On human enterprise

“The dimension of human enterprise is neither finite nor infinite but indefinite: this word cannot be enclosed within any fixed limits, the best way of approaching it is to follow its possible variations”

-Simone de Beauvoir, The Force of Circumstance

Advertisements

On epithets

“From a man’s mouth, the epithet ‘female’ sounds like an insult; but he, not ashamed of his animality, it proud to here: ‘He’s a male!’ The term ‘female’ is pejorative not because it roots woman in nature but because it confines her in her sex, and if this sex, even in an innocent animal, seems despicable and an enemy to man, it is obviously because of the disquieting hostility woman triggers in him”

-Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

On Truth

“Woman does not entertain the positive belief that the truth is something other than men claim; she recognizes, rather, that there is not fixed truth. It is not only the changing nature of life that makes her suspicious of the principle of constant identity, nor is it the magic phenomena with which she is surrounded that destroy the notion of causality. It is at the heart of the masculine world itself, it is in herself as belonging to this world that she comes upon the ambiguity if all principle, of all value, of everything that exists.”

-Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

On Lovers

“Lovers live the carnal bond as a fleshed supplication. Each risks being violated in their otherness. Each asks to be received by the other in their vulnerability. Each offers themselves to the other as a fleshed gift. Each lives its excess with the other. Each turns to the other in the generosity of disclosure where the aimlessness of desire immerses itself in the flows of the flesh.”

-Debra B. Bergoffen, “Beauvoir: (Re)counting the sexual difference”

On laughter and wine

“Freedom assumes its real, flesh and blood figure in the world by thickening into pleasure, into happiness. If the satisfaction of an old man drinking a glass of wine counts for nothing, the production and wealth are only hollow myths; they have meaning only if they are capable of being retrieved in individual and living joy. The saving of time and the conquest of leisure have no meaning if we are not moved by the laugh of a child at play. If we do not love life on our own account and through others, it is futile to seek to justify it in any way.”

Simone de Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity

On bodily writing

What does it mean to write? The written word flows from the fingertips unbeknownst to the author. An act of creation that does not have its origin in the intellect but from elsewhere. Philosophy relegates itself to the realm of the conceptual; an attempt to make clear the ambiguities that permeate a life and an identity. What does it mean to have idea? From whence does creation spring? What is the meaning of action? And how does the act differentiate itself from the thought? Do they come from the same place?

Is creation the question or the answer? Maybe the moment of inspiration does not spark an idea but mere movement that intends to repeat the inspiration. Creation is not an act of individuality but rather a reinterpretation of universal sensation. A reproduction of the body into an object, a description, a movement not meant to dispel the ambiguity but emphasize it. In philosophy the goal is to argue, an opponent is made clear and there is ambiguity regarding the interpretation, not in the act itself. But to embody a moment is not to clear it, but to preserve its questions. It originates directly from the intimate engagement of oneself, of one’s body fully embedded in the world.

The artist and the creator is radically human such that she is perceived as alienated from humanity. Maybe she is. The goal is to bring movement back into the alienation that is itself fundamentally human. But in reaching towards the depths and creating something (or is it creating nothing?), she reaches deep into the anxious ambiguity that resists becoming voiced. A voicing of that which is common to experience yet inexpressible to many, that which is common to all yet resists any ability to be communicated. This process is not conscious, it is bodily.