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Hell Sandifer @ElSandifer
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Rereading @theorygurl on pregnancy, which is typically good. This line jumps out: "What I want isn’t surgery; what I want is never to have needed surgery to begin with. I will never be natural, but I will die trying."…
Andrea has made statements like this before, and they get at one of the weird realities of transition, at least for me, which is the fundamentally Basilisk-like nature of the realization that you're trans.
As I've noted, I didn't really have bodily dysphoria before I transitioned because I was too oblivious and was just completely alienated from my body. It wasn't until, through transition, I became invested in a vision of how I wanted to look that I started resenting not doing so.
That's not to say that it'd be better if I'd never realized. If there's one thing that should be clear about my work on Basilisks it's that there is a fundamental desire for terrible knowledge that is not removed by learning it. Knowing the awful truth is a masochistic pleasure.
But it does highlight that there are two distinct aspects of the Basilisk's horror that exist independently. "I wish this thing were not true" and "I wish I did not know this thing." The former, I would argue, is optional.
I don't wish that I didn't want to be a cis woman. That position is literally unthinkable to me, because my desire to not be a man is too intense to desire its own erasure. Even though the desire is impossible to achieve, I don't want to not have it.
I do wish, in bad and unpleasant moments, to not know that I want this. To trade dysphoria back for the more oblivious pain I used to have. And that's what makes it Basilisk-like. It's not an awful truth because it's bad that it's true; it's awful because it's bad to *know*.
So the Basilisk is not just the idea that any philosophical line of thought will eventually reach unpleasant conclusions. It's that it will reach conclusions that are repugnant to whatever desires initiated the inquiry.
e.g. "I want to understand my complex feelings about gender so they stop eating at me." *period of introspection* "Oh shit I want a fundamentally impossible thing and my failure to have it will dig at me like a poorly adjusted underwire until the end of time."
Or, more simply: "I wish I could stop thinking about my gender all the time." *spends time figuring out gender for once and for all. "Oh no, I have realized something that will cause me to think about my gender *FOREVER*"
General structure of the Basilisk: "There must be a reason I'm so obsessed with this thing? Oh shit, there is."
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