Will Bjoerk marry me

Marry yourself!

We often ask ourselves whether one can really imagine what it is like to be someone else. A psychoanalyst would add that we cannot imagine what it is like to be ourselves - or that we only ever imagine ourselves to be ourselves without really being. In the spring of 2015, British media reported extensively on Grace Gelder, a photographer who practiced Indian meditation techniques and after hearing Björk sing: "I am married to myself", decided to do just that. She organized a full self wedding, pledged eternal loyalty, put on a wedding ring, and kissed her reflection in the mirror.

That may amuse us, but on the internet at least the concept of self-dating has long since left the eccentric niche. There are quite a few instructions for doing this. The prospective self-lover should distribute tender messages in their own apartment and clean up this apartment nicely before the date, set up a table with candles, put on his or her best clothes; and you should tell your friends that you have an important appointment with yourself.

The aim of self-dating is to get to know myself in depth, who I really am and who I want. In this way I can finally accept myself, gain inner harmony, and this will enable me to have a highly satisfied life.

Before we laugh at such concepts and dismiss them as extreme manifestations of rampant pathological narcissism, we should appreciate the truth in them. Because the idea of ​​self-dating - and self-weddings - presupposes that we are not immediately one with ourselves. I can only marry myself if I am not directly myself: Only then must my unity with myself be booked by the “great other” (as Lacan says), decided in a symbolic ceremony and made “official”.

Difficulties arise here, however. How does this inscription into the symbolic order, according to which I am "married to myself", relate to my immediate self-experience? What if, while researching myself, I discover that what I find there I don't like at all? What if I run into envy, sadistic fantasies, and disgusting sexual obsessions? What if the much-acclaimed "inner richness" of my personality is essentially excremental, so when, vulgari eloquentia, I'm full of shit? In short, what if I find out that I am my own neighbor in the strictly biblical sense (the abyss of an impenetrable X, completely alien to my official self) and seek contact with others precisely because I want to flee from myself?

The unreconciled self

It is said that in order to love others, one must love oneself. Is that correct? Couldn't the opposite also be true, on two levels: I love others in order to escape myself, and I can only love myself insofar as I am able to love others? Self-marriage requires that I have found peace with myself. But what if I can't reconcile with myself? What if I only realize this after I get married? Should I then initiate a formal act of self-determination? And should such an act also be allowed to Catholics? For this very reason, when asked to love your neighbor as yourself, Jacques Lacan commented sourly: “It is impossible to respond to this type of appeal in the first person; Nobody ever believed that to 'love your neighbor as yourself' the answer would be: 'I love my neighbor as myself'. Because the weakness of this formulation is obvious to everyone. "

Here also lies the problem with the well-known motto “Be yourself.” Which self? If the self to whom I marry myself is my ideal self - "the best in me", the ideal image of myself - the relaxed self-identification and acceptance imperceptibly turns into radical self-alienation, and the fear that I will true self will always torment me.
Exactly the same question - which self? - haunts a current obsession with political correctness. This obsession takes on commercial form in the so-called "Consent Conscious Kit", which the "Affirmative Consent Project" is offering on the Internet for $ 2.99. It is a small bag made of either canvas or synthetic suede, filled with a condom, a ballpoint pen, a few breath fresheners and a simple contract, according to which both parties voluntarily agree to a sexual act together. It is recommended that the couple ready to have sex either take a picture of themselves with the contract in hand or both date and sign it.

The idea behind it is that a sexual act, in order to be above any compulsory suspicion, must be declared in advance to be a free, conscious decision of the parties involved. So, to apply Lacan's terms once more, it must be booked by the great other and inscribed in the symbolic order. This makes the “Consent Conscious Kit” an extreme expression of an attitude that is gaining ground, especially in the USA. For example, under a new law in California, students at state-sponsored colleges are not allowed to have sex with anyone without their "clear consent" first; otherwise they face a sexual assault penalty. “Clear consent” is defined as “positive, conscious and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity”.

What if the it says yes and the superego says no?

But who gives this consent? Here we have to let the Freudian triad of ego, superego and id march - in a simplified form: the ego as my conscious self-perception; the super-ego as the body of moral obligation that imposes norms on me; and the id as my deepest, half-denied passions. What if there is a conflict between the three? Under the pressure of my super-ego, my ego could say no, while my id clings to the denied desire. The opposite is even more interesting: I give in to the pleasure of my id and say yes to sex, but in the middle of it my super-ego lets loose an unbearable feeling of guilt on me. So should the agreement of consent only be valid if on both sides the ego, super-ego and id have all three signed it?

