thirty-seventh part, called “subjective powers XXXVII,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

subjective powers

Selection is a subjective power. As we have framed it, selection prunes and decides from the possible, choosing on the basis of eminence, of what is eminently or even preeminently given, for that which is to happen. The degree of eminence, in preeminence, is not the issue. We might say what is chosen for is that which evokes the most life, the eminently or preeminently lively, yet this should not mean that it is alive in the usual sense.

That which we bring to the surface is chosen on the basis of movement. We can say so from the ordinary sense of what is moving, however we know that being selected for entails that it is no longer moving for us but that it moves us, that it is impersonal, and that the selection too is impersonal. This is the meaning of preeminence, not only that the selected moves in the direction of an involution, by way of relations pruned down to because they possess a fraction more dimension, like fractals, but also that we can do something with the selected. And that we have elected it for this purpose. Both the seemingly inward direction of the fractal characteristic acquired by pruning and the reaching outward for that which may be grafted on, like the hairdresser to the hair puller, amount to the same thing: which is … I want to say, gardening, and sound like Peter Sellers in Being There. Then, it is the kind of garden we have invoked before, the Zen kind.

Both the movement of internal relations and those leading to external ones originate in cutting, the originary cut of the surface line, or line of the stage, where everything is inside. Why inside? because we are talking of subjective powers; then what is this power? It is that of freedom.

The next freedom is that granted by what we have ironically called obedience and, by connecting it with the figure of Oedipus, unironically given it an active role. While the previous selection was and was of the passive, and despite moving, for static genesis (thought of as abyssal, the internal outwardly cracked). On this condition is it active: that the action has no further consequence but that of movement in any possible direction on the surface or stage, even to filling it with possibility.

Of course, we can see that the surface is capable of infinite extension, this was the power gained by Oedipus at Colonus. But unlike Weber we would not put this over onto displacement, the stage’s being any place whatsoever, and so giving that which happens the power of taking place. The surface is that which is mobilised, and is not any place whatsoever, but here continues out to the bird cleaning itself on the lawn who is giving its report on the day. Or there permits the movement from a prisoncell with its inmates to a library with its books.

Oedipus as a figure of the surface can be anywhere but for any harm he intends us he cannot get to us from the surface which is his condition of action, or acting. And he is impotent by the same token that his power is unlimited; he is heroic on the same condition he is a puppet: the report of his death fills the stage with the presence of his power, which acts like a presentiment, to the defense of Athens. And a presentiment of life, since from this surface comes the possibility of mobilising all the other surfaces and other subjects on them.

This, then, is acting without consequence. Or what is commonly called acting. Or, he’s just acting.

The third power of the surface or stage is more difficult to get a handle on but may the condition of the surface and that on which the other two powers are conditional. It is the power of completion. And the other two powers presume it.

The time in front of an audience can be endless—of indeterminate duration—but it is always complete. It forms what Bergson calls a block of duration. Note, it is not a blocked duration.

It is complete—a block—or bloc—just as a report is complete, since it is called on to be completed in a single hearing. Otherwise it’s a story …? Or is this the original meaning of story? Story, like language itself, might originate in the report, in reported or indirect speech, in reporting on what is not present, so closing the circle, for its eternal return.

note: source references available on request–these will be part of the book, if it should come to pass.

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