That’s how we got here. » Thinking that there are two sexes is a belief just as dangerous and deleterious as the belief in growth « , a Kairos reader told us, following the publication of Tülay Umay’s text « Why two sexes »(1). Far from being an exception, this idea is gaining importance, reflecting a form of domination that would like to be total of the culture on nature. Extreme push of a capitalism investing the libidinal sphere, it can be good to remind that there are realities on which the man does not have hold and should not seek to have some, and that these chimerical fights serve most often only to occult the true struggles of emancipation.
Apart from the liberal prophets in politics, business circles and various editorial offices, few dare to say that an economy like ours, based essentially on increasing production and consumption in order to accumulate profit for a minority, is as natural as rain and tides. Capitalism is a choice, whose functioning relies on powers that organize its operation and a set of more or less consenting actors who participate in it, undergoing it to varying degrees. However, if some people recognize that infinite growth in a finite world is a belief, they seem to grant the latter status to other manifestations that we thought were natural.
Thus, for some, just as the infinite accumulation of capital is a societal choice, sex would depend only on an individual decision and would have nothing to do with biology and birth. The difference of the sexes would no longer be an invariant of our common humanity, but on the contrary the only fruit of a personal choice, the enunciation of the existence of two sexes being in itself the result of a belief which would prove that we have let ourselves be subjugated by obsolete social myths.
DENIAL OF DIFFERENCE AND CAPITALISM
Some, however, do not believe so well when they bring together the economic system based on growth and sexual duality in the same belief effect. The religion of the former, that of GDP, money and profit, has indeed propagated the idea of the absence of limits to all spheres of life, whether economic or psychological. Indeed, there are no more natural brakes to the satisfaction of the insatiable appetite of a productivist system than there are limits to human desires. Nature, in both cases — external nature (in the sense of « environment ») and human nature (in the sense of biological) — would not raise any insurmountable obstacle.
Where initially capitalism was content to tame the forces of nature in order to exploit it without limit, it is now also man’s own nature that is the object of its attention. The major interest here lies in the observation that the negation of the difference between the sexes is not only an additional consequence of the refusal of limits specific to our liberal societies, but is also a powerful determinant of them. Through the destructuring of the family unit and the negation of the place of the father, different from that of the mother, proper to this belief, a new form of subjectivity is promoted, refusing to accept the limits inherent to life: the negation of the difference of the sexes feeds the social illusion of « everything is possible ». The social and the family interact, interpenetrate and respond to each other in the same logic: « Today’s father no longer feels recognized in this position of limit-setter, because the latter is precisely what the social of modernity believes it has emancipated itself from. (…) The result is obviously consequent: the child sees himself protected by the father from the test of confrontation to the limit, which has no other effect than to make more difficult the inscription of this last one in the psychic apparatus of the child « .(2).
The « decline of the father in the social life », building a subject that will form and conform to a society of the no limit, is then presented as « the major symptom of our current social, in that it makes closely cortège so much with the evolution of the democracy that with the progress of the techno-science and that with the development of the economic liberalism »(3). One responds to the other, the other responds to the first: the decline of the father in social life is the cause and consequence of the weakening of the father in the family sphere. The new terms of the novlangue testify to this voluntary confusion in which the differentiation of places within the parental couple is no longer recognized: « If we are dealing only with a double parenthood — which is what the fashionable term of parentality, a substantivation of the adjective parental which dispenses with any reference to the difference of the sexes, consecrates today — there is no guarantee that the child will have to deal with only two educators! (…) It is the articulation between mother and father that has changed, it is as if the child was then raised only twice by a single parent. (…) The child would no longer have to face the enigma of the couple. We could, jokingly, say that today, it would often only be a question of paternally assisted procreation. A man would only be necessary as a functional charm ».(4). This weakening of the paternal function sounds like the negation of what made the specificity of the paternal function, erasing its role which was not less than that of allowing the fusional detachment of the child from the mother and of making him enter the world of language. This distinction broken, the child would remain longer in a pre-oedipal phase, creating new neoliberal subjectivities perfectly congruent with the capitalist economy: « Infantilization aims at inciting adults to childishness, and at preserving what is childish in children trying to grow up, while giving them the « adult power » to consume »(5).
I SAY THEREFORE I AM ?
