Deserving to Exist
Human Contradictions in the Market
I have always wondered how profit could be derived
through individual equal exchange. The answer I want to give is
that profit flows through gifts that come to exchange and the
market from nonexchange areas. These gifts come first from our
giving value to equality (as do mothers with the son's similarity to
the father), second from our giving value to ego orientation
and exchange itself, third from nurturing the worker and fourth
from giving to the capitalist through surplus value. There is
another 'equal' exchange, between worker and capitalist, to which value
is given from the outside. The worker agrees to work for a salary,
but only because s/he can't survive any other way. Extra
time, attention, labor and loyalty are gifts given in exchange for
the 'privilege' of being paid the going rate for labor of a certain
kind. Going 'up' a logical step, in scarcity the chance to have a paid
job is a 'gift.' Care, honesty, loyalty, work excellence, and good
humor are given in reciprocity for the 'gift' of the job. (We could look
at this almost as a reciprocal exchange of gifts--as happens in
some pre-capitalist societies.)While market exchanges may be equal
at one level, at another level unseen gifts are constantly being
given to, through and around them.
Marx's 'surplus value' is the value of labor in excess of a
salary based on the cost of reproducing the laborer. Actually,
surplus value constitutes a gift from the laborer to the capitalist.
Since the wife's or mother's gift labor is uncounted in the
reproduction of the laborer, its value also flows into
surplus value. Scarce jobs are over-valued, and gifts flow to them and to those who
have them from those who do not have them.
Economic operators usually do not pay attention to what
the source is, but only to the accumulation of quantity for future
without qualitative variety. They are justified in this by the
hall-of-mirrors, the self-similarity of all of the equal exchanges
going on in the market and at different levels which constitute
the context of each exchange. Moreover, the homogeneity or
'one word' character of money allows the market to replace
the qualitatively varied vocabulary of language with the
quantitative hierarchy of prices.1 In the market, the only way we could
name and thus recognize and appreciate a gift as a value is
by exchanging it for money, which would contradict its
gift character. Thus the gifts remain unvisible and unvalued.
Profit derives, in part, from our giving to equality and
valuing it over need. Because someone participates in the equal
exchange, s/he receives the gift of being valued instead of someone who
only has a need. Any surplus that might otherwise have gone to
the person who only has a need is thus 'free' to flow as a gift into
the profit of the equal exchanger. The person with the need is seen
as unequal unless s/he also has some other product or money as
the result of a previous transaction. Actually, being equal
as exchangers only implies that people practicing the behavior
of exchange have produced for and exchanged with a group
of others who are equally self-interested and adversarial.
Their equality as actors and as values in the exchange process
implies exchangeability--reciprocal substitutability, and their lack
of bonds implies indifference.
There are needs which come from the process of
exchange itself--like the needs coming from the process of
masculation--which must be satisfied by gifts given to that process from
the outside. The giftgiving way stands aside for exchange to take
over, transferring its own ignored potential value as the mode
of distribution to it, nurturing it and those who practice it. If
it competes, if there is an abundance of a product, through
over-production, for example, prices go down. If prices go down,
more of the product's value is given to the consumer as a gift,
and future production for exchange is jeopardized.
The market, like the masculated ego, is an artificial
psycho-socio-linguistic invention using decontextualization. Like
the ego, it needs to receive value directly (without an exchange)
from giftgiving, while at the same time competing with it and
winning. The people who are participating in the artificial
invention, doing the exchanging, develop a need to be valued as opposed
to those who are outside the market. They also need to
be maintained by others. In order to be motivated to engage in
this artificial practice, they include an extra recompense
for themselves (an 'incentive') in the price of their products.
The profit they receive is a gift, not only from the producers of
surplus value (and those who nurture the producers), but also from
the buyers of scarce goods. It is a contribution of gifts from
the unknown and the unknowing many. Scarcity of jobs and
scarcity of goods function together to keep the equal exchanges high
and the flow of gifts going towards the 'haves.'
De-serving is a self-similar way of giving value not only to
the exchangers but to exchange. Those who produce for the
market de-serve a recompense. Exchangers receive the value of
being equally defined as adversaries belonging to the same
contradictory class. They are seen as superior to those who are unemployed
or unemployable, those who cannot sell or buy. The equality of
their products to money seems to imply the (mutually
exclusive) equality between them, just as the ability to use the same
words regarding similar things implies a (mutually inclusive)
equality between interlocutors.
If our communitary selves are developed through
language and material giving, then exchange, the material interaction
of not-giving, can be understood as the basis of a particular kind
of self. Materially it develops a private owner, while
psychologically it develops an ego which is functional to the process and
to ownership: competitive, striving to have more, to have and/or
be the definiendum, and to become the masculated privileged one.
Those with the ego type adapted to exchange enter
the dominant class of the self-interested many, all of whom
are attempting to be privileged ones. The individual
competitive action coincides with the logic of substitution
by taking the place of giftgiving. So does the masculated
nation, class, race or religion, over-taking others who are constrained
to give up and give value and goods to the conquerors.
Self-reflecting and male-reflecting groups overcome
other-oriented groups and are nurtured by them. The egos which are produced
by exchange define their expansion and the expansion of the
market system as 'civilization.'
The Definition as Model:
Another Turn of the Self-Similar Screw
Gender is actually something that we create and impose
on ourselves as we go along, but it is made by cultures to
seem biological and, therefore, impossible to change. We tend to
see gender roles as constants and consider individual adaptations
as variables. For example, differences of individual temperament
are read as gender differences. An aggressive girl is said to "act like
a boy"; a compliant boy is seen as "acting like a girl." The idea
that a characteristic of ours is our nature causes us to look deep
within ourselves to find it. But if it is a cultural construct we are
looking for, it is, at least at early stages, something that doesn't
already exist within us--we have to make it, according to the models
and definitions that are given to us. Language itself is an
important modeling element. Let us look again at how it functions
We have not realized how cultural factors are responsible
for the definition of gender because the form of the definition
is tangled up in the content of gender, and its genesis is involved
in its present practice. These are complex and confusing
cultural factors. The definition of gender incarnates the structure
of definition itself in its content, as male takes the place of
female. Male behavior strives to carry out the general,
over-taking position of the definiendum. We recognize this behavior as a
thing related to the word 'male' and feed it back into the
original equation, causing a social self-similar structure. There is a
Figure 22. Gender roles and the definition coincide, creating self similar images at the levels of form and content.
level involved, perhaps without our knowing it. We feed the
form of the definition itself into gender. Then we feed gender back
into the form of the definition.
