josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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15 Nov '02 05:00:04 AM

II. Now we are at home. But home does not preexist: it was necessary to draw a circle around that uncertain and fragile center, to organize a limited space. Many, very diverse, components have a part in this, landmarks and marks of all kinds. This was already true of the previous case. But now the components are used for organizing a space, not for the momentary determination of a center. The forces of chaos are kept outside as much as possible, and the interior space protects the germinal forces of a task to fulfill or a deed to do. This involves an activity of selection, elimination and abstraction, in order to prevent the interior forces of the earth from being submerged, to enable them to resist, or even to take something from chaos across the filter or sieve of the space that has been drawn. Sonorous or vocal components are very important: a wall of sound, or at least a wall with some sonic bricks in it. A child hums to summon the strength for the schoolwork she has to hand in. A housewife sings to herself, or listens to the radio, as she marshals the antichaos forces of her work. Radios and television sets are like sound walls around every household and mark territories (the neighbor complains when it gets too loud). For sublime deeds like the foundation of a city or the fabrication of a golem, one draws a circle, or better yet walks in a circle as in a children's dance, combining rhythmic vowels and consonants that correspond to the interior forces of creation as to the differentiated parts of an organism. A mistake in speed, rhythm, or harmony would be catastrophic because it would bring back the forces of chaos, destroying both creator and creation.

15 Nov '02 04:53:12 AM

III. Finally, one opens the circle a crack, opens it all the way, lets someone in, calls someone, or else goes out oneself, launches forth. One opens the circle not on the side where the old forces of chaos press against it but in another region, one created by the circle itself. As though the circle tended on its own to open onto a future, as a function of the working forces it shelters. This time, it is in order to join with the forces of the future, cosmic forces. One launches forth, hazards an improvisation. But to improvise is to join with the World, or meld with it. One ventures from home on the thread of a tune. Along sonorous, gestural, motor lines that mark the customary path of a child and graft themselves onto or begin to bud "lines of drift" with different loops, knots, speeds, movements, gestures, and sonorities.

14 Nov '02 08:05:44 PM

Deleuze from "Whitman" in Essays Critical and Clinical. It suggests loads of things, I think.

With much confidence and tranquility, Whitman states that writing is fragmentary, and that the American writer has to devote himself to writing in fragments. This is precisely what disturbs us - assigning this task to America, as if Europe had not progressed along this same path. But perhaps we should recall the difference Holderlin discovered between the Greeks and the Europeans: what is natal or innate in the first must be acquired or conquered by the second, and vice-versa. In a different manner, this is how things stand with the Europeans and the Americans. Europeans have an innate sense of organic totality, or composition, but they have to acquire the sense of the fragment, and can do so only through a tragic reflection or an experience of disaster. Americans, on the contrary, have a natural sense for the fragment, and what they have to conquer is the feel for the totality, for beautiful composition. The fragment already exists in a nonreflective manner, preceding any effort: we make plans, but when the time comes to act, we "tumble the thing together, letting hurry and crudeness tell the story better than fine work." What is characteristic of America is therefore not the fragmentary, but the spontaneity of the fragmentary: "Spontaneous, fragmentary" says Whitman.

14 Nov '02 06:29:37 AM

I think Alex is probably right: it's not the loved one's fault, either (though perhaps sometimes we end up looking to blame it on them). It's nobody's fault. But still I feel the notion of fault floating around under the surface.

13 Nov '02 03:51:20 AM

I am pretty sure this Einsturzende Neubauten track is about the nature of existence so I'm not quite clear why they said something about marzipan in the lyrics. I probably just didn't hear it right.

12 Nov '02 06:26:29 AM

I wonder if this reveals anything.

THE SCENE: midnight at a record store on new-release Tuesday.

CLERK (to white guy): The new Pearl Jam?


CLERK (to black guy): Jay-Z?


CLERK (to me): What can I do for you?

11 Nov '02 06:12:37 AM

Lately it's been no lightning flashes and no thunder. More like a constant crackle of static electricity. By itself this is frustrating. I constantly find myself thinking, if only I had the time to... or if only I could.... But this is probably a mistake, anyway. Most things I'm interested in aren't announced with meteorological activity of any sort.

10 Nov '02 06:34:50 AM

"I can't help falling in love" should be somewhere in here, probably with "fooled into love". What a strange idea, that we can't help falling in love. Well, not strange because it's foreign. It's painfully familiar. (I cannot emphasize that "painfully" enough at the moment.) But the relationship to any "should" that might have a bearing on a relationship is obscure to me, and that relationship to a "should" is, I suspect, what makes the idea strange.

("I can't help falling in love": its being inexorable, ineluctable is part of the pleasure, part of the joy, something to be appreciated.)

("I can't help falling in love": it's not my fault; implicit recognition that there's something wrong with it, or something that might go wrong.)

(This applies to records too, as if that were more important.)

10 Nov '02 04:16:07 AM

The aptness of some of these is hilarious and chilling.