-click image or link below for full text –
“The sky would have to be inside me for my words to have the brilliance of stars”
– Edmond Jabes, “A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Book”
“Dasein means: being held out into the nothing”
– Peter Sloterdijk, “The Art of Philosophy”
“Even when nothing / replaced the gifts, it was a kind of seeing”
– Jack Gilbert, “Collected Poems”
I was driving in the dust of this planet while wondering how I knew the sky was not inside me.
After all, there are theories.
But my words do not have “the brilliance of stars.”
Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber concocted The Enigma of Reason… and I want to say …of Reasons.
For after all.
After all (i.e. “in the beginning”), where we set out from seems to be an enigma of reasons. The proffering of theories (the art? of fabricating reasons?). The urgency to describe or define, explicate or explain, ‘make sense’ of things like her glance, or my illness; the weather, or wear (time), something felt or imagined, desired. Each engendering theories.
We call that engendering the imagination. Using language and sensing, others and other, an-experience-in-the-world to … give reasons. And why?
There are theories.
Haven’t we begun everywhere? With urges and instincts, desire and relation, observation and interpretation, and so on… and yet it’s only ever ‘mine’ or ‘ours,’ – a giving of reasons and investigation that is human – no, not quite. Not even that.
We incorporate ‘earth’ in it. And many things nobody owns or created. Language and sense, and earthy-othery tools: microscopes, telescopes, instruments, numerals, metals and plastics and paper. Electricities. Motion.
Anything to wrap ourselves in and around… and give reasons.
That experiencing: when one aches for a knot or a kernel, a key or a gem.
Mine might be the Texts for Nothing. A nothing I never can reach (and I knew it). Don’t we all begin once we discover we can’t? After it’s all already begun? In the midst of?
Mystic-scientists propose an only-what. Eschew reasons. The lock of the rational derive. Sense or no, this is what we observe in conditions. Phenomenology. The human (“observer”) limited experiencing. Only that. Being-there.
But the tekne collaborates and alters. There never is only.
Reportage. Disinterested. Impersonal. Facts and accuracies.
I pursue nothing because I know I can’t find it. Will not find it until I am not.
So I err at desire.
Like a theory.
A digression. Transgression. Omission-emission.
A longing for order? For sense transcribed into reason? For nothing to give rise to all and these everythings to foment continuing?
But we know don’t we? Deeper down, without bottom? Don’t we know we’re a tiniest book? Carried in the arm of a world-without-end? Of further reaches?
No, we don’t.
We don’t know. We make ‘knowing’ or ‘knowledge’ – a description – a typification (a logic, a rationality, i.e. a reason, a theory). Floating in infinite perhaps.
They say we share common elements we’ve devised observationally. So the sky might be inside of me. But words aren’t stars, are they? Theories. Experience. Ours.
We’ve come to experience not-knowing as a kind of ‘humility’, ‘valor’, and ‘honesty.’ But why? We don’t know. If that’s so, we can’t know we don’t know. And life is a loop of inquiry, perception… that leads to the giving of reasons and the making of sense. Beginning ourselves from began.
Things ‘ring true,’ resonate, and we follow… on… seeking reasons, making sense (where there is none?).
Posit ‘God.’ Posit ‘Method.’ And we’re caught in the crevice of crafting for reasons.
“Even when nothing / replaced the gifts, it was a kind of seeing.”
he who already knows cannot go beyond a known horizon
– Georges Bataille, Inner Experience –
In a bout of acute loneliness (a sharp pang of alone signifying a sort of paralysis – some definite inability, however temporary, to start oneself up by or with oneself) I reached out to Hannah.
For some of you, the term Hannah will conjure connotations and resonances, perhaps emotions or concerns, discomforts, even though she does not exist.
Or I loaded the film Satantango by Bela Tarr & Laszlo Krasznahorkai.
A start-up, a stimulus, a searching.
Actually I wrote the name Hannah, or Hollie or Holly or Hallie or Halley or Bela or Chris or Maurice Blanchot.
To be lonely and to reach out.
A drink then, for interaction.
A scribble on a page.
A smoke for an ‘other.’
I read Beckett.
