On depth

“I seek in the perceived world nuclei of meaning which are in-visible, but which simply are not invisible in the sense of the absolute negation […] but in the sense of the other dimensionality, as depth hollows itself out behind height and breadth, as time hollows itself out behind space”

-Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible

On Cixous’ portrayal of the animal

To imagine that the bird soars in unworldliness articulates a rejection of human and societal constraint more so than an accurate portrayal of the animal, especially when humanity’s impact on the world, through climate change related mass extinction, transcends the bounds of its own knowledge and touches even undiscovered spaces. W. D. Ross asks, “Is there a point at which we may write the animal body without insisting on consuming it?” Does Cixous’ framework speak truly of the animal, or does she make of it a romantic symbol of an ideal human freedom? Cixous’ analysis suggests that the animal brings the human beyond humanity, yet the beyond of this statement stands firmly in the human perspective. The author of G. H.’s story calls this beyond ‘inferno,’ but Hell too remains a biblical cliché.

On the musicality of matter and life

“Perhaps the figure of music offers a genuine alternative to both thing and idea, the emergence of rhythm and melody as something more than juxtaposed beats or notes while something less than an explicit thought, as a sense that invade the subject rather than being reducible to an object for it. The rhythm of the heart and the breath indicate the musicality of matter and life from which the mind emerges, and the relation of the lived melody to its virtual score may yet figure the relation between life and mind in an entirely new register, the register of expression rather than of signification. This is a suggestion to which Merleau-Ponty will return in his later writings, but which may already be suggested when he characterizes our relation with nature, in Phenomenology of Perception, as ‘singing the world’”

-Ted Toadvine, Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Nature

On Being a Man

“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter… I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. Their distribution techniques were rudimentary and their market research was nil, and so of course the concept just didn’t get off the ground. Even with a genius behind it an invention has to find its market, and it seemed like for a long time the idea of women just didn’t make it to the bottom line. Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was way too far ahead of its time.”

-Ursula Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind

On marriage

“Don’t give up. Never give up, and if you feel discouraged read Ariel by Sylvia Plath ­– it’s just pure electricity.” – Robert Montgomery

First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something’s missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit——

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.
Well, what do you think of that?
Naked as paper to start

But in twenty-five years she’ll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk, talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it’s a poultice.
You have an eye, it’s an image.
My boy, it’s your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

Sylvia Plath, “The Applicant”