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Diremption and Gender/Gender Diremption          


(With thanks to Siona Wilson)





Being &a supplement* to The Double Economy: Essays on Diremption (2021).



Default. The assumption of knowledge as unitary, single, indivisible, has been the governing axiom of the history of thought. This has been the required default, for most of the time as invisible as an intuition, genetic pre-disposition or a &transcendental a priori* - with this, the macro position, mirrored in a micro version, the &law of non-contradiction*. In both cases a singularity is sustained; &make as if unitary* - the commandment by which generations have thought and believed. So the pursuit of the single, united, indivisible manifold of classical physics and philosophy as singular, unitary, whole; a &smooth plane of immanence* uninterrupted by inconvenient fissures, with the latter as a sign of error - incompleteness as a product of incomplete thought (and not vice-versa#). Even Einstein (who threw all of our intuitions of time and space into the air) still required the intuition of singularity. But this requirement of Truth, and, not least, scientific truth, of which not least, empirical truth, has been found unnecessary by Quantum physics# The Whole as Unitary, as the One Incontrovertible Law of Thought, is now contrasted to the presence of quantum discreteness, an incommensurability, divisive; a manifold, divided (&diremptive*). Two sided (as in Irigaray*s famous reading of the feminine as &two-lipped*). Counterposing the fantasy of &male* unitary uniqueness and priority as the rational axiom of Western or even human thought (we note also the resistance to dualism shown in Eastern religions, where one &side* is condemned as that of illusion - just as in Plato#). Counterposed to the feminine; with the latter as irrational, as &chaos*, the &yin* to male &yang*, or (less dramatic) as connoting duality (as a cultural strategy of overturning or appropriating received associations). If there is a difference of gender then it must be that one side is wrong (and so does not possess, &Right*). This commandment is the sum of received gender connotations (the required outcome of their cultural collocations). Similarly for the presence of a diremption in science, as in art, as in thought (this recognition itself being its presence in thought) as in the self# (for the diremption may be read as the reaction of human culture to the nature it attempts to understand and use# including its &own nature* 每 a reaction usually present as disavowal or denial#). Indeed, the gender difference itself (the assumption that the sexes are two but that only one can be right) echoes precisely the disavowal of the diremption in self and culture at large as the inability to find &one side* as the correct answer to the problem of a difference presumed to be a contradiction - presumed at fault.


Just so. Presumed.






Introductory# If there is one &thing* we find when we &find* ourselves, it is that we are already in a gender-ed role - with a gender-ed role to play# Indeed, the, &-ed*, already indicates the difference, or differentiability, of sex and role (of body and mind, or matter and mind): but we may also read it as indicating the further differentiability of gender and role, of choosing (or not) our &gender* and then choosing which roles (or which identity propositions, some of which may be contradictory) we may choose to attach to that &gender*每 as we see from the global varieties of role or identity and as we feel when we adopt or play differing roles, all of which are thought to be gendered, or to come with a gender expectation attached. Yet the playing of this role or roles is not usually optional; that is, it is usually difficult to &opt-out* of the gender element of a given role: father, son, brother are different roles, but equally gendered, as are their female cognates# but there*s the rub, for they are, when partnered with their co-implicated binary &other half*, unequally gendered. For gender role is not only expected to be contingent upon a set of physiological or bodily requirements 每 our bodily, material &sex* (perceived as binary but actually following a double hump curve where the majority fit the two stereotypes, but there are extremes - often taken as norms! 每 and a blurry bit in the middle which causes confusion) but also to involve the acceptance of a degree of inequality in work, pay, opportunity and treatment. And indeed, this is all that the other &identity propositions* or roles have in common, that they, once gendered, are supposed to line up on either side of a hierarchy. With the &masculine* side, or male sex, as dominant default. Gender roles may limit all participants 每 and we are all participants- but the reward for the male side is a variety of degrees of domination and preferment.


From the above we can see that the problem is not only one of which role to play, and the attendant degrees of normativity, but of the hierarchy that accompanies them.


This is the gender/sex divide: a divide that divides us all. But a divide that together makes up the human species. A divide that might not matter so much if it were not normative, restrictive and hierarchical (though some may wish to opt out completely). And already we have a clear parallel with the diremption, a division which divides into two and which cannot be reduced to one - and which has been subject to hierarchical strategies of restriction or exclusion. A difference or division extending across all aspects of our &world*: dividing self and culture, our &interior* and our &exterior*, our subjective experience and our &object exteriorisation*; from language and thought, to art, to the social or human sciences and the physical or &hard* sciences 每 and (as with sex and gender) the hierarchy that exists in each zone between its two &parts*. Let me quickly recap the manifestation of the diremption in the four zones of human activity or culture: philosophy and language offer fact/value, type/token and subjunctive/indicative, three examples taken from among many other possibilities; art offers subjective and object point of view, or &Object Right* in the construction of two and three dimensional space; the social sciences are divided between identity exchange and rational exchange, or assertive, unequal, subjective &gift* or &sacrificial* exchange and the descriptive, &objective*, exchange based on quantitative equivalences. In the case of the physical sciences, we have the &classical* united field model that was once thought as the &last word* on objectivity and the irreducible quantum &anomalies* which signal a divided manifold - which we may read as the implication or arrival of our collective human point of view, or collective cultural subjectivity, in our sciences (not via superstition, or as a form of identity assertion, but via empirical, verifiable facts).


