michael j. morris

why ecosexuality, part 2
20 November, 2011, 4:11 pm
Filed under: research | Tags: ,

In my last post, I attempted to put language to why ecosexuality has become my research interest. I realized this morning that I’ve only articulated part of my motivation. It is certainly about falling in love with the world and experiencing intensities of pleasure derived from my interdependency (or perhaps more accurately, intradependency; see below). I think there are ethical and political implications for such an approach to the world, implications that I did not articulate in my previous post, and which I will not be articulating here either (that will have to be for another day). Suffice to say, I believe we might live in the world (as the world?) differently if our sense of self is always hinged on the [passionate, desirous] relation which constitutes both our sense of self and our sense of the world.

Implicit in this sense of subjectivity is an emphasis on relation. It resists the notion of pre-exisiting relata which then form relationships. It considers relationship as the fundamental unit of ontology. In other words, there is no “self” and “the world,” per se. Rather, there is a relation, an intradependency (a relation internal to itself rather than between pre-existing entities or territories), a process or assemblage or system, and from that flow, that relation, we then abstract parts. “Self” and “the world” do not pre-exist the relation; they are constituted by it, they are dependent upon it. This shift in the ontology of subjectivity carries radical implications for ethics/politics/how we live in the world. Part of my work, I believe, will be to consider/theorize/articulate these implications, not exhaustively, but specifically as they are concerned with sexuality.

That’s the other part of my motivation. It is not only about transforming our sense of the world through our understanding of sexuality. It is also about how this shifting from relata to relation, this transformation in how we think “ourselves” as fundamentally processional with the world (language is so difficult here; language resists this shift; this might become part of my project as well), affects how we think/understand/approach sex, sexuality, and even love. The deterritorialization of the subject, the emphasis of relation and the constitutive flow of intradependency, necessarily shifts the concepts of sex and sexuality. For one thing, the body is no longer a closed entity (it never was; this was a fantasy, probably of capitalism, maybe of agriculture, considering the body/self as private property). It cannot be clearly delimited, it can never be contained, and in this sense, it can never be fully possessed. This move towards disindividuation is not new in my work. For a couple of years, I’ve been trying to ground myself in theoretical frameworks that dislodge the notion of the subject as individuated and autonomous, bounded private property. What I want to emphasize here (for myself, for you) is that to no longer consider oneself as one self will affect how we consider/conduct sex, sexual identities, and even relationships. What if sex is not something that takes place between two (or more) people, but is instead a quality of relation, an affective register in which we understand and constitute relations (and thus “ourselves”)? I keep thinking about how practices and philosophies of polyamory might have a lot of sympathy with the “ecosexual subject.” What if love (specifically eros) is not a non-renewable resource? What if we cannot “belong” to one another, because we never truly “belong” to ourselves? What if one relationship does not preclude another? There’s a promiscuity to this kind of ontology, a being that is always becoming, a becoming that is enacted through ceaseless fundamental intra-relationships, of which sex and love are particular qualities.

What I’m trying to articulate here is that in the pursuit of an ecosexuality, there is a shift in how we understand ourselves, and in this shift, how we think and behave sex/sexuality/love changes as well. It doesn’t change in one way; it changes in many, and many more that are unforeseen/unforeseeable.

I have a lot more to consider/theorize/write (dissertation), but I thought it was important to articulate these motivations as well.

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