30 May 2006

from physics, through sentences, to ecstasy (without organization or apology, but warmly)

Why does it matter that ideas we seize in the present have made appearances in the past—through other mouths, minds, hearts? Does that mean we shouldn’t keep thinking them alive and reshaping them? Energy never dies. It just changes forms.

Does it matter that this space is heteroglossic and even carnivalesque (my man bakhtin)—many headed, many voiced, no main character, no identifiable telos, no consistent logic, a buncha interruptive sentences and languages and histories and theories and questions and possibilities crashing into each other or cozying up like lovers—or is this the chaos of matter itself?

Is there more to genres and sentences than we think, stuff we keep forgetting? Can genres and sentences teach us something about social change?

What if we viewed genres metaphorically as "the drive belts between the history of language and the history of society" (more m.m. bakhtin)? What if shifts and transformations in genre conventions are “both indexical of social change and contribute accumulatively to social change?”

Why do we need or want to unify anything we are saying or doing here, if it is miraculously opening up a space where the social, the literary, and the body (for me) are making intimate and creative exchanges (still riding the back of m.m.)?

Why do we pretend we have any real power over students or readers, when what is at stake is the possible space of human relationship? I’m speaking of the difference between the market’s reach to buyers and consumers (even in education) and the possibility space of intimate human connection (fast in danger of being subsumed).

Is resistance to power something we all have to call by the same name, or funnel into the same strategy?

If I say “words of creepy shit-head zombies” instead of “language of the oppressor,” does that make my words less powerful? If I say “my government makes me want to rearrange a fucking face” instead of “we must endeavor to de-center and expose hegemonic authority,” does that make me sound unintelligent? If academia would have me change my language and move it away from my body and its disturbances, what does that mean?

Why can’t making art be the politics of making art?

What’s the problem with creative and passionate dissent?

Is it useful to ask ourselves questions about being, even if it might draw criticism or open us up to being accused of jacking-off?

Do we want to know each other’s histories? Why or why not?

If I am in love with the things that the people here say, whether or not I ever agree with them, can’t that in itself be a creative practice which busts up and through the things we complain about? Can my willingness to be in that relationship lovingly be a form of hope, a peek of insight beyond the fog of the present, the possibility of artists and writers and thinkers interrupting the flow of economy and war? Can I say lovingly in a discussion like this? Love and beyond, into the ecstatic.

What can ecstatic mean?

If I keep reinserting the body into the discussion, putting it dangerously close to sentences, narrative, will it matter?

Why can’t passionate thinking and writing be understood as ecstatic states? The root understanding of the word ecstasy — ‘to stand outside’ —comes to us in those moments when we dive so deeply into the act of thinking and writing that everything else falls away.

Right here—in this space--I get to be in a chronotrope. Time-space--“the spatio-temporal matrix which governs the base condition of all narratives and other linguistic acts” (m.m. b. again). Right here I get to risk the ecstatic state.

Tribally yours.


Lance Olsen said...


Anonymous said...

i feel moved to say something.


really, though... just exactly what i needed to hear.

thank you.

Black Lodge said...

this is a great thing you all have going on here. yes - a many-headed thing with which we get to speculate about the body, a body that is shifting. the long necks tangle and it changes some of the expressions on the face of these words.
yes, Blonde, the human relationship - I'm so glad you brought this up. what is all this that we do - in the classroom, on the street corner passing out publications, talking with friends and strangers - but a mode of relating to others, as well as our human relationship with ourselves. this and how a human can be many-headed. so good!

Frank Sauce said...

Oh, geez.

All these questions:

No word is an island, but a phrase can be a pennisula.

Space is matter and energy in the same time.

The emptiness of a subsumation resists the matter itself.

I like heteroglossic and carnivalesque as words, but possibility space makes me squirm even after my tenth response resounds in my head. Genre reminds me of canon, which reminds me of shit stuffed plastic bags, even when the sentence is thought(s).

Lovers are the order and chaos of a self. I need to read a writer who believes this. Anyone?

Body, body, body, body
Mass, mass, mass, mass
Form, form, form, form
Space, space, space, space

Power happens in the aftermath of action, even when inaction acts.

These are all questions I proffer for a non-headed head-head.


Davis Schneiderman said...


Right on with the m.m., the body, the space of possiblity. All bound up in the market--the job market, the publishing biz, the market of international capital.

Articulation is possiblility, but also instant commodification.

Nothing wrong with any of this, but maybe nothing right either. Why write, as per Blanchot?

I'd be happy to know histories, written histories, flawed histories marked on those same bodies. Fragments, missed opportunities, blind corners.

Hence the non-danger of collective articulation, an illusion from the moment the question is posed. An exercise, like making the anti-NY Times book list a few posts back.

The best part about your questions are the questions themselves. I doubt any answers, whether collective or misanthropic, could provide even a scintilla more eloquence.