To Lose Yourself: Making Yourself a Body Without Organs
August 28, 2009
Imagine someone as a human body composed of various organs. Eyes to see things, heart to pump out blood, lungs to breathe and pancreas to digest. Various organs organised in a way that it controls us. He is an organism.
Now dismantle his body. Dismantle the organs and unorganise them. Tear apart his lungs, rip away his pancreas, intestines and heart. Is it really so sad and dangerous to be fed with seeing with your eyes, breathing with your lungs and swallowing with your mouth? Dismantle the organs to give him a new body, where he can see through his skins, sing with his sinuses and breathe with his belly. A body no longer controlled by organs, and now with new modes of air, sights, blood to circulate through him. He’s no longer an organism, he has become a Body without Organs (BwO).
Dismantling the organism has never meant killing yourself, but rather freeing yourself from our habit of always having to articulate, judge and explain everything, and simply opening your body to be connected. Becoming a BwO means becoming a living event, to immerse oneself, to lose oneself in desire. More immersed you are, the more you forget about yourself and things around you. Only thinking and feeling nothing except that very thing you are immersed in. Most of us watch anime as a light entertainment, but many would argue that to be completely immersed is the penultimate experience of watching anime.
BwO is a plane of desire. Desire takes you away from yourself; it carries you away, into unfamiliar territory of the soul. One loses oneself in desire. And the key is to obliterate subjectivity, to make oneself a plane of colourful emotions rather than a person that is trying to judge and interpret. When immersed, you are free of trying to organise everything into articulation, interpretation and judgement. You can interpret something, but only once you’ve found yourself again as an organism.
No longer are there acts to explain, dreams or phantasies to interpret, childhood memories to recall, words to make signify; instead, there are colours and sounds, becomings and intensities. There is no longer a Self that feels, acts, and recalls; there is “a glowing fog, a dark yellow mist” that has affects and experiences movements, speeds.
While music is the most Dionysian of the arts, sculpture is the most Apollonian of the arts, since it relies entirely on form for its effect. I’ve always had more appreciation for appreciations closer to Dionysian than Apollonian. Perhaps this is why the experience of looking at Michelangelo’s Medici tombs were far more poignant than looking at his masterpiece, Pieta. Although technically superior as a sculpture, Pieta is positioned like a tourist material behind the glass wall. In comparison, the sculptures of Medici tombs are in just perfectly sublime harmony with its surrounding architectural elements. I suppose the difference between the two experience is that one is sculptural and the other architectural (also helps that there are far less noise and tourists). One of the reasons I love anime as a medium could be that it is closer to Dionysian than Apollonian.
What comes to pass on the BwO is not exactly the same as how you make yourself one. Hence the two phrases. One phase is for the fabrication of the Bwo. The other to make something circulate on it. Take a masochist for example. His suffering is the price he must pay, not to achieve pleasure, but to disorgniase himself to make himself a BwO, and bringing forth a plane of consistency of desire. Masochism is the creation of a BwO, as is anorexia nervosa; but so is Tao, so is Spinoza’s Amor Dei and Nietzsche’s amor fati. That there are other ways, other procedures than masochisms and certainly better ones, is beside the point; it is enough that some find this procedure suitable for them. Different anime for different souls. Likewise, there are ways other than emotional pain to completely immerse yourself in a cinematic experience (such as breath-taking action sequences), although it is enough that some find pain essential for more serious anime or films.
BwO is an absolute. As such, we can never ever be 100% immersed. But we can reach something close to it. Can you remember the last time you were so into it, you couldn’t care less about anything in the world except to be completely captured by those pretty colours, movements, and what those characters were going through? I suppose that’s the kind of experience I value the highest, and also one of, if not the biggest reason why I watch anime.