Meta-Recursion: Some thoughts on the task of writing

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Life becomes ideas, and ideas come to life

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Metacognition is a buzzword these days – as contemporary sciences dive in to the neuro, neuron, chemistry and activity of bodily systems, we get to “see” our activities and “think” about them in different possible ways.  Our sciences concoct novel theories and processes, instruments and concepts and categories with regularity, and then our cultures absorb and incorporate these beliefs into our self-understanding and relating.  Metacognition “the awareness or understanding [ha!] of one’s own thought processes” is just such a theory – one writers have long thought about and acted as if, never without problematics.

Recursion, or, “the repeated application of a recursive procedure or definition,” is another one – looped and locked in repetitive activities in which our procedures and language “relate to or involve a program or routine of which a part requires the application of the whole, so that its explicit interpretation requires in general many successive executions,” each successive stage affected by the previous and effecting the following, the inside / the outside, the near / the far, the experienced & imaginary, the art / the life.  Endless recursion within a reigning myth of metacognition…and I am writing.

A writer knowing that I’m (a shifting pronoun) writing so also knowing that I’m writing about knowing that I’m writing (yet uncertain or finitely unable to ascertain all that entails) while I’m writing and therefore writing about that as well as what I’m writing, and so on…pertains to language, truthfulness, reason, perception, behavior and any other human activity…complex and recursive in a culture professing metacognition as a possibility.

This complicates writing in tremendous ways.  It becomes very difficult when composing letters and spaces to evaluate anything as “impossible.”

Quantum sciences, computer technologies, object-oriented ontologies and anthropocenes – complexity, indeterminateness, and relativity all serve as a soup in which we simmer, constraining and affording us opportunities that usher us right up to the edges of our finitude.  The interconnections (internet) of things (or not!) reminds us we cannot understand or know enough to write knowledgeably about even our own organisms, and also expose us billions of encounters and experiences per day that recursively become within our systems.  I spread wider and decenter as the membranes that compose me increasingly appear as sieves.

The larger and smaller scales of life may not be operating like our daily experience, yet we often refer to our lives as “daily rounds.”  Relativity and indeterminateness and reversals of such equations, undo previous comprehensions of the filters of space and time, even as the Western ‘historical’ sense of narrativity and order comes undone, tangling in its possible untangling as potentially ‘solved’ in multiple directions at once…leaving us directionless and indeterminate per any ‘correspondence to reality or ‘truth.’”  Selah.

We must have experienced by now toggling between subject and object in any situation, and to whatever degrees our systems are genetically alike they are multitudinously variant as well.  We are currently aware that our perceptive calculations of our contexts are hypothetical or apply in very limited specificities…i.e., ONCE.  So our taxonomies flux, our histories alter, our cognition and perception get meta-statized, and language becomes a wobbling sign in Big Weather.  Waves and warps, folds and possible interjections.

Apparently it might all be in-formation, movements accessible through relation for operationalizing.

Our “subject matter” dissolves since we no longer have a subject acting through a predicate, but all matter interacting in theorized randomness and happenstance with nary a drive to avoid extinction.  Hosts of events (plot?) with endless extrapolations or interpretations, wherein things long distant and disparately far might “fold in” or “warp past” or correlate via some vibration – and perhaps they do? (memory as a pass of ‘reversal’ in subjective time?)

I am writing.  And so all this must be written, in our stories and imaginary objects, holding nothing, requiring application of the whole and very many successive executions.  Sounds ominous, but the terminus thusfar we can still count on.  It will end (for us, as we experience it).  It must be written – increasingly aware of all I do not / most likely cannot know or understand, and that nothing experienced “fits together” while belonging together in ways we haven’t been able to imagine, fragments fed by fragments feeding fragments inseparably fluid…and I write, I try to write it, in channels of existent vocabularies and beliefs inaccurately scoped.

I (whatever that means) seem to be writing with an awareness that I-am-more-not-I-than-I or I is tenuously distinguishable or occasional, and am writing that I am writing while I am writing that I am thinking about writing which thinking is happening through various media like paper and pen and keyboard and digital text and electricity and air and an incalculable and miniscule trajectory of experience waving particles undone and mutated, I adapt, to no purpose (it is theorized) and go on or along and keep writing unaware even of what I am aware of and operationalize a tiny selection of language flooded with other usages and contexts and I write we write it writes as its writing.

“it is through my writing that I keep a hold on life” – Franz Kafka

And, holding nothing, I am unable to stop.

You must go on.  I can’t go on.  I’ll go on.

Samuel Beckett

Families of Fiction. Pt 8.

link to previous:

Family 1

 suggest reading accompanied by : Home Again by Keith Kenniff

8

“we live in accumulations of the actual / with so little understanding”

Verlyn Klinkenborg

I believe that it is possible to make stories out of anything, with words.  Even wordless ones.

