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Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Ambivalent Body


The disabled body is the unheimlich, that which is unhomeley, uncanny, the grotesque, that figure of abjection we project as having declared a figment of our imagination once puberty hit, that anxious nightmare which is scary precisely because it hits too close to home.
The ambivalent body which is deeply unsettling, yet all too familiar. It evokes compassion, but only as an instinctive, visceral reaction. A compassion which is comforting because it is an autonomic response. We have been bathing in humanitarianism for so long that our ethical pores have become pruney, saturated to the point of exhaustion.
How can we learn to attune ourselves to the trajectories of intercorporeal generosity?
To an embodied relationality lived in the flesh and blood?
To an ethics of care that tears through the fabric of false certainty and the fictional surfaces of individually wrapped, pre-packaged and itemized contained selves?
I crashed my bike on the way to campus today, I cut my arm and feel a limp as I walk. I brushed against the pavement more so than death, but nonetheless, I realized that my embodiment was not as secure as it seemed. 
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