Monological masturbatory madness

At date of posting (18th August) I’ve only read a third of Deborah Bird Rose’s Reports from a Wild Country: ethics for decolonisation (UNSW Press 2004) but I think I can say confidently that it is one of the best books I’ve read all year (and I’ve read a LOT of books). So I make no apologies for two chunks in three days. There’s probably more to come…

A crucial feature of the system is that others never get to talk back on their own terms. Communication is all one way as the pole of power refuses to receive the feedback that would cause it to change itself, or to open itself into dialogue. Power lies in the ability not to hear what is being said, not to experience the consequences of one’s actions, but rather to go one’s own self-centric and insulated way. Plumwood (2002:27) notes two key moves in sustaining hierarchical dualism and the illusion of autonomy – dependency and denial. The pole of power depends on the subordinated other, and simultaneously denies this dependence. The image of bi-polarity thus masks what is, in effect, a singular pole of self. The self sets itself within a hall of mirrors; it mistakes its reflection for the world, sees its own reflections endlessly, talks endlessly to itself, and, not surprisingly, finds continual verification of itself and its world view. This is monologue masquerading as conversation, masturbation posing as productive interaction; it is a narcissism so profound that it purports to provide a universal knowledge when in fact its violent erasures are universalizing its own singular and powerful isolation. It promotes a nihilism that stifles the knowledge of connection, disables dialogue, and maims the possibilities whereby ‘self’ might be captured by ‘other’. Levinas equates these totalising monological narratives with war.
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P.S. I should add; I have nothing against masturbation (at least it’s sex with someone you love), but not when it is pretending to be more than ‘pleasing yourself’…

About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
This entry was posted in a little self-knowledge, activism, competence, death, fear, framing, internet culture, narcissism, politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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