Ouroboros, or Autophagia

Ouroboros

I often feel that I’m dying.  Killing myself with disease. Killing myself via the activities of my “mind.”  Killing myself with alcohol.  Killing myself by over-extension, -exertion, lack of self-regard.    Worry.  Anxiety.  Perfectionism.  Wishes.  Desires.  Dying from the absence of sex (and yet orgasm is also a breathless ‘little death’).  Dying from lack of joy.  Dying of disuse, depletion, or disregard.  Dying of my own engulfing life.

Which only emphasizes the insistent FACT.  One thing we know, perhaps the ONLY certainty we’ve understood in the thousands or millions or billions of years we’ve been species-al (spec-ial) and aware of such information…is that we are dying.  Constantly.  Continuously.  Unstoppably.  Irrefutably and inescapably.  Inevitably.

Whether we do it to ourselves – amplify or expedite its course – or are at the mercies and whims of some enormous cosmic complex entanglement; whether our cells turn against “us,” or we turn our “selves” against our cells; excruciating or peaceful, ecstatic or terrifying – WE DIE.  ARE DYING.  WILL DIE.

For some, this undeniable evidence and unstoppable knowledge instigates a kind of “dead-already” worldview or perspective…a nihilism for some.  A not-ness.  A foregoing of LIVING, a preemptive attack, or some strange passion of alignment with the TRUTH – some subversion of the FACT (at the same time true, and as certain) – that a DYING thing MUST be LIVING.

An “it doesn’t matter.”  Usually tacked on with an “ultimately.”  Meaninglessness.  Pointlessness.  Purposelessness.  Something some supposed “scientist” (devoted to “objective” observable “truths”) like a psychologist, biologist or physicist; doctor or therapist or mathematician – might call “depression,” “skepticism,” “cynicism,” – when in FACT it is adherence to one of the ONLY FACTs we’ve described or descried that has held TRUE while all of our tools, technologies, expansions of knowledges and theories, inventions, medicines and so on carry on their wars against it.  A veritable CERTAINTY (indeed, perhaps the only occurrence in which a human being accords with reality).

DYING.  From there – who knows?  “At one’s own hand/operations” or “at the mercy of” environments, situations, circumstances, world… who knows?  No one.  Uncertainty.  The process of being-alive to being-dead is fraught with everything else we are able to imagine.  And almost entirely UNCERTAIN.

It happens.  Living.  Then Dead.  Each one.  Every one.  “Me,” “You,” “I’s,” “They’s,” “We’s,” “Those” and “These.”  Whatever begins…ends (in some form).  Whatever emerges, converges and devolves.  Whatever occurs…deceases.  Ceases “to Be.”

And so what do we do…what do “I” do…with this LIVING?  In full awareness of the synonymity – LIVING/DYING – why is the awareness of dying and depletion of a potency that oft outstrips its necessary , indeed indubitable counterfactual?  LIVING.  LIVING.  LIVING…

Who now, what now, where and for why?

reading dead profile

Alias Impassive

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Alias awakens to disquiet.  Comprehension out of joint.  The motions, the motions, but nothing complies.  He does not feel so he touches the knee of his son.  Yes, he seems to be there.  Words with their sayings and tellings aren’t meaning.  Perhaps he hears.  Feels he doesn’t have pants on, but perceivably they’re there.  Goes to bathroom, masturbates, conjuring images of his love.  Disconnect.  He is not sure that he is here.  Or where it is he is.

Not the trees, not the road, not his car.  Many things are missing.  Not his thoughts.  Not pets, not postal service, not sky.  He’s come unfastened.

The motions, the motions, he makes coffee.  The motions, the motions, he showers.  But did he use shampoo?  Deodorize his pits?  Remember the drop of cream?  Are those his feet?  Walking into work they all take notice.  Is he bleeding?  Checks his hair, his face, his clothing.  Is he stinking unawares?  Deactivated and decoupled, unable to correlate.  He’s in his chair.

He’ll go for water.  He’ll check again.  He’ll look through letters, notes, to-dos, he’ll use his fingers.  He seems inoperable, confused.  They’re noticing.  He hasn’t spoken.  He puts on music.  Sits again.  He looks at language, hears some sounds.  He’s not authorial, nothing gives direction, nothing issues commands.    Disjointed and isolate.

