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another time, perhaps

What is consciousness but language? asks Gilles Deleuze, in a work concerned with another question, What is language?

Language is a sign-signal system, according to Deleuze, which wouldn’t mean very much until we remember that signs are assemblages. They are independent networks of disparate entities, which work under the sign of being and being elements. Signs are constructed. The work that they do is signalling.

Signs signal in series. But does language have this sense of continuity and flow, of ceaseless series, sign-signal to sign-signal, because the passage from sign to signal occurs within time, in the present, or is it language which precedes this sense of time?

The problem I am adducing to is the following:

The mephistophelian character, Andreas Corelli, in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s very enjoyable book, The Angel’s Game, has this to say about what fables teach us:

They teach us that human beings learn and absorb ideas and concepts through narrative, through stories, not through lessons or theoretical speeches. This is what any of the great religious texts teach us. They’re all tales about characters who must confront life and overcome obstacles, figures setting off on a journey of spiritual enrichment through exploits and revelations. All holy books are, above all, great stories whose plots deal with the basic aspects of human nature, setting them within a particular moral context and a particular framework of supernatural dogmas.

Zafón, Carlos Ruiz, The Angel’s Game, trans. Lucia Graves, Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2009, p. 192

Stories give the natural impression of passing from one thing to the next. They make it appear natural for God to have created mud and from mud formed Eve and her sister. Narration naturalises what fables do, which is fabulate. But isn’t the most fabulous idea that human beings have absorbed through stories the concept on which narrative and language itself relies, rests and lies: time? And isn’t consciousness part of the fabric of this story, this history?

What happens if the link is broken between sign and signal? What happens where there is no next or and then? where the link, the nature of which was always a fabrication, is denaturalised?

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a description of aion – comment welcome

 

What follows is not representative of Deleuze’s aion. It is my reading and the flaws in it are also mine.

Aion is a pure surface in contact with the outside. It has no immemorial or historic depth to it. Pure surface, it is opposed to chronological time, or chronos.

Chronos allows metaphors, such as depth – the depths of history or memory – and those spatial metaphors derived from geometry and mechanics – a linear, circular time, the wheel of time and the time of mechanical causation, acceleration and dynamic action and reaction. Chronos is metrical, the time of measure and mathematical judgement. Chronos is figurative, can be represented in linguistic and mathematical codes and symbolic registers. Finally, chronos represents time and is what we normally talk about in dealing with representations of time.

The necessity for another understanding of time, aion, comes from the intuition that the present is unrepresentable. However, aion does not connote the present. Aion is in contact with this present, its surface pressed to it.

The problem, therefore, addressed by the concept of aion as a schema of time is the special status of the present. The past may be knowable and the future unknowable but the present can only be a subject of incomplete representation. It is never quite there, never entirely there. It never fully expresses itself – in figural or figurative terms, in symbolic or material registers – and must remain open both to the fully realised past and to the as yet unrealised future.

Aion is not just another word for the present, it regards the present as the outside and it is in regard to the present that it arises as problem and fact. The outside, then, consists of you and I in an unquantifiable present, a present, that is, unquantifiable by or according to chronos. The outside is everything that is in this present moment. It is possessed of all the forces that are brought to bear at a singular point in time which itself is unqualifiable, unable to be given a place or position except in relation, and a present which is literally and exactly incapable of taking place. Place comes, or the place the present left a moment ago, comes after, from a knowable and representable past, from a realised time, chronos. Place is a quantifiable dimension of time and belongs to chronos.

The reason to talk as if forces were taking control and overrunning the present is to point to that of which we are all too aware in subjective experience: that we plug in the past, the realised, the quantified, knowledge, identity and material and symbolic entities to what exists for us in the present moment. We extract forces from things and subjects only in so far as the present, our present, is invested in them, interest, the interest of forces soon to be annihilated, in a moment. We feel affects from objects and others only in so far as they are capable of taking place in a present traversed by forces. These forces occupy the outside, they are the outside into which we are plugged and into which we plug what is affectless, inert, anorganic and lifeless. The world as represented somehow achieves and gets to this present, this outside, which cannot be represented.

Aion provides the point of achievement and getting to whereby the world is then accessible to measure and quantity, to scientific and mathematical intelligibility. The movement whereby the world crosses from the future to arrive in the past is through an outside. This movement is absolute rather than able to be relativised according to fixed points. It is the movement of the present and a passage over and against aion’s pure surface. The word ‘pure’ is meant to reinforce the dimensionlessness of the surface not to impose or import an hierarchy or morality.

If the present is absolute movement, the play of a multiplicity of forces, then aion is pure surface. Aion gives a temporal record of an absolute movement without coordinates.

