Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
Even a blank page
can be beautiful, asking:
Who goes there? What? Where?
“Whether it makes any difference what you say – whether there is any point in it anyway; whether there is any point in saying anything anyway.”
– Rush Rhees, Wittgenstein & the possibility of discourse
It was the mystery that found us, all the unknown buried beneath and beyond.
She said to me, or rather she offered her hand, or rather we made eye contact, well, she greeted me and held out her hand and we looked at or into one another’s faces. Just the surface of the ocean. Seas and skies are larger than our imagining.
Say skin, language, thought, or feeling are flexible bordering insides and outsides, contained and beyond. Something like that I thought, unknowingly.
He spoke to me, then hugged me, with an asking. I couldn’t know the question, but I understood the words. We seemed friendly and respectfully embraced, hesitant and expressive at once. There’s a cliff at the end of the trail. Sometimes I don’t remember.
Sharp curves on roads in mountainous terrain. That sort of thing, voids that look empty but allow plummet.
And whether it makes any difference, she said.
Difference is made, apparently.
Mother used to tell me, what was it? Her voices are clear, kind of, almost, but the words are lost in others. Deep waves are like that, it seems; hard to follow or find, prominent and obvious while rocking the boat, regardless the size. Clouds. Wind makes little sense of skies. Everything is out there.
Inside, it’s raining.
I was asked for a cigarette and large trees moved above rooftops. She offered her hand the way he hugs me, my son playing music on the piano while a cat escapes and someone’s doing homework. They say the ground goes deeply down beneath us, compiled by potential millennia. Nobody knows, though we have tools to measure by. Whatever those tools measure.
I remember first times. Every time. Only it’s perplexing that they’re exactly the same.
Does anything repeat?
Father got on me again about irresponsibilities, my dreaminess. If only I’d been military I’d be disciplined. Different. She offered her hand plus an ankle, a hip, a breast, a womb. I’d have values. The crook of a knee, a neckline. Take responsibility. He wanted it in my mouth – that feels best, he said.
What do I know?
Surfaces of oceans.
She stops and reads books. I do. There is music and a din of dialogue. Raucous. Discomfort. Anxiety is familiar, always the first time again.
I am afraid. Usually. Deep water disturbs me. No one knows. Many are afraid of flying.
Crying is its own thing. How is an ocean made? I won’t succeed.
Whether it makes any difference – saying anything anyway. Someone speaks at me. Eyes meet. A brush of lips. A grasp of hand. What is the question? Skies and oceans. Earth’s depths. What do I understand? Always ending begins, beginnings. What ends. What has no end? It begins. Again. Always first times. Nothing.
Her breath tastes good, inhaled. His muscle. Seawater burn. Heartloss. So much fresh air. The turn is sharp.
Saying anything anyway: the point is whether, weather, difference…its repetition.
The how and why of her. Of him. Of it and other.
There I must have been when I saw her or felt it or once again the beginnings. Once again the first time. Always again. Begin. While ending. While ends.
He said so – whether there is any point in saying anything. He said what felt best when he hugged me, kindly.
She offered. Someone asked for something. Like surfaces on oceans. Horizon lines. The ground beneath our feet, beneath that. Differences. The above. I cut my skin.
for the weekend…
I don’t think I have a question;
yet I seem to be
This one? This one?
Is it here?
The breeze is not silent
as many things
that are not
Still I do not understand –
Are you here?
It goes unanswered
along with the riddle
Are we here?
READY FOR SADNESS
I’m often ready to be sad.
Why is this?
What holes are excavated by living?
What sifts through? Falls out? Runs away?
It goes nowhere
Still it goes
where I am not
through all these openings
Instead I seal them shut
I try to stuff them
full of rags
that reek of sin and toxic
What can I do –
will I –
in this cell
that seems my own?
What does one do?
How does one choose
when all is failing,
he asks his father –
buys a car
“A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine.
