...............................H.U.T. Journal-April
"The mollusc is a being--almost a--quality. It has no need of any frame-work but only of a bulwark, something like the color in a tube.
Nature in this instance renounces the presentation of plasma formally.
She shows only that she prizes it by carefully sheltering it, in a
jewelbox whose inner face is most beautiful.
It istn't then a simple bit of spit, but a most precious reality.
The mollusc is endowed wtih a mighty energy for keeping itself shut
up. It is only to be truthful a muscle, a hinge, a blount and its door.
The blount having secreted its door. Two doors slightly concave con-
stitute its entire dwelling.
First and last dwelling. It lodges there until after its death.
No way to pull it out alive.
The least cell of the human body clings so, and with this force, to
speech,--and reciprocally.
But at other times another being comes to desecrate this tomb, once it is
all done, and settles there in place of the defunct constructor.
This is the case of the pagurian."
Frances Ponge

The Case of the Pagurian

March 31, 1999

There is a very interesting car commercial on television now. A couple is in a car. They turn down a side street and a camera pans outside the car to pedestrians and events taking place there. Some electronica is playing. And everything on the street is in sync to their passing and the music which accompanies their passage; a basketball bounces in perfect time; a woman walks by in time with the music; workmen carry out their tasks in perfect rhythmic harmony. For the couple passing by, the outside world has become a symphony, orchestrated for them -- or at least as a result of their mechanical contrivance. Some how --we are led to believe -- the perfection of their technology, their automobile, has led to this synchrony of events. All has become right in the world, if by right we mean the complete interlocking of all activities with no unpleasant, discordant remainders. Increasingly, we want our institutions to work in this way and as well, we want our bodies to work in this fashion. Like a great techno/electronica tune, everything should feel right. We feel that things should be interlocked, fitted together like the perfect machine, a planar assemblage where everything is visible, connected, and humming harmoniously. It would be the perfect fusion of art, technology, and science with no messy individual lives to contend with. Even death--where is thy sting! Just the occasional core dump, having no effect on the functioning of the apparatus. The intent seems to be (if one can ascribe intentionality to the process), to reverse Holderlin's dictum that at the extreme limit of pain, nothing remains but the conditions of space and time such that, by concentrating on the conditions of space and time, locking them together, one eliminates pain. This has been the traditional prerogative of the mystic. (though it must be said that this capital-driven commercial is cynical in it's exploitation of human harmonic/rhythmic propensities.) Perhaps negative theology has entered coding itself, effecting a sly transition from the negative of `not-this, never-that' to `only-this, always-this'. In return for a certain numeric circumscription (and then virtual elaboration) of reality, we enter a fantastic universe of connected-ness, a fabulous cabala of everything touching everything else, any thing implying the whole -- as long as it can be codified -- A Pythagorean reality which might even be daunting to Pythagorus himself. The self itself becomes an endlessly recursing schematic coiling into and out of genetic structures in a miraculous process ---apparently -- of self-creation through coding, the ultimate boot-strapping, no external agency needed , that is, The whole existence of the structure consists of its effects...the structure, which is merely a specific combination of its peculiar elements, is nothing outside of its effects. (Spinoza by way of Althusser). It often seems like a desperate effort to sew all the edges together, an attempt to PREVENT this occult (Egyptian) leakage of self-into-everything -- at a certain remove however it precisely CREATES those conditions of leakage, the invisible boundaries of the sublime rounding back into uncanny emergence again. Like at the county fair with those knockem-downs that keep popping back up.

But maybe that universe (the same as the one depicted in the movie Pi) is not one that can be lived in, at least as we think of living now, because, as in the movie, observing the pure interrelations and numeric machinations of space and time lead to the extreme limit of pain, a place that can only be lived in under the sign of the reducing valve of the everyday and the personal self. But...the commercial described above is an ominous sign that NO ONE will be exempt from this gematric (and geometric--there's Spinoza again) universe--but then from the view point of many religions (and even structures that don't pose themselves as religious, such as the political), isn't that the very intent of history, especially the Hegelian history of judeo-christianity: it creates a substance called history and then messianically fulfills and completes it (well, attempts to anyway). Ones individual wishes are of no consequence except as they fulfill the prerogatives of history and its Ultimate Knowledge (at least as someone like Hegel conceived it).

And of course everything takes on a cinematic quality in such a culture, everything becoming a sound track to one's life--the only problem being that we are reduced to observers (or in the worse case scenario, prisoners), sacrificing efficacy in operating one's life (or rather in being a life) for harmony and efficiency. In truth, it never works out black-and-white like that -- only revolutionaries and philosophers are so privileged as to live in such a dicotomous universe. (the case of the man searching under the street light to find his lenses when in fact he lost them in the darkness to the side.)


woke up again with another sepia-toned postcard from the past, as, um, someone once said of something I had written. The past sits and incubates in us. or it dies and starts smelling up the place. or it becomes a...childhood hut in which to escape. or it becomes an inoperable tumor..I suppose the metaphors could proliferate (metastasize?) out of control. I think I would almost rather be like those who have memories of a string of past lives, of always remembering being something else--how cloying and claustrophobic to be continually who one is...and yet how frightening the contemplation of anything else. And yet...I've known those who were only briefly who they are...

