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The New Dialectics
The Dialectical Phenomenology of Michael Kosok

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the phenomenology of fucking
 

Michael Kosok































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In response to a rather abstract and effete presentation of man’s erotic nature,
[1] I shall take refuge in my own symbolic world of non-linearity and use the intentionally erotic nature of the “dialectic matrix” to explicate the complexities of man’s quite obvious erotic condition. The picture isn’t too pretty.[2]

In our story, the scene opens in a field of “universal energy” or Eros, which we shall refer to by the symbol “e.” This ever-present state of existence is the natural state of objective dialectics or interactions. Nature is thus characterized as a non-linear field of presence, the stage from which and on which further determinations will arise. Being a dialectic field, nature gradually develops its oppositions and mediations to the point at which a natural process of mating or “energy exchange'' occurs between opposite poles or sexes, expressing the natural unity these opposed poles periodically manage to bring into existence, out of which newer poles emerge, etc. Symbolically speaking, e now appears differentiated into +e and -e poles, and is reunited into a +-e synthesis through mating. Because this represents a higher order energy-unity (bringing into being the creation of novel units of energy), +-e will also be called e', indicating that it is a qualitatively newer state of energy reached through a self-differentiation and then integration of the previous state, e.

We begin with our female and male characters, playing in the (non-linear) fields of paradise, doing what comes naturally. However, with the relentless development of simple animal consciousness into self-consciousness and especially after tasting the fruits of abstract knowledge, sin, separation, and alienation begin to set in. Female and male now appear in a self-conscious relation called Self and Other; and they are continually screwing things up by trying to have their apple and eat it at the same time. The dichotomy between idealism and materialism springs into being: should one merely look at the apple, admiring its image and form but not touching it or getting “involved,” or should one consume it, nourishing oneself but destroying the beautiful form? The apple has ceased to exist as a natural and integral process of emergence and transformation in which both form and function are mutually co-related: beauty is severed from existence and safely packed away into a kingdom of ends. Just as the heavens were parted to create distance between earthly and divine, now function, activity, and passion, the “feminine” principle of “mothering,” natural growth, life, and Eros, full of inner feelings and sensitivity, is also set as a ground-base against an idealistic “masculine” or superstructural principle of “fathering,” conscious control, Spirit, and Logos, which operates on sensuousness seen as external sense information and its abstract thought structures. Feeling and life are condemned as animalistic and irrational, whereas thought and rationality become preoccupied with systems, law and order, God, and death. Sensual object relations are severed from reflective image formation; as a result, the feminine and anything immediate, sensuous, and earthy tends to be reduced to a mere object of possession, whereas the masculine turns into the proprietor and producer of images controlling the direction of conscious activity.

In this alienated condition, the dynamic archetypes of awareness (Eros and Logos), like each conscious individual self, fear being what they are, perceiving the other as their enemy. As a result, no one participant can see itself as a functioning totality in which all contrasting archetypes or individuals constituting a universe of inter-action are mirrored in itself relative to its own uniqueness; the logic of feeling and the sensitivity of reason are eclipsed. The whole falls apart, and we are left with a “market principle” of separate atoms or interests operating in a void. Instead of merely mating as a natural unity or pair blessed in their sexual nakedness, which is both primordial and implicitly spiritual, a game called intercourse is invented by the estranged Self and Other. Civilization arises and one puts on clothing and masks in order to start the long, meandering, difficult path of human history. As Nietzsche discovered, the object of the game, which is hidden from most mortals, is to go beyond the game of respectable civilized behavior and to re-establish paradise on earth: the point is to see man as “a rope tied between beast and over-man” and thus as a bridge and a self-sacrifice to his higher nature as a man who has transcended the contradictions of civilized behavior as we know it. This transcendence of civilized behavior will not reduce man to an ape again (i.e., to state e'), but rather will develop a higher modality of naturalism (e'') which is now explicitly aware of its spirituality and at the same time a self-consciousness which is naturally conscious of itself: human history and alienation is thus the price one pays to gain this state. Most of us, however, tend to get caught in the trap of civilization and bourgeois behavior and therefore know neither the simple act of mating (e') or the more transcended act of love (e''). The transition from animal to human history begins with the universal energy state (e) already in its integral biological form e'; now, a more complex division appears in which e' in turn becomes self-differentiated, but also self-alienated because of its complexity into a +e' and -e' self-opposition leading or attempting to lead to a higher order self-unification e''.[3] The original self-opposition of nature or e into a “materialistic” female principle (the ground of mating and the peaceful “womb” of herd existence) and an “idealistic” male principle (the superstructure of mating and the “protectors” of herd existence giving coordination and “law and order”) can be called +e and -e respectively. As a social level of inter-individual organization, e' expands beyond its mere biological herd existence and soon develops into an organized culture in which a new self-differentiation into +e' and -e' appears: +e' represents the object-centered, materialistic ground or economic structure of society (concerned with object production from nature), while -e' represents the idealistic, image-centered political superstructure of society (concerned with coordination and control of the directive image-process). In terms of possible class-opposition (materially bound workers vs. idealistically oriented ruling structure), this division reflects biological sexual opposition possible on a personal level where any actual opposition on one level reinforces opposition on the other. In an alienated state, biological reproduction sets +e and -e against each other as social production sets +e' and -e' against each other.

