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Thursday, April 17, 2014

They Long to Become Visible Again



















They Long to 
Become Visible Again


written by me 
@RISE
in the company of some excellent people...


We paint ourselves in all shades of red,
Wishing to look more like what we know we are on the inside...
The more red we get,
The more transparent we become to one another

And that, say some of us,
is liberation.

Others, we paint ourselves blue, as skies, as we aspire to be,
Higher than we are, the peaks of our potential we have not yet met,
or blue as lakes, or the oceans of all that we hide.

Perhaps not so much hidden
As curated, like we were workers in a colonial museum of ourselves, with Rooms that hold the sum total of all of our diverse identities and life's experiences,
of sounds and smells and languages we refuse to forget,
But that others only politely nod at.
Smile at,
As if they could ever really understand.

I paint myself each morning when I wake up.
Paint myself with water and hair cream
Paint myself with fabric relevant for temperamental Melbourne weather
I have painted underneath my skins with needles and ink
Not only because I have had something to prove,
But because this is what culture is!

Alive, to each moment, unfolding in my body as it meets yours and yours and his and hers
In schools, at work, on public transport
We wear ourselves painted and read one another like scripts.

Culture is inquiry and celebration,
Or despondency, procrastination,
A yearning for saviours, or a game for a messiah complex
seeking desperate players

All of this needs to be loved and cherished and humbly released
Each night again, we go naked unto ourselves
Each night, I go naked, again, unto myself
Each morning, I get up again, to paint.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Discomfort #2

Just because something is uncomfortable does not make it true.
Just because something is uncomfortable does not make it untrue.

Discomfort is not the same as pain.
Causing discomfort is not the same as causing suffering.
Causing pain is not the same as causing suffering.
Suffering can be triggered even without a resultant experience of discomfort or pain, or at least, without a resultant experience that may be languaged as such.
Suffering can be in compulsivity, petulance, aggression.

Just because I cause you discomfort or pain does not mean that I have caused you suffering.
Where suffering lies is in the razor-thin line between what my actions may have triggered for you (by way of discomfort / pain), and how either of us then chooses to respond to what has arisen.

This does not mean that I choose to intentionally cause pain/discomfort (this would be Malice),
but only that I do not allow the fear of causing pain/discomfort distract me from the quest to Truth, a deep interrogation, as well as a deep listening for Truth.

Truth will liberate.
And what it liberates may be very, very painful.

Ideally, truth is multifaceted enough
that, coupled with loving and compassionate intention,
that its liberation will come not only with the pain, but with its wisdoms for Resilience.

Discomfort

Reading my old post below about Yin deficiency, and "cuntic" energy.

Feeling into the rage of that post, that, regardless of the truth of the admonition,
it is also about thwarted masculinity.

And this is why I feel so uncomfortable. Not that she did no wrong (she did, and it was gendered, and it was problematic, etc. --> all still true), but that this wrong hit at a particular expectation I have in me... not that powerful women should not exercise their power, but rather, that I should be a "good man" and somehow live up to some expectations of myself that refuse to see the gendered nature of that abuse toward her (in this case male) subordinate.

That I should somehow "neutrally" experience this as a "neutral" abuse of power that is pathological regardless of the gender of the people involved (either the perpetrator or the subordinated).

This is what was discomforting...
That I experienced the sharp, glass-like gendered nature of this, reminding me that I am not "above" this level of observation. That I am not so feminist as to forget the suffering that some women uniquely catalyse, that I am not so "enlightened" that I would forget my own timidity, my own faggotry, that I am, at heart, sometimes, still a lonely teenage gayboy, wanting to do good, but chronically afraid of being told that I do not matter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

The pressure to choose


As per this Calvin and Hobbes strip, I suggest that the terms of a conflict, that is, the way that a conflict is described, is actually a composite part of the conflict itself.

For example:
To describe a conflict as, say, having to choose between condemning homophobia (and thus alienating a swath of, hypothetically, more sexually-conservative Muslims) or condemning Islamophobia (and thus alienating a swath of atheist or anti-religious gays).