I suppose that's why all revolutions try to commandeer the radio station of memory, to prevent slippage backward, to introduce a mutability of identity (vectored in only one direction--which problematizes it as memory) in the service of some greater good, some teleology of thought that can only be re-membered forwardly (the great advantage of the prophetic which modern culture has hijacked with futurist studies and five-year plans and projections and Great Leaps Forward), thinking perhaps the opposite of Santayana's injunction, that in fact those who REMEMBER are doomed to REPEAT, Nietzsche's vicious circling around the funeral pyre of history, forever caught in the updraft...

Even the strongest of us would like to be occasionally removed from the burden of our identity; there are times when it almost feels like an industrial fabrication...but not in memory. In memory it wafts to me (meaning: I come to me) cloaked in a strange familiarity, close yet distant, the familiar light of the hut seen briefly at a different angle through the twilight, shadow flickering past this window: I know what's inside and yet for an instant there's the possibility of...of...a not-knowing, not a stranger looking out but a strange-NESS, something completely other than what is a me, something only barely scritched out on these endless `sheets' of meta/phosphors, light resolving into dark, past never quite resolving into the present (nevertheless SOMETHING sedimenting out onto this sheet), present never quite making it over the border into the future (and yet some pulling, some kind of fall forward always taunting with its catastrophic promises, a barely detectable waving in the darkness beyond the campfire...)---I can never be sure whether the horror of it all is that it ONLY exits in this confused scribbling, the linguistic turn always only spiraling into itself--but that's no answer either (even if there truly IS no occulted Absolute Substance) because what kind of Thing would it be which could so Write Itself and so Know Itself ... and yet be only the writing of itself?)

And then I'm thrown onto that dirt road again, biking past summersweet meadows, cawing crows, billows of dust from the occasional car, heading out...


The smell just never goes away. He was never quite sure whether HE was generating it somehow or whether the environment itself had taken this olfactory turn...maybe his nose had shifted its register somehow! The smell had at times an almost industrial astringency about it, other times it seemed more musty, a combination of old tobacco leaves, well composted leaf mold and a certain ill-defined earthiness. It would seem to hit him in puffs in the car going down the expressway (was it in the ductwork of the car then or outside??) Someone would walk by him in a store surrounded by a well-defined halo of perfume, then he would walk out and there it would be again. He conceived it much the same way that folks thought of the almost inaudible hum that people described in various parts of the country: omnipresent and inescapable. Even his shit had this quality.

Had his nose gotten more acute in its abilities, become more `dog-like'? or the very opposite: had all the edges been worn down, leaving odors in a narrow range? (He fantasized about the receptors in his nose being smoothed out into the same shapes, effluvia from aging filling in the corners. more Dickian kipple...)

He had also become intensely attuned to mentions of odor in movies, TV and print. There, smell seemed to be most often associated with either danger, a kind of perverse pleasure in decay, or the approach of something allied with death and an uncanny putrid vastness.

For example: he was drawn to read Heart of Darkness recently for some reason; (as it turns out, it DOES have an extraordinary number of mentions of hut in the book) and here was: "[speaking of an ivory camp] A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from a corpse. By Jove! I've never seen anything so unreal in my life. And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion." Yes, but the `passing away' of this fantastic invasion...or the `waiting for'?

It seems WAY past time for a road trip--even given the catastrophe of the last one.


"He or she is mystic who cannot stop walking and, with the certainty of what is lacking, knows of every place and object that it is not that; one cannot stay there nor be content with that. Desire creates an excess. Places are exceeded, passed, lost behind it. It makes one go further, elsewhere. It lives nowhere. [....] Unmoored from the origin [...], the traveler no longer has foundation or goal. Given over to a nameless desire, he is the drunken boat. [....] Henceforth this desire can no longer speak to someone. It seems to have become infans, voiceless, more solitary and lost than before, or less protected and more radical, ever seeking a body or poetic locus. It goes on walking, then, tracing itself out in silence, in writing."
Michel de Certeau / The Mystic Fable

there are those to whom this will speak and others for whom it is moot.


