Self-writing / Autography

web I


I want to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including wanting to know how wanting to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including wanting to know how wanting to know how wanting to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including…


Updating Margins

Greetings all you who take the time to peruse my blog.  I thank you.  Let me begin this by saying how I have missed creating blog entries that feel creative to me, that require me to a degree that is nourishing and satiating, rather than feel like marginal notes to my studies.  Thank goodness for a few projects and Friday Fictioneers that  spur me to some dedicated time spent “creating” purposively – differently from intellectual processing toward understanding.  And yet…

As I emerge into a brief pause between semesters, I find myself bewildered with experience and an oddly felt “freedom” that spawn confounding questions in me.  As I completed my final semester paper this week, my mind and body revved to the thought that fictions, essays and poems that participate in the structure of my desk – beckoning and ready as I researched away – can be grasped and delighted in, engaged at will, enter my cranial conversation…but this is also true of my researching – I have been consistently able to construct academic projects that involve and enable my immersion in those things that inspire and enthrall me – that feed my “what do I want to know?” urges.  So where this different nuance of feeling/experience in reading?

This is the question occupying me currently (or field of questions).  As I re-entered Robert Musil’s writings these past few days, while skimming and browsing an unbelievable desk laid with exquisite appetizers (Hejinian, Okri, Danto, Deleuze, Shklovsky, Creeley, Fante and so on) I recognized a feeling I can only describe as “insight.”  My preferential selections do not differ much between resources for academic work and resources for some other purpose.  I am driven to “know” what I am driven to know – it is continuous, related, dynamic.  Any sources from any genre or field or discipline that provide a certain “something” accomplish it.  What felt like “insight” was the recognition as I ranged over very different styles (Floridi, Serres, Wittgenstein, DFW, Larry Levis and so on) that what I seek consistently (and an effect that Musil invariably realizes for me) is work that I must achieve, that challenges, that invents, wrestles, requires change and adaptation, innovation and labor on my part to be ingested, understood.  That forces dialogue between my micro-world of knowledge and understanding and another.  Be it in the mode of expression, the language employed, the ideas, questions and concepts examined or points of view – it must be something that invigorates and surprises, invites dialogue and conversation toward meaning and understanding to occur.  Writing that requires change to be engaged.

At the same time I recognize that I read differently different writings.  I expect poetry, aphorisms, fragments to require percolatory time, as if the texts and spaces sprinkle my mind-lawn and will find their way to the roots in their own time.  I expect logical writings, perspectives or positions to argue with me, to have asked questions beyond what I have had the knowledge to ask, therefore pushing whatever I contain toward corrections and new formulations – adaptation and growth.  If writing asks that I be passive, within sentences it is set aside.

These are the questions I’m formulating and troubling in this margin –

  • How are freedom and restraint – affordances and constraint related (particularly in relation to my felt experience of reading selections – and to what purposes (“academic” vs. – ?)  (is there a versus? or is my criteria for reading homogenous regardless of “assignments” or artifact?)
  • Related: compositions – whether related to schoolwork or blog or journal or artistic projects – are they dissimilar in any way other than forms of expression, manifestation and items?  Or is all processing and expressing work similarly creative, inventive – processes toward meaning?
  • Can I begin to dissolve my penchant for categories and tasks, loosen a little my instinct of organizing complexity?  Do I want to?  Why?

These are my offering for today – reports from the margins, the notations always accruing and collocating in my experience – given air through a shifting of immediate responsibilities…

“To accept questions consists in immersing oneself in the search for the answers that answer them.  Furthermore, the questions specify the answers that they admit.”

-Humberto Maturana-

attached: a phenomenal recollective account of the theory of Autopoiesis – of creatively self-organizing systems like ourselves and our molecules that stuns me.  I invite you to read and differently consider your experience of the world:

Humberto Maturana – Preface to “Tree of Knowledge”

“the pursuit of knowledge does not mean conquest, but invention, the establishment of new relations, which supplement already existing ones and can transform them, make them branch out into unexpected dimensions, rather than deny them, or discredit them as manifestations of opinion, illusion, ‘culture.'”

-Isabelle Stengers-

attached:  a powerful account of “knowing” and how we conceive/relate to the acquisition of knowledge.  Again, if these sorts of things interest you and you are not familiar with her work – I highly encourage you to browse this writing:

Isabelle Stengers – Do We Know How to Read Messages in the Sand?

