What is it like to crush on a cartoon? + thought digest, 12.4.2023
I know this is late but i really do not see nor understand why we should even attempt to understand this cartoon love it could be compared to most (not all) religions in that all they are is just imaginary characters that other people have a zealotry with because it has no big "faith" organization behind it and enough people (in numbers) it is deemed as okay, so major religions like islam and hinduism as examples, while this is just "odd and peculiar" all of them are though, no evidence, so therefore we can only say we could agnostically guess. maybe technology or some other advancement will give us definitive answers.
I think with faeries etc, it was the decline of superstition and belief in magic that caused the shift. When Spenser wrote The Faerie Queene, for example, belief was real, but so was scepticism among educated people: allegory was possible. But belief took a long time to die. So you could have the witches in Macbeth etc and people would be scared. As the reformation slowly eroded superstition, or purged it violently in C17th, faerie and witches could become tropes of Romanticism, a more purely literary realm. Over the same period, the rise of self-consciousness in literature, and the development of the novel, meant that this coincided with the Romantic idea of knowing yourself, reconciling yourself with the world (or not), valuing other self-types, like madmen. As Susan Sontag said, Shakespeare's plays are about characters not acting so much as dramatising themselves in roles. Thus the way was cleared for us to safely identify with magic, free of the threat of it being taken too seriously, but as part of a emergent consciousness where we find roles to play as a way of develop our selves and introspect. When we "find" something about our true, private self in fiction, we then want to "create" or "recreate" that in our public self.
Femcel Friday: this artist has lots of writing recently @femcel_larper
"The Internet completely destroys what it means to be an embodied person."
I constantly harp on this long, deep, ultimately unfinished work of Pope John Paul II's called "Theology of the Body." There's a good short primer by Christopher West out there, "Theology of the Body for Beginners" that I can't recommend enough. Very deep existentialist philosophy there.
It was described on its post-humous release as "a ticking time bomb sure to go off in the 21st century." At the time, I thought that was a reference to the multiple layered explanation of the glory of embodiment, which makes homosexuality pale in comparison to the beauty of the meaningfulness of the evolutionary success of complementary heterosexuality. But the longer time goes on, I've thought it accidentally foresaw and debunked trans ideology, and after reading this, I realize the root of all these things is, as you say, destroying the meaning of being an embodied person. It may just be the solution to all these psychological issues.
Even if you're not religious or open to metaphysical takes on any subject, I still recommend reading West's book, just to flesh out your views on all this. It's only 120ish pages, small by book standards.
I want to leave one more set of thoughts on this since I finished listening and then I'll quit pestering you with comments lol.
Your guest had a much more tempered perspective on the topic than I expected, which was interesting. What really stood out to me was the tension in the conceptualization of fictosexuality during your conversation. You both approached the conversation that this is something that is real, but anytime corporeality came into the discussion, it was clear that there was something distinctly lacking in the characters one is attracted to. Specifically, Cait would say that they're not real; though, I noticed you tried to use terms like "physical" or "material" instead of "real." This indicates to me two things: 1) that our lexicon is lacking in trying to articulate this phenomenon and 2) that there is actually something deeply lacking in the relationship and which we're longing for without the physical element of the person (like how you mentioned waking up holding your own hand). Thus it doesn't seem quite as "real," for lack of a better word.
[Side tangent before continuing, I perused Wiktionary for the etymology for the word "fiction" because I wanted more than a layperson understanding of it. My rudimentary take is that seems to mean something in the vain of "shape" or "form", both as a noun and a verb. When I look at the various other definitions of the words "fiction" is derived from, it seems to reference the outward appearance of a thing as opposed to the thing in totality or even its "essence." Thus "fiction" clearly seems to indicate some sort of incompleteness. Has me curious to dig more.]
This has me wondering: what actually is it that's being experienced when one feels an attraction to a fictional character? I don't know that we can use the term "love," both because I think what's being experienced isn't similar enough to being in a loving relationship with another person and because the word "love" isn't sufficiently defined in English (to contrast, see the various Greek words philia, storge, and agape being versions of "love", as well as eros, which has more to do with passion and sex). I have an idea as what it is, but I need to cover two things before getting to that.
First, our inherent capacity for empathy as humans is clearly involved because we experience other emotions when we're taking in stories. When we see a character lose someone dear to him, we feel sad; when we see another character be betrayed by her lover, we feel angry and disgusted. We're recognizing the inherent humanity in the character and we're able to hearken back to our own experiences when viewing theirs.
