This is an experiment in which I claim no expertise. The previous sentence will be my only disclaimer.
The goal is to join together people to examine the justifications for a belief I have: progress is the nature of language. I hope this is not an original thought because if it would be its examination would have to rely on the unlikely coincidence that the right people would find me and join me in a sustained way despite my strenuous use of language. I further hope that people do join and, if so, that they join in the spirit of amateurism. Why the latter? Because my belief entails – or so I believe – that any true communication presupposes that amateurs, if sufficiently motivated, can contribute to it (call that “the grounding principle“).
Let me not get ahead of ourselves though: before we can get to the goal we have to cover our preliminaries. In this case, we have to establish a common context (a mental meeting place if you will) where we of course may see things differently but not because we see different things. This is the starting point as individuals can only come together after having established a common context i.e. after having formed a community. I know all this begs the initial question. That shouldn’t be an issue, I spoke of my belief as a belief and we have time to come back to whether it is justified or not (so I ask you to apply another corollary of my belief – one coined by Grice – “the principle of charity“).
The following three objectives are set for individuals aspiring to be part of this community:
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Reading The Tunnel is like excruciatingly slow masturbation; maybe the kind of masturbation you would apply when you’re miserable to the point of thinking ‘well, let’s at least try to masturbate one last time’. First it takes a long – with a long ‘o’ kind of as a long sigh – time to get it stiff. Then, from time to time, it feels like you might actually come so you jerk harder but you don’t come. You start to wonder whether you haven’t started something you can’t finish before something else finishes you.
And then you’re here:
“Ah, Martha, my ex-in-lax, I have my own hole now, your cunt is not the only cave. Even in death, the ceremony said, if need be. Even in death, the Führer’s followers proclaimed, if it came to that. And they knew death would be where he’d take them: that land that needs no promise. He gave them triumph, exultation, purpose, a sort of secular salvation.” (ibid., p. 462)
And doesn’t that sum it up? We educate people to want things beyond mere survival, beyond fucking out of reflex – Read more »
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Dysfunctional, disaster, disabled, dyslexic, whether in its Greek or more modern version the sound ‘dis’ is a disturbing omen of what we don’t want. Except in one case: the case of being discovered. Some of us want that despite it being an omen all the same.
“Governali spent the fifties as a part of the chorus, but when that silly book of his – Character Crucified on the Cross of the Historical Chronicle – came out, and received raves from the reactionaries who wanted history turned back into biography, and biography backed into moralized little Aesopian fables of fate, fortune, and foolishness, edifying all git out, uplifting as a bra, rosy as the nipples in it, when the Times interviewed him, and public radio did a report; when his promotion came through without a hitch (we didn’t dare vote against it, revealing the envy we felt, the disappointment with our own vacant and weedy lot); Read more »
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I had sex this morning. Quite sure I was not the only one to have it. I can tell because of the noises I heard. Distant noises – coming from nearby, you know. Tongue in cheek, all that.
“So I hit upon honesty as the best revenge. I purchased a ladder to put up high principles.” (ibid. p. 361)
Get on with it, is what it means. Get on with it to get it over with. Get over it to get on with it. I like the it-bit. Add ‘t’ and all is fair for a while there is only that. I have just about the time to write crooked sentences and look down on them as if they are the material humanity is made of. I hate straight like I hate being taken for a ride. “It’s sincerely merrily hopeless”, Li said as if enjoying the rhythm of the sentences when somebody would quote him. Otherwise, Li was not a name to enjoy.
“Loss in life: that’s what I mourn for; that’s what we all mourn for, all of us who have been touched by the fascism of the heart. It’s not having held what was in our hands to hold; not having felt the feelings we were promised by our parents, friends, and lovers, not having got the simple goods we were assured we had honestly earned and rightfully had coming.” (ibid. p. 366)
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I spent a week in Gotham. After a couple of days I found myself tuning into subway conversations of the young Gothamites. It sounded vaguely like English and it made me feel like the old bastard I am. It made me feel good; an old bastard I am.
“Why should another’s body be so beautiful its absence is as painful as the presence of your own?” (ibid., p. 297)
That’s it: people who like taking pictures are The Threat. They feel the pain when things get out of their frame. They feel old then. They want to conserve. They put salt and sour in every new wound – and make their hurt the principle focus of a world in which they no longer want to belong. The pictures, nice or not, will go stale, mate, but any draw is better than their loss.
“A book, I wrote, is like a deck of windows: each page is made of mind, and it is that same mind that perceives the world outside, and it is that same mind that stands translucently between perception and reflection, uniting and dividing, double dealing. Read more »
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The easiest is to just pack up and go. Not quite, it is easier still to just go. Just go. Go!
“Now I remember where I happened on it: that idea of the novelist as an historian of little lives – lives lost at Cannae, etc. It’s Eliot closing Middlemarch. I’ve looked it up.
