So we persisted, Jon, Jesse, and I, and the deceased Beckett, with perhaps thousands of others, unbeknownst any to each around some mythical innermost.
“Fail better.” The worst times are the ones in which one simply wants to quit failing altogether. Unfortunately (literally) that necessarily entails a kind of “end of the world as one ‘knows’ [perceives, participates, experiences, or imagines] it” – either suicide, tragedy, ‘terminal’ illness – death of some sort. Maybe silence, but that’s not certain.
The game table is always already laid, you’re always simply ‘entering’ it (LW points out this fallacy in his collections of numbered critiques of anything anyone writes or says or claims) actually (as far as we know) always already there (where you ‘find’ – what?!? – your ‘self’ – what?!?) and (again, perhaps, literally, unfortunately – or at the very least extremely limitedly) you can only occupy one position at the table (or wherever the action happens to be) at a time, that, unfortunately, always involves the very delimited…well, YOU. These are the arrangements as they transpire.
Language can (and does), we surmised, go anywhere. I try to record, invent, notate, mark, initiate. It all seems unnameable. Or of far too many names, references, usages, subtexts and connotations, inferences and denotations, already implemented in order to represent anything undone, reconstructed, deconstructed, novel or ‘new.’ “There’s nothing new under the sun” was already a cliché at the beginning / in the earliest phases.
Fires and voids all imagined early. [Apeiron. Chora/Khora. Clinamen. Flux. Infinity. ABSENCE. The ‘Other.’]. I begin. Again. GWFH and Freud refer to this as “repetition.” A hopeless hope of emergence. As different or unique as it may seem, ever a plenitude of the pre-existing. The already-there.
Been there, done that, Beckett exhausts from his grave alongside. “He was found lying on the ground…a voice comes to one in the dark” Imagine. Imagine. Everything is already there. The table set and set again, arranged. Already there when you wake to it. World.
It hasn’t…apparently…been given up. Perhaps it is inexhaustible. Limited though we be, we seem to be teeming with it/them… efforts at the unsayable. Unnameable. How it is. What is the what. Lost in the labyrinth of the occurrence, experience, now with shoddy, partial, biased and over-specified or eccentrically particular maps, guides, or rulebooks. Ourselves.
Quickly we realize that language can go anywhere. Set the prompt into a trial, expose the confounding intricacies of political machinations. Place it in a play and interrogate socio-psychological relations and complexities. Investigate and amass its historical and archaeological, genealogical and etymological potentials. Think it – philosophically – what is man, lying, or ground… and how do we propose to know or experience any of it?
An old(?) man lies on the ground, dead(?), no reasons forthcoming. Perhaps he’s not even old, but gender is specified regardless of age. And “an old woman found him” – designated as well by biological sex and relative age. “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Here we’ve always argued. Where WG amasses, Jon and Jesse invent, repeat, imagine. I am given to doubt.
Plato, Socrates, Xerxes, Herodotus, Shakespeare, Homer, Dante, Anaximander, God, Jesus, Allah, Einstein, Turing, Buddha, sun, moon, stars – everything seems humanly suspect to me. I argue with Jon, Jesse, JD: I argue that I find myself THIS person in THIS situation at THIS time with THESE conditions and limitations… and thus consider myself thus-ly. Which tells nothing more than it tells… ever too particularized, too specie-al, too uni-sided, sidereal, exposing never anything but its own account, perception or point-of-view…and impossibly trapped in its own way of BEING – necessarily… and unfortunately… for knowing or knowledge in any more general way (“or so it seems to me”, I argue). Perhaps language. “Asshole philosophers” ruining all apparently solid inquiries or conventionally established “facts” with the questionable caveat: the Human. Insofar as anything is communicated, investigated, perceived, experienced, learned, argued, created, or shared.
Even my cohorts seem to resent me. I’ve yet to entertain any account of the world not mediated or processed through mine own miniscule, recent, brief and limited species…even via “revelation,” technology or dream. Nothing transmits but humans themselves… as far as we know (CAN know).
…So “he was found lying on the ground” has no other accounts I am privy to, and our privy-ness seems to be ours alone. Of little assistance to what we might propose as “reality” – something involving, accounting for, or incorporating MORE-THAN our-ourselves. I am unaware of how that might be accomplished.
“in potential” I hear most often…some ginormous PERHAPS – as if there were gods or quantum particles! Some unseen, posited, unexperienced unknown some one-of-our-kind might have radical access to as a mystic-medium or seer, demigod or messenger and not also only be another simple spattering species to kind.
We argue. We perceive. We experience. We attend. We create. That’s what we “know.”
