Monday, September 27, 2010

Some wine of wisdom

I thought that you might find the conversation triggered by my previous post in the comments box interesting, so I am posting again here:

wineofwisdom said...
But the quote doesn't define the scope to the dream, why did you constrict it to Plastic surgery?

eography said...

The context of the quote, which is from "All about my mother", is a pre-operation transsexual having a speech about her looks. She does talk about her plastic surgeries (fake breasts, lip job, etc.). It is true the quote refers mainly to dreams of transsexuals to look in a certain way but it does touch on plastic surgeries which I think is a similar phenomenon. I do believe that if a person cannot come to terms with her/his looks, and if this she/he has an idea or a "dream" of how best to look like, they will be more authentic when or if they do, not only because they will resemble more their dreamed image about themselves but more because they are no longer obsessed with how their looks does not reflect who they really are. This is a long discussion anyway. And discussing plastic surgeries, beyond the "Haifa wanna be" phenomenon, or even with such phenomenon included, is not a shallow topic, it can get you to some deeper arguments touching on feminism, LGBT issues, and human nature.

wineofwisdom said...

No, it is not a shallow topic. My own journey has been one of redeeming an integrity which I have felt to be violated after my realization of how much of what I call "me" isn't really "me." Incorporated in the image of who I am were the opinions and desires of others, what I was "supposed" to be. We tend to treat ourselves as commodities and hence attempt to better those traits which we think, in turn, would better our price and value on the market. Be it the market of love or work doesn't really matter for the instrumentlization is one and the same; and treating our selves as means is an inherent part of an economy which has so distorted our view of who we are — our humanity — that we easily waste our lives in quenching the resulting anxieties — but never to succeed. For a life thwarted in growth and built on illusion can never offer genuine satisfaction.

If a person needs a certain faith or requires a certain image in order to feel good about him/herself, then that is ok as long as that person remembers and keeps the doors open for change and possibility. As long as he/she knows that the human is something different from what is being proposed(though he/she may not know exactly what the human “is”), and that it is towards that human that he/she must strive.

eography said...
"We tend to treat ourselves as commodities and hence attempt to better those traits which we think, in turn, would better our price and value on the market. Be it the market of love or work doesn't really matter for the instrumentlization is one and the same":

Well said!

It is a non ending struggle, striving to be or to look like the dream image or what people call self realization (which as you rightly said is an illusion) but it doesn't negate the fact that it does give you self satisfaction, albeit short lived. But isn't this illusory struggle that keeps us all going somewhere? We are bound (no cursed) with something called "time" that can only function in a linear way. Once you undo that, let's say when or if science finds its way to a time machine (by finding a way to making m=0 in the e=mc² formula, as someone explained to me, but that's another story), so unless we do this, we are all doomed and we will keep looking forward to things, waiting, longing, looking, wishing, and dreaming. I am not going to say that the truth lies back in the start under Santiago's pillow (as Paulo Coehlo believes), no I trust that our fate, yes fate (in a non-religious sense) is to be beaten by time. Remembering is maybe the only gift we were honoured with. But I also have faith in science.
You know, I think I will post this discussion if you don't mind.


  1. This is very interesting. I'll take some time to think about it and then reply.

  2. Whatever satisfaction an illusion can give it is as transitory as the snow on desert's face. It is mingled with a taste of vengeance directed against oneself and hatred directed against life; it gives rise to a feeling of tiredness which one must efface and make go away by making oneself even more tired until experiencing the ecstasy of numbness and immobility (our modern form ecstasy; the ways to achieve this are practically infinite); and the person is left amidst a sense of lingering unhappiness that radiates even in his smile.

    When under the illusion, one is kept from embracing oneself, it is as if one stands against oneself and this generates a tension which needs to be quenched psychologically. Alcohol, workaholism, sex, consumption, obsessiveness with perfection… One must chain oneself somewhere as not to drift aimlessly as an earth unchained from its sun. If the illusion keeps me from knowing who “I” am, then others must define me. Ultimately, and in the words of Pirandello, I say to the world “I am as you desire me.”

    “To stand up or to be set up,” Marcus Aurelius affirmed two thousand years ago. Ultimately this is what it goes down to: assuming total responsibility over oneself in which case our act is the most intimate expression of our self, of who we are, of the “I” whole and complete and free of dichotomies, or relegating the responsibility of defining who we are for others (God, science, subconscious, fate, conformity, sadomasochism…) in which case we are “set up” and often engage in the games of casting blame as to avoid responsibility.

    It is true that “time is an illusion bestowed upon us by a timeless god,” but what is equally true is that time is an interwoven part of our world, of who we are. Time is for us what the web is for the spider. Lately I’ve attempted to reason with a spider and told him that his web is an artifice and a mere illusion, that in reality there are no webs and that he is merely spinning illusion upon illusion. Stupefied, the spider gazed into my eyes and, rightly, laughed at me.

    Following God’s death, Science assumed His place:

    “God willed it,” relieved from its weight, he sighed,
    Responsibility is cast aside.
    Time’s infinite eye blinked, God’s ball shattered,
    His will, Science’s, what it deems is tied.