The ’45: Considering Complexities – On Plasticity of Identity

floyd merrell diagram

On Plasticity: Being Ourselves, Able to be Ourselves

 

My birthday recurred.  Post-40 in a thriving family of 6, there are not many days deemed “special” that end up being about oneself as the father, caretaker, partner, provider, no matter how small the scope of the surround.  Soccer games and music lessons; feeding times and laundering; all keep going on – birthday or no.  The exhaustion continuous activity and felt responsibility breeds seems to increase in proportion to the numbers signifying one’s years upon earth.

But there are flourishes and touchings – like small miracles – proffered patience, generosity and deference gifted one’s way as the children mature.  I received momentously considered and thoughtfully creative presents and offerings from my brood, including the effort of travel (a 5-hour drive for a 3-hour meal), some self-deferrals of wants and demands for a day, shared and repurposed objects and much love and affection.

In the midst of which my brother-in-law texted: “And what have YOU done for YOU today?”

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Isn’t nearly everything we do for ourselves in some way? I thought.  Caring for those we love, providing for their needs and responding to their living feeds our hope that we might be valuable partners and parents.  Enabling others’ satisfactions or play, achievements or events provides a goodness and gladness to our sense of identity.  WHAT DO I (or would I) WANT?  [If things revolved around ME? – What would I select for MYSELF, my TIME, my ACTIVITIES, were my surround and environment conducive, supportive, adaptive and compliant – attuned to MY wishes and feelings, desires and preferences – as its Center and Hub?]

This engendered heavy pause.  Followed by weeping.  Since my youth I’ve pleased people.  Especially those I crave being pleasing to.  Ever considering: if I find them, serve them, fuel them, tend to their whims and their moods and their wants and don’t fail them – they’ll have NO REASON not to accept and acknowledge me, enjoy and delight in me…perhaps even come to NEED and to LOVE me!

Still most of these persons have come and then gone – not needing an enthusiastic audience-of-me, my support systems or enthralled amour, cooking skills, cab driving, housekeeping, therapeutic attunement, nursing or cock…so much as an “Other,” I suppose.  An other alike with mixed needs, wants and cares, fears, doubts and preferences…uncertainties.

WHAT WOULD I WANT?

Being malleable, self-deprecating, at-your-service and adaptive in order to eventuate my longed-for (but not fully realized) purposes of belonging, chosenness, appreciation, acceptance and love, predisposed me to the Phenomena of Plasticity.

That organisms jostle and interact, adjust, emerge, revise and alter in accord with their environments and one another toward an imagined maximum survivability came as no surprise to me.

That my brain and body bend and twist, reconfigure and rework themselves toward perceived pleasures, building likewise to avoid potentially death-dealing pains, forms an accurate metaphor of my experience.

Do this, try to be that, retrain the brain, assimilate languages, nuances, behaviors and tastes, become parent and scholar, musician and lover, friend and coworker to an enormous variety of persons, places, and things (or situations).

Sounds desirable!  After all, we’re fascinated and entangled in networks and viruses, Renaissance-personages and extensive applications and sites – world seems participatory, fluid, collaborative and self-responsive – play-doh, silly putty, plastics, rubber and earth.  Water, air, flesh and fire.  Living would seem to be a plastic rather than static affair – examine a corpse! (and observed long enough, even then we’re not done and prove pliable and transforming).

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Yet for me came a hitch as I pondered all this.  A lifetime spent adapting, responding and recursiving change for results that never quite arrive in a reality where even those chances will cease…

WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOURSELF?

When the question is put to me:  “What is it, right now, you prefer?” it turns out, among many acknowledgedly diverse and contradictorily complex cognitive-affective responses – I USUALLY KNOW WHAT I’D PREFER.  Very few options taste best to me in any given moment, and their range and scope are slim!

And then there’s the fact that I feel great admiration towards those who speak their mind and express their desires in a direct manner!  They still may compromise and adapt, but both adults and children who proclaim what they feel and want, prefer or need, ever impress me.  I (on the other hand) tend to try constantly to guess and anticipate what those around me prefer or desire before asking into my own – as if to say – if there’s room or time after all of you…I’d sure like to…but by then I’m too tired.

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So how plastic are we?  How multiple, really?  Since age 7 or 8, 12 or 15, my core desires have been pretty consistent:  Read.  Write.  Love.  Sex.  Explore.  Make.  At any given moment, regardless of conditions or surround, regardless of the options even, my litany of WHAT I WOULD DO FOR MYSELF usually boils down to this brief list.  In addition to which, I usually have a good idea of who, where, what, when, and sometimes how I’d go about each of the same – if conditions, environment and possibilities were dependent on ME.