First comes our experience of gender as &ours* (or not) then, later, we meet the four zones of our culture and their division by, and divisions into, definitions of, gender#


Gender roles, then, vary according to age and generation, space and place and relation to power structures, and to history and culture. The culture in question places, or asserts gender and role, in an identity exchange (often accompanied by many rituals, from major rites of passage to passing signs of recognition - this latter ranging from gendered nominalism, Proper Names and titles, to &catcalls* and a variety of, usually physiological, negative comparatives...). This, after our experiences of our parents and peers, gives us our received &options* for our assumption of a provided gender role (or our reaction against it 每 as witness the many countercultural styles of the 1960*s and 70*s and just plain adolescent orneriness). Again, the problem lies in the normativity and restrictiveness (for both genders, in the quality of male and female roles), and in the hierarchy attendant on these roles (for women as the &second sex* in the social hierarchy).


Now, from the point of view of experience, both sex and gender are received, a matter of context, one from biology (our awareness of our body and which sex is &ours*) and the other from our specific cultural history 每 the time/space of our particular embodiment and the apportionment of what is deemed appropriate. Indeed, the time-space (&now*) of our realization (gradual or sudden, often forced) that these matters, these roles, apply to us. This is a matter of how others behave; as object-others we may identify with (or reject) as role-models or as group identity, or as object-others as part of our recognition cycles (from mOther onwards, and from parents and peers and lovers to the Public Gaze). And already we have that crucial category of experience and self-formation in our subjectivity, identification and support, the role of the Other, of the *object as other*, of the &other point of view* or &object point of view* (found in visual culture as &Object Right* with its dual manifestation as top left and clockwise). A point of view which is both imaginary and always with us (regardless of actual stares or communications of recognition or rituals of identity exchange, these may influence, but are not identical with the former). An awareness of self which is dependent upon our (imaginary) awareness of others (of our objects of perception as others, and our imagining of their point of view onto us#); an awareness or mental organ, at least as old as our &spiritual culture* or art (the Paleolithic, the &cognitive revolution*) and perhaps much older if we count the awareness of animals of other animals 每 particularly in the case of an awareness of object as other as danger or an object as other as sublime, as Other (an object of perception may be a mountain: the perceived object as other would be the mountain as deity). The earliest societies, for the longest period in our history, or pre-history, of tribal or hunter-gatherer societies, were animist or pantheistic, that is, they believed that all objects had spirits, that is - all objects were others. And that some Others were bigger that others#


(As when we note that this personification of Object as Other, also gives us God, &World Spirit*, or collective culture as Collective Subject 每 and again we see the oscillation typical to the diremption at work on the most general level# and note further that the result is often gendered# &God the Father*, Sprit as masculine Reason, Culture as male to female Nature, and so on#)


I will return to the general implications of the diremption or the &double economy* as both interior and exterior (the &four zones* of human culture) for gender at the end of this article, but first I want to develop a little some of the implications of what has been said above#




The term &diremption* is usually understood as referring to the subject/object divide (the term seems to have originally come from Hegel, who regarded any totality, the &Absolute* as divisible into two parts or aspects 每 at least when considered, put into consideration, in thought#). However, the opposition of subject/object (perceiver, perceived) is not the real issue, neither is the difference of subjectivity and objectivity (with the former as singular or fallible, as opposed to a shared point of view, with this latter as implicitly verifiable) - or rather, these two oppositions are only a part of a more general diremptive nexus. The diremption proper, as I have considered it, hovers around, or better, between, the subject point of view and the object point of view, as thought by the subject (the former experiential, the later imaginary) with these in a relation of permanent oscillation (of which is &in* and which is &out*) # So constitutive of our consciousness as self-consciousness and this self-consciousness as including an element of imagining how others view us (and immediately we have the issue of &recognition* with its implications of belonging and identity) and of how we understand ourselves (&seen* from without, as objects of reason and science).


