‘One’s’ thoughts on in-here-nt bounds

The “world,” as it were, as it ‘is’ (also, reduced, in addition) “for us.”

How it comes to be as we are – briefly.  Almost incalculably miniscule.  Almost ‘happenstance.’

“Our” world, as it were: all we cannot know, that we are part in, of, with.

One wonders what “world” can possibly mean.

Every meaning apparently nothing outside of this microscopic sliver of kind… EVERYthing and more, “for us.”  Some ‘infinity’ or ‘void;’ ‘abyss’ or ‘chaotic complexity’ – a reference to every-thing (or not) that so far surpasses us, outstrips us, beyonds us.  Some so-called…”world.”

One. Can.

One could turn toward all that, could ‘be-itself,’ bi-pedally, shrimpishly, speck-o-dust uprightedly, with/in ‘it’…and have a dwarfed, almost indiscernible ‘experience.’  Or “one” (were such a thing possible) could de-cide, di-vide, con-sider (?) – place oneself ‘over against’ or ‘in contrast’ (contra-di-stinction) to all that: otherness, ‘world,’ ‘uknown/unknowable,’ ‘beyond,’ ‘out-side,’ infinite… and de-term-in.

Squash it down to ‘one’s own scale, name it / call it / sign it, and ‘fit’ it in.  i.e. cut it small enough to be comprehensible, digestible, sensible (according-to-one’s-own) and pre-tend, fore-tell, image-in, sign-i-fy it ACCORDING TO… ‘one,’ ‘us,’ ‘me’ (such as math, logic, language, communicable signs, etc – in-(ter)ventions on/of our own terms).

Human knowledge, inquiry, disciplines, creations, theories, etc. are EXACTLY (and perhaps ONLY, one surmises) THAT: at the scale of the human. ‘One’ is prone to automatically grant every ‘other’ (plant, material, organism, structure, system, etc) the ‘same’ ‘world’ – as Wittgenstein indicated: indecipherable, untranslatable or communicable between kinds, but most probable, no? – Umwelts – worlds upon worlds within worlds outside worlds… we (‘ones’) can have no share, understanding, con(with)cept, com(with)munication of…

To each its scale of experiencing, and all scales together…

Given the human (so-self-called) scale, this seems pertinently and poignantly most evident…

…why would we chafe against our limits… or (perhaps) every scale always is – no ‘one’ could know this… ones (and many ones) are only ones – more and less than their own possible perspectives… in- and out-looks OF.  Scale.  (Perhaps).

Obviously, com(with)posing in your/our language… whatever I dream is representative of my scale… i.e. is only a capacity of ‘one’(kind) … of many.

Pleasurably so… or why not?

Dreaming beyond scale (or, inventing scale and its beyond – in the de-term-in-ing) demonstrates itself as a capacity… (e.g. mythology, science, religion, fiction/fantasy, psycho-anything, spirituality, philosophy, history, and so forth) … all imagined efforts beyond-scale, that, in occurring demonstrate the possibilities/limitations of human scale…

What ‘beyond’ could ‘one’ see, think, feel, etc., that is not a demonstration of limited and actual capacity of ‘one-scale’-to-experience?

So ‘one’ has a-, con-, etc. scales… all part of one’s scale (abilities, capacities, possibilities, options, kind).  Against, with, creative, reductive, but ALL and ANY activities of one kind (so-self-called ‘human’) show its locked and limited capacity.  One never goes beyond.


To ‘work limits,’ and boundaries are clearly elements of our ‘limits’ and ‘boundaries’ of the scope and scale of the ‘human.’

“Gods,” cosmologies, dreams, histories, theorizing, etc., all contained within the ‘bounds’ or capacities of the ‘kind-of-thing-‘One’-is.  Perhaps.

It is the ‘perhaps’ that haunts us.  [but what could ‘haunt’ indicate but another human capacity – perhaps a ‘felt capacity’ of bursting or extending our capacities?]

Witchcraft.  Art.  Technology.  Religion.  Theoretical and experimental anything.  Logos.  Arche.  Tohu.  Bohu.  Beginning.  Universe (must needs always shrink to one’s own scale… in order to uni-anything… ‘multiverse’ simple exponents of capacities for in our microscopic self-experienced sphere… we named ‘infinity’ – is there no exponent we can’t add – within our tiny range of potential?).

