Slip free from language

To maintain a narrative about one's life is initially helpful, but in the long-term it can be too mind-consuming.   You get to the point where you don't need one.   Narratives are a kind of ego-defence.  Also, and I think what sealed this decision for me above all was the understanding that whatever narrative I formed, the mechanics of patriarchal power would always subvert my narrative to make its own story out of my story.   That is how it goes.  In a sense, meaning is patriarchal, at least in our current historical time and place.

What is not patriarchal, and what is hardly expected, is that one can slip the noose by denying one's reliance on patriarchal meaning for sustenance.   In fact, the less meaning one has, the better -- and the easier it is to slip out of  the noose.  You know when someone is grabbing you in a bear hug, and just before they grab you, you inflate your lungs.

Then, as the grab takes hold, you suddenly release all the air from your lungs and your chest becomes narrower.  You can fall out of the hold, if you deliberately make your body go limp.  But, whilst you inflate your chest and struggle, you only make it worse.

Patriarchal power sets us up to struggle against it, but that is the worst thing you can do.  You will lose your energy that way, which is what was happening to me. Far better to let the air out of you body and shrink out of its grasp.

I like Bataille's following formulation, and learned a lot from it.  He reflects, in his book, On Nietzsche, that what is free cannot be defined.   Rather than firming up the narrative and strengthening one's self-definition, which will only tighten the rope of power around your neck, you can seek not to be defined.   Formlessness doesn't mean one doesn't know one's own mind. In fact, from experience, I can say one has to know one's own mind inside and out in order to attain the external appearance of ephemeral smoothness that gives ones enemies nothing to latch onto. One can't do it without a high level of maturity -- and not of the ordinary sort, either, but that which comes from strong self-observation and honesty with oneself.

Those who don't know themselves easily get roped in to conform to others' definitions of them.   That's because their egos are needy; hungry.  Some people even rope themselves in by reading themselves into texts that do not address them personally and are hence not directly related to them.  The desire to see oneself reflected in the mirror of the 'other' can be very strong. But, whilst it seems to offer some benefits to one's ego, placing one's ego in relationship to another also makes one at the mercy of their appetites and desires.  The relationship flows both ways, although one had perhaps only expected it to flow in one direction, toward admiration for oneself and one's 'identity'.

To be "formless" in Bataille's sense is to be free from having to rely on the scaffolding of language to support one's identity.   Language leads one to misunderstand oneself.  At best, it is a crude instrument, which calls out to those who are similar to us, but not the same.  As Nietzsche says, one cannot draw out from a text knowledge that isn't already in us in some way.

To cultivate, then, a tolerance for formlessness, at least in the sense that one doesn't wish to appear to other people in any particular manifestation that they could easily tear apart and devour, is the ultimate goal of intellectual shamanism.  It involves not being needy, so as not to be eaten.   It's path is self-knowledge leading to self-reliance.

It's not that one must reject language altogether as a result of following this path, just that one must realize its limitations and not use it to develop or reinforce an identity.   That way leads to an eternal recurrence of the same pathological interactions.   One must get beyond the point where 'identity' and narrative are the means to make oneself whole.   They cannot do that, and they perpetuate the problem they are trying to solve.  Rather:  let the air out of your lungs, and slip free from the embrace of language and political control.
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