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the free and creative play of transcendental ideas ::: illustrated with three paintings by Wolfe von Lenkiewicz

Another kind of madness, constantly wanting to draw attention to one’s own insights, like some placard-carrying apocalyptic in Time’s Square.

— Damian Lanigan, The Ghost Variations, Weatherglass Books, 2022, opened at random, p. 69

I’m writing a long note about cinematic time but, as always, encountered something along the way, only tangentially related to that theme, but that seemed to demand another note. Unless I am mistaken and as I write the note up here the tangent feeds back in again to the long note on cinematic time. The tangent was suggested–the same source as the seed for the note to come–by John Ó Maoilearca and Keith Ansell Pearson’s introduction to Henri Bergson: Key Writings.

There they write, Bergson’s Kantianism and his Berkeleyism, in short his idealism, is shallower than either Berkeley’s or Kant’s. It does not have its roots in the categories of human understanding, as with Kant. It does not originate solely in the perception of the mind, as with Berkeley. It is instead virtual.

What is Bergson’s idea of the virtual? what is it in light of his views on time? Time for Bergson is duration. The time marked out by the clock is time translated to the dimension of space, since the clock is counting spatial divisions. These divisions are contingent on conventions of counting the day and night as fundamental units, so they are broken up in space, according to a conventionally 12 hour day, but not in time.

Science tends to use clocktime. Philosophy says Bergson need not, because a philosophical understanding of time should try to get at what time is in itself. Bergson also takes duration, time as duration, to be free of the determinism that its contingency installs.

He thinks duration free of the constraints the conventions of measuring time lead to, that duration is a freedom for creativity beyond conventionalism. This creativity is neither abstract, like the geometric measurement of time as space, nor actual, like the spacetime given in relativity theory as a chrono-geo-determinism. It is instead virtual.

– Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, 2018

What this shallower of Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson means to me is a reflection. Transcendental ideas for Bergson are as shallow as a reflection. I see a reflection on still water of the trees above, and above them, the sky and stars, but this leads me to think of another sort of reflection, one equally as shallow, as on-the-surface, as the reflection in the water. Whereas this one is in space, the other is a reflection in time.

Everything that makes up the reflection in space, in the water, is actual. The surface is an actual surface. It exists. It may only be made of light but that light exists and it is the condition for there being a reflection. I say this because of the mystery and magic, the not-quite-real quality, mirrors traditionally invoke. Their not-quite-reality is not yet virtuality.

A reflection in time is virtual. So the virtual for Bergson relates to time, time as it relates to itself and is in itself, apart from space, contingency and the conveniences of measurement. The virtual is time reflecting on itself, on its own duration.

Deleuze further qualifies the virtual as being distinct from either the possible or the potential. What is virtual is not a pool of possibilities that are held in potential. Possibility and potentiality relate to reality along that continuum going from possible reality to existing reality. The constraints of possibility are again in evidence.

The virtual in contrast relates to actuality and is unconstrained by either possibility or its potential for realisation. Freely creative, the virtual resolves, works itself out in what is actual. The virtual is real without existing in actuality.

The possible exists without being real. Existence adds to possibility what was missing, reality. The formula stating that the virtual is not yet, not quite and no longer is insufficient and misleading. It limits the virtual to complete realisation only when actualised, when nothing is missing from virtuality.

– Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, A Lady Writing a Letter, 2018

Thinking about a reflection in time I think is a better idea. It also relates virtuality to Bergson as an aspect of his insight into time being pure duration. Like the reflection in space, from it nothing is missing and everything is at the surface. This is what I take from Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson’s shallower.

It doesn’t necessarily lessen the difficulty of imagining the virtual. However, if we move from this surface or across this surface according to Deleuze’s ideas about counteractualisation I think we can come closer to understanding how the virtual works, and how usefully to think of it. Counteractualisation is to go from the actual back to the virtual.

Counteractualisation of transcendental ideas, for example, without removing their reality removes their depth or height. It sets ideas jostling on the same plane or surface. It returns them to their shallowness.

No longer are they standing in judgement. No longer transcendent, not yet subjected to a moral tribunal, they are not quite themselves but no less real. The reflection in time effected by counteractualisation reintroduces the freedom and creative play to what was thought to be determined and determining.

The question of idealism for Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson comes up in relation to Bergson’s use of the term images. All four chapters of Matter and Memory, 1896, feature the term. Bergson’s use breaks with philosophical convention and is suggestive of a link, as I said at the beginning, to cinema and to the note on cinematic time I am concurrently working on: what are images if not pictures, whether moving or not?

Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson point out that in other places than Matter and Memory Bergson makes use of the word ideas to mean the same thing. The etymology of idea is from the Greek word εἶδον for to see and then to ιδέα, meaning form or (visual) pattern. Bergson’s shallow idealism more or less flattens the meanings of idea and image. Images are as much physically present as they are in play on the surface, as they are registered on a reflective surface or recorded on film.

– Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, Iodame, 2018

The note to come, that on cinematic time, will take up on the confusion of images in play and bodies in movement and what that means for our sense of time and duration. The purpose here is to go in the reverse direction, rather than from (cinematic) images to (temporal) forms or ideas, to go from images that have a reflection in time to ideas which have virtuality, virtual and transcendental ideas. Counteractualisation is not only meant for either ideas or images, ideal forms or transcendental ideas.

I think of counteractualisation as engaging a surface or plane of temporality or, as Deleuze and Guattari say in What is Philosophy?, I think of it as taking slices of chaos, and of art, science and philosophy each doing so in their own ways. My practice with Minus Theatre was to bring to the depthless surface of the stage the deepest and most intensely felt experiences where they could be brought into play, like transcendental ideas, where they could jostle against one another, free of their baggage, of judgement, of moral implication. This free and creative play, whether it is of transcendental ideas or physical bodies freed from defensive moralising, is of the virtual reflection in time or, better, is on it.

Not then improvisation, the movement in play is ex-temporised. It takes place by coming into being. The reflection in time is what makes in chaos the virtual slice.

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who killed my father

I picked up today Édouard Louis’s book with this title. I added a question mark. Then removed it.

Because without a question mark it is a statement. I couldn’t see it at first. It doesn’t ask who killed my father. Rather it states who did it.

I cite it only to lead where it led me when it was a question, since I could ask the question, who killed my father. And I could answer the question but I could not state who. Who killed my father?

