The Need for Help

“I am affected not just by this one other or a set of others, but by a world in which humans, institutions, and organic and inorganic processes all impress themselves upon this me who is, at the outset, susceptible in ways that are radically involuntary.  The condition of the possibility of my exploitation presupposes that I am a being in need of support, dependent, given over to an infrastructural world in order to act, requiring an emotional infrastructure to survive.  I am not only already in the hands of someone else before I start to work with my own hands, but I am also, as it were, in the ‘hands’ of institutions, discourses, environments, including technologies and life processes, handled by an organic and inorganic object field that exceeds the human”

  • – Judith Butler –

Howitis - Beckett

“Help!?”

He cried, it cried, I cried.  But help, it will not come, for me.  And why should it?  Who could owe me assistance, and why?  And what would it benefit another? Even how might the crying become?  Often silent, unheard; a gesture or tone; a constant “I am unable to do this alone.”  There’s no reason.  No reason that someone might help me.

Help has come.  Many times, and that greatly.  Otherwise I would not be alive.  Irrational, inconceivable, as ‘last measure,’ – the cry’s been expressed, even shouted or posted: “I need help or we will not survive!”  And it’s come.  Never “I.”  The yelp always weighted with “we.”  In deep over my head as a man, as a father, a worker and thinker as well – always “help!?”  Needing contact or touch or attention.  Needing hearing or care or advice.  Needing teaching, protection, support.  Needing money or sitters or transport.  Needing food.  Needing shelter.  Such needs.

I need help.  “I.”

Whatever effects or affects, I believe that I do try to help.  To have food for my children, and beds.  To respond to emotional traumas, disturbs – to hear and attend and comply.  To love others embodied and minded.  Within (my) reason, I do what I can to assist, especially those gathered about me.  I experience my’self’ as RESPONSE-able – once engaged there’s a sense that I must.  Some say that we choose to do good – but I question.  Many insist we always have  choice, yet I seem unable to abandon or neglect, unless, perhaps, my “self” or theoretically.  I am prone to the “people are people” – shaped by time and engagements – to behave in the world as they are, and continue the way that they be (in small measure).  The issues of scale and of time.  We do what we can to survive.  Some prone to survival of others, some not.  Depends on the value of “self,” so it seems.  I help, which develops that value (I hope).  To think I might matter, be dependable/depended on, be important – to someone, somewhere, at some time. Survive.

And I notice myself ever howling for help.  Help!?   As I age, I distinguish the needs.  Need for contact and talk – to think and to feel; needing help with evolving demands.  “Man,” “parent,” “student,” “professional,” – all extensions of what I once was – just a “human.”  I can’t even survive being that, let alone all these complex designations.  Artificial “helps” like alcohol or nicotine, religious belief or “self-help” seem to do as much harm as relief.  As babies and aged we are weakened…our “primes” occasioned by a nexus of supports.  In our weakness, we comprehend need(s).

I need.  “Help!?”

Without knowing what it is or might look like.  I know that I’m drowning.  I age.  I know no one owes it, the benefits would have to be rationalized.  I fail.  I can’t go on.  I must go on.  I go on.

 

You must go on, that’s all I know. 

            They’re going to stop, I know that well:  I can feel it.  They’re going to abandon me. It will be the silence, for a moment (a good few moments). Or it will be mine? The lasting one, that didn’t last, that still lasts?  It will be I? 

            You must go on. 

            I can’t go on.          

            You must go on. 

            I’ll go on. You must say words, as long as there are any – until they find me, until they say me. (Strange pain, strange sin!) You must go on. Perhaps it’s done already. Perhaps they have said me already. Perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story. (That would surprise me, if it opens.) 

            It will be I? It will be the silence, where I am? I don’t know, I’ll never know: in the silence you don’t know. 

            You must go on.          

            I can’t go on. 

            I’ll go on.

–Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable

 

ReWritten / ReWriting

ReWritten

The Disappearance of Needs 

In any genre.  Writer becomes when the needs disappear – needs like expression or dialogue, understanding or inquiry.  The need to devise layers or multiples of perspective, to experiment or experience language or thought.  To love.

When these needs are expunged or exhausted, and a human puts pen or pencil to page, writing might begin.

 

These needs are not expunged.

Needs complexly relocate.

 

Maybe they find a more suitable object, event, or entity.  Writer attempts to construct love via language and page.  This is also dialogue.  But what is needed is resonance-WITH.  What is longed for are moments of positive resonance with an other of Writer’s same kind.  Where resonance would be acceptance, acknowledgment, empathy.  Comprehension, understanding, attunement with Writer’s barest, most authentic expressions – Writer’s openness and risk, Writer’s life-experiencing, meaning-making processes.

[NOTE: Obviously it is literature being addressed herein – not formulaic, hack, commissioned, business or “professional,” aesthetic or philosophical – domain-specific languages, entertainment or communication-purposed compositions.  Rather – writing that lays bare living – which can (also obviously) partake or occur within any and all of the above forms and kinds of inscriptions]

 

Writer, utilizing all accessible knowledge, craft and experience divulges (as best Writer can at this instant) Writer’s lived experience.  Writer loves her.  Writer grieves.  Writer imagines.  Writer pretends.  Writer co-constructs (borrowing from the everywhere that language, experience, emotion, sensation, cognition, DNA, biology, physiology, dimensions etc. comprise) trails of letters, incipient sounds, rhythms, definitions, analogies and metaphors, socio-cultural baggage, spatio-temporal perceptions, historical variety and habitudes, toward some sort of text, artifact, writing.

 

In other words, Writer writes.

 

And as Writer writes, Reader reads (they are one and the same initially) and that reading also co-constructs the divulgence and activity-experience the writing com-poses.

Posing-with =  Writing.  An individual, posing-with, everything-at-disposal (its affordances and limitations) through language-inscribed.

 

[NOTE: pose1 pōz/

1.  verb

1.

present or constitute (a problem, danger, or difficulty).

“the sheer number of visitors is posing a threat to the area”

synonyms: constitutepresentcreatecauseproducebe More

2.

assume a particular attitude or position in order to be photographed, painted, or drawn.

she posed for a swarm of TV cameramen

synonyms: modelsit More

2.  noun

      1.

a particular way of standing or sitting, usually adopted for effect or in order to be photographed, painted, or drawn.

photographs of boxers in ferocious poses

synonyms: posturepositionstanceattitudebearing More

      2.

a particular way of behaving adopted in order to give others a false impression or to impress others.

the man dropped his pose of amiability

synonyms: pretenseactaffectationfacadeshowfrontdisplaymasquerade,posture More

]

 

The needs remain because they’re needs.  Needs oxygen, needs community, needs interaction, needs movement.  Needs nutriments, needs love.  Needs habits and practices, processes and conventions.  Needs society, needs shelter, needs protection, needs…

As if folded-into.  As if woven.  As if inherent and intrinsic, automatic.

As of anything and everything, then, Writing is not solitary.  “To write” is TO-WRITE-WITH the universe-encyclopedia of said individual, “writing.”  Some languages verb this better than others, some will allow us to feign.

Writer will not feign, unless “to survive” necessitates “to feign.”

Writer intends to write-with, perhaps finally surpassing a former dream of being no one, no thing, instead edging toward and everything that one is, of necessity, Writing.

photo 2