Maria. Edie. Sarago. Marcuse.
To become. To be. To begin.
As if I knew.
In a bout of acute loneliness I penned a letter to Herman Melville.
I wrote words onto a lined page.
I made an ‘other’ and called her, Hannah.
Or Meagan or Meghann, Angie or Angela or Angelo. Gilles or Jill. Jean and Jan and Jen.
I reach out. I almost full fill. Another notebook. A drink. A smoke. A page marked and turned.
I do not know what loneliness is.
Perhaps it is nothing, or nothingness. Perhaps frustrated desire. For – ? What is not (isn’t that what defines desires?). The missing, the absence, the unknown.
I called it Hannah.
Hell or Helen or Helene/Helena.
No one knows but the name that works best. Christy or Christina. Vernoica/Veronique.
I read Jabes.
A drink to an other (to signify might be). A smoke for the presencing. Another word, another name for something. Out there = O ther. Elves of else.
The book’s called Nothing Matters: a book about nothing, because “that nothing becomes the quest, which in turns begets something” (Ornan Rotem).
Dear Herman, Dear Samuel, Dear Franz:
Dear Larry, Dear Jack, Dear Jon:
I do not know what it is to be alone, and my loneliness is painfully acute.
Dear Laura, Dear Sara, Dear Simone:
This is my correspondence with nothing.
“Thoughts constituted by non-uttered words…This monologue always – ‘I speak’”
Paolo Virno – Word Became Flesh
“its thisness, then, cannot be fully articulable since any such articulation would require the articulation of a complete context, which in all cases is the world…often the experience includes an awareness of not being able to give an account of the this”
Jan Zwicky – Wisdom & Metaphor
“457. Yes: meaning something is like going up to someone”
Ludwig Wittgenstein – Philosophical Investigations
“…I wept up to a great age, never having really evolved in the fields of affection and passion, in spite of my experiences”
Samuel Beckett – Malone Dies
“to frame the unsayable, & mute the sayable… he was the singing and the no one there…”
Larry Levis – The Darkening Trapeze
“All this must be considered as if spoken by a character in a novel – or rather by several characters”
Roland Barthes – Roland Barthes
– I believe I told them that “all language was like a metaphor” in several characters.
I heard nothing, I said to myself, as if nothing were something that might be heard.
Still I stroked her ankle, index-finger-pad to delicate-bird-bone. And lip. Finding textures and surfaces with lips and tongue. Precarious…it never lasts. Taste and touch are like that [metaphor] immediate.
Am I speaking when I write? What is happening now?
– “often the experience…includes an awareness of not being able…” (J. Zwicky)
She tasted of…
“…to give an account of the this…” (Zwicky)
…coffee grounds, sandalwood, humidity, and turquoise…
I left off my exploring.
What is it like [metaphor] to…?
I told them that ‘I speak’ is a metaphor…as is indeed all the rest having to do with language.
(consolations of philosophy)
I hear nothing when I talk with myself. [metaphors].
The sounds of flying a kite.
It’s rare that I am naked. But “yes: meaning is like going up to someone” (L.W.)…some sort of connection is made (some convergent affect) and a resolution leaks open…resonance…endlessly (perhaps).
“I wept up to a great age”…by which we always mean the aggregate…which seems quite less than my ‘great age’, if ever there was one.
What is ‘great’ like? [metaphor]
Once I was younger…
– Always wished you’d known –
Are photographs metaphors?
I said that ‘nothing made is like.’
(“in spite of my experience”)
“Did I say I only say a small proportion of the things that come into my head?” (ontology of perception) (Samuel Beckett)
I intended to quote: “It is a pretty little object, like a – no, it is like nothing” (Samuel Beckett)
But what is ‘nothing’ like? A “pretty little object”?
We know what he means (“like going up to someone”) … I was naked, I tasted.
You know the story… “I wept up to a great age.” I touched, I tried, I felt.
What do you see?
Hardly ever the point. Perception + Reflection = Imagination (perhaps) I told them – it’s a metaphor – a “crossing-over,” some traversal. The trace of sweat behind her knee just above the calf.
Once I was alive.
I crossed over.
