13 March 2009
Objectification, Animism, and for the love of Things

Watch Married To The Eiffel Tower [Part 1] |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

It comes again. The discussion that keeps mulling around in my head, that has come up twice in under 24 hours. The issue of animism, the belief that things have souls, and where it intersects with humans who are things, and things that we have relationships with.

The video above is about a few women who are considered OS- Object Sexuals. They have not only sexual relationships with objects, but emotional ones as well, and do not have relationships with humans. The documentary does not judge, except insomuch as by providing opinions of people around them as well as from them. Erika used to have a relationship with Lance, her compound bow, and the relationship propelled them together to become world champions. But she and Lance’s relationship cooled, and she fell in love with the Eifel Tower, the grande Dame of Paris… and got married to her. The tattoo is beautiful.

OS is about love, attraction, and is not object paraphilia- a sexual attraction to an object. Most fetishists I know collect their objects, but do not have connections with the spirit of those objects.

This is where animism comes in to play in my mind.

I have met the spirit of a specific coke can, have had meaningful discussions with a beach, have falling in love for a night with the wind off Manly in Australia, who bore witness to a ritual I can not forget. I have a pet rock I have owned since I was 6 years old, and ze and I have bathed together, been intimate, been best friends… and its memory is long for when I unwrap it from its fur ze sleeps in… ze smiles and remembers me, and curls up again at my side… still a child in many ways.

I remember being affirmed when I read Tom Robbins’ “Skinny Legs and All”- the adventures of the rag tag crew Can o’ Beans, Dirty Sock, Spoon, Painted Stick and Conch Shell melted me. Told me I wasn’t the only one who knew, who could hear them.

If objects have souls, why would we throw them away? Do we throw away the other things with souls in our life? I would argue yes, most of us do. Just because something is ensouled it does not mean has value to us. Thus the ability to kill- it has a soul, but its death does not matter to us in that moment… we would slaughter an ox, smash a rock, why not a human?

Last night this came up as Brent and I discussed Alan Turing, Principia Mathmatica and a variety of other books that influenced him in his path of hybric chaos magic, ceremonialism, and mathematics. He encourages me to read “Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid” by Hofstader, to plunge in deeper. It comes up as we discuss the idea of the Chinese Room-

Does the human know chinese? Does the books? Does the room? Do they all as a system? If this applies to a soul, does the skin have a soul? The brain? The wiring between it all? The juice that flows on high? If so, when the human goes to lunch, does the room dream?

We spoke of the word “impersonate”. To enfuel with a personhood. We impersonate when we do drag, we become a gendered person that is not our base norm. And between use we come to the conclusion that no mind is to imstatuate ourselves- if the being of statuehood is no better or worse that being of personhood, in becoming as the statue (or wall, or air, or ground, or…) we imstatuate ourselves, we go no mind, we come to understand a different level of this thing called soul. It is no more or less empowering than to make the statue seem human.

I live on one vibration, one level, one viewpoint of the world. I can shift. I can become mouse, run on ground, smell food, run, dust. I can become eagle, fly in air, see big picture, zoom in, hunt, know. I thus can choose, if I work with shapeshifting again, to become air, to become statue, to become inanimate as it is referred to by humans… but thingness has value, has a perspective. Eifel Tower, she’s seen people come and go, knows the past for what it is, knows the rain, the joy, the pain, the heart of the city. Lava rock, fresh and knew, remembers being thrown from iron core that is also our blood. What does Moon remember, Ocean, Beat up hat?

In moving out of personhood, I shift what matters. Drama is different. Slices of time change. My will and its effect shift.

Some objects are louder than others. There are cars that just *will not* work that way. Stuffed animals that whisper. Mountains that are heavy with wisdom. And there are silent ones as well, the paper ready to be writ upon by no judgment but your own.

So it is with human objects. I meet people, in body at least, who are chairs, ottomans, clay (pliable until fired), rocks, pushy stuffed animals. That long to be used for *how they are useful*. Using a fork as a scredriver may function, but it is not as elegant as using it to savor the sauteed mushrooms you have created. And we have a choice, when we strip away personhood down to objecthood (with down being neither negative or positive, simply an arbitrary otherness of being) we as viewers of object have a choice on how to interact. Do we kick the violin when it will not make music, or learn how to play it? Do we use the pan to cook, or to play the drums? Do we try to wriggle our size 18 ass into that pair of jeans, or do we give those jeans to a home who can wear them without destroying them?

When classical feminism speaks of objectification, it assumes the worst in humans in their relationship with objects. I argue that if we approach with a slice of animistic belief, with a knowledge that the planet has a viewpoint, our concept of what it means to objectify will shift.

Me- good.
Me + computer (writing from Ace, my boy with a bad hip who still does a great job)- able to share my thoughts with the world.

He makes me more than I am alone.

And I thank him for it.