nothing in general: reviewing a comment on the previous post

Generality is not the problem. Generality itself is the plane of immanence, of unspecified, all-pervasive significance out of which the actor never reverses.

– Uri Khein, “Consciousness is the Stage,” part 1, (c) 2007

If generality is not the problem, how does it constitute the immanent field of significance out of which the actor can not reverse? It’s as if the actor would want to reverse out of a condition of an all-pervasive representation that itself cannot be specified except as immanent. The irreversability of the actor’s position with regard to this allegedly unproblematic generality suggests a crisis, a crisis of a totalising order, called by Uri Khein immanent.

The actor – what actor? – hits a wall – the fourth wall? – and wants to back up. At least insofar as it is impossible to do so and he or she never can, isn’t the point of liberation, perforce, that point at which the actor takes on those powers to impose order represented, projected onto the wall of an all-too-readily acceded to, and only therefore general, generalisable, regime of the stage? To pervert the generality is to make sense of his or her position as having the generality imposed. She can not back away from immanence. But this is not a condition of generality, rather of representation, the condition of which, in turn, is not coextensive with significance, however all-pervasive.

That muteness inferred of generality; the seeming imparticularity: the absence of polarity—of tensions is founded on a presumption of reactivity and is not anything to do with characteristics inherent of the generality itself. The generality is not an amorphous or voided field, a bardo or tohu-bohu, unless these presumptions are applied and the ensuing dereliction gives rise to limitation to be struggled with.

– Ibid.

I’m not quite sure what this means. The muteness would be very particular. It would be the useless direction, the pointless note. Not mute, then, but insufficient to the content. Muteness would then mean “not speaking to” a particular content for being too general. So general, in fact, as to mean “nothing in particular.” We can then populate this “nothing” with characteristics. They would have an existence relative to the content and betray it for want of sufficiency. The dereliction, then, would be one of good intention. The word from above that is not exactly meaningless but excessive to its meaning. What I don’t know is how you struggle with what is presumed to be a void or how such a presumption may give rise to limitations to be struggled with. I think you struggle with generality as the problem in terms of significance and representation.

Inevitably, the failure to perceive the generality as radically subjective will obtain to a fruitless search for the ideal gesture and for its ideal context as legitimation.

– Ibid.

What is inescapably true of the generality is that it leads you to do otherwise than as intended. This is indeed a voiced generality. And I am inferring the context to be that which obtains in rehearsal. In an earlier post I’ve considered as an overdose of metaphoricity the problem of a text’s or a director’s meaning so many things that an actor struggles with too many options. I don’t think the latter should be confused with a surfeit of contents brought together by analogy. Metaphor leaps. Too fast or too far and we are in the marshland of generality. It will be a fruitless search to find the ideal gesture and its ideal context in a marshland. And if a director or text leaves an actor or actress searching in the muck it will be in order to find not the ideal but the good intention to which the generality gave voice as if it were its beyond. Because I think we can say that what gives rise to the too-general note or direction or interpretation in rehearsal is the desire to do or have the actor or actress do otherwise than as intended, for him or her to find something different. Where of course this gambit fails is in giving too many things, meanings, particulars too much weight. The generality then contracts the disease of signifiance. Nothing in general is more productive than nothing in particular.

In that case, the subjective impulse of the actor will be only the incoherent gestures of necessary partiality that seek to defy the generality as plane of immanence. And yet to so astringe—to recoil from the plane of immanence and to endure that costive effect is more than the actor can live with. Hence no actor will consent to live with it. Instinctively, if not consciously, the actor will, even with much struggle, locate the ideal or originary gesture and will do so not as a concession to the generality but as an incarnation of the generality itself. In that case, an atemporal significance will be confided to the actor; timelessness will be coextensive with a moment in time; an instant of configuration that is particular but not partial: an ideal gesture that need be neither delimited nor eternalised.

– Ibid.

What seems to be the case in the foregoing is that generality provides the solution to its own problem. The actor or actress incorporates the generality in its immanence and all-pervasive significance, where the former concerns time (the temporal) and the latter the ideal or originary gesture behind the generality (the sacral). So that it is as if significance suffuses generality rather than, as I thought, exceeds. In any case, significance succeeds. However, so does ideality and the notion of the original. It is in the foregoing the whole of the generality, its totalising success, that comes to be represented in the body of the actor or actress. This I cannot consent to live with.