Several characters: ‘I speak.’
“Affection. Passion.” I said. (what I had thought it was ‘to learn’ [metaphor]).
– “in spite of my experience” –
Perhaps language wasn’t made for speaking.
Someone. Somewhere. Maybe. Here. Now.
That thing that words do [metaphor].
The “experience of this”…”non-uttered words.” Non-utterable? Perhaps, this. (I traced the swerve of her, its curvature, hair-smell and sounding…’I speak,’ non-uttering…)
What is writing?
I believe I was speaking of metaphor…
“Yes,” I said, “yes…” “it’s always alright to weep.”
“can the illegible be legible?” – Helene Cixous
“one cannot write without repeating something” – Jeremy Fernando
I repeat. I am an ant.
I have forgotten.
It is finished.
It has begun.
~ in media res ~
It never begins.
In other words.
Do you realize how important “whatever” is?
I follow (in) a trail of marks.
I have become.
Insofar. (In so far). [in media res]
-NO MATTER. TRY AGAIN. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER.- Beckett
I repeat – “I am an ant”
“Hello little ant in a line!”
“Look at that cute creature!”
Feet fall. Thump, thud.
“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
I repeat an ant.
…and so on…
“…or is it that language already says more already?…” – Roland Barthes
…and so it begends.
“the other cannot be determined or decided” – Leslie Hill, on Blanchot
“I have only to go on, as if there were something to be done, something begun, somewhere to go. It all boils down to a question of words, I must not forget this… May one speak of a voice, in these conditions?… If only I knew what I have been saying… Bah, no need to worry, it can only have been one thing, the same as ever…”
“At no moment do I know what I’m talking about, nor of whom, nor of where, nor how nor why”
“Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that’s what I’ve had to make the best of…”
“I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m doing as I always did, I’m going on as best I can”
– Samuel Beckett –
Interesting: it will come, whispering in your imagination that the English interest comes from the Latin inter esse, literally “in-between-being.” – Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal
“something must have changed” – Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies
I guess I just decided to let something else happen…
I suppose I decided
insofar as we do
to let something else
“This is what I’ve decided. I see no other solution. It is the best I can do…
…that little space of time, filled with drama, between the message received and the piteous response…
…Of myself I could never tell, any more than live or tell of others…”
Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies
distrusting human plans
“Pangs of faint light and stirrings still. Unformable graspings of the mind. Unstillable”
– Samuel Beckett –
Let’s loiter about here a little, as if language were lakelike, locatable, alive enough to lollygag loose within. Perhaps not. Perhaps it is nearly always just-becoming. Perhaps nearly all, nearly always, is thus: just-becoming – liminal lineaments languishing-then-livened, languishing-then-livened, “again” we might say, designating (de-term-ining) a balance to enlivened. How so? Why so? By what author(ity)?
“In the madhouse of skull and nowhere else” (– Samuel Beckett). Is that so?
“Skin has no choice but to converse with the world…thin, ignorant borderland of skin…myself all trespass, misunderstanding, translating, translating…” (-Laurie Sheck). Is that so?
If words were invented with sense. To “make sense” between one and an ‘other.’
What if words ARE THAT? Connective contours between.
I am inebriated, my willingness loosened to expression, though it might ruin me (like language) and I stare (Dostoevsky – ‘Myshkin’) “intently” into Mikhail Bakhtin’s face, his specific eye-gaze, and say:
“Is it the case that words are ‘meant,’ are ‘formed,’ are breathed, are…constructed, are…utilized, to be tissue woven between ‘me’…and ‘you’?”
Do we… speak, say, expire back and forth… to become? To string and weave lines, flows, strands, threads, that might forge or invent co-respondence, texture, significations combining you and myself into WE?
But Bakhtin is dead, and cannot answer. Mikhail Bakhtin does not have the capacity to co-respond.
…like Beckett, Blanchot, Plato, Montaigne, Pessoa, Pascal, Wallace or Euclid, Bulgakov, Heraclitus, or Celan (as with any and all dead!) he emits traces (tracings) with which I can consider, decipher, and interrogate in and within my ‘selves’ but not between…
What might this ‘mean’ – between anyone? Nothing.
