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Needed: Radical Feminists - Transience Divine
November 13th, 2004
12:52 am

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Needed: Radical Feminists
I've recently been reading about the poststructural feminists, like Luce Irigaray and Helene Cixous, for my backwards history of philosophy, and I think I agree with them.

If the current phallocentric logos is to be deconstructed, and it must for us to exit this cycle of fear that characterizes the modern response to differences, it needs to be through the positive create of a new logos on the part of women. We can't build a new world when the very act of producing meaning is infected.

There are lots of differences between people, and so lots of potential different origins for making a new logos. But the shear obviousness and pervasiveness of the male-female differences cannot be ignored.

It could be argued that perhaps the fear of difference is something essential to humankind. But given the power our paradigms have over us-- that we appear to interact with our models of the world and our minds far more than the things themselves-- it seems silly not to hope.

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From:siderea
Date:November 13th, 2004 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. I haven't read Irigaray and Cixous myself, though a know a tiny amount about them, so I don't know their argument as to why "[the deconstruction of the phallocentric logos] must [happen] for us to exit this cycle of fear that characterizes the modern response to differences", hence I have some dubiousness about it.

That is to say there may be other ways to address the modern response to differences, ways which approach the problem through something other than gender-theory, or which attack it more directly.

In particular, I have to wonder what precisely they propose and how they (or is it just you?) propose it would generalize to all difference rather than hew to the specific case of gender, or whether they argue the problem of difference (and concomitant violence) resides solely in gender and other sorts of difference-panic are not critical to the cycle of fear.

It could be argued that perhaps the fear of difference is something essential to humankind. But given the power our paradigms have over us-- that we appear to interact with our models of the world and our minds far more than the things themselves-- it seems silly not to hope.

This suggests two lines of attack, and it would be well to keep track of which any given plan applies to: To change how humans react to specific differences (e.g. gender, race, type) or to change how humans react to differences.

I am dubious -- but certainly open -- to approaches of the second.
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From:jrising
Date:November 14th, 2004 05:35 am (UTC)
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Irigaray claims that western thinking in general is structured on sameness, and that the only subjectivity we have is masculinity (phallocentricity). Women is the "Other"-- associated with matter and nature and the world to be dominated.

It's all connected (so I don't think we're talking reactions to isolated differences), and within our logos, all difference is connected to sexual differences. If we change our concept of woman, we change our relation to the world. Irigaray believes that there exists the possibility of a new logos, but not without considering the problem of gender.

In terms of Donella Meadows' 9 - 0 scale of leverage points, I think this is a ".5" level effect. Level 1 is the ability to change paradigms. But all western paradigms are built of the same stuff; the rules of the game differ, but the playing field is the same. This isn't quite level 0 either, the power to transcend all paradigms, but it is a level of paradigm essentially untouched in western civilization.
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