Immersed in language as they are, gender terms are
disguised to look like other terms, and the disguise adds to their
potency2 as self-fulfilling prophecies. The self-similarity of gender
terms--with their aggressive and over-taking referents in the case
of terms for males, or in contrast the self-similarity with
things which give way in the case of terms for noncompetitive
females--appears to embed the behavior mandate of those terms within
the terms themselves. (See Figure 22.) The mandate appears to
reside 'inside' the terms but actually depends on an external
context that has already been influenced by it for generations.
The father's gender behavior has already been influenced by the
self-fulfilling term 'male' when the son takes him as model.
mother, like her mother before her, reinforces the mistake
by giving up being the model for the boy. As she gives him into
the other category because she is female, she becomes a model for
the girl of giving up and giving-way.
The father, who is related to the word 'male' as its
sample, also assumes in the family the position of the word, taking
the place of the mother as sample. Meanwhile the 'thing'
(the mother) related to the word 'female' steps aside as a
sample, assuming the relative position as one of the many (and the
girl follows her example). The analogy here with our concept
process forms specifically in regard to the moment in which the
word takes the place of the sample, which is then no longer
necessary as a point of comparison to maintain the common quality of
the relative items.
The mother gives up the sample position and takes a
position as a thing among the many things related to the word which
now maintains the polarity for that category. The
(self-reflecting) sample position of the father coincides with the word
because, like the word, he over-takes the mother as sample. This
family situation is also repeated in the definition, where the definiens performs a service and gives-way, functioning like the
mother. The definiendum takes over as a permanent equivalent
and substitute for things in that category functioning like the
father. The father possesses the phallus and the mother and is
the 'incarnated word-sample' for the concept of the
boy--and perhaps for all concepts (as children of both sexes might see
it).3 Again, the situation in which male takes the place of female
(and patriarchal values take the place of women's values) repeats
the situation in which the whole process of exchange takes the
place of giftgiving.
Women serve and step aside, and the gift economy
steps aside, while men step forward and take over as the equivalents
the focus. This pattern can be seen reflected in yet another way
in the definition. The character of definiendum reflects back on the definiens when the content is male. Vice versa, when the
content is female, the definiendum becomes 'feminine,' more like
the definiens. For example, in 'Women are the weak sex'--'weak
sex' as the definiens weakly stands aside, and 'women' takes over as
the definiendum. Thus, the content (women as things or beings
who give-way) resonates with the giving-way transitional function
of the definiens. The 'things' (women) related to the definiendum in this case have characteristics of the definiens.
'Men are the strong sex' functions in the opposite way,
with strength resonating or repeating the 'over-taking' characteristics
of the definiendum, which takes the place of the definiens. The 'things' (men) related to the definiendum in this case have the characteristics of the definiendum. A bridge is thus constructed
by self-similarity between the level of content and the level of form
in the definition. Neither level is necessarily that way, but each
has been weighted by the function it performs in the
social construction of gender. After the definition has been
incarnated into masculated 'over-taking' behavior, the definition of
gender resonates with its own heterosexual behavioral image.
The epistemological level, constructed according to
the giving and receiving grain, is surely influenced by the way we
do our definitions and infected with our cultural
mis-interpretations of gender. Human beings are artificially driven into 'male'
and 'female' roles because we mistakenly interpret our
physical 'givens' to imply that we belong to drastically different
categories, almost different species. The male artificially creates a content
for his gender by retracing some of the steps of categorization,
and this pattern reflects back onto the linguistic mechanisms
by which the categorization was imposed. Females enable
the repetition of this pattern by serving it, which causes them
to enter into it because, in fact, it is an asymmetrical pattern
of nurturing and categorization-domination.
The giftgiving way is thus locked into a relation
with categorization which opposes it. Then it gives-way as
consciously viable principle and is canceled by
domination, which, in a self similar motion, takes over. There
is complementarity of the two conflicting ways at the object
level and at the meta level. The naming of the boy as 'male'
is projected into the human relations of the society, and
these reconfirm the naming of the boy as 'male.' (See Figure 23.)
Thus every definition becomes an exercise in artificial
hetero-sexism. Every definition resonates with the social projections of
the gender definition. Then the gender definition is
continually projected back into the individual consciousness through
our speech, our capacity to self-define and to define others.
The definition itself becomes the norm and discounts not only
the service of its own feminine definiens but the importance and
even the right to exist of those who do not correspond to
its heterosexual patterns.
For example, the judgments of right wing bigots have a
self-confirming aspect because the heterosexual form of the
definition (and naming) bears out dominance and discounts the
importance of those who give way to their definitions. From the epithets
used by teenage boys to dominate teenage girls, 'bitch' and 'whore,'
to the judgments expressed by bosses, husbands or other
authority figures, 'incompetent' and 'dumb,' women are required to
give-way to the over-taking definiendum when it is spoken by the
masculated men whom they serve.
Gay bashing, racial, ideological, religious, ableist
etc. derogatives also often 'degenerate' into actual physical
violence. The definers take over and the defined give way. The over
taking definers have 'become' the definiendum, the defined have become the definiens or the 'thing' giving way.
We do not recognize the heterosexualization of the form of
the definition partly because we have given it a 'sample' which
allows us to ignore its genderized functioning. That sample is the
abstract equation, which appears to be the form or 'essence' of
the definition itself. Using alphabetical notation 'A = B'
substitutes empty place-takers for words or 'values.' Because they are
Figure 23. The reciprocal action of masculation and the definition spawns social self-similarities.
place takers, not general like word-gifts are as substitute
samples, they seem to imply reciprocal substitutability: if A = B, B =
A.4 Moreover, the equation can seem to be simply a more
complicated version of the (completely reciprocal) tautology: A = A.
Taking the equation, which is a simplified and abstract imitation of
the definition, as the 'sample' for all definitions, their model or
'form,' allows us to leave aside as irrelevant the overtaking and giving
way that are actually taking place in the heterosexualized definition.
In fact, the reciprocal, neutral (should we say,
'sanitized?') equation takes over from the definition much as exchange
takes over from barter and giftgiving and even from forced
servitude. Then we give value to this image of neutrality or 'equality' and
the overtaking, giving and giving way processes begin
again.The equation of value for the market already takes place only
among those products which (like masculated men in the
OBN) already belong to the valued category and only deals with quantity of
that value. It is used exclusively with things that are already
considered exchangeable. Though the equation between a product and
its price appears neutral, money becomes the incarnate definiendum which physically takes over while the product in
exchange physically gives way. At the same time the whole process
of exchange for money takes the place of giftgiving.