And what happens if a male signatory exercises the right to withdraw from the contract and withdraw from the agreement at any stage of the sexual act? Let's imagine that the woman has agreed, both are naked in bed, because some tiny physical detail, let's say an accidental burp, loses the erotic magic and drives the man to retreat: Doesn't this mean a terrible humiliation for them Mrs?

The ideology behind the catchphrase “sexual respect” deserves closer examination. Its basic formula is: “Yes means yes.” It has to be an explicit yes, not just a no. If a woman does not actively resist an overture, various forms of coercion can still be involved.

Here, however, the problems explode. What if a woman desires it passionately, but does not want to openly admit it out of shame? What if for both of them an ironic game of coercion is part of the erotic? And a yes to what - to which types of sexual activity - is a declared yes at all? Shouldn't the contract form be more precise here? Yes to vaginal intercourse, but not anal intercourse, yes to fellatio, but not to swallowing semen, yes to light strokes, but not too violent et cetera. At this point one can imagine a long bureaucratic negotiation that either erases all pleasure or is itself libidinally charged.

Not to mention the opposite possibility: the forced yes. In one of the most painful and disturbing scenes from David Lynch's "Wild at Heart", Laura Dern is put under brutal pressure by Willem Dafoe. He grabs her and forces himself on, repeating in a threatening voice: "Say 'fuck me". "So he tries to blackmail her into a word that would mean that she would consent to sex. The disgusting scene does not want to end until the exhausted Laura Dern mumbles almost inaudibly “Fuck me” at some point. At this moment Dafoe lets go of her abruptly, puts on a friendly smile and replies in a good mood: “No, thank you, I don't have time today, I have to go. But I'll be happy to come back to it on another occasion. "

The discomfort with this scene stems from the fact that Dafoe - by rejecting the offer he previously forcibly extorted - ends up victorious. In a way, this triumph humiliates Dern more than if he had raped her. He got what he really wanted: not the sex act itself, just her consent, her symbolic humiliation.

These problems are by no means secondary. They concern the core of the erotic interplay, from which one cannot withdraw to a neutral metalinguistic position and declare oneself ready - or not ready - to do it. Every such agreement is part of the interplay and either takes the eroticism out of the situation or is eroticized itself. A direct, formal declaration of consent or intent contradicts the internal structure of this interplay.

The language of desire

In the British film "Brassed Off", the hero once accompanies a pretty young woman home. In front of her apartment door she asks him: "Would you like to come in for a cup of coffee?" To his answer - "The problem is, I don't like coffee" - she replies with a smile: "No problem, I don't have one either."

With a double negative, the woman here is issuing a blunt invitation to sex without mentioning anything sexual. By saying that she has no coffee, she is not withdrawing her invitation, but revealing that the coffee offer was just an arbitrary cover. But how should the man act in order to maintain “sexual respect”? Would he have to say: “Wait a minute, let's sort that out - since you invite me to your apartment for a cup of coffee, but you don't have any coffee, that means you want sex, right?” You can imagine how “Yes means yes ”approach here not only destroy the situation, but would also - quite rightly - be perceived by the woman as an aggressive and humiliating act.

A number of variations for the scene are conceivable, starting with the direct pronunciation: "I would like to take you into my apartment and sleep with you." Let's do it."

Then the designation of the detour as a detour: “I would like to take you into my apartment and sleep with you, but to say that directly is embarrassing to me. So I'll politely ask you if you can come in for a cup of coffee. ”“ I don't like coffee, but I would also like to sleep with you. ”

Or the idiot answer: "Would you like to come in for a cup of coffee?" "Sorry, I don't like coffee." "Idiot, it's not about coffee, it's about sex, the coffee was just an excuse!" - yes, of course, gladly! "

Or jumping from one level to the other: "Would you like to come in for a cup of coffee?" "Yes, I would like to sleep with you."

Or the inversion: “Would you like to come in and sleep with me?” “Sorry, I don't feel like coffee right now.” (Although this apparent politeness would of course be an act of aggression and humiliation.)

