Power and Cruelty, Difference and Sexuality: Towards a New Sexual Politics

Reproductive knowledge is power itself. Self-organizing, libidinal desire is the only kind worth (re)producing. Sexual desire annuls systems of control, unties authority, opens the future itself to re-ordering. It unleashes a molecular intensity which vibrates across orders of scale, provokes spontaneous self-organization. Reproduction is entire, mystically whole in its transversal rejuvenation. Paternity is miraculous, the creation of the world. How to teach one’s children is also how to make children. We must close down mythologies, we must assert a materialist sexual politics.

We cannot get lost in writerly festivals of cruelty. The real cruelties are far more dangerous and useful. Reading and writing are double-operators with a single form: the disclosure of desire, the inscription of machinic reproductions within distributed networks of sensorimotor molecules. The textual body is made no differently than the work speaks; the segmentations are isomorphic, not only existentially but essentially one. Yet by the tiniest differences between the text and itself, by what we would call the text’s inner urging or the body’s desire — by this difference we find interpretation overcoming, translating, reformulating the text through the body, the world through the idea.

A caress is geometrical, the unconscious is mathematical: it is all a matter of differential modulations in intensity, duration, substantiality. Of course we must abandon linear causality, ideal substances, dualistic axioms. But we must also abandon pure molecularity, ideal chaos, axioms of multiplicity. Both are dangerous religions, souls which imprison bodies. God makes us sick; but we have come to love the poison. To desire to such a degree where the desire becomes a necessity. A fictional need, a need for fictions.

The image has replaced the perceptum: again, all a matter of the slightest change from deviation. A thousand tiny acts, a million forces in confluence. Disorder beneath order, order beneath disorder. Difference, difference all the way down to the bottom, to the void. The void is difference, pure difference: the gap between the thing and itself, the infinitesimal gap. One or two horses, or many? But still, it’s pure theology. We need a truly materialist metaphysics. Beyond good and evil, beyond being and nothingness.

We need to rediscover life, rediscover reality, at every moment. To remember how to live dangerously is a constant battle against habit, against the habit of making habits. A remapping always follows, we cannot fight forever. The earth always wins, but this refutes no arguments. Promises, gratitude, favors: endlessly we are tied back in, lashed to the rack of conciliation. Manners before morals, order before operation. The state, segmentation, the same festival of cruelty, over and over and over. History.

Ethics is a creative deviance from the code, a creative variation which inspires new varieties. But then interpretation is pure violence, the immanent eruption of an absolute difference. Being explodes; all that is left is jagged, symbolic, highly dangerous. Sexual politics is contested territory, a no-man’s-land. We’re off and running, there’s danger all around, we must keep our eyes out for weapons. Surely, Zarathustra’s old woman’s advice about whips was not merely misogyny. If we bring whips when visiting women it is because we cannot conquer them otherwise. The tiniest difference possible for us to percieve, even differences smaller than we can perceive, can be the difference between pleasure and pain.

We have crossed the limit; there is and can be no further analysis of these concepts, other than to say they themselves are made of pure difference, made up of multiple minimal machines whose function is merely marking the tiniest of contrasts, whose segmentation comprise zones of intensity on textual or sexual bodies. Again, differential geometry, the problematic of the caress, the constantly moving zone of intensity. The caress searches for a second face, a line of flight, a missing partner. We could say it searches for an absence, it searches for solitude, for a proximity which annuls separation. It searches for traces of God left in the world. It searches for joy.

This entry was written by Joseph Weissman and published on Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 3:49 am. It’s filed under body, caress, cruelty, difference, ethics, geometry, God, image, joy, materialism, Politics, power, sex, the void. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Power and Cruelty, Difference and Sexuality: Towards a New Sexual Politics

  1. Erm… why should ‘we’ want to conquer woman at all??? The misogyny doesn’t just lie in the implement… Honestly, I find this exceedingly troubling. I like Nietzsche, and a lot, but his misogyny is something that I think should be tackled and not excused.

    Conquest is not, I think, about responding to difference; it’s about its denial, the attempt to capture and reduce. “Search[ing] for traces of God” has a Levinasian ring to it, which would thoroughly challenge this. Am I missing something key here?

  2. First, let me say that it’s definitely a complex question, and you’re right to ask this — I glossed over the issue pretty quickly. Part of what I’m saying is that a mysoginistic statement can tell us something about society. If we need whips, it’s because of our impotence, our refusal to take control, to institute our desires. I’m certainly not saying we ought to conquer women, physically or otherwise! I guess I’m saying the concept ‘woman’ needs to be thrown out the window, it’s outlived it’s usefulness, it’s self-destructive. ‘Woman’ conquers herself; it’s a legal, political problem; and while we don’t need whips, we desire them anyway. Especially to use upon ourselves: you could say that if we do need whips, it’s a reflection on our impotence, our inability to accept responsibility. Our desires are fascist, and inadequate. The whip is an indeceny, an obscenity, a perversion of health, an instrument of discipline and domination. So part of what I’m saying is that need to learn to establish new and healthier kinds of relationships, we need new spaces for communicating, we need to ask what these relationships are and what they mean and how to produce them. To develop and produce new kinds of subjectivity, we need new tools. We don’t ‘need’ whips; in a sense, men and women are always already the whips, we create and discipline one another. Ought we say on the contrary that there is no ‘feminine’ desire outside of freedom, equality, justice and a decent society? …Again, it’s a complex question. Incidentally, Levinas has a lot to say about the feminine, the erotic and the caress. Finally let me say you’ve given me a lot to think about! hope I’ve helped clear up at least some of the obscurities in my argument.

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