The feedback of the heterosexualized form of the
definition into the definition produces self-similar patriarchal images
at different social levels. Women's inferior position (like the definiens) serves as something unseen for the form of the definition to
feed back into (and cancel). Then the unseen giftgiving activity
coming from this position gives value to the form of the definition and
the equation and lets its place be taken by it as the model for
human interaction. In fact, a proliferation of self-similar images
Women, the 'lower' classes, the many, children, the past, the
future (everything but present tense, gifted and dominant men) play
out the role of definiens to the men's definiendum. On a macroscopic scale, the relation is repeated among nations where one
dominates and many serve. For example, the US dominates the nations in
its area of influence, which give way and serve its cultural
and economic hegemony. These gift relations are invisible to
the majority of people in the US.
Self-Similar vs. Other-Tending Selfhood
The definition (along with its sanitized mirror, the equation)
is incarnated inside us in the processes of the ego. It over-takes
other-oriented giftgiving and gives value to itself. It makes others
give value to it because (like any definition) it needs to have
value given to it from the outside in order to function. In the market,
at the micro level, in each exchange there is a shift 'up,' which
also takes the place of giftgiving. Each exchange, with its equation
of value over-taking giftgiving, functions in a way which is similar
to the macro level of the market itself, which takes the place
of giftgiving as the mode of distribution. The micro and the
macro levels confirm each other (because similarity seems to confirm).
At the same time, much value is being given from the outside to
the market as the over-taking totality made up of
innumerable exchanges--and hence to each exchange over and
above giftgiving. Similarly, in masculated ego thinking the micro level
of equation and definition is equal (in its structure or process)
to macro level expressions of a self-reflecting and self-similar
male identity which overcomes.5
Large scale incarnations of the word and of the definition,
in exchange and in hierarchies, in commercial organizations
and social, religious, and political institutions, function as macro
levels, which again confirm the micro levels of the masculated ego
and the form of the (hetero-sexualized) definition or judgment.
institutions also provide niches for masculated egos to play
out their social destinies, creating chains of domination. We
have created social self-similar structures and different scales at
which they can 'reflect' each other. The form of the definition
(and masculation) repeats again and again, justifying the
importance given to similarity over difference--and the value of
conceptual norm-based one-many processes over giftgiving
No explanatory capacity is allowed to giftgiving, so
gift-based activities (such as the attribution of value itself) are explained
by valued professors as deriving from categories and concepts,
from systems of mutually exclusive elements, from hierarchies
of marginal choices under scarcity, or from sui generis psychological or physiological processes, or they remain a
mystery.6 Our society is trapped in a hall-of-mirrors, and we are carrying mirrors in
our minds, in our organizations, and in our purses.
The giftgiving, 'other-tending' self is not dependent
on thinking for being because its bearer becomes socially relevant
by satisfying the needs of others and receiving from them.
Probably much of masculated identity also comes from participating
in unacknowledged giftgiving and receiving, but the
identity-forming capacity is attributed to thinking, to equivalence,
to mirroring, and to 'finding oneself.' The identity of gift givers
and receivers is created and validated by performing the process
of material giving itself, rather than by performing only or mainly
its analog, in language and thinking.
Moreover, since the one who derives his/her identity
from thinking has many other needs, the giftgiver satisfies them
and validates him (usually, though not necessarily, a male)
as 'deserving.' If the person with the more abstract identity
achieves a general social position, his/her nurturer is sometimes seen
giving to society as a whole transitively through him/her. (This
is also the case for those in hierarchies who are in
giftgiving positions serving those in higher social positions.)
Women have been nurturing men along with their
mirrors. But rather than distributing mirrors to everyone, we need to
put the mirrors down and turn our giving towards each other
and towards solving the social problems they have created.
Women need to nurture and solve general social problems
directly ourselves, not to turn over our authority to masculated
self-reflecting males. We need to care for society as a
whole, promoting the giftgiving model at a general level, for all.
Not only do we practice other-tending in our personal lives and
in the solution of general problems, for example, by giving
money, time, and imagination to satisfy general social, economic
peace and environmental needs, ending hunger, war and pollution,
but we propose giftgiving as the model of a necessary paradigm
shift for all.
Thinking and Being
"I think; therefore I am" are the words of the exchanger
as privileged 'owning sample.' Descartes' cogito denied the importance of the existence of others, the mother, society as a whole,
and nature, for the individual's own existence. Descartes took on
a position of radical skepticism--not accepting anything as a
'given.' His first step was to decontextualize himself from giftgiving
and receiving and to try to find the self-evident basis of his
being. Because the disqualification of other-orientation does not allow
the exchanger to find the confirmation of her/his existence in
the satisfaction of the needs of the other and the continued
existence and well being of the other, s/he also has to find her/his source
in mirroring her/himself alone. The receiver's lack of gratitude
toward the giver also results in his/her ignorance of the other as source.
There is an aspect of self-similarity in the process
which influences the ego formationand particularly the masculated
ego formation in the cogito. Here, as in exchange, there is a shift to
logic of substitution which takes the place of the logic of
giving. An example of the logic of substitution: 'thinking' is provided,
by which the use of the verb 'to be' (I 'am') is justified. There is also
a shift from discourse to definition and self-definition, leaving
aside contingent communicative needs. Because it is
decontextualized (or does that to itself), the ego usually has to continue
being validated and over-valued in order to continue to exist.
Descartes provided an internal validation of the ego by focussing on its
self-similarity. The cogito is influenced by the equation and
the self-similarity of exchange, and it involves valuing
equality (even tautology) and logical consequence over need. The
equality of thinking and being do indeed stem from the same source which
is language-in-denial-of-giftgiving.7 Usually the being of the
self would include relations with others!
Descartes' gift to patriarchy was the satisfaction of
the ego's co-municative need for a logical proof of its
existence. This need is derived from the denial of the
giftgiving-and-receiving which already proves and creates human
existence materially. Self-similarity in thinking constructs a norm, a
sort of ceiling mirror to refer to, a reflection of the self, which
is actually its product. It is a re-verberation in the
microphone that we mistake for a message from the universe or from
the structure of communication and selfhood--and it appears to
be evidence that the self is the source of the self. As in
the concept where the sample male is related to the word 'male,'
"I think; therefore I am" is self-similar, self-referential.
