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The dangers of homeostasis: The demise of…

The dangers of homeostasis: The demise of the nom-du-père

by Judith Roof

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Roof moves fast, and I only caught about half of this--the gradualism of evolution vs. the catastrophism of sexual reproduction; the tired genderedness of our conception-narrative (sperm, "the boys," bursting in and the most manly one ravishing the passive egg--when it seems we are learning now that eggs actually exert some selectivity--they actually have a kind of pseudopods!--and Roof asks us to imagine the egg as a Catherine-the-Greatesque (oops! female still) tyrant, swallowing down the spermal DNA and making it part of itself, and to wonder whether we can do that without reference to dominatrix figuration, and then reminds us that this too is a far cry from a meeting of two equal substances--this was the most interesting idea in the talk for me). This is all connected to deeply abstract matters of being and event, the Lacanian "cut," the difference between emergent difference and predifferential sameness, and thus the unavoidability of difference (sameness as difference from difference)--I see it a bit differently (har), see great possibilities in gradience and flux and multiplicity as opposed to binary difference--yeah, yeah, that's a binary too, I get it. And she drops good ideas along the side--menstruation conceived as failure (perhaps it is a continual profusion, in the same way that nobody sees, fuck, the rich black soil of the Ukrainian plain as failure--perhaps fertilization does not produce meaning); the psychic strain of not setting an arbitrary differentiation or individuation point (speak of this to anyone who is currently involved with an incubating fetus!); how easily it is for gestalt or reifying ways of thinking about this stuff to lead to concepts of genetic material as property (if you can sell your sperm, can you sell your body parts? What about your infant's body parts?). MTDNA, decentering of nerve centres (there is one in the gut as big as the one in the brain, and pound for pound the lips too are apparently a contender, and I can only assume the genitals), the categoricity of "genetic ailments" that can be traced to individual chromosomal settings vs. the black box of simple magical human difference, the indeterminacy of stem cells, other stuff that was less English studenty and more sciency and that I followed less well. An interesting evening. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Oct 30, 2013 |
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