"Art gives us the illusion
of liberation from the sordid business of being."
"The false aliveness of the
past-made-present, the elimination of every echo of a 'lament' from history,
marks history's final subjection to the modern concept of science."
I've just started reading The Trickster and the Paranormal after
having read a review of it by Jacques Vallee on the National Institute
of Discovery Science website. Hansen's main thesis is that the so-called
paranormal resides in conditions of marginality AND tends to create liminal
conditions if given half a chance. You will find only ridicule the closer
you get to centers of power around the topic whether in the academy, in
the media, or in politics. So far he hasn't really given any idea as to
why this should be so other than the intuitive one that such a subtle
phenomena needs liminality to literally work it's magic. Destructuring,
as he calls it, happens in periods of personal and cultural stress; apparently
the falling apart of structure allows another sort of (non) structure
to make its appearance. This occluded, misty, seen-out-of-the-corner-of-the-eye,
quality has been a constant throughout human history. (In fact, I would
contend that to some degree, the conditions that make for this destructuring
and hence anomalous phen. to appear is the same general phenomena which
we handily call the Left Hand Path as opposed to the Right Hand Path and
this has shaken itself out in the twentieth century into socialism and
capitalism, liberal and conservative, and in many other circumstances
--that is, these are the 'administrative' fallouts or placeholders in
a planarized, bureacratized culture which for the most part has seemingly
hollow shells which indicate formerly ontic states: the center and the
periphery is another way to put it, with many, many consequences following
from that bifurcation
At any rate, has my life long interest in such topics led to my marginality
or somehow the marginality came first? Or some factor completely unknown
to any of us. Certainly art fits into that liminal state.
as with everything, regularization is proceeding apace there also, enough
to make large parts of it very uninteresting to me.
I suspect my interest is/was ALWAYS in this area, whether I've been in
anthopology, in psychology, in art, in philosophy, or in music for that
matter. There is something about improvisation that seems to fit perfectly
into Hansen's formulations in so far as it is always in a marginal state,
and is always about releasing certain energies, by allowing cracks and
fissures to develop so that new forms appear
It's always difficult to get started when I've been away from the hut
(and I'm not
even sure the H.U.T. is operable anymore-- the ravages of time are certainly
I've not been in the best mood lately. I've come to the conclusion that
nothing to be done for that. All of my 'projects' seem to be washing up
many bleached bones on the shore, but etiolated, evaporating. Certainly
them are self-sustaining except the construction work which goes from
to entirely impossible (today on this fine autumn day it seems entirely
so anyway I'm trying not to do anything I'm supposed to be doing today
wise. which means I don't seem to be doing anything but puttering about.
and thinking about
Hegel a bit but that not even in any sustained way. Here is an email I
sent to JL. He had forwarded me an email about Hegel being a sublime hysteric
(by way of Zizek...by
the way I'm reading The Puppet and the Dwarf by Zizek now.) This
is the email I sent
thanks for forwarding john---an interesting take on hysteria vis a
vis Hegel. the
only question I would have with it would be that from the pov of the Hegelian
are types of knowledge which are generated 'hysterically' mean the knowledge
is hysterical? and is that the same thing in some sense as delerious?
I don't think
the question is as, um, hysterical as it might first appear. I take it
are there some types of knowledge which are not recuperable in the dialectic
savoir absolut, that absolute knowledge to which everything must wind
up. And of
course by making Hegel an 'hysteric' would be to claim I suppose that
he comes from
a place OUTSIDE of that number crunching bad infinity --but would that
dialectic thereby? and would that somehow vitiate (I'm not about to say
the western/modern/christian/diactical enterprise thereby? That is, doesn
production in general become tainted or do we then enter a Deleuzian era
there is nothing BUT tainted, hysterical, delerious knowledge -- in other
the end of classical (in the sense of Roman, Christian) knowledge and
enter a regime
closer to what we would think of as, for lack of a better word at the
or occult or otherwise disreputable 'knowledge' --- in other words, the
over the General.
Or at least that's what active anti-Hegelians (including anti-Marxists
all of whom were 'infected' by the genealogy which includes Hegel) would
think. However it increasingly seems to be the case that Hegel winds up
every card which can be played (and the operative word here is CAN be
(good example here is Schreber in fact: loads of discourse around Schreber
a sense his words remain just as 'unreadable' now as they were when Freud
them for his theory of paranoia/psychosis ; those who hold Schreberian
as actual knowledge -- and there are those folks who are variously abducted
on the road to Damascus who are always among us -- still find no admittance
admission anyway) into knowledge structures ... to do so would change
uh, dialectic of How Things Work.