And again, I thank you for indulging me  in sharing some of my process of living

through this blog…

The Nothingness of Symbols

a drowning.  a submersion.  a baptism (immersion)

I am drinking the arbitrary nothingness of symbols.

I am writing.

Writing is both a cry and a response.

Intuition / rationalization.

Nurtured and natural.

In the realm of symbols, I am safely between.  In the place of no safety.  The nowhere realm – a world of now here.

Where I am drowning.  Delirious.  Drunken on these symbols, arbitrary and well-developed, representative and unnecessary (?) signs.

I am alive.

Combining intellect to emotion to situation and its social constituents…I am writing, uttering, verbalizing –

– and, by chance, perhaps, you are here.

I am side-swiped.  Side-tracked.

In other words,

I set out to circumlocute on this very “subject” / “topic” / “matter”…yesterday…

resulting in a nothing of the kind.

Drowning in a limitation of symbols –

“composition,” we call it,

“For it is in the nature of language, as I have already noted briefly, that it is governed by the principle of ‘duality of functioning’, be more specific, the distinctive features of the sound system that constitute a language are determined by the limited set of phonemes employed in constructing the next unit up, morphemes.  And morphology is determined by the uses to which morphemes are put in forming lexemes or words.  Words, in their turn, are formally describable by the functions they perform in sentences.  Sentences, in turn, achieve their significance from the discourse in which they are embedded.  Discourse is governed by the communicative intentions of the speakers.  The communicative intentions of speakers, of course, are governed by the transactional requirements of the culture.  And along the way, there are further determinants of form that operate in this same way…”

-Jerome Bruner-

That sickness, that plenitude, those realistic illusions – as if one were totally absorbed in the unrealities of the human way of being-in-the-world.

“the world is not what we thought it was”

-Jim Harrison-

There will be a day my sons will die.

Hopefully I will be gone.

My spouse will die.

Hopefully I will be gone.

There is a word for things that hold too much (e.g. “things that can hold no more”)

Things at, or beyond, capacity.

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.  They are drunk, drowned, saturate.

And still there are fresh occurrences.

There are also #s, codes, algorithms, symbols…

I like the idea of doing something that matters, of being someone that matters, of my strange happenstance of existing as an organism having some effect, making some verifiable difference in a larger web of existing things

liking the idea certainly doesn’t make it so

and yet, perhaps,

My intention had been to talk about the wonder…

…that out of 26 letters…

this many years (generations, eons)

and variety

had even occurred.

Was all.

that meaning, is interesting, is cool

that, to (lil’ ol’) me…

it’s amazing…!

in 26 letters

#s, symbols, diagrams

we keep constructing…

Spontaneous Reduction

ink and touch

Then I dropped my voice – BOOM – right onto the sidewalk.

A glitter, a spritzing, a spark.  A diffusion and ooze.  It runs out.

Watch it pour along the surface, draining toward sewage.

Voice.  A voice.  My voice.  Sploosh.


All the books I want are priceless.

Those I need – they cost too much.

I am a writer who learns.

I am a learner who writes.

I am a failure that loves.

I am a lover that fails.

It becomes apparent: Yes, I am.  A parent.

The book I am not reading –

Emotions and Understanding

caught in a withdrawal.

That is, boundaried from writing.

Between abstraction, and empathy.

There lies a void, inevitably.

You can’t trust silence.

We rush to fill.

(That distant sound).


I read for conversation.

But Writer says I’m “vague”

(don’t fulfill responsibilities)

Attention.  Integrity.  Inquiry.  Response.


I simply tripped, a clumsiness

[I dropped my voice]

but I am here.

Enmeshed in words but unable.

(metadata lacking)

I’m no librarian.

Vague because I say so.

(my human apparatus little equipped for the overwhelm of data)

Ant in a kingdom

-of words-

of signifiers.

Less than that.

I wrap my brain around it.

Waving goodbye to body.

My voice drops.

Alberto Giacometti sketch of Diego Giacometti



Other Worlds / Our World … as conceived by a Semiotic Animal

The following is, again, a fairly dense essay, but I find the content so fascinating and very well presented.  The concepts and observations herein form a central core of what I desire to use language to explore – signs upon signs within signs over signs – living in the specificity of our species – and attempting to discover what/where/how that specificity (namely language) might lead/take/auto-generate itself forward.  If these sorts of things interest you as well, i encourage you to lend Deely’s writing your time.

