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02-2021

This has been a consequential week. It is the first time in American History that there has not been a peaceful transfer of power. Instead we had an insurrection and an effort by conservative Republicans to argue the results should be overturned. A small number of Republicans resisted. A rash on my torso was of primary personal concern. Also of political importance is the Democratic victory in the two Senate runoff seats in Georgia. Readings in Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex continue. de Beauvoir writes about the place of woman in primitive and agricultural societies which give her an esteemed place because of her fertility. She also details the more recent opportunity for woman to take her place alongside men in the industrial world, as the work depends less and less on brute strength which always favored men. She also discusses the myth of woman and its role in stereotyping and subjugating her.

January 09, 2021

228.4 lbs

05:25 AM – my studio

… my rash situation seems to be getting better, hoping i am not imagining, giving it the weekend, then a call to my doctor if it hasn’t begun to retreat, been having strange rashes, hives, intermittently lately, this the worst so far, they emerge, get itchy and then heal up relatively quickly… pain in my neck, right side, seems muscular, or nerve related, well, pain is always nerve related, seems to be less than it has been, am i just tired of being stressed out?… it seems more and more probable that there was a coordinated effort around the riots and siege of the Capital building on Wednesday, National Guard with very restrictive orders, National Guard not getting approved to come at all, the skeletal crew of the Capital Police, statements at the rally urging 45 supporters to storm the Capital… Dems are pushing through new articles of impeachment, also legislation that would allow congress to invoke the 25th amendment, it’s a chaotic and tumultuous last two weeks before the Inauguration, when Dems will then have majorities in all three branches of government… excuses are being made on the right to not remove 45, those excusing are trying to hold onto any cohesion possible in the Republican Party, they shamelessly refuse to act, saying it will further inflame the situation, about which i care little at all, everyone involved needs to be held accountable, charges brought, trials held, punishment meted out, damn the 70 plus million that bought 45’s bullshit, damn the almost half of the country that are so afraid of loosing their privilege, it’s time we moved to a multicultural, intersectional, egalitarian society, for all kinds of reasons…

… Simone de Beauvoir… continuing with her exposition on woman as connector to the mysterious workings of the cosmos, as the communicator with the metaphysical…

…man sought to overcome his solitude by ecstasy: that is the goal of mysteries, orgies, and bacchanals.1

… this brings to the surface my most ecstatic sexual experience with H, we completely surrendered to one another, a true merging of selves, at least that is how it plays in my memory, and in that merging, union with the cosmos… condition of complete surrender by woman triggers profound sexual experience for man, coupled with ejaculation into a completely receptive, completely possessed and possessing woman… de Beauvoir discussing virginity, some cultures requiring the bride be a virgin, some requiring the opposite… the more patriarchal the society, the more it lands on the side of virginity, which is about ownership of the earth and all its powers, in less patriarchal societies, fear of the powers of the virgin leads to deflowering prior to marriage…

Man expects more from possessing woman than the satisfaction of an instinct; she is the special object through which he subjugates Nature.2

… de Beauvoir points to men’s fascination with youthful women, nubility, a preoccupation with men’s certain deaths, a young woman at the side is life affirming, rejuvenating, this the psychological meaning, though it has to be acknowledged that the young woman is also the fertile woman, nature prepares us to be attracted to that which can procreate…

The man captivated by her (woman’s) spell loses his will, his project, his future; he is no longer a citizen but flesh, slave to his desires, he is crossed out of the community, enclosed in the instant, thrown passively from torture to pleasure; the perverse magician pits passion against duty, the present against the unity of time, she keeps the traveler far from home, she spreads forgetfulness.3

… woman is both life and death, i think of my own, still lingering enthrallment with M, was she the flowing water that carried me over the horizon to quickening old age and dissolution?… a beautiful passage from A Night in Kurdistan, Jean-Richard Bloch, i will google and download the book?… de Beauvoir now recounting the misogyny of the Christian religion… i come to a good stopping point, it is almost 7, time to get on with the day, a moment though, the more i read the Second Sex, the more i think i want to deeply explore the nature of the depiction and participation of women in the photographic enterprise…

