This is another post I made during Advent four years ago, which bears repeating. I have read this sermon by St. John Chrysostom (late fourth century …St. John Chrysostom: Homily on Christmas Morning
Somewhere day arrives.
We are in bed.
Day neither comes nor goes.
We inhabit a single chair.
A reciprocal rebellion.
that undoes the you, the me,
joining any separation
along with bodies of skin,
without one, another
within, without each –
a combinatory beast
where components are absent,
birdcalls and signals
dependent on immanent surrounds;
anything in their crafty work
Eriegnis, evental –
a pleasure and desire
without priors –
echoed and originary;
we sometimes describe
Prologue: I do not know what I am about to write.
In less than one week I will be in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in the midst of a thousand novel things. I am going as a participant in the European Graduate School’s PhD in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought program, studying with 15 or so others, guided by Simon Critchley, Giorgio Agamben, Christopher Fynsk, Boris Groys, and Luc Tuymans, et. al.
For weeks now, any spare moment has loomed like this:
working my way through the bulk of Agamben’s corpus, Heidegger, Hegel, Kojeve, Derrida, Brecht, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Spinoza, and columns of secondary literature. I do not know what to expect. I expect small seminars of conversation and dialogue, led by persons tattooed on my arms – persons I “assume”? “understand”? are paid to think – employment I would SO love to land – to experience & think, inquire & think, research & think, & report. Perhaps? So we’ll gather for 6 to 9 hours a day (or more) – discuss principal thoughts/texts/events of human thought-about human thought-about human being-experience…and…?
Walk in the mountains – Nietzsche claimed his thoughts would only be possible up here. Sleep. Read. Think. I really don’t know.
It’s been the first time in my life (I can remember) in which the hours of reading I’ve poured into this have actually eventuated in headaches. Distinguishing terminologies and concepts. Following trails of thought. Engaging them. Responding to them. Add to the above William James, A.N. Whitehead, Eugene Gendlin, Mikhail Bakhtin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Steven Shaviro, Brian Massumi, Gilbert Simondon – my own favorite philosophical corpus – to construct conversations, critiques, and alternate points of view through. To think-through-with. And still with thousands of pages to go.
Here the classrooms and buildings. Mountains and trees. Novel, novel, novel. The minds I’ll encounter. Novel. From all over the world, perspectives, perceptions, reflections, opinions, resources, references, practices, habits…novel.
And mostly (always?) I still simply want to write.
As my mindbody gestates and swells with new jargon and lingo, concepts and theories, voices and styles, there are many moments of cluster, confusion, conjoining and merger. Thoughts disarrayed. Set loose from their sources and synapted to knots and knobs of my own kernels of thought & experience. A pregnant field. A chaos. I will need to walk. Need to sleep. i lose my bearings.
Language. Other moments it feels everyone is considering the same things in different voices. The same ‘truths’ in variant language-games. The same purposes. Not always. But those hunting and haunting human experience – with that strange zeal and compulsion, near-desperation of finding-something-out, making-sense, questing meaningful presence…from diverse times and cultures, languages and histories, feelings and vocabularies…
I sense similarities, ties. Tangles and diversions.
“the chief error in philosophy is overstatement”
-Alfred North Whitehead-
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE
is what I have written at the beginning of my notebook for the journey. What are you talking about & how? written just underneath. Wittgenstein. Whitehead. Bakhtin. James. What we experience together alters everything we bring. When we dialogue occasions occur, events happen. When we encounter and meet. Interaction. Action and process take place, differentiated, by Other.
From another pile: Knausgaard, Mary Ruefle, William Bronk, Wallace Stevens. Ivan Vladislavic, Ben Marcus, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Cohen. In my readings – Valery, Rilke, Holderlin. Blanchot, Kafka, Beckett.
Voices. Styles. Experiences. Occasions.
Interpretations. Experiences. Thoughts. Language.
What I expect is that “something is doing.” Activity is going-on. We/I will be being-with and being-in. There will be convergence, dissonance, emergence and change.
It will be a variant “me” coming “home.”
(live webcam of area)
To the mountains then. To think. To learn. To live. To be-with and be-in.