Self-Beckett Confessions

“I have only to go on, as if there were something to be done, something begun, somewhere to go.  It all boils down to a question of words, I must not forget this… May one speak of a voice, in these conditions?… If only I knew what I have been saying… Bah, no need to worry, it can only have been one thing, the same as ever…”

“At no moment do I know what I’m talking about, nor of whom, nor of where, nor how nor why”

“Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that’s what I’ve had to make the best of…”

“I don’t know what I’m saying.  I’m doing as I always did, I’m going on as best I can”

– Samuel Beckett –

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This. Interesting. Day.

Interesting:  it will come, whispering in your imagination that the English interest comes from the Latin inter esse, literally “in-between-being.” – Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal

“something must have changed” – Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

I guess I just decided to let something else happen…

I suppose I decided

insofar as we do

to let something else

become…

“This is what I’ve decided.  I see no other solution.  It is the best I can do…

…that little space of time, filled with drama, between the message received and the piteous response…

 …Of  myself I could never tell, any more than live or tell of others…”

Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

distrusting human plans

Unstillable

scribbling

“Pangs of faint light and stirrings still.  Unformable graspings of the mind.  Unstillable”

– Samuel Beckett –

Let’s loiter about here a little, as if language were lakelike, locatable, alive enough to lollygag loose within.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps it is nearly always just-becoming.  Perhaps nearly all, nearly always, is thus: just-becoming – liminal lineaments languishing-then-livened, languishing-then-livened, “again” we might say, designating (de-term-ining) a balance to enlivened.  How so?  Why so?  By what author(ity)?

Unstillable.

“In the madhouse of skull and nowhere else” (– Samuel Beckett).  Is that so?

“Skin has no choice but to converse with the world…thin, ignorant borderland of skin…myself all trespass, misunderstanding, translating, translating…” (-Laurie Sheck).  Is that so?

If words were invented with sense.  To “make sense” between one and an ‘other.’ 

What if words ARE THAT?  Connective contours between.

I am inebriated, my willingness loosened to expression, though it might ruin me (like language) and I stare (Dostoevsky – ‘Myshkin’) “intently” into Mikhail Bakhtin’s face, his specific eye-gaze, and say:

“Is it the case that words are ‘meant,’ are ‘formed,’ are breathed, are…constructed, are…utilized, to be tissue woven between ‘me’…and ‘you’?”

Do we… speak, say, expire back and forth… to become?  To string and weave lines, flows, strands, threads, that might forge or invent co-respondence, texture, significations combining you and myself into WE?

But Bakhtin is dead, and cannot answer.  Mikhail Bakhtin does not have the capacity to co-respond.

…like Beckett, Blanchot, Plato, Montaigne, Pessoa, Pascal, Wallace or Euclid, Bulgakov, Heraclitus, or Celan (as with any and all dead!) he emits traces (tracings) with which I can consider, decipher, and interrogate in and within my ‘selves’ but not between

What might this ‘mean’ – between anyone?  Nothing.

It can not, has no opportunity to, delineate or circumscribe, draft, figure or shape any relation.

Sign emitted, call evoked, death, and then text as silent partner.  Prognostic retrograde delineation.

Bankrupt, impassible, impossible, communique.

The decoding of words as communication, connection?  An imaginary.  A handling of terms.  Inventing, devising, originary.  With whom?  Where?  How?   Hint and vestige, remnant and sketch, scheme and fabrication, inkling and outline.

Unstillable. Unformable graspings of the mind.  Is that so?

If we’re limning the liminal now, let’s loosen the letters and slacken the sieves.  Lasso and lounge, scatter and scrape, together (to gather) – a scintillate sense – sporadic sparks, succulent scenarios – exist for enlivening language, whatever limited lust lies therein – if language is locatable and not merely modal mechanics?  A modicum of music then, some scrap of sonority, some lingual litmus ‘making sense.’  Whatever.  Possibility, potential, particible particulars…

“THE TEST IS COMPANY”

“If there may not be no more questions let there at least be no more answers”

– Samuel Beckett, Company

“We must not die: kindred spirits will be found”

– Viktor Shklovsky –

 

Within / Without

Image result for person walking past yard b&w

 

“I have only to go on, as if there were something to be done, something begun, somewhere to go.  It all boils down to a question of words, I must not forget this…”

– Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable

Waiting for the passerby to pass.  Contingency.  To not open the door until the potential for harm is past.  No apparent harm: adult man, skin color variance, divergent ethnicity, strolling outside the iron black gate surrounding my home, gesturing toward and addressing my small pet mammal (a dog) – ostensibly safely contained and separate – from the strange-other, (“stranger”) traveling past my abode on a designated path “outside,” a public sidewalk… yet no harm is ever apparent, or we’d be almost certain to avoid it.