(click here for essay) – Umwelt by John Deely


What I might name or designate, “the Here.”  The present.  Synonym to “only.”  That there are not points in time.

Perhaps always movement.  Have we uncovered something that is still?  Not that I know of.  But perhaps.  What do we call it?

Rather IS-ness is what I’m referring to.  Things that ARE.  NOT eternally the same.  NOT really able (reliable) to be depended on or assumed.  NOT all-anything, omni-nihilism.  But  movement, active, undergoing change (literally – in way less than fractions of milliseconds – remember, we’re talking about things that ARE – no fractions).  Like a rock, or an ocean, a sense-of-self or single cell.

Truly momentary, present-ly – precisely why the adverb was made – to come closer to experience, reality, in its motion and manner, without fantasizing it into a definable, locatable, or measurable.

While all is wobbly and wobbling – shifting, bouncing, deteriorating, expanding, dancing, vibrating, whatever – once in a while things wobble together (actually, constantly), and when certain things do (oscillation, pulse, a kind of unison rhythm),  moments also occur (to us).

Never resumed, never recalled, never predicted.  Ever occurring.  It is shaky, reality.

N Filbert 2012

Systems Theory


Regulating Relationships

From most points of view, life is a system.  Enormous and elaborate interlacing activities keep it going on.  Biology, physics, religion, mathematics and logic; semiotics, psychology, aesthetics and history; chemistry and health, poetry and politics, philosophy and fame – all intricate reverberant systems of night (and possibly?!) infinite interconnections – visible and invisible, conscious and unconscious.

I feel it all the time.  I’m “affected.”

Hubbub over sports, havoc of war, hullabaloo of cosmology and genetics.  Tentacles of memory, omens from the past, illnesses and love.  My own aches and pains.  Allergies, anxiety, pleasure and joy.  Tastes, values.  All of/in these indecipherably interlocking worlds of living things, views, theories, events and conundrums.  Words, images, feelings.  Wires, energy, matter.  Signals, symbols.

I feel it.  I’m “affected.”  Always.

All ways.

An hypothetically infinite ganglia or swarm of influences and infections  — a finite and mortal middle-aged male inhabiting a very small space made of receptors, pores, nerves, cells and liquids: constantly thrumming, sloshing, snap-crackling, emoting and perceiving a cosmos of effects/affects.

This is why I keep saying: I get it, I’m totally “a/effected.”

The situation is perhaps similar to a paramecium channeling a bolt of lightning.  Most likely the little sucker survives in some fashion – but what the – ?

How do we manage?

No wonder we blitz out, dull, “veg,” “pass out,” sleep.  Drugs, fantastical entertainments, thrills, spills and crack-ups…anything to direct/divert the universe-sized charges incessantly overwhelming us.

Something struck me today.  In our growing history of surviving, perhaps even thriving, how have humans as a species often overcome overwhelming difficulties?  Well sure, all of the ways mentioned above: escape, denial, “tuning out,” apathy, ignorance, fantasy, insanity or violence, danger and so on, but when we are perceived (perceive ourselves) to “advance” “progress” or “grow” – what is the method?  (When we can interpret one apart from “accident” or “effect”?)

Have we not repeatedly immersed ourselves in our reality (“the way things are”) and used them to our benefit rather than detriment?  Technology, science, arts and beliefs – the seeking of the facts, turning them to our interests or needs, finding fulfillment and challenge – furtherance – survival.

What snapped in me today (I’ve had years of “managing” my “e/affectedness” thorugh alcohol, isolation or the dependence of my children) is this:  if our inquiries and theories by and large agree/propose that “life” is one phenomenal, inescapable and gargantuan set of layered and inter/intra-relational systems, then “relating/relationships,” their process(es) and effects are precisely where the work, the living, the surviving (perhaps thriving) emphases ought to be engaged.

That balancing, recharging, nourishing, coping, diversion and awareness might be best figured out right where it happens – in systems of relationships.  That where we are “affected” and what “effected” by is precisely where our greatest opportunity to “effect” must be.   Our process of relating, our relationships with/in the cosmos of possibilities, is our living.  What we know or think seems to tell us – our attention, our “solutions,” our being belongs there: in relationship.

Linguistic diagram

Thank you Holly (my wife), Scott (my dearest friend), children (all of you, my charges) – and others – you truly regulate me in this world.