The heterogeneous parts of our beings are the parts which our educational processes teach us to eschew. The goal of a modernist educational project is to make us all into interchangeable parts -- highly calculable, highly predictable, and highly transparent, in terms of our beings. Once we are transformed into such a pattern of thinking and behaving, we can fulfil a productive role in society.
The spontaneous and unpredictable parts of who we otherwise would be will have been eradicated from our minds and bodies. We can then be utilised as part of a machine within a giant and more or less (depending on the efficiency of our education) predictable machine. That machine is social order.
To the degree that our educational processes have fit us for the modernist order in an efficient and thorough way, the lure of heterogeneity will lose its attraction for us. In fact our now much more narrow egos (identifying with self and its sense of social order but not with others) will exclude heterogeneous aspects from our conscious minds, automatically. That which is heterogeneous about life will not seem attractive at all (as stated), but these elements will rather appear to be “silly”, “trivial”, “beneath us”, “repugnant”, and so on. This all has to do with the processes of ego defence. We have internalized the lesson that in order to be accepted in society, we have to reject the elements of non-uniformity in ourselves and others. This outcome is a product of the metaphorical working out of the Oedipus Complex (I do not take this too literally — it depicts the dynamics of weaker human beings and their developmental processes in relation to unbending authorities). For those who have been processed fully by the factories of education (and who are therefore, in an almost entirely negative sense, “mature”), to realistically entertain thoughts of heterogeneity is to invite the descent of the superego — a punishment for thinking to break the rules of homogeneous conformity!
For the reasons of this particular dynamic governing our access to things relegated to the unconscious as forbidden to the rational human being, BLACK SUNLIGHT is the hardest book to read in a fluid and persistent manner, from beginning to end. That is because the book is made up almost entirely of aspects of life which we have all (more or less) eschewed as aspects that serve to make us less civilised than we would be. To read BLACK SUNLIGHT persistently is therefore to challenge one’s own unconscious to become more flexible, less rigid, in what it allows one to see.
BLACK SUNLIGHT is the most resistant book to read also because the unconscious will keep clamping down, as if to suggest that what is being read is “merely trivial”, “ridiculous”, “offensive and irrelevant” and so on. This is all the more indication that one is dealing with genuinely heterogeneous material, which the blindly conformist part of one’s mind automatically seeks to protect one from!
I spent more than a year trying to read this book. I read parts of it, and digested parts of it. The parts I read were intense — but always, inevitably, my mind would keep switching off from what I was reading. I took in small sections of what seemed like hilarious and acute political observations and criticisms. Yet, as the writing fragmented or changed pace, I couldn’t keep up with it. There were too many windows to look out of, as well as too much outside of the windows to take in. I had to put the book down and allow my mind time to digest it all.
Finally, one day, I’d made enough progress that I did manage to read the book through from beginning to end. I must admit that my nerves were shattered by the experience! I no longer was reading the book as if it was raising issues which were really trivial or desperate means of attention-getting using material designed to be offensive. It was almost like a different gestalt had seized my mind. Through the open window, I now saw the actual state of life as it really was, vulnerable, delicate and endangered — without any safety nets. My ego was no longer defending me from other people’s realities — nor even from my own experience of reading.
I now felt the ubiquity of danger all around. I experienced the lack of protection of the homogeneous mindset. The book seemed to race from one situation of danger to another, without relief. I felt my heart (and my stomach!) dropping out of me, within a series of “juddering plunges”. I came to feel that this book contained throughout the multidimensional aspects of its storyline, a deeply intimate exposé of both a universal and highly specific self, and its vulnerabilities in the face of the impersonal forces of life. From a perspective of homogeneous life and its concomitant quality of social conformity, this theme of the nakedness of self must also, I believe, imply an authorial self-pity. However, I did not find any self-pity in this book, but rather a courageous facing of reality as it actually is, in its broadest dimensions, with an approach of black humour and deep layers of style. It is the sheer courage of the book in exposing what it does, and in allowing us to see what we would not normally dare to see, which invokes tears.
This is a powerful book — but due to its power, it is resistant to reading on the first attempt. An opposing power relating directly to the reader’s need for security and one’s desire for social homogeneity serves to insulate us to a large extent from experiencing this book, so that it’s only on the forth or fifth readings that we can truly engage with it.