I've become one of those people (poet? just a crazy person?) for whom language has become a sort of Substance, akin even, sometimes, I think, to ectoplasm in its simultaneous existence/non-existence (and subsequent importance/non-importance---difficult to figure out which goes with which though). Language is perhaps not an Absolute Substance -- I hope not -- but at its genetic core it does seem to share certain characteristics with such a (fabled, hence narrativized, hence linguified) substance, as a sort of infinitely precessing code, not tergiverous with consciousness but anxiously AWAITING consciousness. Which, at least for humans, would make language SEEM infinite since it is always lying in wait, simply waiting g for the right fricative circumstances of differentiation---and isn't; that always everywhere the case from the very beginning? In fact, that's what we determine AS a beginning, a state of differentiation, the ultimate state of which being, I suppose, number, mathematics, geometry; then finding its emotive counterpart in music, working then its ethical counterpart through Spinoza and D and G....

And yet...and yet...sometimes there is this other thing (not a thing really) which seems underneath -- how archaic, literally--(between?) everything, some integument. Maybe my obsession with smell (always considered to be the most archaic of the senses, reptilian even) is symptomatic of this other, this non-linguifiable other (I'm not too sure of any vision thing, seemingly TOO easily captured in a lingual realm -- the tongue and the nose...an odd pairing) ---yet in a way, the nose is senseless (or when its paired with the eye anyway)...and there is language continually nibbling away at it, without exhausting it, and yet at the same time creating it. Although I would suppose that for many people a language does not only not present as substance but in a way is not visible at all--and that it is precisely when it DOES become visible that people begin to be upset because it immediately opens into a vast, dark and unconquerable realm, in-human and uncanny even in its simultaneous immensity and intimacy, it becomes that thing which threatens to suck dry every vestige of particulate individuality by leading to the next word then the next word then the next, the next, the next, without end, rounding back on itself iteratively yet differently, always the same yet different, some ghostly, ghastly hold on oness consciousness, BECOMES ones consciousness, increasingly difficult to back AWAY from because you back right into it. At some point the invisible seems not quite possible and yet all the more necessary.

"...perhaps all the wisdom , and the truth, and all sincerity are just compressed into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold of the invisible."
Joseph Conrad


I've become thunderstruck. In reading R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz on the temple at Luxor, he mentioned the sixth chakra as being connected with the sense of smell. I have belatedly started doing some research on kundalini, and the sixth chakra specifically. The correlations with my life situation are frightening (because with all my writing about smell as non-theoretical it has still retained that...stench) and uncanny (because of its universality--doesn't mean it makes any sense --smell or otherwise--to any one but me):

Mode: Sixth chakra: time of penance (Lila)

Description: At this chakra, the player raises consciousness through austerities. Individuality disappears and he is the supreme consciousness in undivided unity. Mastery leads to psychic powers and to destruction of karma accumulated in previous lives.

Context: The sixth row of the board of Lila, the game of knowledge, this is represented by the planes of austerity, neutrality and violence, the solar, lunar and liquid planes, and groups squares representing the states of conscience, earth and spiritual devotion. Located at the third eye, in the region of the pineal gland, the player vibrating with this chakra is beyond the elements. It is compared to the octave comprising the ages 35 to 42 of temporal life, that of observation. Spiritual devotion and conscience are the arrows at this stage (the former leading directly to the plane of cosmic consciousness and the end of the game), and the plane of violence the snake.

from another web site (some differences here--others have the 6th chakra as the brow chakra) :

Kundalini center.
Location: At the tailbone
Color:Red /Black

he center of physical energy and vitality, the energy to succeed in business or material possessions. Center of manifestations. Throughout the ancient world in historical and mythological stories , the root chakra has been associated with dragons and snakes .Dragons is a symbol for the kundalini fire energy .

Balanced energy:
Centered, grounded, healthy,fully alive, unlimited physical energy, can manifest abundance. Excessive energy:
Egoistic,domineering, greedy,sadistic,sexual energy entirely genital.
Deficient energy:
Lack of confidence weak,can't achieve goals, suicidal, sexual energy, feel unlovable, little interest in sex, masochistic.
Drug addictions,anemia,cancer,arthritis,heart disease,gynecological problems,Aids,herpes,candida.
Adrenals, kidneys, spinal column, colon, legs, bones, Gems/Minerals:
Ruby, garnet, bloodstone, red jasper, black tourmaline, obsidian, smoky quartz. How can you balance this chakra?
Dancing is very good for grounding. In the summer ,go barefoot. House cleaning and cocking [sic.this was as it was on the web site. and I presume it means cooking...still..] is also grounding. Hug a tree , take care of your plants .

sixth chakra is also associated with the third eye...


CHAKRAS: A Sanskrit (Hindu) term meaning, "wheels." The term is usually pronounced "Shah-krah-z." The correct pronunciation is actually "Kahk-rahs." These are power centers in the aura related to organs or glands in the body. Chakras are not in the body per se; they are actually whirls, circles, or lotuses which are seen in the aura. They are in the physical body, because they reside in the astral body. In Western magick, the most important are usually seven in number and are located along the spine from the perineum to the crown of the head. Opening the chakras results in the attainment of various magickal energies.