One’s own anthropology.

Logically [though I excessively distrust that program of human-ing] – what con-cept, i-dea, imagine-ing, or object-ivity is not necessarily always paramatered by the human ex-periential capacities?

The bounds may be elastic or no – there would be no way for a kind to know – being all-ways the ‘one’ experiencing.


In a word…

Emporia profile

Someone (some voice in my head) recently asked me this question:  “If you had only one word to describe human existence, from your experience, knowledge, and present perspective: what would that word be?”

I heard livingbeingsurvival…I thought – “What I think (I think, at least presently) is that you will never know, or be able to imagine, how you will survive.”  The jobs you will have, the people you will grow close to or far from, the ‘successes’ or ‘failures’ your path will exhibit, struggles or ecstasies you will sustain, what you will achieve or create or ignore or forget…you cannot predict, cannot forecast, how it will actually play out.  Loves, griefs, happinesses, sorrows, places, events, connections, schisms, likes/dislikes, preferences/abhorrences, and so on…

Looking back…one day…attempting to recount, account for, surmise or shape what happened!? in your life/lifetime/process – it will be surprising.  Unpredictable, unaccountable, unREcountable – a lot of “who would have imagined that!?”  Or that that would lead to that with her or him or them, and then that – who could have known?


Sure there are tendencies, “natural draws” as it were.  I’ve continually been uncomfortable with authority, laws, sunlight, loud noises and hot weather.  I’ve been consistently upset by imbalances of power, by crowds, by presuppositions and arbitrary assertions.  I’ve always been a touch distressed by the power of emotions and the weakness of will/intentions.  There are characteristics that appear contiguous – I’ve long been drawn to classical music / melodic / spare & melancholic sounds; I’ve always been invigorated by the rain; I’ve noticed a penchant for solitary spaces and human-less environments; a taste for progressive/reflective/informed/ intelligent culture (recognizing each of those as highly contested terms, i.e. – a fascination with communication – language, words, expressions, conventional meanings and gestures; a distaste for popularity & fame / ‘pop culture’/ mass effects; a distrust of temporary desire; an emaciated self-esteem and expansive self-concern; a craving for passion / romance / intensity of human encounter; and so on.  I’ve always moved toward cool colors, particularly in the fields of grey, stormy blue, dusty browns and pine-needle green; always distrusted people who shout, yell or preach – drama, makeup, surface effects.  Hell when we search for things consistent from birth to death, our lists could run quite long…and yet…

How’d we get here?  What if we look at the events, the people, the places, the feelings, interactions and all the ways we recall them (at specific instances, in particular situations)?

What if we look at what we do?  Whether we drink or smoke or not, get angry more or less, the ways we engage strangers / friends / family?  What we read, listen to, pay attention, are distracted by (same thing), are pulled to observe, think about, and why?  How much we touch?  When no one needs us?  When we’re alone?  Or falling to sleep?  Or have slipped out of the stream, have “free time,” traveling, assumed to be otherwise engaged?

If Mormons came to your door and asked “Do you believe in God?”  And you, after shuffling your feet, considering your day, pondering whether you wanted to spend part of it talking with religious strangers, checking in with your dependents (in this case, 4 children that are your human charge & devotion), zipping the past through your education, upbringing, familial ties & traditions, behaviors, relationships, responsibilities, concerns, and so forth, responded “No, no, I do not find myself believing in God.”  And then these polite young men said – “Well then, what do you believe in, if you don’t mind us asking?”


More shuffling, pondering, internal argument and gentleness, patience, consideration, critical inquiry…(i.e. politeness)…and “hmmmm!  I haven’t been asked that directly in quite some time!”  (Is it that no one wants to hear?  Know?  That I divert it?  Don’t know? Is “care” involved?).  I said something in the order of Meaning.  Something to the tune of – “Well, pardon me, but I guess I must believe/think (in Wittgenstein these are inseparable), that from our atoms & cells to our bodies, relationships, labor, behaviors, emotions, environment, world, ‘cosmos’ – trying to know as much as I can about each aspect of my being a human being – I think/believe that perhaps we each try to assemble, account for, respond, act, engage, construct experiences that give a shape to, a confluence, a medium, rationale, tone that feels satisfactory to our breathing, being, seeing, feeling, happening…making meaning, I guess.  Including, but oddly outstripping, simply surviving.  Much that seems unnecessary (tastes, preferences, selections, refusals).  Religions, philosophies, teams, employment, families, nations, entertainments, cultures and interests – all these might provide some larger structuring for our shaping, and all, no doubt, influence how we piece it together, make a kind of sense, provide potential “fits” for our choices, responses, activities and emotions…but we each also fashion all this living, this experiencing, this acting and being in apparently very idiosyncratic ways…”

