Thursday, February 23, 2017

The practice of forgetting

I don't know if you read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. I just started reading so I don't know what to make of it yet but so far, it created some beautiful glimmering moments for me. One of them happened to be where he was discussing the difference between digital and manual writing. That subject itself, nevertheless related to this one, deserves a whole other essay which I plan to write on the comparison he made on possibilities of digital vs. manual writing where he sided with digital, rightfully and beautifully arguing that act of writing on digital media enables one to create universes "where sharp lines in space and time do not exist" due to various abilities such as the speed, replacing words at the press of a key, deleting and recalling as opposed to the "linear" process of manual writing. Basically, he praises digital media for its ability of forgetting. Here is a beautiful passage to enjoy while making things clear.

"Repenting, I could have deleted the first draft. I left it to show how the “is” and the “ought,” accident and necessity, can co-exist on this screen. If I wanted, I could remove the offending passage from the screen but not from the memory, thereby creating an archive of my repressions while denying omnivorous Freudians and virtuosi of variant texts the pleasure of conjecture, the exercise of their occupation, their academic glory. This is better than real memory, because real memory, at the cost of much effort, learns to remember but not to forget. Diotallevi goes Sephardically mad over those palaces with grand staircases, that statue of a warrior doing something unspeakable to a defenseless woman, the corridors with hundreds of rooms, each with the depiction of a portent, and the sudden apparitions, disturbing incidents, walking mummies. To each memorable image you attach a thought, a label, a category, a piece of the cosmic furniture, syllogisms, an enormous sorites, chains of apothegms, strings of hypallages, rosters of zeugmas, dances of hysteron proteron, apophantic logoi, hierarchic stoichea, processions of equinoxes and parallaxes, herbaria, genealogies of gymnosophists— and so on, to infinity. O Raimundo, O Camillo, you had only to cast your mind back to your visions and immediately you could reconstruct the great chain of being, in love and joy, because all that was disjointed in the universe was joined in a single volume in your mind, and Proust would have made you smile. But when Diotallevi and I tried to construct an ars oblivionalis that day, we couldn’t come up with rules for forgetting. It’s impossible. It’s one thing to go in search of a lost time, chasing labile clues, like Hop-o’-My-Thumb in the woods, and quite another deliberately to misplace time refound. Hop-o’-My-Thumb always comes home, like an obsession. There is no discipline of forgetting; we are at the mercy of random natural processes, like stroke and amnesia, and such self-interventions as drugs, alcohol, or suicide. Abu, however, can perform on himself precise local suicides, temporary amnesias, painless aphasias." [Abu is the name of the digital machine and italics are mine.]

Well... this passage right here made me think firstly about my desire to write with a mechanical typewriter - why I wanted to write with a mechanical typewriter which will be another essay's topic, that is if I ever manage to write it - and of course about how one could practice forgetting...

And since I never go directly for the obvious and always revolve around the subject to discern it from its peripheries, it seemed like a good idea to try to write about the practice, or better put, the movements of forgetting since I have a lot of experience in that subject: I've - most of the time - deliberately forgotten and continue to forget many things. It's more like a habit. Or maybe I should say that I operate on whatever is attached to the thing I desire to forget.

So here it goes...

First rule of forgetting: you do not talk about... oops sorry, that was Fight Club...

Where were we? Oh yes, forgetting... so, it was close enough to Fight Club as well.

Anyway, the first rule of forgetting is not wanting to forget! (It is so deliciously paradoxical that I had to stop and enjoy the thought for a few minutes! It is moments like these that make me lose track of my own thoughts so I cannot promise much coherency from now on - as if I ever had a claim about coherency!)

So, if you want to forget, you should not want to forget. Instead, you should will to remember and face your accidents, as Eco puts it. Life is a series of accidents. In philosophy, accident is mostly understood as the things which happen to you, in other words, the events of your life. This has been a major topic in philosophy, discussed in depth since Aristotle but for our purposes here, it would be enough to define accident as experience. The object of the act of forgetting is necessarily an experience, right? An experience of some importance. Nobody would bother to forget insignificant or trivial experiences such as going to the store to buy cigarettes etc. So, what you try to forget is always something that makes you feel in a certain way, be it pain, sadness, shame or sorrow...

That certain feeling attached to the experience indicates the forcefulness or power of your experience, in other words the problematic nature of it. That means it has a power. A potential waiting to be created to transform you, and once you become a new person, that is, once you change your plane of operation, the accident you wanted to forget ceases to be itself as well.

These powerful experiences are real questions, and being real questions, they don't have an answer. What is a real question? I feel like it is the creator of a particular truth. Truth, even the emphasis is on the particular, never wants you to give an answer to it. It pulls or pushes you to believe or not believe it. You are kind of helpless on that plane, at the mercy of a certain arrangement of forces. So, you have to jump on another plane where you will meet the light coming from the crack the question created. There always is a crack. And actually you use that crack like a pole to jump onto another plane. Trying to forget won't help because you will be under its power, entangled in its mesh, it will force you to do something until you do something. You can choose to repress it, and by doing so stay within that force zone but that's how various disturbances originate on various parts of your body and not only in your mind.

Anyway, you have to want to change your plane rather than wanting to forget; that is to arrange yourself differently, to change your patterns... You can start with really small and concrete things as well, like literally arranging your home differently even if its imaginary. Let me give you an example:

A few weeks ago, I was trying to forget some pain and in such a state that I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to work, to read, to watch movies, to go out, to talk to people. I mean nothing... I was constantly procrastinating in front of the computer, telling myself that I will work at some point while surfing on the online shopping websites meaninglessly since I wasn't buying anything. Days went on like this. At the end I had arranged a virtual new home, existing only in the shopping lists of the websites. At some point I asked myself, "What the hell am I doing?!" This looked so meaningless, so null. But it wasn't so... I actually had transformed the apartment where I work and live, basically spend most of my time, and it didn't need to be real. I needed a new perspective so my procrastination was showing me the way. What I was reaching for was not only different furniture, different arrangements but a different life. I came to this conclusion by tracing myself, and asking on the way, "What could this mean? What does it do for me that I feel better having this couch here and this table there only in my mind? Hell, it wouldn't make any difference even if they were here." But believe me, your mind is much like a home, arranged in a certain way that enables you to do certain things, like sitting comfortably where you get sunlight or being stuck and uncomfortable under bad illumination. Changing such a small thing as illumination enables you to do different things with things illuminated. A painful memory could be made something creative this way, if you follow the pain through its path of origination which seems to me to be basically the crack of the question.

Or if you are one of those people feeding on sorrow, you probably would want to forget good feelings such as vigor, passion, and joy... but if you are one of those people, I am sorry to have wasted your time. You could have instead opened another bottle of an alcoholic drink of your preference full of melancholia and continued to feel pity for yourself...

