Perversion as Simulacra of Transience and Fluidity

Cenk Cokuslu

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“For as soon as we want to feel or decide to feel, feeling is no longer feeling, but an imitation of feeling, a show of feeling.”

Taken from “Immortality” by Milan Kundera

During my silent soliloquies, I often try to determine whether I feel to feel or I think to think. This state usually opens up a space where I do observe simultaneously the transient nature of my feelings and the permanent quality of my thoughts, or a combination thereof.  It is only in this state of aberrance that I also detect that there are some other embryonic inner realities which are yet-to-be-felt and unthought waiting to be found. I do not know of them as of yet since I am not sure who will find whom and when, if ever. For now, I may just name them. And only as, thoughts in search of a feeler and feelings in search of a thinker. Only after I allowed myself to sit in these warps in my psyche where capacities are de-territorialized and fixities are obliterated, I wrote down fragments of my dreams to compile this impossible paper. Impossible becausein the linearity of twenty minutes, it requires that I put in words something that transpires in the land of eternal timelessness. In this medium of transient permanence and permanent transience, in the dimension of improbable probabilities, I, attempted to put together this paper, and I am hoping that today, we will somehow get somewhere there, together again, to sleep, perchance to dream.

For Wilfred Bion, the mental health is about the truth. The mind should be fed with truth so that it can develop the capacity to think and the capacity to oscillate between Paranoid Schizoid and Depressive positions fluidly and transiently. When the malnourished mind replaces authenticity with its simulacra, i.e. the transience with fluid looking, disguised permanence and the truth with disguised lies, the conditions for the inception of an illness, such as perversion, are created.

Simulacrum, etymologically, derives from Latin verb simulare, meaning to feign, copy or to represent. Plato’s writings are among the earliest tomes where one can trace back the meaning of this deceitful act. He emphasized that in the creation process, the image is distorted intentionally in order to make the copy appear as the same as its original.  Many more centuries after, Baudrillard adventures further in Plato’s ontological playground and stipulates that the simulacrum is a surface image with no referent and no meaning. In his paper “The Precession of Simulacra” he suggests that “to dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has” however “to simulate is to pretend to have what one does not have.” He finalizes his train of thoughts stating that “simulacrum is indeed marking the absence – not the existence – of the things it is supposed to signify.” reminding us the opening quote from Kundera.

The perversion has always been one of the most enigmatic psychoanalytic concepts. Ever since Freud described the neurosis as the negative of perversion, schools of psychoanalysis attempted to demystify the complex nature of this psychic configuration. I would like indicate that I use the term perversion to denote ‘a perverse state of mind’ as Donald Meltzer intended it, as related to internal object relations than to the sexual behavior. He theorizes that sexuality manifests itself in the childish, adult or perverse state of mind, according to the unconscious underlying phantasy of the primal scene. Meltzer states that “in perverse states of mind, dependence upon good parts of the self is replaced by passivity towards bad parts of the self, in a mood of despair. The perverse states of mind are habitual, addictive or criminal.”  He then adds “A perverse impulse attempts to alter good into bad while preserving the appearance of the good. A perverse state of the mind is the caricaturing of love relations by sado-masochism.” The appearance and the caricaturing. Could these be Meltzer’s idiosyncratic terms selected to somehow denote the relationship between simulacra and perversity?

Andre Green in “Time in Psychoanalysis” revisits Winnicott and states that “a period of x+y+z minutes can have  more or less irreversible consequences, doing away with the representation of the object and fixing the subject to the negative as signifying the only reality. In this case, only that which is negative will thenceforth be considered real and thereafter it will matter little whether the object is there or not. Being there is the same as not being there, since the negative will have left its mark indelibly on the psyche.” I think that this negative, simulating the positive, and this absence disguised as presence that is at the core of perversion. This is the beginning where reversal of lie and truth happens, where the roads are paved for attacks on reality thinking, where the emotional corruption and manipulation is indoctrinated; where the world of obverse deceit and false reality is created; where the meaning and references are destroyed; this is where dread, apathy, hate, destruction, envy and decathexis are rendered into simulacra of love for life and cathexis. Let’s listen to Baudrillard one more time: “Everything is metamorphosed into its inverse in order to be perpetuated in its purged form. Every form of power, every situation speaks of itself by denial, in order to escape its real agony.” I believe this is what pervert resigns to: as a defense for insanity, he/she enters into an irrevocable anti-life arrangement therefore shattering the transience of the PS – D double arrow, shackling himself/herself in permanence.