I have been writing about my father. Writing imaginatively, not factually, and without thinking very much about… what can I say? Who killed my father.

First there was the responsibility I felt towards his life. Second is responsibility for his death. What killed him was his life, but his life, for such a little phrase, carries with it a load.

His life entails, although it doesn’t follow from it, all that he gave his life for, all that he lived for. It engages in fact everything that was not him. His life is small compared to what for him life was about.

How do I, how does anyone address themselves to the dreams, principles, the values and ideas, that a father lives for? If I think of my mother. In contrast I think of her living for life. Not like my father, living for some thing.

And many would and should side with someone who lives for life. Perhaps they say it is more admirable to live like that and that living for some thing, some intangible purpose, is not at all what it purports to be. It is actually self-centred, selfish and even cruel.

My mother also lived for my father and her children and out from them for those they in turn loved and lived for. But she did not live for what my father lived for, although she sympathised with it. She loved my father for that little bit of him that was his, which he probably couldn’t see, which I doubt any of us ever really can.

As I said, I felt responsible too for his responsibility, the responsibility he chose. I felt less responsible for his life, the responsibility he didn’t choose. So that I can say who killed my father turns on the responsibility he took on, the fate he chose.

It is to do with what he thought himself to be doing when alive. It is implicated in what he struggled and fought for. And what he thought was worth the fight.

A book by Barack Obama passed through my hands called Dreams from My Father. In it the dreams might be of an imported cultural inheritance, finding a place in a new culture for them. I suspect many fathers die on the job of this, but is it the job that kills them?

As a question who killed my father is both gendered and generic. Who killed my mother doesn’t translate it. It pertains to a general state of affairs. As a statement it is the particular story of who killed my father. There again is the question of responsibility that is of a calling, that is ethical and political.

What my father was called to do was particular but is applicable to fathers in general inasmuch as they take on and become answerable to it. Some ethical or political mission you might say. And why should this be?

Do all fathers die in the way that the question who killed my father can be asked? If asked, is it only askable by a son? Is it only asked by a son inasmuch as a son is, as I have said of myself, at least in part answerable, responding to a father’s calling in a way that calls on him too?

Can we put down the burdens of our fathers? We can choose not to respond, choose to make that choice, but I know that if they are sins then, got rid of, they can bounce back in unpredictable ways. There are of course matrilineal sins and gifts and griefs.

And grand missions that sons can see as much as daughters. Is this mostly due to them being unfulfilled, unfulfilled dreams, things left undone or partly done? And is this the case because of men and often because of that other choice, having children? Or not choosing to but having children anyway and then being forced into a position of self-denial, of living one’s life for one’s children, having had them, regardless of any mission one might have had in one’s life? (I forget the writer whose first advice to students in her lectures on writing was always, Take control of your fertility.)

I’ve just reached the part in Retrospective, a book I am reading slowly on breaks, by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, when Sergio Cabrera has gone to visit his ninety year-old father and been told by him that he, Sergio, has betrayed everything they had lived their lives for. It is another book, after The Man Who Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura (some excerpts here), about the failure of communism. His father, Fausto, like Sergio a real character whose life has by Vásquez been imaginatively reconstructed, of course includes in his condemnation his son: You have betrayed everything that we lived our lives for.

Sergio Cabrera Cárdenas was appointed, by President Gustavo Petro, ambassador to China in 2022. And this makes sense because in the novel based on his life, his life and his father’s, Fausto moves the family to China, almost out of the blue, where Sergio and his sister acquire the language, and Fausto and his wife teach Spanish to the Chinese. With his father’s words on his betrayal, Sergio enters a deep depression.

You might say that this is the point the novel comes alive for me. I ask myself about who is to blame for the failure of communism. In Padura, it is Stalin. But I also ask myself if my own father were alive would he think that I had betrayed everything we had worked for in our lives? And I quickly answer no.

It’s not that the stakes are so much smaller for me. When dealing with the responsibility for a life how could they be. I still take my father’s side on who killed him. I can see their faces.

Some of them would be the ones he himself would have pointed out and some are not. And his face is of course among them. For not taking responsibility for the part of his life he didn’t live for, the part he was loved by my mother for, that part that we can’t simply reduce to his physical health or his living being or his beating heart. His face is among his killers’ for another reason too.

And this is more complex. It is also more or at least it has been more burdensome, more difficult as his son to disinherit, to shuck off. Another oversimplification: it is that his dream was quixotic… And again, I would add, too quickly, perhaps every such dream is?

My honorary grandmother, Davina Whitehouse, recognised it as such in the most elegant way, in the form of things. She brought him gifts from what in those days we used to call overseas. One of these gifts was a Man of Straw, from Mexico, a crucifix made of straw. Another was a beautifully carved wooden sculpture of Don Quixote, the man himself, that my ex-wife now has in her possession. You see, I still couldn’t keep it.

Fanny Howe’s The Winter Sun is subtitled Notes on a Vocation. In it she asks, What could I call what was calling me? Her answer is, A vocation that has no name.

I am led there by “Since early adolescence I wanted to live the life of a poet. What this meant to me was a life outside the law; it would include disobedience and uprootedness. I would be at liberty to observe, drift, read, travel, take notes, … and struggle with form.” Jennifer Hodgson quotes it. She writes, “‘outside the law… struggling with form’ pretty much hugs together everything I think about/can’t stop thinking about”.

When my mother said to me, You are a born teacher, it felt like a death sentence. The year at teachers’ training college, where she had lectured but had not continued for not having gained a degree or higher qualification, where my grandmother had been more-or-less sent while her sister, Ava, whom she never spoke of, was one of the first women to enter Victoria University, that I would have been required to do to get my teacher’s certificate, seemed like a forced admission of guilt. The guilty acceptance of what I was born to do.

When, as Ginette McDonald visiting the café he was running at the time told my father how she had loved working with him as a director in theatre, he said to her, You should try working with Simon. He’s a great director, it felt like being sentenced to live rather than a life sentence. The more so for being indirectly given.

I’d recently staged Antimony. Here’s Francis Till’s review, attributing all the magic to Kim Renshaw, the producer, who did work wonders but it was my brother and I who were responsible for transforming the space. Mum and Dad attended with Beanie, Davina Whitehouse. It was if not the last one of the last pieces of live theatre she attended. (She died on Christmas day 2002. Here’s a piece I wrote for her.)

The part of life we cannot see is our insertion among material things. We can take it up as our calling to make a temple of the body. In attending to it as a temple we make an idol of the materiality and lose sight of the life. Is it better to put the temple that is the body to the service of something else?

I am suggesting our insertion among material things concerns not only the organs we cannot take out and inspect, to establish their health or proper function, their malfunction or the affects of accumulated time and habits on them. It includes also the rhythms of those organs, their breathing, pumping, living periodicities, that in sum are equal to what it means to be living, since they, from the largest organ of the skin, to the smallest bacteria, equate to its time or to its timing.

Its own time produces the inner experience that it cannot have any experience inner to. It is at the surface, a timing, and what we normally think of as our identity is no more than a key to it, a connecting dash, and discontinuous with the living tissue, connecting to it by contiguity, by a cut.

The cut is also question of when, of timing. To make it so or measure time in the materiality of the body, life, is to place a cut in the cut. It is to place it at further and further removes while maintaining its contiguity. So the temple of worship can be superimposed on to the body and coincide with it in space but not in time.

When I was very young my father explained to me the difference between vocation and avocation. You can have an avocation for the priesthood, he said. The distinction seemed to hang on belief.

What did my father believe in deeply enough he might consider it his avocation, give his life for as well as, and at the same time as, having it taken from him? To say my father believed deeply enough in theatre he might have agreed it to be an avocation at once goes too far and not far enough. Too far because he would not go all the way with theatre directing being any more than a profession, a vocation. Not far enough because saying theatre makes it the answer to a question that is not fully formed.

The question would have to have a political component. I think a political theme has been lurking here the whole time. It’s in the title to Édouard Louis’s book and I’m sure it’s in the content of the book. As being in the nature of fathers in general the theme’s political tinge or seriousness is perhaps what has drawn me on. Does this mean mothers are exempt from or excluded from political seriousness?

Who killed my mother as a title, although it might have political resonance, would not have the same resonance. Perhaps I am wrong but I am imagining two sets of generalities, pertaining to my mother and to my father, ethical and political, and necessarily then to my relationship to them. I am thinking out from these two personal cases and imagining them to bear on some general things that can be said.

The difference in resonance applies to my mother’s avocation. She was a born teacher, and as such saw this in me, but she was not born a teacher. She was born an actress and she directed from the perspective that gave her. She also taught from the perspective given her by directing from the perspective of an actress, if that makes any sense.

Who killed my mother. Neither in the form of a question or of a statement does this work for her. My mother died for medical reasons not for political ones. Although the medical reasons were exacerbated by her grief over the loss of my father so it is possible there is a reflection here of the complication of her living for him and him not for himself.

He lived for something other than himself. It was a greater health and a political reason to which he was responsible. I would say it was the responsibility of necessity. And it is this political reason that makes work both the question and the statement of who killed my father.

The hardest thing to get rid of is my own answerability to what he took to be his responsibility. His responsibility was to say what was necessary. In Minus Theatre, Edward Scheer, noted writer on Artaud, in his report on my doctoral thesis project said that I had reduced theatre to ground zero. He meant to nothing.

I had got rid of the whole apparatus of the literary theatre. Productions were in multiple languages. I had got rid of most of narrative. In getting rid of the dramatic conflict my father said was essential to drama, I had got rid of drama. And yet would he have called it, as in Vásquez’s Retrospective Fausto did to his son Sergio Cabrera, a slap in the face of everything you and I did in this life? No. That’s why to call his avocation theatre is not enough.

He insisted that theatre has to say what it is necessary to say and, in a move away from an overtly political, programmatic or issue-based theatre, what cannot be said in any other way. He also insisted, in line with this second point, that theatre is an art form. Certain plays are necessary, and normally get written, at the time, but theatre is in service to itself as an art form before literature.

The art of theatre has its own artists. These include playwrights but they are members of a collective engaging in the collective work of artistic creation. I tend to think of the group artist being the company (as you can see from this manifest from the 90s). Although artistic responsibility follows from it, I am concerned with the first point here, the responsibility of necessity.

The formula, responsibility of necessity, suits the ideas I am trying to express of an avocation as a calling. The religious sense of calling meets the political one and social responsibility meets responsibility to one’s brain and heart and sex. This is to put into words a gesture my father made to Paul Minifie, then directing at Theatre Corporate. The gesture was intended to express just this necessity, of theatre having to appeal here and here and here, and, preferably all of them.

Minus Theatre was a form of theatre as necessity. And so it was found to be irrelevant, passed over as an academic exercise, by the same considerations, if not the same people, who killed my father. I have no doubt focused down too narrowly over the course of this writing but I think it is the question or statement that has drawn this out of me.

Who killed my father is important. It’s important to remember. It’s important to remember for me personally since so few still do. Yesterday I heard Grant Bridger had died.

Yes, there are some who die of not wanting to remember. Of those who are still living I can only think of Shirley Kelly, member of the Southern Players, one of the first theatre companies in New Zealand, who remembers the ones who would rather forget than acknowledge their debt and she is very very old. In German, the word for debt connects with the word for guilty, Schuld and schuldig.

There are some who would rather die than admit in failing to acknowledge their debt they are siding with the killers. Since by their actions they have found the killers innocent, they would protest their innocence all the louder. It is always a very loud silence surrounding guilt.

And the guilt of the killers is the source of the silence, who maintain their silent exclusion zone, while making the usual theatrical gestures of mollification, like the noise around cancel culture. The necessity of responsibility is the necessity that there be responsibility. The question who killed my father is answered by the statement.

It is not the necessity of holding those responsible who are but of being responsible, answerable to the memory. To be answerable to what might be called a political memory or a memory of politics. In this case what does it mean truly to remember? What does it mean for a son, for a daughter to be called on to answer for memory?

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theatre | …: first half in epistolary form

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a note on T H E__A C T__O F__P O I N T I N G__OUT illustrations by Travis Bedel

Theatre is the act of pointing out. Performance is dissimulation. Theatre is simulation.

Where everything has been pointed out, even more, where chaos can be pointed out, there is no room for time. Performance cannot simulate chaos; it can but only as dissimulation. Theatre spatialises time.

Cinema, the moving image, is also an act of pointing out. It is said it is the act that points out time. It is, however, cinema, the moving image, the act of pointing out its pointing out of time. That is to say, it dissimulates, is a performance of, time.

Cinema, the moving image, in whatever way it is produced, is able to reproduce chaos. Cinema can isolate and point to chaos. In this respect, it is a theatrical event.

The fact of its spatialising time is not as important for understanding the theatricality of cinema and the moving image in general as its ability to represent chaos. Neither is it really important if this representation is actual. To best understand the theatricality of cinema is to understand it firstly to point out chaos. This is an aspect of cinema, in the history of the moving image, that its history elides.

– Travis Bedel

Along with this lovely description of what we do when we try and reconstruct a philosopher’s philosophy from influences and so on, in this case Bishop Berkeley’s:

Let us then take these slices of ancient and modern philosophy, put them in the same bowl, add by way of vinegar and oil a certain aggressive impatience with regard to mathematical dogmatism and the desire, natural in a philosopher bishop, to reconcile reason with faith, mix well and turn it over and over conscientiously, and sprinkle over the whole, like so many savoury herbs, a certain number of aphorisms culled from among the NeoPlatonists: we shall have–if I may be pardoned the expression–a salad which, at a distance, will have certain resemblance to what Berkeley accomplished.

Alongside this, from his lecture, “Philosophical Intuition,” given at the Philosophical Congress In Bologna, 10 April 1911 (yes, 111 years ago) [here], Bergson, still with Berkeley, talks about the natural order, the order of the universe. It is in one of his typical cascades of conditional propositions, If a body is made of “ideas”…If it [a body] is entirely passive and determinate… If we are mistaken when under the name of general ideas… that, from if so, never seem to come to a then conclusion, or the conclusion is given in part halfway through, as here, completely throwing you off the trail of the conditionality that is its predicate:

…if it [a body] is entirely passive and determinate, having neither power nor virtuality, it cannot act on other bodies; and consequently the movements of bodies must be the effect of an active power, which has produced these bodies themselves and which, because of the order which the universe reveals, can only be an intelligent cause.

You will recognise this as Berkeley’s going to God; and in fact Bergson’s pulling apart of reading-learning philosophy–from the outside of historical influences, all the way to the inside of the intuition animating it but that it never seems to be able clearly to state, leading to the philosopher having to revisit and revisit the initial insight of her (his, in this case) intuition in work after work, never satisfied she has finally provided it with its definitive formulation–his pulling apart of how philosophy works is outstanding, but difficult.

Reading Bergson is like slipping into another timeframe. I think there is a reason for this feeling, that it has to do with the displacement of a time-of-chaos by a time-of-repetition, the advent of cinematic time, screentime; and that this, screentime, has replaced the inner experience of time. A theatrical and therefore subjective event.

What however drew my attention was the phrase because of the order which the universe reveals, because, what is the order which the universe reveals?

It is definitely not that of chaos or, in Deleuze and Guattari’s formulation, that of chaosmosis. Neither is it of a time that unreels, one thing after another, or that neuroscientists have lifted this metaphor from to explain how the brain processes ‘real time’ in consciousness.

If the universe reveals an order, what is it?

We might want to account for it through recourse to Newtonian physics or Euclidean geometry, or even to the classical physical order of Einsteinian relativity, where No one is playing dice with the universe.

Does the universe on the 29 October 2022 reveal an order?

Ask yourself, does it?

What has changed to make us think that it does not?

(Unless it does, for you; unless the universe does reveal an order: but in order to do so, I would guess it would have to go by way of something or somebody transcendent, like Berkeley’s God. I would guess that if the universe does reveal an order to you that it would have to be a transcendent order; and I would be surprised if it was not.)

Although… Smart Design… aren’t scientific explanations, like evolution, of an order?

Doesn’t the explanatory model of science produce an order of events? in order that they may be explained?

Isn’t Climate Change of this order? (Isn’t this the reason we ought to trust the climate scientists? because their models extrapolate from historical tendencies foreseeable results?

((there is more to making Climate Change the order of business of time, there’s the virtualhere’s a bit more from 11 years ago.)

(Yes, there may be debates between models: but when the disparities come down to details is when we really ought to be afraid.)

The universal order of the arrow-of-time is thermodynamic: it goes towards entropy. Although the flow is orderly, entropy is not but is its cancelling out. Ultimately the universal order ends in heat death.

Flows cease.

– Travis Bedel

quasiunique beat signatures (QUBS): the original article, “Quantum watch and its intrinsic proof of accuracy,” distinguishes QUBS from DS–conventional delay-stage derived values of the time, saying that, although QUBS itself derive from DS, as a ‘measurement’ of the delay between wave packets being sent out, QUBS beat-signatures more accurately indicate the time. Where there exists a discrepancy, the fault lies with DS.

QUBS is the unique signature of that instant in time, a time that can no longer be considered a continuum or to belong to continua. The quantum watch time of QUBS is its fingerprint. The measurement between or relative or relative to zero of a time-setting does not apply here.

The quantum fingerprint points out an instant of time, rather than in time. Or: it’s already in time and requires no other points of reference outside it.

This use of quantum effects can be compared to the quantum accelerometer enabling navigation without ‘outside’ reference points. (here) This is said to be the way migratory birds navigate. (here)

– Travis Bedel

Does the universe on 2 November 2022 reveal an order? Not like in the old days.

In the old days order was manifest. We didn’t need quantum effects to reveal it. Then, neither did we need classical physics. And it was still a negotiable order: the sun would rise in the East; the seasons would cycle through; and to every life there would be a cycle of birth and death. The negotiable bit was its measure of freedom. That is, fiction.

The sun rose in the West. Summer came one day and was chased away the next. It was winter for the following hundred years.

Before my death I was regenerated and lived in immaculate suspension. After it, I was born and yet I was not. It was not until I ceased to be that I became who I was.

The universal order does not need, did not need to reveal itself, in the old days. Today the Nobel is awarded for proving that the universal order as it had been revealed does not exist. It is a fiction. (here)

– Travis Bedel

The order goes to utility. That’s how it’s played. That’s how inaction in the face of imminent global catastrophe is castigated.

Yet, where do we get this idea of time unrolling? As it unrolls towards, well, it could be chaos, entropy, catastrophe or a positive outcome through technoscientific mitigation of the mortal risks, that is progress: where do we get this idea either of progress? or of an orderly progress towards inevitable and universal disorder?

From the utility of time conceived like this, says Bergson. And in a way and unholy alliance or abberant nuptial, so does Bataille.

Bataille speaks of expenditure without expectation of return: that’s life. That’s the life of the sun. It’s what it does. Its inaction is composed of thermonuclear expenditure in radiation without expectation of return.

Lingis’s reading of the ‘accursed share’ (Bataille) refers to the ‘organs of display’ that tropical fish have and the organs of profligate floral display in the vegetal world.

Flowers are self-conscious enough to want to look their best. Their best goes far further than is necessary for the useful purpose of attracting germinatative species. Bees might care whether they’re blue or yellow, red, orange, white, attractive on ultraviolet spectra, but that is about the limit of their concern. They don’t go in for frills, flutes, formal arabesques, barocco volutes, tendrils, patterns and extra elaborations: these are extraneous. They comprise a share that is accursed for being inutile, useless; and when we think of human display, sexual, predatory, aggressive, territorial, erotic, individual, social and the fashion, the curse is there too.

This uselessness may be borne out in the current climate by practices of extraction and exploitation that go far beyond need, as far beyond as floral or piscine and avian peacockery does in nature. We are cursed by the curse of extra, an unfair share.

Who gets it is not the point. Saying it’s in our nature, as animals, possessing organs of display, is not the point either. The point is, whether it’s to the end or the beginning of the end, the progress fallacy.

Progress passes. It is always on the way. So it is never inevitable but ever in/de/terminate.

And in/de/terminable.

Another way of saying this is that progress, to adapt Malabou, resists its occurrence to the very extent that it forms it.

(Malabou’s statement is on identity: identity (here the identity of progress) resists its occurrence to the extent that it forms it.)

Where is the generosity in the view that the future approaches head-on like a truck? (The phrase is John Ash’s.) And there’s no getting away from it, like the dream where you’re paralysed; and, there’s no getting away with it, like the dream where you’re guilty.

Where is the generosity in a future foreclosed to possibility? foreclosed to the virtuality of the present that leans over it? This second foreclosure points out a secondary impoverishment.

A future foreclosed to the virtuality of the present impoverishes the present of potential, of power. It saps the political will: there is really nothing to be done. Without delay.

Delay, farting around, as Vonnegut put it somewhere, is where time is not a dead thing but living and lived. This is as true for the protein swapping that creates it for cells as for the hesitation presupposed by the profligate elaborateness of the human nervous system, comprising locally networked nerve-centres and the costliest organ in the body, where all display is focused, the brain (costly in the sense of accommodating surplus expenditure, expenditure without expectation of return: fireworks). Brain screen, Deleuze puts it.

The brain is a display screen. The expense of it is not calculated for any sort of return, just more expense. This ‘compensatory’ expense ratchets up nervous tension around other sorts of accumulation, wealth, status, elevation, speed, erecting skyscrapers, superyachts and supercars and spaceships; and sublimates it in (the compensations of) art (cinema and so on), porn, eroticism and fetishes.

The brain is for display only. Thinking goes on in the delay, during the hesitation. The delay is thinking.

The stammer is consciousness.

Identity, I wrote on a wall recently, is an accursed share?

– Travis Bedel

At 3:20pm 4 November 2022 is there a universal order?

Will the sun set, daylight saving, around 5 to 8? and rise again tomorrow over the eastern hill-line?

Will the suburbs still be here? Will business go on … as usual?

The business of human societies follows the order set down in nature, more or less, and the order of business in nature follows that in the cosmos, in the great and greatest harmony. The ‘more or less’ comes from generating and interposing circuits of delay into the general order of the universal economy, and paying for them, because they’re worth it, whatever the cost. In fact, the higher the better, to suck up the surplus.

Lighting rooms, prolonging life, sheltering and feeding ourselves, providing entertainment and decoration, fashion and frivolity, these are all about extending delay. They go entirely against the idea we have of time unreeling, since they wind it up, switch it back, hold it in systems of relays and pass it through obstacle courses and traps we set for it, so that time eddies and spirals, stretches and recoils, and so on. Time thickens, Bergson says.

If the delay is thinking, the systems we have for trapping time are called knowledge.

Doesn’t it happen that we have thickened time to the point of entropy and disorder?

Hasn’t there been a change in phase-state?

Time has ceased to be the order of time, is rather orders of time. Byung Chul-Han (The Scent of Time, 2017), goes as far as to say that from time being date-stamped, to order, it has become dyschronous. Chaos besets time itself. There is no longer any duration to time. It is unthickenable.

To-order time he associates with the vita activa of the perpetually entrepreneurial self. Time chaosifies from its maximum use, where there is no time to spare and, as a result, no content to time.

He wants to promote the vita contemplativa as a means of reclaiming time. That is useless time.

I think he confuses content with form. But so to do can only be accomplished by first spatialising time, as an empty form to be filled. Once filled, time is of no duration and cannot hold content. Too thin, it is Unzeit.

Another way to say this is that once the repetition of chaos is possible in time, the confusion of time and chaos also becomes possible. In fact, the representation of chaos in time makes the confusion of time, its representation as chaos, possible. Dyschronicity is presupposed by the possibility of the moving image to repeat the unrepeatable, chaos.

The order of the day, 4:16pm 10 November 2022, does not follow the order of Bergson’s, 111 years ago. It is not universal. This year’s Nobel Prize winners for physics declare it not to be, prove it not even to be, locally real. Then isn’t the question of non-time, empty, Hunger-Artist thin time, anorexic time, Unzeit, its irreality?

It unreels. Nothing much more can be said of it. Stiegler contends that it cannot be wound up, that this is the problem technics have bequeathed us with to be knowledge; and that as a result there is the crisis in knowledge of its technicity, a technicity that can only be retrospective; and yet it entails a loss of memory.

However irreal time does not spool out in a straight line. It is not that labyrinth. It runs out like a natural occurrence, like leaves moving randomly on trees, or waves, each wave unique, and repeatable as its cinematic image, as its moving image points out. It winds up, impending over the future, like a storm.

– Travis Bedel

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

on movement

Why is there misapprehension? is it out of malevolence? Is it out of malevolence your signals are misunderstood? that they are taken for meaning something far away from your actual desire? And the desired meanings, they have somehow been wrested from you.

Now they are being used to control you, so you should suppress them. You really ought to exercise self-control. And is it with a kind of malevolence then that you turn on yourself, practice austerities on your own libidinal economy, at least inasmuch as the messaging is concerned? And isn’t it with sadness you look at the comments, take literally the feedback, which might not be unkind, might be of the kindest sort and might have the best intentions behind it, but feeds back by a closed loop into the structured economy of your identity, exercising a control which becomes a suppression?

Must suppress internal difference, you don’t think it, you do it. Especially the most internal difference of all, sexual difference is given over to the comedy of mistaken identity. That is, it is identified with the symbol for it, with which one should, such is its morality, identify oneself.

Fraudulence—what is its source? Well, in play are the symbols, each one of which, like the smallest gesture, expresses a world. But what has happened to the choice of world? What has happened to its decision? And what has happened to the cut?

It’s a craze, a frenzy, we have said, and a froth, buried under layers and layers of similarly mobile surfaces. A metastasis, we have named it, belonging to a metastatic temporality. For each particle of the subject, all the human parts are instantaneously reassembled. And the sign itself is left outside, so each one, static on its surface, is like a doughnut. Each expands with such rapidity, internalising its outside, the hole, externalising structure, so avid for expansion, it goes unnoticed. The misapprehension of the crowd is like a yeast working from the outside and froth of oil slicking and lubricating the surface of the public comedy, the local slapstick.

Each has these three mythic parts… then why misapprehension? because the symbolic is exactly that which cannot grab hold of them, only gesture towards them, either inwards or outwards, centrifugally or centripetally …having the structure of a subjective economy: this goes for the whole socius; identity, given the economising motif of its lack, its in-the-hole-ness; and a toroidal, or doughnut-shaped feature of completion and continuity, throughout society: the famous circular economy. The famous circular economy stands here for the myth. The myth stands for the foundation. This is human in that it feeds back, to the extent that power here is circular.

Misapprehension, the flaw in the myth, goes from crowd to individual. Individual is mobilised. But this does not account for the apprehension of, the feeling of not being understood, that, introjected, spirally, becomes, I am a fraud. We might here be describing false consciousness, reinscribing the individual into the ideological state apparatus, except that what we are describing is the object of it, its outside. Where? …the hole… and if we could only join up, not the fatty tissue of inflating yeasty dough suspended in bubbly grease, but the holes, we should see fissures and cracks start to form.

Going from the crowd into the individual, in fact, all shame is from the social institution. The very same can be said of the foundation myth. So there is shame in marriage in the same way as there is shame in the self. Shame in theatre: we have seen before, in the beginning actor, in her hesitancy and indecision, as to what to do; but more powerfully in the confusion of the audience with the action onstage.

In the consciousness of one’s shame being asked to participate, or being required to, by the direction the show has been taken in, one is like anybody before, we might say, the law. But such is the mythic law, the human, and the sad; and not the natural law that would address why it is we are made sad by what should make us happy. In the unhappy consciousness, shame, turning-away, self-suppressing, desexualising at the same moment it auto-oedipalises, we see human consciousness being, acting like the rehearsal for public shaming, turning away, and so on. And, yes, this is its role, given the shape of the symbolic and thrice-greatest foundation myth that is subtractive with being contracted, signed up for the social contract. That this is its role public misapprehension implies, from which private shame draws its inference.

Yet, if the role of consciousness can be seen to be in rehearsal its place is in the invisible work, and the inaudible. Being overheard here on the little stage of the self, the void which makes up that hole, comes before structure, the structure of character, the role, the play, the show and self-display. It prepares it and comes before the production. Only confusion would lead one to invite an audience in to hear one’s private thoughts, and then to take a seat among the spectators. This human participation would be the opposite direction to go in if we want to avoid shame, sadness and misunderstanding.

Should we want to increase joy we might respect the process, attend to the production in ourselves of what is not yet a human subject, overhearing the animal cries and invisible vegetative states, the stony stares, of us, and move from one to an other. We can move by way of fractions, degrees of difference: time fractures the natural surface, it is fractal. In movement, changing the subject, the myth may be undone; because, in turn, founding the myth, we have the dream of being human: to which art is antidote.

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.

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

on movement

The distinction we would make is not that between illusion and reality, or, as Deleuze does, between the virtual-intelligible and the actual-sensible which proceeds from it. And we are in no place to impugn artificiality, the artificiality of symbols, say, and praise the naturalness of stones. But here is the difference: the myth of the stones is charming and remarkable; the myth of symbols is always at our expense. So we would distinguish the artifice, art, illusion, the nothingness of thought and the public or private virtue, from that artifice, art, illusion, appearance of the sensible, and actual public, private and subjective powers which use the myth to maintain their power, their power and our subjection.

The power has to be doubted that needs to enlist myth in its support. And this is the strategic task we are engaged in here; not to distinguish good myth from bad: perhaps, more adequately, good theatre from bad, although the formula rests on a moral distinction. We should ask how symbolic myth makes us indebted, how it takes away from our enjoyment of life, social and individual, if this question were not already substantially answered by Marx: it does so through the medium of capital.

The change I think which has occurred from Marxist analysis is that the mobilisation of capital has led to the mobility of the medium itself. It has metastasised. From it come the metastases of the manmade, that is, the symbolic form as a subject of synthesis. This is what we have talked about in terms of synthesis contracting or synthesising symbolic entities, but we can perhaps see it more clearly in the metastases of for example plastics in the environment: the synthesis which is of plastic particles in living flesh.

Plastic—not a symbol, you will say: yes, but a commodity: the commodity form is the symbol-thing and, converting one into the other, makes them completely reversible. The non-fungible token is so through the fungibility of thing-person-signature-sign-and-symbol as an economic unit. We can’t attack mobility directly, however, and will have recourse to the symbolic reference, not in the thing, person, author, artist, meaningful sign referred to, but in the myth.

Movement changes the subject, moves it from where it has been fixed by an established power. Establishing power are what we had as three subjective powers. These have their use to power and are its founding principles, for as long as they are animated by another world, since they are at once mythic principles.

Symbols turn to face them, and we gain from these the sense of our own desire being animate, autonomous and automatic: our own desire is animated, given autonomy, becomes automatic by virtue of subjective powers made founding principles, establishing and emblazoning their power, maintaining subjection as that that we have chosen for, the three myths. They are, of a structural economy, identity, and just causation. The latter we had formerly identified, specifically because of its symbolic character, with a poor excuse.

How are these founding myths? To take the second, identity: it describes the personalisation of desire. If we consider ourselves compartmentalised, this part human, this other part too, that one sexual human, then over here, a human consciousness, a social unconscious that is human, then, in part deriding all the parts, and ruling over them regardless, no, not the limbic system, but desire, the system of desires distributing the parts, accounting for them: why am I like this? because of desire.

It was instilled in me. And, therefore, like a genetic inheritance, it is what I must choose. But is this the choice in which we found for a kind of freedom?

No. The movement here is all inside. A full inside. A bound inside, bound to oneself, and, in this way, what one is bound to do.

If Oedipus has any part in power, it is here. What we have in the myth of desire being a governing principle is not it was always like this but I am a fraud. And with all the more avidity, I will bind myself up in a destiny, not the brave destiny of Oedipus, but one of auto-oedipalisation. What else can I do?

I am bound to do nothing other than choose the soft-furnishings over the hard. And shift them around the deck, like private prostheses publicly displayed. Making myself comfortable, or, practicing austerity, faced with the inevitable.

The law of desire is binding inasmuch as it cleaves to the stage and is obedient to it. However, due to the mobility of the surface, auto-oedipalised immobility, in stasis, follows the mob—traversing desire at once in every direction. We should listen to that ‘at once’ because it is a clue to there being a static time, a time of war, of drama and movement. We don’t tend to hear it, or listen to it without hearing it. As if we don’t want to hear its judgement.

Instead the misapprehensions of the crowd, travelling in every direction, as we have said, at once, go to the individual. And the self is groundless. Or these are bits of the self demanding synthesis, demanding its contraction, of which it is no longer capable. They go to the self inside it. We have also claimed theatre to be a good way of addressing the inside.

The mobile swarm of public opinion, symbolically expressed, with the mobility of signs, across the void, out onto which, sooner and later, an individual steps, fill the space. We might consider space here to signify a time, and this temporality to occupy a pure spatium. But what do we do with all these signs, gestures, symbolic of the mythic constructions of others?

We attempt their synthesis. Hence the pulling apart of the self, its fragmentation occurs according to a time, on the timeline traced along the surface: to live each day. To endure the at times unendurable passage of the hours. Cleaving to the stage, its surface escaping us, leaving signs the only mark of passage. Down to minutes, seconds, microseconds, nanoseconds, a metastatic time: this time corresponds to the mobility of the surface, a temporality where the movement of subjects in which every bit of time is synthesised is indiscernible and there is only speed: a temporality of the metastases of synthesis. And no longer audible is the clicking of tongues, but a human hum.

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.

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

on movement

Clarification might be needed. Clarification is always needed, not necessarily to avoid confusion. And not necessarily to avoid the confusion of what we have called misapprehensions around symbolic connectivity. Clarification is not needed in the way of a clearing made and for there to be communication. Clarification is always needed to let in a little air. …Although, the question of air is immediately perilous: how polluted is it?

First, it seems, we must clear the air. We must clear the air of what we have done to it. But look at us.

We have this pretense we speak the same language. We come to the same point on the page, presupposing we’re on the same page. A sentence runs out of breath.

And, with an intake of air, we start again. At least, we try to. What for?

What for, if not to be understood, to have clearly before us… and to ask for clarification… of the subject…? Or should it be, simply to connect? Yes, to connect fills me with apprehension. Does it you?

I mean, as if clarification were necessary, I am filled with apprehension about the task at hand, or would be, were it, if it is, for the sake of connection. Those office minds who say, You can’t write a book that noone will read! It’s like they’re infected with business.

You can’t eschew connection. Unless you at once admit—and commit to it—that you have a pathology; that you have concurrently undergone. We all feel a little that way sometimes.

How much?! How much is it just about breathing? And here clarification would mean a little life. Not such a big demand. Life seeking to expend its energies… as Nietzsche writes.

Alphonso Lingis, Al. Are you there? In a beautiful passage you are standing at a supermarket checkout counter. You are in a country where you don’t understand the language—just like us?—and you have gone there in the vacation, in a break from academic life.

You have bought the plane ticket you could afford. Your criteria were preferably a country where I neither speak, nor understand the language, and price. You don’t mind spending your whole pay, to be somewhere where you have never been before. Perhaps it’s Mongolia.

In front of you in the checkout queue is a woman. I think she has a coat on, and right now you wished you’d worn something warmer. She doesn’t look to see what’s in your basket. She doesn’t look you up and down, assessing what you’re wearing, or say You’re not from around here are you. She looks you in the face and in her eyes you see a spark of recognition. Before saying a word, that anyway you wouldn’t understand, not giving you a chance to shrug apologetically in incomprehension, you both break out laughing.

What sort of connection is that? It is one of mutual recognition but recognition of a minimal intent: you and she both intend to go on breathing, are both in this climate, which isn’t exactly hot. You’ll each need to eat at some point, and take a drink. Isn’t that why you came to the supermarket? And now you’re both standing in this checkout queue, seeing each other for the first time and recognising in each other the minimal elements, the minimal requirements of life.

It’s not a need or a desire you recognise. It’s an imperative you each see in the other, and recognise. Like a spark that each in the other you would shelter with your hands. And so you burst out laughing.

If I should seek to clarify this, it’s in that spirit: what is it at stake in the symbolic? And why ‘symbolic’? Wouldn’t a better word be semiotic? seeing as how Guattari writes about the present phase of capitalism being a semiotisation, and this semiotisation permeating social life, suffocating it?

What I have in mind is that the signs semiotics studies have a gestural part, a working part, which Guattari also calls asignifying. He is theorising a semiotics of the asignifying that for us is caught up in, is the gesture. You recall it: that gesture of which the smallest is a world.

Having a gestural part the signs, produced, reproduced through, as Guattari writes, semiotisation as the current form of capital, can be taken to be symbolic gestures, gestures with a symbolic, mythic quality, invested gestures. What Guattari calls the asignifying part, the gesture, puts the sign to work in a way that is symbolic, mythic. Causing it, the gesture-sign-symbol, to be invested, is what is at stake in the symbolic. That is, desire.

The question of the symbolic is: what then are the myths animating desire, in the current era of its semiotisation? It is in service of these myths that there is and will be symbolic production and reproduction. We know the prompting, eliciting of desire to serve production, through something which is called consumption, but that through its semiotisation has become significant, has become sign and is sign-production, or straightforward production. The asignifying and the signifying work together, in the symbol.

Yet there has to be a will to desire. For it is required a myth of the personal. For it the myth is the personal, where we can ask such questions as, Should we abandon desire? As if it is ours to be taken on its word or to be given away.

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.

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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.

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

on movement

It has become a commonplace, the initially critical claim for the divided subject, invoking Rimbaud, or, better, Pessoa: I am bursting with others. In our agreement we lose sight of the division, and—await the explosion, or sense the slow leak, as the meanings, feelings, dynamisms and intensities leak out of us. Or, otherwise, we are forced into a condition of having to agree. These freedoms are no more and no less than differentials of movement. They are minima. And we should conserve our energies.

What we are called on to accept is the production of a subjection as a complete entity, such that the completion occurs: being is what happened. This is the view of time we have from the state of the surface we have ascribed to its mobility. So, what is the entity? What entity has survey over this concept of time?

Here time is full. It is full forever. Never trickling in from the future. Never flooded by the past. Being full, we get the impression of immobility; or, it presses on us: time is the constantly taut surface of a time under pressure.

Virilio talks of the pressure exerted on time by speed. Everything speeds up, is in competition for time, and so exerts a global pressure. The squeeze is on, for the earth and its resources. He calls this the dromosphere. An atmospheric pressure.

How is the impression static? when the surface is in motion? because we are talking of two distinct systems. It appears one leads to the other, that global mobility leads to stasis. Or is there an error of levels here? since what applies to the individual cannot be said, except in hyperbole, to apply to the globe. That is, my impression of immobility owes nothing to dromospheric pressure. But it is this creation of a globe which is completed in time, in one of them, in the time of the anthropocene.

Knowledge is this accumulation. We may concede it to be incomplete but it is under pressure to be complete. Not the past pressing up against the present, drawing from it a form incommensurable with its antecedents, in Bergson’s phrase, knowledge, complacent or despairing, neither despairs of its form nor, think of science, is not pleased with its results, and think of where these press. They press on the future, giving us the sense of it being an accomplished fact, one that human knowledge is sufficient to, or, inducing in us a false humility, insufficient. Philosophy has come to seem chiefly concerned with our reassurance.

Being is this accumulation, in a terminal time. Catatonia, as we have said, in all the parts that matter: stasis. The static system is not the one arresting movement, or giving us the feeling of arrest in time. It is rather the system coupling in us speed and stasis, at least as they are formed in impression, where we see everything moving too fast and ourselves stuck.

The problem is not to introduce movement into a static system or to arrest time. We want to allow movement from being stuck. We want to be pulled out of time, or the current temporal arrangement, why many turn to the sacred. It is into association with the sacred that we might bring the notion of sacrifice: both cut into temporality: they go outside, go by way of the outside.

The problem is physical not spiritual. It is one of physics, or, physics’ problem that it can’t get outside. It can’t leave its theatre of operations. Laruelle, in proposing a nonphilosophy, has said the same of philosophy; but he then goes about refilling the glass that he has emptied. The mystic knows emptying to be endless, until we have removed the glass.

Having said the problem is physical, then it’s clearly one of bodies. Perhaps too many bodies. As in Aristotle’s injunction to avoid the unnecessary multiplication of characters. Or, is it in an atomisation of performing bodies that we have exploded onto the screen: the necessary articulation of technological advancement, of information technology?

I once thought it was this. I don’t think so anymore. I think it’s this: the inside can fill up. And we are still inside.

We have been concerned with movements of the inside, the movement that is the event of the subject. We’ve said it to consist of minima, a slight gesture, or even a hesitancy, either an active decision or not: an active decision is still a build-up of passive ones, just as the nonstatic system, the system of mobility, can lead to stasis—but in the other direction. That is, it is unidirectional: we might reconsider what kind of freedom lies in this direction: if it belongs to space, it is of external freedom of movement; if it belongs to time, it is of internal freedom, to choose that which happens. So, in a sense, the active leads back to the passive.

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.

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

on movement

The complete entity is complete in time. It has come to pass that it is; it has come to time: it comes to pass. It doesn’t pass but it remains a fact of the present, so that having passed away, its passing away is also complete.

If we think of the passing of events on the stage we are not dealing with a representation of time and if a representation is given, such that we say, Once upon a time it was the middle ages…, it enters into time. As Bergson writes, this is a subjective time; and here it seems equated with dream. The whole dream passes and we can recall its events in memory, or the events have not been substantial enough that we do recall them. Or we are not one of those people who can recall dreams.

Perhaps this is why Badiou wants us to chat in the interval, wants the interval for us to chat in, so that we replay the events shown, each hearing in the other’s interpretation a subjective take on the events of the play. Another play is going on right there. We might ask the other to describe the events she saw if our own interpretation radically diverges: If you think it means that, what happened, in fact? … Oh, I didn’t see that!

Yes, yes: it was clear. He took her hand and grimaced. Disgusted.

Are we awakening from the dream or extending it into lived reality? And wouldn’t a discussion like this, a small contretemps, have a political dimension we might want to encourage? Surely the reason Badiou’s an advocate for the interval.

We are not yet ready to concede to the other’s opinion, however, and should we, does it matter much? Should we become ardent, it’s enough to go on an online forum to have our views dissed. In other words, minds already made up or minds changed, there is simply the mobility of opinion, in a swathe of subjective positions through which it might not be impossible but is hardly worth it to cut.

And we might ask, where is the cut, since that has been out theme; and where the movement? since the movement is its contraction, before it is its issue. But we can’t really relate it to a birth contraction, or to a birth. Nothing is yet alive. Well, not in the ordinary sense.

For the issue, for what matters, what we think matters over political chitchat, a difference is synthesised into a divergence. And the subject object is the issue. Or the theatre writing. So its not, a bit from here, a bit from there; your view against mine: nah, mate, you’re dreaming! This is how it was. Let’s then agree not to.

Neither is it like this in material synthesis, where there is complementarity without agreement. Complementarity is not supplemented in the completion of a kind of prosthesis to the argument, of a kind of a waving dick, as it were. This isn’t the time we enter into; and it’s not because we’re in the thick of it that we don’t see it, that it’s in process.

Progress has no truck with dreams. Neither, really, does becoming an other. So are we witnessing movement? or the birth of movement? Or the movement of a differential?

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
imarginaleiro
immedia
luz es tiempo
textasies
textatics
theatricality
theatrum philosophicum
thigein & conatus

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