“Nothing of me is original; I am the combined effort of everyone I have ever known.” ~ Fiction
“When I say ‘I’,what does it actually mean?”
He’s listening. Albeit with polite indifference.
“I mean when I say ‘I will go‘ to the party tonight the uncontested given is that my body will be attending the party. My body’s going to be there in all its fleshiness, styled and dressed over in various fabric which serves both a practical and symbolic function. But if I say ‘I want to go‘ or ‘I need to go‘, this assumes something pretty different, doesn’t it?”
Those jeans could be tighter. Once over in the tumble-dryer maybe.
Deep sigh, caricature inhalation. An interestingly visceral reaction to context. Irony.
“Yeah, well I guess it would. Because your body – the ‘thing in itself’ – isn’t the same thing as your mind. Or your consciousness or whatever. Okay so you react to and interact with your body necessarily because it’s always there. Sometimes you serve it, sometimes it serves you. But it’s not like my body has a ‘need’ to go to the party. There’s no innate visceral reaction like, say, if I’m ill or really need a piss or something.”
These jeans could be tighter. Maybe the 32’s. Or once over in the tumble-dryer.
“That’s exactly what I mean. So for example needing a piss is something that my body would need to do even if I didn’t have a consciousness. It’s like the ‘involuntary I’. It’s like something that I can’t really control but is irrevocably me. You can’t get away from it. So whenever I use the word ‘I’ it always immediately assumes that the ‘body in-itself’ is included. You know sometimes I like to think of it like a sandwich. You can change the filling with pretty much anything you like and in different combinations, but there’s always going to be the bread. They look a bit baggy, maybe you should try a smaller size.”
“Yeah I was thinking about trying the 32’s. Okay so right there, that’s what you’re talking about isn’t it? I just said ‘I’ was thinking about trying the 32’s. I didn’t mean ‘I’ as in my body ‘in-itself’ wants to try it, even though it’s going to be my body that I’m putting it on. It’s a different ‘I’ that does this ‘wanting’ thing and projects it. Kind of like my body is the TV, and how I choose to present it (which is ultimately only a small part of my overall performing ‘self’ on the social stage) is the TV show. I mean, to be honest, all my body ‘in-itself’ really ‘wants’ to do (if you could even call it ‘wanting’ when we consider the body outside the realm of language) is pretty much piss fuck drink shit and eat, right? No offence to you. I mean you fulfil an emotional need for me, but it can only really exist in the realm of language and consciousness – a constructed consciousness. But then again even though it’s intangible and abstract, you can argue that it ultimately culminates our entire ‘being’ within the world and gives meaning to our existence. It’s what we invest in, and people invest in that in return.”
She’s actually beautiful. Why am I still attracted to her sister.
“Actually I’m going to try the other one’s. The super skinnies. The waist is tight on these I think it’s just the style.”
I love his brother’s ass in super skinnies.
“Go for it. But no I understand about your ‘body need’/’consciousness want’ theory, and don’t worry, Romeo, I know what girlfriend means. But I also like that idea of a performing ‘self’ on the social stage. Because that’s another ‘I’ right there. So when I say ‘I’ am going to the party, what does ‘I’ mean? So it means my body, it also means my performing ‘social avatar’, like the character I play, but it also means the actor, the ‘I’ negotiating everything beneath that. But then the actor isn’t even a ‘pure’ self either. It’s like if you’re really famous and everyone ‘knows’ who you are. Every ‘knows’ who Brad Pitt is. But again this is just another social avatar. Even Brad Pitt doesn’t know who Brad Pitt is, because you can’t have a ‘concrete’ self. There’s no centre. That’ why it always sounds so ridiculously naive and ironic when people say that they’re going somewhere or doing something to try and ‘find themselves’. Not only are they failing to realise that there’s no ‘self’ to find, their very failure both conceals and revels the innate insecurity that we all have toward the fact that a pure ‘self’ doesn’t exist, can’t exist. We are never one thing, one idea, we are always borrowing, developing, changing, adding, removing. We’re a complete bricolage. So the idea of a concrete ‘I’ to be ‘found’ is a fiction, a fairytale. But then I guess some people just love chasing fairies. Like my sister, for example.”
Does she know about me and her sister? Jesus Christ, ‘super’ skinnies – no shit.
“I think some people, like your sister, just prefer the ignorance. Or the bliss. I mean there’s nothing wrong with living romantic fictions, we’ve been programmed that way for a long time. It makes sense. It’s what being human is. That’s why they killed Socrates; because he asked too many damn questions. No one likes to think of the consequences of a completely constructed self, it’s absolutely fucking terrifying! We need symbols which we can invest in to create concrete meanings because it’s the only way we can recognise, interpret and negotiate the world around us and our relationship to it and other organisms and social beings within it. And you have to respect other people’s individual investments as well as the social collective’s. For example, if I turned up to the party tonight in a pair of 36inch waist baggy jeans, double XL-shirt and bandanna I would be judged for that. And rightly so. You have to present the right symbols for social interaction to function properly. So even something as simple as fashion – you can’t just completely alter your fashion on a day-to-day basis because it would screw people up. They wouldn’t know how to interpret you.”
Those look nicer. I hope he doesn’t do any Mandy tonight.