But what happens to man’s erotic nature in a personal-social condition, in which a double-dialectics of opposition, and hence a double-alienation, can appear? Using the dialectic matrix of forms (e, e', e'', etc.) — itself a product of an alienated society, which, however, recognizes its own dialectic limitations and hence posits any one form as but a transformation and not a trap — we can analyze the predicament of what takes place between the original paradise of simple mating and the paradise in the process of coming — known as love. Simply put, this involves an awareness of the fact that civilized behavior, no matter how you clothe or polish it, is a phenomenology of fucking. And surely, we are all fucked up: the least one can do is recognize it in all of its various forms, which can then be used as a basis of intelligent action and not merely action whose only result is a transformation from one version of fuck-ticity to another.

When female and male exhibit themselves sexually once civilized behavior arrives on the scene (even if “actual” females or males are not involved as in homosexuality, auto-sexuality, or object-sexuality), then the immediate unity of natural mating or physical unity through contact that underlies all sexual activity is transformed, no matter how much one attempts to “regress to animal behavior.” The die has been cast. Precisely because a civilized relation entails a relation between two or more ego-centers, each with his or her own personal world more or less definitely separated from his or her public world, any inter-personal relation between such egos must either repress or display the public images each has of himself or herself and the others. Sexual unity is a direct attempt to transcend the isolated existence of man in the public domain of civilization. But no matter how much sex he has, as long as man continues to constitute his private world in opposition to his public domain (separating feelings from thoughts, material objectivity from ideal reason, and the objects of relation that induce passion from the images that impose control), then sex will amount only to fucking, the temporary repression and the attempt at mutual possession. Fucking is a sexual act in which each attempts to devour the other in an impossible attempt to be the other, without either giving himself or herself to the other. Blind passion is mistaken for genuine intimacy. Using matrix terminology, fucking is mating, or the immediate unity of sexuality (e') now appearing in a schizophrenic condition in which each partner takes himself or herself to be the object-center of the act and claims the entire relation of object-immediacy for himself. Both the Self and the Other it is relating to, as a result, act only as positive, sensual immediacies lacking any of the distance of recognition that comes when consciousness and imagination negates the immediacy of existence: e' is now +e'. Within this relation, however, neither civilized ego can transcend itself, because it has simply repressed and not changed the image-forming immediacy. Indeed, fucking reinforces civilized behavior in that it serves as a sedative and temporary relief from the antagonisms of civilization and makes one all the more ready to continue the ratrace of public existence. Fucking is therefore a blind unity of mutual object-possession dependent solely on the physical energy of the participants; and thus it is a unity bound to collapse into the two unrelating centers a fucking pair really is as soon as the available energy runs out.