Well. It seems certain that such `etheric bodies' are no more available to `positive' sciences (traditional scientific methods/Ockham's Razor, etc.) than they are to `negative' discourse (ala Blanchot, various forms of critical theories, deconstructionisms, etc). Unfortunately for both, the IDEA of certain phenomena refuses to go away, seems to rise with every fresh rising of flesh. Perhaps it would be better if we lived by `official explanations' , if the general rule was able to eradicate the particular exception --always the goal of a managed, capitalist, scientific society (like the interlocking reality of the car ad mentioned before, everything fitting in place), maybe even ALL industrial societies period, even (especially?) those tinted `socialist' or `communist,' all intensively managed societies...and even the discourses of the singular can only febrilely point to those intersections, denied entry as much as the next piece of grassflesh (and as a consequence then denying even the possibility of entry...some weird variation of Wittgenstein's injunction: `that place to which we cannot go, therefore we must remain still' from which we would move very rapidly again into a Nietzschean Eternal Return of movement / non-movement...of course if you conceive of the universe as nothing but bits of somethings bumping into other somethings ...and the well defined entanglements that result-- ala S. Weinberg and others I suppose...then there's no `point' to any of this. Which brings us firmly back around to Master Nietzsche again via a slightly different, perhaps even more dangerous, route.
There have been times when I've woken up, my head on my arm, seeing my hand stretched out in front of me, when the hand seemed more claw-like than anything else, something not a part me but unmistakably animal-like. Reading all of this material on ancient Egypt shifts my whole register into the direction of the claw-hand. It's not `alienation' but rather a form of distancing (what has been called the `man from Mars' aspect) ... being in the car, seeing humans drive around, nothing but their heads sticking up from a moving ton of machinery---all of a sudden I seem to be on the planet of the apes, with nothing much more to recommend for life than it's speed and it's thrill-seeking violence, some collective bungee jump in societal slow motion...and the sudden intuition that there might be a fray in the cord.


Especially lately, this journal seem like a place of crags and crevices (tiny hut down below) where great leaps are taken with nothing underneath. Dangerous but exhilarating. It sometimes (not always) seems that my `true' life is here among these craggy linguistic peaks and that all the rest is...muttering, mumbling, and trying to pay the next bill. One place is wondering among continents and the other is wandering incontinent. There are no doubt those who would prefer the latter -- I know that for a fact. (speaking of such propensities, I had occasion to sit and read part of a book by Liz Greene on astrology recently and her comments about several of the houses of the Zodiac were so incredibly on the money in specific situations that it left me scrambling to come up with explanations; her readings seemed to have an odd combination of pinpoint accuracy and yet under a general typology. I'm aware of the `tricks' that stage magicians can perform but this is a much deeper `trick', if one wanted to so characterize it, one occurring at some odd juncture of language, psyche, and societal social constructions; I suspect that to one who is especially sensitive to such `semiotic displays' of character in their more mundane aspects, that fate becomes a trailing and inevitable aspect of such. Of course, I was reading those entries in relation to various women I know.)


More Smell Stuff.
I was commenting on my (becoming-metaphysical) smell fixation to some visitors to the hut the other day--and they both agreed they smelled something! One characterized it as `burnt feathers' or `gunpowder' and the other as ...'Mexico'. Well, there is always the chance that I was `ventriloquilizing' them given the discussion we had.

But then! A couple of days later in the New York Times, this article "If Things Taste Bad, `Phantoms' May Be at Work" by Erica Goode.

Like phantom limb syndrome, there seems to be a phantom taste and smell syndrome! The article is mostly about taste: food no longer has the expected taste but becomes shifted to something that tastes rotten and eating becomes an unpleasant experience. Apparently such alterations can be indicative of injury to the chorda tympani, through illness, or brain tumors. (Heh, the article mentions tinnitus as a kind of auditory phantom...and that people who have lost much of their vision experence visual phantoms).

Evidently though, smell phantoms are a somewhat more elusive lot:
"But taste and smell phantoms can be distinguished by their quality. Bitter, salty, sweet, or sour phantoms -- corresponding to four basic categories the tongue can distinguish -- are always related to disorders of taste. Smell phantoms, in contrast,f are usually more complex in nature: patients may complain of tasting oor smelling rotting food, for example, fecal matter, gasoline or smoke."
and then later on:
"While virtually every taste phantom can be traced to nerve damage somewhere in the taste system, smell phantoms are much more difficult to account for. Many are clearly related to a head injury or a viral illness. But occasionally, olfactory phantoms appear spontaneously with no identifiable cause."

And then interestingly enough, another article a couple of pages further entitled "Medical Mysteries, Hidden Emotions" about the link between bouts of sudden hypertension and extreme anxiety that apparently hit one from nowhere and unannounced---and the presence far back in one's past of some form of trauma (no big news to therapists, but the article was treating it as if this was some new medical thing; no mention of psychoanalytic apparatuses.)