He tries to sleep.  The dreams don’t follow, the eyes don’t rest.  He is confused.  He is detached.  He looks at pictures, attempts a memory.  Everything is near and quite intangible.  Everything is distant.  He cannot cry.  He cannot feel it.  He isn’t thinking anymore.  Something is unhinged.

The motions slow, the motions blur.  Not conscientious.  No recognize.  It seems there are duties.  It seems related.  It seems forgotten or never begun.  He’s too much there and not enough.  Unavoidable and out of sorts.  He cannot hide and there are others.  He tries the motions, and the motions, and they’re still without sound.  He can’t compute.  Head in his hands on his desk.  His eyes are burning.  He can’t find pain, locate discomfort.  No ability to take account.

He pushes objects.  Cuts his palm.  He walks again.  The motions, the motions.  There is no wind.  The sun pervasive.  He sees some plants.  They are not there.  They have not grown.  He is alone and everything knows this.  Dissociated.  He’ll try again.  What will he try?  He’ll try the motions, he’ll try the motions.

Alias motions with his hand.  It comes undone, it does not signal, there is no shadow.  Too much shadow.  He looks around.  There are the others.  They seem to wince, to look too much, to look away.  There is no commerce.  There is no passage.  He sits again.  He hears a sound.  He thinks the hearing.  He tries his luck.  There is no luck.  He wants to realize.  Anything.  Something.  Perhaps.  Maybe.  Motions, motions, motions.  He is not moving.  Things are vacant.

Alias impassive.  He tries to speak.  No one to speak with.  He works at thoughts.  All misremembered.  He’ll try again, he’ll try the motions, keep at the motions, the motions.  All the motions he will try.  He has no purpose.  The motions fail.  Vacuous and without intention.  Was only trying, was just to see.  He cannot see it.  The motions fail.  He moves again.  Things are dissolving.  Disestablished.  Without relation.

He calls the dog, he has no voice.  There’s no response.  He is within a vast alone.  He is not happy.  He is not sad.  He’s unaffected.  He tries the motions.  He tries again.  After all he will stop trying.  Sometime later he’ll give up, but now he tries.  He tries the motions.  He tries again.  He is disquiet, and without end…

Alias (inside) – a writing diary

This is long, and really, perhaps, does not belong here.  Reading through notebooks to find references to Alias and Laramie in order to continue the trail or trace of them… I happened upon a set of pages that seemed like something under or inside the emergence of Alias and thought it might be interesting to some.  Or, just something to not lose to memory, but archive in this auspicious and fragile space.

Czech-Marionettes-wooden-joker-czech-marionette-puppet-3.7ac6

Do I think this is my last probable chance (at 45)?

If so

              (it’s undecided, presently)

then this would = my final

composition

                          (undecided)

What would I tell you – you few that have made the time worth being?

T, A, I, O, S, K, H, J, perhaps J.  Arvo Part, certainly Blanchot, Pessoa, Bronk, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Jabes, Cixous, Rilke, William James, Schiele, maybe MK.  Assuredly TWDY, Bach…well, too many to mention.

            Whom else?  Whom else, really?  Dad?  Mom?

In any case – the children, H – H because truly the past two years demonstrated an adult, freely-selected relationship in a way surpassing but only referenced by S, V, PJ, perhaps, no, perhaps J – what H has explored with me re: the world and life really I’d only imagined before.

Therefore – indecision (as ever).

IF the “best” experiences rise up out from the worst (often), out of ‘end(s)’ – beginnings surprise, then how can I know (as I age) if a better-yet does not exist?

It becomes a decision of ‘enough’ or not.

A personal decision.

If I can only imagine repetition with variation, and I’m already tired and starting to ‘ail’ – then the logical decision is to stop.  To peace.  To quiet.

As re: T, A, I, O (my children) – in EVERY case what lies ahead is far beyond repetition with variation – much unknown, much novel, much uncharted territory to experience.

As regards H, and adult self-selected relations of emotion/passion/intimacy – probably (seems to me) little could surpass…only possibly in elements, but – enough?

