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Dear Greens,

Kia ora Simon,

I can feel it: the green wave is surging.

I’m emailing you today from Tāmaki Makaurau where I’ve been visiting violence prevention organisations, and I can tell you that the momentum is growing. I’m invigorated by the aroha of people up and down Aotearoa, some who’ve never voted, or never voted Green before, or people who have been with us through many elections. …

wrote Marama Davidson,

then asked for money

signing off,

Mauri ora.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe,

Marama Davidson
Green Party Co-leader

I replied,

No, Marama. 

Give up on carbon credits and marketisation of the ongoing disaster of market capitalism. 

Use and endorse in party policy the power of the legislature to create a legal framework restricting carbon emissions at the point of their emission. Fining emitters use business to adapt to the legal framework. 

UBI should be policy. 

You join the ranks of the enablers if you do anything less. 

Best, 

Simon Taylor, PhD. 

Kia ora Simon, 

This is it. This is our time. The time is now for the Greens to change the shape and direction of the next government. 

wrote James Shaw to me …

and asked for money,

GIVE TODAY AND MAKE IT A REALITY

Today Luxon is backpedalling trying to rationalise how he’ll work with NZ First and ACT. But truth be told, he’s desperate to get into power – and he’ll do anything, work with anyone, to get it. Even if it means putting our country at risk. 

which as a sideline is interesting, sad and ironic: the Greens and the Left by extension (see below) appealing to conservative values and risk-aversion, when taking a risk is what is needed

James Shaw signed off,

I’ve never felt more hopeful about the future of our country. 

Ngā mihi nui,

James Shaw

Green Party Co-leader  

which, receiving an automated reply, I answered,

I would vote for you if you dumped the whole idea of a carbon market. 

What is the purpose of the legislature? 

Introduce a legal framework restricting the level of emissions--at their points of emission. 

Fewer planes, fewer trucks, fewer carbon burning factories, in fact none. 

Use business and the market to adapt to the legal framework. This is the only place where a market is of any positive use. 

Best, 
Simon Taylor, PhD. 

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Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory & the politics of AI and the artificial politics of intelligence, sensitivities, sensibility & style

Once upon a time, there were some people who were very unhappy and wicked …. This confused them, because they believed themselves to be good people. They tried having a king who was a good person, to tell them what to do: but no matter who was king, that person turned out unhappier and wickeder than all the rest. Then they tried each taking responsibility for themselves, and that didn’t work either; it just meant they had no one to blame. Eventually they realized they were under a curse.

The unhappy people journeyed widely, hoping to learn the solution; but everywhere they went, everything was just as bad. It became clear that the whole universe was cursed.

So one day … a clever person realized the problem was that no matter what anyone did, they couldn’t know what would happen next. No one wanted to do evil things, they just didn’t know what the right things were. So the clever person built a machine that knew everything. You could consult the machine and find out what the best thing to do was, and even if it did end up being bad, you would at least know that all the other things you could have done were worse.

— Emily Tesh, Some Desperate Glory, Orbit Books, 2023, pp. 210-211

in terms of the machine described here, Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory resolves well. The machine, called the Wisdom, learns its limits; it learns humility. And how it learns it works: it learns through self-enjoyment.

I read her two novellas, Silver in the Wood and Drowned Country, that comprise the Greenhollow Duology, so I expected a similarly mawkish sentimental take on sexuality. The novellas present the Green Man of English folklore gone queer. … That wasn’t the attraction. Neither was it what led me to carry on with Some Desperate Glory when the operatic qualities of its queer space opera–more queer soap opera–began to pall. The fate of the earth being put repeatedly at stake seems the book’s most Astounding Stories sci-fi spacey characteristic. And I found the trigger warnings in the frontispiece less alarming than a comfort, comforting to know that Some Desperate Glory set out to offend someone even if it was only the sensitivity reader:

Some Desperate Glory contains sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and ableist attitudes; sexual assault, including discussion of forced pregnancy; violence; child abuse; radicalization as child abuse; genocide; suicidal ideation; and suicide.

of course it’s alarming to consider that such trigger warnings are deemed necessary. Although, this is perhaps better than a retrospective re-write to suit contemporary sensitivities such as certain works by Ursula K. Le Guin have undergone.