On the other hand, you could be trying to forget an event which, at the time, gave you pleasure but now became a source of pain since you are no longer able to experience it. Well, pardon me, but this would only show your limited understanding of that event, your restricted ability to recreate and feed on that pleasure. The movement to make in this situation should be searching the ways to make that event or experience productive for it to be a source of ever more pleasure.

So jump off that plane. I know it's easier said than done. But once you manage to do it once or twice, you'll see it's more of a matter of athletics - much like pole vault really - rather than a conscious effort - not that I know anything about conscious efforts... It's quite true though that it cannot be really taught. You have to do it yourself to learn. At the end you might even make it a habit like me but I don't really recommend that. Because then it kind of becomes impossible to stay on one plane for long. You just want to jump! Plus, since we are living organisms, we cannot really be as precise as Abu in our local suicides. One of these days I may perform my last jump...well, nobody said it was safe, but it's fun and it's the least I can do. For now.



P.S. This is an old post which I wrote exactly one year ago today apparently and never finished until today. It's what jumping does to you: you have trouble completing things. Ah but I finished Foucault's Pendulum. Books, I always follow to the end. And I am still jumping and not completely dead yet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yours sincerely, Ubik.

I always had this idea: being smart necessarily involves some kind of happiness. I don't know where I got this idea despite the contradiction it created with my very first memories - maybe I was Spinoza in another lifetime, who knows... I remember being four or five years old, and trying to tell the adults around me the vastness of the universe and how little we are compared to this immense thing about which we know close to nothing. I remember them being surprised, not because of the immensity of the universe but because I was stating this very normal fact everyone can actually figure out for themselves. So as for my own experience, being smart involved a painful boredom from the stupidity of humans. They never even came close to be stupefied before this weird universe together. That was all I asked: to be baffled together.

So obviously, I had to doubt that idea. Could being smart necessarily involve sadness instead? Of course, it kind of involves some degree of happiness down to a certain level. Spinoza is all about this. You get better and better as your understanding increases. However, as you dig deeper, layer after layer, you come to this weird layer. Philip K. Dick calls it "irrationality as the fundamental stratum of universe." It is deeply saddening. There is a very delicate balance there. That stratum is where it all happens and it is so indifferent that it hurts. You have to constantly keep yourself interested with the life side of the scales rather than the death side to stay alive.

It is kind of true, then, that being smart - and alive - involves both a saddening and a very forceful will not to be sad. It involves a constant search for something that can, in a way, be used for the life side of the scale. As a very smart person, I think Philip K. Dick felt this to his bones. He dived into the waters of sincerity - which is a term I kind of use for that fundamental stratum of irrationality as the basis of life - and although he was deeply saddened, he never gave up on what he managed to take with him from there. That was Ubik. Maybe a little more explanation is needed here.

The book "Ubik" is not really the best literary work but something happens there. Something I still can't really figure out but I feel it's important and something I am sure Dick himself didn't really understand. His intelligence was a felt one, generally just very confusing. The general plot is... well, I can't tell the whole book here. Let's just say there are some people doing some things. Ah, and there is this half-life thing going on where people continue to sort of live on after death. Living people can communicate with them for a prolonged but again limited period. The interesting thing is that you see this thing called Ubik everywhere. It appears in cheap ads at first such as "Instant Ubik has all the fresh flavor of just-brewed drip coffee. Your husband will say, Christ, Sally, I used to think your coffee was only so-so, but now, wow! Safe when taken as directed." There are many of these but they always end with something like "use only as directed." At some point, things start to degenerate, to rot, to get old and people use Ubik to heal things. I mean, time starts to rewind and if I remember right, it only goes as far back as 1930s.


(For the wonderful visual: http://martinacecilia.deviantart.com/art/Try-Ubik-New-and-powerful-204640851)


Why am I telling all this? Because, well, I was thinking about the significance of Ubik for me and I had written this piece on Deleuze&Guattari, Ubik and resistance a few years ago. There, I had argued that Ubik was the "dark precursor" of the resistance against capitalism. But it occurred to me that I wasn't really catching the point unless I considered time as something inter-subjective. I was thinking too abstractly. Sometimes I can't see what's in front of me because of this tendency. Anyway, everything is in-between of things, worlds, people... So, the three syntheses of time go really good with the three syntheses in the Anti-Oedipus. Here, connective synthesis goes parallel with the synthesis of the lived present (now). Disjunctive synthesis goes parallel with the synthesis of the past: there is a difference between chronological past and the past-that-never-was which is the difference between the production of recording and the record surface which is body without organs. And conjunctive synthesis with the synthesis of future.

Now, this is the production of life and of time. This is the process. The result is a nomadic subject, existing only as intensities, intense feelings. the relation between intensities. This subject can only exist as someone else, something else than itself. How does this relate with PKD and Ubik? Well, how did he come up with Ubik? What is it exactly? Something so very trashy but nevertheless healing life only when used as directed which means, too obvious for me, it is a style. It is a friendly whisper to sooth you while you're rotting in half-life, it is a "reality support" to prevent you becoming a zombie or a vampire. It is like an undercurrent even below the irrational and irreal stratum, through which you relate to others who dug deeper and deeper, who didn't stop at nothingness, who didn't surrender to nihilism, who kept on loving life and other people even when those other people were killing them with their self-destructive tendencies. It's just like he writes in Valis: "She will not allow herself to be healed because she does not understand that she is sick. This illness and madness pervades us and makes us idiots living in private, unreal worlds."  This is the madness. And this is making death weigh heavier than life at that layer where life needs some support. Here is another quote from Valis:
"All creation is a language and nothing but a language, which for some inexplicable reason we can't read outside and can't hear inside. So I say, we have become idiots. Something has happened to our intelligence. My reasoning is this: arrangement of parts of the Brain is a language. We are parts of the Brain; therefore we are language. Why, then, do we not know this? We do not even know what we are, let alone what the outer reality is of which we are parts. The origin of the word "idiot" is the word "private." Each of us has become private, and no longer shares the common thought of the Brain, except at a subliminal level. Thus our real life and purpose are conducted below our threshold of consciousness."

The whole point of PKD is love. That's what he means by empathy, by agape, by eros, that which keeps us together and thus alive in the face of constant death and destruction and dissipation. He didn't want this to be his occupation. Nobody wants such a life of struggle. This cannot be a conscious effort. He just did what he had to do to endure life with what he had. He was just desperately smart. As he says himself, "He wasn't just theory-mongering for the sake of it; he was trying to figure out what the fuck had happened to him," all the while constructing universes to try to find a way out of this madness.