By venturing outside the mutually exclusive disjunctions of transience and permanence, inner and outer, hallucination and reality, one arrives in front of the gates where Dante stood himself once. Journey in the outlandish liminality of “PerveLand” requires a porous membrane that facilitates the gallivanting in the erratic and hibernating in the unvarying.  Are you ready to “Abandon all hope of sense (italic is mine) and proceed to the grief wracked city; to everlasting pain of the lost souls?” The following would be an attempt to verbalize, assuming that I have the capacity to translate and interpret this dream that I dreamt in “Perversish”, a language belonging to the archaic vestiges of morbid sensory stimuli where the grammar is penetration, the syntax is debasement, and the discourse consists of rapacious destructiveness and antiseptic sexual prowling. It goes something like this: Persecutory objects dance in an Escherian universe. Planetoids of affect gyrate in the sado-masochistic axes. Memories and dreams jettisoned into the frozen infinity. Guided tours are offered in the tangencies of the abutting invisible cities. Narratives are being drawn on Buddha boards. Bizarre desire orgies are thrown. Shamanic journeys are organized in chameleon and armadillo costumes. Love movies are being watched while savoring hate-flavored popcorn. Philanthropic ruthless charity galas are sponsored auctioning the ruth. Tattoos of impermanence are imprinted on skin derivatives. Emphatic botox shots are provided. Colossal sand castles of hope are being built to be subsequently dilapidated by waves of futility. Shit colored rainbows are cherished in the lactating pink sky…. How does this Fellini – like burlesque of seductive simulacra mini-film make you feel?

Ever since the Cartesian dichotomy shattered the cosmic wholeness, the individuals started to inhabit disposed autistic universes that did not belong to them. This hallucinatory phenomenon resulted in the proliferation of manic masses with perverse states of mind giving birth to the ones having sex without getting sweaty, eating without getting hungry, suffering fatigue without physical activity, the ones holding onto a grin without the cat, the action-hating consequentialists, confabulating realists, guru venerating pseudo-spiritualists, junk food addicted organic food lovers , conspicuous consumption crazed communists, melancholically content discontents, thousand-and-plus clickable cyber friends possessing it-boys and it-girls, adhesive skin wearing not-boys and so-so-girls… Generations and generations of zombies and vampires with simulacrum existence. Ersatz.

But where do all these simulacrum addicts, these dissident dissolutes, abscond? Undiscovered coordinates. Empty platitudes of the unmentionable figments. Delirium caves of perpetual jouissance. In the cul-de-sac of the black hole singing endless hymns of “Who am I?” Estranged in weightless abeyance. Basking vacuums of nothingness. Ghost hollows of the pseudo-ness. Toxic uterine lacunae of meaningless annihilation. Rectal oases of Elysium.

The fandango is a dance between two parties facing each other never touching any body parts. Centuries ago, in certain parts of Europe, the same dance form used both as an antebellum ritual before a duel as well as a tantric seduction foreplay before carnal as well as psychic coitus. Like in the deleterious excitement of a duel or in the entrancing lust of a sexual fantasy, the personalities with perverse states of mind dance perpetually to the rhythm of the irreconcilable ambivalence that they inhabit. Permanently frozen nomads orbiting the permanently transient planet of murderous fetishes: atomized between aversion and desire, agony and ebullience, love and rage, clinging and evacuating, being and not being, as though, they are“in a state of exile”, in the thin spaces where everywhere and everywhen perpetuate, and they are waiting for an endopsychic absolution, as Paul Celan would profoundly insinuate: “Between Always and Never…”

Thank you!

If you would like to contact Cenk Cokuslu, his email is

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