“He was found lying on the ground…an old woman found him.” Just us. Just us. Just us.
Jesse’s working up something, so is Jon. I’ve begun working again. Beckett is still dead. Or dead, still – either way he has not concluded.
There was plenty of talk – banter, chatter, fulminations, really – to the contrary, to the effect that the ‘working up’ had ceased, had dwindled, long since dissipated or been simply forgotten…not so. Now I’ve heard from Jon and Jesse, piecemeal though it be, and my own ‘working-on’ (or UNWORKING, as MB always referred to it) is near to its inception.
Something is going to emerge. Jon repeats and repeats that “Someone is going to come” and Jesse appears to have passed beyond the silence once begun, through all his notes of suicide, toward fire and conflagration and some bewildered youthfulness. Nohow On become a MUST. And all of it inconclusive, i.e. not concluded.
I work in, on, up, and ever forward, toward – ‘toward the what?’ Jon keeps asking while Jesse scrawls on napkins – figures like cartoons, clowns and foxes, masters, slaves, and mysteries – our locations go unmarked, our whereabouts unknown. This is How It Is, according to Beckett and MB. FK in the burrow. Plato in a cave. JD taking apart each domicile, meticulously.
We are looking for a place to work at our unworking, the time and space to be for what is not. Beckett named it The Unnameable.
I took to the books and letters, while apparently the others wrote, made messages and codes, secreted the symbols into texts and silences, plays and fictions full of pause. GWFH, another spell of YHWH, foretold this long ago: “the ends are reached and reached beyond, folding under, folding through, reached again, again, and…”
For years now Jon is melancholy and therefore quite abbreviated, unable to go on, full of stutters, repetitions, and always the questions, questioning, questing, the undone. Jesse through his trials and papered rooms, sometimes near and sometimes foreign, never-know, never-mind, never-where, scraping geography and clouds in search of where No Where and Now Here meet. I’ve thus far been unable to locate him. As for Ivan, Ivan and Enrique both stopped working after the library of loss – assembling detectives, interviewing the dumb and victimized, missals here and there, mostly filled of snow and jungle.
I think: crows spread across the overcast, charred ash sprinkling fields, nothing rooted, nothing grown.
The unworking. Almost a throw of the dice. Half of each sentence erased. The subtle coterie of literate mathematicians. Reports from elsewhere. WG’s layered travelogue… in search of… The work of unworking goes on.
“Splitting on difference,” he said, the passage from mayhem to insight – WG described as “Vertigo,” the verge, the swerve, the swoon. You reach an edge or limit, what cannot be undone, begin unworking. Begin unworking there.
At the grave “I can’t go on. I must go on. I’ll go on,” Beckett decries. It’s not at understanding – “splitting on difference” – but in the going-on, turning over/under, inexhaustibly or ad infinitum – convergences coming undone.
From JD Jesse gets a Post Carte, leaves it somewhere in the margins, but we know. We know we have heard, even if we can’t re-member. All variations of death, Jon thinks, Jon writes, Jon says…assembling the book of questions…the interior distance of this fierce and beautiful world filled with women, fire, and dangerous things…keeping MB in infinite conversation.
Some things don’t make sense yet seem imperative. As if there were a realm of the unsayable, a set of stanzas wedding language and death – signifying nothing – that is to say, a world of unspeakable silence that works like clamor.
Exhausting voice and nothing more. The trouble with pleasure, with suffer, with become. None of us trust ideas and yet we generate and respond.
“He was found lying on the ground. No one had missed him. No one was looking for him… An old woman found him.” (Beckett). We somehow set out to search. “That seems to hang together.” Jon, Jesse, WG, myself, scouring the globe for more – who, what…- “But finally I asked if I knew exactly what the man – what exactly was required of the man, what it was he could or could not say. No, was the answer, after some little hesitation, no, I did not know…” and so we keep on.
“A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine.” JD post carte. Beckett’s own death, still. GWFH, WG, FK and MB’s left messages, notes, recordings. “Only a small part of what is said can be verified”…if any. We are left, bereft, full of fragments, thoughts concluded, forgotten, ignored, but still unworking – in journeys, in dramas, in fire. Hanging at the limits of ropes. To strangle or drop, and what then? What next? Splitting on difference. It comes apart, what holds together. No one knows. Nowhere, now here, very difficult to say. Meticulous dismantling, decode – recode – Unicode – uncode.
…Jesse’s working up something, as is Jon. I’ve begun working again. Beckett is still dead. Or dead, still – either way he has not concluded. Piecemeal as it may be, we are all working on (or UNWORKING, as MB liked to refer to it)…and nearing some inception.