I’ve definite tastes and predilections, ways I like to feel in what venues, activity-biases and condition proclivities (even though those nearest me often say they’d never know it by my choices).

Maybe the Phenomenon of Plasticity hypothesis runneling its now-scientific way through the cosmos and further than cells is a living CAPACITY but not necessarily a QUALITY?  Accident not essence?  Perhaps plasticity suits the powers-that-be, our politico-socio-cultural nowthen (STEM disciplines, Markets, Politics & Capital, Networks & Technologies) that would love for us adapt and adjust, go-along and “flow” as if its “natural,” “observable” and “scientific fact”?  (At the moment).

I’m not disputing it’s COOL – our abilities to change and flex, evolve and habituate, refashion and conform – and indeed it’s often necessary for our survival – but there’s a gap, hesitation, incompleteness to the story.  It doesn’t “FIT” to experience, or only partially so.  Something’s being assumed underneath.

And what is that?  Why have I preferred preferring others to my own, yet not ceased having my own all these years?

How would I be if I believed ALL were equally plastic?  That it wasn’t my job to adjust to everyone, remake to everything around me, instead insisting upon their/its relative capacity to reshape and orient to me as well?

WHAT WOULD I WANT if I could “be myself” (express my consistent biases and longings, behaviors and thought-trajectories, mood-palette and drives) in environments in which I was enabled/able to be/do so?  A surround that exercised the capacity of plasticity in relation to ME?

NOT EITHER/OR

Granted, some do, (those that stick around or don’t realize a choice) and in varying degrees, but I seldomly bank on that and announce or convey myself…usually I hedge against abandonment or rejection – fear of pains winning out over hopes of pleasure.

That’s “natural” too, the disciplines say – but there are so many counter-examples: ones who openly state their “I would prefer not tos” or “I would prefers…”  What have they got on me in this plasticized universe?

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There’s expression:  I prefer finding questions.  Ferreting unknowns.

FOR myself – there, I’ve done it.  At least once today.

09.22.2015

Exploring the Interior

Howitis - Beckett

I am an outdoorsman of the indoors

-Heidi Julavits-

Maybe I’m meant to be a philosopher – one who asks, observes, thinks + wonders, ponders perspectives, theorizes potential generalities, hopes reports and reflections might “stick” somehow to a wider frame, might be shared, or sound true.  Perhaps that’s sociology, or anthropology, or just the case of being a “social animal” – who could say?

I notice a title, er, there is a title I just saw on the spine of a book loaned to me by the library where I work, en-titled “Gesturing Toward Reality”…which, if we believed it, proves another spine in the pile: “The Primacy of Semiosis.”  If.

Or as if.  Azziff.  As. If.

If that’s how-it-is.

(“How It Is” is also in the stack).

As If That’s How It Is

And So It Begins

Goes

“And so it goes.”

My house is cluttered.  I seem to have a penchant for creators.  Not artistes.  Perhaps the kids wonder.  I task and clean (hardly) in order to order what I can especially whenever anything or everything feels disordered (or I am), but I repeatedly conjoin with those whose vibrancy depends (or seems to) on mess, on possibility and potential, on emergence.  Whilst I career about, disordered and emergent, clinging, striving, desperate for order:  ordered thoughts, ordered words, ordered places, ordered life.  None of which ever even remotely eventuate.

Except perhaps.  Or, as if. 

Still things settle quickly in me.

Crumble, toss, shred, pile or pack anything about, for, with, around me (even my self with my self, or selves) and it funnels, spirals, gathers – most amazingly efficiently! – in fact quite remarkably and chemical-reactiony to a bottom or base – a dredge, a sludge, a collection of chaos quickly finding its way to a murmur – a melancholy.

What would a writer do?  A philosopher?  Musician?  Psychologist?  Lover?  Parent?  Friend?  Any, all of the roles I might enact as parts of my selves?  Or…what would I do?  What might an I made up of me(s) want to do?

