[NetBehaviour] This Sex which is not None

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sat Mar 22 22:33:01 CET 2008

This Sex which is not None

"When I move my eyes, I take account of their movement, without being expressly 
conscious of the fact, and am thereby aware that the upheaval caused in my 
field of vision is only apparent. Similarly sexuality, without being the object 
of any intended act of consciousness, can underlie and guide specified forms of 
my experience,. Taken in this way, as an ambiguous atmosphere, sexuality is 
co-extensive with life. In other words, ambiguity is of the essence of human 
existence, and everything we live or think has always several meanings. A way 
of life - an attitude of escapism and need of solitude - is perhaps a 
generalized expression of a certain state of sexuality,. In thus becoming 
transformed into existence, sexuality has taken upon itself so general a 
significance, the sexual theme has contrived to be for the subject the occasion 
for so many accurate and true observations in themselves, of so many rationally 
based decisions, and it has become so loaded with the passage of time that it 
is an impossible undertaking to seek, within the framework of sexuality, the 
explanation of the framework of existence, The fact remains that this existence 
is the act of taking up and making explicit a sexual situation, and that in 
this way it has always a double sense. There is interfusion between sexuality 
and existence, which means that existence permeates sexuality and _vice versa,_ 
so that it is impossible to determine, in a given decision or action, the 
proportion of sexual to other motivations, impossible to label a decision or 
act 'sexual' or 'non-sexual.' Thus there is in human existence a principle of 
indeterminacy, and this indeterminacy is not only for us, it does not stem from 
some imperfection of our knowledge, and we must not imagine that any God could 
sound our hearts and minds and determine what we owe to nature and what to 
freedom. Existence is indeterminate in itself, by reason of its fundamental 
structure [...]" (Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception)

It's murky, this being always hinting at structure or organ, somewhere down 
beneath the surface (invisible from the surface, from the exterior), well 
something's there causing the commotion, a messy engine or drive, pulsion, a 
vibration which comes and leaves in fits. Hard to reconcile with the rest of 
the chattered world, that boy's got something, that girl's got something, as if 
on a day in spring, a ripening, and what does that have to do with one's place 
in the cosmos? One begins to discern structure, a presence or devouring 
presence or presence to be devoured, but dimly, a symbol, cupped hands lifting 
up, you can hold water that way. The skin holds water, filters it. See, here's 
the Thing, Being is tawdry, sad, something to kick around, we can't get to the 
Universal; Being or beings make no difference at all, nothing, they're like a 
pair of socks, something to run around in. Being or emptiness, beings or 
Emptiness, we're talking about ourselves, a local farm, what's temporarily 
present in the biome. It's a "region," just as sex-being, being-sex, existence 
is a region, a region which is perhaps regional, perhaps not. Carrying organs 
and communities within us, and they make all the decisions, separations, our 
cries and murmurs, analytics, are regional paste, local determinations within 
the inconceivable; our conceptualizations are skitterings. It's a truism - I 
talk and write from inside my body. Conceptually, say whatever you want, this 
language machine, this computer, goes back to the Acheulian hand-ax and 
earlier; tools were always with us, always thrusting into earth or stem or 

This is why existence is a dead word and sex is not; sex starts inside 
something and moves inside something and maybe something else, and existence, 
beings and Being, does nothing. Or does nothing outside the copula; existents 
reside within the copula, they're chained-linked in our imaginary which tries 
to hang on, with the slimmest of threads, to some- thing that might be 
considered, not only external (for we sense those, the scent of the true 
world), but out there, structure paralleling our own. We "just" tend to forget 
the copula, a female or male hand tying a knot making speaking, these wrytings, 
possible. Sexuality brings whatever else there is into the local; my body 
reflects my body, there's an uncanny surrounding, insistent on present 
presence, alterity, imminence, as if "here" and "there" jump-started one 
another in the boot-strap model of existence, powered by sex.

Sexual organs are situated, their effect that of diffusion, existence diffuses 
"as far as we're concerned," as far as "we're intended"; it's that hint of 
structure, which is somewhat other, messily other, that sur- faces as 
abstracted desire-in-language - all these names, desire, libido, frisson, 
arousal, id, what have you, and nothing's there, certainly not existence which 
seems to be driven by energy, impulse, force, unintended churning. Why we 
hardly know what we are. Or rather one might take struc- ture, as if it could 
separate from desire, existence, meta-psychology, meta-physics - one might take 
structure and make experiment of it. There are always artifacts, however 
ephemeral. You get practice out of it, communication, you can take it to the 

You get tangled up when thinking about the organs; it's better to keep things 
beneath the covers, much as existence is kept out of sight, out of our site to 
be sure. We always mistake the copula for copulation, the attribute for the 
thing, the thing for possible worlds, possible worlds for occurrences, 
occurrences for Being remote again from the organs; the true world is the 
mattering/nattering to and among us, and we have to mess with the symbolic in 
all sorts of ways - for example inscription, and then one form of erasing or 
another. Not to mention the magic slate, what's uncanny, what's strange, what 
estranges us.

There's nothing to say about emptiness but Nagarjuna says nothing anyway.

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