I think Tesh has sacrificed a lot, however, and not in terms of pandering, either to queer lit or to fit what potentially some people are going to take exception to into a narrative that makes sense of that material, but in terms of propulsive genre-fiction narration. Some flower-sniffing goes on–trigger warning–but there’s little let-up in the narrative pace, and over all the rhythm is, although a bumpy ride, not as trauma-filled as the trigger warning indicates. It does not lurch from one phobia to the next or go straight from assault to assault to violence and abuse and then genocide, pausing only at suicidal ideation before suicide. It keeps up the action and this is at the expense of some unassignable quality. I think I’d call this quality, style. If it were fully present not just hinted at, it would be assignable. It would be Tesh’s style, as a writer…

…because that thing that keeps me reading is the hints I get, not of the sensitivities of the sensitivity reader, but of the sensibilities of the writer. Tesh has it, a style. It’s running under the running around her characters do to advance the narrative in this book but is there in the sympathies she has for them and, I would say, her classical themes, which is what I mean by her sacrifices to amp the scifi pace.

In respect of a certain underlying classicism she reminds me of Zachary Mason but in him it’s explicit. The other similarity is trying for gender-neutral language. Tesh uses they for the third person plural and for the third person gender-neutral singular and… there were times it was unclear who they referred to. Three people on the scene. A he, she and they. Now try and give them a shadowspace grappling hook. Or identify who they are among them.

Mason uses, seems to invent, se for the pronoun, third person gender-neutral and herm for its possessive form. This is in his book, a book I can unreservedly recommend, Void Star. It was surprising how easy it was to take on his invention. Again it has to do with writer’s style.

It is a stylistic decision. I’m really not so concerned with the functionality, with whether they is confusing or not.

I wondered how it would work to capitalise They when it was singular, like for the German second person formal, Sie, to distinguish it from sie or they. Italicising it would be annoying. As a stylistic decision it becomes extremely flexible, options are many.

What I care about is that style gets the credit and is not sacrificed for anything. Anything that distracts from style, like trivial concerns over pronouns, should also be considered a sacrifice.

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speculatively, to see what would happen.

the title of this post is from John Ash’s poem, “Second Prose for Roy Fisher,” page 54 in the volume, The Branching Stairs, published by Carcanet, Manchester, UK, although, England, might be more appropriate, in 1984, and refers to a “missile thrown without anger: speculatively, to see what would happen,” but I was struck by the line because of something that is present in many of Ash’s poems, suspension.

The volume, Disbelief, had a poem in it about suspension bridges. It could not but help recall when talking of suspending bridges on hightension wires suspending disbelief. Belief… disbelief… is one of the things, the human things, Bergson writes of as being elastic, as having plasticity, I have in mind…

…belief of a spiritual nature… …the belief required by convention in order to be upheld (for example, that of a fiat currency for it to retain its value)… …disbelief that anything really bad is going to happen… …the disbelief that anything really bad is going to happen that is really a disbelief in death… …belief and disbelief in the process of trauma, subject to traumatic processes…

Fear transmutes into phobia when it obsessively repeats itself, coding its dread and loathing in a symbolism that may in fact make it more difficult to face real threats.

Catherine Keller says this in view of the tehomophobia of the psalmist who invokes an angry god to smite the people’s enemies. She brings up the tradition of theomachy, struggle with or amongst a god or gods. More than this, she brings up the disappointment at god’s uselessness when confronting enemies of the people, whether these be other people or spiritual or material forces. What these constitute in view of tehomophobia is a fear of chaos, of the chaos that comes to disrupt any given order. It becomes phobic, tehomophobia, when it obsessively repeats itself, or is obsessively repeated, by coding its dread and loathing in a symbolism. This symbolism is not a coating, is not symbolic in the sense of not being real. It is, instead of not real, kryptonite to reality or rather antimatter to the matter at hand. It denies the reality its reality. It does not coat reality with symbols. It displaces reality without replacing it. It displaces it nowhere.

…and the displacement of reality nowhere effected by the encoding of dread and loathing into a more or less pervasive symbolism for me brings up this line of Ash’s addressing what speculatively means, to see what would happen. It does so because threats that are made more difficult to face are threats at hand. They belong to the present so the question becomes is it a nowhere of the displacement of reality or is it a nowhen?

to see what would happen, speculatively. In my last post I had an issue with Rebecca Solnit’s vision of social transformation as a kind of edifice of ideas. In it, Solnit said there were walls and towers. It was a kind of architecture. (I made a play on the arche of architecture, its coming first that an anarchy would be against… but not refuse…) Change happened so that those who were outside the walls might wake up and woke find themselves included, included in the inclusivity of a transforming, expanding social architecture. I said I find this scary. I still find it scary. Horrible to be walled in.