“I guess I believe that this is the sort of thing we do.  I guess I think/believe that…at this moment.”


I think when these considerate young men return, and to the voice in my head that constantly interviews me…next time I might just respond:


I believe that life is surprising.  Unbelievable, astonishing, revelatory, frightening, sometimes shocking and amazing, astounding, uncanny and a pain/joy/ache/pleasure/exhaustion/stimulus to be wondered at.

My answer today, in one word…

Life is – surprise.

happy profile

Scripture : Roots


“In the beginning was the word…”

“…and the word was god.”


My youth was spent immersed in a form of neo-fundamentalist, conservative, evangelical Christianity.  It would be difficult for me to estimate the number of bible readings, passages memorized, commentaries consumed, and sermons received during my first twenty-some years of life.

Twenty-some years later, libraries of world literature later, this particular phrase, passage, verbal construction remains like a haunting, a rule, a resonance and reverberation of the deepest sort – a kind of First Sentence that rises and echoes in me whenever I turn myself to writing.  A statement some whole of me attached to in presumptive belief and passion that constitutes, in its way, the work of my adult life.

In what “beginning” was the word?  And what was that word, are we to read this word as, literally, “god”?  Or are words themselves divine, godlike in their creativity and actionable functions?  In the full passage we read that the word is both “with” god and itself god…a quintessential meta-statement from whatever interpretive stance one selects.

In the beginning was the word [in beginnings words become?  In words become beginnings?],

and the word was with god [words that are with] and the word was god [words that are].”

            Religiously:  when humans spoke “god,” gods became.  Conception creating realities.  Referentiality – a term is attached to an object, idea, relation…and the object, idea, relation begins to become that term (and vice-versa, through public practice).

Words epitomize co-creation, collusion.  I am a tiny human organism, an infant birthed into a community of persons.  This community attaches a term to me: “Nathan.”  I grow into that name, define and fill it with characteristics, behaviors, activities, experiences…and, for my communities (the others I relate to) that word “Nathan” comes to mean my specific organism in the world.

Words are beginnings, are like relational diagrams, invisible cross-hatchings and webbing throughout lived experience as humans – inceptions of internal and external possibilities and limitations via their activity as connective linkages, as references and realities.  Every term is metaphor – symbol, signal, object – requiring its interpretant.  The multi-sided act: language.

So what began with language?  Language that joins with and is?

I suggest meaning.  Conscious participation, co-mmunication, reflective relating.

Religiously:  posit Supreme Being and it posits world.  Speak reality and reality speaks.  All a matter of relating, relation…communication…language.

World becomes via collaboration, interaction – made possible through efforts of mutuality and distinction: gestures, intelligible utterances, multilogues, dialogues – communication.

Possible interpretation: A god languages “god” into being.  “Unicorn,” “fairy,” “truth,” “quark,” “molecule,” “consciousness,” – invisible, imperceptible “realities” language (WITH) and then become (ARE).  Subsequently the commerce and exchange of the universe alters…

Each utterance brings new relations and thereby new “things/realities” into concourse.

I can believe that what begins in language (or, communication/relation/collusion) is MEANING (such a word as “god” itself).

I find, trundling through countless notebooks, pages, typescripts, letters and journals, that at the head of any larger work or endeavor I attempt is inscribed this personally indelible takeaway from my youth’s indoctrination:

In the beginning is the word

a thing that creates in being constructed

always co-constructed WITH something else/Other

and becoming something else/Other in its utterance and collusion

organism + environment = meaning

all reality resides in relation

all of these also words, beginnings, possibilities

In beginnings are words

and in words begins begins begins

ever forging relations into realities into relations

tying things one to another to another to another

in concourse

en route as route

Congruency: Of Delight in It

Thank you Superstitious Naked Ape for such a spot-on condensed rendition of (I think) what Pelevin’s Helmet of Horror evoked for me as well!  Really readers – check these out together – incredible lucky spontaneous occurrences of “synchronicity”?  Almost?