Descartes recognized thinking as definition; then the
definition of itself became the tautological ('I am I') underpinning of "I
think; therefore I am." Here the definition has an
Definitional thinking reflected in the equation
becomes the 'mark' of the 'one' who is the sample for the concept
of existence. Both are over-valued, like exchange. Like
the phallus, the self-similar 'mark' which puts males into
the privileged category, the kind of thinking which Descartes
doing at the moment he thought up his immortal phrase
puts those who do it into a privileged category as 'existing' and
thus takes the place of giving as the justification for
being. Definitional thinking and the verb 'to be' both function
using substitution, and 'to be' brings thinking (the acts
of substitution related to the word) into the present. Thinking
is defined as definitional, equational, and
logically consequential--if/then--instead of as transposed
But something's 'being' just means that it is
socially valuable enough for it to be related to words (for others), by
an act which may be substituted by the verb 'to be.' So,
thinking is a socially valuable activity, and the social subject who
is doing it 'is'--especially if s/he succeeds in making this
valuable (to others). Descartes' saying he is thinking brings forward
a social general character of thinking, which he identifies
with himself. 'I am thinking' is self-referential and seems obvious
or clear because it is self-similar: We call the
activity--expressed in such phrases as 'I think,' 'I am' and 'I think; therefore
I am'--thinking. There is a shift into substitution in
sentence itself, as there is with the verb 'to be.' And
he satisfies others' ego needs to know they exist, when they
read his book. What a gift!
But Descartes was not really alone, even though he
was de-contextualized, because thinking had to be valuable
to others in order for it to be related before him to a word as
its name as well as to other words contingently in discourse.
Both thinking and the words are evidence of the existence of
others, and of the context in which the (supposedly
decontextualized) thinker is operating. Value has been given to thinking by
the many in the past.
But value is also given to the thinker in the present,
not only by her/himself but by all those who are nurturing
her/him generally as part of society, and individually as a person
they know. The formula is: take thinking as the important
quality (the sensory in variant?) of the thing that's the sample,
then say we are doing it, so equal to the sample, so substitutable
by the sample and by whatever words substitute for it, so our acts are all substitutable by the verb 'to be,' so they and we,
exist. It's another 'having' that makes us 'deserve' to exist.
We correspond to 'existing.' Perhaps I could call all this
'Anti-Cartesian Linguistics:' Descartes was just re-writing
thinking as being, or vice versa, and (like Chomsky and the many
other thinkers who have been misguided by masculation)
over-emphasized the importance of the rewriting
(re-naming) process itself.
Being is Masculine
Membership in the privileged category is a prerequisite
for possibly eventually becoming its norm. For boys, this is
the possibility of becoming a man, a father, a sample for the
family and for 'human.' For both boys and girls, it now might
imply being in a top position in a profession. Being a member of
the privileged category creates a need to continue to be relevant
in that way, to merit the definition. For boys (and
exchangers), it is a need to develop a masculated
(exchange) identity--which means over-taking, giving up the mother
and giftgiving, etc.
The gift the boy (or the exchanger) gives up is his
'feminine' (actually human) nurturing identity. He/she is validated by
others because of this, economically anyway, and is rewarded with
the self-esteem allowed to those of us who act according to
the masculated norm, becoming successes 'in the system.'
Such successes seem to exist and 'deserve to exist' more than those
who do not succeed. We embrace the paradigm of exchange, much as
at an early age we embraced language, or boys took on their
male identity. It seems to be just the way things are.
We have been saying that the verb 'to be' substitutes the
acts of substitution of the other words in the definition, giving to
being a partial similarity to masculation and to the shift into
exchange. 'Is' becomes similar to '$.' The degree of existence of males
seems superior to that of females, as it does of some races and classes
over others. If we then add the idea of deserving, we can see how
the different 'shifts' to a 'higher' level all validate the
supposed superiority of white upper class males, who seem to 'deserve
to exist' more than others.
By playing out the role of the definiendum in the tautology ('I am I') or ('I am a thinking being') males are substituting the
act of substitution, like the verb 'to be' substituting the act
of substitution in the definition. Being seems to imply
being masculated, and the most masculated (or most-often
masculated) over-takes the others, and 'deserves' to exist the most. This
occurs because 'being,' like masculation, is already connected
with substitution and exchange.
The masculated egos are the categorizers, who
include themselves in the category as samples, validated by the verb 'to
be' and by money--so they 'naturally' use money to further their
own existence. How could they deserve to be categorizers if they did
not deserve to exist? Then those women or classes or races or
sexual preference groups who are made to believe they don't deserve
exist (they are not 'good enough') have to justify their
own existence by taking care of, serving, those who do 'deserve.'
(They can also be just anyone put into the category of the undeserving
by those who control the definition.) 'Existence,' then, becomes
just another privileged category.
Existence by Proxy
Exchange places people and things into a special
category, which receives value from the outside. In their role of
giving value to that category, the many who serve the deservers
also deserve. They seem to participate, to some extent, in
the privileged category by proxy. By giving value to the system
and helping another person succeed in it, we put ourselves in a
chain of transitivity, so that some goods flow to us from the
exchanges of those in the category. This is the case for 'nonworking'
wives who receive the table scraps of exchange. The fact that
some goods do come back to them makes it appear that exchange is
the source of gifts, the great nurturer.
This is one reason why women continue to nurture
exchange and the exchangers with our credence, our love and our
un-monetized work. The model of masculation appears
more attractive and deserving than the model of mothering, and
we mother it. At puberty, we choose the masculated model over
the mothering model, as more viable. Many daughters leave
their mothers (at least in spirit) because they become convinced
that masculation is human, and it is their duty to nurture someone
in that category or to become someone in that
category--someone who 'contributes' and who, therefore, deserves to exist and to
The person who does not somehow succeed in deserving
to exist remains in a no-person's land. Her lack of 'self-esteem'
is really due to the co-optation of (privileged) existence
by successfully masculated women and men and their
help-meets. Both deserving and existence bring with them the
substitution of masculation and exchange for giftgiving. We must
join the substitutes and give up giftgiving, or we must
nurture them if we want to deserve to exist.
It may seem to women that they can 'balance work
and family,' maintaining a nurturing attitude towards their
husbands and children, while working in the exchange economy.
This very balance, however, validates the masculated mode. By
giving equal value to giftgiving and to exchange, we hide the
creativity and fertility of giftgiving, constraining it into a
comparison according to the principles of (equal) exchange and eclipsing
its capacity as a model--draining the energy of the givers.
We validate exchange again by using its principles to
Men are also encouraged to 'rediscover the feminine'
in themselves, mitigating the extremes of masculation
without shifting paradigms. Like reformism or charity, these attitudes
only make patriarchy more livable for some of its members.
The principle of 'nothing in excess' is used excessively.
Privileged groups 'balance their masculine and feminine sides' while
reaping the advantages of an exploitative masculated economic
and ideological system, which forces the many into a position
of giftgiving towards them. Again, equations are overvalued
and needs are ignored. The golden mean which quantifies
caring (balancing it equally with not caring) is just that--mean. It
allows privileged groups to live more comfortably with each
other, without solving the problems that are causing the unhappiness
of the whole.