…Deviser of the voice and of its hearer and of himself. Deviser of himself for company. Leave it at that. He speaks of himself as of another. He says speaking of himself, He speaks of himself as of another. Himself he devises too for company. Leave it at that. Confusion too is company up to a point. Better hope deferred than none. Up to a point. Till the heart starts to sicken. Company too up to a point. Better a sick heart than none. Till it starts to break. So speaking of himself he concludes for the time being, For the time being leave it at that” – Samuel Beckett, Company
“The words spoke by themselves. The silence entered them, an excellent refuge, since I was the only one who noticed it.” – Maurice Blanchot, The Madness of the Day
So, speaking of himself, I only noticed it.
The small furry animal, almost humming in its purr, he had chance, so he thought, to please, to comfort, with a pet, a scratch, an acknowledgment, tender, while it butted and marked itself against him. The illusion. A kind of company in itself (or to).
The ungrammaticality of occurrences. Of happening. What happens to be. Or is not. When speaking to himself. Without voice. I was the only one, as far as I am able to tell – if in fact this is telling – who noticed it. It seems words speak of themselves. From elsewise and through whom. He says, speaking of himself (or to). Without voice.
Devising. Illusion. I devise, he says, speaking to himself, of himself, without voice. Seeking – is he? – Am I? – Seeking…company?
A small child (another illusion, devised) passes by, walking a young dog and waving a nod of sorts – I don’t remember which, he says, but I returned a gesture and obtained a moment of calm in the chilly Autumn breeze. There was a sun full of color due to the leaves in their change, and fall, and flutter (due to the nothing-shaped wind). But what seemed a moment of warmth, of calm, devised by a child with a dog and a friendly (fearful) gesture, he thought (speaking of himself without voice), I was the only one who noticed it.
I take to reading then – others speaking of themselves without voice (or beyond it) – in order to devise… company? he wonders of himself, to himself. For when reading, it surely seems the words are speaking only of themselves, no matter who pens them. Such the character of the texts he chooses (I thought of myself, to myself, or an other I devised as myself, like puppets). And in part read and read for the experience or feeling that I alone notice it. That I might in fact provide the company I devise, yet hardly able to tell since I have not penned the words but merely notice – borrow, listen? (there are no voices) – the words seem to speak of themselves. Without voice. (He said of himself, devising). Something like company. Perhaps.
Even in the color-filled sunlight of Autumn days, I at times experience myself as being quite deeply in dark, he says speaking of himself, myself, devising voices, soundless, out of words that seem to be speaking only of themselves and their variegated histories and usages, and billions of potential speakers and hearers and interpreters – creators and devisers – filled with ambiguity and application. Here with me on shavings of dead trees, providing stark living contrast to Winter’s day-night. I get confused, he says speaking of himself. Confusion too is company devised, up to a point, I suppose. Obviously “fusion-with” implies an other, perhaps enough, I said, speaking to myself, without voice, here on dead leaves in black scars. In mutilation. Transgression. Inscription. Perhaps the words will speak of themselves and some other “I” will claim to be the only one that notices.
A strange delusion of company indeed. He says speaking of himself, devising a voice, its hearer, and an himself as participant and therefore a company to keep.
Reading: “only a detour is adequate” (Agamben), and “in pursuing meaning we are pursuing our limits” (Allen), and was perhaps meaning a synonym or metaphor, simile or metonymy for company he thought, speaking to himself, without voice. But with an illness, diagnosed by doctors – those scientific political powers responsible for providing facts or devising happenings, pronouncing occurrences – so in any case he is not alone, being-with his illness, I thought, speaking to myself in an absence of sound. The words spoke by themselves.
Other things as well: the furry animal, its humming purr, its actions; the trees, the leaves, the wind, the light. The child, the dog, the gestures. The books, the authors, the words themselves. Divisors of voices, of hearers, of selves. Sick hearts, confusion, and company. Am I the only one who notices? he says speaking of himself, speaking of himself as another.
So speaking of himself he concludes for the time being, For the time being leave it at that.” – Samuel Beckett
“The more ways of articulating human experience one knows the better.”
– Eugene Gendlin
I would like very much to say/write something today. Something resonant and broad, something that would stimulate empathy, reflection, acute sensations, self-awareness and some renewed purposiveness toward what any reader might consider their own “good” and the larger “good” of the “world.” That would motivate us to be more fully, attentive to what we most value, what we most wish to value; that would tickle, trigger and activate that within each of our experiencings whatever it is in us that occurs in those sweet, heartbreaking and perception-exploding moments in which we feel like WE matter, that the WORLD we participate in matters, that meaning is worth, well, Life…and that Life as we are living it, we live together.