I would rather be anywhere else than in an expanding inclusivity identifying itself as a transforming distending social edifice. Than eaten up by it (Leviathan?) I would rather be nowhere.

I ask, Leviathan? because the symbolism Keller is concerned with as a coding of a fear gone phobic belongs to Leviathan. Leviathan is tehomic. Feminine. Oceanic. Fluid. Chaotic. And ungrounding.

תְּהוֹם, tehom, ungrounds. Tehom unoriginates origin. And it does so from biblical genesis.

והארץ היתה תהו
ובהו וחשך על־פני
תהום ורוח אלהים
מרחפת על־פני
המים׃

[emphasis added, from here]

terra autem erat inanis et vacua et tenebrae super faciem abyssi et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas

And the earth was waste and without form; and it was dark on the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters

…from formlessness, anarchy, comes formation. Keller’s book, The Face of the Deep, counters the tehomophobia encoding a fear of formlessness, of the deep, of the womb, that gives the formula to genesis of a creatio ex nihilo, with a creatio ex profundis. It’s a big job. It’s big because, Keller says, from the creatio ex nihilo, from this arche, comes what else but creation. And what other kind of creation can there be ex nihilo than one that has a single origin from which it progressively extends in a line. It is the point at which linear time starts. And it figures that point each time, for each time there is linear time. Or, that point is the figure of the start of any time considered to be a line, a line of progressive improvement in standards of living, of scientific progress, of technological accomplishment, for example, and a line toward the end, toward any end, whether it reach it or not. So out of nothing grounds all teleology.

Keller argues for a creation from the deep ungrounding all teleology, making the architecture break open, and bringing on new acts of creation, in some cases stalling progress, stopping growth, exploding in an ongoing explosion, of human and all things, elsewhere … or elsewhen.

…and this again is the speculatively, to see what would happen. When is it? then? now?

… not now but suspended …

[and just like that I went out to get some lunch]

Happening now ex nihilo apart from extreme sensitivity to initial conditions, like after the Big Bang, like that but happening now, it is said we are hastening, accelerating towards first anthropocide, suicide on the scale of all human things and then anthropogenic biocide, killing off if not all then most living things… but if then when?

Science is for, enables us to attend with extreme sensitivity, the extreme sensitivity of its instruments, to initial conditions, so that we can say we are moving ever faster towards a significant extinction event or horizon. It is drawing us on, yes, perhaps, but more important than this is the point at which we find ourselves, are found to be, by instruments of measurement, now, in the now. We are somehow fixed here and this fixing is entailed in, presupposes a timeline we are on. The timeline is both of human scale and at the scale of a geological movement, of geological time, and so called anthropocene.

What has happened to speculatively, to see what would happen? This is no time to see what would happen. This is no time for experimentation. It is no time for experimentation not because time is running out but because time is the timeline established by instrumental sensitivity to existing conditions as initiating an inevitable chain of cause and effect, to end in disaster or apocalypse… some version of the disclosure that the closure of time entails.

We know then, now, that something is going to happen along the way. It will be revealed that is. The end will be revealed. But we cannot act otherwise than in the knowledge of what we know. We cannot above all see what happens.

When is there time to?

When is the time to see what happens but in another sort of time?

Speculatively does not mean being displaced from this timeline onto another timeline. It is not possible to replace, unless we are multiverse-believing, one ex nihilo timeline by another. Multiverse-believing, perhaps we can refuse this one and opt for a leap. Such a leap would however come to land and would not be suspended and indeterminate, between being a wave and a point for example. It would have to come to a terminus. It would therefore also start from nothing. It could not from the unoriginating origin of formlessness.

I mean, even if the concept formed from the formlessness preceding it, the prevenient formlessness of the deep, a kind of Big Time, Biggodaddytime, there might be room for other times contesting it but as concept it would not could not be an indeterminate time, neither would it nor could it be both form and formless.