And already we have &gender* too. For recognition is a function of self-picturing, taking the &external point of view*, in short, imagining one*s self as such, as object, seen from without (as imagined within) and this awareness of the external point of view is at first maternal, the awareness of the immensity of the mother, her presence, her body, her regard# our first object as other, as powerful and all-encompassing, all, surpassing, or Other, as mOther (and so in one stroke, we have one gender at the foundation of the object as other, and so also of the Sublime, as Nature or more. Now Nature taken as feminine is one thing; but think, &it*s only natural*, this is the realm of universals and eternal &truths* too (rational as opposed to contingent, these terms are gendered too), and of course if Beauty &is* feminine, then the Sublime &is* masculine*, or was# (the face of Chaos is usually female# and we are back with the Sublime as Nature and Beauty as Cultural). As we can see all these oppositions may be set spinning# oscillating# a clear mark of their cultural (contingent) origin (as well as a feature of the diremption as we move between subject and object-other poles). All received associations are set spinning# As any comparison of gendered pairs and their interrelations immediately shows them to be in (self) contradiction 每 a product of their cultural (historical, contingent) construction.


Regarding gender too, we have the immediate fact that the &object as other*, is usually gendered as female (in contradistinction to &Object Right* in art 每 where the &Object-Other* is usually male). In effect, taken as female object to the gaze of a male subject.  With active feminine desire as representable and positive, and also the variations due to queerness and lesbianism, however, this once one-sided relation is changing#


Regarding gender in its relation to the diremption (both &interior* and &exterior*), I both have and have not made this connection in &The Double Economy: and Other Essays on Diremption*, namely in the first section, &Double Economy I*, which ends on Derrida and gender discrimination and the usual, let us agree to call it, &Foucauldian* take on representation in institutions, as a matter of power, space and discourse# and how these are changing. However, the relationship of diremption and gender roles was not thought through. What I suggest in the book as basic, the ubiquity of the diremption and its oscillation, with the historical persistence in asserting an undivided manifold in self, society and physical matter, with context or embodiment as all, including all received context (the past) as problematic, these terms are not there related to gender roles or gendered roles (if we accept these as different). Incidentally, this is where the concepts of &restricted* and &general economy* come in useful, as the return of the subjective or assertive side of the equation to complement a supposedly objective, descriptive, even scientific perspective, or ideology# as the arrival of the persons and mode of experience traditionally called female or feminine to a social and cultural manifold, many of whose privileged and valued preserves have been largely masculine or male. As inclusivity on all counts succeeds exclusivity#


Returning to matters of definition, we become aware of the presence of the diremption when # first, we follow one side of the (subject/object type) binary, only to find ourselves on the other# (as when, for example, our introspection turns self into object, subject into object ((in turn, viewed by a subject#)) or when others as objects show that they too are subjects ((in turn, thought of as sentient others then as bio-psychological objects)) which, in turn#) then continue on into infinite oscillation. An on-going process that is ourselves, our perception and our consciousness# (of objects, others and of self, as object, as other# ).


The diremption, then is the irreducible difference of present subjectivity and the imagined objective view (real objectivity is intersubjective) which together make us what we are, and in society at large, in our culture, as the irreducible difference of our collective subjectivity and an equally imagined object point of view once regarded as normative and exclusive (but now often realised as co-implicated or co-present or dependent on the &subjective* aspect it once banished as unreason, as accident, as secondary); this is &being human* as process# This is, to use an old term, our &becoming* where we are, where we always are#: &being*, by contrast, is always belated, a description resting on the past, on memory, on yesterday*s theory or ideology or science (even before the ghosts of etymology are bought into play), but written as the &eternal present* tense of an a-historic generalization (universals, axioms, transcendentals, Natural Law, etc). This is where we are: our subjectivity, and as I have suggested, the same holds for our culture in general; our culture as us, our species being and its products. So our objectivity too, has been found to be a dual entity or a double force-field 每 at times segregated, at times an infinity loop. I call it the &Double Economy*, in which switching &positions* swapping around &points of view* (oscillation, alternation) is necessary, indeed, unavoidable, constitutive - but unity impossible# Self (and culture too) as constituted by incommensurable, irreducible &halves*# dirempt


#and, indeed, the above point just made is the radical one, internal diremption is one thing (the &divided self* is nothing new), but the assertion or description, of the external realm as also dirempt, and moreover dirempt in the most scientific manifestations of human culture# This, perhaps, is what is new. As the return of the repressed to a formerly restricted economy, offers a new general economy, as the retuning &supplement* which, in this case, requires that all our culture as well as its knowledge must be regarded as dirempt# Or as built over a diremption, the un-bridgeable, bridged chasm of human experience# But only as a fantasy, and moreover one (indeed many, the legions of religions and ideologies and belief systems which we create as fast as our doubt assails us) &one* which, on examination # always falls apart, becomes two, the fissures of the diremption still locatable even in its deepest foundations#


A fissure with parallels with the received gendering of everything in human meaning.