"How do you construct a universe that doesn't fall apart in two days?" Well, by diving into the existing universe. By diving into sincerity to connect to the world. By becoming a machine entangled with the fabric of the world. Sincerity - one cannot be sincere, it is like an atmosphere, it cannot be used as an adjective, and I know I should elaborate on that concept in another post - is always at the very beginning. It enables one to be at the very beginning, it is a kind of timeless primordial experience. Honesty which is very disturbingly confused with sincerity, comes only later, when there is a later. When it's already too late. When one no longer can become a machine with the world but with the connection broken, can only observe the world from the outside as a dead lump of meat at the very best.

Anyway... So, I wanted to say that Deleuze&Guattari are revolutionary academics with their conscious effort to show a way out for health but PKD is not less of a revolutionary in his own confused and desperate way. He named Ubik for the rest of us through his own experiences. I can go on for pages on how he deconstructs the production of recording for the benefit of the recording surface, on how his paranoia enables him to decode and detach himself, on how he envisions an inclusive and nonrestrictive society where he reattaches himself to others, on how he so accurately speculates and fictionalizes philosophy, on how he enables his reader to go along this mind boggling journey, on how wonderful was that little Sci-Fi society of 1940s and 1950s before it was cool...

But for the purposes of this little post what's important is only this: how does Ubik heal life? Well, it is Logos, it's the force of life on that irrational stratum, it is our weapon against destruction, death and nothingness. It truly belongs to us in this vast universe. It's our power to create. Yes, maybe it's the "dark precursor" of life against death. It is how forces of life communicate with each other and create together. It is that book through which a self-educated and desperately smart man continues to communicate with the people who can receive the signals. The people who have a will to heal life which is an impossible task to begin with.

By the way, I am not a Dick-head - it's how fans of PKD call themselves - because being a fan of somebody or something just doesn't belong to my constitution. I just love some people very much and like to praise them. I feel this is the only way I can resist all this stupid shit going on in the world, and not especially now. It has always been stupid. I am just trying to make more of what I love. Just getting some reality support and thus joy from Ubik right now... I will always be on the side of desperate nevertheless joyful intelligence.

Last words from PKD:
"I think Dr. Willis McNelly at the California State University at Fullerton put it best when he said that the true protagonist of an sf story or novel is an idea and not a person. If it is good sf the idea is new, it is stimulating, and, probably most important of all, it sets off a chain-reaction of ramification-ideas in the mind of the reader; it so-to-speak unlocks the reader's mind so that that mind, like the author's, begins to create. Thus sf is creative and it inspires creativity, which mainstream fiction by-and-large does not do. We who read sf (I am speaking as a reader now, not a writer) read it because we love to experience this chain-reaction of ideas being set off in our minds by something we read, something with a new idea in it; hence the very best science fiction ultimately winds up being a collaboration between author and reader, in which both create -- and enjoy doing it: joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness." (in a letter) May 14,1981


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

There is a Law, there is an Arm, there is a Hand!

There are species of people: monkeys, penguins, rabbits, cats, wolves, anteaters, pandas, dung beetles... - ah, dung beetles are lovely! They remind me of Sisyphus with their painstaking labor just rolling shit and trying to push it just a little further...

Anyway, there are as many species as the number of people, and one person is already many species, we can't enumerate them all. So a more fundamental categorization would be, for me, poets and others whatever their species may be. Poets do not necessarily write poetry though. Actually it is something rare for someone to be a poet and to write poetry at the same time. I have a poet friend who has never really written poetry and works in a bottling factory, for example. Poets are the ones starting from breaks, cracks, who see and feel the constant shifting of planes of existence, who kind of surf on the waves of existence without really belonging to any of these, without settling down, not really taking anything seriously enough to plant roots because they know, feel that it's all going to end. The end is always already happening. Poets signal that but always cheerfully because, really, there is nothing else to do in the face of such constant change and destruction than to laugh, and maybe to create more signs to be found by others to guide them in turn, to create their own signs...

So is Leonard Cohen, and he is one of the rare poets who also wrote poetry. Someone said that he was the last anti-hero and it made me feel sick to my stomach. This understanding, for me, is as wrong and warped as it can be. What is an anti-hero, anyway? Is he a loser? Is he someone that stands in the way of the hero? Is he aware that he is an anti-hero? Is his opposition a conscious effort? Or is he just an asshole, destroying things without building anything? The idea of anti-hero never really made sense to me but I feel the tastelessness of it even for the very fact that it assumes a plane where heroes and anti-heroes reside. Settled in there comfortably. Sure, Leonard might have passed from there, might have produced signs pointing there but that would be all. He would be just passing by...

Anyway, the day he died, I was actually reaching for Back to Methuselah, a book of Bernard Shaw, to help me once more with, well, everything. There are a certain number of things I constantly go back to read, to feel. That means these things still have something to offer, they are still producing signs for me, or for the Hand to grope to make its way in the world.

So I reached for Bernard Shaw for him to heal my belief in the world which is basically a belief in a Hand. In this funny and smart book, two guys talk about how the lifespan of humans should be increased to create a better civilization and how this is actually possible if only people wanted, desired, felt the need to live longer. It's basically an argument for creative evolution. But what is funny is that both of these men who argue for this die while a guy who was there totally coincidentally continues to live as we see in the next scene set 150 years later. He didn't understand what happened to him when he just wasn't dying when it was reasonably his time. So beautiful and funny.

What this entails for me is that there is this force, these forces, just creating things, paving different roads and this has nothing to do with knowing or understanding or being conscious. Unconscious workings of life...guided by desire...

So:
There is a Law, there is an Arm, there is a Hand.

In a very different way though.

Sometimes I do outrageous things, things that don't make sense at all at that time, things that are not functional, even counter-intuitive for my survival, things that will most probably crash me, cause me to dissolve...

When I do these things I feel like I am plotting against myself and I feel a Hand. Not the Law or the Arm though. I wonder about them, wonder if they exist but I know there is definitely a Hand there, very much palpable. So I pass to the side of paranoia from the usual schizophrenic plane I dwell in but I do so to wonder about what's happening, to follow where this Hand is trying to take me. That paranoia, it's not like there is some grand scheme. Now Werner Herzog talks in his enchanting way that says even more than his words: "The universe is indifferent to our constructions of grands schemes" - of course it is, Werner... But we are not indifferent. Werner, sure, is not indifferent. Life is not indifferent. For there to be life, there must be a reaching out to light, water, food... There must be an interest for light and water and minerals etc. for a plant to grow, for instance. Or there must be a pathetic Grizzly Man for Werner to make a film on.