If the symbolic, the fact of speaking, allows all possible fantasies, such as believing oneself to be a man when one is a woman and vice-versa, the possibility of making the phantasm real introduces a completely new dimension on two levels: some people now really want to change their sex and society tells them that it is possible. « There is everything in fantasies. Small ones, that don’t eat much bread when you realize them. And big ones, which trigger disasters when one undertakes to accomplish them. Among the big ones (…): the fact that the human mind is based on the sexual difference. I’m talking about this male/female division resulting from reality that provokes the great cognitive cleavage that in turn symbolically reorders all reality according to the criterion of the identical and the different. Now, this difference can be denied. Rarely by homosexuals who, in the immense majority of cases, know perfectly well that there are two sexes, but more often by those who are called transgender and candidates for « sex change ». If we refrain from getting caught up in the feeling that leads us to see them as postmodern heroes who assume their passion to the end — a kind of mystic or saint of today — they can appear as a great contemporary symptom, saying something essential about our time, in this case about libidinal capitalism. What is it? To find out, let’s start from the beginning: these individuals do not feel they have fallen on the right side of the sexion. There is nothing to reproach them for: this is common, since always and everywhere, as testifies the populations that cross-dress, like our good old travelos of the Pigalle place or elsewhere (…). But, what is new and what makes transgender people and candidates to sex change a major symptom, is that, on the one hand, they don’t only want to change their clothes, but their body and, on the other hand, they have been told that, from now on, they can. This is a (recent) turning point: it seems that by dint of playing, on the stages of gender theater, to appear the other sex (which was funny for them and for others), they ended up believing that they could really be it (and it became a drama, for them in the first place). »(6) If I am a woman/man at birth, and if, quite legitimately, I can deny this biological fact (if I am a woman/man, I can say that I am a man/woman), this is no longer enough: the sex of birth takes on the status of an error to be corrected in the real.
However, if the transvestite knew that he « played with the woman », it is, in spite of the obvious delirium, not really otherwise of the transgender, except that this time, and it is not nothing, he is persuaded by persuading himself, with the support of the social(7)and technique, that he is really what he wanted to be. However, « however shared this belief may be, it is no less of a delusion because, to put it bluntly, what it says is not possible: technical or not, one cannot change one’s sex »(8). « I was born male or female and — it may be unfortunate, but that’s the way it is — my speeches can’t change anything about this biological reality. If they can influence anything, it is my appearance, not my being — which, after all, is not so bad. »(9) This delirium is however only the logical consequence of a postmodern thought which had to hold up « to deny the antecedence of the life on the word, to deny that the word is only an epiphenomenon which is grafted on the phenomenon of the life »(10) (in short: I live before I speak), social determinism pushed to the extreme which made Judith Butler say « that it is not because one is a woman that one goes to the gynecologist but because one goes to the gynecologist that one is a woman »(11)The gender totally determines the real sex.
Once this totalizing subjectivity is assumed, science and technique would compensate the defect of constitution, the « original error », which had made us the exact opposite of what we wanted to be (sweeping away at the same time all the complexity of the question of the « being », of what determines the « will » and of the consubstantiality of the frustration, of the lack, with the subject). The « genital reassignment » — or « sexual reassignment » — will materially generate post-natal boys and girls, such as the absolute reign of thought over reality(12)
FROM GENDER NEGATION TO THE BIRTH MARKET(13)
We have thus passed from an « I am therefore I say », since knowing oneself to be alive implied language and allowed, through fantasy, to make oneself believe what one says (in short, in fantasy, a form of play with reality that approaches « I think I am what I say ») to « I say therefore I am — I must be — really ». This way leading very quickly, as soon as the possibility was given to change sex, to the materialization of the desire of children, whereas for the official authorities the « request of artificial insemination with donor, to procreate without male partner, apart from any pathological infertility, is part of the « desire for a child ».[vai]t in a claim of freedom and equality … »(14). Opposition to it was therefore an infringement of individual freedom, opposition from subjects who would then be considered reactionary, anti-feminist, homophobic, and so on. « With the widespread discourse of omnipotence, a certain number [d’homosexuels] began to believe that they could have children and thus fit nicely into the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois norm: father, mother, child. They then began to want to support the fantasy (to be a woman or to borrow from the woman her possibility of mothering) until the end, against that very thing, the real, which is an obstacle to it. As always, they were told to free themselves from all alienations. This is how the supporters of this position became convinced that referring identity to the real dimension was only the result of the discourse of patriarchy and that it was necessary to leave it immediately in order to take into account only their desires »(15).
