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...

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