Two issues are here presented to think through: all arrives in an already gendered manifold and what to do with this. All we experience arrives as already gendered 每 usually according to a particular context (and each culture brings its own string of, usually oppositional, connotations). These are passed on to us as memory or received tradition# our culture: moreover, all culture may be read as &repeated actions* or their products (mental or physical &technique* or &technology*) so as forms of rituality 每 with this latter dispersed on a gradient from everyday to annual, from tepid formality to intense emotion, from micro to macro, from accidental to fixed festival, occasional to cyclic, a novum or a fixture# Received culture, especially when read as rituality, is, I suspect, never free from or always a part of what we regard as our identity - and all identity is gendered in some manner# As such it is never quite free from the desire for recognition and so also for its guarantor, the sacred (&eternity*, &putting outside* or &bridging* in my recent conception). The desire for the sacred, otherwise put, the desire for the &transcendental*, seems to me to be fundamental to humans (&hard-wired*) and a gift we must use 每 but consciously (and without superstition), as when we give value# to each other as humanity or to the environment# in both cases leading to nurture and preservation and not destructive consumption. (The theoretical underpinning of this relation of rituality and identity as forms of exchange, lies in my re-reading of Durkheim as appended to Volume One of The Double Economy).


One application made in the above volume has been to the analysis of art and architecture, where &contiguity*, proximity or touch helps us in the analysis of architecture as we actually receive and experience it, and as its three horizontal parts bear on our inner subjectivity (oscillation, remember, involves contiguity 每 touch without reduction). All these levels, it seems to me could be thought through with respect to gender# (elsewhere, for example, my analysis of how architecture &means*, replaces vertical classifications with horizontal, and discreetness with touching or contiguity). And, of course, the duality that makes sex (gender) and the two terms of the diremption (or of time and space, nature/culture, etc.,) so easily susceptible to traditional pairings, can both be questioned and appropriated# a &double dualism* indeed# So the problem of generalities or generalization enters in# which we found to be &subjective* in contrast to the particularity of the object, so, in a sense, requiring, not return, but de-&valourisation* or &revaluation*, and which reminds us that we must not just repeat received forms, but innovate, here with the particular# in context# as opposed to received memory or habit. So contingent on today*s nexus in time and space (as particular contexts of power and space -privacy or numbers- may always undermine the received Doxa of any Public Gaze, Law/Symbolic Order, the abstractions of Natural Law, of normative behaviour as role play or ritual, or the learnt responses of moral habit)#


And with respect to rituality or identity exchange, there is the question, which I might add to the list of poles of ritual behaviour, that of destructive or sacrificial exchange of &gift*, where what is given or sacrificed may not only be one*s own possessions or time (or all of one*s time, one*s life) but that of the other, the sacrificial victim or scapegoat 每 the victim of the &lynching party*, or pogrom or *carnival* as riot (with women, the disabled and foreigners as victims). Regarding self-sacrifice, gender roles too are often conceived around the notion of who takes priority, as in the role of the sacrificing woman, who puts her husband and children above her own well-being# or even life.


With respect to diremption, rituality is the chief means of overcoming, masking or bridging the absence of &first and last things*, the comforting explanations and consoling beliefs, with their assertions of eternity, the heavens and universals, that the diremption denies# moreover, its denial of these would also be a denial of received gender associations and their fictional &grounding*. However, if identity still requires some manner of rituality, then what would be the ritual forms (our repeated and value-asserting behaviour) most apposite to what manner of gendered or post-gender identity?


The oscillation of the terms of the diremption appears as the rhythm of the self, as the pattern of the self# what kind of self and what does this mean# (does it give illness if unbalanced, like too much past or too much future as melancholia and anxiety respectively# or too much assertiveness or self-denial as, respectively, psychopathic or withdrawnness)? What does this mean to the consideration of gender roles as received and as a conscious strategy for their utility or appropriation, rejection or transformation? And, I would add, in culture in general, as (and this is the point of The Double Economy) that the diremption (with its &subjective* and therefore gendered side) is clearly present in all aspects of human culture, in the sciences, physical and social, or &hard* and &human*, in the arts, in visual culture as in architecture; and in philosophy and linguistics. Respectively, underwriting the aporia of quantum theory as well as its difference with the classic model (Einstein), subjective and objective in the social sciences as assertion and description, as equal versus unequal exchange relations, or commodity and the gift, and the fact/value, or use/mention and of course &general/particular*, oppositions in &Anglo-American* philosophy and linguistics. This is the equally dirempt *Outside* to the self*s oscillating &Inside*# They are of course &one* (as the *outside is inside*); or (*externally*) rather four; the two kinds of science, the arts, and thought and language# and each is as dirempt as the self# a self which is always gendered (if only by somebody else#). And again, whatever the middle term is, we must not just blindly repeat# 


If we take the terms of the diremption as gendered (or gender-able) then of the received associations we have: subject-active-male/object-passive-female (also other as object); Object-as-Other (our imagination of its unconscious, uncaring, presence or conscious gaze) which we saw was often male (even as Nature#); in culture all the four zones show a similar received set of associations, with the objective pole as reason-male, and the subjective as feeling-female; Beauty interestingly is usually tagged feminine, but in opposition to the Sublime, becomes order-culture versus the chaos-nature of overwhelming size, external deixis, emotion, awe and fear# The unsteadiness (even oscillation) of some of these terms, indicates that the attachment to gender is fluid and positional 每 so invertible, re-appropriable or just dismissible (if no use or resisting insistence is found).