But I haven’t the first idea, concept or “hook” to know how to do that. I have nothing to say. I have urges, wishes, passions, dreams and a kind of crushing, yearning hope – that we might focus a little, shape ourselves, choose something for ourselves and one another and act with and toward ourselves, one another and the world in ways and fashions that could soothe, nourish, calm, comfort, extend and enhance our collective experience of being humans in a world full of so many other things we depend and inter-depend and co-depend on and with. Rather than our easy, disruptive, erratic, dissatisfying instinctual and common practice of reacting, responding, self-protecting, guarding, distancing, lashing out, closing in…separating, hurting and harming, frightened, cowardly and weak.
I don’t know where to start with that. I would that I could write the experience of others, could find synchrony and sympatico with my friends, family and acquaintances, could articulate the complexity and depth, mystery and reticulated implicit intricacies of their experiencings: their pains, joys, desires, griefs, knowings & doubts, wonderings and certainties, histories and prognoses, lusts and woundings… that I might be so much more tender to them, embracing, receptive, unthreatened and inclusive, gentle and comprehending.
I would like so desperately to be able to articulate the human experience of the world accurately…yet I am always wrong when I speak another, always deficient even when I speak myself…
other things articulate as well…
sciences, arts, histories, events, activities, gestures, accidents, philosophies, medicines, practices, rituals and religions
here are a few sounds (and in this order!) that have articulated my experience, today:
remarkable “accidental” or “fortuitous” articulations…
the sorrow and struggle of my love
the energy and delight of local biology professors to their craft and instruction
the events and experiencings of a day….
Here’s to us all
EVERY HUMAN LIFE IS A STORY THAT COMES TO AN END
selected fictions of self-pity
Maybe this just is the gist of it.
I spend a good portion of my life (such as it is) – all of its waking and sleeping hours anyway – struggling to determine a meaning for it – its meaning (a concept? term? reference?) on its own that I may have very little luck determining or understanding.
This elusive compendium of thoughts/feelings (EXPERIENCE I’ve corralled with the sound/shape ‘meaning’) – how might it be described? explained? : What might it … ahem … ‘mean’?!
Were I to describe it – it would evoke and involve (were I to describe it well) a sense that I was necessary, useful, desired and desirable, of some merit and account, acknowledged, approved, purposive, poignant…whatever those (each) might also ‘mean.’
Something I happen to be “good” at that is also of benefit or boon throughout the world I’m wedded to, both near (intimate, familial, selected-for) and far (given, happenstance, environment).
But what I’m “good at” is “Depression.” The function of slowing and drag…exhibiting sorrow among happiness, erosion within emergence, noising up messages…despair contained in joys. Doubt, skepticism, intricate inevitable workings of what we agree to name ‘death’ intertwingled with what we call ‘life.’
Entropy. Sorrow. Failure. Defeat. Depression. Grief. Doubt.
Self-pitying, self-concerned, self-oriented, self-obsessed…at this I am quite ‘good’ – adept, astute, adroit, capable and facile – of smearing, marring, being sad in circumstances of beauty, of success, of benefit and chance…
My children are healthy, talented, innovative and beautiful. My wife is stunning, accomplished and accomplishing, intelligent, inventive, supportive, sexy and kind. Generous. I am employed in circumstances that suit my learning, commitments and goals. I inhabit relatively stable wards and routines. I am alive, middle-aged without illness, debility, war or threat of imminent dangers. Still expertly I can imbue and include a lowering, slowing, gravitational angst and fear into anything I encounter as ‘good.’
I am ‘good’ at dismantling ‘good.’
Which means (back to ‘meaning!’) I also despise, loathe, resent and regret myself and my operations. Representing wear and tear, unraveling and decoupling, erosion, rust and decay to what strives and conjoins, promises and grows. Somehow, somewhere, in some indisputable and unignorable way I am married to disorder.
When I strive to sing, express or communicate – what emits is disturbance and noise. When I construct, I create mayhem. When I combine – I fall apart.
