energy in your hair

turtles

in the sea
That seems very simplistic to me. Just because things are physically mutable it doesn't necessarily follow that nothing has an innate essence. I mean, it may be the case but the fact that the atoms or whatever change is not enough to demonstrate that on its own.
Can you describe to me what gives a thing or a person an innate essence? Can you point out where one thing's innate essence ends and another begins? I can't exactly. I can make a general hand-wavy statement about it that's more-or-less true, but when it comes down to particulars I can't, which is why I say it's a handy concept but not one that reflects any particular real-world ontological fact. The "innate essence" seems to be something we project onto things, because I can't seem to actually find it out there in the object itself under close scrutiny. And, well, I'm a sceptic so if I can't find it and can't define it I'm not going to bother believing it exists.
 
Also (and back in reality) there are a bunch of psychological experiments wherein people are made to feel like parts of their body aren't actually a part of their body, or that other things that definitely aren't part of their body are actually a part of their body. Like this ...

Can you describe to me what gives a thing or a person an innate essence? Can you point out where one thing's innate essence ends and another begins? I can't exactly. I can make a general hand-wavy statement about it that's more-or-less true, but when it comes down to particulars I can't, which is why I say it's a handy concept but not one that reflects any particular real-world ontological fact. The "innate essence" seems to be something we project onto things, because I can't seem to actually find it out there in the object itself under close scrutiny. And, well, I'm a sceptic so if I can't find it and can't define it I'm not going to bother believing it exists.

Indeed. And it gets worse: not only is our narcissistic 'self', our identity - or our 'inner essence' - a linguistic-ideological formation (ie it is not even 'ours', it is other, originates elsewhere), but so are 'real-world ontological facts' (just a more sophisticated - because empirical - version of a belief in 'essences') - they too are inescapably socially mediated. So if notions of either "self" or "truth" are thoroughly ambiguous (the constructed self is actually or seemingly an impersonal mechanism), it is because knowledge is created by way of linguistic and ideological structures that organize not only our consciousness, but also our unconscious lives. There is always the temptation to cling to the empirical, humanist tradition that still believes in a stable self's ability to directly access the "truth," for instance, neuroscience's overdependence on exclusively organic models, with its immediacy and its desire to find the neurological and, thus, "natural", unmediated causes for consciousness and mind/brain development.

On the other hand, Lacan offered a more properly linguistic (post-structuralist) model for understanding the human subject's entrance into the social order. The emphasis was thus less on the bodily causes of behaviour (cathexis, libido, instinct, etc.) than it was on the ideological structures that, especially through language, make the human subject come to understand his or her relationship to himself and to others. Indeed, according to Lacan, the entrance into language necessarily entails a radical break from any sense of materiality in and of itself. According to Lacan, one must always distinguish between everyday social reality (the fantasy world we convince ourselves is the true world around us) and the real (a materiality of existence beyond language and thus beyond expressibility, a pure unconscious desire). The development of the subject, in other words, is made possible by an endless misrecognition of the real because of our need to construct our sense of "reality" in and through language. So much are we reliant on our linguistic and social version of "reality" that the eruption of pure materiality (of the real) into our lives is radically disruptive. And yet, the real is the rock against which all of our 'artificial' linguistic and social structures necessarily fail. It is this tension between the real and our social laws, meanings, conventions, desires, etc. that determines our psychosocial lives. Not even our unconscious escapes the effects of language, which is why Lacan argues that "the unconscious is structured like a language"

And even before we acquire language, we have first the need to construct the Imaginary:

0-6 months of age. In the earliest stage of development, you were dominated by a chaotic mix of perceptions, feelings, and needs. You did not distinguish your own self from that of your parents or even the world around you. Rather, you spent your time taking into yourself everything that you experienced as pleasurable without any acknowledgment of boundaries. This is the stage, then, when you were closest to the pure materiality of existence, or what Lacan terms "the Real." Still, even at this early stage, your body began to be fragmented into specific erogenous zones (mouth, anus, penis, vagina), aided by the fact that your mother tended to pay special attention to these body parts. This "territorialization" of the body could already be seen as a falling off, an imposition of boundaries and, thus, the neo-natal beginning of socialization (a first step away from the Real). Indeed, this fragmentation was accompanied by an identification with those things perceived as fulfilling your lack at this early stage: the mother's breast, her voice, her gaze. Since these privileged external objects could not be perfectly assimilated and could not, therefore, ultimately fulfill your lack, you already began to establish the psychic dynamic (fantasy vs. lack) that would control the rest of your life.