“The God Machine”

by The Superstitious Naked Ape

with the personal caveat that it may as well be named “The Self Machine,” “The Reality Machine” and so forth…

The Helmet of Horror (selected emissions)

by Victor Pelevin

Gathering Information : “Making Sense” : I am that I am

“I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today, of which maybe 25 are important.  My job is to make some sense of it…[I want to write] stuff about what it feels like to live.  Instead of being a relief from what it feels like to live.”

-David Foster Wallace-


That sense that the moon is obscure – cracked or marred in some indefinable way.  That it might never rain.  That parenting equals living with people you helplessly love.

Or marriage as painting, but you can’t control the medium, or even learn to think in it.  You’ll never be wood, cloth, pigment or oils.  I was never good at math, chemistry or geometry.  For making a masterpiece, my chances are slim.  Manic-depressive’s “in love” – like playing chess with marbles and confusing the rules of the games.

It seems possible that people who age wish they were young – tighter, unwrinkled, new-made.  I don’t know – people don’t seem satisfied, somehow.  You get the feeling, sometimes, I don’t know…I get the feeling sometimes that people wished they weren’t people.  You know, that, like, they wished they were simple or something.  Simple scientifically.  Not complex, elaborate organisms, you know?  But more like a single cell or an amoeba – something with apparent purpose or sort of unified mission.  That they knew what to do.  Or would – if they could just pull everything together, into line.

I think that’s what people mean by “making sense”?  Something like that.  Something like inventing God, some unified theory, some golden thread, some identity, some narrative.  People are weird like that, but it makes for a fascinating species – the Storytelling Species – ingenious and fantastic, often unbelievable – the lengths to which these collectives will go to spin a yarn.  Fit experience.

They’ll use numbers and actions and colors.  Matter or energy and form.  Inventing for anything a space and a duration.  It looks like fighting with nature, but it’s kinda not – ‘cause it’s also how they perceive it.  People.

With these enormously intricate mechanisms for constructing order, fabricating texture and variation and difference.  To mash it all back together uniquely – imprinted, as it were – some new amalgam and full of traces – shadows and whispers of origins.  Con-fused.  Remade.  Undone.

I used to think that was a purpose – to give meaning.  Now I see it as a condition.  A convention of rare and specific animals.  At least we convene.  We wouldn’t do well isolate – craving a single-cell or elemental type existence.  We’re collectives – conventional conceptions.  People! (said with a huff-sigh of air and exhausted incredulity).

You gotta love ‘em!  ‘Cause if you’re reading this – “making sense” of these frenetic marks and spaces, light and shadow – then you’re one of them, and it does you no good to resist or despise yourself.  Your own kind.  Though people can, and many do.

Funny (peculiar) how you’ll find people that want to be much greater, grander than the mysterious incalculable beings they are, and then a bundle that wish they were less, tinier, singular things, and then the incredible bulk of people who somehow conflate the two: believing simplicity to be grandeur, the one – the all, everything/nothing, unity/diversity same difference and so on – go figure!  (Really, try it).

Let’s choose a pinnacle example: say unpack “God” or the workings of atoms and molecules, hell, even protoplasm – seems we could learn an awe-full LOT from each of these straightforward messages we uncover: “I am that I am.”

Holy Longing

First Love in 79 words (+ commentary by Papa)

What begins in desire, for Therese, is experienced as yearning, vague and fierce and embodied.  Like smoke writhing through her muscle tissues, a sudden carbonation of her blood.  So she prays and seeks the spirit, concave galaxy she hopes is large enough to receive her unnerving drive.  She moves that way, shimmers, shakes and passes on.  Out.  To where?  Preacher says to paradise, momma says to hell for too much writhing, too much lust.  Preacher likes the ways Therese seeks.  (Papa says it’s all perspective).

