The story "Muneca Rota" by Nicaraguan author, Maria Del Carmen Perez invites readers to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. The main focus is rejecting the grand narratives of humanism and opening up possibilities of being other. A solution she proposes is to think beyond humanism, imagine other possibilities, and explore different temporalities. The style of this piece is written artistically, requiring readers to use their imagination and critical thinking as they engage with the metaphors in the text. The main character, who is also the narrator, shares with her sister her desires, dreams, and thoughts as stories filled with metaphors. With each dream the character describes, more emphasis is placed on moving and becoming, that is in transformative abilities of motion. This literature is written to bewilder the reader specifically, to alter their thinking into something deemed impossible, inhuman, and/or nomadic. Many would say bizarre and be quick to construct strict categorization of an individual. Others would say suicide and would be missing all the metaphorical content. This limits the ability to think beyond humanism, the species, and be able to imagine becoming others. She can explore nonhuman time and space. I will explore the ideas of different temporalities, being other, being nomad, and the posthuman as concepts that may not be achievable within the liberal and colonial thought processes. Can humans construct original thoughts and ideas or are they truly stuck in a colonial realm of reasoning?
The story “Muneca Rota” written by Nicaraguan author Maria Del Carmen Perez, invites readers to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. The story began with what can be understood as a cry for help. The first paragraph introduced abuse and pain as a method to challenge humanism. Metaphorically, the character did not have arms or legs and was angry with how women are treated. She explained them as penetrable “things” that were only given certain characterizing roles. The more countering ideas expressed through the metaphors can bring to the surface ideas of choosing life and committing suicide as completely inhuman. The main focus of this story is rejecting the grand narratives of humanism and opening up possibilities of being others. A solution she proposes is to think beyond humanism, imagine other possibilities, and explore different temporalities. The style of this piece is written artistically, requiring readers to use their imagination and critical thinking as they engage with the metaphors in the text. The main character, who is also the narrator, shares with her sister her desires, dreams, and thoughts as stories filled with metaphors. With each dream the character describes, more emphasis is placed on moving and becoming, that is in transformative abilities of motion.
With each metaphor introduced, the space to think beyond pragmatic orientations of thinking, Perez presents her work with attention to startling readers and confusing them because this is an introduction to her conceptualization of being other. To emphasize her point of view, she figuratively presents images that might disturb a diagram of colonial reasoning. For example, the main character describes one of her desires to leave her human body and be part fish where imaginative capabilities guide her aspirations. Perez states“Cuando ella bebe la sangre humana comienza a transformarse a una persona y presa del trance trastabilla y cae; pero en el agua, ya como ser humano, no sabe respirar, va perdiendo sus branquias . . . poco a poco” (Perez29). When looking into the crevices of this metaphor, one can understand how she correlates being human as something impossible. When the character was turning back into human form, she could not do the most basic human action, breathing. The ability to create a continuum of introspection nurtures a garden of diverse blooming and growth traversing realms.
This literature is written to bewilder the reader specifically, to alter their thinking into something deemed impossible, inhuman, and/or nomadic. Many would say bizarre and be quick to construct strict categorization of an individual. Others would say suicide and would miss all the metaphorical content. This limits the ability to think beyond humanism, the species, and be able to imagine becoming others. She can explore nonhuman time and space. I will explore the ideas of different temporalities, being other, being nomad, and the posthuman as concepts that may not be achievable within liberal and colonial thought processes. Can humans construct original thoughts and ideas or are they truly stuck in a colonial realm of reasoning?
The ability to construct abstract thinking about being something other than a human can result in exploring different temporalities. Giorgio Agamben changes the game in terms of history and play. He deconstructs diagrams by introducing a new realm of approaching play.
"The ability to construct abstract thinking about being something other than a human can result in exploring different temporalities. Giorgio Agamben changes the game in terms of history and play. He deconstructs diagrams by introducing a new realm of approaching play."
Through play, one can use their imagination to discover possibilities of chronologies by stepping outside of the Western regions and imagining life as nomads. Agamben states “The immediate result of life by play is a change and acceleration of time: “in the midst of continual games and every variety of amusement, the hours, the days, and the weeks, passed like lightning” (Agamben76). The philosophical perspective the author takes on is about being a child. The meanings embedded in play and toys indicate the power imagination has on breaking chronology. Agamben emphasizes the strength play has on the perspective of life. Through this idea, he elaborated on simultaneity, the idea of being in two or more places at once. As many philosophical examples have shared, time is a construct. He elaborates on simultaneity as being in two places at once where time moves at different speeds when playing. The magic of being other happens only when people are not constrained to striated spaces of the region. Under those circumstances, playing with human temporalities can impose chronologies to be in a process of becoming and never arriving. Agamben believes time can move differently when playing, giving individuals a chance to change identity constantly and explore colossal realms of time. Removing prior knowledge of a person or time will allow an individual the ability to play with human temporality, opening up the chance to impose chronologies. The act of playing with time exemplifies becoming like a rhizome.