Significant discoveries during my life-range – their exposition and documentation – include complexity, chaos, emergence, and entropy. These I represent, or so it seems.
Ever unable quite to take credit for accomplishment (chaos, complexity, evolution, emergence); never able to know – to sufficiently understand or trace (dynamic, processual, complex, systemic); yet acutely aware of dissonance and destruction, dis-pair and difference (entropy, chaos, noise). Viral, incipient, parasitic and accidental – I adapt, attach, alter and disrupt – change and undo.
Which makes me sorry in an unstoppable way. Unable, hesitant, terrified, dangerous and afraid. A soiled activity of ground. Questions beggaring and buggering replies. A kind of programmatic cancer, a hitch in the breath, a massage that makes sore.
I message – and fragments. I propose – and divide. Link up by pulling apart. With such yearning – an insatiability for connection and attachment that (frighteningly) never fails to strip, erode, scrape and shred that which it clings to.
Modus operandi: ENTROPY. Clutter, damage, foil. Complication and conundrum. Ant in sugar, weevil to wheat, cog in machinery, speculation to proof. Maxwell’s Demon, uncertainty on principle, the mouldering remainder: “I.”
I the obscure.
unwanted, unwarranted, unsure
I the wobble precipitating break
You colour, I neutralize.
You shine, I dull.
If offered a peaceable end (thinking twice, thinking thousands) I’d accept it – unquestioningly.
This is what he thought of it. What he thinks. This one, inextricable from a world, just like everyone else, part AND parcel, the becoming and become, apparent apparition, here-and-then-gone every one-in-the-many.
He thinks irreplaceably. Nothing without merit. Necessity emerges and occurs. Unstoppably. With(in) all its stoppage and its stopping.
He thinks: “what occurs occurs at once.”
He thinks: “being and nothingness is being in time.”
He thinks: “this is one way of thinking.”
He thinks: “thinking is process.”
Inevitable. And more-than, that.
Stop Making Sense happened at a time that makes sense, and continues to do so. Absorbed into machinery. The operations of ‘reality’ for each type, each kind, each species. And without.
“There does not seem to be a correlation,” he thinks. “Between this one and that, experience and experience (the dog, the tick, the grass; the human, the sun, the soil). A convergence of dependence without necessity.”
He thinks: HER
He thinks: THEM
He thinks in wishes.
He wishes his thoughts. Difference.
He (accidentally) dreams a New Topia.
In this New Topia, a difference. A sense-making, a motile trajectory. A structure to revolutions : convergence + emergence. A hope rather than. Such despair.
He thinks: he reaches, makes effort, attempts.
He wishes: he could do otherwise
He thinks: everything ends
He wishes: something might end in beginning
Because he is able to, he looks at ‘his’ eyes in a mirror. Glasses, no glasses. Hair, hair pulled back and away. Blue. Morose. Green. Avaricious. And blue-grey: Now. Now. Now.
He thinks: I should be brushing my teeth – and always regrets pronouns and possessives. Conventions.
He wishes: there was beyond
He thinks: I exist in my limits
He wishes: possibility
He thinks: organism. finitude.
He writes as he has learned to do so. Using words, made out of letters, infrastructures that – while scrambled and undone, reworked and reordered toward a sort of confusion or unsettling – are still the only means he has…toward anything.
He thinks: “anything resembling anything – these are my limits; and limits = usefulness, probability and possibility, constraints. My hope.”
He wishes: Re-inscribed. Remade. Novel. Capable. Composed. From one-to-one. For her. For them. For ‘It.’ (It: New Topia).
He divests. Dissects. Dissembles.
No one follows his ‘meaning.’
[Therefore it does not mean].
Grown ever-so-tired of options. The limits, precursors, avail. Starts again, but never new.
This is an attempt to bind. To couple.
Writes to forge a chain.
Writes to create connection.
Writes to compose a real accordingly.
The letters, marks, terms and expressions are borrowed, reworked or remade, still. Symbols wide open. Pre-filled, refilled, unmade.
Touch then. Touching nothing new. Touched before. Been touched.
“Nothing new under the sun.” New again under new sun, newly impossible, com-possible. Newly inadequate and all there is…adequate to the necessary task. Ever less. Ever more. Never quite. Never quite common enough. Human. All too human. Never quite common enough.
