The “Tense of Incoherence” ( Paul Valery)

“I am suspicious of all words, for even the slightest reflection shows the absurdity of trusting them.”

– Paul Valery, Monsieur Teste

“You know, dear you, that my mind is of the obscurest sort…I am composed of an unfortunate mind which is never quite sure that it has understood what it has understood without realizing it.”

– Valery –

FOR NO REASON

Delight.  Hope.  Survival.  

Homer .  Beckett.  Kafka.  Hegel.  

Language.  

Wittgenstein.  Heidegger.  Merleau-Ponty.  

Fosse.  Derrida.  Foucault.  Sterne.  

Imagination.  Philosophy.  Fiction.

WHAT CAN BE THOUGHT? (Philosophy) “on the verge”

WHAT CAN BE WRITTEN? (Literature) “on the verge”

Maybe I’ll just read.  Perhaps suicide (stop).  Perhaps create.  Perhaps avoid.  Perhaps participate with others (friends, family, children, pets, nature).  Perhaps think and drink.

WHO CARES?  NO ONE.  NO SOME.  DO I?

Selected “foods for thought”:

The Event – Martin Heidegger.  Monsieur Teste – Paul Valery.  Replacement – Tor Ulven.  Inexhaustibility and Human Being – Stephen D. Ross.  The Meridian – Paul Celan.  Verge of Philosophy – John Sallis.  and so on.  Potentials.

Directions for staying alive (as human being).  Follow something: desire.  hope.  beauty.  sex.  belief.  pleasure.  pain.  Try something.

Read history and imagine imagining a world that sensible.

Read science and imagine imagining a world that ordered.  

Read literature and imagine imagining a world.  

Read philosophy and imagine imagining that many questions.  

Read religion and imagine imagining that many answers.

Stop.  Say your own.  (thoughts, imaginations, feelings, perceptions) to someone or to nothing (write them).

And so on.

For no reason.

But perhaps staying alive / living a little longer.

WHAT DO YOU WONDER?  DESIRE?  WISH?  PROPOSE?

And so on.

WHO CARES?             DO YOU?

And so on…

…for no reason.

Thus the life of “the writer,” “artist,” “human,” “scientist”… WHATEVER – WHOMEVER HUMAN (so-self-called) BEING.

In other words… when we encounter “literature” we (perhaps, perhaps probably) are engaging a fellow human being in the NOW – amidst an odd tactic of applying (through a strange and meddlesome nigh-universal ambiguous medium) the operation of EVERYTHING he/she knows or has experienced to the point-of-NOW.  And we (weird, individualized organisms) either find correlation and correspondence with (some or much or little) of their ‘whole’ knowledge & experience (and thus, perhaps, probably, are moved by or like them) or… find very little correspondence or similarity with our ‘own’ knowledge and experience and therefore consider them banal, useless, uninteresting, untrue, or off-putting.

WHO CARES?  DO YOU?

I do.  It keeps me alive, surviving.  I drink, I read, I think.  Attempt to forget obligations, relations, and responsibilities (I can’t).  That I’m a FATHER, that i exist in a socio-economic scenario that requires the bulk of my life be passed in “bullshit jobs” that somehow appease ‘Powers-That-Be’ and allow me a place on earth and a terrible fight to try and defend or spend ANY portion of existence doing-what-i-want, or what ‘fulfills’ or causes me happiness / gladness / joy in being alive…

When I’m able to “snare,” “steal,” “TIME” – I read and write, make love, or drink alcohol – because these things make me feel GOOD or WELL as the sort of being I am.

Why is it I feel compelled to sneak, steal, or justify what gives me joy in being? (whether plant, ant, mammal, or any other cellular construction)?

I wouldn’t ‘rather’ be famous, or a president, powerful, or a businessman, artist, or ‘professional,’ or anything.  I REALLY just want to be a human-in-society valuable-to-the-rest because I happen to be one who loves language, literature, pretending, fiction, inventing, thinking, imagining what might be – this-wise, that-wise, which-wise, whom-wise, where-wise, when-wise…

WHY IS THIS NOT VALUABLE?  ACCEPTABLE?  SUPPORTABLE?  along with each alternate things-one-might-want-to-be as valuable-to-the-cumulative…

Humans seem to be multiplicitous, variable, and plentiful.  Many wish/desire/like to be strong, rich, beautiful, productive, etc.  Why can not there also be room for those who desire neither usefulness, beauty, riches, or power… but CANS at the verges… of language, thought, imaginings?  And are these really so different from those pushing edges of other characteristics?

Suddenly this entry feels like a wallowing or a requesting of pity.

That is not the feeling.

“I am composed of an unfortunate mind which is never quite sure that it has understood what it has understood without realizing it.”

  • Paul Valery
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Context of Alias Harlequin

Nobody

Theory of Bloom : Tikkun

Tikkun Bloom

Writing Outside Philosophy: An Interview with Simon Critchley » 3:AM Magazine

I am extremely honored and anticipating studies this summer with the guidance and instruction of Simon Critchley.  If you attend to this interview, you will probably notice the many resonances and ideas I “sense” and look forward to engaging…Simon Critchley

Writing Outside Philosophy: An Interview with Simon Critchley » 3:AM Magazine.

From Laszlo Krasznahorkai: “Like a ninja.”

