Please, please. Do you know what they say about philosophers who are applauded when they speak? It never ends well for them [laughter]. I have a lot to say tonight, so forgive me if we get into the dirty work without the requisite foreplay.
The topic today is titled “Paraphilia and the Unbecoming of Becomings-Cephalopodic”, and I will do my best to keep matters strictly on this topic. There is a lot of material to deal with which does not fit cleanly into the issue at hand, but I will resist the temptation to wander. Why paraphilia? I am asked this question more than almost any other. It is often said, sexual tendencies are subjective… Subjective! If sexual tendencies are subjective, then this is evidence that the paraphilic is not a matter of sexual tendency at all, but something murkier. Sexual tendency, basic autonomic proclivity, is a matter of simulation. Paraphilic proliferation sees only half-simulated tendencies, strung about throughout the cosmic assemblage by cybernetic particles reduced to vibration or k-waves. Allegory is only a partial fix here, but it suffices to say that through the Aleph of Borges, a point which sees all, the paraphilic presents itself foremost, as the paraphilic is the matter under the surface, the material conditions of unbecoming which goes customarily unseen.
Paraphilia is inherent to k-wave topology, but it always exceeds and goes first, as k-waves have no aspect of proliferation but rather appearance, and appearance is never implicated by paraphilia but situated within their intensive limit like the center of the labyrinth. The visible universe has grease on its fingers. But slippages from the hands of light waves, or L-waves, cannot account for the excess cardinality in their cybernetic counterpart, as we all know, the primary elements of ordinality both overcode and direct the uncovering, and in the Aleph we recognize it as it is, paraphilia, perched at the foot of the gates in some fashion of a wooden animal, tentacled and black. But the cosmic assemblage is not a whole, it is a partial object contiguous to all other lines of extra-natural becomings, becomings-beyond, as posited in my most petulant child, The Apple and the Hand. Paraphilia does not arise in The Apple and the Hand, however, and I would personally recommend no one to read it unless you are interested in stillborn theory.
It is sometimes said that every author must write a book they wish to scrub from the earth, for me, this is it. It is incomplete, a sexless desert. My early work didn’t simply avoid paraphilia, it resisted it. I must forgive myself here somewhat – paraphilia resists the visible universe [laughter]. Its power lay in the unwritten, the pre-agreed. No one is greater than paraphilia if it catches up to them, and at the end of the cosmic assemblage and beyond, what might have earlier been considered dialectics withers and decays. Dialectics is long dead, gone, vanished into the ethereal inky blackness of the beyond, becomings reaching like the squid from its own ink. Tentacles are lines of paraphilic potential, and they are always reaching to connect multiplicities, a subterranean intra-relation block formed by means of what Deleuze called an anomaly, or point of individuated linkage between multiplicities. The squid is anomalous by its nature, as it remains an individuated multiplicity, not through the generic pack, but rather the repetition of tentacles and lines of becoming-violator inherent to the cephalopodic. The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is the dream of becoming-violated, but it is also a fantasmic reaching for the becoming-possessed of a becoming-violator. The dream is, of course, a becoming-squid, as the anomalous nature of the squid so readily allows, but this violation always goes beyond itself to pair with the paraphilic.
The proto-Lovecraftian work of Martin van Maële stems more from paraphilia than it ever did horror, and we can note that in this particular artwork that the genitalogical abominations are littered with phallic tentacles, a coding which obscures a key fetishistic horror in the nature of the tentacle and a pre-phallic object. The tentacle is horror not because it is phallic but the fact it maintains the function of positive linkage and overcoding of the phallic while smuggling in all kinds of feminine insurgency: the tentacle is instrumental, prehensile, but not rigid. Its instrumentality is not the function of penetration but that of squeezing, contorting, and enveloping. The tentacle is not singular but partial, an incomplete network of complex mirroring and repetition, which of course I expand in my work on Deleuze, Mirror and Mirrors, which unlike the aforementioned and best forgotten monster mentioned earlier, is quite expansive on the concept of paraphilia and most certainly worth reading. When it comes to tentacles and paraphilia, it is only natural to look to Japan.
The Japanese call this particular form of paraphilic tendency shokushu gōkan, translating literally to tentacle violation or rape, which, contrary to popular mythology, did not arise under the animated forms of pornography or hentai which they can be so readily associated with, but an artistic fascination born out of the early 1800s. Of course, my now infamous argument is that this tendency is a hyperstitious alignment with the Other that was modern Capital creeping upon the shores of Japan with black ships and gunpowder. Matthew Perry was a terrible squid, drenched in black ink, an Old One set afloat from the freshly occulted shores of Norfolk. But I mention this only in passing, as the claim is too intricate to embarrass myself attempting to replicate it here for you tonight. Our interests lie in the paraphilic, and that is where we will stay.