On the one hand we have reception and description (received associations) versus strategies of creating new terms; but there is also a choice of received terms and their rejection or reversal versus their appropriation# (the changing of their associations). There is also the strategic acceptance of received negative labelling of associations (gender, hierarchy) if they are found to confer a temporary or positional advantage (shame, guilt, debt, obligation).


Form (as a whole) is traditionally male (rational); matter is female; however, this opposition can be reversed if we put the emphasis on the texture of the material (the &means of expression*, a stone or wood or plastic Buddha?). Or taken and appropriated, as in matter read as chaos (and not just as &solid*) and formlessness as most akin to &becoming*, the actual state of things, with &Being* as (our) illusory imposition or reification or even subjective hope, mysticism and mystification, religion and ideology, the bridging of the diremption as void# Or simply displaced# the opposite of form is also content, the meaning giving element, whether in the image or in the verbal arts 每 a situation where the &matter* again becomes the &means of expression*# Perhaps we can look forwards to a time when the gendering of key terms (or anything else for that matter) is a matter for the particular text itself, as it organizes its own gender associations, so to speak, the gendered oppositions (like positive/negative or other hierarchies of preferment as the accompaniment of binary opposition, difference as distinction) aligned as the author sees fit - or perhaps as the reader sees fit#


Furthermore, form (taken as a part, as one kind of form, or a particular piece of form) may be read as (taken as) male or female in association (in the end these are all received, repeated and/or asserted associations)# Psychoanalysis is a case in point# (verticals and horizontals, protrusions and cavities, presences and absences) sometimes useful (symptomatic)# sometimes not# (formalistic, reductive#).


(#and then again, there is, by contrast: &Form# as a whole#* (sic). &Unity of opposites* indeed!


&# taken as a whole*.


#where absence both inverts a tradition, but also continues it#


#a tradition of &seeing*#).


&Regarding Gender* this sense of vision as appropriation or as an expression of power relations or entitlement is part of the problem. How is &it* considered; how# seen#? If the view of an issue is as if external, an &overview*; this point of view is traditionally male and moreover implies a God*s eye view... (and maybe the sense of &the general idea*, the Platonic Idea as it insists through to Kant and, in a very different way, in Schopenhauer 每 where it often masquerades as most objective, or most truthful form of representation -giving the &essence*- whereas as we have seen it is the most subjective - as pure representation and as the &empty set* of classification). By contrast, the interior point of view, the &in* is contiguous (and maybe particular); we are inside the relation or, even better, on one side of it, but (very important) blind to the other side 每 we touch, are aware of another, but we do not &picture* the relation from the outside# So suggesting that the overview, taken as a strategy, might always suffer from the usual limitations, or better, illusions (present as a metaset contradiction in logic). Perhaps all of the terms and moves listed above might imply such a visual element in combination with the external point of view (perhaps with the &picture* as the supplement to propositional logic as imagined by Wittgenstein). Opposed by a view from within. Which is not a view (if we imagine it, then we are, as if &from the outside* again#) but a form of contact# And an oscillation# A consideration of a given problem as an oscillation#


The awareness of the operation of diremption may be taken as a kind of method, as both sides, &subjective* and &objective* can, and indeed must, be put into play; a case of &both-and*, where the two sides combine, but without synthesis, and featuring their contradiction (as in the conflict of actuality and imagination, of real and imaginary identifications as different# and of theory and experience, belief and function, involvement and distance, etc., etc#). So showing the dissonance proper to the relationship of the first hand world of experience and of second or third hand knowledge. &Put into play* would, of course, include, the passage of subject and object moments through each other# a feature of the diremption as process which gives &oscillation*: where any subject position (&in*) examined immediately becomes object (&out*); and in the same way, every objective analysis must finally be borne by, experienced, by a concrete imbedded subject# The two poles of the experience of gender, and its description and ascription from without# The former becomes as (if) seen from without, and the latter &subject to* its actualisation as from within a concrete point of view# With these in turn becoming object embedded in a subject and subject as object in question# (with these in turn# (with these#)#). So infinitum: oscillation. A &method* whose moment of &truth* lies when it touches infinity#