“In this system, nothing is more dangerous for an artist than success”

Laszlo

“Who made artists believe that art can be practiced only ‘successfully’?  Who made them believe that for a book to reach its goal and its readers, the ‘taste-makers’ are absolutely necessary?  How could they have allowed the critics, the editors, the owners of the chain bookstores, and so on, have so much power?  And who made them believe that they are truly artists?  Artists have come to believe that they, too, just like other people, need money and fame, money and fame for everyday life, moreover for being able to lead a lifestyle; and that these two repugnant things are seen as necessary for everything is not only tragic but ridiculous as well.  What kind of artist or writer lives like that?  Who is going to believe even a single line written?  What kind of esteem can the art of our age garner for itself after even one such bout of deal-making?  No, the artist’s needs are few: let there be something for him to eat and a place to live, and then every day he should circumambulate the city and country, like mendicants of old.  Nothing whatever can be more important for him than his own personal dignity, and this is exactly what he loses forever after the very first deal-making transaction…And so what do I recommend?  The taste of failure in place of success, poverty instead of wealth, anonymity in place of renown.  For now, utter concealment as opposed to publicity, perfect camouflage to the point of invisibility, because what the artist who lives in personal freedom and independence finds himself confronting today is unbelievably strong, and seems invincible…above all else, an artist must be cautious.  Like a ninja.”

LK

all excerpts taken from a powerful volume of Music & Literature:

MandL-Kraz

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?

Word & Image

Words & Images 

In the game Telephone Pictionary, a group of people begin with a numbered stack of paper fragments and an idea.  The idea could be an action, a character, a concept, anything.  Each player writes their idea on the top paper scrap and slides the stack to the player next to them.  The next person depicts the words passed to them, placing the words at the bottom of the pile.  The next writes what they interpret the drawing to be, and so on, alternating write/draw until the pile goes full circle or back to the originator, the same place as the end.  Most usually the character, action, description, originating logos has changed dramatically through its person-to-person journey and return.  Yet also usually, on looking at the miniature picture book as a whole, from start to finish, you are able to find a thread or see a path and deviations leading to the end.

A journey made up of an originating construction, altered and transformed through interactions with persons full of words and images (culture and nature), sometimes simplified, sometimes extended, and coming to its end with traces of the original construction and much difference.  It’s an easy one – it’s like life, we think – but to say “life is like that” is redundant, for it is part of life, playing the game is life.  It’s why any metaphors are available, why all metaphors work at some level – metaphor-making is life, as are games, interpretations, comparisons, changing, being handled, encountering persons with all their languages and images and ideas, editing, revising, with our limited number of pages, years, days.  Yes, being an initial cluster of cells and passing through the cultures and natures of others is very like the way our life narratives come to be constructed, composed, altered, imagined and revised to their ends – their beginning places – clusters of cells.

I began in the hands of my parents and sister, formed by the words and images they surrounded and infused me with: a particular kind of Christianity, music, morals, travel, touch, a sense of gender, my name, and so much more.  I suppose they’d each have their own words and images about and for me as well.

How quickly we are passed through hand after hand full of words and images – persons, institutions, cultures, families, nations, teachers, peers, friends, enemies, lovers and so on…The language, the picture – the culture, the nature – the numbered days – and we, the originating cluster altering and morphing, editing and highlighting, adopting and dropping, blacking out images, underlining phrases – palimpsests of living artefacts by our end.

Co-created through an unknown trajectory characterized by the interplay of self (or organism) and other (or world).

A beautiful, horrible thing.

“In short – who will archive cultures in the future – the state, corporations, or the public?”

This article both combines and extends some of my favorite things to mull….

Archiving cultures – Mike Featherstone

Borges Aleph

coupled to concepts found in such texts as these:

“The archive fever is to attempt to return to the lived origin, the everyday experience, which is the source of the imperfect and distorted memories which are our archives and whose transience and forgetting makes us uncomfortable”

-Jacques derrida-

The Return – the Quest continues

Pikes Peak

After a glorious week smushed together in an old log cabin without running water and an outhouse on the slopes of Pikes Peak Colorado, we have returned.  It was wonderful family time – hiking, kayaking, playing, reading, climbing and performing the necessary tasks of cabin-living.  Irreplacable.  One of our sons was reading “How to Read Literature like a Professor” for his summer reading assignments in the wee hours and pointed out that this type of vacation shared many qualifications of the Quest in literary themes.  That feels so right.  Life lived in relation to others always seems a quest – to know one another better, love one another better, hear one another better, express and differentiate and develop as persons-in-relation.  I have been immensely blessed with a mixed and quirky collective of children from whom I learn so much, and a spouse who cracks and opens me.  It is a particular pleasure when the world around us is also so splendid and obviously large as it is in the Rockies of Colorado, and when so many distractions are replaced with shared attentions – mushrooms, critters, rock formations, streams, decrepit mines, wild donkeys, and so on.  Priceless time.

Upon return it is easy to see how the quest goes on…kiddos heading back to school…classes starting again…and these packages opened in the pile of mail:

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the quest always beginning…

Grenzsituationen II

Please read previous post with this in mind:

I would love for any/all to share what those “Limit Texts/Artifacts” are for you?

grenzsituationen

Please share via comment what encounters or engagements with works of art, science, philosophy, writing, music, and any other cultural artifactual form has altered from then on how you select, evaluate, engage other related artifacts from then on?

Thank you!