The failure of fucking to re-establish genuine natural unity increases the self-conscious distinction already present; and in order to bear the pain of separation, the separation itself tends to become normalized into a socially approved state of mutual alienation. Here, both Self and Other deny their physical immediacy or any notion of being an object-center of presence, and instead relate to each other as projected-images within a public space. Hence, each individual sees himself only as an image within the other; and since the other in turn is seen only as functioning through the image his others have, social relations become (à la Laing) an idealistic mirror world of image structures with no recognizable source or receiver. In this respectable, detached world, the desire to fuck is obscured by a patterned routine called “having intercourse” (like “having tea”), whose socially validated form is marriage. During intercourse, the highest goal of the game is to so completely integrate sexuality into civilized behavior that, should Aunt Sally step into the wrong room at the right time, she could easily think that one was simply making one’s bed instead of one’s partner. And no one would really notice much difference since, during intercourse, one doesn’t give a fuck!

Whereas fucking is a blind unity of two centered objects mutually possessed and void of genuine consciousness, intercourse is the reverse side of this double immediacy, an empty unity of two projected images mutually dispossessed, a state of mere consciousness: e' now appears as the total opposite of +e', called -e'. Whereas fucking attempts to merge two into one with no distance of recognition, intercourse is a game in which there is only the distance of recognition but nothing is recognized! While it may be true that during intercourse one doesn’t give a fuck, during fucking there is really no genuine inter-course. Fucking is a combination of two attempting to be one (which is complete but inconsistent) whereas intercourse is a combination of two seen only as two (which is consistent but incomplete).

Humanity, caught between these two alternatives, constantly shifts back and forth, first having intercourse, which is safe but not exciting, and then fucking, which is exciting but not safe since too much of it tends to break down the pretenses of civilized behavior, which is predicated on obscuring the failure of fucking or any other kind of mutual possession to overcome the separation between Self and Other. Man is caught in a double bind. The only resolution, of course, is to achieve a true unity (+e' and -e' as e''), in which Self and Other are both one and yet two: i.e., a state in which each comes to know himself in a mutual relation through the other in real intimacy. This, however, would mean seeing his being as a dynamic being whose properties are not either private (his) or public (the other’s) but a state of relation and movement in which to be means to relate and to become, and all becoming and relation a state of being: then one can be both an immediate center and a reflection of the other — both object and image — and hence a state of transformation of each into the other, and each into itself through the other, neither element existing as a “thing in itself.” Not only does this mean going beyond the division into object and image sense and thought or private and public, on a political-economic level it also means going beyond the division into individual vs. state’s rights and on a psychological plane going beyond the separation into life-giving Eros and reason-oriented Logos. Sexually, it means that a true unity between male and female permits each to exhibit sexual characteristics of any specific sex without reducing one to the other, isolating one from the other, or merging both into one grey asexual glob. Finally, it would mean regarding with Nietzsche, Eros or the Dionysian as the immediate objective basis of all existence out of which, yet within the context of which, the image-making Logos called the Apollonian appears as its reflection and self-differentiation increasing the complexity of Dionsysian existence by giving formed expression to its inherent logic. This is but a dramatic way of expressing the fundamental nature of non-linear reflection: all reflection of experience is always reflection within experience. It is precisely the dialectic self-opposition of objective immediacy and the Dionysian (where all being is a field of inter-action represented symbolically by any kind of non-positive, non-negative e term) which permits a self-confrontation between itself as the immediate process of existence (now a + term) and its inverse as the reflected structure of existence (a - term), whose ever-present telos consists in expressing its objective immediacy as an integral field through its own positive and negative self-differentiations: it thus appears as a +- term, which is nothing but any original non-positive and non-negative immediacy now giving expression to its possibilities on a more explicit and developed plane. The Apollonian aspect of form-ation (+ vs. -) is dialectically an expression of any pre-formal immediacy, and this Dionysian objective basis is revealed when the forms or images themselves are seen as a +- trans-formation state revealing the dynamism of the + and - forms. As the dialectic matrix will show, either self-realization into more comprehensive transforming unities or self-alienation into one-sided, relatively static unities always faces man.

