The Perverted Consciousness

  • Andrew N. Leak


Sartre’s theorisation of desire does not permit of a concept of perversion. All sexual attitudes, from algolagnia to zoophilia, are ultimately reducible to variations on the essential aim of sexual desire: the ‘perpetual attempt of an embodied consciousness to come to terms with the existence of others’.1 In L’Etre et le néant this aim is stated to be impossible a priori. In later works such as the Cahiers a glimmer of hope appears on the horizon in the form of a Utopian society where conflict would no longer form the basis of human relations: ‘the element of the same’.2 But the present reality of alienation (economic, ontological, social, and so on) effectively extinguishes this ray of hope. Human relations continue to unfold under the sign of alterity; it is the presence of the Other — original and sempiternal — which ensures that the original purity of desire will be defiled, deviated and perverted.


Patriarchal Society Original Possession Oedipus Complex Primal Scene Freudian Psychoanalysis 
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Copyright information

© Andrew N. Leak 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew N. Leak
    • 1
  1. 1.University CollegeLondonUK

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