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

Thinking Literac(ies)

Literacy“Ultimately we find that the cognitive consequences are more about the new meaning systems and activities that occupy our minds than they are just about the character of work with symbols…”

“Whether one form of inscription is more efficient or more easily learned than another (the asserted alphabetic advantage) may be less consequential in its cognitive consequences than if a society has developed a large bureaucracy, literary culture, philosophic tradition, technology, commerce, and educational system using whatever form(s) of inscription it has historically developed”

“The world we know, think about, and act within is saturated by and structured on the texts that travel from place to place and have some durability over the years.  The built symbolic world on which we have elaborated new social meanings and relationships and that is the object of our thought and attention as we try to live our lives as successfully as we can within it, in that we find the consequences of literacy.”

“literacy is part of the stuff out of which a way of life is made”

-Charles Bazerman, Social Implications of Writing-

RE-GIFTING PRESENTS, part two: SHARED EXPERIENCE (art)

Roughly speaking, I understand “art” to be something created through human interaction with the world.  Whether perceptually noticed or purposively constructed, that which we experience in what we might call “aesthetic ranges” are always results of interactivity and, as far as we know, only occur for human organisms.

In light of my previous post attempting to address the function, variability and necessity of language or sign-types for human perception, survival and being-in-the-world, I want to address something fresh for me that arose in that inquiry.

Previously, I lamented the inevitable distance that occurs in living organisms between originary experience in and with an environment and the organism’s perceptual experience of it.  No matter how miniscule, there is always a gap between our encountering (for instance, of scent and our recognition of smelling; or of light toward eye and our “seeing” of colors; touching flame and reacting retracting) and our awareness of the encounter.  Neurons and nerves pass time in their messaging.  By the time we’re aware, our present is past.

But awareness and perception, cognition and sensation are themselves happening presently, occurring in a process continuously and simultaneously to ongoing encountering.  In other words, it is always the present, and we are always present, doing many different things.  Being presently and what we’re aware of presently are widely variant items, but always both and all, simultaneous with (indeed identical to); the present.

The present is the only reality occurring.

Who and what, where and how are all only ever present concerns.  When is always already answered:  NOW.

If the human organism has adapted and developed the creation and usage of sign-systems to more efficiently navigate processes of survival, I want to look a little bit into what the purposive involvement in, engagement with, those sign-usage capabilities might accomplish for us.

If our survival process, as I remarked before, is one of perceiving and predicting our individual organism’s likelihood and opportunities for existing in any given environment (context, situation), then our perceptive processes are amazingly collaborative toward quickly organizing and evaluating a chaos of inputs and outputs into maneuverable assessments and survivable actions.

Language is our principle medium of signs, used by humans to select, describe and choose what is going on at any moment both inside of us and around us.  Something like water is for jellyfish, perhaps, the medium that both constructs their world and enables them.

But language become, becomes its own experience to become again and again.  In other words, the processing of perception, awareness, consciousness, is also experience in itself.

hand

This is where it struck  me that sign-mediums are a kind of gifting again and again of present experiences.  As we interact with mediums, forming and formulating them into semiotic artifacts (whether spoken phrases, bodily movements, plastic figures or oil-smeared canvases) we are both utilizing those media to organize and process (become aware of and perceive) select elements of our encounter/experience, but also concocting new experiences as well as future presents.  Artifacts delineating our presents will be perceived, signed, comprehended again and again newly, each moment various and ever-present.

In other words, inhabiting our mediums purposively, experimentally, exploratorily, reflectively, creatively, we are both organizing, discovering and determining our own present(s) while simultaneously being new presents and gifting present experiences to become (for ourselves and others via artifacts, writings, sounds and movements).

This seems simple to me and I’m sure the wriggly seams of it, the liminal, necessarily RELATIONAL actualities of it have been sussed out much more eloquently and adequately (made present, re-presented) than this cursory blurt of mine, but it has flooded me recently like an a-ha (fresh awareness of the present?) in answering questions about “wrestling with everything inhabiting my medium.”

So thanks to all of you – writers and artists, filmmakers and philosophers – for plumbing the mediums that give you your present(s) again and again, and then offering them onward to us – a community continually re-gifting our present(s) by consciously inhabiting what our media inhabit. The What Where How Who it moves us within and between.

Straightforward: Words from the Book of the Living

Curtis White, in response to the question “What do you think is the hardest thing about being a creative in this culture?” (North America, 2012):

Curtis White
from, Architectures of Possibility by Lance Olsen

and to “What’s the best advice you might offer a beginning writer?” (I just ‘slipped’ and typed “writher”!), he replied:

“So my best advice is to read Nietzsche until you understand him and go from there”

thank you Curtis White 🙂

I’m Learning

Within the architecture of participation, she asked for plausible promise.  More is different, she said.  I was learning a new society.  Worlds become foreign in very small missteps.  I am learning.

It’s never one-to-one.  Each encounter multiplies complexity.  Even the same.  Identity remains to be found.  Only hints and surmisings.

In that look I believed I had found you.  I suppose I did, and so many, pronouns always plural.

We disparage our language its labyrinths.  Drowning in oceans of context.  Each arriving a  slipping away.

How else might it be true?

“Language discovers what one might know, which in turn is always less than what language might say.”

– Lyn Hejinian –

*phrases lifted from Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody