emblematic signified and signifiers of artistic creation. At least Joyce, in his own ironic syllogism, sets Milton's piety in equilibrium to Lacan's perversion: Spendthrift=saint.

Spendthrift saint. Sinthomme. Cycles of creation and negation. Cycles of Sainthood. Cycles of Sin. Economic Cycles. Perhaps you can imagine the question that finds itself, at this moment, inevitably, on the tip of my tongue... how is it possible that Lacan, Milton, and Joyce forget about the most important cycle of all?

OK... I lost myself in that argument. I won't even pretend like I'm going to go back to it later to untangle those woven threads. "Oh, what tangled webs we weave/ When first we practice to deceive." (Sidenote: I've found this quote to be oftentimes mistakenly attributed to Shakespeare, when it was in fact written by good ol Sir Walter Scott.)

Oh well, what do I expect when I write at 12:30 on a Saturday night but a plateful of lameness. Lame is the new early, as someone nondescript once said.


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