And, of course, it might simply be argued that gender, more precisely the sexual difference on which gender roles are supposed to rest, is the basis of all our binaries and dualities# In this way sexual or biological difference, as the extrapolation of some tens of millions of years of genetic meiosis joins the mental equipment we bring to the issue, one outside, one inside# one genetic memory and reproduction, the other organic electrical or inorganic, including digital electric memory, and reproduction; one factive, empirical, subject to verification, the other the means, so constitutive, of description in its infinite variation 每 sexual difference and writing as &matter and mind*. What we then do with these, the &repeated actions* that make up our cultures, is of course, another matter, issue or problem, entirely# or in part# two parts, in oscillation# our &interior* and &exterior*, united from the point of view of each# but discrete when we include both# oscillating when we use both# And there we are: in use we need to use the on-going, the continuous verb ending, &-ing*, our linguistic indicator of &becoming*, in combination with the combination, which is not a combination, but an alteration, of our &opposing* points of view#


And when thinking these issues does one think from the position of one*s own received sex/gender role (or whatever we have chosen in its place) or as (if) from the other (object as other point of view)? In a word, does one oscillate


And how often do we assume the point of view of the other (the object point of view) which we remember is fictional or imaginary# assumed# and only really generalise out our own (subject point of view)# For certainly here we generalise our past (whence the imagination, not least of the future, is always based upon the past, on memory 每 the past in the present). Experience as opposed to received opinion (or whatever it calls itself) of course, is how we progress as we recognize the difference between present fact and &suggested reality*#


However, remaining here is a trace of &the object as other* in our imagination of the &opposite& gender or gendered other, so not only a projection of self, but often a genuine attempt at understanding the other# (here, a matter of sex/gender, but it could just as easily be a case of cultural, economic, generational or other forms of difference#). As when we require the desire of the other#


&Internal* and &external* points of view# are, as noted above, (always) already gendered# with &the big picture* (note, singular) from above, &God*s Eye View* or the picture of the whole (usually impossible, an impossible generalization or abstraction) perhaps may be usefully opposed by &local knowledge/s* (by definition plural) by immediate experience. And already we can see that the internal point of view is the present, with &the big picture* as an imaginary construct based upon an extrapolation (at best) based upon the past, or memory (all the way from what happened yesterday to second hand received cultural memory or habit#). Then there is also the issue of visuality as external (as imagined, as &as if seen* 每 again note the past tense) also (in logic) associated with going up a level - again as &seen from the outside*. Versus the &inside* or internal process as touch or contiguity and oscillation# less imaginary as a process: but when we remember it# more so#? Again the latter opposition is gendered (or &has been*, because received but not always accepted#) and this has then has been interpreted as the visible versus the invisible and has resulted in exhibitions such as the &Inside the Visible* exhibition of women*s art of the 1990s.




#always already in some manner of gender role because always already in culture (not because always already having a sex of some sort# although the two are often linked). Culture as received# therefore if we differ# then we are part of the process of transformation of that culture. Proximity and implication (and sex and gender); not as close as we think# witness the changes to both (sex and gender) as we get older# and then there is role play.


And in all cases, the issue might by described as; to wrest role from tradition so to give us all, whatever we call ourselves and whatever other people call us, the choice#


Two processes, one like the notion of a &restricted and general economy* that we saw governed the return or inclusion of subjectivity to all aspects of human life, akin to the return to women to positive positions in language and image and in society. And (perhaps easier as a result of this?) the renegotiation of, or ability to choose roles or identity propositions according to will or desire or necessity and not according to tradition or received context# or even sex.


&Interiority.* The interior experience of diremption and gender# has been discussed at the beginning of this article. The past or memory, &the received*, is rebalanced by the on-going experience of the present# and as the past famously began only a second or two ago (in culture &the present* usually implies -the most- recent events, as in documentary photography) then it is the &happening-now* element of the &Eternal Present* (our on-going experience of the present) which is the necessary corrective to outdated or artificially resuscitated and constricting tradition or social conditions which are past but still inhere. In practice much of what has been said here (above) feeds directly into the *exteriorities* of thought and language (as recorded or used, as text or discourse, or the practices, recording or fictional creation of visual culture) as in the arts.


Important to note in what follows that it is not a question of one side of a binary lining up with one side of another binary and so the opposite sides must also line up (this perhaps is the stuff ideology &in the bad sense* is made up of#). As in the case of &gift* or identity exchange, there may be positive or &good* gifts and sacrifices and negative or destructive &bad* sacrifices (and this may in turn depend on point of view) so for example, in the role of identity and (often deliberately) unequal exchanges as opposed to exchanges based upon equivalence, in the category of the human sciences below, there will be no simple mapping of good or bad or right or wrong on to any one side 每 rather both aspects will be found in each term as one would expect from real as opposed to abstract relations, a case of &contextualism* versus &rationalism* (or &rationalisation*), if you like#



&Exteriority*. Or the &four zones* of culture, their modes of diremption and gendered description.