That thing [being, organism]…in moments settled and gathered and overwhelmed – feeling steady, calm and helpless in the face of things – MELANCHOLY – “good” I guess (comparatively – a state in which the energy is gone for acting, for performing in the face, presence or need of another)…particularly:

  • When the weather is ‘right’ for it (40s & raining)
  • When there’s too much or too little to do
  • When depleted from something taxing (performances, events, demands, others)
  • When certain of scarcity and definite end

The thing wants particular music – “sad songs” (Mark Kozelek, Arvo Part, soundtracks, solo piano or cello); a stable table and sheaf of lined blank papers; a Bic Crystal medium ball-point pen in blue or black; 1-3 hours uninterrupted; endless drink equal parts vodka, tonic and 100% grapefruit juice; a cigarette or two; loose layered clothing; and an outside for the inside to poke around in I guess, to hazard (haphazardly). 

That’s what I do.

Time and space, a melancholy, a setting…

or sex,

a vital moisty intimacy with (and only with) the one I love,

desperately (unfortunately) need, desire, crave, wish for…

So – to write.

To leak in a hesitant line.  Ink.

To see if the liquid residue scraping looping shapes across light blue lines of snowy-white notebook pages might in-scribe, in-form, make my inchoate choate – make the amorphous and disordered shapely and full, meaningful, possible.

Whether I might accept, discern, agree with something that makes its journey through the networks and passageways that apparently compose me

that might result in something I recognize or comply with, if even only

– like these are the times I stare neither at the bush with its waving tendrils, nor the fence poles they move against, but somewhere in between –

if even only [syn. for withholding judgment] (my drafts are filled with these) to hear the unknown or misremembered word

nothing in focus but an unlabelable feeling

which I call (when required) – “melancholy” –

defining for me something calm, dank, pure, correct –

a sieved and all-accounted-for awareness –

before some crazed and passionate outburst or heat, some diversion of this otherwise apparent cold, wet, burn.

The word I can’t recall (that I need) begins with a “c.”  Or perhaps an “a” or “ad-.” 

Or maybe something else among its 26 options.  25 really, I use so few that begin with “z.”

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Lael asks for statistical proof of decreased attention spans while I get bored of expression, description, “tack”…change the color of my pen and wonder why the average popular song is 3-5 minutes long but novels normally run past 100 pages.

It would seem that we all just want to be and be loved, however we verbalize it.

I still haven’t remembered that word…and refuse to utilize thesauri or Google.  Or any alternate synonym finder.

Our value lines seem so personal and arbitrary and irrational (philosopher?  Anthro-socio-psycho-logist?).

I want to be intimate with my partner.

In such a way.

In such a way that she understands, comprehends, – EXPERIENCES – how significant, important, crucial, essential

she really (REALLY)

IS

to me

to ‘a’ “me.”

Being.

This rambling ridiculous writing

is all, actually, thoroughly,

another misguided attempt to communicate.

Truly or in reality

That I exist in order to be a “me” in relation to a “you.”

Quite simply.

It weighs nothing

bears no responsibility

It’s simply.

I marry you (again).

I am.  A “folded clock.”

among billions.

If even only undeterminedly, undecided, uncertain, unsure, debatable, dubiously, [all synonyms for withheld judgments].

Not least among the spines arrayed before me: Complexity – My Struggle – The Erotic Phenomenon – Reviving the Living – Experiencing & The Creation of Meaning – Things Merely Are – Intertwingled – and Love.

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It occurs to me in matters of most everything that I need / demand / require CONTINUAL PROOF for something – for me – to count as “true” or “actual” – things have to be perpetually evidenced.

Nothing is…but…well…that’s why I trust in death.

Boiling it down to words

Scope.  Amount.  Scale.  Weight.  Quantity.  Quality.

Levels.  Layers.  Planes.  Fields.

Discourses.

Genetic.  Neuronal.  Cellular.

Physio- Bio- Psycho- Logical.

Socio-cultural.  Political.  National.  Natural.  Regional.  Personal.  Familial.

Speci-al.

At what, which, and how many – ?

Aesthetic.  Philosophical.  Anthropological.

Spiritual.  Zoological.  Hermeneutical.  Fantastical.  Objective.  Subjective.

Ontological.  Object-oriented.  Linguistic.  Super-natural.  Semantic.

Accounting.  Assessing.  Observing.  Reflecting.

Positing.  Reporting.  Reviewing.  Corroborating.  Demonstrating.  Scrutinizing.

Questioning.  Replying.

to what depth, amount, extent?

Hypothesizing.  Evaluating.  Theorizing.  Validating.

Claiming.  Proving.  Imagining.  Dreaming.  Making.

Inventing.  Fabricating.  Evidencing.  Doing.

Acting.  Thinking.  Being.

Saying.  Becoming.  Asking.