The complexities and everlasting movement within rhizomes represent the ability to become and continue to move. The potentialities of a human rise from their identity and the life e they contain. The ideas of nomadic thinking involve subjective thought as it is about the process of getting there. Thus, being on the move is an ongoing process where becoming can never be brought to an end. Through the works of Maria del Carmen and Giorgio Agamben, the transpersonal experiences brought by individuals helps support the idea of becoming any and everything. The extremities of human thought and existence are limitless, where an everlasting process of becoming can demolish Western thought by stepping outside of striated spaces. Agamben provides a look into playing with temporalities, that is, being able to go beyond the constructed time, place, and state of mind.
To achieve full exploration of temporality, one must be able to fulfill divergent thinking. When doing so, exploration of imaginative and creative possibilities allows one to be nomadic. Agamben believed cracking collective history came with healing wounds left for many periodizations. To do so he writes, “In short, it becomes impossible to see the darkness without both being within it and removed from it . . .” (Saadawi 2012). To dive into diverse forms of time impermanence construction means being able to exist in more than one state of existence. Agamben strengthens his point of view by emphasizing how one must be within and removed from a period, where one state of being is broken. Just as he goes beyond contemporary belief systems, Perez breaks through striated radical thought when she separates from her body to reinforce her ideas of being other. She plays with time when moving from one desire, to the next. At one moment the protagonist is a woman and part fish, giving more animal than human.
Later, the character placed herself in a suicidal space where fighting to live was not an option, and death was desired. Within these two examples, it is clear how Perez challenges normal storytelling, writing, and thinking. Suicide is seen as the most inhuman action a human can perform. The accustomed belief for this move equates with not desiring death, as living in the most logical reasoning for humans. To take a step outside of this box means to take a baseball bat and hit Western thought on the head, unbalancing and shaking up power geometries.
Beyond the Species
Being other plays on the idea of having the creative freedom to be anything. This expansion of available reasoning means “think outside the box” times ten thousand. This grand number is used to emphasize and exaggerate this notion of being other because truly, there is no limit. Rosi Briadotti expands on this grand idea when imagining being a molecule. This can set up the stage for the endless possible forms of matter. She argues, “The great scientific advances of molecular biology have taught us that matter is self-organized (autopoietic), whereas monistic philosophy adds that it is also structurally relational and hence connected to a variety of environments” (Briodotti 59-60). The analysis indicated that self-organizing capacities can be found within all living matter. Thus, the matter is driven by informational codes which contribute to the categorization of intelligence, where it has the possibility of expanding relation to self.
When looking at the ideas of humanism and what adequately determines this state of being, rights play a vital role. In Giorgio Agamben’s, “Beyond Human Rights”, he addresses the importance of building a philosophy starting from the figure of the refugee. To further understand, a nation-state will incline a state that makes nativity or birth. He writes, “. . . the status of a refugee has always been considered a temporary condition that ought to lead either to naturalization or repatriation. A stable state for the human in itself is inconceivable in the law of the nation-state” (Agamben 2000). Furthermore, rights attributed to the human being are only to the degree to which they are immediately vanishing presuppositions of the citizen (Agamben 2000). Thinking about being other in this case might help separate the refugee from “human rights”. Creating space for allowing one to think of other possibilities other than being human is crucial for breaking through the forced pillars of colonial reasoning. Maria del Carmen Perez emphasizes being other when she had the main character express her feelings of being jaded. She writes, “Así que llegó el día en que comencé a sentir que todo mi organismo estaba hastiado de ser tan ‘femenino’, quería dejar de ser eso y buscar cosas nuevas . . .” (Perez 27). The main character lacked enthusiasm about being feminine where leaving her body behind was her biggest desire. Her stories depict the abilities to think of being other, wanting to be different, and causing disequilibrium in a world accustomed to logical reasoning.