The model of balance, like the more completely
masculated model, really discredits the originary and creative aspect of
giving and receiving. It confuses the issue by integrating the
feminine according to the masculine standard. It keeps us from looking
at the needs that are crying out to be met. There is, first of all, a
meta need for us to go beyond balance, in order to satisfy the needs
of all. But, of course, this is not a balanced point of view.
principles of masculation and of mothering battle it out, causing
a see-saw effect. We are like a person shifting from foot to foot,
never becoming unbalanced enough to take a step forward or a step up
to a true meta level--or even to put a foot down to take a step to
stop the destruction of the planet.
Everyone embraces the masculated model.
Daughters admire their fathers and boyfriends while taking their
mothers for granted. Mothers over-value their sons and husbands,
under-valuing their own giftgiving way for themselves and for
their daughters, who often eventually do the same thing. Feminism
is changing this somewhat, and women's caring thought
and behavior is recounted in stories and poems and
even sociological studies, but we do not yet attribute to it the kind
of value we attribute to exchange and to masculated thinking
Nurturing is the origin of our species--not competition
and hierarchy or the survival of the fittest. Human mothers
ensure the survival of the unfittest--infants. And all of us are unfit
in many ways; our soft skin, vulnerable bellies, short teeth,
and varied diets make us animals with many needs that others'
gifts can and must satisfy. Our very adaptability allows a
proliferation and specification of needs and desires. (I am hungry--not
just for anything, but for tamales like they make in South
Texas--even though I don't know how to make them myself.
My need--in this case, my delight--is specific and comes from
The process of identifying needs and satisfying
them--during which we learn the culturally specific varieties of
goods and services that can be provided for a great many needs
and desires, and then actually learn to provide for them and also
to receive that provision from others--is the basic human
process. Giving more value to giftgiving, and in this case to the
handing down of culture, might allow us access to the generality we
now seem to find in money and other one-many social
structures. Now the artificial need to exchange has been extended
to everyone and creates a degree of generality in the means
exchange which is rivaled only by heads of
state--whose images, after all, are stamped upon it.
The Creation of Scarcity
By Those Who Deserve to Exist
Exchange challenges us to prove that we can satisfy
others' needs, making our own survival dependent upon our being
'fit' enough to produce, in an 'unnatural selection' process.
Some species of animals develop hierarchies in times of scarcity
while, in times of abundance, the dominance model is
relaxed--and mating and feeding take place in less structured ways.
The creation of scarcity which facilitates exchange among
humans makes the hierarchical mode seem essential to survival.
We imitate the hierarchical behavior of animal groups beyond
which we had already evolved through generalized mothering.
The giftgiving in language still maintains our evolutionary leap on
an abstract plane, while concretely we seem to have
leaped backwards by making nurturing as difficult as possible, acting
in ferocious, parasitic and adversarial ways.
Technologies of various kinds, including
earth-friendly technologies, have the potential for providing abundance for
all. This abundance threatens exchange by making it irrelevant
and unnecessary. Giftgiving in abundance can provide for
everyone, and abundance is necessary for effective life-enhancing
giftgiving. In abundance, forced giving, as it appears in exchange
and hierarchies, has no reason for being because needs can always
be satisfied by a multitude of ready sources.
Hierarchies are used to continually re-create scarcity
by siphoning off surplus wealth. They thereby maintain exchange
as the mode of distribution for all. Wars are fought to counter
the challenges to hierarchies and markets by other hierarchies
and markets. These wars destroy resources, creating scarcity,
thereby ensuring the continuation of an environment appropriate
for exchange. Preparing for the wars and spending the
money necessary for high-tech armaments and the support of large
forces also depletes the civilian economy in 'peace time,' so
that abundance does not accrue.
The appearance is the opposite. Employment in national
war industries is highly visible and lucrative and appears
to 'contribute' to the economy. However, these are jobs
which produce nothing, gifts from the public to the workers. Paid for
by tax money and devoted to the protection of the group or
system, they seem to have the generality and social significance to
which all in the society aspire. Unfortunately, the content of
that generality is not nurturing but the propagation of death.
The products of that labor never enter the nurturing economy;
they are used instead to destroy the potential abundance of the
local and global co-munity.
The increased government spending that is necessary
in wartime (and the gifts of time, energy and enthusiasm given
by patriotic citizens to the national effort) inject more elements
of giftgiving into the economy as a whole, which stimulate
it (creating more profit) while allowing a 'use' of the
output--its destruction in fighting the war--which does not threaten
the system of exchange by remaining in the economy and
Colonies and conquered territories provide the
(minimally monetized) gift labor and resources necessary to allow
excessive profit-taking by a few in the colonialist countries, which can
then be reinvested as capital in war industries in the
colonialist countries. The gifts thus come from 'elsewhere' and do
not threaten the 'developed' monetized economy with their
abundant presence, because they can be quickly cycled out in
waste production--of armaments.
Now, in spite of the geographical distance, the North
has found it useful to create scarcity in the South through
World Bank and International Monetary Fund
loans,9 structural adjustment, and environmental depletion. This makes it
possible to channel the gifts of the many with even more precision
enterprises that do not create the abundance which
would challenge the system.
Instead, the stream of gifts--cheap labor (labor of which
a large percentage is a gift) and low cost (high gift-quotient)
raw materials--create an abundance of consumer goods to which
only those working at a certain level in the exchange economy
have access through their 'effective demand.' These goods
again distinguish the 'haves' from the 'have-nots.' The
communications industry uses radio, television and computers to broadcast
'free' information, music and images--products of our artistic
gifts. These products are 'chosen' by the market and, therefore,
usually help not only to sell other products (by modifying needs
and desires), but also to create a consensus around the market
All of these extreme results come from the co-validation
of masculation by a large number of overlapping, misinterpreted
self-similar structures. From government to language, from
economics to religion, from the military to academia--these
structures overlap, repeat and validate each other. The ways we
formulate our ideas of existence, being, and decontextualized
thinking validate masculated males through similarity between
their processes and the process of masculation (which originates
in naming and the definition anyway).
Exchange, as the substitution of the logic of
substitution for giftgiving, brings up the question of de-serving as well
as the question of power, and of inclusion or exclusion from
the category to which value is given. Our assertion of
'being,' though it may be logically and developmentally prior
to exchange, validates exchange through similarity and
vice versa, after the shift has
occurred.10 Many of the different substitution processes--masculation, the verb 'to
be,' exchange, and the judgments of correspondence
and deserving--hang together to form a self-structuring and
self-perpetuating 'reality,' a sort of servo-mechanism which,
many different levels, takes the place of and overpowers
an ever-present and still possible gift-based world.