January 08, 2021

228.2 lbs

04:10 AM – my studio

… first waking discovery, a rash on my left underarm, there has been irritation going on there, left breast nipple and now the underarm, very itchy, i have been getting these rashes, mostly on my wrists, they come, reach a peak, dissipate, what’s going on?… will track it, make a doctors appointment if it persists, do i need to bathe more frequently?… my hygiene hasn’t been the best during the pandemic… a daily OM comes in, i don’t often read them, the title is Enlightenment at Home, that’s what we all want, enlightenment, we want to figure things out, know our place in the universe, most of all, be at peace with it, well, maybe not 45 supporters, they seem to want to burn it all down… speaking of 45, a growing chorus invoking the 25th amendment solution, Pence is said to be uninterested, 45’s administration falling to pieces, cabinet members resigning (rather than face 25th amendment decision) it is only 12 more days of 45’s presidency, many, republicans, think we should ride it out, what harm can he do in two weeks?, plenty I say, he seems chastened at the moment, but?… a very mercurial and some believe mentally ill, individual, the possibilities are not predictable…

… Simone de Beauvoir…

… it is interesting that in the history she recounts there is much that is relevant to conversations being had today, women’s position in society, economic systems that enforce that position, the struggle between socialism and capitalism, between egalitarian governing and patriarchal/Oligarchical governing, which, it turns out, has been going on for 100’s of years… the current struggle in the United States is along these lines, an Oligarchy vs. the socialism of Egalitarianism… de Beauvoir now discusses the myth of woman as possessed and desired by men, the only way to complete themselves (gender fluidity not withstanding), she is his connection to nature…

It is always difficult to describe a myth; it does not lend itself to being grasped or defined; it haunts consciousnesses without ever being posited opposite them as a fixed object. The object fluctuates so much and is so contradictory that its unity is not at first discerned: Delilah and Judith, Aspasia and Lucretia, Pandora and Athena, woman is both Eve and the Virgin Mary. She is an idol, a servant, source of life, power of darkness; she is the elementary silence of truth, she is artifice, gossip, and lies; she is the medicine woman and witch; she is man’s prey; she is his downfall, she is everything he is not and wants to have, his negation and his raison d’être.4

… on some level, i would not mind being a woman, i know the repression that comes with the territory, the perils, but, my sensibilities are as feminine as masculine…

Man seeks the Other in woman as Nature and as his peer. But Nature inspires ambivalent feelings in man, as has been seen. He exploits it, but it crushes him; he is born from and he dies in it; it is the source of his being and the kingdom he bends to his will; it is a material envelope in which the soul is held prisoner, and it is the supreme reality; it is contingency and Idea, finitude and totality; it is that which opposes Spirit and himself.5

woman embodies nature as Mother, Spouse, and Idea; these figures are sometimes confounded and sometimes in opposition, and each has a double face.6

…Aeschylus, Aristotle and Hippocrates are invoked on the male principle, the creative principle, the form principle, the number principle, the movement principle, are all his, “Demeter makes corn multiply, but the origin of corn and its truth are in Zeus; woman’s fertility is considered merely a passive virtue.7

… de Beauvoir paints a picture in which man, the active/creative principle within the confines of the material world, is helpless in the face of the journey from becoming to death, woman is the ouroboros, the tail devouring snake, the cycle of life, he is the mountainous principle, the erection, the action figure required to perpetuate the cycle (though the time has arrived where that is less and less the case)… long passages on the menstrual cycle and the myths and superstitions that attend to it, generally, as something evil, unclean, we are supposed to be repulsed by it, especially not to have intercourse during it, i never minded menstrual blood while making love, to me there was a certain erotic nature to it… i am in a long chapter on the mythologies surrounding womanhood, i will pick it up again tomorrow…