Philosophy and Linguistics. Beginning with &the closest* to our interior, but known, shared, only as &externalities* as language; our intimates, our &intimations* of thought, our philosophy and linguistics (our thought of language, our thought of thought). Here the issue is with the words associated with gender and their connotations# and the &justifications* of those roles and associations# to be opposed by facts. Reason, whilst traditionally male, may be used against this very association (an interesting case of the use/mention opposition, or actual performance versus association/name). Similarly, the equivalence, exchange, description, reason, objectivity nexus in the sciences as opposed to subjectivity, emotion, non-equivalent exchange, assertion, is equally validated by a new description and by reason#


Now received values may be opposed or flatly contradicted by actual facts (fact/value): giving rise to new values to be adopted (assertion) and supported by facts (description). Generalisations, abstractions, universals, laws (the rhetoric of eternity) masquerading as the Real or abstract Truth (Plato) but actually only ideas, a function of language (not of perception), an imaginary classification, so subjective, may be opposed by the particular as actual, contextual and factual (and subject to verification) so (potentially at least) objective. These terms and their problems clearly apply to conceptions of gender. A matter of what sex, and the words that are attached# and indeed we may wish to question the admissibility of all and any totalizing generalisations in the first place (sic).


In Art# From words to images, we enter the realm of &Object Right*; historically, since the Neolithic, the objects have been largely male# A change of how masculine and feminine are depicted in art and popular culture (or &middle, low and highbrow* productions) would be part of this re-balancing (of historically received clich谷s and alternative fantasies which may be realisable). The view of the Other, in the history of art, is male (the &other*, as object of gaze, is female). The God or Ruler (&Big Subject*) or other embodiment as Natural Law or Right is to be found in their point of view as incorporated in the visual text or object as from the object outwards or, as &Object Right*. Normally represented as operating from the top left corner of the image in art history, East and West, and the diagonal that leads up to it, or down from it, depending on narrative direction, left to right in the West, right to left in the East (subject point of view and narrative or &left/right narrative* according to cultural bloc).


However, as we noted above, there is another kind of object-making: the &objectification* of the female# (in visual culture and in the imagination) in both genders# (&beauty*, the sexual imagination and its representations#). Not simply redeemable by the &objectification* of both sexes? Nor subject to evasion (the wielding of an all-invasive censorship)? Oscillation of roles (active /passive, subject /object-other) as de-essentialising? Situational use#


The Social Sciences or Humanities# On the subjective side, we have the identity functions of gift and/or as ritual as gender supporting (renewing, not merely appended), with received roles as constraining, normative (so indicating the need for alternative male and female roles and their supporting ritualities or identity exchanges 每 what you exchange or give to be what you are or want to be)# Sacrificiality as a mark of hierarchy (or disposability) as applied to the history of women; replaceable by reference to other values appended to other forms of identity. By contrast, we may read objective rational exchange or equivalence as offering a kind of equality (the premium on efficiency as allowing female and other forms of equality now based upon talent, application and # competition)#


Furthermore, on the object side, that is the scientific rational side of the human sciences, is it not possible to treat of gender, that is, sexual difference, as a means of apportioning socio-economic roles (&gender roles*), so marking social distinction, as another way of carving up the conceptual continuum of society, yet one more way of classifying social groups# so treating of the sexual divide as a form of class, &class* based upon sexual difference and biological role in the reproduction of the species as determining the role played in the reproduction of things, practices and ideas, of culture# And, indeed, this binary division certainly has more grounding in fact, in physiology and reproductive role, than the division of society into two classes (whether based upon ownership or wealth, position or education).  


Gender, diremption and the market. Gender difference is effectively maintained by market differentiation# not because of tradition or prejudice: but because there are more products to buy. So &gender* is more important to consumerist identity or personal identity in the modern age, than to the other two forms of modern identity, national and &class* distinction (where restrictions on sex/gender and work role have loosened and are contested).


The zone of identity exchange is also that of our social &presentation of self*, our performance of self, the roles we play, consciously and unconsciously# strategically, with appropriation and irony# depending, of course, on context#