So when I do these outrageous things I do them happily, really. Not even happily but unconsciously. I don't decide, I just reach out. And by now I learned that even though nothing makes sense at that point in time, a time will come for me to feed on the very thing that destroyed me: to make sense. Because I had to reach out to that thing to make the very transformation which is the wonder of making sense.

So... there is a Hand, for sure in these lyrics for me:
"I left everybody but I never went straight, I don't claim to be guilty but I do understand. [...] Now my heart's like a blister from doing what I do. [...] I'm going to miss you forever tho' it's not what I planned. [...] Now the deal has been dirty since dirty began. I'm not asking for mercy, not from the man. You just don't ask for mercy while you're still on the stand."

Sure, these lyrics may be talking about something else entirely. But I don't care. And such is the beauty of the lyrics as well: they give off signals beyond themselves. It's not important that we are not on the same page with the lyrics. What's important is that these lyrics have opened some pages before me, whatever those may be.

I don't have a will to know what they really mean... I have a will to dance and to witness the creation of new connections guided by the rhythm of that Hand. I am sure there will emerge something to enlarge my playground, at the very least.

One must dance to the rhythm of all those invisible but forceful Hands...



Saturday, June 4, 2016

questions, exclamations, anchors and spins

The question that has been hunting me since I was a kid revolves around interest, I suppose. Not monetary interest, god no! That kind of interest just exceeds my understanding. I have no interest in that kind of interest. My interest is more like why being interested in this rather than that? Why some are drawn to one thing - like monetary interest, for example, which is a type of interest I just can't grasp - while others are drawn to other things? The question itself is still pretty blurry for me. I can't formulate it yet, or better put, I formulate it all the time in varying ways which are always quite different from each other, most of the time to the point of contradiction.

And I always contradict myself, that's another point, or maybe I should say I find myself in contradiction most of the time. Even this state of contradiction creates a contradiction if you take, as I do, the first premise of "people are drawn to certain things" to be true. You wouldn't contradict yourself if what interests you was a certain fixed thing. The thing is you don't even know and you can't possibly know what you will be drawn to. It's in the future tense because it's about a future state of mind.  

So, that means, being interested in something necessarily involves future, a kind of future that resides in the here-and-now. It is not a planned future, a schedule, an abstract representation of how it "will" be. It is in the very moment of being drawn, in that weird feeling that pushes you this way rather than that way. You stay on something if you are interested and you stay on it right in the middle of the here-and-now. There is a duration, a persistence, a reaching out... This is not a conscious thing obviously. Of course there are consciously decided interests, but again I am not talking about them since I don't really understand how they work. I am talking about the fundamental shift that takes place when you reach for a particular thing you see or hear or read. It is like magic really, as if something gets a hold on you, orienting you towards a certain direction. It could be a major thing that will leave you feeling that it changed your life forever, or it could be one of those little things we dwell in everyday, like wanting to take a walk on this park rather than the other or reaching out for this book rather than the one next to that.

Deleuze talks about something he calls "dark precursor," something that signals future while at the same time constituting it. I still don't quite know what it is but the important thing here is that I was instantly drawn to this peculiar series of words as soon as I saw it written on some page among hundreds of other series of words. There was something for me in that particular adjective clause; something resonated with me, something I cannot put my finger on but something forceful. It interested me. I cannot say why, just as I cannot truly give a reason for my interest in philosophy. Many people live their lives without philosophy and they seem just fine. We can always list reasons, and perfectly justified ones as well to be interested in philosophy such as the cliché of "one should live a life that is thought through," etc. But all that comes from the level of consciousness. It doesn't explain the fundamental orientation, the "granite of fate" as Nietzsche calls it (which is another wonderfully forceful image for me).

So, interest has nothing to do with consciousness and it involves future in a way. Think about falling in love. You find yourself drawn to a particular person among many people. You can't give a reason why you are drawn to that person. The feeling just holds you there. As Leonard Cohen puts it so simply, "I am not the one who loves, it is love that seizes me." You are literally seized by some world, a certain assemblage of the world which is called the self. It is almost like being caught in a web that appears to exist just to catch you.

Sometimes I entertain the thought that we are all question marks, not at the end of the questions but in the middle of them, signaling a certain web of questions. We are all signs of a certain assemblage of questions and we relate to each other through the web of questions. Some don't interest us at all since our web of questions doesn't touch those. Some, on the other hand, attract us instantly since our webs are intertwined. There is always a search for the questions we signal with our existence. And what we call life is the journey towards clarifying what these are. Once the question is formulated, it is solved. We are all trying to formulate our web of questions. There are moments when we, as question marks, turn into exclamation marks. Something we encounter transforms us into exclamation marks to show the way within the web and make us sense what we are a sign of. It's just like what Philip K. Dick said: "There exists, for everyone, a sentence - a series of words - that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you're lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first." 

It's not a smooth business wandering around your web. He is right. You can be certain - if you are a little awake - that you will turn into an exclamation mark somewhere along the road through an encounter that will destroy your existence as a serene question mark. But, if you can persist and find other signs - if you have not already - that secure your place in the middle of your web, that help you continue your quest by acting as anchorage points, that heal your existence as a question mark - because as an exclamation mark you can't do anything but scream with joy and pain - then you will be able to see your web in a better light, to see more of it or, better put, to expand it. Tried and tested. Those anchorage points for me, for example, include Dick, Cohen, Deleuze, Coffeen and many other friends. They are other signs on my web of questions. They don't act as fixation points but literally anchors. I hold onto them and spin around my own web with the hope of exploring more of what I am made of. Thanks to them, I don't dissolve and lose sight of what I am here for: namely to investigate what I am, to increase my land on the surface of life. What destroys me is also a part of my web world; otherwise it wouldn't have been able to destroy me. So, I have to become a question mark again after each time I have turned into an exclamation mark only to look at the direction the exclamation mark has shown me. That is, my very own future, here and now. And all this happens on the ground of fundamental sincerity, but that is a subject for another post... 

Life is so interesting...






Sunday, May 15, 2016

an encounter with a vampire

It was two years ago today,
exactly at three a.m. that I saw him approaching from the future.
We were in the middle of yet another time war,
past vs. future, and all that crap.
I always sided with the future because I had to,
I, of course instantly, sided with him too...

What I didn't know back then in the future was
the nature of vampires,
how they shimmered with life they drink,
how they were tortuously caught in between times,
how they operated within the delay,
there, the reason for their myth of eternal youth lay.

There he was, stroking me with his shine,
Irresistibly full of shit, incomparably attractive.
I had to ask breathlessly,
"From the depth of which grave you rose up to get me?
"What was that strong enough to kill you?
"What do you want from me?"

He said, "We have no graves," with an ever more radiant beam,
"We have no mortis causa,
"We do have sticks full of powerful life residue to offer."
He was amused with my stupidity,
all the while playing his trick on me with that stick,
to take my becoming, digest it and make it stink.