In the Kabbalistic tradition there is a room set aside for such things, the zimsum. God in this tradition is preceded by ein sof. It is not a matter of a preceding state of affairs and one following it that a time cannot be suspended, speculatively, to see what happens. The happening has to be construed a certain way. All I am really saying is that the dominant construction of temporal matters in our time is linear.

Ex nihilo linearity dominates. It is repeated obsessively. Repeated obsessively, timeline-likeness has been coded in a symbolism more or less pervasive, since this is how it is represented.

The timeline in accelerating has become unalterable. The faster we go, the more difficult to break forward momentum. And the greater the accusations in resisting it that we are trying to turn the clocks back, not speculatively but fantasisingly.

…and yet we know we can’t keep up. We know we can’t keep up. We know we can’t do nothing. We know we can’t do anything that’s going to make enough of a difference and time is running out.

Solnit’s answer is that differences are being made. It’s just that we don’t see them at the individual level. It’s only at the level of a million that the differences being made are visible. Then we who thought ourselves outside the walls will find we are inside the walls.

Solnit counts herself among those who have made a difference in making what was previously invisible visible. The previously invisible injustice comes into sight, and, she says, resistance to this structural expansion has most often made recourse to justice. Using the law does not make injustice invisible again. There is it seems a compulsion at work, a dominology.

…speculatively, to see what would happen. The appeal is in the sense of the speculation not having a stake in what is going to happen. It is also in the sense the speculation has no control. Sight itself has no claim, since it’s not for sight or for the sight or for the over-sight. I can imagine surprise.

It doesn’t matter what kind of act it is. It’s a light thing. It has no longer to do with making visible or invisible however. Does it then matter at all?

Well, yes it does. Something, some human thing, has been lifted up to the surface from the deep. It has arisen not like a tower, a wall, a pulpit, concept or moral principle. And if it has been heavy this human thing has gained from being on the surface a share of lightness. And the lightness that has been superadded has enabled it to move once there. I should say, once here. You might ask, can it move in time? No in one sense. Yes in another. Since its happening is only as much as to see what would.

Better to describe it then as a falling object. But one coming from a profound height to which has been added gravity while from it has been subtracted weight. The time it occupies is not measurable but the vacuum caused by an intake of breath.

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paranoia & conspiracy

While paranoia in everyday life asks questions it believes have terrifying answers, paranoid art knows the more terrifying (and inevitable) discoveries are further questions. For paranoid art, unlike paranoid persons, also distrusts itself. And so, paranoid art is the ultimate opposite, the urgent opposite, of complacent art.

— Jonathan Lethem, Fear of Music

case study: Rebecca Solnit, the Albert Speer theory of social transformation:

I was excited as I started to read this. I thought, why have I not been able to listen to what Solnit is saying. And then I realised why.

We are building something immense together that, though invisible and immaterial, is a structure, one we reside within–or, rather, many overlapping structures. They’re assembled from ideas, visions and values emerging out of conversations, essays, editorials, arguments, slogans, social-media messages, books, protests, and demonstrations. About race, class, gender, sexuality; about nature, power, climate, the interconnectedness of all things; about compassion, generosity, collectivity, communion; about justice, equality, possibility. Though there are individual voices and people who got there first, these are collective projects that matter not when one person says something but when a million integrate it into how they see and act in the world. The we who inhabits those structures grow as what what was once subversive or transgressive settles in as normal, as people outside the walls wake up one day inside them and forget they were ever anywhere else.

–Rebecca Solnit, “Cathedrals and Alarm Clocks,” Whose Story Is This? Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2019, 1-9, 1

We live inside ideas. some are shelter, some are observatories, some are windowless prisons. We are leaving some behind and entering others. At its best, in recent years, this has been a collaborative process so swift and powerful that those paying closest attention can see the doors being framed, the towers arising, the spaces taking shape in which our thoughts will reside–and other structures being knocked down. Oppressions and exclusions so accepted they’re nearly invisible become visible en route to becoming unacceptable, and other mores replace the old ones. Those who watch with care can see the structure expanding so that some of those who object or ridicule or fail to comprehend will, within a few years, not even question their lives inside those frameworks. Others try to stop these new edifices from arising; they succeed better with legislation than with imagination. That is, you can prevent women from having access to abortions more easily than you can prevent them from thinking they have the right to an abortion.