Telling.  Meaning.

Subconsciously.  Unconsciously.  Consciously.  Aware.  Remembering.

Hoping.  Feeling.  Sensing.  Perceiving.  Behaving.  Conjuring. Constructing.

Deconstructing.  Surmising.  Testing.  Forgetting.  Trying.  Grieving.  Pretending.

Wanting.  Wishing.  Loving.  Listening.  Sounding.  Hating.  Dwindling.

Deciphering.

Archaeological.  Historical.  Sociological.  Epistemological.  Scientifically.  Religiously.  Experientially.  Romantically.  Poetically.  Mathematically.  Surreptitiously.

Doubting.  Displaying.  Marking.  Determining.  Undermining.  Mistaking.  Remarking.

Portraying.  Representing.  Creating.  Erasing.  Collaborating.  Emitting.  Evincing.

Eliminating.  Describing.  Exploring.  Inscribing.  Translating.  Transmitting.

Mending.  Lending.  Tending.

how many ways on how many levels?

at what scope, scale, quality, quantity

depth, breadth, value, radius, remainder

quotient, sum, absence, addition

Discipline.  Field.  Behavior.  Practice.  Activity.  Interaction.  Stillness.  Thoroughness.  Modes.

Searching.  Re-searching.  Troubling.  Uncovering.  Accessing.  De-accessioning.  Programming.  Deprogramming.

at what point, proof, progress, prospect, projection

is one’s EXPERIENCE VALIDATED

as GENUINE, AUTHENTIC, REAL?

Aware and acknowledged

Approved

and to whom?  how?  why?

the what?

Inexhaustibility Theorem

Incompleteness Theorem

Uncertainty Theorem

Chaos Theory

Complexity

unbound                              incalculable                        not demonstrable

Begin.

The bum-rush of living

entanglement

There are places we “escape to,” i.e. repair to for very specific reasons and purposes.  Maybe an acquaintance’s pad for hurried or feverish orgasms.  A park or patch of woods for perspective, silence or briefly encounters with “natural nature.”  A carrel in a library to prompt and focus our studies.  A basement stairwell for sustaining shots of liquor, bathroom window or fire escape for a stealthy cigarette.  Favored chair and lighting for reading, drawing, reverie…

Repair.

A therapist’s office wherein to be oblivious for a moment, anonymously honest, saved from (and toward) pressing responsibilities.  A café, a waiting room, a stoplight, a store.  Our furtive thievery of solitude.  Self-care.  Secrets.

A human is a strange animal indeed.  Tantalized by taboo.  Somehow more fully owner when the product is taken for oneself.  Somehow more strenuously truthful when maintaining a lie.  Somehow better at self-care when stealthy and artfully dodging.

Perhaps not all of us.

Who claims directly to know what they want?  What feels good to them?  What they obsessively desire?

“Pre-emptive strikes.”  We are wary.  We negotiate rather than demand or direct (what separates the “neurotic” from the “psychopath”?).

The time goes by.  Incrementally, unceasingly, dependably.  In leaps.  Life, again, moment after moment, wends and charges, plows and slips its certain way into death.

We hesitate, we detour, we “pit stop.”  We navigate, wander and avoid.  We indulge and punish, set out and swerve, ashame and repent.  Sort of.  Sneaking pleasures, performing roles and rites, detracting, desisting, compulsing, rewarding…

Remarkable at tricking and deceiving ourselves.

We are interesting characters, sincerely.

Operative on many contradictory planes.  Ridiculous, incredible, foolish, amazing…complex.

Woven into surrounds we continually seek to distinguish ourselves from, in, for.  Tremendously unstable, uncertain, tormented, delighted and undone.

Just try to piece it apart: what you WANT, and what you WANT.  What you DO and what you WISH.  Where you GO and where you ARE.  Who you APPEAR and why you BE.

What you want and what you want.  What you desire and what you mean.  What you do and what you say.  How.  How.  Why.  and What.

It is all quite twisted.  Very weird and strange and unusually usual for us, to BE.  The “high” and the “low.”  “Good” and “bad.”  “Productive” and “lazy.”  Health and unhealthy, partial and whole, fragment and phrase.

Complicated beings in intricate surrounds.  The regularity is what’s irregular, the constancy is changing, that which we’d love to consider paradox or mystery.  The off-putting put on.  The performance unmasked.

“How many out-of-character things did I need to do, I wondered, before the world rearranged itself around me?”