6-18 months of age. This stage, which Lacan terms the "mirror stage," was a central moment in your development. The "mirror stage" entails a "libidinal dynamism" (Écrits 2) caused by the young child's identification with his own image (what Lacan terms the "Ideal-I" or "ideal ego"). For Lacan, this act marks the primordial recognition of one's self as "I," although at a point "before it is objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the universal, its function as subject" (Écrits 2). In other words, this recognition of the self's image precedes the entrance into language, after which the subject can understand the place of that image of the self within a larger social order, in which the subject must negotiate his or her relationship with others. Still, the mirror stage is necessary for the next stage, since to recognize yourself as "I" is like recognizing yourself as other ("yes, that person over there is me"); this act is thus fundamentally self-alienating. Indeed, for this reason your feelings towards the image were mixed, caught between hatred ("I hate that version of myself because it is so much better than me") and love ("I want to be like that image").Note This "Ideal-I" is important precisely because it represents to the subject a simplified, bounded form of the self, as opposed to the turbulent chaotic perceptions, feelings, and needs felt by the infant. This "primordial Discord" (Écrits 4) is particularly formative for the subject, that is, the discord between, on the one hand, the idealizing image in the mirror and, on the other hand, the reality of one's body between 6-18 months ("the signs of uneasiness and motor unco-ordination of the neo-natal months" [Écrits 4]): "The mirror stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from insufficiency to anticipation—and which manufactures for the subject, caught up in the lure of spatial identification, the succession of phantasies that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality that I shall call orthopaedic—and, lastly, to the assumption of the armour of an alienating identity, which will mark with its rigid structure the subject's entire mental development" (Écrits 4). This misrecognition or méconnaissance (seeing an ideal-I where there is a fragmented, chaotic body) subsequently "characterizes the ego in all its structures" (Écrits 6). In particular, this creation of an ideal version of the self gives pre-verbal impetus to the creation of narcissistic phantasies in the fully developed subject. It establishes what Lacan terms the "imaginary order" and, through the imaginary, continues to assert its influence on the subject even after the subject enters the next stage of development.
I don't know how any of this might be connected with 'hair energy.'
 

turtles

in the sea
I don't know how any of this might be connected with 'hair energy.'
Yes another classic dissensus thread derailment. I think my new thread-starting strategy will be to start threads completely unrelated to the topic I wish to talk about in hopes that somehow we'll end up talking about it anyway :D

Anyway, I knew I was getting into potentially shaky ground when I started talking about "real-world ontological facts" and being able to observe things in "reality". I just didn't really know how else to make that kind of point. I understand that every empirical fact is developed through our subjective and socially mediated mind, but I'm still of the scientific viewpoint that it's the best approximation we have of the outside world. Which is actually where I get confused a bit when we start talking in lacanian terms. When I read this:
hundredmillionlifetimes said:
According to Lacan, one must always distinguish between everyday social reality (the fantasy world we convince ourselves is the true world around us) and the real (a materiality of existence beyond language and thus beyond expressibility, a pure unconscious desire).
It seems to me that "the real" is still being defined in terms of things going on in the mind/brain, just those things that are unrepresentable by language and/or consciousness. But how do we then talk about things that aren't going on in the mind? Or does "the real" here sort of treat all things, mind or otherwise as all being on the same plane of "unrepresentable" reality? Sorry if this is Lacan 101 stuff here but I thought I'd ask because it always seems to trip me up.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Is a person with complete retrograde amnesia the same person as before? Yes and no--it's a blurry concept. Are we the same person we were as a two-year old, even if we have no memory whatsoever of the time? I'm really not the same person i was when i was 8 years old, that's for sure. If I went to sleep and someone made an exact copy of me, let us both sleep for a while, then killed the original, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference then if they had killed the clone.
Well of course we're all constantly changing and evolving, but there nonetheless seems to be some sort of thread of continuity from even the earliest childhood onwards into adulthood.
I'd be a bit disturbed if you were exactly the same person you were as an 8-year-old!

