Nature and contructions

-The first time students hear the distinction between sex and gender (roughly, the biological and the social) they assume the first is determined and the second is fluid or variable. While there is something true about this, it overlooks that all social constructions are governed by justice and justice is not fluid.

-“Fluidity” means “anything goes” only in the way we can say the same thing about the just and unjust. There is certainly a relevant sense in which both justice and injustice can be done, but this is clearly not the whole story.

-The fluid is grounded on the invariable. Our question is whether this invariable component can be identity/ the person in opposition to the nature.

-Persons in opposition to natures would not be reproduced.

-In some ways nature is obviously a machine. Jaws and elbows are levers, teeth are wedges/inclined planes, neurons are electric circuits, etc. But we also experience nature as the subconscious mind, and in this sense the machine can never be nature nor perform what is natural. The lever of the elbow is governed by the same rules as any mechanical lever, but where it does not act by nature it does not act by the subconscious. Machines, in fact, borrow our subconscious in order to act because they require our reason to exist.

-Our metaphor for nature as machine is the computer or factory: gleaming parts, labeled wires, clean boards soldered in brightly-lit rooms. The whole reality is laid out in front of you in a perfectly intelligible and finite order. But this has to be balanced against the more fundamental reality of nature as subconscious – not a brightly lit factory but a vast hinterland of desire, archetypes, terror, and prophesy that play by the possibilities of dream-logic.

-Each nature, substance, or monad is thus a subconscious universe that projects outward to the visible universe. It is as isolated and self-contained as a dream with all the infinitude of possibilities contained in it, and for exactly that reason.

-Nature is both machine and anti-machine, both in universe and equal to it.


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