Marking My Way

What follows is exemplary of my tendency when I open a notebook and begin to write… digression… sigh…

“a man, however intelligent, is no better at maze-running than a rat, unless assisted by notes, whether these are remembered verbally or sketched out in a drawing”

– Michael Polanyi, The Study of Man –

artwork – Pamela Caughey

I am beginning this story with words, for I am writing, and writing has often occurred as the transformation of experience to perceivable mark for communicable purpose: programming code, impressions in sand, lines about the mouth and eye, numbers, letters, notations and visible strokes.

The mark I begin with is “I.”  To imaginative purpose.  Say we could coordinate belief around marks (which “we” already have, or “you” are unable to comprehend, co-perceive or mutually interpret anything of what “I” am scribbling).  Imagine with me that we can: foster markings and gestures, sounds and expressions, that stabilize over time toward agreement…

1, I; 2, we; 3, you; 4, with; 5, world; 6,… and so on… where marks come to re-present a sharing or relation toward – together we assemble at “tree(4)” or “word(4),” at “sign(4)” or “kingdom(7),” at “ours(4)” and “us(2)” and at “we(2)” or whatever(8).  All might be marked other ways, sounded or gestured – a squirrel’s flicking tail, a whale’s sonic wail, bird twitters, rock cracks and colors, cloud movements, sighs.  Images, letters, motions, or sounds.  Impressible, expressible movements.  Relations enacted, touches and probes, effects and affects across spaces and times, this is language in-scribed and con-scribed –communicability – glance of finger or toe or of eye, brush of hair or of death or of light… con-tact.  Tactility, touchability, WITH.

Imaginatively-agreed-illusory and often elusive – “Abstraction (11, or 10+1, or..)” – What-is-not becoming what-is.  “Creation(8 or eight or 11111111…).”  Coordinated occurrence of subjectless objects and objectified subjects and things among things among things “co-existing(10),” – or so “we” mark “it.”

I begin with a mark that is “i” or 1, or the slightest, least notable line.  “iota” in Greek, as Frost deftly inscribes – just a pass, accident, happenstance, hardly constructed and simple – a stick falls from a tree and leaves an “L” or a “Y” in the soil, but an “i”?

A mistake usually, a drip.

So “I” use it to refer to “just 1” = “what-is-not.”  No “one(1)” has yet known only one.  With “one(1)” there is nothing ‘to know’ – to attend to, perceive.  With 1 there is only the one – less than nothing.  1 counts the same in negation.  You have nothing or one, but once perceivable three – the 1, the 0, the difference.

We make marks.

The mark I began with is “I,” just the least, the inception, the start of a “we.”  A cry, a twitch, a tone or effect, a coloration, occurrence.  What’s the difference…

“I” could have made a sound.  Could have poked, puked, stomped, wriggled…simply gestured into wind…

ANYthing, EVERYthing can only happen as more-than-one.  More than meaningless mark (/) or vanishing point, it indicates RELATION.  If 1=nothing, we still get 1 + -1 = 0…all ways at least 3.  And if 1 is alone (“all-one”) there’d be no knowing, telling, perceiving, deciding without at least a “NONE(4, 0)” or “TWO(3, 2)” to proffer recognition – ALWAYS MORE THAN ONE for there “2B.”

I could not propose “I” without other or else (no-thing could be perceived without difference, and difference demands at least two + a relation, [even similarity – which always harbors difference] – therefore 3 at the least for a mark).  If “you” couldn’t tell a difference (perceive or experience something…how would you know some thing is?).  Identi(cal)ty would seem (necessarily) IM-perceptible.

1 NEVER EQUALS 1.  Such is my thesis.  If equality and sameness are possible no one could mark it, perceive it, proclaim it – 1=1 is not perceptible.  For 1(“I”) to be identifiable, not-1(not-I) is required, which demands a 3rd(third) that might distinguish or experience – whether relation-itself 1±1 or Otherness to “tell apart” or cleave.

