Body, Fetch, Talker, God Soul, and: Part 7: And—

For me, the point isn’t transcendence, which I see as abandoning this reality and life (or trying to). The point is to live here as yourself, as who you wish to live and act as. Either path is pretty damn difficult: the problems that Body encounters, finding yourself ignorant of or divorced from Fetch, having Talker caught within other peoples’ stories and ways of imagining self and the world, and the collective disjunction from God Soul. It may be tempting to look at God Soul as the Point, but that presupposes that God Soul didn’t have a point in Body, Fetch, and Talker doing whatever they try to do in this world.

The point, I would argue, is whatever emerges when all four of those come together and align together and can live as one integrate wholeness—or at least something more resembling wholeness. I choose to call “us” a particular name. That name I heard from God Soul/Self/Elaith, but I’m not going to offer it here. That name is one-part magical formulae, one-part name, one-part secret reality, one-part reminder to myself. For me, it grows out of the name I first encoded here as “M.” Taken together, M represents how we want to live in this world—with Insight and Eloquence, Knowledge and Self, Pride and Truth, Love and Power, Wisdom and Passion, Stillness and Wholeness, with Knowledge, with Will, with Daring, with Softening, Reflection, Silence, with Fire and Wind and Earth and Waters, as beansidhe, as raven, as—so many threads and roots and branches woven together. We seek a life that is integrate and enchanted, bridging magic and the Otherworlds into and through us into the world. The rub is bridging this Wholeness into the social world and the public sphere.

In that sense, I’ve gained a far more inclusive (though by no means complete) sense of who I want to live as, how I want to act, but the process of bridging all of that into this world and living and acting that Wholeness—well, it’s a process. It’s not a switch to flip inside or a single magic spell to utter and bam there you go. I’m talking about how one lives and conceives of oneself and one’s relationship to the world—entire lives and not some simple wish.

Jacques Lacan—though growing hoarier by the year, but still a damn sight more useful on a daily basis than Freud—talked about the idea of the objet petite a, Little Object a. For Lacan, objet petit a was that Thing that people liked to imagine would magically complete their lives and make them whole and complete—and thus make everything (and themselves) perfect. Maybe it was a billion dollars, or a stupidly fast red car, or a family, or a big happy dog, or becoming CEO, or becoming a teacher or doctor or fireman, or whatever. The point for Lacan was that folks were too eager to objectify themselves as they imagined the objet petite a would fix everything, and too often, they would seize the objet petite a and grow into monsters or eventually feel imperfect again and seek after some new objet petite a.[1] They would grow monstrous in the way that the rich and powerful see themselves as perfect compared to others, or as family people can grow into sanctimony and moral hypocrites (“Won’t anyone think of the children? We have to protect family and children above all other considerations!”), or as CEOS, teachers, doctors, and so forth can grow into dictators and tyrants.

Lacan’s point was that—psychologically—identity and mental health were processes that people had to attend to and take responsibility for, reflecting on and understanding themselves rather than seeking after objects or magical bullets. My point in pointing to Lacan isn’t to engage in some ableist mental health discourse, which all too often does fall into magical bullet mentality or into the binary of “sane” or “healthy” versus “insane” or “unhealthy.” My point in drawing on Lacan is to point to how living in this world and imagining and acting our lives are processes.  We should work to reclaim what agency we can in imagining, acting, and living those lives, reclaiming our lives from whatever has taken that agency from us. Simultaneously, those lives should be embodied, present, engaging with the world and with our fellow beings. We should strive to recognize our own agency and the agency of others.

Image: Passionflower (PD)

[1] Deleuze and Guattari built on Lacan (and others) and pushed such notions towards capitalism’s tendency to graft “desiring machines” to us—the idea being that we desired to consume in some desperate attempt to satisfy a vague abstract desire as we sought to pursue our agency, but most of what happens is we consume and consume and consume more in a desperate bid of satisfying ourselves rather than, well—what I get at in those last two paragraphs.

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