It can not, has no opportunity to, delineate or circumscribe, draft, figure or shape any relation.
Sign emitted, call evoked, death, and then text as silent partner. Prognostic retrograde delineation.
Bankrupt, impassible, impossible, communique.
The decoding of words as communication, connection? An imaginary. A handling of terms. Inventing, devising, originary. With whom? Where? How? Hint and vestige, remnant and sketch, scheme and fabrication, inkling and outline.
Unstillable. Unformable graspings of the mind. Is that so?
If we’re limning the liminal now, let’s loosen the letters and slacken the sieves. Lasso and lounge, scatter and scrape, together (to gather) – a scintillate sense – sporadic sparks, succulent scenarios – exist for enlivening language, whatever limited lust lies therein – if language is locatable and not merely modal mechanics? A modicum of music then, some scrap of sonority, some lingual litmus ‘making sense.’ Whatever. Possibility, potential, particible particulars…
“THE TEST IS COMPANY”
“If there may not be no more questions let there at least be no more answers”
– Samuel Beckett, Company –
“We must not die: kindred spirits will be found”
– Viktor Shklovsky –
“I have only to go on, as if there were something to be done, something begun, somewhere to go. It all boils down to a question of words, I must not forget this…”
– Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable –
Waiting for the passerby to pass. Contingency. To not open the door until the potential for harm is past. No apparent harm: adult man, skin color variance, divergent ethnicity, strolling outside the iron black gate surrounding my home, gesturing toward and addressing my small pet mammal (a dog) – ostensibly safely contained and separate – from the strange-other, (“stranger”) traveling past my abode on a designated path “outside,” a public sidewalk… yet no harm is ever apparent, or we’d be almost certain to avoid it.
From behind the closed door, thus abandoning the small animal, the “pet” that I care for (“care”? – to keep alive with food and water, activity and touch – for what reasons I have never understood, it seems something we do, or something done to us) in any case (who “us”?) to me (“me”?), in any case, in every case, (what is “case”? – case is what occurs), in any case the sensation that harm is imminent, is possible, that any/every-thing (or case) harbors potential threat – intrusion, oppression, obligation, response-ability – that ANY passer(s)-by may enforce (force what in?), force “presence” (presence: the pressure of an other)…occurring-with.
Mammal, woman, weather, man. Peril of change, of inevitable occurring, alteration, the inception of a “case.” Event. Permutation. Disaster. Perhaps.
Wait for “it” to pass (ambiguous constancy of language, of pronouns, of perhaps). To be.
No apparent harm, harm always arriving where not apparent, otherwise averted.
Therefore damage expected everywhere, until proven otherwise or bypassed, for when has it ever been the “case” that harm, hurt, or affliction were not lurking unaware?
Always caught “off-guard” when injured. As in “accident,” or un-fore-seen. Must not not-fore-see. Avoid wreckage.
He passes by. Or she, or it, or they (ambiguous language and malleable, eminently referable, transferable, vague for application). No harm incurred (as far as is known). As who knows? Who might know? Or what?
World transforms. Passers-by. Incidents. We have a “case” (who – “we”?). “I” step back, step in, amidst walls, barriers, rooms. “I” retreat. Evading catastrophe. Probable hardship. Imaginable uncertainty. Such is the “case,” my “cave,” a cave uncertain, unreliable, self-designated, no one knows. This (what “this”?) is vague – hurt has always materialized unexpectedly. Danger is disaster, or if not, no harm no foul, never wounded by suspecting, only oblivious or uninformed. Must anticipate harm. Less proven guiltless. Never guiltless. Never harm without an-other, without outside, without obscurity. What is “with-out”?
When ever not with-out? With-out always. With. No in without with-out. Danger of disaster. Any definability requiring with-out. No in without out. Being with out.
Waiting for passersby to pass. Bye.
When have I been harmed when I expected? Perhaps in love, perhaps adventure. Any venture with out. Into the without. Within without. Knowing I was risking with the out. “Self-harm.” It would appear without’s within as well. Never not another. Abysmal and ubiquitous. Possibly impossible: to be without with-out. No reference or referral without being-with “out.”