All of which says to me that the ego (the `subject' as they say) is an incredibly fragile and mutable `entity' -- but that also the system of `hydraulics' of which it is a part is incredibly clever in maintaining SOME sort of interface, some G.U.I., even under the most horrific of circumstances; but that this `border region between the inside and the outside' that we call a personality is by its very nature fissured with outside forces, and haunted with residues of everything that has gone into compounding it. Apparently, almost nothing gets COMPLETELY catalyzed.

I'm reminded of some scene in a horror movie (perhaps ALIEN) when we have a vague glimpse though pipes and debris of some half-seen shape (which we immediately feel to be monstrous) that shifts slightly, raising hairs on the back of our neck. The metaphysical itself is perhaps such a haunting or fissure, occasionally squirming in the `background'; and like the perplexity reported in the `Medical Mysteries..." article, what initially seems like the meaningless scurrying of inarticulate matter in fact portends something quite other. `Modern civilization' lives so much in the gloss on the apple that it no longer knows of the seeds---much less the worm.

And in a culture increasingly divorced from materiality, the obdurateness of physicality can come to seem like a haunting itself, rising stone-like from the sea of abstractions and info flow--and it's a PARTICULARIZED occurrence, assimilable only through the body of the individual---even if that individual no longer has the power to interpret the stone upside the head except as trauma.


My researches into Egypt (and Spinoza!) is bearing some interesting fruit. I picked up a book called "Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism" and found some confirmation of my inchoate stumblings. The author, Jan Assmann, writes about what he calls "mnemohistory" which is not concerned with the past as such but only with the past as it is remembered and says " "It makes much more sense to speak of Europe's having been `haunted' by Egypt than of Egypt's having been `received' by Europe." And earlier he introduces the idea of the battle between "Israel" and "Egypt" and what he calls the `Mosaic distinction' between the two: "Egypt" characterized by "Israel" in terms of the occult(ed), darkness, error, image worship, etc. "Spinoza's (in)famous formula deus sive natura amounted to an abolition not only of the Mosiaic distinction but of the most fundamental of all distinctions, the distinction between God and the world. [Keeping in mind Spinoza's idea of Absolute Substance and there is only One Thing in the world with numerous, even infinite, attributes, for which he was termed a pantheist. RC.] This deconstruction was as revolutionary as Moses' construction. It immediately led to a new appraisal of Egypt. The Egyptians were Spinozists and `cosmostheists.'" Egypt thus forms a `counterhistory' to judeochristian civilization---so it's not surprising that ALL cults are usually traced back to Egypt....in a sense "Egypt" IS the rhizomal mass that seethes underneath THIS civilization. The sense of fecundity and wonderment I had on opening this book was considerable...all of a sudden `culture' became a friable an parseable and NON monolithic....what one DOES with these observations -- even if I could make them cogent to anyone and partly it's still a gut feeling, a er, `whiff' of another reality -- I'm not quite sure. The sense of all this being so completely overdetermined is...overwhelming; Everything seems to feed into it now, like some black hole, devouring all matter and energy and..doing SOMETHING with it--but where does it all go??!

Meanwhile the number of military jets booming from nearby Dobbins seems to be increasing overhead...

Somewhere in the intro to the de Lubicz book I'm reading now is the thought that living in any `state of grace,' or harmony, or peace (as he envisions the Egyptians living for FIVE THOUSAND YEARS, fer christ sake, along the slow moving Nile, amongst the vast expanse of desert, is not possible now. We have become addicted to powerful centrifugal forces -- EVEN those who oppose them. It's perhaps event he case that the stronger the opposition, (and the idea of `opposition' is a mutable one, changing from `side to side')....regardless of the `ontological' status of the dialectic (and poststructuralists' attempts to think their way out of it), there seems little doubt that we are in the grip of a spiraling, escalating series of events that feed off of each other and that is powered by forces that we can put vague names to (technology, capital, abstraction) but which we have no way to modify--because each attempt to modify It --- only stokes the instrumentalist engine! Once again, it reminds me of the traffic jams which are now continuous around every major (and a few not so major) cities. It doesn't matter how smart you are, how moral, how wealthy, once you enter into this system of flow you are prey to all the particles/cars, circumstances around you. Every attempt to ease the problem by increasing surface area eventually comes to exacerbate the problem by encouraging an even HIGHER volume of metal and rubber later on. The only way for `official vehicles' to navigate, and its not always possible even then, is to declare a `state of emergency' -- as both walter benjamin the marxist and carl schmidt the nazi were both to maintain. BUT...a state of emergency is an interregnum which both suspends (temporarily) the dialectic and intensifies and accelerates it permanently--and is consequently and irrevocably caught up IN it. (The messianic/revolutionary impulse is the desire for the state of emergency -- suspension, intensification, acceleration -- to become the normal state of affairs. And in fact, it seems that technology is aiding that desire, that contemporary culture is about a state that resembles closely `life in wartime,' perhaps slowed down slightly, more akin to rust, a `slow burning', than to an explosion; 40 000 killed on the expressway? acceptable. x-number killed in industrial accidents? acceptable. x number of addicts? acceptable. Increase in sub-teen and elderly suicides? acceptable.
Life in wartime has its price...


