Richard Doyle says the drugged narrator writes in the “Nth person plural” — a psychic transfer that starts in a level-up from first person to third, then beyond, full exit from singular personal enclosure, ego immolation. It starts when you notice how often you use I in your writing, how references to you and your problems punctuate everything you say and do, the hell of the self, the effusive suffocating I, me, I, I, the crime some people charge social media with: crowding oneself in with oneself, filter bubbles, “the daily me,” bodies made out of their own information.
In this moment depression, our current pandemic, is not as an infection, a malignant actor from the outside like bacteria or rape, but an infarction, endogenous — it’s cancer. Too much self growing inside the self. I’m living all over me.
Recently I read that masochism as a kink is deep down more purely evil than sadism. That masochists are more self-interested, less compassionate. That their libidinal energies well up and attract predators like mosquitoes circling to stagnant water.
Now I think about what it would be like to dominate someone else, to conjure blood to virgin cheekbones, train my fingers to pinch and beat and hypnotize, read my eros into its translucent surfaces. To bring a blush to the back of a neck, so pretty like the stem of a young plant, just to find out if it’s as easy to snap in half. I imagine this complete alien who exists in time but not space, who takes up no weight in the world, the fairy thing-body of time but not even time because you can only seduce it in quantum lightshows that flicker somewhere between your fantasy and the fantasy that it sees you, too.
And I think about a strain of continental philosophy that categorically rejects psychology as a science. That remakes heart medicine in the image of a collective awareness, a translatable jargon, a realpolitik. According to which the question what does pain mean? makes sense.
I’m a childless pacifist, I’ve never brought life or death into this world. At times I’ve felt pretty inhumanly exterior to these normal cycles of genesis. But pure life and death, I mean total pleasure and pain, unnumbness, I know them too. Buddhism says life is suffering, but doesn’t pain push us back into the blindness of the ego? Doesn’t it remind us of that basic separation we’re always grieving? I think I’m right and the Buddhists are wrong.