— Ibid., 3

When the cathedrals you build are invisible, made of perspectives and ideas, you forget you are inside them and the ideas they consist of were, in fact, made … Forgetting means a failure to recognize the power of the process and the fluidity of meanings and values.

— Ibid., 4

– Lichtdom, Albert Speer, 1938

…”If you think you’re woke, it’s because someone woke you up, so thank the human alarm clocks.” It’s easy now to assume that one’s perspectives on race, gender, orientation, and the rest are signs of inherent virtue, but a lot of ideas currently in circulation are gifts that arrived recently, through the labors of others.

— Ibid., 4-5

Now, a turn is being marked here, a change of mode. The Speer style of ‘cathedral of light,’ Lichtdom, becomes a place where we are all searchlights and all beamingly woke in the intensity of our own light. But, I think, it is a reflected light.

It’s the light off the badges on our uniforms and by this reflected light we signal virtue. Solnit is right in the social constructivism of saying, remember, what you take for an archi-tecture is made, right in stressing the building but wrong about what the built does.

The as-built is that invisible reinforcing material that is taken up by individuals for the moral support it gives to the status of their own discursive existence. It makes more solid their invisible presence, a presence made of breath and in light of the present, breathing-with, con-spiracy.

woke in the wake of … or aufgewacht macht frei:

Remembering that people made these ideas, as surely as people made the buildings we live in and the roads we travel on, helps us remember that, first, change is possible, and second, it’s our good luck to live in the wake of this change rather than asserting our superiority to those who came before the new structures, and maybe even to acknowledge that we have not arrived at a state of perfect enlightenment, because there is more change to come, more that we do not yet recognize that will be revealed.

— Ibid., 5

I can’t say how much this statement fills me with horror. Yes I can. This statement fills me with horror.

the cycle of life: from sparrows to worms to scarecrows

…there was a plague of sparrows: they ate the wheat and rice seeds that belonged to the people. It was said that a few years earlier, in 1959, the plague had been so intense that people in the villages organized outings every day at noon, with the mission of making as much noise as they could. They set off firecrackers and shook rattles and banged gongs and rang bells and managed to make such a racket for so long that the sparrows began to die of heart failure, exhausted from not being able to rest. That year the harvests were saved from the sparrows; but the worms (which the sparrows ate) invaded and destroyed them, and the villagers had to return to the old system of scarecrows.

— Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Retrospective, translated by Anne McLean, London: 128

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On the resignation of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: towards a politics of change [pdf]

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on shrinking

In, as part of, Claire Bishop’s original Artforum article, “The Digital Divide,” there appears a ‘media case study’ where Mark Dion says what he’s afraid of in the digital, as part of it. I talked about this in the lectures uploaded here. In a strange serendipity, Mark Dion appeared in another Artforum I picked up yesterday. Now, here that is.

That serendipity I have been thinking about all through the writing of the lectures linked to above. Had been. I thought it connected with the recourse to character, that thought seems to necessitate. At least, this is the impression Gilles Deleuze gives: of personae being necessary to think through; conceptual personae, that is. And there is a passage in The Logic of Sense where Deleuze writes of the torsion of character.

This torsion is the experience familiar to us when thinking about blue cars, for example, of blue cars coming to us out from the images the world is full of, as if having their own intentionality. Or, for example, that experience of reading about Mark Dion in an article unconnected to the one by Claire Bishop, which I had set myself to read for the sake of the topic on which I was lecturing–digital media and the moving image. And now that same sense of a torsion, of images attracting themselves to the characters of thought, as if having their own intentions, when I read in Wayne Koestenbaum’s My 1980s, in an essay supposed to be about giving advice to the young, that is really more about Koestenbaum giving up (pretensions of?) teaching.

What is the connection here? not so much Mark Dion as what he says in the ‘media case study’ beside the Claire Bishop article: because Bishop’s article asks why the number of artists (in 2012, when it appeared) who thematise the digital, media, is so few. Perhaps the more interesting point she makes is that the preference she sees for artists to use older, analogue media devices, rather than the newer, digital ones, with which contemporary life seems to be saturated, that this preference is itself expressive of a thematisation of the digital for its repression.

Dion’s example in the ‘media case study’ is for taking the side of resistance to using digital media in his art work. It doesn’t seem like he is himself repressing the digital, and so thematising the digital in spite of himself. Rather he prefers for people to experience his work at the scale on which it is built, to be surrounded by it, near it, and to have a spatial relation to it.

My thematisation of the digital in my lectures has more to do with temporal relations, brought about the moving image and screentime, that are a part of the digital condition, than with spatial ones. But the spatial relation is striking, since on the screen the work, the image, the blue car or the Mark Dion, are small. Or that they shrink…

And this is where Koestenbaum’s essay in My 1980s comes in: making a contrast between “image and reality,” he realised, in the dream he’s recounting to us, that he was the sculptor of his fate, and, he writes:

… as a consequence of this new self-determination, I began to grow small, as in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, until it seemed I was only a photograph of myself, a miniature pedagogue, with the jauntiness of a child on the way to kindergarten, lunchpail in hand.

–Koestenbaum, 2002.

– alternative pedagogy, workstyling, at Mildred’s Lane [look how little everything and everyone looks]

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a note on Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” from lecture 7, Theory & Context

Walter Benjamin is misunderstood in his essay of 1935 if it is thought he is referring to what is particular to an artwork, or to what is unique and singular in general: the reproduction he is referring to is not so much to do with the reproduction of an original as to do with the overcoming of any sort of origin or process or event of origination as happening in an original and unrepeatable time by the fact that time itself can be repeated, in the here and now, of the shot. That is, the moving image, or movement-image.

The word he uses to cover a sense of loss, without himself giving way to any sense of loss, is aura. And by this word we are to understand not what is intrinsic to the object or the kind of movement that is intrinsic to it but what is and that kind of movement that is incidental to it. This is the action or agency of time: it’s the wear and tear, the traces of history, which mark the passage of time.

And here, in the age of mechanical reproduction, the object and its movement, as the actor and theirs’, that Benjamin also mentions, is freed from time.

The aura is lost, without a sense of its loss: in fact this sense is the coming attraction.

Now, the title of this essay, is usually given in English as reproducibility to be closer to the German Reproduzierbarkeit, but this seems wrong to me, since it undoes in part that on which the essay is premised. Where reproducibility suggests the reproduction is yet to come, the work of art in the age of … reproduction suggests it has already arrived. Or its coming is in the future perfect, as having arrived.

Reproducibility would be of the entirety of what is to come.

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“That the Holocaust…” —Jacqueline Rose: on getting stuck inside your mind by experience, as a traumatic diktat

…could have become a premise–that is, a proposition which produces its own logical conclusions–is striking, or rather strikingly different from seeing it, for example, as unrepresentable atrocity, as unassimilable, or barely admissable trauma in the way Judith Butler, citing Primo Levi, has so powerfully described…

— Jacqueline Rose, The Last Resistance, 2017, p. 214

— Antoni Tàpies, lithograph

As I thought about it, it seemed to me that the idea of ‘premises’ as diktat over the future might also do as a working definition of trauma. When I was studying Sylvia Plath a long time ago, and trying to understand the appearance of the Holocaust motif in her writing as something other than the opportunism of which she was accused, I read an article by German psychoanalyst Ilse Grubrich-Simitis on working with second-generation Holocaust survivors that has stayed with me ever since. She described how the language of these patients was characterised by a dull, thudding referentiality, with no mobility or play, as if they were saying–in a way only made clear after the most difficult analytic listening–‘this happened,’ ‘happened‘ ‘happened‘ over and over again, to compensate for the silence, the psychic refusal to acknowledge the reality of the Holocaust, in the generation before. And in one of his evocative articles, ‘The Trauma of Incest’ of 1989, psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas describes how trauma shuts down the mind of the patient. The problem is not believing what they say, but the fact that that is all they have to say, so that there is nowhere else left for them to go inside their minds.

— Ibid., 215

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sixty-fifth part, called “on movement LXV,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

The brain selects items for action. It is not, for Bergson, for knowledge and does not select to know. It already practices an economy. Economising as a part of the system of perception, the brain is like any other organ in this respect: it synthesises problems of the outside.

If we know anything at all it’s out of habit: Hume’s insight, from which Deleuze gains the syntheses of habit. What then is synthesised, or contracted, from habits as problems of the outside? The brain takes this to be information. It takes syntheses of habit as items for action as well. Yet they are the products of habit.

That the syntheses of habit are products of habit as well, and are synthesised for action, makes that action general. Although divided into institutions, like institutional knowledge, institutional systems of representation, structures of cognition and grammars for recognition, the general action is indivisible. It performs an indivisible mobility, engaging the whole surface in movement so as to perpetuate its symbolic economy. That is, products of habit form another economy concerned with their symbolic reproduction with institutions to take care of their symbolic production.

Perhaps for the reason of the syntheses of habit being largely concerned with a symbolic economy, for Deleuze the brain is a sign signal system. As for Bergson, however, it is not for cognition and not to represent to itself that the brain and system of perception are geared, for example, representing to itself the problems of knowledge or cognition, which it would then act to process and contend with resolving. For Deleuze, the sign consists of a problem and the signal is an action.

Symbols, as matters of habitual synthesis, are still subjects of action and meanings are actions. Yet, what other meaning can they have but that acquired from habit? And, what may be parsed from these words but the syntheses of habit?

The issue is not that of bringing new meanings or a new meaning to light. Neither is that of naming this brain the false one and that one the true, the symbolic economy the secondary, or the brain of artificial creation, and the perceptual economy, the sensible one, primary and of natural creation. We are still talking of theatre and there is still the selection of subjects and for movement.

The issue is how to move in the crowd of subjective apprehensions. How to move when their alignment, the alignment of their outsides, is given by the misapprehension of symbolic actions, on a surface mobilised overall by the habitual syntheses of others. And what is movement when it is no more than the connectivity of outsides in their symbolic interplay, already, all over. The issue is, what is doing the work of the brain now it is no longer selecting items for action, for symbolic production, but the technological means, for the reproduction of habitual syntheses, that is doing the work of selection?

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

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

If you would like to receive these posts, as they are written, as letters addressed to you, please send me your email address.

(&&&[Deleuze])=-1...
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Ἀκαδήμεια
hommangerie
imarginaleiro
immedia
infemmarie
luz es tiempo
network critical
point to point
representationalism
textasies
textatics
theatricality
theatrum philosophicum
thigein & conatus

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sixtieth part, called “on movement LX,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

on movement

We experience communication as bodiless, yet we feel it as movement. All those pleasures we feel from being communicated with, and all that pain: it is what makes us human, keeps us human, leads us to hope or wish to be. But isn’t so wishing also to wish to be bodiless?

If there’s a spiritual realm it belongs to communication. It doesn’t belong to emotion, to our feelings. It causes them. And yet it is the authority we most invoke for their expression, which communication authorises, so is seen to be despotic in the prohibition of that expression, and, in granting it, beneficent and even munificent.

Art’s humanising task: to elevate through its emotional appeal, and its function: communication. To bring our emotions to their fullest expression, with communication in judgement of their truth: that is the aspiration to being human art sets in motion. This would be a function of language except that so little of what we say, or signal through language, arrives at communication. It rather tends to reinforcement, habits of expression, expressive habits.

Not until we reach custom, the customary, do we experience communication. That is: the coded. Codes of communication encode language as institution. And institutions are judged for their humanity on whatever values of truth they embody. That is: disembody. This value derives from its production, with the despot ruling its range and the munificent one to grant the fullest range of expression. That is, the codes of expression like those of behaviour are political avenues.

Zones of relative freedoms, they are relative to being a nobody without any right to express emotions, and without their having any claim on truth. Such a nobody opposes the spirit, is all body, and is less than human. Somebody who doesn’t communicate is however thought to have a mental disorder before they are considered to have a communicative one, as in the case of autism.

Is emotional intelligence an intellectual capacity, an emotional one, or a communicative one? If it is a matter of communication, it is at once a question of institutional codes, of their humanising or dehumanising purpose. And of the role of art, the purpose of which is … to be free: free in the sense of an always politically arbitrated, calibrated, conforming relativeness.

And if art should wish to be free of politics? It should accede to the highest form of humanity. And in its disembodiment, participate in the spiritual economy of communication.

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

If you would like to help it come to pass, and show your support for what I’m up to, please sponsor it: become a patron, here.

If you would like to receive these posts, as they are written, as letters addressed to you, please send me your email address.

(&&&[Deleuze])=-1...
...
Ἀκαδήμεια
immedia
τραῦμα
network critical
point to point
representationalism
textasies
textatics
thigein & conatus

Comments Off on sixtieth part, called “on movement LX,” of a series of ‘letters’ written to you, the reader, towards a book called, theatre | writing

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