“I am suspicious of all words, for even the slightest reflection shows the absurdity of trusting them.”
– Paul Valery, Monsieur Teste –
“You know, dear you, that my mind is of the obscurest sort…I am composed of an unfortunate mind which is never quite sure that it has understood what it has understood without realizing it.”
– Valery –
FOR NO REASON
Delight. Hope. Survival.
Homer . Beckett. Kafka. Hegel.
Wittgenstein. Heidegger. Merleau-Ponty.
Fosse. Derrida. Foucault. Sterne.
Imagination. Philosophy. Fiction.
WHAT CAN BE THOUGHT? (Philosophy) “on the verge”
WHAT CAN BE WRITTEN? (Literature) “on the verge”
Maybe I’ll just read. Perhaps suicide (stop). Perhaps create. Perhaps avoid. Perhaps participate with others (friends, family, children, pets, nature). Perhaps think and drink.
WHO CARES? NO ONE. NO SOME. DO I?
Selected “foods for thought”:
The Event – Martin Heidegger. Monsieur Teste – Paul Valery. Replacement – Tor Ulven. Inexhaustibility and Human Being – Stephen D. Ross. The Meridian – Paul Celan. Verge of Philosophy – John Sallis. and so on. Potentials.
Directions for staying alive (as human being). Follow something: desire. hope. beauty. sex. belief. pleasure. pain. Try something.
Read history and imagine imagining a world that sensible.
Read science and imagine imagining a world that ordered.
Read literature and imagine imagining a world.
Read philosophy and imagine imagining that many questions.
Read religion and imagine imagining that many answers.
Stop. Say your own. (thoughts, imaginations, feelings, perceptions) to someone or to nothing (write them).
And so on.
For no reason.
But perhaps staying alive / living a little longer.
WHAT DO YOU WONDER? DESIRE? WISH? PROPOSE?
And so on.
WHO CARES? DO YOU?
And so on…
…for no reason.
Thus the life of “the writer,” “artist,” “human,” “scientist”… WHATEVER – WHOMEVER HUMAN (so-self-called) BEING.
In other words… when we encounter “literature” we (perhaps, perhaps probably) are engaging a fellow human being in the NOW – amidst an odd tactic of applying (through a strange and meddlesome nigh-universal ambiguous medium) the operation of EVERYTHING he/she knows or has experienced to the point-of-NOW. And we (weird, individualized organisms) either find correlation and correspondence with (some or much or little) of their ‘whole’ knowledge & experience (and thus, perhaps, probably, are moved by or like them) or… find very little correspondence or similarity with our ‘own’ knowledge and experience and therefore consider them banal, useless, uninteresting, untrue, or off-putting.
WHO CARES? DO YOU?
I do. It keeps me alive, surviving. I drink, I read, I think. Attempt to forget obligations, relations, and responsibilities (I can’t). That I’m a FATHER, that i exist in a socio-economic scenario that requires the bulk of my life be passed in “bullshit jobs” that somehow appease ‘Powers-That-Be’ and allow me a place on earth and a terrible fight to try and defend or spend ANY portion of existence doing-what-i-want, or what ‘fulfills’ or causes me happiness / gladness / joy in being alive…
When I’m able to “snare,” “steal,” “TIME” – I read and write, make love, or drink alcohol – because these things make me feel GOOD or WELL as the sort of being I am.
Why is it I feel compelled to sneak, steal, or justify what gives me joy in being? (whether plant, ant, mammal, or any other cellular construction)?
I wouldn’t ‘rather’ be famous, or a president, powerful, or a businessman, artist, or ‘professional,’ or anything. I REALLY just want to be a human-in-society valuable-to-the-rest because I happen to be one who loves language, literature, pretending, fiction, inventing, thinking, imagining what might be – this-wise, that-wise, which-wise, whom-wise, where-wise, when-wise…
WHY IS THIS NOT VALUABLE? ACCEPTABLE? SUPPORTABLE? along with each alternate things-one-might-want-to-be as valuable-to-the-cumulative…
Humans seem to be multiplicitous, variable, and plentiful. Many wish/desire/like to be strong, rich, beautiful, productive, etc. Why can not there also be room for those who desire neither usefulness, beauty, riches, or power… but CANS at the verges… of language, thought, imaginings? And are these really so different from those pushing edges of other characteristics?
Suddenly this entry feels like a wallowing or a requesting of pity.
That is not the feeling.
“I am composed of an unfortunate mind which is never quite sure that it has understood what it has understood without realizing it.”