Dust. Ash. Dust. Ash. Dust. Ash. Dust. Ask.
How oddly and uniquely our dear bodies exhibit the effects of stress. For some days now, exhausted and craving rest, I wake ever-so-early in a kind of sleepless sleepiness. Wanting only to burrow in, immerse in comfort and calm, be tenderly near the one I love, instead I toss, turn, disturb and achieve none of my wishes.
Is this another emerging effect of aging?
My parents soon will celebrate 50 years of marriage – an example of what Andre Gorz describes: “If you join with someone for life in marriage, you share your lives together and you refrain from doing what might divide or damage your marriage. Building your life together as a couple is your common project and you never finish reinforcing it, adapting it, reshaping it to fit changing situations. We will be what we do together.” (Letter to D)
which means that I also approach 50.
So there’s also that – a kind of nostalgia, melancholy, joy, awareness…
I’m one to search and seek and inquire without end.
One to wonder and ponder and interrogate my experience with hopes of understanding it – but increasingly I find that apparently my being simply wants to be SO ALIVE. Sometimes I feel that is what is happening with my waking body – that it doesn’t want to miss. Anything. The presence of my beloved next to me in sleep (Gorz describes what I am experiencing in that regard very well also: “how love is the mutual fascination of two individuals based precisely on what is least definable about them, least socialisable, most resistant to the roles and images of themselves that society imposes on them”), the particular quality and type of that morning time, house-sounds, obfuscated consciousness…I, one of those who have “just worn different identities on top of each other, though none of them were mine”…sometimes it feels…and that this particular kind of love slowly strips and erodes those away to the irreducible, undefinable reality of each ONE of us…
FITS & STARTS
I shoulda wrote a letter. There are the griefs, the emotions mistrusted, the longings delta’d out, and a million wishes. “The past is still the past : a bridge to nowhere.” And then there is SO MUCH NOW. The children and their emerging, engrossing creating lives; my wonder/love – a thriving, amazing individual who loves me and has so much of her own; there are the animals, the leaves, the waters and the breezes. The breaths, the touches, the thoughts. The feel of it all.
The word/concept/term “Mashup.”
Perhaps that is what is going on in my sleepless sleepiness. My habit of reading has always been to read 30 or more books from various fields, genres, authors, subjects, literatures in order that my mind would have to do it’s weird mysterious complexity/chaos/emergence/dynamic/creative adaptive process of making some new idiosyncratic sense of a kind of global dissonance – our inherent ability to be a Convergence Creator. To not be caught obeying, devoting, under the sway of some authority or perception or ideology not a Mashup. Perhaps the thickness of being alive to what is life, attempting to attend, note and notice, enthralls the entirety in a similar manner – experience is a Mashup – so many sources, so many responses, so many interactions, so many affects and effects, roles, obligations, identities, loves, fears, perceptions, interpretations…and perhaps I’m currently simply immersed in a particularly cogent nexus of complexity and chaos – the operation toward adaptive emergence and some temporary convergence being administered in clumsy and cluttery fits & starts…
Perhaps each now is realization & threshold. And, as a friend recently pointed out…“hope is such a restless state”.
What scribbles out the sides, longing for a place to go…
while I’m busy with other things
The sentences broke between them. Not twisting or scrambling, no encrypted script noising up communication; more like letter parts and chunks of words crumbling away before they even bridged the gaps. Sayings that collapsed on themselves as they emerged.
At the point we begin imagining ourselves insane and institutionalized, conjuring car wrecks or dreaming deaths in the family to avoid our obligations…we are well-advised that something has gone wrong…
Whenever what might be called an “encounter” occurred between them, everything else grew less pressing, less…significant or unsurvivable. She became a solution and a re-solution all at one go…
fragments, in other words.
The days have to be enough…they’re all we have.
An archived blog about science & philosophy, by Massimo Pigliucci
research education, academic writing, public engagement, funding, other eccentricities.
Essays & Criticism of Contemporary Poetry and Literary Fiction
teacher, edu-nerd, learner
Decolonization in Theory & Practice
"La seule vie qui soit passionnante est la vie imaginaire." Virginia Woolf