Relative movement occurs with coordinates; points are already in play, in position. By permitting the taking place of the present, its occupation by the forces of the outside, plugging in, aion shows that both movement and points must be created. Chronos will be the sort of time in which points and movement are coordinated but is not the sort of time necessary for their creation because chronos cannot get near enough to the present that is unrepresentable. But then aion is like the membrane the need for representation would interpose between chronos and this outside present.

In fact, the relation works the other way around: aion gives rise to chronos through its contact with all that can be said to be. Since the existence of both the past and present may be refuted but that of the present is irrefutable.

Movement must be created. Aion is the edge or skin of this creation as it presses against the outside. On its surface – which is why it is never pure in the sense of importing or having an hierarchy or morality imposed upon it – the relative points of singular movements, the lived moments of singular durations are made and appear. Aion embodies the play of infinitesimals on its surface; which means aion embodies all movement as that between and among differences in intensity, giving rise to the singularities that chronos takes and represents along physical and no longer absolute registers.

Aion because it is a pure surface in contact with the forces of the outside and the absolute present and because it skins or covers the process of a universal creation in terms of all movement itself moves outward. It is like a tsunami advancing irresistably against which we stand for a moment and into which we disappear. It is also like a seam or fold extending the length of time and reaching to the depths of space and carrying all of time and space along with it.

This description of aion was included at the end of a short email exchange with Justin B. Rye. I had initially sent Justin the briefest of notes saying that he’d left Deleuze’s aion out of A Guide To SF Chronophysics , where it might not belong, but the possibility it could – the epithet ‘science fiction’ is not altogether misplaced in application to Deleuze’s writing – and that its inclusion might upset some or all of the laws said to apply to temporal schema (or “chronophysics”) in even their fictional deployment was prompt enough for a note. Justin responded with

I’d never heard of Deleuze’s aion.  Googling for it, it looks like the
usual kind of timewasting wordgames churned out by professional
obfuscationists.  Can you suggest some reason anybody with a
functioning brain should take it seriously?  What, for instance, are
the real-world phenomena that it claims to provide a better
explanation for than alternative approaches?

His last email to me provided a running commentary – through-written – on the preceding description of aion which remains entirely and uniformly consistent with this response.”This is such overwritten nonsense it might as well be a hymn to Hulmu,” he interjects at his wittiest. He offers to fetch me a straitjacket and ends writing, “I’m sorry, the only thing it’s much like is a load of old toss.” Strangely, his sign-off throughout our correspondence was

JBR
Ankh kak! (Ancient Egyptian blessing)

Perhaps what he says is true.

But I am interested in hearing your reaction.

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seeing Barney’s wonderful one-man show …Him last night …

…made me want to write a play again. Is this wrong?

I get the feeling something is being left unsaid.

And listening to This Mortal Coil today (“Holocaust”) gave me an inkling of what it is,

and where there is space in the market.

Send me ideas, donations, commissions.

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this is worth hearing. Listen: Galway Kinnell reads “The Dead Shall Be Raised Incorruptible” …

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the dark energy of entanglement and dark matter

the material continua, the threads and the strings that make up the universe are darkly and irregularly entangled.,

at the beginning, the entanglement was so extreme as to confine time and space to a point, a singularity.

in the first fraction of incipient time the irregularity of this singular entanglement gave and matter burst out from it, still entangled, dragging knots of substances and energies, energetic knots, knots that were and are darkly energetic, in multiple directions in a chaotic and far from regular explosion.

the almost conceivable order and self-consistency of the primary point broke . The force of the blast never can be equalled that was able to sunder entanglement, destroy its order, its one, and create multiple chaos.

lines, strands and threads, snagged and snapped and joined others they were not matched with and at every new entanglement, an energetic sink, a slowing down of the outward whorl, a dark counterpoint, minor in its way, but enough to explain the remarkable darkness of causation.

at the beginning, for a fraction of an instant, in the first seed of time, there was a mere irregularity and chaos of entanglement. The detonation was never a disentanglement but a forceful tearing apart as the singular order gave way.

strings and continua loosed in that instant abraded on others, ran over and through them, even when they did not get caught, leaving lower level snags and knots spinning into a greater and greater infinity but slowing down because of them.

the darkness of tangled continua choked the acceleration of a tangled matter.

spin and wobble, crazy movement – the crazed music of the entanglement, with its still and distantly entrained harmonies trailing out in disjoint chords, with never a unison, lonely notes sounding now on this side of things now light years distant.

the dark force of the primitive entanglement surrendered to the destruction of creation, a destruction never total and unable to be totalled, since from it follow an endless ramifying series of further entrainments and tanglings. This creation continues, weaving at random dark knots that bear the legacy of their genesis in a dark heap of tangled matter, no substance but this matting and dread.

and this slowing down as entrainments stall the quanta with frictions remembered, enacted instantaneously, at infinite distance, mixtures of times and matters, catachronic, asymmetrical, as if entanglement were the ongoing fact of a universal and differential iteration.

