Monday, February 20, 2012

Controlling, Determining, and Otherwise Limiting

When a person, group, or other controlling entity seeks, struggles for, or achieves/is granted control over the conduct of another (or others), said party becomes a “governor,” in the broad sense of the term, caught up in “government,” where governmentality refers to the entire range of practices “that constitute, define, organize, and instrumentalize the strategies that individuals in their freedom can use in dealing with each other” (Foucault, Ethics. 300). In other words, in relationships that are first and foremost power relations, there are incentives, tools, and strategies for making use of whatever freedom one has in attempts at controlling, determining, or limiting the freedom of others.

Is not the standard monogamous project one that is best characterized, not as an erotic relationship nor a loving relationship, nor even a domestic partnership, but instead a relation of power? Is not the quintessential concern in the standard monogamous project the ability to control, determine, and otherwise limit the freedom of another? In a relationship where all the love, attention, affection, respect, appreciation, and on and on... in a relationship where all that one could desire from another is not only present but abundant, what need is there for governing the other’s freedom, for curtailing possibility? By what exigency or right does one find it not only acceptable but imperative to make another subject to such governance? And more pressing still, how is it not only acceptable but a normal expectation that one will leverage their very love as the strategic means for procuring such governmental power over another? Yet this is nothing more nor less than the ultimatum that people present each other with every day in pursuing “love”: submit to my governance or else I shall occlude my love for you and reject your love for me!

And just to emphasize that our approaches to love, intimacy, and family are the apotheoses of perversity, the vast majority are not satisfied with merely being granted such governance. “You must govern me in kind!  If you lack interest, even in the slightest, in taking such possession of me, your willing helot, the shallowness of your love is exposed!  If you truly loved me you'd insist on being my governor!”

After all, in this most barbaric of models, to love is to take hold of, to govern, to possess; of course, the inevitable extreme of love, then, is to consume, to devour.  Since it is a mutual and reciprocal domination, of course, the apex of love, love's culmination, is the obliteration of oneself and one's beloved.

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