Thursday, May 3, 2012

AMPLIFICATION

He came into being parthenogenetically. Almost, it seemed, he was brought to existence, by me, through a leap of faith. When i first glimpsed him, i experienced vertiginous  intimations  of transcendence because he seemed to embody a self i yearned towards helplessly but never seemed to attain. My conscience validated his existence because my awareness of right and wrong seemed contained in him. The possibilities he offered made his corporeality seem a superfluous integument. Fusillades of ecstasy would ricochet of me when i anticipated the prospect of our togetherness.

Yet, embedded within my paean to him was a sense of lack. By seeing him thus, larger than life made the shrivelling of my puny self grow ,in inverse proportion. My votive offerings of obeisance made me realize how impossible commingling with him would be. I would be loath to label what i felt for him as 'love' though certainly it was love of a kind. It was more that he was an extension of my self conception, at once distant yet close. Which is why spasms of inadequacy assailed me when i encountered him, an inward tumult assailed me. I felt what i was mingling, coalescing with what he was so that, by imperceptible degrees, i became him. Yet this metamorphosis was never satisfying, never wholesome because i felt all my instincts and desires contradicting my process of becoming.

He seemed to offer me a passport to navigate the labyrinthine world. He legitimized my stake in things. He seemed, as i've said, ideal and the ideal is always universal. So my communion with him guarenteed me a smooth passage. His worldview was singularly attractive and he gave a heady sense of my own power. Never had someone i loved, through the process of identification, affirmed me, ennobled me thus. But i felt myself, shrinking inwardly as though the topography we traversed was one of his own making, his own construction and my complicit acquiescence to his perspective a negation of what i may likely have stood for.

He showed me the extent of my power by demonstrating how it could be wielded unabashedly before others. I could penetrate every nook, peregrinate any crevice, run through any orifice without any ramifications. I soon realized that the people over whom i lorded were necessary to me. Solitary proclamations of self worth are meaningless. One needs an audience, an interlocutor. One also needs a prism through which a sense of oneself is funneled. Yet much as i sluiced myself with the machinations of power i felt alienated. Remember, as i said i was living a self i had adopted by an imaginative leap. Who i might be was indeterminate but for once i desired to act in accordance with what i really wanted. I was both an instrument and a victim of the power i held. Because, in order to ratify existence, on worldly terms, a process of self abnegation was essential and also when it comes to a choice one would rather have than not have.

The love i had felt for him,which had arisen out of his difference from me and the suspension of being it wrought in me, soon turned to hate. And not hate for who he was because he was oppressive. It was, rather self hatred. I wanted to become the crevice i penetrated, i wanted to be loved as i had loved, without artifice. I wanted crenellations of my physiognomy lovingly explored. I wanted my flesh dappled with touch, striated with desire, streaked with kisses and studded with moments of love. I wanted to be that on which i had perpetrated my baroque fantasies as a man of power and yet i wanted the terms of negotiation that had defined those contracts of flesh completely reversed. I wanted to insinuate a possibility where my kind of being could exist. It was essentially a battle between the identity i donned and the identity i felt corresponded to my being. And since the identity i put on was something assumed and adopted, my belief in the immutability of he whom i loved vanished. It was time to actualize in potentia desires. Now that the process of disillusion set in, hope for change grew gradually.

I may never know myself but i would like the relief of knowing that the image is never the reality, the image is made a reality and only the unveiling of the image as an image would unravel the process of self determination. That, to me, spelt change.


Monday, April 30, 2012

MIRRORING-A LACANIAN REREADING OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Psychoanalytic theory opens up new inroads to reconstitute through the psyche realities that are intrinsically embedded and alternate realities that dwell subterraneously, reconfiguring and interrogating the ontological assumptions of normative reality. When the unconscious, naturally prized as some kind of primordial reconnection is itself revealed to be a cultural byproduct then the ways in which an uncertain identity, operating within the interstices of culture and alterity becomes a site where proliferative substitutions are enacted.

Judith Butler conflates Lacanian notion of the phallus and his piece on mirror image by showing that the mirror image, wherein a disaggregated body , through the specular image, sees the image in the mirror by its ego ideal and by identifying its dominant functioning with a body part, consolidates its identity. While the phallus functions as a signifier which signifies through the imaginary the symbolic by reifying its partisan assumptions. A certain heterosexist presumption of sexual and social reality naturalizes and unfurls from these postulations which feminists question. Thus the mirror  image concretizes a sense of being while the phallus legitimizes its ideological underpinning through the law.

Now this perspective of a homosexuals placement within this framework is purely imaginary but hopefully grounded on lacanian presuppositions and is based on personal experience. When a homosexual would see the mirror image he would naturally undergo a process of depersonalization because the ego ideal, which is the heterosexual matrix would be rendered ambivalent by his propensity towards a realm which is unoccupiable and resides as the ;other'. Through a process of melancholy this desire could be sublimated and repressed and a putative heterosexist orientation could be established. Conversely the heterosexist position's hegemony could be challenged from within as being a naturalized construction than a teleological reality. Moreover to be a homosexual would mean to undergo a symbolic castration because the notion of a stable, incontrovertible phallus would be imperiled. Therefore to be a homosexual would, if extrapolated, imply, both 'having'the phallus and 'being' the phallus. Because its heterosexuality would be underscored by its possession of a phallus, itself a suspect term while being the phallus would imply its necessity as a space through which normativity defines itself by categorizing it as alien and other.

If sex is looked at and placed within this framework., the phallus as a signifier would be seen as an incontestable site of pleasure and power. But consider the various other bodily parts which function within homosexual discourse as sites of pleasure. This effectively undermines the phallus as an unquestioned signifier and resignifies and reconstitutes sites of pleasure as fluid and kinetic. The reality of homosexuality dwells underground, within the heterosexual matrix, intimating possibilities of rupture and revealing the catachresis of heteronormativity and its synechdochality as fundamentally flawed.

The mirror thus becomes not only a space that demonstrates the homosexuals distance from himself but also subversively, transgressively, insinuates the possibility of questioning implicit ideas of normal. Perhaps that process of depersonalization is necessary on two counts. Firstly it creates opportunities for counter discourse that disrupt hegemony of singular representation. Secondly, the idea of a monolithic identity gets revealed as a misnomer, as something constructed. Rather identity becomes kinetic, existing laterally and inhabiting different temporal and spatial zones.

Homosexuality's analysis, as i've done through Lacan's mirror image shows that the body before the ego ideal, prior to its crystallization into a patriarchal discourse gets transmuted into the mirror where the ego ideal is revealed as indistinct and its very constitutiveness contains nascent seeds of its generative nature,exposing  the repressions it induces. To live in a postmodern world is to be divested of any pre given conditions of creating identity. This void is ennobling because it makes of experience a palimpsest where the hieroglyphics of who and what we are undergo reconfigurations. We are in a constant state of becoming from moment to moment and if at all we posit a being it can only be done by navigating through dialectically with becoming.