From behind the closed door, thus abandoning the small animal, the “pet” that I care for (“care”? – to keep alive with food and water, activity and touch – for what reasons I have never understood, it seems something we do, or something done to us) in any case (who “us”?) to me (“me”?), in any case, in every case, (what is “case”? – case is what occurs), in any case the sensation that harm is imminent, is possible, that any/every-thing (or case) harbors potential threat – intrusion, oppression, obligation, response-ability – that ANY passer(s)-by may enforce (force what in?), force “presence” (presence: the pressure of an other)…occurring-with.

Mammal, woman, weather, man.  Peril of change, of inevitable occurring, alteration, the inception of a “case.”  Event.  Permutation.  Disaster.  Perhaps.

Wait for “it” to pass (ambiguous constancy of language, of pronouns, of perhaps).  To be.

No apparent harm, harm always arriving where not apparent, otherwise averted.

Therefore damage expected everywhere, until proven otherwise or bypassed, for when has it ever been the “case” that harm, hurt, or affliction were not lurking unaware?

Always caught “off-guard” when injured.  As in “accident,” or un-fore-seen.  Must not not-fore-see.  Avoid wreckage.

He passes by.  Or she, or it, or they (ambiguous language and malleable, eminently referable, transferable, vague for application).  No harm incurred (as far as is known).  As who knows?  Who might know?  Or what?

World transforms.  Passers-by.  Incidents.  We have a “case” (who – “we”?).  “I” step back, step in, amidst  walls, barriers, rooms.  “I” retreat.  Evading catastrophe.  Probable hardship.  Imaginable uncertainty.  Such is the “case,” my “cave,” a cave uncertain, unreliable, self-designated, no one knows.  This (what “this”?) is vague – hurt has always materialized unexpectedly.  Danger is disaster, or if not, no harm no foul, never wounded by suspecting, only oblivious or uninformed.  Must anticipate harm.  Less proven guiltless.  Never guiltless.  Never harm without an-other, without outside, without obscurity.  What is “with-out”?

When ever not with-out?  With-out always.  With.  No in without with-out.  Danger of disaster.  Any definability requiring with-out.  No in without out.  Being with out.

Waiting for passersby to pass.  Bye.

When have I been harmed when I expected?  Perhaps in love, perhaps adventure.  Any venture with out.  Into the without. Within without.  Knowing I was risking with the out.  “Self-harm.”  It would appear without’s within as well.  Never not another.  Abysmal and ubiquitous.  Possibly impossible: to be without with-out.  No reference or referral without being-with “out.”

No within then.  Only out could be.  In with in?  Self-same.  Tautology.  A=A.  How A without out?  Without not-A?  Without absence, other, space, not-line, shapelessness, void?  A=A because A is distinguishable from.  Distinct.  From – ?  Without.

Why “without”?  Why not only “with” – necessarily out or other?  Variant.  Different.  Without “out” no “with.”

Squirrel, leaves, air, skin.  Cells, organs, activities and processes.  Even what’s “in” is “out” for “with.”  “In” “with” “out.”  A=A.  So say.  Think.  “I.”  Passing by.  Table, paper, pen, without prompting “in.”  In without as well.  No “in.”  A=A.  IN WITH OUT.

Out the “within.”  Without in/out.  Writing.  Saying.  Bleeding.  Breathing.

Only think with out.  All out, away, a way.

Wait for a way to away.  Within/Without.  A/A.  No equals.  Never equal.

Pet mammal dog, own voice, man, woman, child, sensation, language, molecule, atmosphere, ground: without with-in.

WITH, then.  Simply with.  No out, no in.  All danger and disaster, potential and unsuspected harm.  Can not.  Unprotected.  Only WITH.  No out, no in.

Waiting for the passers-by.  Passing.  Bye.