In doing this research in ancient history, I often have the uncanny feeling that most of culture/civilization/learning, consists of some form of ventriloquization, spukhafte verferkungen or `spooky action at a distance' as Einstein termed Bohr's lucubrations on qunatum mechanics ...a sort of inevitable `playing out' of consequences and groundrules laid down long ago.

The current age's reliance on `calculation' (Heidegger) and the `how' not the `why', the manual of operation (Lyotard), is perhaps just as emblamatic of that `being spoken' as any other aspect of having a hand up the dummy's butt. (In fact, one seems to be at a remove and helping the MACHINE to speak...ventriloquized by a Geometry [Spinoza] in service to an Algebra.)

I had gone back to re-read a passage from the Eric Santner book (My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of Modernity)) on Moses' horns/veils etc. in light of what I'm reading now on the Egyptian Moses (more on that later) and came across this very interesting passage:
"Like so many modernist experimenters, Schreber deploys a parodically mimetic mode of defense: he mimes the mechanical and the mechanistic in order not to be reduced to the status of psychophysical machine: `In the Sonnenestein asylum high above the Elbe, a solitary and unrecognized experimenter practiced the apotropaic techniques that twelve years later would win fame and a public for the Zurich Dadaists in the Cafe Voltaire.' [F. Kittler] Schreber discovers what might be called the paradox of modernist masochism. Engulfed by a meaningless chatter of voices and inarticulate noise, Schreber survives, at least in part, by momentarily refusing to make sense of it all and by himself becoming a player in the ruinationof meaning. Rather than trying to restore his symbolic identity by repressing the drive dimensioan underlying it, he finds a kind of relief by entering more deeply into itw patterns of reptition and acting them out. Whether this strategy could be called `modernist,' `avant-garde,' or already `postmodernist,' it was surely linked, for Schreber, to his feminiization. "


Rabbits have started eating everything I've planted around the hut---flowers, corn, some grasses. I've taken to scrounging material and enclosing sections. It reminds me of excavations of Mayan cities where crude pallisades divided off parts of the city, Archaeologists think it was because they were under seige from other cities looking for sacrifices to the sun and that it fact the extreme lengths to which sacrifices went caused the downfall of the culture.

At any rate, this little rabbit episode (what if I was dependent on this food to stay alive?) shows how extremely vulnerable we are in our complete dependence on anonymous others to stay alive. Ideological totalitarianism/fascism pales in comparison to the control that, Kroger say, has on almost every single person---no matter how cheap the food is...and for that matter, even if they were to GIVE it away! worse in a way...how much more dependent can you get THEN?


Checked out a vampire video tonight, sequel to `Dawn to Dusk'. In fact i've seen all the RECENT vampire movies lately: BLADE, John Carpenter's VAMPIRES...The interesting thing about these movies is that they re-play (whether they `endorse' is more complicated) the very maneuvers that Assmann describes `Israel' as taking, vis a vis `Egypt'. Vampires are constituted as an extreme Other in opposition to Christianity (it's even made overt with the crosses as repellants, with sunlight as a destroyer (shades of Akhenaten!); by `normative inversion', the super-natured vampire (who easily morphs between `nature' and the human), of the tribe of pagans, pantheists, etc., is opposed to the rectitude of light by favoring the dark, by drinking blood in a NON-sublimated fashion (as opposed to the sacriment fo the church) Hence the identity of the Church (or monotheism) can be more easily defined...The Church has CREATED this whole image of the dark side: "The principle of normative inversion or the construction of cultural otherness is obviously working retroactively too. Starting from a given order, it imagines a culture based upon the inverted mirror image of that order and, by this very procedure of retrospective inversion, turns the past into a `foreign country.'" (MOSES THE EGYPTIAN...) This is a very sticky trap and one that `monotheism' in all it's cultural forms (including politics and philosophy) seems prey to....Assmann makes some very interesting points and examples in that regard.

At any rate: an important question would be--do these movies thereby OPPOSE such purported `darkness' (after all, usually the Church wins in the end) or do they, structurally, inevitably and ineffably, ENDORSE this `other' side? Tricky, but I think the point could be made that techne does in fact just that...Perhaps even the NATURE of techne is that very duplicity (doubling), is uncanniness itself...another very interesting book I'm reading, CHILDREN OF EZEKIEL, makes that very point. ...and I even have the sense that the idea of a `Church', in general, is ventriloquized by the that very form of manifestation known as techne (the highest form of which, Heidegger thought, was poesis).