January 07, 2021

227.0 lbs

05:59 AM – my studio

… chaos in DC yesterday, protestors breached and ransacked the Capital Building, lawmakers were forced to evacuate, hide under their desks, Biden/Harris were certified anyway, 45 has agreed to a peaceful transfer of power, though he continues to insist he won and that there was massive fraud… my weight being down to 227 seems an anomaly, hopefully it holds, it can hold if i do the right things when eating… in other excellent news, Warnock and Ossoff won their Senate races too, which puts the Senate in Democratic hands, though with the slimmest margin possible, Chuck Schumer will be the Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnel relegated to the position of Minority Leader, where he will still influence the direction of things more than i would like, still, we the more liberal people of the United States have reason to hope that good things will come of it… lots of articles analyzing what happened yesterday, anyone with a modicum of intelligence could have seen it coming, apparently, the Capital Police did not, there are varying theories about their failure, many are wondering if they were on some level complicit with letting the protestors in, a more benign interpretation would be to hold down the violence and any excuse that 45 might have had to invoke insurrection powers and call out the military, thankfully, that did not happen, HCR figures that the Dems will now be able to pass voting rights legislation that will be the effective end of the Republican Party in power in Washington, they strike me as a many headed hydra, so we will see…

January 06, 2021

228.2 lbs

04:27 AM – my studio

… it appears Dems have won both senate seats in the special election, Warnock has been called, Ossoff has not been, though votes remaining to be counted likely favor Dems… there is a good chance Biden/Harris will be able to get some things done in the next four years which will in turn, hopefully, favor Democrats in 2024… H’s eye exam yesterday was good, no surgery needed, just more drops… happy that my weight is down, no alcohol does the trick, along with improving sleep…

… de Beauvoir…

… a rapid movement through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the French Revolution, the detailing of how women’s rights don’t improve much despite an Age of Enlightenment, the enlightenment does not extend to women in society… in the case of “bourgeois” woman, it is the Copenhagen syndrome, The bourgeois woman clings to the chains because she clings to her class privileges.8

It is drilled into her and she believes that women’s liberation would weaken bourgeois society; liberated from the male, she would be condemned to work; while she might regret having her rights to private property subordinated to her husband’s, she would deplore even more having this property abolished; she feels no solidarity with working-class women: she feels closer to her husband than to a woman textile worker. She makes his interests her own.9

… i think of C and J as i read this, and the many women connected to means that are currently in league with the patriarchy, because they do not want the ordering system of their lives upset, it is privilege that gives them comfort and safety in a world that is often brutal…

Yet these obstinate examples of resistance cannot stop the march of history; the advent of the machine ruins landed property and brings about working-class emancipation and concomitantly that of woman. All forms of socialism, wresting woman from the family, favor her liberation: Plato, aspiring to a communal regime, promised women a similar autonomy to that enjoyed in Sparta. With the utopian socialism of Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Cabet is born the utopia of the “free woman.”10

… the present struggle, as it has been for the past 200 years, is between patriarchal wealth and order, and the working class, which is inclined to Socialism as being in its best interest, the choice of eating cake and having some amount of self respect and independence in the world, the present world trying to organize itself around the extremely wealthy, the oligarchs, and the gig economy surfs…

Woman regains the economic importance lost since prehistoric times because she escapes the home and plays a new role in industrial production. The machine makes this upheaval possible because the difference in physical force between male and female workers is canceled out in a great number of cases.11

… as technology progresses, so does the condition of women, relative to freedom and equality… however, the situation evolves thorough the gig economy to one where man and woman alike are increasingly enslaved…

The most oppressed minorities in a society are readily used by the oppressors as a weapon against the class they belong to;12

… one of the forces of oppression, the below or bare minimum wage, this maintains the upper hand of means of production owners… about abortion, it is Christianity that introduces the concept of embryo with soul, thus setting up the battle between pro and anti abortion factions… this is taken to the point where the avoidance of becoming pregnant is equated with homicide, the role of fertile woman in the Christian world being to have as many babies as she is physically capable of, anything short of that is homicide… the moment the soul enters the body is debated and established at the fortieth day after conception for a male fetus and the eightieth for female fetuses, yet another extension of the inferiority of women, gestation in the womb…

It is remarkable that once socially abolished, their femininity no longer constituted inferiority: there were infinitely more queens with great reigns than kings.13