-Ben Lerner, 10:04

Deceptive dialogues giving so much away.  Proper behaviors exposing our lies.

My son recently said he was a “walking contradiction” and I thought is that not the nature of humanity?

Confusion and contrast, contractions and deconstruct.

Wilder beasts – fearful and proud, generously scrooged, clinging as it slips our grasps.

Odd, misnomered things.  Smart here, dull there, sexy and unkind, popularly rejected, abnormally similar.  Attempts to be truthful mire us in espionage.

The bum rush of living – death’s inescapable quicksand

Celldom (continuation)

oval sketching

(click image for previous content)

            Unwittingly, I suspect, you or they have begun encouraging me to fantasize, concoct alternate realities, to record what “self-awareness” I might possess – in effect, to make art.  To use artifice.  Pretend.

As they frustrate with my mind, I sense them agitate, they request I try again to inscribe ‘emotional states or fluctuations’… what I hear is: “Be delusional!  Pretend you can be other than yourself and fabricate observations or reports of what you find!  Write for us from a realm of your imaginings!”

I write: “Magenta with a violet, a blackened green, a touch of white and several mixtured hues of blue.”  One morning simply “ultramarine.”  The view up is amazing from the window when I wake – another problem – what is waking, what is not.

At this point I begin to draft single-lined wriggles and ovals (as near to circles as I am able) – day after day – delivering these gestures as my only possible responses of non-delusional self-observation / “awareness.”

They transport me somewhere.  “Some place quieter, restful, pastoral and with the sound of water,” they say.  My only hope is thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms shake me through and through somehow.  I profess rainfall to be cleansing, charming, enervating and distracting, but thunderstorms really tear me away from things toward some other beauty.  I draw an oval filling the page (as much as possible given the argumentative shapes) with emptiness.  Is this what is desired?  Am I approaching an “expression” with this instrument?

Another day I attempt a square and rectangle, even triangles – all with single lines and full of nothing, but none of these standardized and recognizable forms seem accurate.  No self-portrait (is this what you’re after?) could be so distinct.  Perceivable.  “Only bits and fragments appear common among ‘selves,’” I say (regrettably), “unless there be love.”

They (you?) pounce on this – “love! Ah!  Might you tell us, write” (very different things of course) “more about what you mean by this?”

“Don’t get hung up on words,” I whisper, and I’m off again to silence.

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            There seems to be no library here, yet if I request books they arrive from somewhere.  All a matter of electricity, buttons and money.  As long as they last, I suppose.  And at higher costs each year, I think.

Thunderstorms, then, in lieu of the other unknown (“love”).  Something about their breadth and depth, the long slow accumulation of elements from such vast distances and sources: the implausibility of their construction, the buildup…composition…complexity…the billions of collisions that activate the enormous releasings.  Thunderstorms suggest the miraculous in nature, the dangerous prospect of entities coming together…some awe-full beauty.

Provenances, directions, blusters and still points, specific conditions, temperatures, “fronts,” uncountable molecules, atoms, producing just this dynamic event/effect…

This day I make a spiral down the page.

Biologies, psychologies, humors and pleasures, emotions and moods, habits, likes, dislikes, abhorrences, opinions – these seeking common spaces, manufacturing convergent territories…a prisming trap.  Love must be a fantasy or delusion like self-awareness…circles within circles…lapping, overlapping, twisting round, across and through.  A wovenness.  A magnetism, I think I meant earlier – a lust of imagination – would not knowing another be as futile as knowing oneself?  I think.  Learning by observation, interaction, what you cannot but effect, cannot become separate from?

A woman reads to me at night.

Existence is the Cusp – A Journal Entry

cursive journaling

It’s December, and I’m writing outside, lucky by so many counts.

  • It’s December, and 45°
  • My partner in love and life instills health and wellness in me
  • I’m writing
  • James is serving me coffee, ice water and double greyhounds enabling me to work without interruption

I’m in what you might call a “Cusp Area.”

The present is always a liminal space.  I am a few days away from completing a Master’s degree in Library & Information Management, and months away from embarking on a PhD in Media & Communication coupled to the Arts at a University in Switzerland.

I work very part-time (10-20 hours / week) for the United States Postal Service, attend regular psychotherapy sessions, parent 4 children, read and write as much as I can, cook and clean a LOT, and spend as much time as I can with my beloved (a brilliant, gorgeous, amazing, resourceful, intelligent and creative human).

I rest very little.

We (my immediate family) will not survive January on my income (sans school loans).  Cusp.