However, in order for this negation not to produce its obvious effects — the impossibility of having children without a man and a woman — it was necessary to have recourse to other means: « Since, maintaining this position, one finds oneself stuck in order to make children (for this question still insists), these great revolutionaries then find themselves having to call upon the market and its industries to resolve the question they have so well avoided: having a man and a woman to make a child. The market is indeed ready to take charge of this question in an industry of medically assisted procreation (by means of males and females reduced to the state of gametes), just as it is ready to set up a market of surrogate motherhood.(16). From then on, « from the moment when the scientific model organizes the social field, instead of the inescapable encounter with the structural defect, of the confrontation with the inadequacy of the sexes, the contemporary subject is overdetermined to think the difference of the sexes as if it were a question of male and female cards that it would be enough to fit together ».(17).
It is therefore technoscience that becomes the great repairer, the one that allows to maintain the lie that links the negation of the difference of sexes and procreation. Where a man and a woman were necessary to procreate, although they still are, this necessity must be concealed: no more fantasies of the keyhole, we are in the sterile room. Let us specify again: if from now on the sex determined at the birth is not the result of our will but a given that we did not decide — consideration that we can extend to the life itself: « I did not decide to be born » -, the realization of our desire for a child is still possible, since without sexual differences, it is no longer a man and a woman who pro-create — etymologically, who engender a child — it is man/man, woman/woman, etc., and it is therefore the technique that must take charge of the process — even if, and this annoys those who deny sexual differentiation, spermatozoa and ovules are still necessary for creation. All the possible configurations will be able to give children, even going so far as to imagine the possibility of having a child alone. This is only a logical continuation, because once the Pandora’s box has been opened with the denial of the biological process necessary for procreation, where we hide the fact that it is necessary to be two different complementary people, why not go as far as the idea and its concretization that we can be one « same »(18). Indeed, from now on « the individual will is sufficient to ensure reproduction »(19). If procreating without a male partner is part of a claim to freedom and equality, it will soon be the same for the claim to procreate without the other. The marriage with oneself, a priori burlesque mode mediatized as it should be by the organs of propaganda, prefiguring undoubtedly that of the child alone.
SEXUAL DIFFERENTIATION AS A DETERMINANT OF IDENTITY
Genital reassignment », if it combines social and technical aspects, as soon as the possibility of sex change exists, once officially certified and socially accepted, inevitably interacts with the intimacy of the family and the construction of the child’s identity, introducing, through this sole medical possibility of sex change, unprecedented individual and social upheaval.
To make the real sex, the fact of being male or female, the only resultant of an individual will, amounts to denying the fundamental constitutive role of this difference in the psychic formation of the individual. If « the difference of the sexes is constitutive of the individual identity(20)How can the child build himself when he hears from his youngest age that his sex is not a biological attribute but a variable that can be modified and that he will be able to change it if he wants to, that the man, like the woman, can be « pregnant »?(21) ? « The discourse that tells them that it is possible is not insignificant: it can only commit them to adopt a position of imaginary omnipotence, and this all the more easily [que] the medical-surgical technique is presented as being able to achieve everything. This is where the fantasy of being a man when you are a woman — or the other way around — can turn into a frank delusion »(22).