January 05, 2021

229.0 lbs

08:27 PM – living room

… I May Destroy You, weird drama about rape, forward, backwards in time, slice of life told, not Hollywood drama… Osoff and Warnock seem to be do doing well, a democratic sweep of the state this year?…

my studio

… the news is all disturbing, article in The Economist Magazine about the defense secretaries op-ed telling the military they have no role in the elections, i assumed they had information i did not about behind the scenes machinations and it seems they did, the military is not off the table for involvement… HCR was no more reassuring, she mentioned little about the defense secretaries, spoke more about the coup attempt that too many Republican legislators are backing, and it appears that right wing supporters of 45 will be in Washington on Wednesday, my guess would be that they are there to create the conditions under which 45 could invoke the insurrection act… the next two days are critical… a prayer to the cosmic powers that may or may not be, please lets avoid authoritarian rule…

… Simone de Beauvoir, in the present chapter she is taking on Christianity and various other religious traditions… De Beauvoir recounts a harrowing history of the appalling treatment of women through the ages, in Christianity, woman is the original sinner, Eve tempting Adam and the two being tossed out of the Garden of Eden… women are thereafter an evil to be chained up, in effect, if not literally… interestingly, the more money and property at stake, the more woman lives in servitude to the man, de Beauvoir paints a very different picture at the level of poverty, where there is little to no property at stake, consequently, man and woman function on equal footing and in companionship… this catches my attention:

it is after the fact that men find reasons to act as it suits them.14

… which is remarkably similar to current neuroscience claims that the so called rational mind is the apologist for actions driven by pre-conscious directives built into the human brain… and this:

Their (prostitutes) situation and the Jews’ were often rightly compared: usury and money lending were forbidden by the Church exactly as extra-conjugal sex was; but society can no more do without financial speculators than free love, so these functions fell to the damned castes: they were relegated to ghettos or reserved neighborhoods.15

… a long chapter bringing us to the 18th century, mostly French history, but with reference beyond to the rest of Europe… as the chapter closes, women gain some ground, because of the Enlightenment, the Renaissance (need to look up the relative dates of the two)…

… i submitted to the member’s show at CPW, a photograph made this past year, part of the Dark Matter series, i am happy with the submission, had an extended conversation with Hannah when i drop off, began to move conversation around to women in photography, as subjects, as photographers, as critics, mention the shift in nude photography that i was perceiving this year, she gets an important phone call and we part, to be continued, i worry that i breached a bit of decorum with the mention of female nudes, i am in earnest though, i don’t make such pictures, i enjoy looking at them, but still, i am willing and interested in the social context attending to them and what they mean about the treatment of women in society…

January 04, 2021

230.0 lbs

04:52 AM – my studio

… HCR on the tape of 45 attempting to interfere with Georgia State elections, crimes committed, 45 caught red handed, he must be prosecuted… a pleasant day yesterday, i bought too much fish, got my steps in, got the dogs steps in, H declined to come to the farmers market, saying she didn’t want to walk in the rain, more excuses for not going for walks, i will keep trying, keep getting her out… CPW member show deadline today, will i make it, i boiled down the pictures i might use yesterday, i intend to, we will see…

… Simone de Beauvoir…

… today she is reviewing the shift to property ownership, the entrenchment of the patriarchy around it, the exclusion of women from the possibility of property ownership, effectively making woman property as well… de Beauvoir maintains that the degree of enslavement of women is commensurate with the degree of property rights accorded the men… where there is money to be made:

But most often, in Egypt, India, and western Asia, sacred prostitution slipped into legal prostitution, the priestly class finding this trade profitable.16

… the idea that spiritual guardians are also pimps…

For Hipponax: “There are but two days in life when your wife brings you joy: her wedding day and her funeral.”17

… echoing the modern day sentiment about boats, acquiring and selling being the two happiest days… de Beauvoir discusses how in Rome the situation of women shifts with the movement of Oligarchy to State, in which the state has an interest in suppressing the accumulation of wealth in families and, consequently, women develop more rights… a struggle that is currently in play in the United States, where the would be Oligarchs are attempting to overthrow the state, not no deprive women of their rights, but to increase their right to transmit wealth which historically leads to the oppression of women… i have feelings of misgiving today, unsettled, worried, anxious…

January 03, 2021

228.8 lbs

05:35 – my studio

… HCR on conservative shenanigans, there are now 11, 12 senators who will oppose the electoral election results in certain states… the Republicans don’t care about democracy, they only care about power, and power is no longer achievable for them through the democratic system, which favors the multicultural plurality that the Democrats represent…