The 'new' reality seems to be more valid, more 'real' than
the earlier one which, nevertheless, continues to support it.
Although it is unacknowledged, the giftgiving process, like an oyster
making a pearl out of a grain of sand, keeps on giving to the harsher
reality of exchange, making it viable and humanizing it (to some
extent). The masculated status quo, with its hierarchies and privileged
ones, is maintained by the gifts of women and men both inside
and outside it. As what is, it seems to deserve to exist more than
its alternatives (the alternative realities of so-called
'primitive' peoples, for example) and we nurture it.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone by hidden givers, those
who have succeeded in the exchange economy sometimes balance
their egotism by dispensing a (usually not abundant) bit of charity to
the underclass, or by proposing tendentious solutions to the
social problems they have helped to create. For example, I recently
heard of a proposal according to which the children of mothers who
were on welfare would be sent to orphanages, as if paid
professional 'experts' in an institutional setting were better for children
than their single mothers. Having reduced the mothers to direst
poverty, making nurturing almost impossible, politicians and
'social thinkers' propose to take their place with one more
paternalistic, monetized model.
The reward for these thinkers lies in 'showing' that
the masculated model is not only more efficient but
more compassionate than mothers doing direct nurturing.
Mothering becomes one more job from which women can be fired,
with power over the inclusion or exclusion from the category
given again to masculated men and institutions. The mothers'
identities as giftgivers is unrecognized and, even though the job
is unmonetized, it can be taken away from them. Robbed of
their children, they are also dispossessed of their giftgiving identity
and their exchange identity. They have no way to create an
identity or to deserve to exist. Lacking all possibilities for masculation
by inclusion in superior categories, these women give to
privileged categories by contrast, and they receive
the punishment for lacking which allays the fear and envy of
the havers, thus expiating the crime of proposing the model
of mothering without men.
In fact, the state steps in as a substitute for the father,
once again eclipsing women's way. Whether as capitalist welfare or
as management of resources by a communist or socialist state,
the law or the charity of the collective fathers discounts and
often defiles the reality of giftgiving life.
The visitor from outer space would recognize the
importance of the fact that women do some 60% of the world's
agricultural work, yet own only about 1% of the world's
property. Feminists usually think of this strange disproportion in terms of
justice--that is, of creating change to make women own as great
a quantity of property as men do. I would like to propose that
the reason women own so little property is that we have a
different way of relating to our surroundings. We need to dismantle
the structures of patriarchy, including the structures of ownership
that are based on masculation, and propose a women's model
of property based on giftgiving.
Does Giftgiving Exist?
Money is the means for satisfying co-municative need in
the community of exchangers, private property owners.
Exchange value is the relevance of products to that kind of
contradictory mutually exclusive co-munication. Like the verb 'to be,'
money substitutes the act of substitution of one product for another.
I believe that the co-municative value of things is
expressed in words, which take their place as gifts in creating human
bonds. Words may also be seen as having a positional value relative
to each other in the system of the langue.11 If kinds of things
were not relevant to human beings repeatedly, they would not
become related to words as their names (though they could still be
about in sentences). Thus, the reason anyone has any
words given to her/him by others is that they are in use in
the collective, which is made up of many others whom each of us
will never know.
The value of something for the collective is outside
the individual communicative interaction and outside the
individual money exchange transaction. It is really for others. The identity of a cultural item can be found in its verbal substitute gift,
outside the individual communicative interaction, in the collective.
An analogous situation happens with the quantitative
determination of a price. The price is determined by the value of the product
for others in the society whom we will never know. If we look at
the qualitative value of things for communication as expressed
in words, and the quantitative value of things for the
contradictory kind of communication that is material exchange, as expressed
in price, and correct for the difference between qualitative value
and quantitative value, we can understand the mechanisms of both.
In fact, for both, it is the importance of things for
the community that brings them to the forefront of our
conversation, or to the forefront of the market. They are 'for others and
therefore for me.' Cats are called 'cats' in English because for each of us
that is what they are for others. A can of coffee costs $4.00 because
that is what it is for others, also. When the amount others will give
for it changes, it changes for the individual, as well. We can look
at the value of the different component parts of the coffee, the
price of the beans paid to the coffee grower, the price of the labor paid
to the workers, the price of the transportation of the beans,
their grinding, the price of the can, etc.
Each of these, and whatever component parts it might
have, depends upon what that part is 'for others,' what others give for
it. For each linguistic or economic transaction, the identification
of what something is depends on what it is for the
collective--for the many--outside that transaction itself. We talked about
the verb 'to be' being the substitute for the act of substitution,
and money as having a similar process. For the linguistic and
the economic realms respectively, something is valuable when it
is important enough to the collective to have its place taken by
a word as its name, by 'is' as a substitute for that act of
substitution, or by another product in exchange--and by money as
its equivalent in the quantity of its price.
Both language and exchange leave co-municative
giftgiving out of focus (particularly when exchange value has become
the sample of value) and this happens in the collective mind. The
gift aspects of life remain relatively unconscious and
undiscussed. Gifts taking-the-place-of gifts has been assimilated to
exchange (which is a very magnetic model) and to the
definition influenced by masculation. For this reason, the value of
giftgiving is not recognized collectively. It is almost not
named.12 It would seem paradoxical to say that giftgiving is valuable; value is
the existence of something for the collective, and that giftgiving
is not recognized by the collective as existing.
On the other hand, if we look at both the verb 'to be' and
at money as substitutes for the act of substitution, we can see
that giftgiving--which is not substituted--may reasonably seem to
be not pertinent to language nor valuable to exchange. Thus
if language and exchange both require substitution for the
assertion of existence or of value, giftgiving, which does not
involve substitution, may seem to be nonexistent and not
valuable. Masculation, on the contrary, which is a construction of
self-similar substitutions, appears to exist and to be very valuable. It
is not surprising that it attracts the many gifts that are not given
On the other hand, both 'being' and exchange for money
are influenced and 'distressed' by masculation, which feeds back
the principle of over-taking into the definition and into
the economy--so that 'being' or 'being valuable' seem to imply
over-taking or even being the one or sample. Again, none of this is
our 'fault.' These contradictions are mostly just due to logical tangles.
Thus the verb 'to be' and money reflect the power we
have given to language to take us away from our mothers and
Mother. We do not see 'being' or 'value' as having relevance
to substitution because we deny the reality of what has
been substituted, just as we deny the mother (and the earth)
as substituted model--as if she didn't exist (especially if
existence has to do with substitution). We 'for-get' that the mother is
active and that she actively gives and compassionately gives-way.
