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..."
Derrida, Proximity to Presence, and the Joy of Vertigo (with reference to Deleuze) - Arkady Plotnitsky who taught me Derrida in Philadelphia in 1989. When I was in college, I took a class on Derrida taught by the impeccably named, Arkady P...
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