I once read a biography of Simone de Beauvoir that narrated her early struggles to express her ideas. Her first novel, it must be said, is not good. Specifically, it is a working out of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic by way of a heavily autobiographical depiction of a threesome; the Beauvoir character literally murders the other woman at the end. Again, it is not a good book. But after she published it, the real Beauvoir permanently lost the fear of having nothing to say. This is unimaginable, to me.
I’ve noticed that women who aren’t actual oracles aren’t typically allowed to be oracular. If I were a Lacanian (I’m not) it would be for the vatic utterances.
There is a Buddhist parable about being struck by two arrows. The first comes from outside; it inflicts a wound. The second, we learn, is self-inflicted; it is the suffering we cause ourselves in the wake of the first arrow’s pain. I aim to hit the Real with the force of the second arrow.
Abby Kluchin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Ursinus College, where she also coordinates the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies program. Abby is co-founder and Associate Director at Large of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.