Our original framework comes from giftgiving but, through
being masculated or through caring for those who have been
masculated and their processes, we learn to give value to the
definitional aspects of language and lifesubstitution, having, keeping
and 'being'--rather than to the gift aspects and to giving.
The mother does not have to give way. If the mother did
not give way, we might re-frame our view of the world and see
how much of life is already in her giftgiving mode. We could see
things as gifts from Mother Earthnot just as products of
Adam's dominating names--and we would therefore treat them with
the care which they need if they are not to be destroyed. Many of
us are already doing this now, as we appreciate the gifts of
nature, culture, synchronicity, good will, and the gift of life itself.
What we sense as the immanence of 'being' is really the result of
our creative receptive mode directed in gratitude towards the gifts
of life and the earth, while suspending (for the moment)
the distressed mediation of language and exchange.
Perhaps we could see community as part of the
Mother, giving value to things as giving to us and giving value to us,
and things giving value to their names, which we give to each
other, giving value to us. The earth would co-municate with us
through her fruit and birdsongs, our bodies and our giftgiving selves.
We would participate in a co-municative relation with nature.
Now the model of the community is formed of one-many
mutually exclusive owners with owned property giving value-as-position
to themselves and discrediting the categories of the 'have-nots.'
Property having to do with giftgiving (giveable
and receivable property) is different from the private property
that goes through exchange. We can create a caring relation
with property rather than a relation of domination. Perhaps the
paradigm would require a lighter kind of ownership, more like
the property of our bodies which (in safety) are basically
shareable but usually not for the moment being shared. We would have
a relationship of companionship with property, of use,
gratitude, and stewardship. We could consider it according to the model
of the breast, not the penis--the property of something that
can give in an on-going way, rather than the property of a
penetrating tool or a 'mark' that puts us in a superior category.
A women's model would pay attention to needs and,
in abundance, needs could proliferate in variety and
specificity. They might also include psychological needs for security and for
a bond with one's surroundings, so that the one who cares
for something is the one it is for. In abundance, the need for
property would be less intense than it now is because the consequences
of not-having would be only that gifts would come from some
other direction. Where having and not-having are no
longer psychologically invested with the nightmares of childhood,
law and retribution would no longer be 'needed.' Nor would the
state be required or allowed to step in as the collective father-owner.
At present, the kind of property that involves sharing
with ease and the enjoyment of nature and her abundant resources
is usually reserved for the wealthy as a reward for having more.
The point is not to keep everyone, including the rich, from
enjoying the abundance of nature and culture but to extend that
possibility to everyone. All of us need to realize how deeply our society
is under the spell of a collective psychosis. We urgently need to
heal it and ourselves.
Indigenous peoples have often had cultures which used
the mothering model and the giftgiving way much more than
our own. It would be interesting to find out to what extent
they integrated linguistic mechanisms along with their giftgiving
and what different kinds of property they propose. The
Iroquois, a matriarchal society in which a council of women had
important decision-making power, and which used the word for
woman (instead of the word for man) to mean 'human being,'
gave different proper names to each of the tribal members. A
became available only when the person bearing it
died.13 The names of the tribal members thus constituted a langue, and we could see the members of the tribe as the socially
valuable 'things'--a culture, a world--related to those words. In
European patriarchy--or puerarchy--we have made some people
into things: women, and some into words: men--and we
mediate between their 'properties' with the 'money-word.'
Our patriarchal state of affairs is certainly not a more
rational way of organizing the society than the gynarchical way of
the Iroquois. All of the different cultures that existed before they
were overtaken, destroyed and redefined by the White Man and his
ways were socio-economic experiments engaged in by the many.
Some of them gave value to mothers and to symbolic and
co-municative giftgiving. We can learn alternative ways of living from them.
In the gift mode, 'being' is actually co-munication with
the earth or other humans, and we are actually still in the gift mode
a lot in spite of our participation in exchange. Our experience
itself involves receiving sense perceptions and
information--giving destinations to the world as we experience it, in needs which
we can satisfy, whether they are other's needs, our own, or needs
of our surroundings. Needs grow according to the means of
their satisfaction, the ear becomes educated to the kinds of music
it hears. Some needs are more basic than others, but even
they diversify into tastes and preferences for the different means
of satisfaction, the different gifts Mother Nurture and
Mother Nature provide.
Women's existence does not consist in giving-way or
being owned or owning but in a completely different relation to
the world (and to property), a relation which is potentially
not mutually exclusive but need-destined,
'other-destined.' Boundaries are only made necessary by fights among
'one-manies' striving to be larger 'samples.' If we gave value to needs
recognized and appreciated their complexity, we would
also recognize and satisfy each other's needs for keeping and
for independence. Women's care extends logically to
the environment. Giving value to needs at all levels also allows us
to give value to large-scale general needs.
At present, the need to heal the planet is a need of
the collective, and it is being collectively
addressed--without, however, passing through the human mothering model. Many
of us are concerned about Mother Earth but still consider
human mothering unimportant. It is in mothering, however, and
being mothered that we can fi nd the framework for living in
peace with each other, so that we can stop over-taking and
destroying the earth.
If we could diminish the exchange economy and
its castration envy motivations of having and not-having, we
could live in harmony with a kind of semi-private property, which
was also pertinent to the collective as environment. The forest
would no longer be seen as valuable to the logging company that
owned it, but rather to those humans and animals who live in it and
use its direct gifts respectfully with gratitude, cherishing them.
The forests transformed into logs do not satisfy a real need of
the collective, but only the profit motive need of the private
owner. The need of the buyers with effective demand has to be
created. Whether the trees are to be transformed into toilet paper,
chop sticks, or building materials, alternatives exist and the needs
of the public can be educated towards them and towards
the collective and environmental good.
Instead, on the large scale, capitalistic exchange uses
the collective as means to the satisfaction of everyone's need for
the means of economic communication, for money. The need
for profit is abstract. Everyone needs the same thing. This
common unitary need for (more) money distorts our view of other
needs. The value of money is like the linguistic value of everything,
of 'being,' seen as substitution (over-taking), not as the
immanence of the gift.
Nothingness is not the opposite of being. What is really
the opposite of being involves a reinterpretation of the verb 'to
be', which includes nonsign giftgiving connected to language
through the gift, not through over-taking or substitution and
giving-way. Similarly, the opposite of the one-many
property14 relation is not not-having but woman-based gentle property. Because
of masculation, an abundant nurturing relation with property
seems to be a prize of the privileged haves. Similarly, a nurturing
wife seemed to be a reward given to men for being male.