Second, the character is a symbol. Who that character is represents a particular mode or pattern of being. That makes the character an abstraction, because they're a distillation of a the ideas and behaviors that constitute that mode or pattern of being (which is because an abstraction is something with all of its nonessential characteristics stripped away). That abstraction resonates with us because there's some kind of value or meaning in that specific mode of being, and we're attracted to the symbol as a result. I'm reminded of your thoughts on identity vs. affinity—attraction to a fictional character seems, at some level, to be an affinity for the symbolic meaning of the character.
Why do I bring both of those points up? Because it's related to my original point about the word "real." Despite the lack of a physical body, the character one finds themselves attracted to can be viewed as more real than a flesh-and-blood person. An abstraction is often more real than anything material because it exists beyond the span of several human generations (likely transcending time itself). A relationship is both a set of phenomenal experiences and an abstraction, and humans have always been in relationships and will always continue to be in relationships. As such, a "relationship" as an abstraction transcends space (because it's non-physical) and time (because it seems to neither start nor stop) [though, I wouldn't call it transcendent in the same way that God can be considered transcendent; I'm lacking the right words here]. Then we have empathy, which is what takes that abstraction and puts it into the context of humanity. Empathy transforms the symbol from a mere abstraction into something both human-relatable and self-relatable (you could say it's a sort of personification, but that's not quite sufficient). We therefore have something that has inherent meaning (because it's transcendent in some manner) and that we have an affinity for (because we can perceive and understand it both in the context of greater humanity and ourselves as individuals). That seems incredibly real to me despite having no physical form. This is especially so when you consider that humans seem to inherently be designed to desire or be attracted to someone (thus it's not unique to any one person, even if the particulars of the experience are).
Though, it's still evident to me that something's missing because the symbol doesn't seem to be a sufficient replacement for another human being. I don't think we can live in abstractions—and even if we could, it doesn't seem like we should, but that's another conversation.
I still haven't listened to your last episode ("Fictional soul, human body."). I need to do that. Something tells me that conversation is going to tie into the ideas of this current episode more deeply than is suggested from just the text part of the post.
Thanks for writing what you do. I seem to always come away from your posts with a better understanding of both people and myself.
RE: Labels. Yes, things need to be labeled—that's the whole purpose of language. The act of *naming* something is what cements its existence. The thing being named shifts from a passing phenomenon to an entity with an actual sense of *being*. You see this in the creation story in Genesis where God names Adam and then Adam names all the animals and Eve.
That developed from the ancient middle eastern idea that names contain great power, and (mis)using them will have great ramifications. Uttering the name of a deity or demon is, in essence, calling forth its power ("speak of the devil and he shall appear" or the classic "Bloody Mary"). It's likewise why the Hebrew Bible, from the very beginning, doesn't explicitly use the name Yahweh, with it instead being substituted as either "the LORD" or (rarely) "YHWH." You see this later develop in the Ten Commandments, with the second Commandment being, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain." Another example would be the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father, who art in heaven, *hallowed be thy name*." There are no shortage of examples throughout the rest of the Abrahamic religions, as well as other middle eastern religions like Zoroastrianism.
From what I've gathered, most ancient civilizations properly recognized the power of words—take, for example, the Babylonian god Marduk, who was seen as possessing incredibly potent magic that was called forth by his words. You often see this in fantasy fiction where the use of magic requires incantation. There's also the classic line from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, "The pen is mightier than the sword." Then, of course, the more recent idea that "words are violence." Again, all of them reiterate the potency of language.
So why label—or name—things? Because names bind things to reality. A name defines both what something is and what it isn't. A name pulls the thing out of the dark, formless, chaotic void and into the bright, ordered world. Why do we have the words "table" and "chair" (especially since I can sit on a table and put my food on a chair)? It's because they aren't the same. It's similar in concept to the idea that you likely don't understand something until you can explain it sufficiently to someone else—what words you use to describe something is inherently a selection process.
Moreover, language itself refers to things that exist, whether material or otherwise. To use a silly Heideggerian term, a word has an ontic referrent, meaning it points to something real in this world. The meaning of words is neither arbitrary nor relatavistic—it's purposeful and specific. (The idea that words have no inherent meaning has only recently become somewhat popular courtesy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jacques Derrida, both of whom I consider to be tricksters.)
Anyway, I guess I should actually listen to the episode now. Thanks for reading my silly rant.
So I guess that answers one of the questions I had. So there is like some kind of DF fanclub or whatever. Maybe that explains the bit in the "fake accounts" pod I heard where you seemed to view your subscribers as in it for the parasocial as opposed to the actual content. Everytime I have seen you in a video you look like an almost entirely different person, now I feel like I know why that is the case. On a side note I wager most folks would be fine with you and Gio shit talking for 6 hours, if you guys were comfortable with putting 6 hours of unedited shit talking on the interwebs :)