Frank delusion that denies the genesis of human desire that « is constituted in a symbolic process, from two asymmetrically positioned desires: that of the mother as the subject’s first other and that of the father as other than the mother. In other words, the psychic reality of the subject is organized from the confrontation to the basic asymmetry of the family situation that only represents the structure of the language ».(23). It is from this asymmetry that the possibility of encountering otherness, the different other, is born. It is in particular from the sexual difference that the child elaborates his origin, incessant question which he asks himself and which is confronted by each parent. To return to the beginning, « the effect of the introduction of the concept of parental authority goes finally in the direction of desymbolization (…) Because, it is that the One is not the Other, and that by erasing this difference, by removing us the confrontation with this original disparity, we remove us the possibility of supporting our conflicts. It is because at the beginning of our existence, each one of us was confronted with the dissymmetry of the parental couple, that he had the necessary keys to be able to confront what is not of the order of the same « .(24). The indistinction between father and mother promoted by the social contains the consequence that « it is the difference itself which risks to be de-inscribed. How indeed to confront the difference, if henceforth, the sameness of the places of father and mother spares the future subject to make his apprenticeship in this confrontation? »(25)
The circle is almost complete, so to speak. For if what supposes the possibility of otherness in the psychic reality « is the beginning of the language conveyed by the interdicting intervention of the father in so far as it ratifies the unavailability of the mother as an object of absolute jouissance », this generational transmission of the symbolic order compromised, as we have shown, « there will remain only the possibility of reproducing oneself, as one reproduces clones ».(26). The socially orchestrated destruction of the father’s place feeds in response the illusion of « everything is possible », rendering the difference of the sexes null and void, founding the « same » everywhere who, once candidates to dispose of the fruit of reproduction — the child — are less able to recognize where they originate — from the male and the female — and can therefore only resort to techno-science to obtain what they want and forget where it comes from… and at the same time who they are. Fabulous trick of prestidigitation.
TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCES DISCRIMINATIONS…
All of this signals a pre-eminence of the subject over the social, with a State that is now only the guarantor of individual interests and desires, most often « curiously » in correspondence with those of the market. The left, having abandoned the fight for social justice, promptly retreats to identity-based themes that do not in any way endanger the established system, and the propaganda organs become zealous disseminators of this new delusion « perfectly congruent with what we have called the Western delusion that this press nourishes and maintains. Not only, it expresses this delirium, but it deepens it: henceforth it is necessary to believe in the all power of the individual, including on its own nature, with the help of the technique « .(27) It is here that we come back to the similarity and interaction between the refusal of any limit proper to the liberal society and the negation of the difference of the sexes, because we can show that needing atomized consumers, it is preferable that the subjects do not recognize their fundamental incompleteness, which ultimately resides in the sexual division: « The sexual division inscribes thus the desire of the other and becomes then constitutive of a social relation, of the possibility of a society. »(28)
It is the era of the triumph of the ego, of the omnipotence of the subject, but which, paradoxically, would also be the sign of the erasure of this one as thinking being, henceforth incapable of perceiving the sense of limits and left to the hands of a technoscience speaking for him, suggesting his desires and capable of realizing them, the category of the impossible no longer existing. The major omission, however, is that desire freed from all constraints does not lead to freedom but to the unleashing of passions and chaos, as harmful to the subject as to society(29). This unlimitedness is also the direct consequence of a representation of freedom as « an abstraction inherent to the isolated individual (an individual who is therefore justified in permanently claiming the right to do what he wants with his time, his body or his money).(30)
In this absolute reign of the self, difference can only be perceived as discrimination and synonymous with inequality. It is the result of a totalitarian commodification which, promoting the individual and his passions (thus different from the thinking subject), would eradicate the « us » which makes society. The group would only be a « mass », a cluster of atomized individuals without any common thought, except that of defending their individual interests, in a comparative-competitive sphere where each one tries to get the best of the game. However, « it is a question of thinking the possibility of a collective organization which would not be set up as a defense against the castration, which would not think to be able to overcome the irreducibility of the difference »(31). We are far from it. As Tülay Umay reminded us in his article, referring to Greek mythology, « in order to draw Adam out of his isolation, God will create a counterpart for him by separating the two sexes. However, the entry in relation is possible only if each one accepts a lack. The recognition of the vis-à-vis implies a loss ». It is this fundamental lack that is being denied, and therefore what makes society. No great surprise, however, it was only the logical consequence of a total denial of the limits of capitalism.