Also (and back in reality) there are a bunch of psychological experiments wherein people are made to feel like parts of their body aren't actually a part of their body, or that other things that definitely aren't part of their body are actually a part of their body. Like this.
Phantoms limbs are cool. I think I want one.
 

turtles

in the sea
seems to be some sort of thread of continuity
but what is it?? We're not made of the same stuff, we don't look the same, we don't act the same, hell if I legally changed my name we wouldn't even be called the same thing, my memory of events has probably changed enough over time that I don't even have the same memories as before. What then? I'm the same humanoid-shaped lump of matter that has been located in a temporally contiguous space for the last 25 years? I'm not saying that there aren't things that are continuous, just that there isn't ONE ESSENTIAL THING that has defined me throughout my life. It's just a bunch of things that more-or-less cohere over a period of time. It's a probabilistic, inferential argument.
 
Last edited:

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Well for one thing your DNA will be the same now as it was when you were born. Not that it has any direct effect on your inner conscious life or anything, but it's something that's both unique to you and constant throughout your life.

Something that has occurred to me is that in a large proportion of pairs of twins, it could be the case that each one has grown up with the 'wrong name', if you see what I mean, as in the one named Alice in the hospital could easily have been accidentally swapped round and ended up being called Beth, and vice-versa. If one of them didn't have a distinguishing feature as a result of some neo-natal trauma, it'd be basically impossible to tell.

Edit: moral conundrum for you now - is it right to punish Nazi war criminals who may have committed their crimes some 60 or more years ago? Given that you seem to hold the position that they're not even the same people they were back then.
 
It seems to me that "the real" is still being defined in terms of things going on in the mind/brain, just those things that are unrepresentable by language and/or consciousness. But how do we then talk about things that aren't going on in the mind? Or does "the real" here sort of treat all things, mind or otherwise as all being on the same plane of "unrepresentable" reality? Sorry if this is Lacan 101 stuff here but I thought I'd ask because it always seems to trip me up.
Yes, and their being on the same unrepresentable plane also scrambles the inside/outside dichotomy: once we have entered into the differential system of language, into the Symbolic Order, it forever afterwards determines our perception of the world 'around' us and 'within' us, so that the intrusion of the Real's materiality, its radical otherness, becomes a traumatic event, defines trauma as such, albeit one that is very common since our version of "reality" is built over, is a displacement from, the chaotic flux of the Real, both the materiality 'outside' us and the chaotic, unconscious impulses 'inside' us. There is ultimately only an (uncanny) sublime outside here. Instead of an instrumentalist-reductivist notion of mind, like that of Pinker, for instance ('the brain is how the mind works') the mind rather is just the idea of the body and of the 'outside' world in which it resides.
 

turtles

in the sea
Well for one thing your DNA will be the same now as it was when you were born. Not that it has any direct effect on your inner conscious life or anything, but it's something that's both unique to you and constant throughout your life.
DNA's not a bad call, but the case of identical twins (and cloning) argue against it being necessary and sufficient for identity. Also you still have the same DNA when your dead.

Edit: moral conundrum for you now - is it right to punish Nazi war criminals who may have committed their crimes some 60 or more years ago? Given that you seem to hold the position that they're not even the same people they were back then.
:cool: It makes more sense to punish them than someone else. Like I said, it's a statistical-type argument (most of my arguments end up being statistical when it comes down to it, it seems). Though he's not the same person as he was before, he shares more characteristics with war criminal then anyone else, and not just a bit more, but a whole lot more. On the other hand, if had gotten a knock on the head a while back, gotten complete amnesia, then devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor, then I wouldn't prosecute the guy. Now if he had only lost SOME of his memory, and was only sort of a good guy, then it's much less clear what to do....
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Instead of an instrumentalist-reductivist notion of mind, like that of Pinker, for instance ('the brain is how the mind works') the mind rather is just the idea of the body and of the 'outside' world in which it resides.
Pinker and the Brain?

