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Monday, 24 August 2009

Girl Interrupted.


I am officially naming this week in the life of my blog "Girl Interrupted week."

This week I am going to explore my current state of mind and see where it goes. This could be very boring reading. But hey it's only a week. This week I shall not censor myself as much as I normally do. And by censor, unfortunately I am not referring to anything saucy, because there is surprisingly little of that lurking around in my brain right now.

This weekend I read my brain into a frenzy. I read a book written by psychiatrists, I read a book by a person who suffered from a severe mental illness and recovered, I read everything about every personality disorder and mental illness I could find on the internet. I also read about theories of gender, sex, hermaphroditism and other complications relating to sex definition (I think everyone knows that this is a hot topic at present). I read until I thought my head would explode.

One thing that is evident to me is that the age of black and white thinking is slowly, slowly gasping it's last wheezy breaths. I reckon it will take generations to die, but it may be on it's way out.

When I studied philosophy we referred to this kind of thinking as binary oppositions. It is the human (or at least the Western human) desire to divide and categorise; black and white, good and bad, man and woman.

These categories in no way reflect our reality, but they do fit certain stereotypes of reality. Because it is so much easier for our poor little minds to think this way, we have accepted that it does in fact represent reality. In this way we have completely lost touch with said reality.

Philosophers have tried to subvert black and white thinking for ages, and many attempts have been made. Deconstruction was an abortive attempt, but it tried to reverse oppositions instead of eliminating them. Postmodernism has come and gone, and yet most people still cling to black and white thinking.

My current way of thinking is to see everything as Grey. I am happy to embrace the confusion and anarchy of grey thinking.

Don't get me wrong, it is exhausting, and sometimes I delight in cliches and stereotypes because they are so self-fulfilling and satisfying. I laugh at my complete lack of spatial awareness and sense of direction because it fulfills the female cliche.

But when there is a cliche that does not fit me I immediately feel alienated, othered, defective. And nobody fulfills all the cliches of their gender, race, culture, society. There is no need for all of us to go around feeling defective just because we insist on making the stereotype into the law of reality.

So I see things in shades of grey. There is no clearly defined "male" or female". I think of things in spectra and gradients, and each person fits somewhere on a spectrum for each and every sex and gender characteristic. And there are many characteristic which make up gender, and then sex.

This is how I see everything in the world. Undefined, in flux.

Basically we are all goop in a soup yeah, and we could just flow and adapt if we so desired.

Maybe there are already theories out there by cutting edge types who tear down grey thinking.

But my brain is geared for grey thinking to the point where I feel like I know nothing, am sure of nothing, can judge nothing. It is pretty confusing. But it's ok. It's an adventure. Weeeeeee.

15 comments:

Ches said...

We won't interrupt you, Girl, carry on. :)

Helen said...

Wow, you think hard over weekends! I just try to flit from one thing to the next. flit flit flit...

i won't interrupt you unless osmething cool happens. Like a ninja jumping over a bus...

Prixie said...

im sure you watched girl interrupted. if not,watch it next weekend for mreo thinking!

and wow, i am so very impressed with the raw passion in this post. good on you!

po said...

Thanks guys, you are so great to bear with me! I don't normally do so much intense reading and thinking on a weekend but this weekend left my brain in need of writing some of this down.

momcat said...

Grey thinking is not to be sniffed at. Grey thinkers are prepared to compromise if necessary and roll with the punches. Black and white thinkers are opinionated and often angry people that have definite views on everything and will not compromise but expect other people to fit in with them. My kids fit into the black and white category. Shame!! I hope its just the age.

6000 said...

You should come to Cape Town - everything's sky blue and sunny. No grey in sight.

po said...

momcat: all kidsa are black and white thinkers, don't worry! The older you get, the more grey you see, but kids need black and white thinking it helps them have structure in life.

6000: ooh Cape Town is very grey in my mind. But yes, blue too!

Paula said...

um. woah. Well in our critical studies class we've been weaving in and out of stereotypes and sions (basically thingies that define certain discourses that have lead to what we now refer to as stereotypes) and what you are discussing is just elaborating on discourses and you are left with two options; leave the world as it is and find your own definition OR write an academic essay to change and re-identify a new system of thinking.

Either way you're better with the research.

But its good at least you're searching.

po said...

Paula: wow! Well I dont think I am able to redefine anything, I think I am accepting a theory of grey thinking that is quite old. But maybe you could do the redefining!? Tell me if you come up with a good theory.

Dora said...

Ok, that is definitely too much thinking. I spent my weekend suffering neck and head ache after slamming my head onto the floor when I somehow felt over in muay thai class. So no more thinking for me?!

But hey, that is a brilliant experiment you have there - to not censor yourself (as much) for one week! So brilliant I just might copy it! (If you so allow, with credits of course.) ;)

po said...

Dora: go wild! I find I tend to avoid being too serious on my blog so this week I am allowing myself to go for it! And would love to see where it leads other people.

SonnyVsDan said...

wow! what's the name of the book of the person suffering that recovered?

po said...

Sonny vs dan: it is called "get me out of here" by Rachel Reiland

DT said...

I so loved this post Po! Grey thinkers are exciting thinkers - the world is huge and uncertain and delightful! I admire your journey into the uncensored and think it is going to bring some wonderful truths to the surface. When something isn’t lurking in the shadows – there is no more reason for fear!

po said...

DT: I hope so I really do, imagine really having nothing to fear! That would be so good.