 

 

“That’s it, weave, weave” – Samuel Beckett

Image result for hofstadter strange loop

“THAT’S IT, WEAVE, WEAVE”

Samuel Beckett

What she set out to do, she did not achieve.  Intention and realization went un-joined.

Which in no wise implies that beauty was lacking.  Or interest.  There were still trees, efforts, water running here and there, struggles, many other animals, emotions, scenes.  Nothing, really, was lost in failure.  But what could be?  Nothing that might potentially eventuate (from action, intention, emotion, or hope) is ever known, therefore where could failure lie?

Ice is its own phenomenon and occurrence, regardless.  Such strange wet-dry thing, fluid and solid becoming-unbecoming.  The sound of a voice – perhaps of an “inside” impossible without “outside.”  Many “things” are in-between.  Ever on the way to something, ever proceeding from.

He found it all incalculable, without appropriate measure.  Which was not what she intended, not what she set out to do.  Yet could not be called a failure.  For who or what might measure that?  What thermometer, rod, or calculating machine might tally such “results”?  In relation to what when where?  And how might “results” be defined?

The term for an idea or concept named “beauty” being interesting in itself.  Apparently something pertaining only to them (these so-called “human subjects”).

She intended to express, or so it seemed to him.  Set out to communicate an experience with her surround,  a something she was hoping to say, to give voice to.  This experience was such that she perceived it as something transpiring for her in such fashion as to not be readily apparent to others, nor easily translatable (even observable) to those arrayed around about her – both those with whom she valued attachment and reciprocal relations, and any “others” – in this case whom (a human kind of self-referencing versus what or how) – might be capable of demonstrating care, comprehension, or attention to what (or how) she was “experiencing” (i.e. having a felt-living-sense with and within her environment).

He (perhaps the proposed recipient of her attempt of expression) found all of it incalculable, and without appropriate measure.  He, in his own idio-specific way (or relation) to whatever (whomever, however he considered his ‘surround’) was entrenched in his own meticulous (incalculable and immeasurable – at present time of writing – by ‘science’ or current ‘arts of knowing’) particularities of being-with / affecting / effecting / participating in his perceived environment [what, as a sort of short-hand, might be termed his Umwelt (look it up!)]: what happens to matter for him.

Some have called it ‘sense-making’; others’ ‘making-sense.’  Many (in some strange-impossibly proposed ‘objectivity’ – a falsified, imaginary distancing involving a blind delusion of “as if” they were NOT in fact WHAT they are – a kind of ‘sense-making-sense’ (in two senses of the word “sense”)): in other (no…in MORE) words: an ‘human’ account-possibility of its proceptive, perceptive, immersive and recursive experience WITHIN its surround AS IF it were not.  I.e., fiction, or fantasy.  So far as he or she have been able to uncover – NO ACCOUNTS of human experiencings have been proposed, recorded, or proffered by other-than-human ‘beings’ that any human has been able to perceive, understand, or translate…therefore there are no ‘objective’ (distanced other) reliable sources for measuring, calculating, analyzing, reporting on, under-standing or evaluating the experiences of the human ‘he’ and ‘she.’  At present THERE IS NO OTHER with which this kind (‘human’) might informatively and effectively communicate, learn, argue, or confer…only itself.

[Which may be the situation of all cells, plants, animals, stars, etc…but humans can’t know…being all too human, after all].

None of this was her intent.  No content recorded concerns what she set out to do.  But this in no wise indicates MIS-take, for there is no future in advance which one might con-fuse, err, or malfunction toward.  The next simply is, just like any number of things before.  All options extremely limited according to case, kind, and percipient.

In the case of this writing – ‘human’ (so-self-called) KIND, as PERCEIVED and PROCESSED by itself only – with (thusfar) no other constituent or contributor except as designated and defined by its own self-kind-case.

The ‘human’ has NOWHERE to turn for what it considers ‘knowledge’ (he thinks) excepting NOW HERE and AS ITSELF (he thinks) while perceiving in ways it already has experienced to be variegated, faulty, and vague.

(Perhaps all living things) he thinks (but certainly all human-kind) affords no outside source or viewing, perception, communication, expression, or understanding/interpretation of itself.  It only confers with itself and its surrounding (as experienced according to itself and slight variations of itself over time).  No human could be considered “reliable” – if re-liable were intended to re-fer to “reality” – taken to signify THE CASE OR STATE OF THINGS beneath, before, pertaining to, and beyond THE HUMAN BEING AS IT EXPERIENCES ITSELF ‘to be,’ he thinks.