No within then. Only out could be. In with in? Self-same. Tautology. A=A. How A without out? Without not-A? Without absence, other, space, not-line, shapelessness, void? A=A because A is distinguishable from. Distinct. From – ? Without.
Why “without”? Why not only “with” – necessarily out or other? Variant. Different. Without “out” no “with.”
Squirrel, leaves, air, skin. Cells, organs, activities and processes. Even what’s “in” is “out” for “with.” “In” “with” “out.” A=A. So say. Think. “I.” Passing by. Table, paper, pen, without prompting “in.” In without as well. No “in.” A=A. IN WITH OUT.
Out the “within.” Without in/out. Writing. Saying. Bleeding. Breathing.
Only think with out. All out, away, a way.
Wait for a way to away. Within/Without. A/A. No equals. Never equal.
Pet mammal dog, own voice, man, woman, child, sensation, language, molecule, atmosphere, ground: without with-in.
WITH, then. Simply with. No out, no in. All danger and disaster, potential and unsuspected harm. Can not. Unprotected. Only WITH. No out, no in.
Waiting for the passers-by. Passing. Bye.
“THAT’S IT, WEAVE, WEAVE”
What she set out to do, she did not achieve. Intention and realization went un-joined.
Which in no wise implies that beauty was lacking. Or interest. There were still trees, efforts, water running here and there, struggles, many other animals, emotions, scenes. Nothing, really, was lost in failure. But what could be? Nothing that might potentially eventuate (from action, intention, emotion, or hope) is ever known, therefore where could failure lie?
Ice is its own phenomenon and occurrence, regardless. Such strange wet-dry thing, fluid and solid becoming-unbecoming. The sound of a voice – perhaps of an “inside” impossible without “outside.” Many “things” are in-between. Ever on the way to something, ever proceeding from.
He found it all incalculable, without appropriate measure. Which was not what she intended, not what she set out to do. Yet could not be called a failure. For who or what might measure that? What thermometer, rod, or calculating machine might tally such “results”? In relation to what when where? And how might “results” be defined?
The term for an idea or concept named “beauty” being interesting in itself. Apparently something pertaining only to them (these so-called “human subjects”).
She intended to express, or so it seemed to him. Set out to communicate an experience with her surround, a something she was hoping to say, to give voice to. This experience was such that she perceived it as something transpiring for her in such fashion as to not be readily apparent to others, nor easily translatable (even observable) to those arrayed around about her – both those with whom she valued attachment and reciprocal relations, and any “others” – in this case whom (a human kind of self-referencing versus what or how) – might be capable of demonstrating care, comprehension, or attention to what (or how) she was “experiencing” (i.e. having a felt-living-sense with and within her environment).
He (perhaps the proposed recipient of her attempt of expression) found all of it incalculable, and without appropriate measure. He, in his own idio-specific way (or relation) to whatever (whomever, however he considered his ‘surround’) was entrenched in his own meticulous (incalculable and immeasurable – at present time of writing – by ‘science’ or current ‘arts of knowing’) particularities of being-with / affecting / effecting / participating in his perceived environment [what, as a sort of short-hand, might be termed his Umwelt (look it up!)]: what happens to matter for him.
Some have called it ‘sense-making’; others’ ‘making-sense.’ Many (in some strange-impossibly proposed ‘objectivity’ – a falsified, imaginary distancing involving a blind delusion of “as if” they were NOT in fact WHAT they are – a kind of ‘sense-making-sense’ (in two senses of the word “sense”)): in other (no…in MORE) words: an ‘human’ account-possibility of its proceptive, perceptive, immersive and recursive experience WITHIN its surround AS IF it were not. I.e., fiction, or fantasy. So far as he or she have been able to uncover – NO ACCOUNTS of human experiencings have been proposed, recorded, or proffered by other-than-human ‘beings’ that any human has been able to perceive, understand, or translate…therefore there are no ‘objective’ (distanced other) reliable sources for measuring, calculating, analyzing, reporting on, under-standing or evaluating the experiences of the human ‘he’ and ‘she.’ At present THERE IS NO OTHER with which this kind (‘human’) might informatively and effectively communicate, learn, argue, or confer…only itself.
