She is or ceaselessly becomes the place of the other who cannot separate himself from it. Without her knowing or willing it, she is then threatened because of what she lacks: a ‘proper’ place. She would have to re-envelop herself with herself, and do so at least twice: as a woman and as a mother. Which would presuppose a change in the world economy of space-time…
Who or what the other is, I never know. But the other who is forever unknowable is the one who differs from me sexually. This feeling of surprise, astonishment, and wonder in the face of the unknowable ought to be return to its locus: that of sexual difference… Sometimes a space for wonder is left to works of art. But it is never found to reside in this locus: between man and woman. Into this place came attraction, greed, possession, consummation, disgust, and so on. But not that wonder which beholds what it sees always as if for the first time, never taking hold of the other as its object. It does not try to seize, possess, or reduce this object, but leaves it subjective, still free…
A sexual or carnal ethics would require that both angel and body be found together. This is a world that must be constructed or reconstructed. A genesis of love between the sexes has yet to come about in all dimensions, from the smallest to the greatest, from the most intimate to the most political. A world that must be created or re-created so that man and woman may once again or at last live together, meet, and sometimes inhabit the same place…
How can we mark this limit of a place, of place in general, if not through sexual difference? But, in order for an ethics of sexual difference to come into being we must constitute a possible place for each sex, body, and flesh to inhabit.”
Fluorescent lights. Plastic cups with pointed bottoms dangle from the water machine. A Top 40 hit blasts, the kind that could never be background music. It demands your full attention, consumes all senses, and shuffles all thought. There’s a flat-screen TV on the wall, but thankfully it’s off. Magazines stacked between me and other patients. Psychology Today. Frankie. LivingNow. Better Homes and Gardens. Tightly woven grey carpet. Neon flyers that read “On relationships,” “Let’s talk about drinking,” “Anger management,” and “Building emotional resilience.” A hand sanitizer pump next to the scented tissues. The soft sound of fingers on a keyboard underneath the still-blaring tune. All of it contributing to a heavy static in the air.
What if widespread dwindling mental health has less to do with what’s going on inside individuals and more to do with what’s going on outside? And instead of varying levels of sickness, we’re witnessing varying levels of sensitivity/reaction? Is the intention to heal individuals a lost cause (albeit critical) if we do not acknowledge larger issues concerning the way we live/consume/develop as a whole?
Can humans ever be/act without emotion? Is there a neutral non-emotive state? Can people ever act solely out of ‘moral duty’* sans sensations of emotion? Or do we really just discredit actions rooted in more ‘intense’ emotions like passion, but accept actions rooted from more mild/calm/passive/mindful/whatever states as stable or ‘neutral?’ Isn’t every human action tied to emotion—be it intense or mild? Is it possible to measure/observe/categorize a singular motive of an act, or are all motives inherently tied to a mix of thoughts/feelings/sensations?
Is studying philosophy a sham? Is studying ethics morally permissible? Is the ability to study philosophy or act in and of itself problematic and/or intrinsically valuable? Is it limiting or expanding to read philosophies of those who were able to record theirs? Could it be purely for pleasure?
If plant intelligences acknowledge biological sex differences then shouldn’t humans?
*Recommend reading Larry Cahill’s article ‘Denying the Neuroscience of Sex Differences.’ We can demand equal treatment without urging sameness. And admitting difference across the sexes doesn’t mean one is better than the other and doesn’t deny/exclude intersex or transgender realities.