Somebody recently told me that I was a 'decent guy'... that's almost the last thing you want to hear these days. Success doesn't favor decent guys; the psychologcal environment doesn't favor decent guys; gender relations, I'm beginning to think, don't favor decent guys.

I remember a book written years ago on psychosis. The writer's thesis was that the culture itself was generating more and more psyches which fit into the psychotic mold and that perhaps we should have training facilities to teach people how to be more effective psychotics since the form apparently has some evolutionary advantage for those who have it.

I would say the form has mutated somewhat into `postmodern disease' forms such as borderline personality syndrome but his point is well taken. `Normalcy' as it has traditionally been cultivated is gone and the only way to navigate these uncharted waters of 21st century life is to become `geometrical' (as Spinoza called his Ethics).


The pollen count for the area has been at all time highs lately. One commentator repeatedly stressed the `male reproductive' dust, an ever so-slight hint that male-ness was clogging the very air, yet one more irritant to be attributed to males. Well, maybe...

But like everything now apparently, fecundity, production and OVER production, is as much a problem as it is a promise. It sometimes seems as if the world is `seeded' with construction material, gadgets, technology, as numerous as the grains of pollen, which is just as irritating and most of which turns into debris at the instant of its creation almost---but it's as if our machines have reached the same level of evolutionary imperative of life itself -- in order for `fruitful connections' to happen, an over-abundance must be produced with the great mass falling on barren ground. (And actually words themselves seem to have these same characteristics of pollen---and wasn't that the title of one of Novalis' great collections of writings?)...especially words carried by the great incubator of the matrix of the net or the media in general....and to continue the thought of the first paragraph: release of seed/pollen is a RESPONSE, in a sense making it much like an egg is tradtionally conceived and the evocative powers of the egg as prior--so the affixing of `blame' is a tricky one. ...All of which is to say that continuation of that line of discourse leads one firmly and invariably to the Jerry Springer show or its wider cultural avatars.)

One one leve at least, Spinoza's Absolute Substance seems to be composed of either DNA/language (I know I've said that before ---but I'll keep saying it until I understand it)--the bottom of which is a certain relationship of matter to iterative pattern, pattern AS matter. The whole thrust of human life, civilization, culture (whether scientific or `theological') is to understand that relationship and to understand what (and if) it means.

The great question would be whether that relationship is understandable as has been traditioally thought--whast if after a certain point the `clearing' movemnt of science (it's high noon of clarity) becomes `veiled' as part the very nature of how its structur operates? Quantum mechanics certainly shows that aspect. The return of the Mysteries--as if they ever left. It may turn out that the machine is itself the Veil.

But what is necessary for the grain of pollen to `understand' the egg or the stamen to understand the pistil? Nothing, other than their presence.


A large number of high school kids slaughtered in Colorado...

now lessee, what was it I was saying about psychosis....

and trauma...

and a sacrificial economy...

I've been watching all the television reports and it's obvious no one has any real clue about what's going on. This is the nineth incident in just a few years. It's all so drearily predicable: communities start putting the screws to the schools, tightening down, bringing in law enforcement, metal detectors -- which of course just exacerbates the problem.. There is no 'solution' to this problem since the 'problem' is the culture itself...if that's the case the 'problem' can't even be seen much less addressed.


"Droll thing life is -- that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope for from it is some knowledge of yourself -- that comes too late -- a crop of unextinguished regrets."

Joseph Conrad  

Sweal Life

The greasy spots on the side window formed whorls and spirals, translucent fibrous masses that deflected the light just enough to make them seem like tiney alien forests of grease. It was no doubt the result of countless dognoses, weary heads greasy from the summer heat or hands sweaty from trying to make the stuck window go down or even that mysterious gas that everyone said plastic car seats give off. I used my finger and made a few more sworls, some crosses. I wrote my initials. I looked at Joan and past her studious humped driving position to her window. There was noticeably less grease on the driver's window.

"Is this where we turn?"


I nodded and went back to my meditations on the connection between grease and glass. I had a sudden insight: there are these hidden transparent canvases everywhere. Yes, that's what they were--hidden in full view in houses, offices, cars...paintings done in translucent pigments. Mysterious symbols and cryptograms, always there at the border between inner and outer. Most of the time unnoticed just like these knots and threads that seem to float in our field of vision. Those floaters --I can see them now-- always make me think about my eyes. Thinking about the glass made me feel mysterious. and smart. Maybe I could decipher these dog noses, mysterious gases, and greasy heads, find the Grand Theory of Translucency.

What did it all mean?

"You've got to talk about it sometime, you know."

"Not necessarily. Why?"

"Because you can't keep walking around in this trance, that's why. I don't like it and Gilly doesn't like it. That should be enough in itself."

"I'm not walking around. I'm in a car." He knew it was a juvenile thing to say but she always seemed to force him into this sulky kid mood.