The upper studio h.u.t. has collapsed. I've been expecting it to do so
for some time. Improper sealing of the roof or rather not finishing it
up. I've actually sort of been looking forward to it collapsing since
I had grown tired of it. But, yes, I was disappointed for a brief moment.
But then I went down to the lower studio and I was amazed by the look
of the debris. (Actually, it hasn't quite collapsed completely the whole
30 feet or so. The fall started at the corner that woody fell through;
the 6 x 6 post on that corner had fallen over
guess it wasn't planted
At any rate it looks amazingly like a Coop Himmelblau bit of architecture
from the rear. Sometimes apparently we have to start from ruins to get
a good go at something. If I were to make a go of it. Maybe I'll take
some photos and drop them here
I would love to go in there with
some large board/steel/mesh/concrete and keep it going.
I've felt weighed down by tons of gravity all day today
I don't feel as though I've done anything. The sun is terribly hot and
yet a light coolness out of the sun. Beautiful weather dammit. I should
be working on the house. Or I should be doing
something. Damn if
I can figure out what though. At first I think I feel like sleeping but
then I just lay there and watch tv. I need a project. I just feel totally
lethargic, don't feel much stimulated by anything and certainly don't
feel stimulated to produce anything whatsoever. I just feel completely
dried up. Took a simulated nap earlier, ie, watched afternoon tv and semidozed.
Didn't really make me feel any better. What to do what to do. I can't
tell if there is too much to do and hence I feel paralyzed or something
like the opposite.
It's like there is never an end to anything but never a beginning either.
It's like being stuck in midair and forgetting how I got there and which
way is back and which way is out. This writing could go on forever in
this headless tailless vein neither backing up or inching forward much
less zooming ahead or suffering catastrophic collapse into a pre-existing
condition a condition that may be know as having a Beckett in the future
as a characterization of life now, a sort of listlessness meaning I suppose
that there is no sweve, boat-like listing to one side of the other, to
give directionality, it all amounts to the same Sargassian float flaunting
itself into a swerveless miasma (my brain is much now and I can't even
what the Greek guy --Democritus? -- called that swerve, that necessity
that was needed to get things going in the universe
it). Yeah, I got no clinamen .
It takes so much damn energy to do anything and once it's done, just on
the bare face of it, it hardly seems worthwhile except for some vague
cultural capital that you might get from it and even after a while that
seems like thin gruel. Let face it the only thing that keeps things going
is some sort of innate energy, regardless of the worth of the event, regardless
of anything' it's like we need to do stuff cause we need to do stuff.
I mean, almost something that seems like a raw sexual overflow yes how
very Freudian of me (for some reason I started thinking of the woman who
invited me to read at a conference one time and I think was disappointed
to find that I wasn't some 25 year old kid
The older I get the more flummoxed and exasperated as well as wonder-struck
I get, that things don't change; that is to say, things change but nothing
seems to change fundamentally. If one looks back historically there are
all these different periods where things seemed to look different even,
clothing etc. much less probably attitudes etc. My ex-wife would always
claim a uniformitarianism for any social phenomena, that is, that everything
has always been the way it is now and I guess the implication that things
would always be this way (and how is one to define 'this way'?). And certainly
the implication that all humans are the same, with little difference that
makes a difference betwen seses, races and individuals. Just one big gas
bubble floating through time, the forces of evolution dead or transferred
to tech. Get with the program, stretch out and relax, ain't nobody going
Oct 28 Tuesday
"All the young are in danger of fairy kidnapping."
W. B. Yeats quoted in Strange and Secret People
He was sitting in a coffee shop in Philadelphia Mississippi drinking a
latte, listening over the house system to his favorite Earth, Wind and
Fire song (slow, bumping 'you will find/ peace of mind/if you look way
down/in your heart and soul/
that's the way / of the world/plant
your flower / and you grow a pearl/ hearts of fire etc etc ').. any way
he used to play it all the time in grad school.
There were probably a few more cognitively confusing things than sitting
in the Coffee Bean in Phil., MS but for the moment those other cognitive
dissonances escaped him.
He had brought his mother yesterday to his birthplace to repair the old
house. It had been over a year since he had been here and since the reader
had been subjected to morose twirlings in place, mediations on the nature
of his childhood and the gaps therein. Or maybe even worse, the fullnesses
therein. Nothing had changed, which he both appreciated and fretted about,
some worry that the constant collisions between childhood and the here
and now somehow sucked something out of him, devaluing who he was, who
he had tried to become, but those sacred groves of childhood showing all
to be dust, futile striving.