Change is imminent, and yet NEVER is NOT.

Every day relationships morph.  What could be termed “stability” in life must be radically redefined to have any resemblance or “fit” to reality – which is always, ALWAYS in enormous, factually ubiquitous, tremendous FLUX.

There is something like “similarity” – of persons, circumstances, situations, emotions, experiences… which we occasionally tag “familiar” or “repetition,” (providing a modicum of regularity, “consistency,” “normativity”) but none of it, EVER!! – is “identical,” “same,” “repeated.”  Not even ourselves, one “moment” to the next (i.e. in spans of cursive time – what seems utterly continuous is still difference – otherwise could not be noticed).

I am writing this in cursive in attempts toward continuities of form and content.  And yet there is vast uniqueness with each stroke.  “Distance,” difference, change.

I delight in working in language – a symbology for expressing experience – a fabric, social set and structure – a shared and flexibly rule-bound medium.

Possessing or harboring…containing vast incommunicable DIFFERENCES – between ethnicities, cultures, geographies, genders, contents, shapes, habits, practices, processes…REALITIES.  And yet useable.  Useful.

I am writing outside in December, in Kansas, in the United States of America, in cursive, in English, in black ball-point ink, in a ruled soft-covered notebook, in 2014, in attempts partially to think, to recount, to visualize, to express, to extend, to discover, remember, critique, perceive, view… understand a curious unstoppable flow –

The Experience of Being a Living Organism

with billions of particularities – both structures and substance, arrangement and order, experience and resources, habits, capacities, learning, abilities, perceptions, interpretations, emotions…

THIS kind, type, genus, species, instance, sort, occurrence, happening of this one/many, living (active, interactive, interacting, linked, dependent, individual, functioning) THING.

Differently now and now and NOW.

I cannot curtail difference.  I can hypothesize similarities.  I have agency, but an energy and forcefulness utterly dependent and constrained by countless systems, substances, processes and constituents.

I have a kind of power – corralled by everything within and around me.  I am at the mercy of – the support and boundary of – all else + the combinatory elements and activities of WHAT I exist of and the rest of existings.

I do not fool myself into thinking I am a cause or blame, and yet I am utterly response – able / – ible.  “My” interactions and interactivities, are mine / “me” / THIS.

THIS & THAT, Yin/Yang, Individual/Environment, “self”/”other”, – difference without discontinuity, ever in exchange: molecularly, actively, REALLY, and wholly.

cusp area

EXISTENCE IS THE CUSP.

I love while / as / if / because / in spite of (or in contradistinction to) I am loved.

I move with / against / into / around / while / within / because of / in distinction from, possible movements, contents, and affordances / constraints of everything about / within / around me.

I “exist” (stand-out) because I am, in a swarm, a sea, of existences, existings.

I have no other chances to be…

…outside of my surrounds.

I am.  Within a lifeworld.  Without which – I am not.

And still, “I am.”  Singular / plural.  Similar across space-time, an appearance and occurrence of similarity marked by difference.

The safest expression (for one seeking at “truths” or reliable, testable regularities) is:

WE ARE

or

IT IS.

We, the living.

architectural animal

I thank you.

And so, the story, such as it is

Embryo,_8_cells

We start.  We start out.  We dance into a light.  We are seen.  We have become.  We are embodied.

This is how it begins for us.  We are noticed as a being, as a living, as living beings.  Addressed.

Some one, some thing, is aware of “us.”  We become.  Something.  Someone.

I am born.  I have…”be-come.”  And that, a result…a result, resolution, resolublution, happenstance, happening of cum.  Plus.  Cum (sperm, spermatazoa, DNA transport system) PLUS egg (potentia, potentiality, amorphous stew – DNA resourcing, inchoate, unpredictable, predictable)

CUM + EGG = possibility

A be-cumming.  A chance, a shot, a gumbo – ME.

And then I AM.

PRinc_rm_photo_of_7-8_week_embryo

And that “I am” is a simply recognition, a simply acknowledging, acknowledgment, an awareness, a “noticing” – a THAT – THERE IS – a “There is: That.”

A “Nathan.”

A nothing be-cums (in collusion with egg) a “Nathan” – named, cognized, acknowledged, noticed and noted: Nathan is NOT a Nothing, but is a Some Thing… a “Being,” a “human,” a “boy,” a “creature,” even…a “Person.”