The posthuman subject, as believed by Briadotti, was constructed to provoke a vast capacity for smooth spaces. She focuses her posthuman theory on the capabilities contemporary and biotechnology-mediated bodies can achieve. Traditional pedagogy approaches are broken with the wonder of the benefits these propositions of “thinking beyond humanism” can bring to an individual or society. This innovative potential to explore different forms of life being other potentialities disrupts validation, authorization, and structure. The following authors state, “Thus, life matters because it has never been about living, but it is instead a response that can be situated in a regime of knowledge acquisition and production that conceptualizes the individual as placeable on a hegemonic scale” (Mikulan, P., & Rudder, A.2019). Pushing the orientation of thought in various directions to different degrees synthesizes the dismantling of timelines, forces, and temporalities. Essentially, breaking away from humanism means being in a constant state of becoming allowing one to imagine themselves in different forms.
"The posthuman subject, as believed by Briadotti, was constructed to provoke a vast capacity for smooth spaces. She focuses her posthuman theory on the capabilities contemporary and biotechnology-mediated bodies can achieve."
To further speak on the grand possibilities of thinking beyond colonial thought, the posthuman allows one to dissect humanism as a form of dismantling colonialism. Briadotti writes, “In other words, we need to experiment with resistance and intensity to find out what posthuman bodies can do” (Braidotti99). Stepping outside of a carcass can create an expansion of endless thinking. Smoothing the edges in this space will allow one to stop, pause and step outside of humanism. Gliding through colonial normalcy means eliminating other possibilities of living being other, playing with temporalities, and imaginative rationalities. Bodily matter in the form of humans always comes with a ‘check-the-box-if-it-applies’ manual, collaborating to continue filling in striated limitations.
The deterritorialization of constitutive elements might help dislocate the idea of gender. As previously stated, the main character from Del Carmen Perez’s work craves a change in her state of being. She challenges the norms of gender when expressing her exhaustion and boredom with being feminine. Braidotti mentions, “Posthuman feminists look for subversion not in counter-identity formations, but rather in pure dislocations of identities via the perversion of standardized patterns of sexualized, racialized, and naturalized interaction” (Braidotti 99). Challenging gender roles break down conforming ideas of Western thought. Through dismantling these checked boxes, one can see how smooth spaces can damage centric ideologies of mortals, allowing one to think beyond the state of humanism to confuse, entice, and deconstruct thoughts of “the norm”. Following Briadotti’s views on posthuman philosophy, Perez explores the different roles humans can play and become. Briadotti holds that being human is not everything we can desire or be the only thing we do. Facilitating competence to move beyond what is expected will bring the possibility to the deconstruction of liberal considerations of humanism.
For the rest of the analysis, see the linked document below.
Braidotti, Rosi. “Post-Anthropocentrism: Life beyond the Species.” The Posthuman. 55-104.
Braidotti, Rosi. “The Inhuman: Life beyond Death.” The Posthuman. 105-142.
Collins, F. L. (2018). Desire as a theory for migration studies: temporality, assemblage, and becoming in the narratives of migrants. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 44(6), 964–980. https://doi-org.libproxy.csun.edu/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1384147 https://libproxy.csun.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true& db=aph&AN=128514412&site=ehost-live
Deleuze y Félix Guattari: Introducción: Rizoma (9-32); and "Tratado de nomadología: La máquina de guerra." (359-431).
Giorgio Agamben. “Beyond Human Rights.” Means without End. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Giorgio Agamben. “In Playland: Reflections on History and Play.” Infancy and History.
Glaveanu, V. P. (2019). Being other: Intersubjectivity, allocentrism, and the possible. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 49(4), 443–459. https://doiorg.libproxy.csun.edu/10.1111/jtsb.12221
Mikulan, P., & Rudder, A. (2019). Posthumanist Perspectives on Racialized Life and Human Difference Pedagogy. Educational Theory, 69(5), 615–629. https://doiorg.libproxy.csun.edu/10.1111/edth.12390
Osborne, P. “Modernity: A Different Time.” The Politics of Time: Modernity and Avant-Garde. London: Verso, 1995. 1-29.
Perez Cuadra, Maria del Carmen. “Muñeca rota” Una ciudad de estatuas y de perros. Santiago: Daskapital, 2014.
Saadawi, G. (2012). Not, not Contemporary. Third Text, 26(4), 379–382. https://doi-org.libproxy.csun.edu/10.1080/09528822.2012.692183
Two sections from A Thousand Plateaus or Mil mesetas: Capitalismo y esquizofrenia de Gilles.