Still the same somewhat dumpy folks listening to the local tv channels;
there was nothing but deep southern accents and heavyset middle aged men
and women. It came as something of a shock to him; In Atlanta you almost
never heard a true southern accent . For some reason it made him think
of his various friends traveling at that moment or planning to travel
to some place over seas or across the country, searching for some sort
of unexpected alien joy. But the odd thing was that he was in a place
that was as familiar to him as Stephen Daedalus's Dublin and yet in some
respects it was just as foreign to him as Dublin would be, and in a way
that was very different to calibrate and make sense of
it was the
confusion and murkiness of one's own self of course, that bit of dark
glass that one could never make sufficiently clear.
Two young girls drift in, chatting
very little trace of accent.
Maybe the young in general were becoming accentless though the good graces
of continual immersion in television and movies. Were they becoming accentless
in other ways also? Perhaps a certain temporal spacing was a good thing.
As regards 'experience' anyway. The problem is, that seemed like a slippery
slope, with a sludge pit of experience and despair at the bottom and featurelessness,
'happiness', or contentedness, or whatever at the luminous top, the heaven
and hell rap, with hell winning out, interest wise.
He supposed that if you lived, moved back to, such a homeplace, a new
grave yard would once again become just a field of granite and not an
empty field where he crashed a gas-powered model plane he built at the
age of 15, or a street corner where he remembered old Miss Fox, his fifth
grade teacher stopping and talking to he and his mother on a windy october
Saturday would once again just become a street corner. But the Steve's
On the Square clothing store would never revert to the Woolworth's where
he bough gold fish in the back; the courthouse across from his window
seat, would never have the little library where he used to get god and
silver stars in the summer reading program.
When he got in on Mondy, he walked up the slight hill, past the windbreak
of overgrown shrubs, small trees and wildflowers to the old family house
of his father, built in something like 1946. It had remained empty these
many years since the death of the last grandparent, Mama C. and had been
sealed and locked up, to remain exactly the same as he had always remembered
it, 40, even 50 years ago, with every square inch of the yard having memories
coniunously blossoming forth as he walked the small lot. The decayed changelessness
was about to change. The church next door had bought the property and
apparently had it slated for demolition. Preparatory to that they had
cut down all the trees and shrubs. Paradoxically it made remembrance even
sharper for now he could better visualize the old barn where he stepped
on rusty nails every summer and where king snakes slumbered langorously
until disturbed, where the catalpa tree awaited its yearly horde of worms,
soon to be picked for fishing.
Every inch of the yard had memories stuck to it and as bittersweet and
melancholic as only the figments of one's youth could produce. It made
no sense to recount any of tehm really. It was the tonality of such that
mattered he knew, and not the content -- no that wasn't exactly true.
What mattered to HIM was the exactitude of the memories, the sweetness
of the Ellis Theater, now empty, used by a home-grown occasional theatrical
troop (although the sign out front was the same as when he used to go
to triple feature matinees on Saturdays. It was to everyone ELSE that
none of this mattered, a reversed solipsism maybe.
But it's true, he felt like he could go on recounting the past, sleepwalking
with ghosts forever, even to the point of somehow joining their cavalcade,
gradually seeping backward into the past THAT was the real and true danger
Nothing but stroking that very distance between now and then, bequeathed
to him because things had remained so unchanged here and because he had
not maintained any contacts here other than relatives. As regards who
he thought he was, the place was as alien as the surface of Mars. And
sitting here, bereft of any of the accoutrements that made him who he
was now, he realized how much one is constituted by external events --
the extimate as perhaps Lacan would say.
He had walked up to the coffee shop carrying a copy of 'Tool-Being', an
examination of Heidegger's approach to technology (let's just leave it
at that for now) and a book call 'Strange and Secret People', on the history
of fairies -- or at least the relationship of the Victorians to that history.
As far as he knew, but he must be wrong about this, nobody in the town
read. And until the Wal-mart was put in and killed the little downtown,
there was no bookstore, other than cheap romances and inspiration Christian
stuff in the drug store. Reading was for getting through school and that
was then that.
But he knew there must be something missing from his picture. Two tables
down in thecoffee shop a 13 year old boy is telling his mother about gases
under pressure. The area was like a giant incubator. And then those dandelion
heads turned ripe and drifted off mostly. Why come back?