;)

Edit: (@ turtles) I think even identical twins aren't quite 100% genetically identical, due to a few copying errors that will inevitably occur when the zygote splits in two...but yes, DNA is obviously insufficient for identity, as you could easily imagine twins with 100% identical DNA who are nonetheless distinct individuals. Just saying, like.
 
Last edited:

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Can you describe to me what gives a thing or a person an innate essence? Can you point out where one thing's innate essence ends and another begins? I can't exactly. I can make a general hand-wavy statement about it that's more-or-less true, but when it comes down to particulars I can't, which is why I say it's a handy concept but not one that reflects any particular real-world ontological fact. The "innate essence" seems to be something we project onto things, because I can't seem to actually find it out there in the object itself under close scrutiny. And, well, I'm a sceptic so if I can't find it and can't define it I'm not going to bother believing it exists."
I can't describe exactly what gives a thing its essence or where it begins and ends - of course that doesn't even approach being an argument to say that such a thing doesn't exist. If you can make a general hand-wavy statement that is more or less true what do you mean by that? You seem to suggest that you are approaching a correct way of describing the situation, I'd probably agree with you. To me it's a handy concept because it describes something that in some sense at least really exists. I don't think that you can argue that there is no sense whatsoever in which selfhood exists and, I'm afraid, I don't believe you when you say that you honestly don't think it exists.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"I'm not saying that there aren't things that are continuous, just that there isn't ONE ESSENTIAL THING that has defined me throughout my life. It's just a bunch of things that more-or-less cohere over a period of time."
Hang on a minute, that's what I was saying from the start wasn't it? The bunch of things that cohere over time you may as well call essence 'cause it seems that that is what it is.

"..the mind rather is just the idea of the body and of the 'outside' world in which it resides."
That doesn't seem too contradictory either.
 

luka

Moderator
is that movie kind of a cult thing in england? my highschool girlfriend was obsessed with it and i saw it when i was 17 but didn't get it at all... or maybe was too stoned. maybe i need to see it again.

what about pubes? do they conduct / transmit / receive as well? i just shaved all mine off. do it every couple of months. feels great. so at the moment the only hair on my body is a little bit on my fore-arms, under the pits, and on my legs. funny i don't feel uptight at all though :D
anyone else here a pube shaver? never occured to me to do it but im a baldhead so need all the other hairs to provide balance and compensation.
 

martin

----
When I was working at the post office, centuries ago, a long-haired driver told me this very theory, pretty much - your hair is an antenna to receive positive, wholesome cosmic vibes, and the longer the hair, the better the signal. Apparently this is also why skinheads are typically bothersome.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
When I was working at the post office, centuries ago, a long-haired driver told me this very theory, pretty much - your hair is an antenna to receive positive, wholesome cosmic vibes, and the longer the hair, the better the signal. Apparently this is also why skinheads are typically bothersome.
Was he paraphrasing Danny from Withnail and I, do you think, or is this actually a fairly common idea?

Moreover, it's interesting that two common ways for holy men of various sorts to demonstrate their detachment from the material world is either to grow their hair as long as possible (and, in extreme cases, never even comb or wash it, so it ends up a disgusting matted mass) or to shave it off completely.
 

martin

----
Was he paraphrasing Danny from Withnail and I, do you think, or is this actually a fairly common idea?

Moreover, it's interesting that two common ways for holy men of various sorts to demonstrate their detachment from the material world is either to grow their hair as long as possible (and, in extreme cases, never even comb or wash it, so it ends up a disgusting matted mass) or to shave it off completely.
No idea - is that taken from the film? That's about the most meaningful conversation I ever had with the bloke.

Then again, given the '70s Rasta DJs' murderous contempt for barbers and baldheads, I guess long locks don't totally chill you out. And how does this square with Buddhists and Hare Krishnas?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Second post in the thread:

"I don’t advise getting a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the Government. Hair are your antennae, connecting you to the cosmos. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight"
But yeah, hippies can be the most uptight sort of people you'll ever meet, so I reckon it's bollocks.
 
Top