A “coffee without…” version is also conceivable: “I'm tired, so I would like to just come in for a cup of coffee without sex.” “I have my days, that's why I don't want to offer you coffee without sex - but I'd have a good DVD there, how about coffee without a DVD? "

And finally the completely self-reflective lexive variant: "Would you like to come in?" "I'm not sure whether I would like to have sex or a movie - is it also possible for us to just have a cup of coffee with you?"

Why doesn't the direct invitation to sex work? Because the real problem isn't that coffee is never just coffee, but that sex is never just sex. Because there is no sexual relationship yet, the sexual act needs a phantasmatic supplement. So it's not just polite self-censorship that prevents an invitation like “let's go in and have sex”. Coffee or the like has to be brought into play to create the phantasmatic setting for sex.

The primary thing that is suppressed in the scene from “Brassed Off” is not sex (it is simply replaced by coffee), but the possibility that no sex will take place. Replacing sex with coffee is secondary repression for the purpose of obscuring the primary repression. A direct question about sex would be missing the occasion - and the only way to create the occasion is not to follow the “yes is yes” rule.

The “yes means yes” rule in sex is a prime example of the narcissistic view of subjectivity that is prevalent today. The subject is experienced as something vulnerable, something that has to be protected by a complicated set of rules and warned in advance of all potential disturbances. As "E. T. “came into the cinemas, it was heavily criticized in Sweden, Norway and Denmark: The negative portrayal of adults in the film was considered harmful to the relationship between children and their parents. Indeed, “E. T. ”in the first ten minutes adults only from the belt down, like the menacing people in the“ Tom and Jerry ”cartoons. In retrospect, this debate can be seen as an early sign of the politically correct obsession of protecting the individual from anything that might harm them in any way. More recent is the demand for so-called "trigger warnings" for canonized works of art raised by the Advisory Board for Multicultural Affairs at Columbia University in New York. The trigger was the complaint of a student who was herself a victim of sexual violence and felt harassed by the rape scenes in Ovid's "Metamorphoses". Since the professor showed no understanding of this problem, the advisory board also recommends “sensitivity training” for teachers; it is intended to train them in dealing with victims of crime, people of non-white skin color and people from low-income backgrounds. Biologist and philosopher Jerry Coyne notes: “The path taken by such trigger warnings - be it sexual or other violence, fanaticism or racism - will ultimately lead to any literary work being potentially offensive applies. The Bible, Dante, Huckleberry Finn, and all the old books that were written before we realized that minorities, women, and homosexuals are not second-class people. ,Crime and Punishment'? Trigger warning: Brutal violence against an old woman. 'The Great Gatsby'? Trigger warning: violence against women (Tom Buchanan breaks Mrs. Wilson's nose after all). Dante's inferno? Trigger warning: Explicit depictions of violence, sodomy and torture. 'Dubliners'? Trigger warning: pedophilia. "

Get out of the cocoon! The list can go on and on. One also thinks of the proposal to digitize smoking out of Hollywood classics. And by the way, it's not just low-income people who are vulnerable - what about the rich who isolate themselves in order to avoid encounters with the lower classes of society? Doesn't the withdrawal into shelters, which the concept of “trigger warnings” serve, correspond exactly to the strategy of the rich?

But the case of religions is particularly interesting. In Western Europe, some Muslim clergy are campaigning for a legal ban on blasphemy and disrespect for religions. Shouldn't such a law be applied, if so, to the religious texts themselves? Shouldn't we urgently rewrite the Bible and the Koran according to political correctness? Not to mention that we should of course also prohibit disrespect for atheism.

We land at an insurmountable paradox - because wouldn't quite a few people feel hurt by all these “trigger warnings”, see them as an oppressive regime of total surveillance?

The premise of the Advisory Board at Columbia University is: "Students must feel safe in the classroom" - and we should reject them. No, the students don't have to feel safe in the lecture hall! Instead, they should learn to openly stand up and fight against all humiliation and injustice. This advisory board has a completely wrong picture of life. To quote Jerry Coyne again: “Life is full of unreasonable demands. To curl up in a cocoon for four years is a huge mistake. "

Rather, one should learn how to step out of the shelter into the dangerous, unsafe life out there - and how to intervene there. One should learn that we do not live in a safe world. But in a world in which various afflictions threaten, from environmental disasters and new wars to growing social violence.