The above description in itself invites the reader into identifying with variations of the "Good and Ethical Subject".

I am either the Good and Ethical Subject who sides with the gays,
or the Good and Ethical Subject who sides with the Muslims.

It is not enough either, to propose the following rhetorical alternative to this conflict, which is the existence of the gay Muslim (who acts as a mediator between the aforementioned parties).
i.e. "What about gay Muslims?!"

Those who are invested in the terms of the conflict will bear no such thing.
"He has to choose!" both fundamentalists will proclaim,
"He has to choose between his homosexuality and his Islam!
Homosexuality or Islam!
He cannot do both!"

**

In a way, both the gay Islamophobe and the Muslim homophobe are caught in the same ideological trap: of Ethnocentrism, or the belief that it is "my own collective (which absents the supposed ideological Other) that is more worth protection from intrusion or harm than yours or more accurately, theirs.

In other words, it is not that Muslim homophobia or gay Islamophobia should be uniquely addressed as issues (true as this assertion may be in particular contexts), but that they are simple expressions of an ethnocentrism that should be adequately attended to across the board, in all of its variations. 

Part of dealing with this is to actually notice the ways that organising around minoritarianism (i.e. identification with the oppressed minority) is always contingent, in part, on an unwitting capitulation to the terms of this disenfranchisement. 

Far from blaming the victim, I intend to point this out as a route to true freedom. As a gay man, the way for me to truly eradicate homophobia is not only to target it and address it in others (e.g. the homophobic Muslim), nor even only to address it in myself (i.e. dealing with my own internalised homophobia), it is to also truly cultivate the possibility for a larrikin betrayal of my own identity, a sincere abandonment that intends no nobility but can simply bear a privileged and detached witness to the categorical lie.

My true freedom, as a gay man, is in my ability to cease to be a gay man.
Not in ceasing to desire other men, or having sex, but in ceasing to allow these particular desires or actions over-determine the formation of my personhood, at the same time that I would advocate it should not be over-minimised or repressed either.

Incidentally, of course, this is an incipient narrative in the evolution of gay discourse, as it evolves its own "queer" trajectories, its postmodern leanings toward the blurriness of sexual categories (not only of homosexuality and heterosexuality, but also of manhood or womanhood, of the boundaries between what-is-sex and what-is-not-sex). In this case, to go more deeply into my inquiry into gay-ness can actually present the means by which I can reject its original terms and liberate new possibilities for coalition and freedom.

Note: This strategy is not the same as the abandonment of commitment to people or communities, but only an abandonment of the drive to see people, including our own people, only as variations of "Self" or "Other".

Perhaps, to radically re-envision people as always "Both Self And Other"...?

"I am a gay man and not a gay man. I am homophobic and not homophobic. I am not Muslim... and I am Muslim!"

Or perhaps, more accurately, "Neither Self Nor Other"...

"I am neither a gay man nor not a a gay man. I am neither homophobic nor not homophobic. I am neither not-Muslim... nor am I Muslim!"

And this is what liberates me to be free to be contextually and communally relevant, as new and emerging forms and definitions of community are constantly defining and redefining what it means to be a People...

...I radically embrace my brethren, through my abandonment of "brethrenism".

***

To put it another way, freedom can be liberated not in the attempt to answer seemingly irreconcilable situations or bridge seemingly irreconcilable communities (e.g. between the Islamophobic gays or the homophobic Muslims), but to deny all terms and conditions.

Every ideology and every community is a straw target for intellectual game-playing.

To suggest a form of apoliticism (i.e. "this is meaningless and impossible to answer"), to embrace the impasse, the impossibility, the irreconcilability, the restless nature of the dualism. To reject its ideological premises, to make room for something quiet and more enduring to take its stead.

Friendship. Comradeship.
Class struggle.
Decolonisation.

***

I look forward to that time when we have the strength, the conditions, and the collective will to properly reject even this aforementioned claim, to liberate more inventive, relevant inquiries and insights.