That is the question – always

Keep living?

Stop?

If “stop,” no more.  Yes it will effect, hurt, harm, perhaps enable – the others (T, A, I, O, M, D, J, H, etc.) but I won’t be aware of that anymore.  It’s just DONE.  OVER.  SIMPLY.

If “keep going” – then demonstrating a care/concern/attention for the others’ lives – T, A, I, O, etc…) that THEIR lives are worth staying alive to see, and that – who knows?! – maybe my own life still offers more truly worth experiencing.

Perpetual conundrum, weighing lives – my own little one versus a host (however small) of others – it would seem theirs count for more than mine (alone).

Hard to say.

I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow what “I” decide.  Not ambitious to keep working just to feed and pay bills.  I have little confidence I’m capable of making something world-enhancing.  But as a parent, a friend, etc., it doesn’t feel fair to make the decision without considering their preferences as well.

I like to think I don’t like to be selfish.

I would live in the country.  Woods, preferably, mountains not too far away.  And rain, plenty and regular rain.

There would be hours in the day.  Hours for loving, hours for reading, for working, for learning, for play.  Enough hours.  Hours to think about the hours, the learning, the loving, the play, and hours to think the hours writing.

I’m aging.  Hair, beard, muscles, flesh all going long.  Mind.  Long(ing).  Time, not so.  Seems shortening, shortened, fore-shortened…by the hour.  I wish for hours.  For time.  For children, partner, places, books.  For human.

She would be there.  Close, somewhere, sometimes.  We would wander, would work, would learn, play.  Would be there, away.

The children would come.  Would visit, report, eat, learn, work, play.  Sometimes we would laugh.  Sometimes perhaps weep or cry.  Contact.

Wood would be sawed.  Water drawn.  Yes it hurts now – knees, shoulders, joints, bones.  Slowed.  Steady, almost.  Still dark but peppered, frosted with gray.  I’m aging.  Tired.  Memory almost all made up already.  Thought always seems new, possible.  Touch.  Strength.  Sound.

Hours.  Gone ever so soon.  Thought, then paper, then feeling begins (or the other ways around?), then gone.

The pen.  The paper.  Lust.  Flesh.  Language.  Learning.  Where is the time?  Too much required for each daily need.

A joker, a harlequin.  Another, another.  Another other in the midst of me.  Mottled mangle, Alias.  Running out of time.  Running down the times, the memory, the full flesh of desires, its theory and knowledge, its aspects and affects.  So very many aspects.  Hand gains speed, cursive loops thin to lines.  Skimped satisfaction.

I like it to take time – loving, learning, working, play.  But the hours grow thin.  Shortcuts, swerves, abbreviations, tastes.  Hints now.  Breezes.  Nostalgia.

Growing monument – what cannot be said – will not – the ineffable – unsayable.  Ungrasped.

How though, to here?  Piecemeal person.  Farm labor, religion, sport, education, family.  Plains, harvest, accidents.  Mountains, Mexico, Europe, lists.  Music, poetry, philosophy – earliest companions – a few pets, kaleidoscope of selves, the river, the sky.

Deaths.  But no death here (yet).  Just on, scrappy, incisive, insecure, haphazard.  Books.  Remiss without mention of books and relentless ache for books and ‘broads.’  Women and words, the headstone says.  Women, words, wisdom(?).  Nature.

To explore.  Internal, external, outward, inward bound.  Sciences and arts.  Creativity and logic.  Psychology, anthropology, complexity and chaos, nihilism.  Literature and lust.  Words and women.  Matter and mind.

I’d have quiet mostly.  No mouths to feed, no herds or pets or things to tend.  Nothing to care for.  Hours.  Hours to tend.  With mind intact, a library, papers and pens.  And lonely land, mostly cloudy, cool, drizzly, wet.  And legs to stand on, arms to haul.  Eyes to see, please keep these eyes a-seeing – yes they’ve heaps of assistance – but please not a final fail.  Not the inner darkness, nor colorless clouds.  Hearing first, before vision.  If the vision is gone – ?

