Friday, May 1, 2009
3-Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's 'planetary figure'
A model of identity that is not constituted in relation to an other is described in Models of the Self, in which one does not identify with the individual (or nation, race, gender, class) but with the world. It is variously called the Self (Bhagavad Gita), the greater Other (Emmanuel Levinas), the planetary figure (Spivak). Spivak’s figure is not constituted by borders and imagines oneself as planetary ‘rather than continental, global or worldly’, for ‘[t]he planet is in the species of alterity, belonging to another system; and yet we inhabit it, on loan. ... If we imagine ourselves as planetary subjects rather than global agents, planetary creatures rather than global entities, alterity remains underived from us; it is not our dialectical negation, it contains us as much as it flings us away. ... what is above and beyond our reach is not continuous with us as it is not, indeed, specifically discontinuous. We must persistently educate ourselves into this peculiar mindset'. This identity is not constituted dualistically in relation to what it is not, its 'dialectical negation'.
 Shear, Jonathan (Ed.). Models of the Self. Charlottesville, VA: Imprint Academic, 2000.
 Easwaran, Eknath (Tr.). Bhagavad Gita. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, 1985.