He realized he liked the alienation effect, it seemed to have some sort
of fecundity for him, if nothing else, escape. He BELONGED out on a limb,
it was the only place where anything mattered. (we can also call it the
'liminal'.) Life threatened to become too, too----comfortable was not
quite the right word, since comfort was a slippery concept --weren't they
all? -- but too close to the grindstone maybe, with no possibility for
escape, no distraction
A certain J.W. came by to do some repairs on the roof. He was fifty six,
year older than me but the difference couldn't have been more stark than
if he or me, one of us, had been a changeling, substituted for a real
human in the cradle by a strange and secret folk. J.W. is a pentecostal
preacher also. I think for many of my friends he would be a frightening
specter in his native environment.
He loved to climb up on the roof and sit on the ridge, looking down on
the scene of the past, continuous replays, baseball cards on the spokes
of a bike, sluttering by
I'm the only person in the coffee shop. No lap tops. No other readers.
Darkness approaches, literally, over the rooftops with on-coming clouds
"If a changeling were substituted for a kidnapping victim, the
problems of the substitute's anarchic and inhuman nature had to be considered,
but there was still hope that the process might be reversed."
"Even if they were returned, however, they were never the same again."
Strange and Secret Peoples
The very things that make it superb for small family life here, are, unfortunately,
the things that he now despised, if he wish to be true to his own thought.
Out the window, above the courthouse, beautiful sunset, pink, blue, gray
striated clouds. A yound mother and her young daughter come in, presumably
after work and day care?.
After his family had moved to the City, they would still come back at
every vacation and even more often if possible. He would gather with his
cousins on such occasions and cruise at night from one end of the town
to the other, from the Frosty Mug on highway 16 to the drive in out in
Williamsville, neither now standing. Still, apparently, at this late date,
a worthwhile pursuit in small towns all over, the endless revving and
rehearsing of teenaged engines straining for release. I guess most of
that release would wind up in a backseat and then family chores. Is that
still the way it worked in small towns?
"We have seen repeatedly that hammer-being and bridge-being withdraw
behind every silhouette of hammer and bridge that has ever emerged into
our awareness. Are we now to think that even the lowliest tools conceal
themselves from view in this way, while BEING ITSELF is open at a glance
to anyone undergoing a flash of resoluteness or boredom?"
He always associated being here with moving around, being on the go. In
the summer he roamed continuously.. he still felt the need to around the
area of the town square everyday. Some version of St. Vitus' dance
Walking back from the coffee shop, he walks past his father's grave. It's
still an indescribable feeling but, in some way, comforting. It's easy
to see why many archaic and non-western peoples kept their beloved --
and feared -- dead so close.
"To bring the hammer to light is not to negate it,"
Stopped by this afternoon to visit with uncle j and aunt l. Think 'In
the heat of the Night' not Andy of Mayberry. The clan in Phil. Is dying
out, soing their grip, their memories, their feuds. At this late date
He appreciated it all, after it was all almost over. Nevertheless, when
visiting Daddy C's old house he was struck (as almost always he thought
puzzelingly) by enormous amounts of grief and loss. After all, we only
have One Life To Live and there doesn really seem to be any changing out
one life for another, except to become some simulacrum of one's self,
living an imitation of life -- which perhaps was all there was anyway!
But whatever. We all came here, as far as he knew, at one spot and time.
And, really, who knows what that means exactly.
"Whereas in the disturbance of usuage, equipment alone loses its
purposiveness and thus becomes 'unemployable,' anxiety, on the contrary,
brings about the collapse of all significance in the familiar world."
He was back the next day at the cofeeeshop, watching two high school students
drift in fromt eh school down the stree --the same schoole where he went
as a child. In a way, he wished he could have stayed here longer, perhaps
helpoing to leave aside some of that fororn anxiety of memoration. But
perhaps it would only have been worse. No doubt the 'problem' didn't reside
in any genius loci, a culmination of star and energies
he only knoew
that he began to feel acutely his age (zeitgeist included) and his youth
with the only possible resolution the breakdown of the physical. But then
again even that might not be sufficient. He believed in hauntings but
he wasn't sure he believed in ghosts.
The problem always for him was some intimations of
some hidden depth forever withdrawing yet always seductive for all that
(perhaps because of it.) maybe it was just the difference, the temporal
differentiation of things, held taut by invisible memoration. And that
difference was true not just for not, here, but for everywhere.