She turned to me with a look that could possibly melt my lunar grease forests. But yeah, I knew what she meant.

One of the new articulated 26-wheel rigs whined by in the transport lane.

A few drops of water fell from the leaden sky. Overhead looked like rows of dark, turned soil. I pretended that a whorl emitted rays that sliced through signs, buildings, and cars in a swath as we passed. I imagined we were leaving in our wake a world cut in half. Far ahead, past the whorls, I could see the Chirion Complex, it's top disappearing in the clouds, the bulk of its organomorph structure folded over into the horizon. Only the faint glow from its laser beacons could be made out through the roiling clouds.

I wouldn't be able to cut it in half with my whorl gun. We were whorls apart. I giggled to myself. A mistake.

"It's not funny. What's so funny about it?" You're driving me crazy you know that? You haven't said ten words since we got in the car. Look, you've got a trip to make, that's all there is to it. If..."

Her voice was drowned out by the passage of a clump of traffic.---

Long black windowless machines, almost as big as the rigs he thought, buzzed by in the government lane; the cars were constructed of the new morphic plastic, a solid shiny black moving lozenge The people inside could see out --if they wanted -- but no one could see in. Illegal for the rest of us of course; and who could afford the tax fees anyway? They were limousines probably carrying dignitaries, city officials or religious functionaries from the sovereign theocracy of Mississippi. Maybe even Winton Mather himself. I leaned my head on the glass, creating another whorl.

Now that we were through the perimeter defense and stopped at the off ramp light, Joan relaxed her hunched-over driving position. She took her right hand off the wheel, put it on her hip and leaned against the door. She looked over at me in the deepening gloom and pursed her lips then looked back to the road. She turned back toward me.

"So what time is the performance over?"

"One, maybe one thirty. Depends on when we start."

"You want to go to Tier Two afterward, get something to eat? I think they're having a Jukka Celebration tonight. At least that's what Ron told me."

There was a definite conciliatory note in her request. I wasn't sure I wanted to be conciliated though. I had the vague guilty feeling that I should be the one doing the overturing.

"Maybe. Depends on what I feel afterwards."

As she turned the corner into the alley, the car's headlights came on automatically. The club was located in a non-descript industrial area, almost a prerequisite for the outré arts since the late seventies, even since the late eighteen hundreds in Paris. Space was cheap and the marginality of abandoned warehouses seemed appropriate, even necessary. Most of the artists liked to believe that dangerous art required dangerous circumstances. Some of it WAS genuinely dangerous, like Peteren's Explosion Circus. But most of it seemed totally UN-dangerous. No more meaningful than those scratches and swirls on glass. Just something to do, some place to be. At least that's how he saw himself; something that kept you alive and with a little income. A whole bunch of folks didn't even have those sallow satisfactions (--unless you lived in the new State of Grace as the recent promotional material had it for the new theocracy of Mississippi. I didn't want to think about it. Not yet, not until I had left the perimeter baffles on i-20 heading west. He had heard too many tales about the state of affairs there not to have a good deal of apprehension about his impending trip.)

And anything seemed preferable to those endless immersive 3-D dramas run 24/7 now. Maybe even the Cult of Mutables that Jocelyn had `joined'. But then seemingly most of the people didn't seem to need an identity anymore outside the role-playing immersives. With the development of the new Extreme Wearables (TM), the line between work and play, the virtual and the actual had finally been breached. If it was possible to visit from any previous era, a stroll down a city block now would seem like a walk through Bedlam, with individuals and groups reacting to invisible stimuli, a whole city scape turned into a series of stage sets. The architecture itself was developing a certain frayed, diaphanous quality, as if part of it had been left out or had disappeared. As indeed it had. The designers were now incorporating the indeterminate virtual elements of the new pocket super computers into their structures. Parts of the new structures were virtual and re-programmable by the architects, including force-feedback loops for the wearers of the feelie suits. If you bumped into a virtual wall, you actually felt the bump. At least if you were tuned into the central city frequency. And the imminent passage of the new Common Frequency Law would insure that.

But this section certainly didn't have any of that. Most of the buildings were at least thirty years old. The alley had an unused look to it even though at least twenty people lived in various buildings along it's half mile length. The plywood signs fastened tight to the buildings had faded into new words and phrases. a palimpsest of previous occupants, places to be, things to do. But now they weren't there, weren't being done.

A small gasoline junker from the mid eighties chugged slowly past us, going the opposite way down the narrow street, it's brakes squealing as it stopped to turn onto the avenue we just come from.

Even now, inside the car, he could feel the thrumming in the distance caressing his solar plexus. The sky itself was taking on a more waxy appearance. He could feel the Change coming again, riding down from a milky sky, the whole world beginning to breathe in unison...
How could he possibly make the trip?

click on almost-but-not-QUITE--meaningless graphic excursus:



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