[Which may be the situation of all cells, plants, animals, stars, etc…but humans can’t know…being all too human, after all].
None of this was her intent. No content recorded concerns what she set out to do. But this in no wise indicates MIS-take, for there is no future in advance which one might con-fuse, err, or malfunction toward. The next simply is, just like any number of things before. All options extremely limited according to case, kind, and percipient.
In the case of this writing – ‘human’ (so-self-called) KIND, as PERCEIVED and PROCESSED by itself only – with (thusfar) no other constituent or contributor except as designated and defined by its own self-kind-case.
The ‘human’ has NOWHERE to turn for what it considers ‘knowledge’ (he thinks) excepting NOW HERE and AS ITSELF (he thinks) while perceiving in ways it already has experienced to be variegated, faulty, and vague.
(Perhaps all living things) he thinks (but certainly all human-kind) affords no outside source or viewing, perception, communication, expression, or understanding/interpretation of itself. It only confers with itself and its surrounding (as experienced according to itself and slight variations of itself over time). No human could be considered “reliable” – if re-liable were intended to re-fer to “reality” – taken to signify THE CASE OR STATE OF THINGS beneath, before, pertaining to, and beyond THE HUMAN BEING AS IT EXPERIENCES ITSELF ‘to be,’ he thinks.
“A pointless matter,” he vocalizes in response to her ‘expression’ and ‘intention.’ “Even among our own kind, sort, and communicable compatriots – we ‘humans’ as we call ourselves,” he states, “’I’ cannot know whether or what you’re referring to, and whether or what of it corresponds to my own ‘human’ experiencing (as we say and apparently agree, confer).”
She cries a little. Wishes something. Or so it seems to him, in his NOW HERE. She intended other-wise. Goes quiet (from a ‘human’ – so-self-called, ‘perspective’).
It is quiet. Perhaps from many perspectives. ‘Human’ science (arts of knowing) claim that snakes (so-humanly-called) can’t ‘hear,’ nor the clocks humans have made, nor cats, nor dogs, days nor plants, nor wood, nor dirt – whatever else ‘humans’ are able to notice and create or differentiate in any given perceptive scenario.
Between like kinds, this is NOT what she set out to do, nor intended…and only the ‘humans’ (“so far as we know,” he says) might even be capable of de-signifying, de-coding, com-prehending (perceiving-together) these sounds, marks, signals, gestures, movements, motions between them.
And here you (perhaps) are … reading (de-coding, de-signifying, transposing, translating) … “IT” (according to your NOW HERE).
What she set out to do she did not achieve, nor he. But of course the proposed possible, capable, or potential of ‘setting out to’ is not known… so WHO knows?
The intention and realization have not joined… or have they? Who or what might measure (and when and how) calculate, evaluate, or demonstrate that? “They” seem left / bereft purely to themselves. If a lion could speak, apparently we would not be able to understand it.
And so ‘he’ and ‘she’ make sounds, motions, and varieties of contact (according to ‘human’ perceivings) on a ‘porch,’ in a ‘house,’ through various ‘rooms,’ ‘spaces,’ ‘surfaces,’ and so on. Birds chirp (according to the ‘hearing’ of ‘humans’), clouds drift, squirrels chitter, grass wavers, and so on all the same (according to ‘human’ sense-making-sense)… ‘he’ sets out, intends, struggles, interacts, and feels with ‘his’ surround (NOW HERE), as does ‘she’… neither achieving their ‘goals,’ neither controlling nor creating any realizations they intend – albeit with NO knowledge of what they might actually be able to evince or conjure – all having not yet occurred.
It would appear (to the ‘humans’) that many many ‘things’ (stars, genes, planets, soil, weather, corporations, arachnids, societies, viruses, equations, materials, activities, and so on and so on…) just carry on their various “natural” (according to their kind) ways regardless, in spite of, in ANY case, in accord with… with no ‘concern’ for ‘hers’ or ‘his’ intentions or settings-forth or out to do.
And so it goes. And so it goes… on… apparently.
Still, what she set out to do she did not achieve…whatever that may have been.