Ouroboros, or Autophagia

Ouroboros

I often feel that I’m dying.  Killing myself with disease. Killing myself via the activities of my “mind.”  Killing myself with alcohol.  Killing myself by over-extension, -exertion, lack of self-regard.    Worry.  Anxiety.  Perfectionism.  Wishes.  Desires.  Dying from the absence of sex (and yet orgasm is also a breathless ‘little death’).  Dying from lack of joy.  Dying of disuse, depletion, or disregard.  Dying of my own engulfing life.

Which only emphasizes the insistent FACT.  One thing we know, perhaps the ONLY certainty we’ve understood in the thousands or millions or billions of years we’ve been species-al (spec-ial) and aware of such information…is that we are dying.  Constantly.  Continuously.  Unstoppably.  Irrefutably and inescapably.  Inevitably.

Whether we do it to ourselves – amplify or expedite its course – or are at the mercies and whims of some enormous cosmic complex entanglement; whether our cells turn against “us,” or we turn our “selves” against our cells; excruciating or peaceful, ecstatic or terrifying – WE DIE.  ARE DYING.  WILL DIE.

For some, this undeniable evidence and unstoppable knowledge instigates a kind of “dead-already” worldview or perspective…a nihilism for some.  A not-ness.  A foregoing of LIVING, a preemptive attack, or some strange passion of alignment with the TRUTH – some subversion of the FACT (at the same time true, and as certain) – that a DYING thing MUST be LIVING.

An “it doesn’t matter.”  Usually tacked on with an “ultimately.”  Meaninglessness.  Pointlessness.  Purposelessness.  Something some supposed “scientist” (devoted to “objective” observable “truths”) like a psychologist, biologist or physicist; doctor or therapist or mathematician – might call “depression,” “skepticism,” “cynicism,” – when in FACT it is adherence to one of the ONLY FACTs we’ve described or descried that has held TRUE while all of our tools, technologies, expansions of knowledges and theories, inventions, medicines and so on carry on their wars against it.  A veritable CERTAINTY (indeed, perhaps the only occurrence in which a human being accords with reality).

DYING.  From there – who knows?  “At one’s own hand/operations” or “at the mercy of” environments, situations, circumstances, world… who knows?  No one.  Uncertainty.  The process of being-alive to being-dead is fraught with everything else we are able to imagine.  And almost entirely UNCERTAIN.

It happens.  Living.  Then Dead.  Each one.  Every one.  “Me,” “You,” “I’s,” “They’s,” “We’s,” “Those” and “These.”  Whatever begins…ends (in some form).  Whatever emerges, converges and devolves.  Whatever occurs…deceases.  Ceases “to Be.”

And so what do we do…what do “I” do…with this LIVING?  In full awareness of the synonymity – LIVING/DYING – why is the awareness of dying and depletion of a potency that oft outstrips its necessary , indeed indubitable counterfactual?  LIVING.  LIVING.  LIVING…

Who now, what now, where and for why?

reading dead profile

Philosophy / Philosopher

Things happen.

Accidents.

Today, I was browsing the shelves of the library at which I work, looking for books most precious to me to “represent” me as a person – a librarian, human, father, partner, son, life-trajectory, organism, friend – in honor of (yet another inexplicable almost insane “let’s-find-a-reason-for-celebration-instead-of-accepting-reality” National arbitration of “National Library Week” among perhaps many other things we are trying to laud ourselves for being every day/week/month/year).  And I stumbled across a title related to a hero of mine I had never seen – combining both the delights of the personage & thought I associate with him, and a favorite thing to ponder – communication or discourse:

Rhees - Philosophy9

From that point on, it has been what Eugene Gendlin might label felt experiencing: the occasional yet over-powering moments in life where we feel all-in, fully alive, in the flow, MET… RESONANT… acknowledged and identified.

The book opens with a prefatory essay by one of Wittgenstein’s students, literary executors, and, quite clearly, astute thinker in himself, Rush Rhees.

I include it here because it evinced that moment of relief, exhaustion, affirmation, Okay-ness, that comes from Emily-Dickinson-like “What – you too?” moments in our strange, convoluted, web-networked, chaotic and most-often-indecipherable human Who-Am-I existences…

All to say I read this brief and delightful (to me) report of a fellow human and thought:  Okay, I let down, I collapse, I am guilty of what you describe… and elated to find I am not alone.

For what it’s worth… this seems to “get me” :

Rhees - PhilosophyRhees - Philosophy3Rhees - Philosophy4Rhees - Philosophy5Rhees - Philosophy6Rhees - Philosophy7Rhees - Philosophy8-001

From

From

(IF) I am a storm. (IF) I am a blizzard.

FROM MY OLD NOTEBOOKS

It is beginning to appear that this Autumn-Winter season will not afford me many, if any, chances to compose writings or work beyond those necessary for school and work.  Gradually facing this fact – with reluctance and resistance – yet not wanting this forum simply to cease, I have decided to grab notebooks and loose pages stacked and scattered about my now-dusty attic writing cavern and cull them for writings I don’t feel ashamed of, and which would otherwise most likely never find opportunity to be engaged, read, criticized or perhaps even enjoyed.  As always, for what it’s worth… writings…

Dust-Bowl1-532x382

(IF) I AM A BLIZZARD

He/I/Writer hadn’t mentioned her (you/it/women) before, she had not factored in the memory because the hole was so deep there.  Like being from Kansas and not mentioning that you live on the planet Earth.  Constituent context.

His four-year-old used words like “conundrum” and “paradox;” said “I’m a particular kind of guy and I need my space.”

Literature, music and art invented Writer.

When snowing it had a way of being everywhere at once.

An infinity of points-of-view.  The angles of things.

 

Language like flakes, like droplets, ice forming on dust, on grains of sand.  Memories.  When they come back, as they came back, a fuzziness and quiet formed on everything.  Accrual of haze.  At times difficult to see through.  Uncertain.  Otherwise unknown.  Like prefacing everything with “I am finite and everywhere,” like mentioning (aside) that you are alive on planet Earth.

Like evaporation.  What seemed to be there just moments ago.

Concocting one way, then another.

Possible to build with what appear to be concrete blocks, distinct and limited, occupying a space with heft and hardness.  Or the voices of birds cawing out over air.  Vibrating, in motion, unlocatable like the dark, or “love,” or “fear,” or “joy.”

 

If I am a blizzard I occur over and across.  I extend and then fall (Winter might think).  (How “Writer” mimics “Winter”).

A “bird,” a “plane,” a dolphin leaping.  (Can/does anything really “leap” without legs?).

“Whiteout.”  Dust storm.  Memory.  History.

Writers’ progeny and progenitors.

Has anything ever really happened?  “Occurred”?

The Mimicking Birds are a Message to Bears.

So what (if anything) is known?

 

First thing, third thing, ninth.

 

Building a world from “facts” (shape, color, sound, size).  What the senses misrepresent or make guesses with: blowing wind.  Emotion.

 

In the midst of the blizzard.  What expulsions massive ambiguity.  As if blown from a mouth the size of a sun.  As if an arrangement that would craft The Great Depression and give birth to someone’s father.

As if Kansas, on planet Earth.

As if the word “me” ever even made a kind of sense.

 

The dark vacuum of “she,” “her,” “It,” “Other.”

Always an unsolved equation.  What holds pursuant consideration.  What moving from absence to presence might be like.  Things to consider and observe.  To take in.  Ruminate.  Decide.  Finitude and consequence (such fearsome things).

 

How a spoken word thuds a gargantuan typewriting arm onto air.  Like thunder.  How you are stuck with your language.  You open your mouth (Writer thinks) you are shoveling a grave.  The chink and thock of it.  The bite, the thrust, the throwaway.

 

The unlocking and the liftaway that sound and sense tend to be.  Spoonfuls of soil.

These are very small things.  Bitesize or microscopic.  Amino acids, molecules.

But we also possess imagination – webs and blankets.  Musics from spheres.  Scintillating overlays of networks and digitalia.  (What the mind can imagine! thinks Writer).

Let’s invent some All-Encompassing.  A Universal Meteor Shower, a Snow, a God.

((IF) I am a blizzard).

At times the word “love” feels this way.

Grandiose and miniscule.

 

  • Does it matter if we hasten our deaths – ?

 

Silly play of interaction.  Every single movement that person + person might be (is).

 

Writer lost in invention: what the mind is capable of: dream, memory, imagination, logic.

 

Spread it out.  Fly away.  Expand.  Contract.  Escape.  (Writer tells himself: “let go,” “set it/them free”).

Parachutes and sparrows.

 

There are scars on Writer’s hands.

And what of scars?

Below her ankle, beneath the eye, down the chest between her breasts, across the hip and back and thigh.  The hollows punched into the backs of knees (science must have named it),

How evaluate the residue of wounds?

 

If I forcibly spread her beautiful nakedest body out over this dining room table, askew and akimbo, that I might insert myself passionately inside her or press and pound into – (what does “physicality” mean?).

 

Flitting thoughts, mimicking birds, back and forth, to and fro – snow.

 

**** Interruption.  Interference.  Intrusion. ****

 

            A blizzard means static.  Windstorm.  Mindstorm.  Deletion and chaos.

 

Expectation.  Writer awaiting.  Awaiting letters in mail.  Music and language, experience.  To breathe is expectancy, anticipation.  Another child en route.

Something to live for.

A seven-mile-journey.

 

In the hopes that someone might read (some fine day) that someone might care, or, after encountering find that they “needed” (or something like it) to continue.  Art for the Writer:  discovery or uncovering of met needs never known until fulfilled and then absent = Art.

Things human people can give.

A blizzard (words, tones, and touches).

 

Blizzard – that we are, can be, may

 

  • an inherent isolation

“Person,” Writer thinks.

Person as inherent isolation (or Death again – the Unmattering – the Opposition to meaning).  The Void.

What haunts as forever, but actually is “never,” an End.

 

So go with it.  Flow.  And then die.

This brief burst of being.

With inevitable conclusion.

Children / Ideas / Actions / Creations / Labor / Life

What is: “Masterpiece” (Absence. Void. Boundary).

An insufficient multiplication.  An equation that will not figure.  We came.  We saw.  Deleted.  The system crash an accident.  Fini.  Sweet promise of tomorrow.

 

This is the arabesque, the frivolous gift.  The Enormance – beginning and end.  The all that in-between.  What is NOW.

All that “then” that is “now.”

 

Absorbency of blizzard.  Precipitate Earth.  6 billion lives falling like snow.  Beliefs and experiences, experiments, emotion, hatreds and loves.  Veritable shit storm with strange little gusts.  Enormity.

A blizzard.  A torrent.  A wind and a whiteout.

            A “blank.”

 

An ever-approaching storm…of void…

Finitude.  Fact.

Limitation.

 

To begin.

((IF) I am a storm.  (IF) I am a blizzard).

 07/09/2010

Black Blizzard

 

Charting Change

“the rare scholars who are nomads-by-choice are essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines.”

-Szolem Mandelbrot-

After 12 nomadic years of self-study, retail labor, marriages and parenting, I am now in my second semester of graduate studies in Library & Information Sciences.  As my coursework progresses and evolves toward more specified researching, the organization of my passions and values, interests and desires do as well.  Over the past year my blog manoftheword and the other blogs I participate in have primarily been creative instigations and outlets.  Places where my ongoing work in art and literature can find some audience and I can process and work through ideas and conceptions as they fumble their way toward something more finished, hopefully one day publishable, perhaps useful to others.  Most of my poetic efforts I have exposed through Spoondeep along with the work of a dear friend of mine.  The works my wife and I set out to do and continue (not nearly as often as we desire) can be witnessed at Combinatory Art in Motion, where we attempt a contemporary and relational ekphrasis as an open and intimate artistic endeavor.  

As the demands of schooling, parenting and marriage bundle and thicken, my focuses also need to sharpen and grow more efficient.  In accord with this, I have changed the title and some of the goals of keeping this blog active and vital.  The discipline of Library & Information Sciences is proving to be a wonderful practical theoretical grounding of the majority of those aspects I love most about our world:  language, art, relationships and learning, and I am focusing my investigative work in the program on semiotics, human-information-behavior, Information Retrieval systems and tools and design, and the function of language in our acquisition of knowledge and interpretation of the world and its data.  This is nothing new for me, and I have attempted and practiced many of these same methods throughout my life – reading, writing, and communicating with others.

All this to say that The Whole Hurly Burly will become a place for me to work out my creative life in language and symbols (or images) as it has been, but will probably have fewer posts and hopefully entries that are more fully developed.  Research takes time, and so many hours of reading and interpretation, and as elements arise that I can only work out for myself poetically or in imaginative prose, if they seem to have some merit or I need feedback I will post them here.  There may also be more theoretical hypotheses as I struggle to make sense of the many lines of thought rubber-band-balling my brain.  I will keep up with Friday Fictioneers so that there will be at least one fiction exercise a week and will continue to pass on crucial inspirational quotes/music/arts/ideas as they flood my desk.

It has become very clear to me that I want whatever I do to be drawn up from the whole messy complex background texture and tangle of being a living human being among other humans and the larger matrices of the world – it is this untangleable complex and network of social and natural, individual and corporate, intimate and estranged, abstracted and imaginative realities that I take Wittgenstein to be referring to when he refers to it as “the whole hurly-burly” of our goings-on.  And the sinewy, grueling and challenging process of attempting to refer to our experience semantically, in language, in symbols, in sounds and shapes is the most rewarding activity I experience – and when we come close to our desire it feels in me to be what David Foster Wallace signifies “making the head throb heart-like.”  

These, then are the goals of this blog moving forward.  To engage and investigate the “whole hurly burly” and to offer it to you  in hopes it might cause your “heads to throb heart-like.”  I cannot thank you enough for whatever time you give my process and work, your kindness in engaging and insightful comments.  Here’s to development and change —

and what is currently infusing me:  Currently Reading

In Memoriam – to a Master

The Great Fires

Love is apart from all things.
Desire and excitement are nothing beside it.
It is not the body that finds love.
What leads us there is the body.
What is not love provokes it.
What is not love quenches it.
Love lays hold of everything we know.
The passions which are called love
also change everything to a newness
at first. Passion is clearly the path
but does not bring us to love.
It opens the castle of our spirit
so that we might find the love which is
a mystery hidden there.
Love is one of many great fires.
Passion is a fire made of many woods,
each of which gives off its special odor
so we can know the many kinds
that are not love. Passion is the paper
and twigs that kindle the flames
but cannot sustain them. Desire perishes
because it tries to be love.
Love is eaten away by appetite.
Love does not last, but it is different
from the passions that do not last.
Love lasts by not lasting.
Isaiah said each man walks in his own fire
for his sins. Love allows us to walk
in the sweet music of our particular heart.

Jack Gilbert