Sun-bodies, Name-bodies, Ship-bodies, No-bodies (Feb.26.2021)
In the last year, I’ve slowly tried to move myself away from definitions of the human, redefining my personhood in other, more fitting terms. The human, as Bennett says, has been “disciplined, normalized, sped up and slowed down, gendered, sexed, nationalized, globalized, rendered disposable,” and as a person who already resides outside of a few of these definitions, I’ve decided to make a move beyond all of them (Bennett, p1).
I use it/its pronouns. Those pronouns help me feel more comfortable with my body as it is, helps me distance myself from uncomfortable, ill-fitting humanity. But being faced with using it/its pronouns for someone you consider a “person” makes people uncomfortable for very understandable reasons. I haven’t really shared this with people outside of my group of friends, and I don’t think I’ll be sharing it with other professors any time soon either. They/them pronouns are still fine to use, but mostly because I know that there isn’t space for me to be using it/its in a professional or scholastic setting right now.
My sister said, when I told her, “Isn’t that dehumanizing?” and I said, “That’s the point, a little bit.” And it is the point, to distance myself from the human, because my gender doesn’t fit into human gender conceptions at all, and I’m not comfortable with the label, with everything that comes with it. I’m reminded of a quote from John Urry, that being posthuman requires having been human. Some bodies are delegated as human, some are delegated as nonhuman. Some bodies delegate themselves; I think they all can, in a way. Not all of them are able to communicate their chosen delegation, so we make assumptions.
I am saying, I am not that. Not human. There are words I could use to describe what, then, I am, if not human, but none of them would really be true in words that humans use. We’d need a new semiotics. But can there be a semiotics that doesn’t make an outside? This dips back into my notions of spaces of monstrosity, but I digress.
Is it worth it to name a body as a thing itself? Or is it more honest to list parts of the body assemblage? How deep do we go? To atoms? Quarks?.
The body that is writing is composed of sunlight. Sunlight made blood, sunlight made bone, sunlight made muscle, skin, fat, organs. Sunlight made iron. The body that is writing has a name that is composed of nothing. The body that is writing has a name that means no-body. The body that is writing is outside. The body that is writing is outside.
Part of moving outside of a definition of human is moving out of a sacrificial system, too. The ideal is to create a space of oneself that is bereft of relation to the human entirely because that relationship is what fosters sacrificial systems. To be a sacrifice, there must be connection to the population that is benefiting from your sacrifice. Removing that connection frees you from participation. What happens to your body cannot touch their bodies.
This is what happens in one of the endings of Heaven Will Be Mine, a virtual novel from Worst Girls Games. In the Celestial Mechanics ending, the pilots move to a different scale and level of existence from humanity, becoming a part of their ship-bodies, no longer able to be touched or conceived by those still on that human level of existence, working within that Gravitational and Cultural framework.
I don’t know if I can get that far, especially with my feet on the ground. But I think using pronouns that make me feel better, denying affiliation with the human, is a good first step. It’s the one I’m taking.
Bee, Aevee & Schwartz, Mia. Heaven Will Be Mine.
Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter.
Urry, John. Mobilities.