Keeping property away from others makes us unable to receive
and transmit its value, and unable to appreciate its relevance to
a sharing collective. According to the linguistic logic, it is
for ourselves and, therefore, not for others and therefore--not
for ourselves. When we keep something within the system
of mutually exclusive private ownership, we cannot imitate
the mothering model with it.
Recently, reports of so-called 'primitive' people have
become popular in the US because they describe ways of living
which center around giftgiving, based upon a spiritual source. The
story of the Australian Aborigines,15 who travel with no supplies
across the outback, depending on the gifts of the creator for
their survival--and receiving them--is an example of a gift-based
way of life (though at this point taking place in scarcity). Such
stories become popular in the US because they point to an
attitude which is healing for us, although we are practicing an
economy which contradicts it.
Religions and New Age therapies promote gratitude for
our blessings, putting us into a gift framework. The questions
that arise here are, "Can we heal individually or spiritually while
the society of which we are a part marauds the earth and destroys
the very people who inspire us with their faith and alternative
ways?" and "Can our individual healing change the paradigm,
rather than reinforce it by assimilating some of its principles on
an individual basis?" Our attempts to heal individually
spiritually must connect with attempts to heal the collective
and the planet.
Vice versa, attempts to heal the collective, such as
the feminist movement, the 'left' movements for social and
economic change, and the environmental movement must also pass
through individual healing. The model of the mother exists on both
the individual and the collective levels. The gift paradigm,
with mothering as its carrier, is the functional and poetic norm
to which society can return.
According to the logic of exchange, women's way of
property deserves to exist because of what it has already contributed
to humanity. If we want to shift paradigms towards women's
way, however, we cannot use the logic of exchange, re-instating
a paying-back mode. For-getting the mother involves
embracing exchange, turning away from the mother and getting
something else in her place. When we are for-getting, we are not
for-giving the mother and the way of the mother. Instead, we must all
be consistently for-giving if the gift way is to function. And we
need to keep our definitions on the verbal plane rather
than incarnating them.
1Prices constitute a differential system like
Saussure's langue, which is organized according to quantity by numerical
progression rather than quality.
2Some languages do not use gender specific pronouns. Others compassionately
extend gender distinctions to all nouns, as if to comfort children by showing that
everything else is also similar to or different from the mother, and that this has little bearing
on their value.
3The fact that the definition as a whole is a service which is being performed by
a speaker or a writer for a listener or reader is often forgotten, so that the relation
of over-taking and giving way seems to be taking place among the words
themselves without human intervention. Value is being given to the words and to each other
by the interlocutors from 'outside' the sentence, but this is not usually considered.
4In language, communicative need is a determining consideration. The
abstract values of the equation seem to be closer to those of perception: perception X
= perception Y would seem to be an appropriate content for an equation. But there
is no need for us to communicate that to ourselves or each other in our ongoing
daily lives because we already know it. Our perceptive apparata function. What
we perceive is usually already a given as far as our consciousness of it is concerned.
Our communicative needs arise in relation to others, regarding what perceptions we
are paying attention to and their relevance to collaborations, understandings,
collective or personal ideas, myths, histories, views of the world, etc.
5When a pecking order is established in which one male becomes the 'sample'
or over-taker with regard to other males, those who give-way can still maintain
their identities as 'samples' and over-takers with regard to their wives and children.
6Even Marx's 'labor value' could be viewed as a portion of gift value trapped
and filtered through the definitional process of exchange. If labor could directly
satisfy needs, it would result in co-munication and would attribute value to people.
However, given the market, labor expended on one product is expressed relative to
labor expended on all other products through the equation of value, as
exchange value. In this, it is like a thing related to a (quantitatively divided) word.
Marx did not include any of the other gifts that are given to the labor processwomen's work in the
home, gifts of higher or lower prices, or gifts of natureas contributing to labor value.
7Similarly, the equation of work and money stem from distribution in
denial of giftgiving.
8Perhaps the homunculus, the little man seen by philosophers sitting inside our
minds recognizing endless regresses, is the internalized image of the phallus which
corresponds with all things in the 'sample' position everywhere. But, as philosophers saw, he is only
a figment of our imaginations, a reflection of reflections. They reasoned that, if
knowledge is based on the reflection of reality, and we have a picture of reality in our minds,
we would have to recognize those pictures and, therefore, have pictures of those
pictures. There would thus be a kind of little man in our minds with pictures of the pictures, and
a little man in his mind with more pictures, etc. What philosophers don't reflect on is
that the homunculus should be replaced by a little woman--or better, a little mother,
a matericula). Instead of just sitting there making pictures, recognizing the image of
the baby crying, a mother recognizes the need and intervenes, does something about it
(feeds her, for example). Thus, if matericula were there in our minds, she would recognize
the picture of the baby crying but would feel a need to do more than that, to satisfy the
needs the picture suggested to her. The division between internal and external would
be bridged in different ways by matericula and by homunculus. The reason for this is that recognizing similarities is more static, less informative, than the process of
satisfying needs. Thus, when satisfying needs is transferred to an internal scenario, it can remain
an active process. Homunculus is totally dependent on matericula's care, since he can't do anything but reflect. But he does not seem to make pictures of matericula, either in 'his' own mind or in the external world. Perhaps she moves too fast for him. Perhaps
she moves as fast as the electric charge going from one synapse to another. In fact,
couldn't we see brain activity in terms of giving, a movement from an abundance towards a
lack? In that case, wouldn't we be doing something on the physiological plane that more or
less matched what we are doing on the linguistic plane and in the external world?
Perhaps those interested in the brain-mind questions might try to satisfy their needs with
this moving-picture theory of reality.
9Typically, the money from these loans has been quickly cornered by the elites, while
the nations' poor are extenuated by trying to pay the interestand the principal
10See George Thompson on the influence of the development of money and
philosophy. Studies in Ancient Greek Society, vol. II: The First
Philosophers, 2nd ed. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1961 .
11Though their basic relation of words to each other in
Saussure's langue is that of purely differential mutual exclusion, they do have some similarities that look
like Vigotsky's complexes.
12For example, I have had difficulty using terms like 'nurturing' or 'mothering,'
which bring with them too much focus on infancy.
13See Elizabeth Tooker, "Women in Iroquois Society," in Iroquois Women, An Anthology, ed. W.G. Spittal, Iroqrafts, Ohsweken, Ontario, 1990. "By
Iroquois custom, each clan holds a set of personal names. When a child is born he or she
is given a name 'not in use.' This 'baby name' is usually later changed for an
'adult name' that is not then 'in use,' that is, one belonging to someone now deceased or
to someone whose name has been changed" (112).
14Including 'one-many' property of the State.
15Marlo Morgan, Mutant Message Down
Under, Harper Collins, New York, 1994.