The war was still going on,
I had taken a break, exhausted of all the lonely battles,
We ran and hopped and jumped around
on the immense green fields of the future.
No need for war, we said,
we'll enjoy the cosmic play of joy from here.

Then one day, as I looked in his eyes intensely, he said, "Honestly!"
"You can't possibly be that ignorant of me,
you had to shut your intensity down to enjoy the cosmic mockery."
There, he named the game what it was not.
In "honesty" he must have fallen into the crack of times.
In "honesty" he was sure I'd fall too...

I felt as heavy as the earth itself,
and the earth itself felt heavier than me.
We both could only croak, "Sincerely..."
"We who sided with the future, our game was sincerity.
Now you cast me the role, now you imprison me.
Now you push me into the grave of dead meats,
full with facts, and matters, and things.
Now I am blinded, now I truly see
how horrible your life must be."

His ears were soundproof with bricks of facts,
death itself was looking through his now-impersonal eyes.
As the earth and I were losing all our folds,
he turned his back and walked away.
Out of the corner of my crusting eye
I caught a glimpse of his depart,
it was a little too late, a little early, eternally.
In the twilight of my body, his figure was just a lump.
"How could a lump walk?" I thought for the last time, painfully...

There we were, the earth and me, in the land of delay,
the earth; reduced to its surface, stretched infinitely...
me; bloodless, lifeless, helpless, achingly less...
Unable to send a signal from this immense prison,
there, I laid flat, squirming with torment,
there, I was a little hysteric, a little dead.

Thus the vampire had bitten me
to turn all the imperceptible signs of life in my flesh
into impersonal death messengers.
For a moment that felt like forever
the earth was a howling desert,
For a moment, my flesh was a gaping wound.
For a moment, there I was no more.

Then, the moment passed, as it does, in a thousand years,
finally the future commanded me to unfuck myself, to break free
and sent me the pass to write this story.
Now, I keep rocking my chair in the sun
all the while I sense sincerity giving shape to the earth again,
and healing all that is me,
but once in a while
I think I hear the chair sigh...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

migratory routes of us, nomads (I)

I, hereby, declare that I belong to a society which is called by many names.

Every member of the nomadic people of the earth has the right to rename our society, although most of the members don't really care about naming stuff. They just go about doing their own business. I wasn't interested in naming it too, but since I was asked, with a tinge of hatred and contempt, of what my society consists, I had to come up with some names. I thought of some, some others I borrowed from other members. It is not a crime to steal names in our society if you build on it and create with it - in other words, if you manage to make it your own, you're always welcome.

So here it goes:

nomads...
individuals...
people of future...
future-tense-people...
erewhonians...
birds...
zarathustras...
paradoxical elements...
pebbles...
contingents...
sense-events...
dark precursors...
marks of the earth...
time-cracks...
networks...
conjunctives...
ands...
withs...
flows...
poets...
prophets...
gönüls - which is many things at once as one of our members described: "mind, soul, heart, energy, lovers, jealousies, silences together" - his English was poor as he is an Italian, but he showed his deep understanding of this Turkish word which is essentially untranslatable. Ah!
untranslatables...
and so ons...

This is not an exhaustive list obviously. We are not an exhaustive people. We enjoy our lack of completeness. We are not and will never be whole, complete, finished. We are not masters of anything, not even ourselves. We don't believe in God since we have flesh-and-blood prophets to believe instead. Well, everyone in our society is a prophet of another world of their own making, so believing may not be the best term there since we don't have any other option. As one of our members who is known as Philip K. Dick in the normal society - an outside for us - pointed out: reality is that which doesn't go away when you stop believing it. We are real, not because we don't believe in each other, but because believing in each other and existing is one and the same thing. Almost. Well, that member was actually pointing out another kind of reality which is quite foreign to us. A reality that is said to exist out of our relational field. We are still discussing whether it is a myth or not.

And yes, we discuss things. We enjoy to discuss everything. But we do it politely. It's a kind of dance for us, not a fight. We dance to each other's rhythms. We silently move away when another's rhythm becomes to much for us to handle. This doesn't mean that there is no violence in our society. Actually, the violence is almost always present on the geographies we wander together. There is death, first of all. There are injuries from which we sometimes have trouble to survive. But luckily, our geographies are in constant motion, continuously changing with small earthquakes, rearranging themselves with small revolutions as we wander. So when we fall down an abyss, we are sure we will not stay there for long since the abyss will also close to create another beautiful scenery with waterfalls and stuff. The earth under our feet will raise us up with it. We always have the earth. On this earth, some of us have territories quite hard to trek. For example, one particular member who goes about as Nietzsche by day, has these steep and cold mountains higher than any of us has seen. There are rumors that he has gone mad and now resides at the top of one of those mountains. But I saw him the other day very early in the morning in the fish market and we had a pleasant conversation. He didn't seem crazy to me at all. So, one should not believe in rumors.

This manifesto thing is tiring. Let's take it up from here later with our routes which are basically the same thing with our existence: too many...

A screenshot from the movie "A fost sau n-a fost?" that is "Did revolution happen or not?": yet another beautiful multiplicity, another pride of our society. Look at those expressions! Those expressions are just a few samples of our routes...


Friday, December 11, 2015

the tragedy of an inconclusive death


to my dark precursor, that peculiar Mark...


In the line of flight that is love
there is a sign,
in the sign a crack,
an abyss,
the bottomless depth of an open wound...
as the wound throbs with emptiness,
the full body of death devours everything that flows,
tides no more,
flights no more,
dives no more.
matter forgets itself,
its plenum remains,
just nothingness of not-thing-ness
just nowhere of now-hereness

the wound heals
scabbing over the mouth of that very intimate exclamation mark
punctuation screams no more
language lost
time stripped from its future
its fundamental layer
becomes heavy with the load of everything-there-was
everything-there-was becomes a piece of flesh
flesh with no bone(r)s to penetrate it
nothing to hold it together
nothing in it to stand up for it
flesh
now nameless
flesh
heavy
flesh
out in the open
flesh
flashing out
flesh
still feeling
flesh
sweating cold
flesh
shivering
flesh
desolate
flesh
mute
flesh
scratching its insides
flesh
can't get out
flesh still living
...

a drooling mouth comes out of nowhere
with big hands and feet and a grotesque body and a giant hump
looking familiar in its atrocity
properly humanly ugly
picks it up
spits in it
wipes his mouth
puts it in his pocket
in the pocket a giant hole
in the hole a gummy dick sticking his head out 
the human beast hobbles on...

a scorching pain follows
stamping it with a mark reading
[not over yet]

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stringer Bell, Philip K. Dick and the resistance



You should know The Wire, the most beautiful TV show ever, and not only in my opinion. Since I watched it, and I admit a little late, in 2009 or 2010, I don't recall exactly, I made a habit of making some of my friends watch as well and watching with them all over again. And it was interesting to ask them which character they loved the most. Of course it's never only one character. It's such a show that you love all the characters, even the bad ones, with a few exceptions maybe. But there is always a top three, and the first one, I think, gives away what you're about yourself. The character you love the most is the one you identify with on some fundamental level. We've had rich conversations, shedding light on ourselves as well as the characters in the show.

