Zizek’s definition of an obsessional neurotic (himself included) is someone whose object of desire is the other’s desire.
So I do recall a very intimate moment in which a friend told me that he had been drawn into the eyes of a woman, he had seen in her a great beauty which was not an obvious one, a woman who I later grew to love. The object of my desire there was his desire.
But isn’t there then a form of eternal regression? The object of his desire was the other’s desire? So what was he was desiring?
Zizek also uses this as a way of discussing jealousy – that my desire is the desire of what the other has.
Object ‘a’: what you see of yourself (you) in the other’s gaze. The example he gives is of the young woman who sees in the desire of the man something that she had not seen in herself before. So I am aware often that I am looking at women with desire, a sort of scrutiny of desire. I wonder often what it is that these woman, these young woman and me a now much older man, what it is that they think when they see me? As a young man I tried to hide my desire in open social circumstance. Now I wonder what it is that is seen? Is it that I am showing to the women (in all cases both of desire and of its lack/both of women and of men) what it is that are as well as what they think they are? Isn’t that disgusting? That I teach that this person is an object of my desire or an object of my lack of desire and that they are that as well as an autonomous desiring being? But then the latter is not something that I would hold as possible, there can be no autonomy without total oblivion, that is ignorance of meaning.