Sexuality as the primoridal opposition between immediacy and reflection is therefore not an arbitrary matter of male or female genitals (nor does it exclude them as having nothing to do with this opposition considered in terms of their organic function). Nor is sexuality simply a biological reproduction technology: as Eros and Logos, the sexual poles are the fundamental archetypes of existence whose functioning unity must be grasped in order even to see them as individual expressions. However, with all this “unity” and “re-conciliation” of opposition which aims at eliminating isolated existence, a fundamental mistake can be made by individuals torn by division and exploitation in their attempts to transcend opposition. Thus, the greatest cop-out for the exploited class is to become in turn an exploiter, setting up a “workers” state with public property instead of private property: the idea is to work towards getting rid of property and the image that existence, physical or otherwise, is owned and thus abused and not simply “used” or experienced-as-relation. Likewise, women’s liberation would exhibit nothing but extreme male chauvinism if its purpose was to prove the alienated male’s contention that man is better than woman by denying her femaleness and converting her into a surrogate male. The idea is to be a female, woman, and mother without exploitation. Two things must be kept in mind. Masculinity and femininity must cease to be regarded as properties owned exclusively by subjects called male and female and must instead be seen as character-functions and relations distributed throughout all subjects. At the same time, it must be realized that this distribution of femininity and masculinity beyond private ownership could also lead to individual suppression, if it resulted only in public common ownership of all sexual characteristics in identically the same way: this would be like the “crude communism” Marx referred to and would be the most extreme case of asexuality and depersonalization. The private is not transcended by making it public, for both the personal or private and the impersonal public are mutual co-existing oppositions: the existence of public property merely hides a private “cult of the individual” in charge of personal dispossession and thus makes it that much stronger, since it has no publicly recognizable source which one can pin down as a responsible element functioning within the public. As the private is made into the public, the public in turn becomes the hiding place of the private. A human relation is always explicitly inter-individual and neither “collective” or “individual,” but easily degenerates into one vs. the other as love degenerates into intercourse vs. fucking.

Because genuine unity cannot mean reducing one member to another (like the plurality of differences to simple-minded commonness) but instead means grasping and transforming each through the other, the rationality and Logos of femininity is different from (not inferior to) man’s, just as the feeling and eros of the masculine is different from the woman’s. A true unity is achieved only when each member gives birth to and brings into view its contrasting companion or opposite and hence gives rise to a higher type of interaction. Through genuine love and unity, the interacting polarity of life will increase as each pole generates the other within itself and does not only confront it externally as “the enemy.” Conversely, only through this unity can each dynamic element express itself and its “will” most fully by giving birth to itself through the other. Any “easy” solution to unity (be it simple mysticism or imposed communism), leading to public depolarization or depersonalization, merely annihilates the very persons or individuals for which unity was to serve as a solution. As Nietzsche showed, genuine unity is precisely that which makes passion, individuality, differences, and uniqueness grow with an organic logic in which each new distinction is open and in relation to all others and never a mere substance, owned property, or “thing-in-itself.” The unity of sexuality might even bring into existence physical sexes much more complex than our simple two-valued variety: male-females, female-males, and other subtle combinations (reflecting the Eros-Logos inter-relatedness) can produce an infinite variety of sexuality, making the standard distinctions into heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, and autosexuality a poor image of what a truly erotic universe could be like. One need not be a dialectician to say “vive la difference!,” but one has to appreciate its subtleties to see that it is precisely through genuine unity that the state of differentiation grows even more! True unity is therefore not “common-ism,” i.e., it is the ability to commune and generate from a living and erotic unity the infinite plurality of existence. Too many revolutionaries still carry with them the dichotomy between private relations and public intercourse and dismiss as romantic nonsense Che’s acute observation that intimacy and love must power revolution and radical change. It also takes genuine humility. In his own way, each profound thinker — Lao Tzu, Nietzsche, Buber, and Marx, for example — speaks the essential truth: the transcendence and not repression of what is limited, owned, and reified into an image increases the subjectivity, freedom, and spontaneity of humanity.