So, mine was Russell Bell - a.k.a. Stringer. But I haven't been able to figure out exactly why I loved Stringer - he is not usually loved that much - the most until recently. He was always a hero in my opinion, although a little degenerate. His fate made my heart hurt, kind of like a tragic hero. He tried to get out of the thug game in the streets by trying to get in to the bigger and official game of real estate. He studied economics in the university while laundering the drug money, establishing corporations and buying huge amounts of real estate. He was a business man, not a gangster. He didn't like all the killings that brought the police on them. He was trying to become legitimate while Avon - his childhood friend and the king of West Baltimore's drug trade - was conducting the business like a war. Avon was fighting to keep his corners, dropping bodies here and there to intimidate competition while Stringer was thinking that this was stupid. As a business man, not a soldier, Stringer thought that they can get out of this mess altogether if they were smart enough to get legit. So he contacted Clay Davis, a corrupt politician, who stole much of his money and fooled him by giving promises about approvals of real estate licences through his contacts in the high places. We watched Stringer, that cool character, becoming helpless day by day, getting angry, and once he fully understood that he has been fooled, he completely lost his cool and went to Avon trying helplessly to convince him to kill Clay Davis.

All this makes sense in the story. What didn't make sense for me was the reason why I was so impressed by Stringer... I have no inclination whatsoever for business. I am not a business person, in fact I am the opposite of that. So, it couldn't be the business aspect of it all. Then, the other day, while I was reminiscing about Stringer and mourning, it hit me: I loved him because he had a problem with the reality. He didn't accept reality as it is. They were drug dealers coming from the streets and that was it. Avon, for example, in all his naivety, had never suspected that it could have been otherwise. But String thought that they can actually change their reality if they're smart enough. It was only a matter of money, the world was revolving around money and they had enough money now to get out of their illegitimate lives. He studied economics in the college to get to the bottom of the whole system. He educated his crew, forming some kind of college atmosphere at their headquarters. Oh, what a beautiful scene that was...



Anyways, Stringer, in his quest, found a solution out of his reality into to the bigger reality - outer wheels of capitalism - and it is here Philip K. Dick enters the scene for me. Stringer, although smart and educated, followed a solution involving faking the bigger players in the bigger game. If everything was about the money, why not use the money accordingly and enter higher society as one of its members, right? Why not act, work, dress, talk, and walk like one of them? That should be enough to jump from this plane of reality to the plane of another, one that is actually running the business. But it wasn't enough. Stringer is a fake fake, in PKD's term, in the fake capitalist world. What does that mean? That means an authentic being in a fake world. The capitalist game in higher places was - is - much more cruel, sophisticated and most importantly fabricated than the game in the streets. While Stringer was the cunning one in the streets of Baltimore, the throne of cunning belonged to Clay Davis at that higher plane because Davis was already a fake, through and through. He was already a fabrication of capitalism and bureaucracy. He belonged to that plane, and as such, he knew the topography, the paths, the nature of that fake world by heart while Stringer, in all his authenticity, was a complete stranger there, ready to fall prey to Davis. Stringer believed that there was a way out of his reality but he couldn't realize how sophisticated the game was on that other plane. He was a stranger, a fake in this other world merely due to his belief that he could change the game. Nobody believed anything up there. Up there, there was - is - only the inherent acceptance that the world is already fake and that's how it goes. That's why we saw Stringer as helpless as he can be when he encountered the ultimate illusion. His very core, his being was shaken before Clay Davis. He was not that helpless even when he understood that he's going to die. Because he understood that. His death was a result of his doings and he knew that it was fair. Clay Davis, on the other hand, represented something that he cannot possibly understand without ceasing to be himself. What made Stringer himself was believing in another world and when that was taken away from him, he was left with nothing. Sigh...

Before I linked Stringer's problem with the problem of fake, I had thought that he encountered his demon in Clay Davis, his mirror twin. After all, Stringer was very much the Clay Davis of the streets. He was the most cunning of them all: killing D'Angelo behind Avon's back, cooperating with people he shouldn't cooperate, snitching on Avon, deceiving everybody that he thought he should deceive in the name of business... Those are not good deeds. And when he encountered Clay Davis, I thought "Well, yes, this shitty person is probably the Stringer of high places." It was as if he was looking in a mirror, but one that shows the image much bigger. Stringer had, or he thought he had, an understanding with him. But then, I realized that there was something fundamentally different between them. One was sincere, even in his most harmful deeds while the other one was... well I can't find another term: fake.

Then, all of a sudden, this whole thing seemed to me to be related with resistance somehow, more specifically, with Gezi Resistance. Why did we resist? Because we believed in another world, not the world they imposed on us. And who did we resist against? Them, our versions of Clay Davis. The fakes of this geography. Them, who are able to use everything and anything to get their way. Them, who are inferior to us but somehow who are governing us. Them, who impose their vision on us. Them, who do not believe in anything other than money. And, I realized, the reason of the resistance being such a big deal and also the reason for our exhaustion (I had a few nervous breakdowns, for example, and many are feeling the same way now) was that we found a solution quite similar, yet different to the one Stringer found. We, the common mind of the resistance, were faking the fake. It was our method. They were already fake, and moreover they were bringing forth absurd, even surreal arguments such as the resistance being financed by foreign powers and organizations which do not even exist; some men dressed in leather with whips in their hands abusing a head scarfed woman and her baby and peeing on her; that we were trying to manufacture an atomic bomb in the tents in Gezi Park, etc. The list is too long to include everything here but you can see the surreal quality in all this. So, our minds were forced to go to the limit. We started to produce fakes everywhere, fake arguments, fake happenings, fake news much like Onion's. We opened pages on Facebook in the name of these non-existent lobbies they were talking about as foreign organizations, we opened Twitter accounts in their names to make their parody. We had fun like hell as well while doing that. And they were pathetic because they didn't expect this. They thought that we would take a defensive position against their absurd arguments and then, we would be on their plane to comfortably attack. We actually won by taking the battle on another field. Our intelligence and authenticity won over their stupidity. We know that. But the thing was we weren't fake, and they already were. We believed in changing the game, and they were playing it relentlessly. So, at some point, we were exhausted of all this nonsense but they weren't. They continued bullshitting. And they still are. But we are tired now, at least I know I am. We want our sanity back. They don't need sanity (they have been born and raised in a world of insanity - now I understand better why PKD keeps calling evil insane) but we do. So, it appears now as if they won. We know that isn't true but nothing much changed since then, moreover it became worse lately with this internal security package they got through the parliament. Anyway, I didn't actually mean to go into these things but I can't help myself.