I suppose what I mean to say by all this is that paraphilic tendencies are at their root a form of primitive sorcery, a union with the anomalous demon with pacts and rituals disseminated by libidinal overcoding, or, the libidinal k-wave which overcomes the barrier of “L”, that being light. Bataille spoke of an anus which is both blinding and the night itself, and it is this blinding darkness that characterizes paraphilia as a form of pre-subjective void, the sexual unbeing which supports itself only in its own negation, it’s own rejection. The edges of sexuality don’t run up against nothing, they run up against an ocean of unbeing, of unbecoming, of unions with demons yet uninscribed and ugly, pinching their noses at their own stench. Tentacles. Well, to put it simply enough, the phallus can’t bridge the gap, it doesn’t have the dexterity. An unbecoming is a becoming all its own, it is a becoming-violated, a becoming-possessed, mediated by an anomaly which itself is a becoming-violator. In this pact, the anomalous has no need for, and in fact should resist, all becomings-human, because the goal is not the intra-relation of the multiplicities of the individuated human and the multiplicity of the mirroring of tentacles, rather the squid is the subterranean bridge which intrarrelates the multiplicity of the individuated human to the multiplicity of unbecoming that stands as the immanent expression of paraphilia itself. The becoming-squid of man cannot be reciprocated by the squid because the cephalopodic escapes anthropomorphization, hence the tendencies of shokushu gōkan, the cosmic monsters lurking in the mythos of Lovecraft, the feverish warnings of monsters on maps of the sea. The cephalopodic is an individuated reflection of the unindividuated other, it isn’t a symbol but a prism, a looking glass which glimpses only just over the edge. It is through the squid that the simulations of sexuality are diminished, reduced to vibration, ‘k’, and slid over the edge. This movement is a function of manipulations of the tentacle permitted by use of acetabula or suckers, appendages which have the property to affix and detach based on flexations, or wet-k-waves, which connect and disconnect in conjunction with squeezing, enveloping, and pre-phallic positive linkage. Suckers are characteristic of all anomalous individuals, regardless of their physical composition, but in this regard, the cephalopod is obviously the example par excellence.
If these physiognomic speculations on animal-becoming are of interest to you, there is much more in my essay A Critical Treatise on the Sucker and the Club. But let us not escape this term of unbecoming before it has been properly wrung. Unbecoming plays a funny game in the English language here, and I have seized upon this without mercy. Unbecoming should not be mistaken as if it is a type of abecoming, that is, a lack of becoming, nor debecoming, that is, the reversal of a previous becoming; these do not hold up to the full weight of the term.
Consider the colloquial usage of the word: unbecoming begins not as a metaphysical statement but as an ethical one; one should avoid behavior which would deem them as unbecoming. The moral judgment is clear, unbecoming is itself a becoming-deviant, and as such the positive act of becoming-deviant, and, in a paradoxical sense, what we might crudely dub becoming-unbecoming, we discover this supposed moral judgment was drawing a metaphysical line in the background, behind the scenes as it were. The moral judgments illuminate lines of becoming, separating them from the lines of unbecoming, but only after they have been drawn. This paradoxical relation that unbecoming finds between its moral definition and its metaphysical one is only exacerbated by the fact that neither emerge before the other, but rather support themselves on the cuts drawn by real lines of flight, which is why unbecomings are never subjective, they exist in material conditions already drawn, or better said, unbecoming, however omnipresent, can never manifest on the transcendent plane. Lovecraft, in his branded xenophobic manner, drew this unbecoming in the occult practices of the jungle, indigenous rites which are seen as the alien counterpart to the human which bridges the Old One and the multiplicity of the preindividuated tribe. This is obviously paranoia and can be disregarded in its content, but its form is the telling aspect. Unbecoming was a matter of material rituals only drawn as unbecoming through the alienation mediated by the anomalous (Old One) and determined through reflection. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders discusses paraphilia based on two generalized groups, those being anomalous activity preferences and anomalous target preferences; those being whether the pact with the anomalous is predicated upon paraphilic action or paraphilic direction. Paraphilic direction of course is unbecoming which points to a particular ‘who’ or genre of ‘who’’s, rather than the actions being pointed in themselves. The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife transcends the distinction here: clearly there is an element of anomalous target preference, as it centers around the desire for the squid, but clearly the act in question is not simply normophilic, it contains an anomalous activity preference by nature of the tentacle and its complex instrumentality, which as we already looked at, transcends the phallus, yadda yadda. Anyways… The reason I brought up the DSM was – yeah the next one [there is a brief issue with the slides here] – if there isn’t a better sign to show paraphilia draws the lines of becoming and unbecoming! Right here, the underlined. It says that in the very old or ill paraphilia may mean: “any sexual interest greater than or equal to normophilic sexual interests”! Imagine that! Subjective, subjective… Moral real… What? [Someone shouts a question from the crowd; inaudible] This is it, my friend! These are the moral repercussions! They are drawn through normophilia, and if this is true, as the literature reads, and even living up to the norm may put you in the crosshairs, you must accept that the normophilic, the moral becomings, that which resists deviation, they are the real fairy tale!
Where is it? Where is it besides that petty remainder beside the figures, the inanimate desert of the undrawn? There is only objectivity in paraphilia, nowhere else. Nowhere else. The visible universe is stupid, it is a lie. Paraphilia is the only thing substantial enough to carve a mark in the real. [Another inaudible comment] Yes, yes I do. The place for (audio here starts to become obscured by growing unrest in the crowd) there is a suggestion, if you would [inaudible]. What? No, it’s okay. What? Okay, no, yes but I have an answer for you. [inaudible] but no one can hear you up here. I’m wired, the mic is wired so – no one – yeah, can we get a mic? If you get down they will get – I will – look [inaudible] get off the stage. I will let you speak, I will [inaudible] and I will let you speak. You can –
[There is the sound of a live microphone cord being pulled, and the speaking stops. Inaudible yelling. Something glass breaks. The recording ends here.]