April 1, 2021•276 words
The gaze is the medium of desire. Do not mistake the gaze for the look, one can gaze without eyes. More and more this is how we gaze and experience the gaze of others, as we remain locked in our rooms, afraid of the miasmas which inhabit the body of the other.
They have no eyes, yet I must be seen. The gaze happens here too: flowing into the spaces between words, embedded in certain gestures of the other, certain clicks, certain words, figures emerging, the gestalt of fragments of acts, yet more than the sum of its parts. Its absence too: "left on read", the waiting between each message, the hope of witnessing the right avatar illuminate your screen. All these micro-experiences affect our experience of the gaze, and from these ephemera, we reconstruct our being-together.
We must find God where we can, and He no longer stands in the heavens gazing at all of us, the ultimate fantasy, being desired by God. We take what we can get. If not God, then engagement metrics. If not an omniscience, then a society. Is God real? Irrelevant, none of these things are real, and yet what could be more real than satisfaction?
Those who complain of simulacra, words whose meanings evaporate into mist, networks detached from reality---they miss the ground truth, of experience as more real than words, and words do more than they say. There is an old critique of anime, attacking it as "fake" relative to the "real" of photographic representation. But the critics miss that it's not how the image appears, but what it does that convinces us of its reality or otherwise.