“Exactly, and with fashion we’re only talking about aesthetics. Think about actions. A single action can culminate in social judgement – and even our own self-reflexive judgement – of our entire social being. Like if I kept trying to grab guy’s dicks tonight and at some point just stood up randomly and got my tits out, does that automatically make me a slut? Do I become ‘slut’? I mean, is it possible to separate the actions ‘in themselves’ of my hand grabbing a guy’s dick and my tits being exposed from the moral decline into ‘slut’? Because they exist within two separate realms and it’s only the individual consciousness of the actor and the observer which establishes the idea of ‘slut’. ‘Slut’ belongs to the realm of constructed social consciousness: it’s a moral construction. But, and this is what’s important and why we all need to play according to particular rules, even though it’s constructed it still exists because it has invested meaning. In this case, being ‘girl who grabs penises and shows tits = slut’ and so shall bear all the negative connotation with which it is associated. But just because the category ‘slut’ exists, we can’t forget that it’s constructed. Because it works the other way around as well. Some moral constructions, like, for example, people believing that it’s immoral for gay people to marry, need to be un-done. And the only way to do that is to accept that it’s a constructed fiction which simultaneously reveals that all morals and moral categories are constructed fictions. Even ‘the slut’.”
Man I love sluts. Christ baggy jeans are so much more comfortable. Dinner would be good after this.
“This is what I’m saying, that’s what I mean by it being absolutely terrifying and why it’s so hard to accept. And it’s funny because we experience almost an innate feeling of shame when we acknowledge morals and ethics as constructed. Because, deep down, we still think of ourselves as these glorious divine beings placed on earth already endowed with love and morality and compassion; we think they’re natural. But they‘re not. Okay so you could argue for feelings of mother’s toward their children and all that jazz, but that’s completely base and can’t be used as a satisfactory point of departure for arguing the continually evolving moral and ethical framework we learn today. Because this framework is historical. You can literally see the periods in time when they were fought and struggled for. And we should feel pride in that – we should celebrate it! It’s a sociological achievement, a positive phenomenon and credit to the human race. I mean there’s still a lot of stuff in our morals and ethics that could do with changing but that’s the point – it can change because they are fictions and they are malleable.”
Ugh, I can’t do anything with this. Note to self: book in for hair soon. I bet that bitch Clare will be there tonight…
“And do you know what else I hate? People who refuse to acknowledge that they’re a necessarily socially constructed being which is completely contingent. Like that bitch Clare. She refuses to believe that she is anything more than her image (which is ironic because normally that’s an insult to say someone’s superficial, seems to be the fashion now) but it’s almost to the point that I think she’s duped her own inner-newsreel. She genuinely thinks that she’s this picture-perfect image and without insecurity because her own ego is like a massive safety net which supports her over the snake pit when, to be honest, she should be insecure. Because her top teeth stick out and she has a retarded lisp. Fucking hate that bitch.”
Jesus surely she doesn’t know about Clare as well…
“That’s the idea I was thinking about – ‘inner-newsreel’. It’s like the ‘actor’ but even deeper. The ‘actor’ is kind of like who you think you are (or more likely should be) and it negotiates and carries out actions and speech in accordance with this, but your inner-newsreel is actually all the thoughts going through your head and it’s from these that your understanding of ‘self identity’ (which is ultimately your ‘actor’ or your ‘inner-avatar’) is constructed. But then even this is subject to your preconditions of judgement which is what we were talking about as being constructed. But really we don’t consciously acknowledge these pre-conditions of judgement because, like we said, if you acknowledge them then you also acknowledge the fact that they are constructed and that they have only come to this point by learning and ultimately, let’s face it, by complete historical chance. Jesus Christ it blows your head to think about it. I remember someone once said Nietzsche ‘retreated’ into madness. Best word to describe it.”
If the time was right, I think I could love this guy if I chose to.
“Okay, let’s hold it at the ‘N’ word. So. I’m going to the party. My body is going, it’ll be dressed to reflect my ‘actor’, my social avatar which in turn culminates the socially invested assumptions of the conditions and ideas from which it arrived at this point. This will be reflected and refracted on a social stage. But as far as other people interpret this I will have no control. Inside I’ll be judging them in conjunction with my understand of how they wish to be judged and probably judging myself as I wish not to be. Such is the condition my innate insecurities. I’ll definitely be judging that bitch Clare. Deeper still I’ll be negotiating all of these actions in parallel with what I believe is ‘truly’ my ‘self identity’ (which is actually more like my ‘true identity of fiction’): that I am a nice person with strong self-reflexive tendencies and a slightly cynical nature. A fun person to be around who enjoys a drink, a good girlfriend, but also necessarily stubborn and slightly jealous. And whilst all the time I’ll understand that these are all products of chance and the process of self-conscious development and social interaction, I’ll not forget the very real effect actions and words have in a world which is entirely reliant on them to preserve any form of meaningful interaction. Which is essentially what makes us human. So I’ll keep my mouth shut and not say anything to that bitch.”
That is until you’ve had a few too many.
“These super skinnies are good in the 30s. Okay, my body ‘in itself’ is creating the feeling of hunger. My consciousness is thinking food and my self-consciousness is fully aware of the connotations and physiological damages, but let’s go and find some golden arches.”
Does he just call me fat?