I’ve learned to think of culture as a system designed for action and reinforced interactions between people.
Alexandre Kojève believed that the desire to be desired, the ambition to be socially recognized and admired, is precisely what makes us human, what distinguishes us from animals. Kojève speaks about this desire as a genuinely “anthropogenic” desire. This is desire not for particular things but for the desire of the other: “Thus, in the relationship between man and woman, for example, Desire is human only if one desires not the body but desire of the other.” It is this anthropogenic desire that initiates and moves history: “human history is history of desired Desires.” Kojève describes history as moved by the heroes that were pushed to self-sacrifice in the name of mankind by this specifically human desire—the desire for recognition, for becoming an object of society’s admiration and love. The desire for desire is what produces self-consciousness, as well as, one can say, the “self” as such. But at the same time, this desire for desire is what turns the subject into an object—ultimately, a dead object. Kojève writes: “Without this fight to the death for pure prestige, there would never have been human beings on Earth.” The subject of the desire for desire is not “natural” because it is ready to sacrifice all its natural needs and even its “natural” existence for the abstract Idea of recognition.
March 27, 2020
“Her arm snuck around my waist and my muscles relaxed, the flesh loosening incrementally, as if I were falling asleep. It didn’t feel sudden. It felt inevitable, as if she’d been tugging at me for a long time.
Notes From: Kristen Arnett. “Mostly Dead Things.” Apple Books.
“There are so many crushes in a lifetime, so many friendships that mix desiring-to-have with wanting-to-be. It’s the combination of wants that makes these longings confusing, dangerous, and queer. There is a desire to know that is already knowing, a curiosity for what you deep down recognize, a lust for what you are or could be. Writer Richard Lawson describes it as “the muddied confusion over whether you want to be someone’s companion or if you want to step inside their skin, to inhabit the world as they do.”
Excerpt From: Jenn Shapland. “My Autobiography of Carson McCullers.” Apple Books.
I also write even when the knowledge I have to share openly defies academic translation, not just because our indigenous tongues have been, largely,
taken from us with the imposition of Spanish first, and English second, but
because it is sacred knowledge, unable to be fully known or understood under the
current paradigms that dominate our fields and the intellectual spaces we produce
knowledge from. So there may be some things here that will be messy, unexplainable, unverifiable, unscientific, unable to be categorized—and that is part of
the message. Attempting to know everything is a colonial epistemology in which
I refuse to be complicit.