“A pointless matter,” he vocalizes in response to her ‘expression’ and ‘intention.’  “Even among our own kind, sort, and communicable compatriots – we ‘humans’ as we call ourselves,” he states, “’I’ cannot know whether or what you’re referring to, and whether or what of it corresponds to my own ‘human’ experiencing (as we say and apparently agree, confer).”

She cries a little.  Wishes something.  Or so it seems to him, in his NOW HERE.  She intended other-wise.  Goes quiet (from a ‘human’ – so-self-called, ‘perspective’).

It is quiet.  Perhaps from many perspectives.  ‘Human’ science (arts of knowing) claim that snakes (so-humanly-called) can’t ‘hear,’ nor the clocks humans have made, nor cats, nor dogs, days nor plants, nor wood, nor dirt – whatever else ‘humans’ are able to notice and create or differentiate in any given perceptive scenario.

Between like kinds, this is NOT what she set out to do, nor intended…and only the ‘humans’ (“so far as we know,” he says) might even be capable of de-signifying, de-coding, com-prehending (perceiving-together) these sounds, marks, signals, gestures, movements, motions between them.

And here you (perhaps) are … reading (de-coding, de-signifying, transposing, translating) … “IT” (according to your NOW HERE).

What she set out to do she did not achieve, nor he.  But of course the proposed possible, capable, or potential of ‘setting out to’ is not known… so WHO knows?

The intention and realization have not joined… or have they?  Who or what might measure (and when and how) calculate, evaluate, or demonstrate that?  “They” seem left / bereft purely to themselves.  If a lion could speak, apparently we would not be able to understand it.

And so ‘he’ and ‘she’ make sounds, motions, and varieties of contact (according to ‘human’ perceivings) on a ‘porch,’ in a ‘house,’ through various ‘rooms,’ ‘spaces,’ ‘surfaces,’ and so on.  Birds chirp (according to the ‘hearing’ of ‘humans’), clouds drift, squirrels chitter, grass wavers, and so on all the same (according to ‘human’ sense-making-sense)… ‘he’ sets out, intends, struggles, interacts, and feels with ‘his’ surround (NOW HERE), as does ‘she’… neither achieving their ‘goals,’ neither controlling nor creating any realizations they intend – albeit with NO knowledge of what they might actually be able to evince or conjure – all having not yet occurred.

It would appear (to the ‘humans’) that many many ‘things’ (stars, genes, planets, soil, weather, corporations, arachnids, societies, viruses, equations, materials, activities, and so on and so on…) just carry on their various “natural” (according to their kind) ways regardless, in spite of, in ANY case, in accord with… with no ‘concern’ for ‘hers’ or ‘his’ intentions or settings-forth or out to do.

And so it goes.  And so it goes… on… apparently.

Still, what she set out to do she did not achieve…whatever that may have been.

see also:

Immediacy and the Impossible Poetic by Robert Lumsden

“All I know is the text” – Samuel Beckett

“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

 

 

Untitled Fiction III

III.  “…with murderous care…”

Jon had said, to Jesse, about the fires.

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.

 

Continuing Reading Writing

“an ‘absoluteness of absence’ if writing is to be possible” – Jacques Derrida

Certain works by Samuel Beckett eventuate an environment of silence for me.  For instance, the brief poem “What is the Word?”