The Physical or Natural Sciences# Apart from strategic gendering or counter gendering or appropriative gendering of Nature, there might appear to be little room for an application of the gender division to the diremption as evinced in the return of the subjective, or human, element, the &species point of view*, or our limitations as produced by our manner of being, by the range of our senses; a limitation excluded by (apparently false) claims to objectivity. Again &objectivity*, which simply means that truth is intersubjective (and not individual) is traditionally gendered as male, as a male trait as compared to female subjective-ness (might I suggest a comparison of Marie Curie with Donald Trump#). Furthermore, we are reminded that with time as with space, these, that is, their quantifications, are interior to the &universe as a whole*, &the expanding universe*, so with no &outside* (although we usually imagine the &absolute outside* as extended and with time passing - this is imaginary). If personal time is the subjective experience of past and future in the Eternal Present (together with dream and the no-place or eternity, or the &place* where we &guarantee* gods and universals), and social time (what we call objective time), is but asserted measure, or quantification, overlaid on the real process and differing rhythms of matter or &Becoming*, then this &third time* (the time of real objects or processes as understood according to their own rhythms) might be united only by its co-existence in space, as the *place* of gravity waves, quantum wavelengths and light waves, then these all have or imply their own kind of time# All have their own speeds of change or entropy, their own rhythm and cyclicity (which are &flattened-out*, &made one*, in the abstract model)# such that the length of a gravity wave may be its basic unity, what we might call &the same time* as opposed to our experience of the *now-moment* as, say, a second (by contrast gravity waves may be vast 每 suggesting another way to thinking &simultaneity*). And that this plural rhythmicity, which &taken together* makes up the known (and knowable) universe may be more similar to how we think female time/s as bodily rhythms - specific rather than imposed. So rather than the content-less and unified classic planes of applied reason or mathematics# sometimes read as the embodiment of &male* reason# we might (strategically) offer a model of &female-like* times and spaces - before moving to an &equal but different* model of gender ascription, of a more radically contextual or individually specific model# (or of no ascription at all).




Of course there can be no substitute for the relation to power and place, of who occupies or dominates or -shares- the public sphere and its jobs and channels of influence (the production of our daily mass culture) a matter of politics or the nature of the polity in question, as well as an alteration of gender roles in the home (or of private behaviour) of both women in power as in representation, and men in power as responsible according to a more caring recognition or notion or representation of masculinity# the two steps here would be access and equality and the rejigging of received roles themselves# Our relation to our object as other, would anyway, in both male and female, as both masculine and feminine, roles, benefit from being less competitive -featuring the blindness that accompanies much aggression or assertiveness - and more co-operative or empathic# values which ensured our species survival in the past, and appear to be necessary to its survival in the near future#




&Woman*s time* (a question posed by Kristeva), therefore would be the feminization of time as cyclic process, as another kind of narrative, as opposed to the (tagged &masculine*) straight line process, or classic narrative, etc# and perhaps the keeping or &holding-on* to the (tagged) &feminine* as space (Nature) as an appropriation which takes the positive (changes the value valency and not the gender valency) or which continues the Romantic (and modernist) rhetorical tagging of the feminine as positive to the male negative in respect to the question of morality and extends the range of the positive over other areas of female experience# together with the &shaking up* of the gender expectations received from the past (and reinforced by fundamentalisms and their rediscovery by certain kinds of politics). So up-ending the in/out opposition, or perhaps putting it into oscillation# (as &both# and*# but still separate#). Or simply dissolving the gender binary into a plurality of particularisms (with the diremption persisting in the experience of the role appropriated, performed or created, our &in* as opposed to other roles as out, say others (objects as others) with our imagining of their attitude towards us (the role we are playing) as the &out* or object point of view (&object as other*, as imagined point of view) which may in turn influence our perception of ourselves (as male or female, or indeed something else) and incite responses tolerant or reactive, positive or negative, creative or pre-programed# as in the continual to-and-fro of our &recognition organ*, or &self as self, with and through, both real and imaginary, others* (another process in continual oscillation).


Leading to the final implication of this intersection of experiential or existential diremption and gender roles: do male and female (or &masculine* and &feminine*) forms of oscillation, whether in relation to objects, to objects as others (personification as the recognition of the importance of objects 每 say, as we would pets), to others as such or the Other as such, involve different rhythms or, speeds of cycle# different &times* of value conferral or recognition and consideration. And might these too, after being &tagged* as masculine and feminine, be found to be equally available to, or equally appropriable by, &both* sexes?


Otherwise, we may dismiss the notion of &time as such* as unnecessary, an &unnecessary fiction*, to join the &unnecessary fiction* of &the totality* which &time* itself presupposes# leaving us with: &subjective time*, temporality, (our immediate, irremediably particular, experience of present, past and future, dream and an absent category, the outside or &eternity* - often allied to the experience of sacralisation); &objective time* or social time (the symbols, or quantitative measures that we use in parallel to show &time when* and &time how long* and by which means we order our societies 每 for outside of this parallelism, away from these symbols, there is no &time* to be found); and the times of real processes resolvable into plural rhythms and cycles (from light to gravity with everything in between), again irredeemably particular and non-homogenisable - unified only in a picture or in the overlay of an abstract measure. Or in the desire felt for its becoming.


So no &women*s time*# because no &time* (neither in terms of the experiences of a &single sex*, nor the totalisation of its cultural experience 每 &never be defined*#)# rather the gendering (as must be the case if sexual difference is to be represented in language, in culture), strategically, or appropriatively, or just plain received, of the cycles and rhythms of the process of our experience and life, of our minds, our matter (including our bodies), and the zones of the culture we have made# on all counts dirempt, constitutionally as minds made of matter, a matter which is divided by sex, a division which is thought by mind, as gender.










Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2022