However, as the dialectic matrix will show, the reason love (or any revolution in ownership) is difficult to achieve even when one knows of the need for Self-Other unity, is that alienation or self-opposition into stabilized one-sided “resolutions” and “reformistic” tactics can be devised between the Self and Other which continually displace the tension that builds up in the constant opposition between fucking and intercourse, causing love and any radical transformation to be continually shifted and put off into the “future.” Thus, not only can there be a unity between Self and Other in which both are object centers, as in fucking, and another in which both are image projections, as during intercourse (neither of these unities expresses any kind of object-image unity): it is also possible to get into a rut which suspends one’s attempts at genuine unity. A rut is an alienation from the alienation or self-opposition already existing and is therefore an alienated “resolution” of alienation, which remains present precisely because it has become hidden and not open, recognizable, and visible as a condition to be changed. In this “resolution” or rut one can have an object-image unity between Self and Other, but only in two opposing forms: one is a unity only relative to the Self and the other only relative to the Other. In the first case, the Self is the object center and the Other merely appears projected within it (i.e. intro-jected) as an image. In the second case, the Other is perceived as an object center, with the Self merely projected out as an image. With the Self only as an object to be possessed and the Other merely as an image within the Self, the tension between pure object-oriented fucking and pure image-oriented intercourse appears eased: what issues is sexuality in the mode of masturbation or the Romantic Fantasy. Conversely, with the Other as object to be possessed and with oneself merely projected as an image within the Other, sexuality displays itself as rape or the Conquest Fantasy. In both masturbation and the Romantic Fantasy, the Self regards itself as the object to be possessed, with the other functioning as the motor or power image within the Self. This relation is masochistic, in that the Other is not taken as objectively real — only the Self is — and consequently only the relation of “being-acted-upon” can exist in awareness. The cause is the other qua image, while the effect is only a self-effect. Not only is the Other not objectively real, but the Self in turn is impotent in projecting its image or effectivity to the Other: the Other appears as objectively invisible and subjectively unreachable, and consciousness tends to become catatonic: in the battle between the Self and the Other, the Self simply takes the other as an unreal idealization and the problem appears dissolved.

On the other hand, in both rape and the conquest fantasy, the Other is regarded only as the object to be possessed and the Self as the image projected into the Other powering the act of possession: in rape, the idea is to conquer the other in order to find the objective identity you have denied yourself to be. This relation is sadistic in that the Self is not taken as objectively real — only as the Other — and as a result, merely the relation “acting-on-something” can exist. The cause is oneself as a directive controlling image, while the effect is only on the other. But in a rape relation not only is the Self objectively not present as an object to be effected, but the Other is impotent in projecting its image or subjective demands to the Self in question. Consequently, the Self is itself objectively invisible and subjectively unreachable, and its consciousness appears totally externalized as an image projection upon outer objectivity: i.e., it is as paranoidal as masturbation was catatonic. In the battle between the Self and the Other, this time the Self denies its own reality and immediacy and functions instead as the image within the objectivity of the Other: in this battle, the Other appears as the object of idealization (one’s project) and the problem appears resolved. Just as the catatonic romantic sees the world’s objectivity and immediacy only as a mirror imaging and reflecting his own immediacy and thus cannot speak to a real world, the paranoid and conqueror sees the reflectivity and images of awareness within the world only as an object of his own reflection or intentionality, and as a result he cannot really listen. Neither can he comprehend something being both object and mirror. Thus, à la Sartre, one must look or be looked upon; and any particular relation between Self and Other is bound to be asymmetrical and exploitative.

Together, rape and masturbation, or in more sociable terms, a Romantic-Conquest integration of persons or lovers, consequently constitute a “master-slave”' dialectic in which neither Self nor Other is a complete object and image totality; although between the two of them, such a totality is shared by two half-persons. The master, rapist, or conqueror must feed on the objectivity of the possessed, having no being himself; while the slave, romantic idealizer, or vanquished deludes himself by the controlling images and consciousness of the master, not being powerful enough to generate his own awareness. Thus, the resolution found between ruler and ruled, male and female, exploiter and exploited can mutually reinforce the alienated state of each, displacing any moves for genuine transformation unless this cozy “hostile integration” is uprooted at the source.