What Is the Word

folly –

folly for to –

for to –

what is the word –

folly from this –

all this –

folly from all this –

given –

folly given all this –

seeing –

folly seeing all this –

this –

what is the word –

this there –

this this here –

all this this here –

folly given all this –

seeing –

folly seeing all this this here –

for to –

what is the word –

see –

glimpse –

seem to glimpse –

need to seem to glimpse –

folly for to need to seem to glimpse –

what –

what is the word –

and where –

folly for to need to seem to glimpse what where –

where –

what is the word –

there –

over there –

away over there –

afar –

afar away over there –

afaint –

afaint afar away over there what –

what –

what is the word –

seeing all this –

all this this –

all this this here –

folly for to see what –

glimpse –

seem to glimpse –

need to seem to glimpse –

afaint afar away over there what –

folly for to need to seem to glimpse afaint afar away over there what –

what –

what is the word –

what is the word

– Samuel Beckett

Perhaps the what where is always what we’re attempting to tell.  Perhaps that’s eternal recurrence / return.  The when is always known.  Always NOW.  The folly, truly folly, of our attempt to tell the what where that is our being, our being NOW, always being NOW, no when needed, no whom known, just what where presently…occurring.  Is this always what we are attempting to say?  To find words for?  To tell?  What where, now?  Always NOW – whether reading or writing, assailing past, present or future – it is NOW that it’s occurring, but what? where?  And what is the word?  What are the words for this what where we’re attempting to tell?  This is my writing, reading – in a way, it seems, the all of it – my folly.  Perhaps what where is unnameable.  

And so I also offer a reading – for even as soon as I re-read my own writing – I cannot remember the whom or what-where of the writing.  Because the reading is always right NOW.  This reading – a chapter from Mark C. Taylor’s book Tears (as both eye-leak or suffering and rift-split-rip-“tear”) entitled “How to do Nothing with Words”  (my own copy a rainbow of highlights and symbolized marginalia – like all that I read significance to). If this sort of thing – this philosophizing or wondering writing – is not of your interest – don’t bother.  But if it is kind of intriguing, or causes curiosity, I find this chapter a compelling and admirable attempt to descry the “what is the word?” tussle I constantly struggle and strive for enacting the telling what where.  

Tears

(click image for chapter, or here: How to do Nothing with Words)

And, after all that…here is neither, a short writing by Beckett to go on with…

neither

To and fro in shadow from inner to outershadow

from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself by way of neither

as between two lit refuges whose doors once neared gently close, once turned away from gently part again

beckoned back and forth and turned away

heedless of the way, intent on the one gleam or the other

unheard footfalls only sound

till at last halt for good, absent for good from self and other

then no sound

then gently light unfading on that unheeded neither

unspeakable home

– Samuel Beckett

Thank you for your time.  It goes on…

 

Report: Beginning from the Endless End: A Community of Thinking: The Experience of the European Graduate School

Apply Now: Begin your MA/PhD this Summer 2016 in Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Report: Beginning from the Endless End: A Community of Thinking: The Experience of the European Graduate School

“the center of thought is that which does not let itself be thought”

– Maurice Blanchot

Perhaps a community. 

A community “risking a fragile resilience” (Philip Beesley).

“Distinguishing the indistinguishable.”  “Compatible Incompatibilities.”  “The Origin is Empty.”  “The path to truth is truth itself.”  “More than 1, less than 2.”  We are always with without. 

I feel rich, calm, a sense of belonging.  And loss.  In my second year of a PhD program at the European Graduate School, nestled far and away in the Swiss Alps, in the canton of Saas-Fee.  It is June, it is chilly, high, quiet, separate.  Far from the searing plains of Kansas.  Far from my employment, my partner, my children.  Far from domestic duties and sustaining (endless) chores.  Removed, set apart, drawn up to the mountains, the rivers, the snow.  Another language, an other culture, a situation of difference.

Mladen Dolar, following many great others, tells us we must “slow our temporality.”  That we can “only do philosophy if we pretend to have all the time in the world.”  How could this be done within the everyday?

It feels monastic almost.  30-40 humans from all over the world gathered to hear, speak, inquire and reflect.  Many silences.  All impassioned by the above – the difficult work, accidental work, error-filled work of “distinguishing the indistinguishable” finding “compatible incompatibilities,” facing the “empty origins,” and setting onto the path that has no end, in the risk of a “bad infinity” – of selecting or creating or imagining impossible tasks and eternally postponing them, finding no conclusions, resolutions, foundations – everything put into question, everything problematized, intervened – “the truth is mediation, a passage.”  The happening, the process, of thinking.  So we believe.  And so we gather.  With eminent leaders, guides, mentors (for example, this session: Slavoj Zizek, Helene Cixous, Philip Beesley, Christopher Fynsk, Mladen Dolar, Jean-Luc Nancy, Keller Easterling, Chris Kraus, Alenka Zupancic, Benjamin Bratton, Werner Hamacher, Anne Carson…and more…).  We hear from them, we question, we think with them, think FOR other thought drawn toward us (Hegel, Aristotle, Plato, Heidegger, Foucault, Lacan, Freud, Deleuze, Blanchot, Spinoza, Holderlin, Goya, Beckett, and on…).  What lives, what continues in our seemingly endless end.  What might in-form and unsettle us, what might disturb and enliven us, how we might change-in-relation, again and again and again…