Stories on the move, within movement, perhaps even moving.

Accumulation and erosion, not addition and subtraction, multiples or divides – not mathematics, simply or complex.

In relations – part of related systems of relations, related further on, in, out – there are no statics, numbers, letters – even hypothetically.  When you fix one you’ve simply entered another system of relations relating to other fixed (or agreed-upon) relations, lifeless but for you.  Until employed.  Then your letter, number, static sign or symbol dissolves right back into what it came from – the roiling motion of temporal patterns and relations – change processing itself.

The meanings meander through like liquids.  Each part spilling its own glass.  Watch it flow, divert, tumble and pool.  Percolate.  Evaporate.  Stories.

Describing them, no matter how many points of view or entry, how many semiotic systems employed, internal or external – observation is evaluation, almost objectively subjective – merely mean a story, embodying an absorbing and evaporative spilling of change.  Eddies a bit, branches and drips, absorbs here and there, ever morphing form and content.

I can only ever tell you – in this system of systems of relations, this language – what I do not know.

The fathers, the mothers, their partners and pasts, the living of nine children to this moment – refuse to be snap-shotted still, photographed, imagined, or defined.  They are unknowns, rife with variables, and related.  Related to relations and related systems of relations related further out, in, on…

Genuinely incomprehensible.  Evaporating almost as soon as precipitate, incalculable with options and openness – far more than this system can relate.

The fathers love their wives and women, their sons and their daughters, and sometimes it’s even perceived that way.  The women, mothers, partners, also love – and everyone’s love is conditioned and conditional.  Givers, receivers, assertive, supportive, neglectful, abusive, indulgent, and free at a price.  Relational acts in related systems of relations – addressors and addressees, perceived and perceiving, at once.

Each its own glass spilling.  Each its own refilled.  The sharing of endless waters.

Shagg dribbles fluid ice-cold onto a young one’s burn.  Rather than soothe it stings.  Recoils.  Mother in attempting to quench a thirst, drowns it instead.  A child spills that all might see, might hear, might feel.  Instead it’s absorbed deftly and quickly – instinctively – by inanimate terry cloth, a dish-towel, a bathrobe.

A possiblitiy of endless supply, of infinite, is foreign to all but dreams.  We know nothing unpolluted or immeasurable.  We must not write what we know.  Nothing there but an emptying glass.

Instead, perhaps, to offer and receive – these fluids, this language – of unknown origin and imperceivable limit – spilling together compounding toward stories.  Even as it spills.  Even uncontrollable and ill-perceived.

Families of stories.  Write what you do not know.

Fiction Family 4

Pieces that precede can be read in order here:  FAMILY: A FICTION

Family 1

section three closing thus….

They build a monument, calling it travel.  Stripping each other of context, providing a different forum.  Humans tend to revert to familiar.  Habitude of experience.  With no experience, alteration comes to bear.  Predictable as weather.

No one’s leaving home.

Other words coming to mind.

4

            Resistance.

There is, it seems, in families, this propensity.

Whatever is said, corrected, even when agreed.

 

Existing to clarify his spouse – to illuminate and exhibit.  In turn, she elucidates him.  Providing bases or cause – extrapolates.  Siblings arguing each other, united they stand, all as deserters.  Seven eventual versions of the parental wake-up blare: AWOL.

It’s good to be king.  Graph the assassination attempts – looks like innards of clocks.  A searing clap of surprising betrayal each time.  Unlike the spurned and necessarily nutrient mother.  Shagg proclaiming the law (as devised and developed by nature – read lifegiver/lawgiver “mom” – female coupling nurture and structure within dependency).  He handles rebellion, warding attacks and spying the skirmishes, she breeding resentment from ongoing need.

These are general patterns, biologically driven, no symphony the same.  With eight keys plus a half, on a twelve-tone scale, the songs recognizable according to differing orders.  Typify and characterize.  Declare it false.

Scraggydad is nurturing, allowing/confirming resistant responses and recumbent emotions, shame-shirking under her gaze.  In other words – as one of them – a remedial complicity.  Which she echoes into her drama – the leadership, the guilt, the collapse.

Each wanting to be cradled – rock, paper, scissors style – with an occasional simultaneous Bingo.  However unlikely, it’s what probability’s for.

Thus every level its lingo.  Select a word (sex or heaven, death or boy) and provide a taxonomy of related meanings from the eldest parent through littlest child.  It comes clear.  There are altering thesauri of usage.

Family as a game of Scrabble on the board of Life, each settling Catan.  With beeps and whistles and a slew of avatars.

A technique known as mapping provides lay of the land, similar to a geneologist’s tree applied to the present.  A thing to be explored or verified.  Corrected through each journey.  In several dictions.

The family edition.