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The Cemetery of Principle

the cemetery of principle0101.avi from Simon Taylor on Vimeo.

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remembering Margaret Mahy, 21 March 1936 – 23 July 2012, taught us how to fly

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a statement on the Simulacrum & the Sensorium, of all things, inspired by & two unrelated sources gleaned from the discussion this month in <> soft_skinned_space

Brian Holmes’s “Three proposals for a real democracy – Information-Sharing to a Different Tune” [here]

Michel Bauwens’s “Scope, not scale: What do medieval monks, Cuban socialists and Wikipedia have in common?” [here]

The following was solicited by Johannes Birringer’s (of Alien Nation [here])question, a question in turn prompted by previous correspondence through the listserv but I hope worth presenting out of context:

Can you speak more about how this sensorium is politically effective to counterbalance the very symptoms of simulacrum hype (affective intensities of the commodity fetishisms and market imperatives to sell ourselves out)?

… a short speculative role play. It won’t be to
everybody’s tastes, for which I apologise in advance.

The Simulacrum can strike terror into our hearts, an original terror, in which some say the actions of terrorists insist, from which they emanate, as if playing out the drama of postlatecapitalism or the American way of life, arising from an inner tension. The Simulacrum is a monolithic trick, a symbolic joke or the joke of the Symbolic itself, being its Being, universal, irreversible, incurable, inescapable, but also immovable, unplayable, apolitical and yet somehow representational, implicated in representation for the multiplication beyond measure of its superfices, the extension beyond limit of its singular surface.

It offers the terrifying prospect of never again coming up against the real and remaining forever immobile in its circular logic. All action is futile and both resistance and resilience and indeed every participation becomes a mere accommodation and imbrication. To act is complicity. Folded into its surface we are then stretched out, all our good intentions betrayed, all secrets out like lights.

By contrast to this actionable futility the Sensorium offers the prospect of passive productivity: it provides a place to watch the Simulacrum from, in either isolation or alienation, floating, now unable to act. And yet embodying – by bodily affection, through the senses – an essential power, to desire, which we are reminded in so far as it is productive is a political act. There is a paradox here, but it has more to do with the relation between the Sensorium and the Simulacrum than the former alone.

This relation involves the putting into movement or play of what happens in place in the Sensorium when it hits the Simulacrum. Desire and act start to drift and for what they lose in emplacement they gain from playability, from being able to be reconfigured, transfigured – an interactivity and a compossibility. Sensorial capital is made pure data: it is put into play.

The eternity of the Simulacrum; the temporisation of the Sensorium; the depth as intensive spatium of the Sensorium; the pure surface extent of the Simulacrum; the organisation in depth of the Sensorium, its anatomy; and the inorganic fetishisation and inhumanity of the Simulacrum, its anatomisation. Organic, anorganic. Capitalist, capital: the capitalist experiences even as spectacle the speed and interconnectivity of markets. She experiences it as it registers on a surface which is the Simulacrum or the death drive.

The Sensorium connects or synthesises and organises and produces and what it is and what it produces is over time consumable. It wants. It gathers up the little objects of love and constitutes its partial subjects. It participates by participating in itself. It is able to act in networks.

The Sensorium is where what takes place takes place, the focus of a spectacle as much as of the Netopticon. But it is the Simulacrum which facilitates the sliding of this amateur theatrics, the migration of place by setting networks sliding where no point de capiton or place to hook is. Hooked in, you might say, we are set to slide, to join a universal elision.


How move the immovable which only ends up moving us? Because if the Simulacrum is the death drive it is also the spectacle of history. In which we participate passively in sympathy and actively in the desire which constitutes nothing less than the will to inscribe ourselves into history.

The question is wrong. How does the flow produced at the level of the Sensorium enter or alter the Simulacrum?

Production in the Sensorium is not recorded in or on the Simulacrum in the same way that it is produced. The relation is one of inscribability, recording of the Sensorium onto the Simulacrum. This amounts to an accommodation, of the former to the latter, but it is also an inscription of power.


Therefore it is to the Simulacrum that we look for the registration of the Sensorium in terms of political effect, the results of the political acts of the Sensorium, its political effectiveness and effectuality. Registration is the political act, the effect whereby protocols are no sooner written than they are performed.

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good advice and lots of it

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on memory

love

offers us

the opportunity

to honour

the event

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