Breath.  Biosemiosis.  The sign and signal of being – a body for meaning.  Complex.  Confused.  Barely contained.  Unspecified.  Though wobbling to, fro, sound, precept, percept, interpret, sense.  Hope.  Hope of vision, of sex, of knowledge, health – something, something – beyond, more, still…

Alias sighs.  Perhaps beautiful still, but soiled and tired.  Undone.  Who is this one?  Which one?  How.  Who this be?  Alias i. e. Harlequin.  Unnameable, the attempt to name, creating traces of not-these.

“man is but a patched fool”

-Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act IV, scene i

Alias Harlequin – Identities

Picasso_Harlequin sketch

“To recognize yourself in… To multiply your likenesses”

-Edmond Jabes

And what do you suppose it is to be a “Nathan Wayne Filbert” human?  To be named?  Alias Harlequin?

What do you suppose it might be like to be “Ida Sophia Lind Filbert”?  “Jada Lynette Smith”?  “Oliver Myshkin”?

“Hallie Noel Linnebur”?

“Tristan Rene Wells Filbert”?  “Simon H. Lilly”?  “Aidan Stafford”?  “Herman Melville”?  “Paul Feyerabend”?  “Rachel S. Como”?  “Paul O’Callahan”?  “Meghan Miller”?  “Jim H. Charles?”  “Warren Charles Farha”?  “Amanda Marie Lind”?  “Fernando Pessoa”?

A cow.  A particular cow – an Hereford – on a particular plot of land in Mitchell County, Kansas?

“Plato”?  “Kathy Downes”?  “Ortho Stice”?  A Welsh Corgi “Tippy”?  “Napoleon Bonaparte”?  “Charles S. Peirce”?  The clerk at the grocery store?  “Christopher Fynsk”?  That Forest Ranger?  A pet hamster “Jacques”?  “Claudius”? 

WHY SHOULD ANY ONE HUMAN BE ANY MORE INTERESTING THAN ANOTHER?

WHY SHOULD ANY ONE ORGANISM BE ANY MORE INTERESTING THAN ANOTHER?

What means: “EFFECT”?

“William Shakespeare”?  “Avital Ronell”?  “God”?  “John Wayne Gacy”?  “Helena Bonham Carter”?  “Microsoft”?  A caterpillar (be specific)?  “Mahatma Ghandi”?  A sparrow?  Molecules composing particular dust?

WHAT IS?

how are we able to ask that question?

WHAT ARE WE?

how might we be “WHOs”?

Starting local:

What might it be like – as a “Nathan Wayne Filbert” (Nobody) – to BE a “Nathan Wayne Filbert” (A body)?

I’m not sure HOW to answer that.

“Perhaps writing means overcoming all resemblances within the very heart

of resemblance, being finally like yourself, like nothing.”

  • Edmond Jabes –

i.e. How that can be answered.

– WHO or WHAT answers – ?

WHAT MIGHT IT BE LIKE…TO BE?

(qualified to ANSWER)

can ANYthing “answer”?

does “answering” imply “language”?

WHAT IS AN ANSWER?

(in relation to – ?)

What is(?) Nathan Wayne Filbert, Alias Harlequin?

IS “Nathan Wayne Filbert”?

WHAT IS?

WHAT IS IS?

(how?)

WHAT IS A QUESTION? And WHY/HOW can a question be asked?

WHAT IS IT – are our – ideas?  – To “IMAGINE”?

what are ideas?

What might it be to “conceive”?

“to generate concepts” (D&G)

framings of our world-experience

[WHY?  HOW?

WHAT FOR?]

WHAT is a “person”?  HOW?  WHY?  WHO?

Always and ever – HOW & WHY can we / do we ASK?

WHO QUESTIONS?

(WHAT)?

(HOW)?

Something begins

                                          (in/with all this)

                                                                                          it would seem

(it seems)

it seems that something begins in/with questioning

Alias Harlequin, i.e.

– the one whom this effects, the one on whom this has effect, the one (same? No!) affected by him or her, by whom and it.  By this.  This.  That.  By Other, others, and therefore, Alias again, patchworked and quilted, becoming, undoing, altering.  Alias.

“Presumably most writers have many more ideas than they are able to act on”

– Ivan Vladislovic, The Loss Library

Alias Harlequin – identities – is as is affected, effects, effected with/by.