Actually what I wanted to say was this: it's a smart solution to fake the fake as Stringer did. But the problem is, for Stringer as for the resistance, the authentic can fake the fake to some extent. After that, a disintegration occurs just as the experience of PKD's characters. The authentic cannot hold itself together in a fake world. It cannot communicate with the rest of the world whose reality is quite different. The authentic person's strength which is believing in himself and his dreams becomes his weakness when he's faced with the all-encompassing illusion which is capitalism in its deepest form in the world we are living today. He cannot fake enough to be a real fake. And this is the very personal doomsday that everyone experiences privately. This is the tragedy linking Stringer to resistance and to me. Of course, Stringer won if you ask me. He won because he was - is - superior to Clay Davis with his authentic reality. That's why he, not Davis, is the one we remember. And Gezi was a success no matter what happened next. I don't believe in their fabricated reality. One day, it will shatter; it's already shaking but one day it will be destroyed completely and we will be there to watch with great pleasure because we are the real reality. We still having a charm of reality in our hearts. "Us motherfucker..."



P.S. After I wrote this and was searching for some images I can use, I stumbled upon this article. So, I wasn't alone in thinking he was tragic, although the article's context differ from mine, fortunately.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The horror and joy of a certain enlightenment

I've had my share of enlightenment in the last few years, and I suspect that I've stolen from the others' share if the quantity of enlightenment is somehow fixed. You know, if a quota exists.

These enlightening moments had a wide range too. In one, I found myself being in that place where the virtual becomes actual, the place where the world is constantly created, where life creates itself as a current coming from the virtual and transforming into actual, the ultimate now. In another, more mundane one, I suddenly understood something which before constantly escaped the eyes of my mind (which I don't remember now). Of course all of this had a transformative effect on me on some level, otherwise they wouldn't be called enlightenment. But I went through them intact, that is, I always felt an inherent trust in myself, therefore in life that it wouldn't break me. It would only make me more, I would know and feel more, I would become richer... Isn't this the meaning of life to some extent?

Then came the breaker and probably the most superior enlightenment of it all, at least among the others I experienced. I met this guy and had a lot of fun. I felt as if I found "my mirror twin, my next of kin" to quote Leonard Cohen. I don't remember exactly when or where I fell for him. But our encounter was such a forceful attraction that it was as if time itself disappeared and we were in a constant now. To speak more intellectually, it was Aion that I found myself in in contrast to Chronos. No wonder why Aion is identified with Eros... These weird things started to happen: I was dreaming his dreams, or maybe I was moving into his mind while I was sleeping. There I experienced the first tinges of horror. It's not pleasant to come into being in somebody else's mind, no matter how much you love them. It may even be the ultimate horror of life: realizing that you are a figment of somebody else's imagination. Being conscious and ultimately powerless. Having no power of action to change things around...

And his mind was not a pleasant environment either. It was contrary to everything I believe myself to be. So, I was put off a little and we eventually broke up with the addition of some other mundane reasons. But I couldn't really detach myself from this experience. One day, as I was in bed trying to sleep (you can imagine that sleeping has become very hard to accomplish for me after this), I saw myself standing at the edge of the world, where an abysmal wound was constantly opening in the flesh of the world. Yes. I'm sorry, I haven't yet found a more understandable expression to draw the image of that affect. It was the world becoming wounded at every instant and it was the abyss which seemed to me essential to the world's existence. The wound was always there and it was going to be there forever, without the possibility of healing since it was always becoming a wound...

Of course, being me, I approached the matter in a philosophical way, to discern the problem. I solved or am constantly trying to solve all my existential problems with philosophy, so why not this one? First I thought this was related to the material being of the world since the wound was crawling with things, things I couldn't define. It seemed to me, at first, that the world was suffering of the being of matter, in a Bergsonian sense that is matter is in a state of forgetting itself, continuously getting away from itself. World was rotting from within because matter was forgetting itself, becoming stranger every moment. World was not able to penetrate matter, relate to it even though it is made of it. So it was becoming stranger to itself. But the world had a flesh or is flesh, with that I mean matter with soul, something that relates everything with every other thing, invisible connections throughout. So, these connections were constantly breaking because f*cking matter couldn't remember that it was a part of all this. Sorry about that, I always get angry at this point. Can't help it.

OK, this explanation seemed quite right to me but I wasn't relieved of course. Now, my ground was shaken all the more because I believe in the world and matter, I believe that they reconcile somehow, that matter would come back to itself at some point. Maybe some connections are constantly being broken but others are constantly created. So this wound shouldn't be a fundamental wound but it terrifyingly seemed so...

Then, in the hope of finding my comfortable ground again, I started reading everything that made sense to me before. And there it was, in Deleuze's Difference and Repetition:

"Nietzsche seems to have been the first to see that the death of God becomes effective only with the dissolution of the Self. What is then revealed is being, which is said of differences which are neither in substance nor in a subject: so many subterranean affirmations. If eternal return is the highest, the most intense thought, this is because its own extreme coherence, at the highest point, excludes the coherence of a thinking subject, of a world which is thought of as a guarantor God. Rather than being concerned with what happens before and after Kant (which amounts to the same thing), we should be concerned with a precise moment within Kantianism, a furtive and explosive moment which is not even continued by Kant, much less by post-Kantianism - except, perhaps, by Hölderlin in the experience and the idea of a 'categorical abduction'. For when Kant puts rational theology into question, in the same stroke he introduces a kind of disequilibrium, a fissure or crack in the pure Self of the ' I think' , an alienation in principle, insurmountable in principle: the subject c an henceforth represent its own spontaneity only as that of an Other, and in so doing invoke a mysterious coherence in the last instance which excludes its own - namely, that of the world and God. A Cogito for a dissolved Self: the Self of 'I think' includes in its essence a receptivity of intuition in relation to which I is already an other. It matters little that synthetic identity - and, following that , the morality of practical reason - restore the integrity of the self, of the world and of God, thereby preparing the way for post-Kantian syntheses: for a brief moment we enter into that schizophrenia in principle which characterizes the highest power of thought, and opens Being directly on to difference, despite all the mediations, all the reconciliations, of the concept." [Italics are mine] 
There are other passages that are of importance here for me, in one he talks about thought, in the other about the nomadic distribution. Bear with me:

 "It is true that on the path which leads to that which is to be thought, all begins with sensibility. Between the intensive and thought, it is always by means of an intensity that thought comes to us. The privilege of sensibility as origin appears in the fact that, in an encounter, what forces sensation and that which can only be sensed are one and the same thing, whereas in other cases the two instances are distinct. In effect, the intensive or difference in intensity is at once both the object of encounter and the object to which the encounter raises sensibility. It is not the gods which we encounter: even hidden, the gods are only the forms of recognition. What we encounter are demons, the sign-bearers"

[...]