… for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
She must mean those who swell the ranks at riots, who comprise mobs, witness executions, contribute to the church. What of those, though, who were simply consumed?” (ibid., p. 246)
Fuck it. I looked it up two and what I remain with is: Fuck it! There are enough causes for hatred out there as there are for the common cold. People working for enterprises big enough to crush the lives of thousands of tough men and women at once. Said people simultaneously raving on one peculiar habit, that of coveting (an ‘y’ anyone?) a real interest in the men and women whose interest it is to be left alone. The common cold may be the commonest cold but that does not make the cold, any cold, common. What? 10 days a year, 15 tops. A characteristic of a subset of a set’s subset defines sad people. It is most common not to have the cold.
Kohler may quote Eliot but George’s fifty/fifty stands to Bill’s nihilism as something that is, unfortunately, already slightly over halfway to being close to the truth. Yes, that’s opaque (a bright kind of dark).
Let’s skip a week. I wanted to write under the title ‘Up Again!’. By the time I could get to it I was down again. Better to skip a week than to say up and think down. I am, by the way, up again. It’s all a matter of sex.
There are those who expect so much – imagine it step-by-step on beforehand, plan for it including the reaction of the other – just to find reality is their true downer. And others who just do it – quite regardless of what somebody else has imagined – to find imagination is what puts them off their game. Inclusive but depressed versus carefree albeit annoyed. The vice which is commonly held in common is that of moderation. Hysteria is universally acclaimed as virtue.
That is where we find ourselves, with many but unconnected and therefore alone: incapable of hysteria and drawn to such a constant moderation as apples to their orbs. Our only expression depending on the lightness of the atmosphere around us & believe them us: if something is definitely out of fashion it is lightness because heavy is the world and therefore heavy needs to be all what is on it, innit?
Dear very few readers, would you be so kind to give me feedback. Even if it’s few and far between it will connect us and – who knows? – create some anti-matter to the many things that matter.
What if we lived in a world of continuous snow pushing us, up, to burn?
Hardly original, as is ‘hardly original’. So forth. Fuck it. As it fucks me.
“Our inertia is so immense it causes causes to collect like dammed-up water; we must amass motives like money before we make our move; we recruit a regiment of reasons; then let them, like a firing squad, fire obediently into the helpless body of their effect.” (ibid., p. 175)
Here I am, wanting to disagree with the vengeance cultivated by generations unfairly treated by others descending from the mythical slayer of their most famous forefather (who slays foremothers? – it isn’t even a word so how can it have reference). Here I am, able to only say: so true! I want to kill my effect: if my looks could kill the first thing I’d do is look for a mirror (all credits to jessica bailey whomever she is).
Fair is such an unfair word. Where it turns up it puts down. Fair as in fairytale. Un-fairytale would be fairly synonymous with reality.
I have made a copy of Baudelaire’s suicide note. I keep a collection. “The fatigue of going to sleep and the fatigue of waking up have become insupportable.” (ibid., p. 186)
Justice as fairness is limited to the right to die, to call it quits, to Read more »
How many make up a royal we? One would say one. Two is a crowd. One and one subtracted from Two is vanishingly small. Take your pick; the middle is excluded. And so are we.
“I gave up poetry for history in my youth. I gave up smoking; changed handwriting; traded stamps which I’d collected in my childhood for tables of mature statistics, seldom drank; was torn between the ethics of the Stoics and the ethics of Immanuel Kant; no longer moved to music; wrote out rules for my behavior and rigorously kept them, assigning grades; though abstract thoughts and shrank from women; cultivated bibliographies in paper pots; lived in a house of heavy books. What led me once to Germany – Hölderlin and Rilke – remained pure imagery. Hölderlin went mad. Rilke’s blood decayed. I gave up youth.” (ibid. p. 78)
To this date I do not understand why anybody would want to write lines that are not fully justified. Or neglect to adapt the wording to maximally fill a line. Ill justified lines lay thoughts out. Get that? Or …
Here I am, looking at the book seeing how my dog ears are few and far between at the beginning becoming more frequent to the end where they stand together like a pack of hounds. Now I have about two hours per week to unpack them and see how they bark. If they bark. Anyway, I have no option but to howl.
“I began, I remember, because I felt I had to. I’d reached that modest height in my career, that gentle rise, from which I could coast out of gear to a soft stop. Now I wonder why not. Why not? But then duty drove me forward like a soldier. I said it was time for “the Big Book.” the long monument to my mind I repeatedly dreamed I had to have: a pyramid, a column tall enough to satisfy the sky. Duty drove me the way it drives men into marriage.” (pp. 4-5)
That wasn’t even dog-eared. Two hours per week for – who knows? – 20 weeks to go through a book which took – what? – 20 years to write. And I don’t like re-reading. The only column I ever re-read was Musil’s pyramid only to find in its chambers my supposedly original thoughts lying around like the mummified remains of my pretenses.
“I faced the four corners, cupped the bowl of my glass like a breast, began the construction of my anecdote, and let the wine die.” (p. 8) Read more »