Alias, i.e. as effected by “Hallie Noel Linnebur”; as effected (generated?  Co-composed-with-) “Pauline Margaret Kresin Filbert”; the St Bernard “Zorro”; a specific train on a particular journey at a particular time; that mountain in that moment; Dec. 16, 1997 – a flu; and so on…

Alias – as situated in moments – e.g. “each one.”  Harlequin – the human surname quilted with environment (micro-to-macro) in concourse.  “Alias” as the “name in shreds” – the fragmentary and provisional, pragmatically specifiable address.

Ambiguous and fluid (like “river” itself – capable of designation but inconsistently contained) transient yet locatable, in form…perhaps.  Yet no.  “Alias” perhaps the medium (in-between) of morphing form and varying substance – what nothing also is (is not).

Name/term/signal/sign (“Alias”) as related to HNL, Dr. K, Dostoevsky, rustled grass, these sounds, this space-time and its company (surround) and then again, these again (but never “again”) – designating “NOWs”.  Perhaps.  It depends.

What or Who, How “Alias Harlequin” ALWAYS depends on a totality of other dependencies, as it were (or is?)  “As such.”

Alias Harlequin, representative?  Not that can of worms.  AND the “thing” itself? (network of momentary dependencies-in-relation)?

What might we call (it/him/etc.) then?  And what would “calling” be/do – how?

WHO questions?

This Alias Harlequin.

“I am already so much the inscription of a divergence…What I was, if that could be described, was a whirlwind of tensions…”

Helene Cixous

“A word is binding and at the same time breaks our bonds.
To which of them shall I, one day, owe my freedom?”

“To one only.  Your name in shreds.”

-Edmond Jabes, Book of Resemblances

 

“Machines alone have realized that sleep is no longer permitted”

Machine

“machines alone have realized that sleep is no longer permitted”

– W. G. Sebald –

I haven’t slept.

Sometimes, in a dream, it feels like “it occurs to me.”

Trying to create a lesson plan for graduate students in the College of Education, I want to tell them why internet research / database searching / source evaluation seems so complex.  I take a hammer, a wrench, a tomahawk.  I bring a plow, a harness, a sewing machine.  I show a steam engine, a telegraph.  I think about them.

Hold them.  Turn them about.  Consider what you can do with them (if you know how).  Surmise what you can do with them (if you don’t know how).  Lots of things.

Humans devise stuff in concord with their environment.  Stones to stumble on, to throw, to hunt with, to pound.  Sticks to slap, clack, burn, poke.  Maybe carve.  Maybe paint.  Maybe write.

What we devise have certain rules, operations, constraints.  Remember the first time you wielded a hammer?  Learned to turn a doorknob?  Fitted a screwdriver to screw?

There’s a learning curve.  Adaptation.  Practice.  Change.

Try archery.  A piano.  Knit something.

Simple tools.  Fire.  Rock.  Wood.

Mud.  Sand.  Clay.

Try them.

So we figure out things that might be done with them.  Things to do, make, say, or think.  Certain things are more efficient.  Certain ways.  Certain hows.

We practice and experiment.  Devise.

I am 45.  Until I was in my teens, my fingers had not touched a lettered keyboard.  In high school I had a class for typing (on manual typewriters).  As a pianist I excelled.  My homework depended on the legibility of my handwriting through graduate school.  By 1993 there were computers in the “typing room.”

You don’t have to know how to write now.

I watch the pencil or pen move along lined paper.  What do I have to know in order to do this?  How can I make the marks turn out like this?  Dexterity, control, care, effort.

Handwriting

Alphabetic literacy, knowledge, craft, semantics, semiotics, grammar and so forth…

Turn the hammer in your hand.  Tighten the wrench.  Use a pushpin. Take up a fork.  Operate a knife with steak.  Raise the glass.

“Tools,” perhaps, technologies – technics and techniques – with their own sets of rules for our cognizant bodies.

Pull out your phone.  A swipe, some taps, a certain way of holding.  Understanding icons, visual literacies, kinetic craft, operational knowledge.  Know-how.  Complex.  Astounding.  Dexterous.  Intelligent.  Think of all the things you need to know to work that small device.