We can now trace the dynamics of the entire Self and Other dialectics to see how four opposites yield four simple but incomplete alternatives to sexuality, once the animal level of mating disappears but while the human modality of love has not yet fully asserted itself. Fucking, intercourse, masturbation, and rape are the four primary modalities of “unenlightened” sexuality; and all four are predicated on the impossibility of the non-reflective state of fucking replacing direct and immediate mating, once explicit self-consciousness has entered the scene. Self-consciousness introduces a focusing process of reflectivity and image-formation into the implicit state of subjectivity that characterizes all objective processes. Subjectivity (as opposed to localizing ego-consciousness) is nothing but a field of non-localizable immediacy characterizing the state of interaction between and among objects of interaction, all objects being defined in terms of their activity and not the other way around (as all mass is defined in terms of its energies and all particle localization in terms of their field-states).[4] In this state of interaction, all objects mirror or reflect the entire field of energy or “eros” present in their own specific and unique ways, even if an ego-state of explicit image and self-image formation involving large-scale memory retention is not present. Mating is such an immediate state of energy-interaction without the intervention of explicit self-images. But once conscious-focusing begins to form self-sustaining images and once these images begin to acquire more and more autonomy, then the reflected, mediated state of “imagization” involving the introjection and projection of previously defined images begins to obscure the more immediate subjectivity present in direct energy-interaction. God, the state, and all sorts of idols are now worshipped as images of man, instead of man seeing the direct immediacy of objectivity or Eros (which includes imagization or Logos as one of its activities) as the true cosmic subjectivity at the ground of being. In totally different ways, Nietzsche, Marx, and Zen share with Kierkegaard and Buber what many would call the authentic “religious” quest: the destruction (not repression or reform) of all “graven images” which delude man from facing the immediate subjectivity of the cosmos, although the images these various thinkers use in describing this imageless immediacy naturally contradict themselves. But he who merely reads or listens to the images that people create, mistaking the pointing finger for the reality pointed to, will never comprehend existence. He will be forever trapped in an imaginary battle with elaborate formalizations of existence and will never be in touch with that creative immediacy which, laughing and weeping, continually creates and destroys these very forms behind the backs of the self-deluded.

Self-consciousness about eating the apple in the original non-linear field of paradise has, therefore, generated a delicate if not absurd situation: because of the way self-consciousness tends to fixate its images outside the immediate context of objective existence from which they are created, tension between the object apple and its image arises; likewise, a tension within any Self and any Other, between its object and image nature, also appears. The four obvious relations now possible between any Self and any Other who have not resolved their own object and image natures into a functioning unity are, therefore: (1) the crude but hypnotic mode, with Self as only object and Other as only object, called fucking; (2) the refined but boring style with Self as only image and Other as only image, called intercourse; (3) the autistic dream world with Self as only object and Other as only Image, called masturbation; and finally (4) the violent rejoinder with Self as only image and Other as only object, called rape. This means that fucking has a zero state reflectivity of imagization (due to the temporary repression of image formation), intercourse has a full or double state of pure reflectivity (and hence the total madness or “unreality” which characterizes the normalized person who has completely adjusted his immediacy to the “Laingian” social image-game), while masturbation and rape each have a single state of reflectivity. However, because the last two bring about a combined state of imagization and objectivity, they tend to prevail as image-object resolutions of human behavior. But because the unity achieved in them is only a one-sided unity of submission or domination between two individuals in which one reflects and the other is reflected, and not a full unity between and within each, they are dangerous as the false gods of unity.