In The Future, We'll Outsource Sex

Slavoj Žižek: In the future we'll outsource sex



"Romance is maybe not yet totally dead, but its forthcoming death is signalled by object-gadgets which promise to deliver excessive pleasure but which effectively reproduce only the lack itself.

The latest fashion is the Stamina Training Unit, a counterpart to the vibrator: a masturbatory device that resembles a battery-powered light (so we're not embarrassed when carrying it around). You put the erect penis into the opening at the top, push the button, and the object vibrates till satisfaction … The product is available in different colours, levels of tightness and forms (hairy or without hair, etc) that imitate all three main openings for sexual penetration (mouth, vagina, anus). What one buys here is the partial object (erogenous zone) alone, deprived of the embarrassing additional burden of the entire person.

How are we to cope with this brave new world which undermines the basic premises of our intimate life? The ultimate solution would be, of course, to push a vibrator into the Stamina Training Unit, turn them both on and leave all the fun to this ideal couple, with us, the two real human partners, sitting at a nearby table, drinking tea and calmly enjoying the fact that, without great effort, we have fulfilled our duty to enjoy."



a Pattern

someone I disagree with, either in opinion or in method.

they become "a type of person who is disagreeable".

all their future actions are stained not only by the memory of their previous errors, but by their entire Being-in-error

thus gives rise to the birth of the prejudicial epithet (e.g. "fag", "cunt", "slut")

in time, it is simply forgotten what actions this person may or may not have engaged in, nor what opinions they may or may not have espoused

all their positive actions will be exceptions to the rule that is their Being-in-error
all their mistakes will confirm my bias

Reality

I get to choose my reality!!!!
....from a range of available models reality has chosen for me.*

*While stocks last

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Cunt"-ic Yin Deficiency

An amateur exploration of the archetype of the "Cunt"...
Not the literal vagina, but the woman who expresses a pathological version of her own authority (or her sense of her own authority) in order to dominate others, put others down, reassure herself of her own worth...

That violent behaviour, which is gendered as part of a quintessentially troubled womanhood...
"Cunt."

Of course, may I and all others (male or female or otherwise) be called out on the extent to which the naming of this behaviour or the archetypal identity underlying it all is rooted in my own sexism, my own discomfort with women who yield power...

Though I must say, with some assurance about the lack of pretence behind this:
I am not uncomfortable about the wielding of power, or even the use of power or enactment of power.
I am even open to negotiating the ethics of the strategic use of power to remind others of the responsibilities they have in their relative subordination.

That said, I am also fully aware, in that latter sense, of the ways in which this expression is rarely truly benevolent, or free from the trappings of the ego's demands. The ego that, fearing her own damnation, demands to be seen as inviolable.

How much she must have been violated in her life, in order to turn into such a Cunt!

If this were merely about the abuse of power then,
why resort to such an explicitly gendered "calling out" of this abuse? Is this necessary? How is her womanhood an integral part of this narrative?

Well, I admit here then, and this is based on my own intuitions of the ways in which I have suffered from abuse and oppression in my own life,
the ways that I have turned into a "cunt" myself, the ways I have abused power as a direct expression of my need for revenge.

This is a core component of the "cunt", whose abuse of power I intuit as connected to a need for revenge. Of course, I empathise with this need (which is why I do not think of the Cunt as evil, but only as a manifestation of a thwarted orientation toward the good...)

The blueprint is there: That a person, correctly having associated a part of her experience as having been subjected to abuse and glass ceilings, tries to defy the terms of her subjugation, but in doing so, unwisely enacts a privileged revenge upon others because of her subtle fear that perhaps all she was taught about her own inferiority may well be rooted in some primordial truth. This, of course, only reinforces the scripts of her own inferiority, and the systems of domination she is trying to resist will persist in her chronic lethargy. By debasing others, she is similarly debased.

This is sick.

This is a sick state of things,
and this is my sick interpretation.

The temptation is to respond to this Cunt-ic violence with my own display of privileged revenge, 
As a man: Macho, Heroic,
but this comes with its own pitfalls:
Foolhardy, reckless, or otherwise impotent sexist ranting...

