A Letter to Friends (far and near, now and future):
On Friendship, Dialogue and Conversation
(even those “silenced to pieces” – Paul Celan)
Addressing an interminable oath, a perhaps-always, perhaps-never, but surely an “only.” Friendship.
Either there runs an essential conversation, in the realm of the impossible, that is, the meaningless, or there does not. Meaningless, like infinity, like being, like love – each lying somewhere beyond rationality, or knots of multiplicity, that is, items we are capable of naming, or calling (calling-out toward) but which do not, ever, add up.
Things that are, that are unable to be explained. At times we call out to them as “paradoxes,” “mysteries,” “ideas,” “sensations,” “beliefs,” and so on, these “entities”(?) “concepts” (?) – “observable creations” that require one another to be, but cannot be identified in themselves (e.g. “same”/”different”; “self”/”other”; “silence”/”noise”; “presence”/”absence”; and so on). “Things” (?? – but what to name them?) impossible to know/comprehend/understand (even simply perceive!) as themselves, rather only and ever with; each “it” requiring, to be perceived/conceived, “not-it.”
In human relations, when this reciprocal necessity is “felt,” “per-/con-ceived,” “experienced” – when I, in some layered mixture of reason, emotion, situation and manufacture determine that the “I” which I hope/select/choose/desire to be does not exist, is unable to manifest or become without the “not-I” which is you, and You, likewise have this experience/sensation…we call out toward it – “Friendship.”
It is this deep reciprocation, this sensation of “identification”-without-which-not identifiable as such I am naming essential dialogue, through conversation – the activity of friendship. “Dialogue” I conceive of as a process of speaking and listening, a taking-turns enabled by agreed-upon, co-crafted understandings (co-mmunication), filling the inherent gap between, accentuating and bridging this “lapse” between you and I as individuals…become/ing friends. “Conversation” I am considering as entering into speech with unknowns…hesitantly and impatiently concocting utterances and responding, languages inviting, striving toward, asking for…dialogue (its possibility).
Friends: I hope you recognize yourself in this address – you I sincerely hope I have communicated with in some form of dialogue, an ongoing essential conversation – that I would not be, or be able to become, that which I impossibly wish to be, without your specific “not-Is” founding, grounding, in-forming and co-rrelating with me through what experience, encounter, and engagement we share.
This is for you. For many of you I am no longer in dialogue with, in fact I currently enjoy dialogue with so very few, two or three “friends,” but you are not the less essential, less becoming – we for that. I am saying that the conversation goes on in me, the calling-it, calling-out, the naming and mystery of our initial and originary correspondences through, across, greater and lesser gaps and lapses.
I believe the conversation-toward-dialogue, the deep and ongoing querying after what is unknown in/beyond those whom one has ever had the intimate understanding of reciprocated dialogue, in general is or is not. There must be changes chosen or lived through that indeed have the possibility of so altering an individual’s-becoming-I that those corresponding partnerships of dialogic interaction no longer serve their becoming, but I find personally, as I review you who have so significantly shaped me, that my calling-out really does not waver, only the directness of my voice.
I want to thank you each (and in advance those possible future friends out ahead of me) for engaging mutual becomings with me, opening and becoming always being process and present in silent infinite impossible conversation between known unknowns. At some point we found our paths to dialogue(s), intimate paradox, and that does not come undone, but remains as fact and experience and fuel for our becomings.
Without-you-each : not-I.
For long lapses and enormous gaps I call out: may dialogue be reached yet again, somewhere, someday.
And above all…to become.