… Simone de Beauvoir… a chapter on the role of woman in primitive societies, more central and more revered for the relationship of her fertility to the fertility of the earth, and that in agricultural society, children are a benefit because they help work the land, woman winds up with a spiritually and materially central place in the primitive clan world… i wonder if the thinking on this has changed at all?…

A discovery made in Susa shows the oldest representation of the Great Goddess, the Great Mother in a long robe and high coiffure, which other statues show crowned with towers; excavations in Crete have yielded several effigies of her.18

… there was an image of such a goddess in Lovecraft Country, the series H is watching, i think she had robes, would be interesting to rewatch, she certainly had a very big afro, huge hair… woman’s role, de Beauvoir maintains, has never been primary, always “secondary,” never even equal, though at some points in time, more important than in others:

To say that woman was the Other is to say that a relationship of reciprocity between the sexes did not exist: whether Earth, Mother, or Goddess, she was never a peer for man; her power asserted itself beyond human rule: she was thus outside of this rule. Society has always been male; political power has always been in men’s hands. “Political authority, or simply social authority, always belongs to men,” Lévi-Strauss affirms at the end of his study of primitive societies.19

… the ouroboros vs. Mt. Everest:

The totem ancestor, of which woman assumes multiple incarnations, is more or less distinctly a male principle under its animal or tree name; woman perpetuates carnal existence, but her role is only that of nourisher, not of creator; in no domain whatsoever does she create; she maintains the life of the tribe by providing children and bread, nothing more; she lives condemned to immanence; she incarnates only the static aspect of society, closed in on itself.20

… the development of metal tools marks the beginning of male ascendency and dominion over all, according to de Beauvoir…

Engels only incompletely explained her decline: it is insufficient to say that the invention of bronze and iron profoundly modified the balance of productive forces and brought about women’s inferiority; this inferiority is not in itself sufficient to account for the oppression she has suffered. What was harmful for her was that, not becoming a labor partner for the worker, she was excluded from the human Mitsein:21

… the question has to arise, de Beauvoir is clear about the condition of woman flowing from the disadvantage she has in physical strength throughout time, as to whether her condition, as it evolves, is a natural consequence of the evolution of society throughout time?… this outcome may have been surpassed by further developments which should allow women a more equal stature, though, for the reason that no human likes to loose ground in their ability to command the world, her ascendance to a more equal footing has to be vigorously fought for and is also vigorously resisted… something analogous is happening right now in the US political sphere and in political spheres of Democracies across the planet… the patriarchal order is being challenged in general, and that order is fighting back viciously, with any means at its disposal, not at all caring to fight fairly because of the existential nature of the struggle… politics is the means by which the inferior in the situation can none-the-less maintain the superior position, and politics is mutable in ways the governing system is not, though that system can be strained to the breaking point, and break, if the force of political assault is strong enough, politics is simply about organizing people to ones side, once that is done, the strength of that side becomes its own justification for all that follows… still, for a number of reasons, in this country and many others, the planetary condition warrants one of two options, that the male principle of constant exceeding, resolve the problems of the planet (through technological development) or, that it give way to the female principle of the ouroboros… my money is currently on the later as the required course… the male, technological, market/capitalist way of organizing things cannot stop itself from raping the planet (and woman), it will have to be stopped by the rise of the ouroboros, which at present, in the United States, is embodied in the Democratic multicultural and progressive coalition… of course, there is no reason why any of this might come about before the planet collapses and society with it… still, back to the notion of “what was harmful for her,” is it harmful if it could not have been otherwise?, perhaps the best case for harm is if conditions persist beyond the place of need for them through the political system…

The Other is passivity confronting activity, diversity breaking down unity, matter opposing form, disorder resisting order. Woman is thus doomed to Evil.22

  1. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 171). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  2. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 175). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  3. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 183). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  4. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 162). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  5. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 163). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  6. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 163). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  7. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 130). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  8. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 130). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  9. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 130). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  10. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 132). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  11. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 135). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  12. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 150). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  13. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 111). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  14. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 113). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  15. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 97). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  16. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 98). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  17. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 79). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  18. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 80). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  19. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 82). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  20. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 86). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  21. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 89). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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