Language accompanies the real and bears witness to this evolution, organizing in the symbolic the very incapacity to imagine that one day this real could have been — and therefore could be — otherwise. The inclusive writing, which the propaganda organs of the novlanguage define as a « set of graphic and syntactic attentions allowing to ensure an equality of the representations (sic) between men and women »(32), is part of the same logic. Among the three rules advocated, is there not the one to « no longer use the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ but to use much more universal terms such as ‘human rights’ (instead of ‘human rights’). Through the subterfuge of male-female equality, therefore « human » (since the terms men and women are banished), the adoption of a communication « without sex stereotypes », one makes believe that one abolishes the inequality, while one limits it to a symbolic domain that maintains the structures of class completely intact(33)They even help them by diverting attention to « risk-free » areas(34). To stop talking about « man » and « woman » is, as in the novlanguage defined by Orwell, to deprive oneself of the categories of thinking the real, it is to make the fantasy reality. However, if gender theories could sometimes recognize arbitrary discrimination based on biological differences, the sole focus on the fight against discrimination has led to confuse difference and discrimination, which have become synonymous, with the result that any biological, and therefore natural, and constitutive dimension of sex is denied: « This is tantamount to throwing out the baby of gender difference with the bathwater of sexist discrimination.(35)
The new equality would thus be that of the negation of differences together with the acceptance of social inequalities, proper to « a resolutely modern and liberal left, which for 40 years has disguised the fight for social justice as a simple apology for individual market freedom »(36). The freedom to do what we want, to drive a 4x4 if we can afford it, to take a plane when we want, to the ultimate indecency of owning the wealth that half of humanity possesses, testifying to this absence of limits, would have spread to the domain of intimacy, making the subject’s body a new object that he could modify as he pleased
TO FINISH, TEMPORARILY…
The new deliriums that agitate our society are not without resonance with a world that does not want to and cannot set limits anymore. Some psychoanalysts evoke a real risk of leaving the human species. To the morbid conjunction of the decay of our planet, the indecent misery and the villainous fortune, the gadgetization of the world and the screen which blocks the reality, is added the modification of the deep human nature. There is moreover at least a link to establish between the desire-will of immortality of these new magicians that are the transhumanists and the negators of the sexual difference. Because to deny that there are two sexes, one comes to ignore the sexual difference necessary to reproduce, and thus to deny the temporality which is inscribed in the order of things: birth, reproduction, death: « the survival of the species passes inexorably by the death of the individuals and thus implies, as much as possible, if one wants that it continues, the preliminary meeting with a representative of the other sex (that it is in vivo as formerly or in vitro as it is possible now) « .(37). To the reproduction outside of the sexes, with another even, will follow the reproduction with oneself, erasing the risk of the meeting, the smells, the deceptions(38), the shit, the sperm, the blood, the skin… Science would free us from life itself, or at least from what makes life, that is, death. « We must first be cured of the deadly disease that is life, since it will end one day. We no longer distinguish between modifiable fatalities — slowing down physical decay or prolonging existence — and inexorable fatalities: finitude and death(39). (…) It is no longer these ambitions that seem crazy but the delay in their realization »(40).
When will we accept that certain things should remain in the realm of the impossible, while every day new « possibilities » are offered to us by technoscience, to the detriment of life and of what makes society? Let us remember that the monster does not only have the face of tyrannical repression, « it also has that of unlimited freedom ».(41) Refusing to play the game generated and framed by the capitalist system, in order to conquer and defend a decent society in which we decide what is important for each and every one of us and make society, this is the challenge we should engage.
- Kairos, septembre/octobre 2017
- Jean-Pierre Lebrun, Un monde sans limite, Érès, 1997/2009, p. 272.
- Op.cit., p.14
- B. Barber, Comment le capitalisme nous infantilise, Fayard, 2007, p. 114. Cité dans Jean-Pierre Lebrun, ibid.
- Dany-Robert Dufour, Le délire occidental, Les liens qui libèrent, 2014, p. 276.
- Sur le site du Selor, bureau de sélection professionnelle de l’administration belge, on trouve par exemple en dessous de « Sexe » : Homme, Femme, X. Dans les communications les plus banales, cette introduction de l’indéterminé est de plus en plus fréquente. Il n’est pas dénué de sens de voir d’ailleurs dans ce « troisième type » la capacité de « penser pouvoir vivre dans un troisième sexe : celui-ci relèverait de ce que la possibilité existerait désormais de rester dans le no man’s land du bisexuel, dans ce lieu où il n’y aurait pas à choisir son camp, lieu de libre arbitre qui permettrait de préserver la double appartenance pour se mettre – à son corps défendant – à l’abri d’un engagement face à l’indécidable ». Jean-Pierre Lebrun, op.cit., p 199.
- Dany-Robert Dufour, Le délire occidental, op.cit., p.278.
