On Becoming the Alien Thing We Are


The real horror of identity politics is that people begin to reduce themselves to a set of labels, define themselves as part of some collective community without ever truly recognizing that each of us is already a community: the self being for all intents and purposes non-existent, we must realize this thing we are is a multiplicity rather than a monistic monastery for isolated monks of thought and feeling. Without becoming this becoming we lose ourselves in other’s images of life and politics, never attaining that awareness of our own alien otherness. For in the end we are that alien thing, that inhuman creature we have feared for far too long; and, to accept the thing we are, to accept this alien core of our own otherness is to suddenly break free of all those imposed labels we’ve been given from birth onwards by parents, friends, and State. To walk free of the names we have known is to enter the unknown world of our alien being, to become posthuman is to leave the very core of our cultural prison and its labels forever.

7 thoughts on “On Becoming the Alien Thing We Are

  1. A task close to impossible for those enduring labels of oppression imposed on us a by a colonizing power. A black driver who sees the red lights flashing in the rear view mirror, doesn’t have the freedom to forget the label stamped on their body by the arresting cop.

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    • How do you know this to be true? Is it your personal experience? In that case how did you manage to embody the universal? Or did you just imagine it? In which case it is at best a form of impersonation?

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  2. That makes no sense. I was thinking/remembering outside abstractions. I’ve been targeted for being queer. Only a label–but those who beat me up insisted in a painfully real way, that those labels had power to generate consequences. I might abjure their reality, but that in no way frees me from their power to do me harm.
    No more than the the colonized are free from the physical consequences of the labels imposed on them by the cononizers.

    Are you actually claiming–that a black driver, by claiming the freedom from that label in their mind–is free from the cop shooting them dead? Get fucking real–brain-in-a-bottle-philosophy is the ideology of the privileged oppressors.

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    • Yea, that’s why I put the stone cold truth of it as “The real horror…”, which obviously precludes any escape from this hell-on-earth we’ve created for ourselves. If anything my point was exactly yours, that we live under the horror of a system of labels that targets and identifies us, puts us all into various pigeon-holes that allow such idiocy, imbecility, and terror to be perpetrated. We live in a horror show imposed on us from child birth… Obviously we’d like to wake up from this nightmare, but the truth is if we woke up from this one we’d probably enter another nightmare. We’ve been fucked all along… So no I wouldn’t claim a black man or any other man could escape this deterministic death culture anytime soon, if at all. Utopia is the last vanity. … But if I stated the obvious we’d lose the dark poetry of our predicament, and might as well get that shotgun out and blow our fool heads off. And, I even question that way out: maybe, as the various mythos of India would have it we’d just end up worse off if such a thing is possible… a sort of vicious circle of hell without outlet.

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      • I appreciate your reply.

        What we’re facing with the climate crisis may soon enough relieve of us our labels. I go on making art… and mull anew with every piece I make, what it means to make art with no posterity.

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      • The hallmarks of the noir style are fear, guilt and loneliness, breakdown and despair, sexual obsession and social corruption, a sense that the world is controlled by malignant forces preying on us, a rejection of happy endings and a preference for resolutions heavy with doom, but always redeemed by a breathtakingly vivid poetry of word or image. In its own way the films of Hitchcock or the noirsh novels of a Woolrich brought us back to the ancient Gnostic cosmos of ontological horror, a world ruled by evil Archons – as in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian with its Archon, Judge Holden. Doomed from the beginning all we have is our art, which is neither consolation nor redemption; but merely a way to assuage the pain of this doom we are living.

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