We devise.

And then adapt.

Diagram the innards of a personal computer, a Smartphone, a tablet, a scanner.  Imagine the adaptation required to operate that machine.

SOC

Think networked information.  Big Data.  If all our images, texts, conversations, correspondences, budgets, ledgers, laws, entertainments, plans, designs, models, experiments, applications, programs, art…(and so on) are DIGITAL / digitized… then algorithm’d and interfaced, softwared and connected… NONE OF US KNOW WHAT IS THERE.

The machines to which we dump, turn-over, DEVISE, inform, enTRUST – the artifacts of our living – because it is too much – no ONE (person or institution) catalogs, lists, calculates, organizes, arranges, assigns – THE MACHINES MUST DO IT BECAUSE OF THE SCALE and PACE…

NOBODY KNOWS WHAT IS THERE

Stacked algorithms and protocols select relevancy and value; similarity and related; significance and import; primacy and rank.  We operate.  And barely.  How do we guess the coding of its imputing?  How do we wrangle the keywords?  Information coming from anywhere at anytime into any port…what are the techniques, dexterity, knowledge, grammars, semantics, decoding, crafts – analytics?? – (at least as complex as the machine we diagrammed – times powers of 10 for all the machines involved!!) in order to locate our NEED; QUALITY; ESSENTIAL…?

In other words – we turn over.  We devise these concords of things – and revise ourselves according to them.

Internet_map_1024.jpg

Internet map

You’re guess may be as good as mine.  What is in there, where it is, and how to access it.  We use a Smartphone for many more things (at once) than a hammer or pen – while we and it are being used by systems larger than any of us altogether.

Systems of devised systems – we have no hope of controlling.  NONE of us.  Nor all of us.  We are entangled: mutually dependent – and subordinate.  We DON’T KNOW.  We DON’T KNOW.  We don’t know.  We’re IN the weather completely.

This is rough, when you also have a propensity, passion, or interest to know.  Subordinating oneself to a system is hard with a developed desire for autonomy, freedom, liberty.  As far as I know, at the mercy of was not a Sapient evolutionary goal.  Yet here we are.

How shall we adapt to these devices?

How shall we then live?

Between the Spheres

sketch by Hallie Linnebur

This is what it looks like, in the one hand

Between the Spheres

I try to wrap my mind around it.

An attempt to connect the two – a keen accomplishment (perhaps unique to all the world of humans) – of right knowing what left is doing, and vice-versa.

Lost along the way.

I describe it as a process – indicating neither beginning nor end-directing goal, but rather recursive procedural motions.  Realm of natural orders?  Reversible time?  Or indifferent to?

Can’t tell one from the other – hypothesize function – track trace with technology.  Pretend data.  Posit interpretation as theory.  Wind up again.

Variously termed reentry.  Autopoiesis.  Self-organization, containment, production.  Ouroborous.  Infinite regress.

Middle is muddle.  Diversely called.  Corpus Callosum.  Hermeneutics.  Subjective objectivity. The observer effect.  Confusion.

Fusion-with.  Heads and tails are absent, or amount to the same.  Keeping an eye (I) on the eye (I), so to speak.  There are no levels of perception, simply additive, truly more of the same.  No stacking, just tangle.  Alongside, underneath, around, beside, below and through, but ever bound by hemispheres.

Imagine dynamo-balls – activated collectives of interdependent energized cells humming, buzzing or otherwise functioning according to their wired connective wholes-in-part.  Betwixt the vibratory masses some buffery twingled transmission zone irrepressibly attempting translation of pulse-sorts, glyph-types, data blips…circuitously globe-to-globe.

I try to wrap my mind around it.

Wrapping, coiling, carrying…sire-wires…another organizational knottage of wattage…behavioral systems, courier-tropes, internal/infernal communications rife with all the residual, syntactical, emergent and scumbling give-and-take, mis-interpretation and noise.

Submarines and warships, encryption and decoding, fuzzily idiosyncratic as love or larger loops.  Chaos all the way down or ‘round.  Patterning bottom’s-up or through.

This is what it looks like, in the one hand.