Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why we stand in line at nightclubs

— So, the human brain is designed to establish relationships only within small groups, and seeks constantly to reproduce the feeling of being "just amongst us." All attempts at socialization are intended to recreate within us a series of previously successful patterns of empathy, because . . . Aha! Because the only real human instinct is to flee into the forest depths. If this weren't the case, why would the State expend so much effort teaching us to love that which is social, and why such frantic insistence on the amorous-gregarious nature of the glorious Fatherland? Social training is an operating system composed of customs designed to minimize the pain one feels at finding oneself completely surrounded. Social aristocracies are brought into existence as a form of technology that enables the elite to tolerate the proximity of others, as another way to address the need for human contact felt by the I while simultaneously protecting it from the unwashed hordes via membership cards and club protocols. The presence of the bouncer ensures that the favored group will stay small. The charm exuded by the elite is the Ersatz of an evolutionary defect related to our genetic inability to be alone, which is to say, to rid ourselves of our fear of the forest — and to do so with sufficient speed.

The later is got, the more intense grew the couple's desire not to be turned away at the door.
— from Savage Theories, by Pola Oloixarac.

I haven't yet decided how I feel about this book. I'm only just past halfway.

At first it was quirky and clever, and I liked it.

Then it was all about sex, and it became tiresome. I questioned whether I was being a prude. (I'm not a prude.)

There are bursts that are funny and insightful, but then it gets pretentiously academic, and I feel stupid (I'm not stupid), and I wonder if the pretentiousness is tongue-in-cheek.

"Philosophy is Satan's playground."

It's not yet clear to me what Savage Theories is about. The theorizing seemed to be about sex, and the laws of attraction, and young people claiming and wielding their sexual awareness while also dissociating from it.

Then I think, it is about sex as a political act. Revolutionary. Subversive. "There couldn't be anything in this world more beautiful than working for justice and fucking in the name of the Fatherland." And then it is about power; of course it's about power. Predatory behaviour. Everyone's a predator.

Then there is the Theory of Egoic Transmissions. (I don't know.)

Also, I need a crash course in Argentine history. Montoneros and Trotskyites. The Dirty War.

So. I will educate myself on some of the issues in Savage Theories, but I'm not sure it will make me like it any better. Right now it feels a little too opaque for me to be able to connect with it.

One hundred pages to go before bedtime, and tomorrow will be bookclub, where I hope all will be explained.

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