Second Body /fragment

The free body -  obtained through hard experimentation with all kinds of substances, all kinds of sexuality and all sorts of techniques of freeing ourselves - got exhausted and turned up not that free after all. The enthusiasm and the joy of the freedom lasted for a while but, after years and years of self-expression, a depressive moment arrived when the realization that there is no ‘itself’ to express couldn’t be postponed. The joy and the sensation of freedom felt from getting out of the disciplined body was quickly consumed. The effort of setting free this tool-body is not enough because, similarly to what happened when this is tried in dance, what remains after the 'liberation' are just stereotypes and clichés. Our bodies are shaped by our type of culture, nature, society, economy, politics, especially in the unconscious layers, in the unknown - at the level of reflexes, habits, perception automatisms, affective circuits, etc. It’s not enough to deconstruct or to apply critical thinking to the tool-body or to the world. You need to reconstruct the body and that’s a different kind of work. On the other hand we need this tool-body too because it is what we have for navigating this world.

The familiar habits and patterns of perception and movement are silencing the inhuman factors in the body. "One instinctually arranges one’s life so that the tasks, the tools and the problems and the encounters will recur the same each day, one avoids the limits”. In this way the first body constantly confirms the world and its behaviours, the first body always encounters a known, stabilized world. The quantity of known is constantly expanding until it becomes the totality of perception, until we actually perfectly know what a body can do and what a body is. Our bodies are impregnated with a biological conception, there is a scientific knowledge that we put automatically into bodies and objects. We just know that they are made of molecules and atoms not of affects, spirits, or something similar and we take for granted that a body cannot be in two locations at the same time.

Even if this seems a very solid, grounded reality, there are spaces where this type of thinking is just an impotent fiction. It is possible that an Amazonian continues the end of the last paragraph about the impossibility of the same body to be in two locations at the same time by saying: “maybe not so much in Europe but in Amazonia it can”. Viveiros de Castro was aware that in this kind of worlds a dematerialization of the body and of the thinking was necessary: “What I call ‘body’ is not a synonym with a distinct substance or fixed shape; it is an assemblage of affects or ways of being that constitutes a habitus”. This type of Amazonian material, says Aparecida Vilaça, will allow us to discern a body that is not impregnated with a biological conception, “a body whose existence is fleeting and whose reality lies in the eyes of others”.

The main technique for lucid dreaming and for out of body experiences is to become aware of your body or a part of your body while asleep. This creates a strange feedback loop which initiates awareness and intensifies the presence in the ‘dream world’. By making the dreams real or by becoming real in the dream the 'dreaming body' appears. This kind of body-attention is an interesting way of creating a body and probably there is a key here about how the first body is constituted, and about how the second body can be created. Maybe by deviating a certain amount of attention, of affection, of energy from the first body and the first world in the direction of an intensification of the Unknown, a second attention and a second body can appear, in the same way that, by deviating attention from the dream activity, a dreaming body appears. Maybe by stabilizing this second attention, and by making it a habit, a second body and other worlds can acquire some consistency.

Published in Frontpaper magazine Portland, Cadernos de Subjetividade Sao Paulo, Bezna #4 and Unsorcery