Identification demands Other.  A mark, even the slenderest, simplest, accidental dash – to be perceptible, to matter – must be different from an other.  Therefore, always 2 have to be for a 1 to be, and for that to be perceptible a third(5, 3) must exist… 1≠1=3, and 1=1=3…

i.e. I begin with “I” to invoke/inscribe MANY.

I am beginning this story with words…

Fiction. Fractals. Filosophy.

The WHYs of them:

“semiotics is not about the ‘real’ world at all, but about complementary or alternative actual models of it… an infinite number of anthropologically conceivable possible worlds.  Thus semiotics never reveals what the world is, but circumscribes what we can know about it; in other words, what a semiotic model depicts is not ‘reality’ as such, but nature as unveiled by our method of questioning.  It is the interplay between ‘the book of nature’ and its human decipherer that is at issue.”

-Thomas Sebeok-

“the forms and laws in our worlds do not lie ready-made to be discovered but are imposed by world-versions we contrive – in the sciences, the arts, perception, and everyday practice.  How the earth moves, whether a world is composed of particles or waves of phenomena, are matters determined not by passive observation but by painstaking fabrication…Constable urged that painting is a science, and I suggest that science is a humanity.”

-Nelson Goodman-

“a mobile unsteady structure…with all the bits always moving about, fitting together in different ways, adding new bits to themselves with flourishes of adornment as though consulting a mirror, giving the whole arrangement something like the unpredictability and unreliability of living flesh…The endeavor is not, as is sometimes thought, a way of building a solid, indestructible body of immutable truth, fact laid precisely upon fact…Science is not like this at all.”

-Lewis Thomas-

“Perhaps the best way to think about post-modern self-referentiality is not as a denial of language and literature’s connection to the world but as their self-consciously pointing to themselves trying to point to the world.”

-Robert McLaughlin-

Nathan Portrait

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Going on from there…

“For that I blame the craven desire to speak, to write, to be heard.”

-Ben Marcus, The Flame Alphabet

Nerve Language by Daniel Schreber
Nerve Language by Daniel Schreber

Semantic Animals

It goes on.  Seduced (sickened and soothed) by symbols, I read.  I write.  In dilettante-like forays into advanced mathematics, physics, cognitive sciences and biology,  I learn:

“The first message is that there is disorder”

(-James Yorke, attributed with naming the science known as Chaos)

            So back to first principles (they have a habit of coming in threes, and splitting into fragments).  I take out a blank sheet of paper, filled with lines.  A patterned absence.  Boundarying void.  I write “seduced” because I’m thinking about language.  Thinking instinct and survival and desperate need.  Thinking overload, “more than you could possibly imagine.”  Semantic animals.

When I last saw the snow fall, it was raining, offering an impression of “wet.”

She is far from me in two dimensions.  Only two, of multiples of three.  I count by the “trick of the nines.”

If only there were a way to collect accurate data.  Then adequately calculate and organize.  Unfortunately, life is mostly made of problems existing on continuums of countless dynamic variables, most of which – unsolvable.  They call these “differential,” or Derrida’s Infinitude of Differance.  Professionals finally agreeing: “regularity is aberration.”

We search for patterns.  Even in chaos we find them (or create).  Seduced (sickened and soothed) by symbols, we “read.”  There are so many oscillating signals that even the few we don’t inherently tune out we call “noise.”

Philosophically, on the other hand, where I feel more like an amateur or novice, I understand the problem/hypothesis/theory equation to be: EVERYTHING goes into EVERYTHING, that we’re only ever engaging possibilities.  That probables are fleeting, and certainties are few:  You are limited, peculiar, and definitely will die.

In other words, “the very process of cutting up and cutting off, opens up and opens out,” or some of us are developing “a belief in the musicality of creative disjunction” (Lance Olsen), because, seduced (sickened and soothed) by symbols, we select and collage our own inspection.

It’s easy to forget the first things that we find, i.e. that all positive statements and beliefs are built on “that there is disorder,”

and seduced (sickened and soothed) by symbols,

we go on from there.