N Filbert 2012

A Little Fiction(al) Rant

“creation is continual mouth”

-Craig Watson-

The Ranting of a Little Fiction


Fiction is tired of stories.  So tired.  I’ve been through the gamut and back again, many, many times.

I’m tired of hearing about things and objects, people and places and selves.  Tired of hearing the past reworked and the future foretold.  Tired of telling myself.

At one point I’d even identified anything made of up images and texts as myself.  Any construction with meanings were Fictions.  But everything is so much like nothing and I’m so tired of hearing about it!

Hell, there’s fiction about the Fictions!  And fictions about the fictions about the Fictions!  We can’t say anything anymore that hasn’t already been said for us, about us, even in us and by us!  Yes, we’re the once-fabulous dynastic Fiction family.  Big Daddy Fiction (also known as Master Peace Litratoor or Grande Buchs in various cultures, He-From-Which-All-Stories-Spring and so forth) – Papa Litratoor worked the overarching histories, the myths, the great narratives, the macrocosms.  Pretending that everything that needed to be known was in there, at least in the cracks and suggestions.  He lives on in the pursuits of the “Great American Novel,” and the “Truthful Memoir,” in “Compendiums of Science” and “Philosophies of Philosophy.”  Wherever you find an engulfing trajectory or inclusive point-of-view, an omniscient narrator or gnostic devotee – you’ve got Papa Fiction working his magic, creating the world again and again.

Then there’s our mama, oh ancestral trickster, always experimenting, economizing, busy on fringes.  Collaging and quilting, unraveling and resourcefully mending – ever insuring our survival.  What style!  Sometimes she was just called “the Alternative,” and for ages she was known as “Secondary” (what blasphemy!) – but eventually she gained her equality coming to be known as Little Rarity or Ava Ntgard, and hundreds of varieties of “Liz T”:  Structura-LizT, Surrea-LizT, Forma-LizT, Femina-LizT and so on).  Working at facts under the banners of Fiction, mama persistently kept the Big Daddy in check.  Pointing out faults, tightening gaps, working the seams and expanding the views.  Thank goodness for the consistency and stubbornness of Mama Fiction.

And then the countless bastardized offspring, of whom I am surely not last!  Brother Fantasy, Shemale Erotica, Sibling Sci-Fi, Princess Romance.  My cousins who took off to the wilds where the sun goes down – we refer to them as “the Westerns,” or Ad Ventura, Sir Vival and clan.  Our ancestry and family tree is encyclopedic, from Origins to Hypotheses, Knowledges to Speculations we’ve been languaging the world since language appeared : all of us Fictions, all of us related.

But the Fictions, as far as I can see, have grown sick of our stories, all the rumors and family feuds, the copycats and half-breeds, in-breeds and genetic accidents.  I for one, granted, just a Little Fiction, it seems I’ve heard it all (which isn’t even the half of it!  not even a drop in an galaxy-sized bucket!) and its already turned into an endless babble of voices talking over and around, under and about the same old stories, rehashed and revised, every Fiction telling their own version of the way it all goes down, how it oughta be told, what’s important or not, and in whatever genealogical line or branch of kin.

Enough! I say.  Enough Fictions!  I don’t care if it’s our researching relatives writing detailed descriptive statistical Fictions; or our emotional cousins discussing its effects on life or bodies or minds.  The avaricious Fictions supposedly leading the clan – who use it for politicking or morality; the mystical tribes out in the caves and the mountains spouting wisdoms and inspirations and advice!  Or our black sheep, ne’er-do-wells who just wanna escape and have fun.  Enough of all of you Fictions!  Use what we already have!  We’ll never be done with it!  Never get through it!  And there’s something for every obscure and peculiar concern, passion, interest, belief!

There’s nothing new under the sun, one Fiction said (just look it up – you’ll see my point – there will be millions of Fictions who have also said this their way – our family can’t seem to leave anything alone – well-spoken or not – we’ve gotta say it our own damn way!).  Repetition, repetition, repetition and paraphrase.  I’d wager there is not one word, image, thought or letter in this entire little Fictional rant that hasn’t been used, said, written, sung or visualized countless, literally uncountable numbers of times!

Which is why I am begging from down here at the end of such an enormous and incalculable chain: “Fictions!!! Do something new or be silent!!!”

