Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feminine space

I referenced the book Shadow of Spirit in another thread. I here want to emphasize chapter 19: "Woman and space according to Kristeva and Irigaray" by Phillipa Berry. A few excerpts with comments following.
"One way in which Heidegger’s emphasis upon openness and the clearing has left its mark in the work of Kristeva and Irigaray is through their shared interest in a highly ambiguous spatial category which was used by Plato, but which also has evident affinities with the pre-Socratic thought that so fascinated Heidegger: the category of chora" (255).
"In deciding to focus upon this particular Platonic term, Kristeva was apparently rejecting a post-Platonic philosophical emphasis upon ideas in a fascination with the absence of form, or with that emptiness which precedes but is the necessary precondition of all forms of representation. This emphasis, while derived from Plato, has clear affinities with pre- Socratic thought: specifically, with the emphasis upon a primordial void or apeiron,found in the thought of Pythagoras and Anaximander" (256).
"She may have been thinking of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in particular, for these systems place great emphasis upon the attainment of a paradoxical, non-dual model of knowledge which is also a knowledge of emptiness; this illumination coincides with the discovery of the illusory nature of the subject–object dichotomy. In this context, the void (sunyata) is identified with ‘absolute reality’ and held to contain all dualities and polarities; specifically, to unite the opposites of form and emptiness. It should be noted here that this fullness of the Buddhist void seemingly approximates more to a Derridean diffĂ©rance than to a Hegelian Aufhebung or sublation of difference" (258).
Berry notes that both Kristeva and Irigaray's concern is to explore the space between the secular and sacred--and the inner and outer, and all opposition, for that matter--a theme being explored in the Habermas thread. It is in these gaps that K and I find the feminine as empty space itself. And both do so from a reading of Heidegger's later notion of the Abgrund, the groundless ground of nothingness and openness within the clearing of Lichtung. H notes that Lichtung is an "open center" in the midst of opposition and from which that latter depend, but is itself not part of that categorization. (Also discussed in the Levin threads.) The center is aka alterity "in the midst" and considered sacred. And it is this meaning that K and I carry into their chora.
"Thus rather than simply representing the repressed opposite term either of idealist philosophy or of social reality, Kristeva argued that chora is always asymmetrically ‘other’ to what Lacan called the symbolic order – that is, to any philosophic, cultural or social construct" (256).
Within this feminine space resides an ecstasy which breaks all boundaries while bonding all manifestation in love. They emphasize its sacred, feminine embodiment which grounds the spatial (and the spiritual) in the temporal (and the earthly) flesh. Hence, that empty space between a woman's legs is indeed the portal in which we experience ecstasy and for a moment, at least, dissolve all boundaries in the throes of love. Holy, wholly, holey indeed.

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