Now Politics: the Political Opinions of Thomas Sarebbenonnato

A Friend of the People Opposing Elites; Social and Political Commentary of Thomas Sarebbenonnato; Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo [Copyright (c) Jay Ruvolo 2018]

WOMAN IS

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Deus Est, or, in other words, God is, a proclamation made by Aquinas at the head of his assertion that to give attribute to God subtracts from God; that is, the idea of God must be given no attributes because in itself to give attributes is a subtraction from anything as pure in His actuality as God is. I remember Aquinas’s Deus Est from medieval philosophy when I was an undergraduate. This idea of Aquinas hinges on the dichotomy of actuality and potentiality which he gets from Aristotle. Aquinas refers to God as that Being of whom no part is potential or in potentiality. God is the Being for whom all is actual, he exists as pure actuality.  

I have assumed that when we want to do for other notions what Aquinas assumed for his discussion of God, we could use like syntax. Again, Aquinas was asserting the pure actuality of God, a being for whom there was no potential. Humans are beings of potentiality, but this arithmetic advantage is not a metaphysical one. To give attribute to God would subtract from God, at least rhetorically. Actually being able to subtract from God was and is impossible for mere mortals to do, but I understood what Aquinas was saying. We do the same when we give attributes to a woman, though, listing and labeling as we do to ourselves and others everywhere by saying this or that is what the person is. We are always going to be bound by potentiality, and unless we become God, we will not be in a state of pure actuality. However, the notions of one’s being and one’s becoming are at our command herein: when talking of woman as pure being, whole being, we say she is, a woman is. This is here being in itself being or being in herself to be.

To give attributes to her by saying she is this or that or X or Y or Z is to subtract from this being she is in herself to be. Now stages of becoming are always bound by attributes. To become something or someone even is to be marked and marred by attributes. Nonetheless, we miss the individual perpetually, daily, hourly, minute by minute every time we assert what or who a person is, yes, that is, a person in herself a person. And yes, what I assert herein for woman is also true for any person, man or woman. It is a necessity that we develop a feminology to move toward articulating a woman’s humanology. 

If I were to speak of Women with the word ‘Woman,’ that is, not in the plural but in the rhetorically more advantageous singular, although an assumed collective, I could assert my thesis like Aquinas, Woman is. This notion of woman, any woman, as all women, as also a sum greater than any of her parts, that is, attributes we may observe or ascribe, I do take to be self-evident  that is, undeniable. So, herein let it be said that to give attribute to Woman (whether that be the woman who is all women, she is they, as I am we, any I being we, you also being many, yet one) would rhetorically subtract from Woman. Yes, Woman is. This is first, this is last, this is all.

We use the pronoun ‘she,’ but then, what is contained in this she? We say she is a woman, she is a mother, she is intelligent, she is an alcoholic, she is pretty, she is articulate, educated, affluent or poor or neither; she is thin, she is active, she is lazy, she is fat, she is generous, she is tall, she is soulful, kind, compassionate, apathetic, disinterested, aloof; moreover, we can string any number of subject complements following she is. The string would stretch as far as infinity.

A valid question concerning reference and the limits of not only what is sayable, but what is said when said arises. The necessity for knowing what she is in order to say anything at all about her is not as great as knowing who she is, and this is for reasons greater than who is for persons and what is for things. The who we speak is beyond name or title, Mary, Doctor Spencer.

So many of the things we do, the actions we engage, make up who we are; however, these things are interrogatively expressed with ‘what,’ so the who of them is not directly relevant.

A woman is a being of potentiality as every human being is a being of potentiality; yet she does so many things in her life, which one of the many, including the unseen, the unknown, the unconscious, the forgotten, the latent, the closeted (and we have many opportunities to closet our being, what we might want to call nature, irrespective of sexuality or gender identity). We examine what she actualizes, what she realizes in her living; but does this tell us all that we need to know. Is it not true for every person that he or she is totality, an accumulation of summation that  no other can add.

How much of her life is defined by her living, though? We must also recognize that we could continue this, when, where, why, how is she and so on perpetually. All the subject complements we could string after she is, attaching one attribute after another, may bring us no closer to who she is, than following the path of infinite regression would bring us closer to God, or in this Aristotelian’s logic, the Prime Mover. The infinite is unreachable; infinity is the uncountable number. Lists of attributes bring us no closer to understanding a person than if we did not consider the person at all. This is why my answer to “Why do you love her?” has always been, “I have no idea. I just do.”

Woman is and in her is she exists apart from all notions of what she is and who she is. We rhetorically subtract from the presentation or representation of a person, which leads us into confusions about the person, about the woman, any time we attempt to define them this way, with more and more subject complements. And I refer to rhetoric here because we cannot metaphysically subtract from a woman–yes, we do perform this rhetorical arithmetic on a woman and think we are acting rightfully, normally, humanely. And I stress humanely here as the first and last in being human; without this humane treatment of others, there is no being human; if allowed, our humanity suffers an assault. I suggest that feminists have been doing the like in counterpoint to real and imagined patriarchal constructions of woman, from whatever contemporaneity or historical continuum might be used as frame, lens, prism.

To be a woman or not to be a woman; becoming a woman is what she might be in face of her being one. Each woman is actually herself greater than herself as a woman. She is macrocosmic to the microcosm of her womanhood. This is what we need to understand in order to respect her as anything, anywhere at any time, but most assuredly in total as she is, yes, she is, nothing more or less or other or in addition or subtraction or division.

A woman is is the first and last step in her humanity. This is the humane approach.

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Written by jvr

April 5, 2019 at 10:27 am

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