My partner was wearing this shirt the other day and I noticed that on the lower left corner of the shirt, it says Ingredients and the first four ingredients listed were Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. The shirt looks like a packaging label for a product called “Human Being,” and it made me think about the Elizabeth Grosz reading. The general outlook is that human beings are live, organic beings, and usually privileged over inanimate matter. There is life and then there is no-life, but life emerged from things that we classify as no-life. The most common elements found in living organisms are not considered ‘alive,’ and yet, that is what we’re mostly composed of (of course, in more complex arrangements).
In our last class, the professor mentioned that it might be useful to think about difference, and perhaps be open to move from a difference in kind to one of degrees. Grosz proposed that we look at the real as chaos, a sort of Deleuzian BwO- a field of immanence. So what does this have to do with the t-shirt? The t-shirt categorizes ‘human being’ as a distinct entity, apart from its so-called ingredients. This is the opposite of chaos. The shirt gave me a small glimpse to the funny way we order our world, and how seemingly ‘objectively real’ things are.
Anyway, I must say that I definitely learned a lot in this class, but I am exhausted! Some of the questions and ideas it opened up my mind to are still a bit hazy, but I’m not upset about that. It takes time to glean a clear insight on complicated things, right? I think this is one of those classes that really exhausted me, not because of anything bad but because of everything being so damned interesting. I feel like I’m still digesting all the readings that we did, and yet as if I wasn’t tortured enough, I started reading Zizek’s Sublime Object of Ideology, just for fun.
Kathy, Kimberly, Mitsue, and Kirsten, thanks for everything ya’ll! Have a wonderful semester break! Christina, thank you for such an engaging class. I really like the selection of readings/theorists and have learned so much. I hope you have a nice break.