My feelings, my emotions, like sheep, had gone astray and I had no idea where they were or what they were up to. I was in my late twenties at this time and I knew something was wrong. My life was dominated by attitudes of duty and hope for a better life if I pleased the correct authorities. And I had every intention of pleasing them with all my might – so much so, I was coming apart at the seams. I had no concept of pleasing myself.
I realize that many people would consider the attitudes I describe above to be ideal ones for a young female. This was far from true. My health was suffering and I would catch viruses much of the time — signs indicating that I’d become a spiritual anorexic.
So, I began writing to feast on my own lamb stew or in Jung’s less malicious prose, “to water one’s own garden”.
All of my writing has been an attempt to track down and reintegrate my emotions.
This is why there are certain modes of critiquing any of my work that are wholly wrong. My writing is not, for instance, inherently emotional. I worked hard to get this effect. Also, I don’t need to be told to take a good, hard look at myself to figure out what, from a right-wing perspective, I need to change. It should already be obvious, not least on the basis of good manners — I really don’t need to be told to go ahead and do what I’ve already been doing over all these years, to find out what needs to change. I’m also not a female stereotype, pent-up with emotions that just want to come pouring out at the slightest touch. If that had been so, I would never have chosen the self-discipline of learning to write.
A friend from a similarly repressed culture recently told my of her disappointment in viewing a movie, Diary of a Geisha. She observed that the book had been very poorly rendered into film because the character seemed like a “Western girl”, very emotional.
“At that age, she would not have known what she was feeling.”
Jennifer: The system exerts a tremendous amount of force to push us into certain roles and into adopting certain “perceptions”.
Karen: As opposed to a powerful and intrinsic knowledge of one’s own gender/race equality and right.Oh yes…prescribed or recreational drugs are certainly a big keeps of the status quo.
Jennifer: Well the “intrinsic” knowledge can also be wrong and limiting. That’s why I propose the shamanistic thing of self-knowledge through perverting the dominant paradigm. i.e. create various perversions of it and find out if any of those are suitable for you.
Note: The term, “perversity”, offers an ironic take on this matter above, since those who defend the dominant paradigm will always view any kind of creativity in dissent as “perverse”.
The corrective to Nietzsche is of course Georges Bataille, who also has a few problems, but at least is clearly of the left. I think you sum it up there very well in stating that the problem of bourgeois society IS the reification of the ego — that is, the assumption that concept of oneself defines one’s actual identity in every sense that matters. I think that liberals in general cannot understand a critique from someone of my bent, who takes up the Nietzschean tradition. They imagine that it would be impossible not to reify the ego or to avoid doing so would mean to denigrate (perhaps even to disintegrate) the ego. This is typical bourgeois black or white thinking. One cannot gain real subjectivity unless one sacrifices the aggrandizement of the bourgeois ego. Yet the (only apparent rather than actual) sacrifice does not lead to nothing or negation. It leads to wholeness and a fulfilled life.
I’m not an introvert. I’m slightly to the side of extroversion. All the same, I’ve adapted to a rather introverted lifestyle because I find too many conventional social assumptions to be alarming. The pop psychology embraced by all too many, including university professors, makes my head spin with its degree of wrongness. For instance, there is the idea that what others believe they observe about you must necessarily be more objective than what one observes about oneself. The illogical and obscene nature of this assumption is something I have no will to deal with. It’s just crazy.