The body always emerges into fields at a funny angle, having to be endlessly rediscovered and respecified in line with this or that conceptual assemblage. We inevitably fail to grasp it. Ironic, considering it’s the thing with which we ‘grasp’ any thing at all. In a cruel inversion, it seems we’re geared to grasp it awkwardly from the outside, from a reflection. And when it does speak, it does so in the myriads of mistakes, frustrations, and disabilities that force us to name things, to qualify our relation to the outside world, in a desperate attempt to ‘grasp’ what our body is making us go through.
In politics, it emerges as a hindrance, a stain representing a limit to the realization of the ideal kingdom of reason and ends. Yet, at the same time, it rises up as the object of this same politics, probably because of the consternation it emits, now resonating as protest. This pattern repeats everywhere if you look for it – body as irritating limit and horizon, a treacherous frontier, but also as center and ‘object of’ – the hindrance and the subject matter all along.
What’s difficult is bringing the body into view. But even where it imposes itself, refusing to become transparent, forcing us to read its cryptic signs, it does not leave us any less exhausted. The proximity that ought to be instructive can lead to disappointments in either case, and the lofty, far-off, abstract, and virtual seduces us with promises of comfort. What’s left is maybe the effort itself – and is this effort not itself the force inherent to the body? – that might leave us none the wiser, but maybe at least a bit stronger.