- « Sur l’état civil des enfants du mariage homosexuel », Le Débat, n°183, janvier-février 2015, p. 139; Texte disponible sur le site de Dany-Robert Dufour, http://www.dany-robert-dufour.fr/?p=223
- Jacques Julliard et Jean-Claude Michéa, La gauche et le peuple, Flammarion, 2014, p.221.
- Notons par ailleurs toute la sémantique contenue dans le terme « réassignation » qui signifie assigner de nouveau, alors que « assigner » signifie « destiner à quelqu’un, déterminer, donner ». Ce qui avait ainsi été « assigné » par la nature, « erreur originelle », est donc ré-assigné par l’homme, tel un nouveau dieu se dotant des prérogatives qui lui étaient exclusives.
- Comme la procréation médicalement assistée (PMA), Gestation pour autrui (GPA), Banques de sperme (dk-fr.cryosinternational.com), d’ovocyte (www.eggdonor.com), voir Alexis Escudero, La reproduction artificielle de l’humain, Le monde à l’envers, 2014.
- Selon le Comité consultatif national d’éthique français, voir Tülay Umay, Kairos, op.cit.
- Dany-Robert Dufour, Le délire occidental, op.cit., p. 279
- Sur l’état civil des enfants du mariage homosexuel, op.cit., p. 139–140.
- Jean-Pierre Lebrun, op.cit., p. 301.
- La science s’y attelle déjà, exemple parmi d’autres : www.lepoint.fr/ science/des-ovules-et-du-sperme-artificiels-crees-a-partir-de-cellulesde-la-peau-25–12-2014–1892298_25.php
- Tülay Umay, La Décroissance, décembre 2017.
- Nathalise Heinich, La Décroissance, op.cit.
- Scott More, « le premier homme enceint », New York Daily News, 26 janvier 2010, ou « le transsexuel Alexi Taborda, 27 ans, est le premier homme à donner naissance en Argentine », La Fohla de São Paulo, 20 janvier 2014, cité dans Le délire occidental, Dany-Robert Dufour, op.cit., p.277.
- Dany-Robert Dufour, Le délire occidental, op.cit., p.276.
- Jean-Pierre Lebrun, op. Cit., p. 42–43.
- Jean-Pierre Lebrun, op.cit., p. 153 et 151.
- Dany-Robert Dufour, Le délire occidental, ibid., p. 277–278.
- Tülay Umay, Kairos, op.cit.
- Il ne sera d’ailleurs pas vain de questionner cette idéologie et son échec inhérent dans sa fonction de pourvoyeuse de sens dans la vie du sujet, dans la genèse du terrorisme et des actes désespérés dont il se nourrit. De même, il faudra questionner la place vide du père dans les familles musulmanes d’Occident (comme celle du tabou de la sexualité), prises entre deux cultures, et son lien avec la formation de sujets sans limites, déçus évidemment par les ersatz d’existence que leur offre la société de consommation.
- Jacques Julliard, Jean-Claude Michéa, La gauche et le peuple, op.cit., p. 55.
- Jean-Pierre Lebrun, op.cit., p.261.
- En outre, il faut se demander si ces revendications n’émanent pas de femmes et d’hommes ne connaissant aucunement les affres de l’inégalité sociale et économique, et s’en aller demander aux femmes de la France périphérique et autres contrées pauvres belges et d’ailleurs, si elles voient un acte révolutionnaire, et utile à leur sort, dans ces gesticulations.
- C’est la « diversité du même » dans une société de classes. Le livre de W.B. Michaels La diversité contre l’égalité, (Raisons d’agir, 2009), est à ce sujet des plus éclairants.
- Nathalise Heinich, La Décroissance, op.cit.
- Alexis Escudero, La reproduction artificielle de l’humain, op.cit., p. 75.
- Dany-Robert Dufour, Sur l’état civil des enfants du mariage homosexuel, op.cit., 137.
- Qu’évitent les « rencontres internet », qui deviennent progressivement le seul moyen d’approcher l’autre, comme les « applications » pour se rencontrer, tel Meetic et Tinder, qui opèrent la sélection virtuelle avant la rencontre réelle.
- Et le sexe ajouterons-nous.
- Pascal Bruckner, La tentation de l’innocence, p. 63, cité dans Lebrun, op.cit., p. 164.
- Jean-Pierre Lebrun, op.cit., p. 307.