To return to stillness, then. To see the Cunt and the Fool of me, both in connection with one another in me, as me.
They may communicate with one another, forgive one another, turn one another into Queen and King, in some heteronormative triumph of possibility 

See, the problem here is not "pathological Yin", but rather, deficient Yin, and excessive Yang.
The inability to be yielding, to be blank slated, to empty ourselves of preconceptions of the other,
the pathological fixation on the other's crimes, the relentless drive to reassert the solidity of my self in relationship to the other whom I only stupidly imagine I can sever my ties to...

Regardless of whether I leave or stay in the organisation, or in direct connection with this specific woman (and regardless of the dependencies I have unwittingly cultivated which influence my ultimate decisions on the matter),
The fact is that the woman whom I am speaking about now will be forever an expression of a latent part of my own being... She is the material and gross manifestation of this:
Deficient Yin, and Excessive Yang.

To heal the relationship, then, I may approach her directly, of course, if I wanted,
but it is clear that she has the monopoly, at the moment, over the direction of discourse. She has the power to hire or fire, veto or vex immaturely, while maintaining executive rights over how much I will be compensated for my work.
Given this, I choose to refuse "dialogue".
Not with her, anyway, but I will speak with the Cunt in me. I will befriend my own Cunt, as a part of my own potential. I will properly attend to her impotent tirades as they arise in my own heart, in the guts of my work.

I will work as best I can on a heart-level to the reconciliation that has to happen within my own body, in communion with the communities I serve. I will subject and subjugate myself only to God, in this sense, the healthy Father, my faggot Transcendent Other who loves me unequivocally, and sometimes only sternly, but never with a violence that is both a severing of limbs, and a shitting in my heart.

I choose freedom from fear, forgiveness,
I choose gay healing, agnostic openness,
and I choose rest.

Madness

Feeling the punch of a boss' misuse of power... To strike at the heart of me, invalidating my opinion, then forewarning me that she alone has the power to hire and fire.

To the extent that this affects me (which it does),
I wonder the extent of my own complicity in this pain...
Not in that I am to "blame" for her abuses,
but rather that I wonder about my own karmic responsibility for the times in my life that I have abused my own power, not only out of a lack of awareness around my own privilege in the situation, but in that my own pomposity was a violent expression of my own fear of fraudulence...

I see that those on the "upper echelons" struggle with the pain of a disavowed emptiness.
Keeping busy to fill the void which can never disappear (since it is itself the core "emptiness" of all appearances, the vacuum from which all distractions arise)

I am no different, in this regard...

But perhaps I need not balk in false humility either.
I remain righteous in my viewpoints, in my work practice, in my perspectives. I remain open to challenge, but damning of abuse.

I wonder about my "superiors"... Who or what is it that truly has power over me?
What was triggered in me through that interaction, which is the root cause of my own anger?
Regardless of her responsibility and culpability (of this I have no doubt, and may the karmic seeds she has planted sprout into due wisdom for her, no matter how painful the lesson),
what is it in me that reacts to this, which shudders and shakes?

My own fear of failure
Fear of fraudulence
My own fear of co-optation
My own indignant resistance to authority, whose punishments I remember severely
yet most of which have liberated me in the deepest levels of my own potential.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Today

Today...

Ressentiment.

some of the thoughts of the moment

Queer asylum seekers
Women and Islam
Is anyone ever silent?
Is silence always disempowerment?
Who gets to speak?

I am welling up with tears.

All the American artists of colour traveling to Australia riding on the wealth of a global hegemon built by slavery and genocide
and I get to gasp in awe.

The stone temples of Angkor in Cambodia
which inspire pilgrims and tourists thirty for the sacred
were commissioned by monarchs
that worked their slaves to skin and bones and death
to build their religious empire...

Now every liberal multiculturalist wants to say that they have been.

I have been, brought to my knees

I am welling up with tears.

The world is a strange place filled with strange travellers
who come from here and there and that
who master thoughts and concerns I could never even imagine
and I am one of them for You and You and You
and I am one of You for Them and Them and Them.