jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

Spelling Desire


It isn't enough to talk about sexual identity and sexual orientation as parameters of social choice. This leaves some options undefined, as for example, a woman that feels fine with her body but prefers to be masculine. To cover these is sufficient to specify whether the attributes of identity and orientation are to take place within the realm of the body or the mind. And by the latter I mean culture, aesthetics. The fact that nowadays the available attributes of the mind resemble that of the body is just a transient stage of cultural evolution, the stage of irony and simulacra. We should learn to distinguish and allow the free recombination of the attributes of identity and orientation within the realms of sex and gender. The philosophically oriented reader will have to dismiss me for treating sex and gender as different categories without further discussion. An interesting question for those with progressive agendas regards the potential shapes of a post-sexual world [1]. If we formulate the question as: can a simulacrum survive its conditions? The answer is, no. But if the question is: can a simulacrum survive its historical incarnations? The answer is, yes. Hence, the underlying question is whether sex is the condition of gender or just one of its incarnations [2]. As we identify the most basic conditions giving evolutionary rise to gender, only then, we can say if these conditions will still hold in the foreseeable future [3]. At this point we are pushing the notion of simulacra beyond its transient nature. What begins to take place in an affirmative answer to the future of post-sexuality is a notion of simulacra as a symbiosis between history and economy. And by economy I mean a set of persistent conditions preceding the production and reproduction of strategies. History would provide the signifiers, the conventions, on top of which the strategies are placed. Is as if history would provide a natural shelter for strategies, and as for any shelter it may prove useful to preserve it as long as the costs of creating a tailored one are greater. I treat nostalgia, in this context, as an instinct of tradition and I will not stress further on it. What I mean by signifiers is not just the material object on top of which the meaning takes place, I also mean symbols, objects which have multiple incarnations but which are not invoked as meanings. For example, aesthetic or alphabetic forms; they have no meaning other than that of the conventions on which they are ascribed, nevertheless as forms they can be "incarnated" in multiple substrates [4].

[1] Regarding the dilemma of talking of "post-gender sexuality" or "post-sexual gender". In this two formulations there is an interplay of meaning and valuation. For the first formulation the word sex is invoked in its basic mechanic existence. In contrast, gender is seen as an anachronism on social relations. Verbs like penetration are its epitomes. There is no distinction between organic or inorganic bodies, the many forms of "penetration" are to be explored. It is akin, for example, to cyber-punk literature. For the second formulation, sex refers to the body condition regardless of what you do with it. It is seen as an anachronism to be overcome through a transcendence of the mechanistic conception;  it doesn't looks for new mechanical forms as is the case of the first formulation. The possibilities of social intimacy in the realm of lasting feelings rather than fragmented emotions is to be explored. While the utopic territory of the first formulation is the skin, for the latter is the heart.  I am not sure, though, whether the dichotomy at stake can by reduced only to an issue of continuity and fragmentation or if there are other fundamental antagonisms involved. 

[2] One may precipitate to think that the very existence of homosexuality proves that the "classical" meaning of sexual relation is just an incarnation. Nevertheless there is a possibility of homosexuality being a simulacra of heterosexuality and not being able to survive without it (in the same way that dramatic art would not survive without real life).

[3] Evolutionary means are much wider nowadays than literal darwinism.

[4] Behind this is the idea of the relativity of the signifier and signified.
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