And I become.  We.  Become.  A combination of things cognizable in individuality and commerce.  A singularity in multiplicity…

THIS combination of possibilities = Nathan

= THIS one

= ??????

this ITEM is accounted, is sensed, perceived, listed, catalogued – BECOME.

And so, we start out.  Cells of a particular way.  Become.  Noted, recognized, be-come, be-came, be-CAUSEd.  IT.  THIS.  YOU.  (ME).

Held.  Cooed.  Coddled.  Nursed.  Murmured and whispered as an “I,” a “You,” an “It,” a “They,” an “A,” a “Him.”

I am a Definite Article.

A/The Some Thing.  Being.  Organism.  Combinatory intricate systemic reality object of cellular operations – genetic, bio-logical(?), “existent,” “happening/happenstance,” as… THIS ONETHING, REALITY.

And so, we begin.

embryo

I try to go back there.  To the beginning, that initial “noticing.”  (“Honey, I think I might be pregnant”).  Effect.  A.  The.  This one.  Son.  Boy.  He.  It.  Him.  Here:  a coagulation of cells.

Biology.  Psychology.  Chemistry.  Anthropology.  Philosophy.  Science.  Metaphysics.

“I” began.  By being accounted for.  Taken note of.  Recognized.  Attached or detached from.  Signaled, symbolized, named and noted.

Here comes a new “One.”  (that is, Many).  – A “Person.”  Awkward, precedented (unprecedented) amalgam equaling a “You” “It” “He/She” “Being” “Person” “Human” “Child.”

NAMED (accounted for and acknowledged, reported AS…)

“Nathan Wayne Filbert”

A-ha!  So – this one!  That, right there…different from and the same as this other kind…

An observable being, a kind of individual sample, remarkable and marked down, documented, evidential data…A, The, It, An…

Here begins a definite article.

An individual.

An example.

Sample.

Kind.

Type.

Organism.

Characteristic.

Assortment.

Collusion.

Combination.

Instance of.

SOME THING.

And life goes on.

Happens.

Takes shape.

Becomes.

Invents.

Occurs.

Adapts.

Results.

Resolves.

again…again…again…

Here rises/lies Nathan Wayne Filbert,

named and acknowledged,

become, begun, existent,

(such as it is)

(from time to time)

ahem

cough, cough

(occasionally)

grrrrr

Hello.

handprint1

Coming Bare

head-silhouette-with-question-mark

In the interests of authenticity

  • The fact or quality of being true or in accordance with fact; veracity; correctness. Also (overlapping with sense) accurate reflection of real life, verisimilitude.  
  • Genuineness;
  • The quality of truthful correspondence between inner feelings and their outward expression; unaffectedness, sincerity.
  • A mode of existence arising from self-awareness, critical reflection on one’s goals and values, and responsibility for one’s own actions; the condition of being true to oneself.
  • The fact or quality of being real; actuality, reality. (Oxford English Dictionary, 2014.)

Unveiling.  The action of reveal.  Is the “condition of being true to oneself” a possibility?

Recently my partner and love wrote me a revealing, unveiling, letter that blunted me with authenticity – a quality of herself that she was questioning in that very message.

Self-awareness.  Sincerity.  Something corresponding to actuality, reality.  Genuineness.

How often do we present or re-present ourselves authentically?  Do we all wish to?  What would it look like?  Sound like?  Would we lose friends?  Lovers?  Jobs?  If our outward expressions matched our inner feelings?

WHO AM I?

The complaint was compromise.  Pretense.  The wriggling falsities of “fitting in” or “being useful” or “surviving” in the world of humans.  In social groups and situations.  In life.  The feeling that what “works” or garners respect, interest, desire in the commerce of human beings is not authentic to who I actually am.  That what I am “liked” for is a misrepresentation, a partial product, a fabrication, a mixed message, does NOT “correspond to actuality, reality.”  And is it possible to undo that?  To live authentically in the variegated, unpredictable, situational and relative world of humans?  And is authenticity of an individual even a potential actuality / reality?

This has prompted me days of thought.  In effect it was relieving, releasing – my lover is exhausted of the “play of living” – the work of “fitting in,” “surviving with others,” “belonging” in ways that feel partial, inexact, false even, untrue, ALWAYS incomplete, inaccurate, inauthentic.

I felt freed to say my honesty.  When I father, I pretend to be a father.  I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what I should be doing.  I don’t know what it means to father children.  I love them, I care about them, I am frightened by them, I am exhausted by the responsibility, I gauge my activities based on parenting behaviors I DON’T feel comfortable with, or that I wished for…I act, I pretend I’m a man who knows how to love, instruct, “raise” children!  I do not know what I’m doing.  I feel inauthentic.  Like I’m reaching, practicing, experimenting, trying to be what I think a good “father” might be.