"Even when it concerns the serious business of life, it is more like a space of play, or a rule of play, by contrast with sedentary place and nomos. To fill a space, to be distributed within it, is very different from distributing the space. It is an errant and even 'delirious' distribution, in which things are deployed across the entire extensity of a univocal an undistributed Being. It is not a matter of being which is distributed according to the requirements of representation, but of all things being is divided up within being in the univocity of simple presence (the One - All). Such a distribution is demonic rather than divine, since it is a peculiarity of demons to operate in the intervals between the gods' field of action, as it is to leap over the barriers or enclosures, thereby confounding the boundaries between properties. Oedipus' chorus cries: 'Which demon has leapt further than the longest leap?' The leap here bears witness to the unsettling difficulties that nomadic distributions introduce into sedentary structures of representation." [Italics are mine] 

Well, all this made even more sense to me. In a very real sense, his existence opened a crack in me, or my representation since I identified myself with him but he was an "other" nevertheless. I found this crack in the very core of my being, and a terrible alienation took place. It was the result of an encounter which forced me to think as it always is. Of course I had similar experiences before but it was always from a relatively safe place. I was always a good girl trying to make sense of the world. It seems that I had never put myself on the line and this time my very own being - or the structure which represents me - was in danger. What I encountered at the edge of the world's flesh, crawling were demons. The wound was actually the crack in "me," where I actually think. And this crack, this wound was as impersonal as it can be. It had nothing to do with my puny life. It was fundamental indeed, but in a good way, not towards death but creation.

You can imagine life is more endurable again. Because now I have something to work with to create. Now, I'm not drowning in the horror. I still see it, I still feel it but now I gained the necessary perspective to go on and transform the sad passions into joyful ones, to speak in Spinoza's terms. I can look in the eye of the horror of enlightenment and still survive to make something out of it. I was wounded deeply but I was healed in a different sense as well.

To return another deep love of mine, Philip K. Dick, I am now able to take smaller doses of schizophrenia. Dick talks about the unfolding in schizophrenia (in my context the crack in the 'I') as follows:

"This unfolding is not in any sense a causal progression; it is the vertical opening forth of synchronicity rather than the horizontal cause-and-effect sequence that we experience by clock time, and since it is timeless, it is unlimited in extent; it has no built-in end. So the universe of the schizophrenic is, again to understate it, somewhat large. Much too large. Ours, like the twice-daily measured squirt of toothpaste, is controlled and finite; we rub up against only as much reality as we can handle -- or think we can handle, to be more accurate." (Here is the link for the ones who would like to read this beautiful article) 

The space where thinking happens in the speed of light, the crack, the wound at the edge of the world's flesh is not a space you can endure to live. It is too much to allow any kind of activity. You are in the mercy of demons, always passive, being dragged from there to here. That was the source of my deep sorrow: ultimate passivity. All the thoughts that came to me was about that: the forgetful character of matter, the crawling eerie things, death, etc.

But there is no need to give in to death and get incurably depressed. You can and should make something out of everything in life since you are living! So, I thank life for giving me all these opportunities full of wonder to discover its horrifying and beautiful sides. I thank life for constantly destroying and reconstructing everything anew. And I thank life for introducing me such beautiful people like Dick, Deleuze, Cohen, and more who are constantly moving me, renewing the joy that is the essence of our soul, I believe.

"Got something in my eye, a light that doesn't need to live, and doesn't need to die..."






Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mindless Dissection Vol. II

She woke up to the ugly fight between seagulls at 5 in the morning. In the ambiguous place between sleep and awareness, she found herself thinking about meaning and meaninglessness. Everything was obvious for a fleeting moment. "We don't create meaning, we only contract meaninglessness," she said to herself, simultaneously wondering what that meant. For example, this ugly, noisy fight between seagulls, she thought, it only has a meaning for me and obviously for them since we both are limited in our perception of the world at that moment, we both are focused on the fight while there are many other things there in the world.

She tried to remember what was so obvious in that ambiguous moment. She recalled an image, it was an image of a pinball machine... The ball hitting the edges, changing its direction every time... The limits of the machine... That was what created the game itself. "So," she forced herself to think, "if there were no edges of the machine, the ball would be lost in one direction, in only one motion. That would be the real limitation, for the ball and for us as players. The game, the meaning is only possible through the multiplicity of the motions of the ball. The game has to have a structure and this is what makes the meaning. And the same applies from the perspective of the ball, I guess. It, now, thanks to the game, has more than one motion to enjoy, more than one direction to go. The ball would enjoy this as well, right?" She couldn't be sure.

Then, she remembered something else while trying to make sense of this dreamy revelation (yes, it felt like a revelation when it happened, but now she was hesitating, what if it was only a beautiful but empty sentence...). In The Penultimate Truth by PKD, there was this machinery like a giant computer which recorded every book or source a person has ever read or watched. You would go there, insert a kind of identification card, it would make some incomprehensible calculations with its giant brain, and propose you what to read or watch next. In the story, it said to the guy "OK, now don't panic," and proposed the guy the very first source he ever used. This had a terrible effect on him, but she thought there was something to enjoy there. Of course, he thought, "if I have to go back to the beginning, then everything was in vain." She, on the contrary, was enthusiastic. At first, she didn't understand why of course. She always had to think about these kinds of things... She was feeling something but didn't know why she felt that way, and she was trying to make sense of it. "Make sense, yes. Sense is something you have to make. You have to know the structure. Here, the computer's proposal is about structure as well. Proposing the guy to return to the very first source could be a beautiful thing in terms of structure since it implies his - current - structure is completed, and since it is a machine, it doesn't really know how to jump from one structure to the other. So, it refers him back to the first source. If only he could understand it like this... it doesn't mean that he understood nothing all his life but, on the contrary, that he completed his job as himself, now is the time to jump and build another structure. It's ultimately about freedom."

Now, everything seemed more coherent to her. The seagulls, that phrase, the pinball machine, and the referral to the first source... everything was about some limitation, thus, some structure. So, there lied freedom and creativity, in the determination of limits. "Leibniz!" she said out loud to herself, "I should have known. The architect of creativity... now I get it. I think..."