This is the key to all alienation, whether from love, one’s will, revolution, or enlightenment.[5] Objectification or the process of dialectic polarization into opposites, is not automatically alienation. Mating is an immediate unity of two objective oppositions not yet possessed by alienation. What characterizes the possibility of alienation is a double polarization, i.e., the formation of a complex state of interaction in which two elements (such as individual A and individual B) originally present in an immediate condition of complimentary but oppositional interaction (e.g., mating), develop self-sustaining sub-oppositions within each of them. Thus, the immediate objectivities A and B develop an image-function within each such that A is now “object-A and A imaging” in opposition to B as “object-B and B imaging.” Before imagization, any immediate and simple moral opposition between A and B is also an immediate unity: however, with imagization and mediation developing out of immediate objectivity, a complete unity between A and B must now be a four element unity of A, B, and their images. But the relationship between any A and B capable of this higher order unity need not express it. Thus, the degree of alienation refers to the “measure” of concretely possible unities over those concretely actualized: the greater the divergence, the greater the alienation. At no point is there a lack of unity of function; at no point is mere objectification into opposites automatically a state of alienation. Dialectic movement is hence not a transition from pure unity without objectification into alienation without any unity of movement, and then a final return to pure unity. Rather, any unity (such as e') is an inter-active state of opposition, and any state of alienation (such as e'' in the process of realization) still displays its previous states of unity. Thus, relative to the telos concretely possible, in any given situation one can depict the actual modalities of alienation: there are four such alienation states possible in the transition from e' to e'', each of which expresses the previous e' unity between Self and Other as a Self-Other unity (showing that unity is present), but only as a unity between a Self and Other which is not itself divided and in need of a higher-order unity in order to express a complete e'' unity.

Not only must A and B in our example express between them as Self and Other but as well, A and B must bring about an internal unity of a qualitatively different kind within each with regard to their own states of imagization and objectivity, before they can face each other in a genuine immediate unity (love or e'') as two singular individuals, each in a state of integrity. Two self-divided individuals lacking a singular will to integrity will not be capable of exhibiting unity of relation (and true I and Thou communion, à la Buber), since each will be preoccupied (if not actually occupied) by his or her own disharmonies, projecting and introjecting their alienated images onto the concrete immediacy in its process of existence and forcing external image-object unities into existence which lack self-integration within any one self or other.

Therefore, any attempt to bring about an object-image unity by persons, social groups, or movements which themselves are not either object-image integrated or actively tending toward such a unity (whether one is attempting an object-image unity of a person’s will through psychoanalysis, of a human relation through love, of a society through revolution, or of one’s entire cosmos through enlightenment), will only bring about alienated, one-sided unities in which one person, class, or element functions as object and another functions as the image-maker or image center. As long as there is a separation between leaders and led (the unconscious and ego-consciousness, master and slave, ruling state or party and its followers, “God” and World) nothing can be done by either member to achieve unity. Thus “the gods that fail” and the continual re-examination necessary for anyone engaged in radical transformation: it is constantly endangered by what appears to be transformation but only involves its superficial drama.

The ground for all exploitation and alienation is the inability to effect self-integration of objectivity and imagization or immediacy and reflection on all levels (personal, social, economic, political, psychological, cosmological). Moreover, what continues to prevent self-determination and freedom is precisely the external unities between object and image, since they obscure the reality one is attempting to create. Finally, precisely because a dialectic unity of immediate objectivity and reflective imagization means a unity of relation between any self and its world context, this automatically makes that self an expression of a self-world unity. Thus, it is not a question of first finding the “correct” world-context and then transforming oneself within it: genuine self-integrity means self-world integrity as a singular project. Imagization is an integral aspect of an immediate relation between mutually conditioned elements, being only an expression of the way each element makes the other, and itself through the other, a function of itself — thereby expressing immediacy as a dynamic state of self-becoming. Only when these images of reflection take on an independent idealism of forms, hypothesizing an imagization process into a dead-end stasis, do the objects or elements of which they express relation appear in turn as isolated, antagonistic elements in contradiction producing, for example, ego vs. super-ego antipathy. Self-determination, therefore, is not private, self-contained ego-determination nor is it public super-ego counter-determination or conditioning. Self-determination refers to the condition of integrated co-determination that must exist between and within all oppositions and elements such that each element expresses the totality in its own unique way (as an Eros) and the totality in turn is expressed within each aspect (as a Logos). In this condition of self-determination, love as the archetype of transcendence is the experience of oneself in a dynamic state of I and Thou resonance or mutual imagization, which is now an integral aspect of the concrete immediacy underlying all imagization. A non-ending feedback loop of inter-action (and hence intersubjectivity) then occurs, in which all things become explicit functions of themselves exactly to the degree to which they become functions of their co-determining world, which in turn is a function of any of its elements. The place to start the revolution or love is therefore with whatever one is in immediate relation to, since it is there that one’s imagization must be re-integrated. Attempting to start with one’s images and ideologies merely alienates these images further from their immediacy. The return to immediacy, however, must not replace sterile image intercourse with hypnotic object-fucking or object-devouring since, as we have seen, this does not destroy images. Nor must it yield to partial integration, in which some images continue to dominate over their objects and which mistakes the master-slave relation of duty and obligation for a genuine relation. Responsibility comes only with the end of “duty” seen as image imposition, since only then will one experience responsibility as the ability to respond. As Gramsci shows, only by patiently making oneself aware of the necessity to destroy one’s fixed thoughts or images in every possible situation and in minute detail will one slowly, quietly, but definitively bring into being a dynamic imagization process that transcends object-possession and hence fixation. Only then will one be ready for any decisive moment requiring a large-scale change. One does not wait for the right situation or the right person, for revolution or love: one must become the revolution.

