(please read in pace with tune below)
Moments: The reality of accrual and depletion, growth and diminishment
“It is of the essence of life that it does not begin here or end there, or connect a point of origin with a final destination, but rather that it keeps on going, finding a way through the myriad things that form, persist and break up in its currents.”
Tim Ingold – Being Alive: Essays on knowledge, movement and description
In the reading journal I keep, I record what I read each day in entries numbered according to my years. For instance, today is Day 364 of 43. Each day counts UP the days I have lived, simultaneously counting DOWN the days I have left.
If our weight in the world is conspired via our capacity for object-making, “perception,” – how we collate and identify active collective of particles, lending them shape and color, space and duration – in effect: “organize them according to our own purposes and facilities” – co-creating manageable entities with which we might interact and navigate life “sensibly” (body-minded)
then the “lightness” of vitality/movement/being comes from the constant (relatively frenetic) buzz and action of the unseen particles composing and constituting the scales we are able to perceive and conceive.
Does this sound workable? I trust that I am a hive of vibrating, exchanging, bounding, colliding and connecting atoms/molecules/whatever, and that to certain interlinked bundles of material interactivities this can appear, be sensed, perceived, interacted with, as an apparently distinct “organism/being/organization of activities” constructing (or being constructed/perceived AS) almost a form, a differance, an “object.”
And likewise, and vice-versa.
Particles, drilled down or zoomed out in their interactivities and motion form ever-varying “wholes” (temporarily composed perceptible forms or variable entities). Thus poets and scientists, thus Ovid and religions, philosophers…HUMANS…METAPHOR. Taking various realities for another and one another, or, ALWAYS – in relation to.
Crossing and dipping, perceiving/conceiving, we are able to invent scenarios and subjects, conduits and concretions, whereby we are also able to communicate, invent, share, cognize imaginative possibilities for our temporary coagulates (or “life-forms,” ever active and morphing). The tinier particles simply continue their trajectories and behaviors while their collaborated forms appear to be “born” (or formulated, occurring) and die (or dissolve, dismember, separate to join in other alignments, reactions and compounds).
Thinking is a lucky pleasure of our particular combo-formulations, as love, emotion, felt embodiment, enmindedness, entanglements…
I am grateful for all of it: lovely purposeful accidents to sense, perceive, grow, change, become, decease, connect and disconnect…attach and release…combine and unravel.
IN THE MIDST of which…and this is where the trembling, shifting, unstable, particularly and elaborately conditioned partial perception “I” initially chose (in languaging) to begin…”in the midst of…”
but then I realized that MIDST might beggar a belief-explanation (theory) as to what I was beginning in the midst of…ALWAYS…this strange living process…and so I diverted through the above contingent caveat.
i.e. EVERYTHING DEPENDS. On context, formulations, occasions, circumstances, surroundings, kind, type, species, conditions composing NOW.
There is some longevity to “sticking together” (successfully? Symbiotically? Interactively linked or bonded for some formal survivable persistence) but it’s all quite temporary (the place-time from which an opinion is held or conceived, promulgated…changes slightly with each moment, more in an hour, a day, each “year,” each…occurrence).
To say: all is active and contingent. I.e. DEPENDS – on multitudes of very specific things, unseen tiny things, enormous systemic things, situations, arrangements being…”the case.”
A Hal Hartley film or a novel by Dostoevsky, the face of my child or the sound waves of song; the body and voice of my beloved…won’t have any “effect” “meaning” “sense” when my particles realign and this particular arrangement is “dead,” “decayed,” “reorganized.”
Activity is a curious thing.
Although we experience “age,” “knowledge,” “experience,” as a kind of “growth” or accretion, it isn’t very long at all in our formulating as a human before we become profoundly aware that our “growth” is an indicator of cessation, “progress” a sign of our undoing…dismantling, shifting, and changing.
This central comprehension of human systems – paradoxical tension, momentary accretion/diminishment – likely fuels much of the emotion, trauma, passion, energy, delight, grief, disturbances and elations of our particular species instinctual cognitively embodied behaviors.
Angst, joy, terror, hope – perhaps all of these reside in this mysterious yin-yang of coming together / coming apart AT ONCE and ALWAYS. Each addition is a removal, each connection another breakage, each revelation a forgetting. Each next accrues a last and never.
NOW – the pivot point of addition/subtraction – for human living.
I crave, delight, wonder, rejoice, and find my survival with each NEXT while grieving, losing, aching, suffering, and ceasing with each movement as well.
There is no choice in the matter (that I can see) – it happens. Everything we do effects and disaffects inherently.
Rising indeed IS falling. Growing IS diminishing. Living truly IS dying, while our dying is yet living for something else…Reciprocal, ongoing, continuous realignments. Any departure is a novel thing joined.
And thus, simply process, simply going-on. Not “us” but it. Not you, I, we, but the particles and universal systems, arrangements.
And we, in the midst.
Perhaps. That’s how I’m thinking it today.
As I count up and down the days.
WordPress peers and inspiring friends – new love, new work, busy summer offspring and the above explain my lack of involvement here. Autumn approaches, new semesters, school year beginning, and so on. I SO hope to be active in your company again. I appreciate your comments and patience. What a large thing life is.
As I catch up on your works – I am SO thankful for the talents, visions, expressions, idiosyncratic thought and emotion that each of you have found a particular and meaningful (and SIGNIFICANT in whatever medium) way to realize in this forum. I appreciate it greatly and am truly humbled and grateful for these odd and generative connections.
image from the reading replete with lifeguard (son), hostess handing out favors (buttons, nipples), stewardess serving odd mixtures of airline snacks, a priest blessing and moving people around, a waitress and a dapper emcee, a basket of fortunes created by my daughter, and myself wandering the space reading pieces and climbing on things.
“the more than us in us that is at that moment irreducible to meaning or satisfaction”
“our repeated baffling by the trauma of a Real”
“the ordinary is not ordinary; it is extra-ordinary, uncanny”
(read online for free!)
“What hope do I have of attaining the thing that I push away?
My hope lies in the materiality of language, in the fact that words are things too…A name ceases to be the ephemeral passing of nonexistence and becomes a concrete ball, a solid mass of existence; language, abandoning the sense, the meaning which was all it wanted to be, tries to become senseless”
Zoe Ereni is a writer, performer and activist who would have been a style icon and comedian a century ago.
Dreams, thoughts, and experiences expressed through poetry and prose
Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.
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