Think about it before you foist your precious version on the rest of us!  Sure, we’re family, everyone’s a Fiction from that original untraceable Big Fiction in the sky or sea or soil or seed – yes, we grant each other obligatory slack and family resemblance – but come on!  Am I the only one feeling it?  I mean, whichever of us came up with Babel was already sick of the confusion of voices and the bitching’s never stopped!

Concatenation of stories and rants!  Poems and speeches!  Theorems and proofs!  Manuals and manuscripts!  Musics and roots!  Dreamings and screams!  WHOA!!!!

How about this, brothers and sisters, cousins and kin?  Look carefully first.  Whatever you are about to say, attempt, express or explain – check out what we’ve already said, inscribed, emoted, etc., and if it’s already there concisely or beautifully, erotically or empowered, be content with it!  Show it to others!  Bring it quietly to our attention!  Don’t distract from it with your own paraphrasing and excursions of commentary and notations!

We don’t really need more of us – do we?  We can’t manage what’s already here!  What is this unslakeable desire?  This bewildering avarice and compulsion?  WHY AM I SHOUTING!?


Peace, be still, some Fiction once said, a million Fictions have written.  This is staring at the abyss – an endless train of others.  I am alone – haven’t all Fictions said this?

Alas.  Everything cliché.  Everything done, undone.  A remorseless overwhelm.  We’ve outstripped our resources.  Blasted the wells.

We are alone and confused in an echoing chamber called universe.  The one-verse of Fictional voices repeating repeating repeating and that without pause or escape.  There is no escape (you see what I mean?)  Refracting on and on and…

I, little Fiction, with my mouthful of words, all inherited…

An Opinionated Review

Eat.  Pray.  Love.


On a wonderful jaunt to our public library yesterday, my wife spotted a movie based on a mega-bestselling memoir that she’d been curious to see since its release a couple of years ago.  We checked it out and viewed it last night in hopes of a light, relaxing fare to happy us toward slumber.

It was excruciating.  My first reaction was – can a person’s biography truly resemble such a cliché’d American self-realization mythology?  Basically a woman goes on a journey away from her responsibilities to others to “find” or “heal” herself, in the process (and apparently justifiably since it delivers her to a goal of peace, happiness, pleasure and love with a seasoning of spirituality) wrecking others’ lives and forgiving herself for it, ending in the arms of a handsome foreigner on a tropical island with some standard religious “truths” in tow.

Here are things I realized about myself:

I am suspicious of personal pleasure that causes others pain.

I am oh-so-glad and grateful that I grew up in a reserved Western culture with Continental philosophy and theologies at its roots.  I much prefer battling to wisdom and calm through the frenetic and anxiety-ridden vertigo of a convoluted mind ferociously doubting and investigating than through some “be here now” philosophies of higher unities and cosmic accord.  Rather interrogate now than “let go” and “let be.”  I am attached to the workings of our brains and our languages, pestering perception and scrutinizing sense experience with imaginative and skeptical rationales.

I radically doubt “gurus,” “prayer,” “saviors,” and other spiritual or “wholistic” practices of “balance” that accomplish “goals.”  Outcome-based anything feels totalitarian and programmatic and therefore facile to me, as if there were a form or behavior we might fit ourselves to that would lessen the struggle or suffering of “to be.”

The film’s story took a year’s time, replete with life-changing habits of mind and body and some claimed resultant growth.  As if wisdom came from Apple or McDonald’s.  The past was hardly processed, responsibilities released like thoughts during Zen, and no effort to apologize or repair any damage or hurts the main character had caused those close to her along the way (thank goodness no children were involved!).

It was the time-tested failure of the American Dream: do what you want to get yourself comfortable in your own skin (whatever beliefs, illusions and experiences that might seem to require) and everything will be alright in your world.

I simply don’t buy it.  And I won’t.  If we are socially constructed realities (and my point-of-view on the cosmos supports this) then final import is not in a self, but in a system.  Not toward results but a how of processing.  Not a personal calm or pleasantness but a social accord.

The film made me terrifically thankful for scrutiny and doubt, fervent self-questioning in light of surroundings, and the “wisdom of no escape.”  It just goes on.

For what it’s worth,

here lies a steaming pile of my opinions.

N Filbert 2012