We have now come to the grand finale: the unveiling of the nine-term matrix presenting the two-dimensional dynamics of a double polarization in a singular structure. Summarizing this matrix and our entire argument in terms of the transcendence of possession — and referring to the four alienated modes marked 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the two unmarked non-alienated modes of mating (e') and love (e''), the following sequence appears: mating is the pre-possessive state of sex; fucking is mutual possession; intercourse and marriage in general is mutual dis-possession (or negative possession of one’s objects through their negating images); masturbation and romance is self-possession; rape and conquest is other-possession, and finally love is trans-possession and a higher form of natural pre-possession. What happens from then on, as a new cycle opens itself up as a concrete possibility, need not be our immediate concern although the dynamics of transition from e to e'' is rather suggestive of the totally newer dimension the erotic condition of “man” could express once it has achieved a stable e'' form and hence ready for e''' transformation: consciousness as a three dimensional polarization. Actually, any “e state” of any dimension is an immediacy and a functioning totality, and as a result this matrix is not a “progress theory” advocating the ever-present deficiency of man and the need for him to reach for his essence that is, nevertheless, forever dangling above him as an unattainable “tease.” Nor is man “complete.” Instead the very notions of completeness and incompleteness are fixed images fucking up our genuine self-imagization as a dynamic immediacy simultaneously revealing both self-opposition (“incompleteness”) and self-integration (“completeness”) as possibilities, with man himself being the paradoxical edge of opposition in a genuine existential task: the point is to wake up and see that reality is never given in any image and therefore is that which is-being-created in immediacy including the images about that creation. All the matrix as a logic of creation, and indeed all that any image can say is: should this happen, then that could follow, and this image in turn only has force to the degree to which it relates to one’s own immediacy. Otherwise one will not be studying a matrix of fucking, but only a fucked up matrix!

 

 

From Telos, No 8, Summer 1971


 

[2] See Michael Kosok, “The Dialectical Matrix,“ in Telos, no. 5, Spring 1970.

[3] As we shall see, it is precisely this higher order self-opposition producing levels of opposites (i.e., pair opposites will emerge in an e" matrix form) that permits alienation to set in as a possible one-sided “solution”  to genuine unity.

[4] See my article, “Dialectics of Nature,” in Telos, no. 6, Fall 1970.

[5] As studied by Buber, Nietzche, Marx, and Zen, respectively, all four positive states (love, will, revolution, and enlightenment) are different modalities of transcending ownership or possessiveness, which delimits immediacy into fixed states. It can be shown that these four positive states correspond to the overcoming of the four alienated modalities of Self-Other relatedness already described. A genuine relation involving both Self and Other as immediately present requires enlightenment; a genuine relation involving both Self and Other as reflectively present through each other in an I and Thou activity is Love; to overcome Romantic Self-possession requires a self-commanding will capable of self-objectification and transformation; to overcome the violently imposed exploited state in which the Other is possessed requires revolution and a return of the genuine subjectivity of the Other. Actually, all four modalities of transcendence ultimately imply each other to varying degrees. The question, however, remains: how does alienation appear from dialectic objectification, thus requiring its transcendence?