To “take all the time in the world” for 30 days.  To read closely.  To be overwhelmed.  To exhaust.  To end again and again, to fail in hopes to fail better.  To “start in a bad way, in order to arrive in the good.”  The process and problems.  Our “selves” in becoming, the one and the two and the many – always with lack.  Negativity, absence.  “Nothing is identical to itself.”  The “greatest order and disorder exist as one.”  “Constancy is slipperiness and change.”  How do we dwell there and evince.  How do we act to find out?  There is always the other, another, a lack that we seek.  That is nothing, just lack.  Drives and desires and neuroses.  The community of thinkers.

Some of us question “what is wrong with us?”  Why a surplus enjoyment of troubling existence?  Why identities founded on nothing?  “Philosophy always arrives too late” (Hegel).  We can only begin at the ends.  Against nothing.  Yet toward.  And it is here I feel valued.  Here recognized.  Here is a home.  I belong.  In a timelessness of knowing in time.  An everywhere of nobodies anywhere.  Senses replete with mountains and rain.  Clear air and short breaths.  An absence of tasks.  Singular tasks.  Monumental tasks (for me).  That need all of the time in the world.  Are all of the time of the “world”.  Senseless letters.  Turbulent being.  In media res – in the middle of things – when outside already inside, inside where something’s always left out.

My collegiate journals from decades ago are riddled in their margins with: “to be the writer of loss,” “to be the philosopher of grey,” “to compose absence.”  A longing for empty origins since thinking began.  Repetition.

I walk for the body to process.  I dream of sharp thorns in my feet, of lost items, of absence and language and two shades of grey.  Rain comes through the clouds in the fog.  “The end is in the beginning, and yet you go on,” “My mistakes are my life,” – Samuel Beckett.  And so, and yet, I go on.  Intensively, demandingly, having “nothing to write, having no means to write it, and being forced by an extreme necessity to keep writing.” – Maurice Blanchot.

I miss those I hold nearest.  And I love them – how indecipherable the term – further description annuls it.  To say the unsaid or unsayable.  I am confused and elated.  Inspired and exhausted.  Drawn forward through despair.  And I love this experiencing.  It belongs.

“If nothing were substituted for everything, it would still be too much and too little.”
― Maurice BlanchotThe Writing of the Disaster

 

Discursive Tangles

SighForSignificance-1

Increasingly I find myself filled with the desire of simply saying what I think about.  To some generative effect.

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

But “that’s too simple,” you say.  “Everyone knows that.”

And you’re right, again, and it’s the best that I can do.

Not that I don’t do other things, in living.  I hold jobs and work for pay (at nearly ANYthing) to keep a home, feed and educate my children, and attempt to convince them to try to try.

And then there’s the dynamo of desire.  Urges and drives, lusts and obsessions simply to have someone who will allow me to be close to them – to touch them and smell, listen and taste, copulate and serve and talk back and forth.  I don’t expect them to love me.  I’ve long given up being wanted or desired.  Can’t imagine I’ve ever considered myself necessary to someone or something.  For connection – to world, to literature and art, to thoughts and conversations, to knowledge and nature.

“No matter,” He says, “Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better,” He says.

I cannot.  Oh I try.  I try.  I try again.  But never imagine proximity of others not involving pity, and my failure seem ever further from their marks.  Not better.  I’m 45 now!  Or 80!  No matter.

No matter, indeed.

No matter, at all.  Perhaps.  I know this, that, some other stuff.  No matter. So I crave and wish and hope.  Failing further, and worse, never better.

Long hours of days pleasing others (or trying).  No matter.  Family and employers, students and friends.  No matter.  Perhaps?

But to say something simply.  How that?  I feel caught in a tangle of discourses.  What language to say in?  What field?  How to be heard, perhaps evaluated, to “count” or to “matter.”  I read something years ago by Nathalie Sarraute comparing the dreams or demands of Dostoevsky and Kafka to be recognized…no, acknowledged  (“From Dostoevsky to Kafka” in The Age of Suspicion). To matter.  Appear.  Have a voice.

Said simply:

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

Selah.