For years and years and years and years I have “feigned” being a writer, a musician, a scholar, an artist (it feels like).  Yes, I’ve read a lot. Yes, I’ve studied, I’ve practiced, I’ve performed.  Yes I think I “get” some things about the world and our human experience of it.  Yes I LOVE writing words, mixing them up, crafting phrases and sentences with them, attempting to mate them to my internal experiences, ideas, emotions… but I almost ALWAYS feel an impostor not an expert, like I’m trying out voices, expressions, characters, compilations to FIND OUT if that’s how I think, feel, imagine?!  So if ever I’m desired, complimented, responded to – I think it is an accident, a gratuitous kindness, a pitying.  That I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m simply trying, groping in language in a thorough darkness.

As a lover, a partner, I have simply tried to please.  To find out what is wanted and do, be, perform that.  How does an intimate relationship “work”?  I don’t know.  Everyone is different.  Nothing I learn to enact, behave, communicate, engage – is successfully effective in the next relationship (or, obviously, in the relationships ended before that!).  Could I BE whatever mucky morphing “self” “living human organism” I am (at any given moment) and be loved?  It seems so unlikely!  I don’t even know what that is (the mucky morphing living individual human organism) to express or represent to the Other one… – do they?  Does ANYone?

So do we ALL feel like we’re FAKING our way through being human?  Adapting “roles” and “styles” and “opinions” and behaviors in order to survive?  To be liked?  To fit in?  To feel good about ourselves?  To feel useful?  To BE?

Over decades, I have found that there are some things that steadily characterize me.  I like to drink and smoke and read and write.  I love to love and desire and be loved and desired.  All of those things share the “actuality” and “reality” of being activities that I don’t understand.  Things that seem to steady, nourish and keep me vital…and yet also damage, wound, hurt and make me vulnerable.  That wobble.  That trembling.

Identity

To my lover I responded theoretically.  That my understanding of a living organism is that its “identity” in fact is created and activated in every moment’s situation and surround.  That ALL of being a human is identifying oneself in relation to circumstance – a moment-to-moment relation and response to THOSE and THAT which constitutes its happening.  That “living” involves trying style, voice, behavior, activity, vocation, perception, interpretation, thought after another after another – quickly realizing that in EVERY instance the “fit” is partial, inauthentic, somewhat true (what feels good) and somewhat false (what is uncomfortable) – that BEING ALIVE is a wandering experimental trial of sorts.  That if we CHOSE or locked ourselves into an IDENTITY and attempted to be consistent in it – we would in fact deteriorate, become bitter – that the wisdom is NOT “I AM THAT” but “THAT IS PARTIALLY ME” for now, in this instance, at present…

????

The questions keep coming.  We bemoan that when we take a job, a position, a role, responsibilities… we tire of them as we feel the constraint of structured, required, or expected behaviors and activities.  When I compose a writing work – within pages I tire of its direction, its characters, its ethos – I can feel where a thing is going and whether it’s interesting to me or not, I tire of it – feel constrained by what’s created, feel fake in pushing it in another direction…even innovation and inventiveness feel PRETEND.

Perhaps LIVING = the tension of partiality.  Striving to “fit” to “belong” to “match” (be safe in, acknowledged, understood, allowed) means adaptation, alteration, invention, reciprocal construction, which would seem to inherently demand compromise, partiality, veiling and highlighting – what will seem / feel to be INAUTHENTIC, misrepresentation, “FAKE.”

And yet – it is through this wriggling tango that we also come to discover what “fits” us – what we enjoy, what our perspectives are, who/how/with whom we like to be, what feels “good” to us and what makes us afraid/uncomfortable/ and so on…

Cynical view: we’re ever pretending and untrue.  Hopeful view: we’re navigating and discovering, becoming.  And it seems that both are “real” and “actual.”  Authenticity (maybe?) equals partiality and pretense for humans?  Equals morphing and becoming?  Equals uncertainty and acting (adapting)?  Equals attempting to be?

Surround

recent posts and discussions with brilliant co-bloggers (e.g. multi-sense realismAnacephalaeosis, unwanted advice, tocksin and others) have reminded me how woven, interactive and co-constructed we are with our environment… which sounds something like this (the awareness and attention and presence of it) to me: