Some rescued texts

These are rough, old, and occasional fragments but something of them might still be rescued.

“Otherworld”. What if life were not a dream? Cypher’s fantasy in The Matrix of then returning to sleep would have to be recognized precisely for what it is and we would have to take responsibility for our frivolity. Cypher makes his deal with the Agents indulging in pleasures he “knows aren’t real”, which he cannot but help enjoy. Such is the nature of all enjoyment having tasted of reality. What if life were not a dream? We would be freed of the burden to will ourselves to exist … but at what cost?

The recession has taught us to mortgage our enjoyment with apologies and excuses; but this has been no new lesson to those for whom enjoyment comes at the cost of blending in with a crowd that simultaneously constricts the opportunities for expression even as it adopts those models as its own. […] It is always possible to purchase a moment of anonymity and steal into the dream where everything is ok.

But what if existence were not enough—to be in the same world as music, tattoos, soccer, and ATVs—because the world rebels against justice, just as enjoyment is blind to suffering. Laughter and passion are antithetical (not that we have any trouble living in contradictions): the former requires oblivion while the latter forgets nothing even as it turns its back on existence for the brilliance of the future. Yet for us—we who would succumb to the temptation to exist—a future world does not need to be dreamt but demanded.

“Uncommon” [for J]: 1. The old cliché claims that there is a fine line between madness and genius. In fact, there is no such line. In both cases we are confronted with the one who by definition cannot be recognized by those to whom s/he must speak. Who are the paradigmatic cases of such madness? The one who preaches heliocentrism, who complains of dropsy and buries himself in manure, who advertises the virtues of tar-water, who gets locked in the attic, who dresses only in white, who collapses at the sight of a flogged horse, the ones who suffer aphasia and synaesthesia. These are the ones who shape our world precisely by being excluded from it, just as the acceptable forms of behavior and psychic life are defined by what is not permitted outside the sanitoriums and hospitals (what is not written in the DSM).

We cannot aspire either to madness or genius. Some, however, between madness and genius, are fortunate (or cursed) to be faced with a choice: whether to be seen or whether to remain invisible. Whereas solitude is a necessary consequence of either madness or genius, it can also precede either as their condition.

We might try, however, to distinguish madness from genius by recognition, i.e., objectively, since both are marked by the “inner conviction” that s/he is absolutely alone in the world or that s/he is the first to have arrived (this is, in other words, the ostensive difference between “greatness” and “delusion”). But this difference is only apparent, on the one hand, for to whom must one appear as a genius other than precisely to those who, if they really understood what was being said, would be no different than the one who is to stand apart? The one who stands apart is precisely the one who is not understood, else s/he would simply be saying everyone already knows.

On the other hand, the real mark of inner conviction is not (self-)certainty but a constant disbelief—the refusal to believe that things really are as they are, that what is obvious remains invisible or unspoken, that injustice is acceptable. Sometimes this manifests as the opposite of certainty: as doubt or the feeling that nothing is quite right, that a word is out of place or a line is too oblique, that “I really am different”.

By definition the mad cannot be the one who names himself and is able to exclude madness from the method of radical doubt. Ironically it is the madman who cannot be accused of solipsism. But who, then, is the one who names the madman or the genius? Who are the ones who must “take notice”? […] Who are the ones who did not have ears to hear?

2. […] Identify, be counted, be viewed—the spectacle and the charlatan.

Or: Do. Laugh. Adjoin. What are the forces that you can release? Instead of wondering “to whom can I be seen?” the real question is: what are the possibilities that I can see? In this harmony, in this image, in this phrase, this spiral, this vertigo, in you? What is the life we can construct from the fragments we have been given—the fragments of this body, this identity, this world?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s