the phenomenology of ugly feelings
“sartre describes emotions as surfacing during moments when one loses one’s distance from the world of objects and people. because stigmatized people are presented with significantly more obstacles and blockages than privileged citizen-subjects, minoritarian subjects often have difficulty maintaining distance from the very material and felt obstacles that suddenly surface in their own affective mapping of the world. the world is not ideologically neutral. the organization of things has much to do with the way capital and different cultural logics of normativity that represent capital’s interests give normative citizen-subjects advantageous distance.”
—jose esteban munoz, feeling brown
“For everyone a moment comes in which she or he must utter this “I can,” which does not refer to any certainty or specific capacity but is, nevertheless, absolutely demanding. Beyond all faculties, this “I can” does not mean anything - yet it marks what is, for each of us, perhaps the hardest and bitterest experience possible: the experience of potentiality.”
Giorgio Agamben, Potentialities - Collected Essays in Philosophy, pg 178
“Persons who are racially and sexually marked within the dominant culture--who are seen as embodying or having the potential to embody deviancy and difference--are in a position of either (1) internalizing cultural norms which dehumanize their existence or (2) consciously battling them. ”—Jacqueline M. Martinez, “La Conciencia De La Mestiza: Intra-And Intersubjective Transformations of Racist and Homophobic Culture” in Phenomenology of Chicana Experience & Identity: Communication and Transformation in Praxis, (2000), (p. 81)
“Death, if that is what we want to call this non-actuality [unreality], is of all things the most dreadful, and to hold fast what is dead requires the greatest strength. Lacking strength, Beauty hates the Understanding for asking of her what it cannot do. But the life of Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself. It is this power, not as something positive, which closes its eyes to the negative, as when we say of something that it is nothing or is false, and then, having done with it, turn away and pass on to something else; on the contrary Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being. This power is identical with what we earlier called the Subject, which by giving determinateness an existence in its own element supersedes abstract immediacy, i.e. the immediacy which barely is, and thus is authentic substance: that being or immediacy whose mediation is not outside of it but which is this mediation itself.”—G.W.F. Hegel, Trans. A.V. Miller, Phenomenology of Spirit, No. 32
“I acquire no understanding of myself except as I take account of objects, of the surroundings. I do not think unless I think of things--therefore on finding myself I always find a world confronting me. Insofar as subjectivity and thought are concerned, I find myself as a dual fact whose other part is the world. Therefore the basic and undeniable fact is not my existence, but my coexistence with the world. ”—José Ortega y Gasset, What is Philosophy?
“Traces thus produce the space of their inscription only by acceding to the period of their erasure. From the beginning, in the present of their first impression, they are constituted by the double force of repetition and erasure, legibility and illegibility. A two-handed machine, a multiplicity of agencies or origins—is this not the original relation to the other and the original temporality of writing, its primary complication: an originary spacing, deferring, and erasure of the simple origin, and polemics on the very threshold of what we persist in calling perception? The stage of dreams was a stage of writing. But this is because 'perception,' the first relation of life to its other, the origin of life, had always already prepared representation. We must be several in order to write, and even to 'perceive.'”—
Jacques Derrida, “Freud and the Scene of Writing” in Writing and Difference.
Best reading of Freud; best critique of phenomenology.