I reject Adorno’s belief that enduring suffering is the only way not to collude with its manufacture. Is that the same as what Jameson meant by “History is what hurts”? I insist that there are other means by which the ineffable manifests itself, like those experiences to which psychedelia bears witness. We demonstrate the contingency of suffering whenever we transmute it or chemically alter it into joy. As Daniel Colucciello Barber notes, “the exodus from this existence is to practice existing otherwise” (171). Barber believes with Adorno that this othering occurs through thought’s alliance with animality (and with the suffering of animals in particular), whereas I propose thinking otherwise via plants. Once inhaled or ingested, plants rewrite our scripts, re-script our minds. The one replaces parts of the other. I’m really intrigued, by the way, by that Stone Fruit cassette by Primitive Fiction.
The B side in particular is just magnificent. A massive, sprawling, morphing abstract soundscape. I guess I’ve committed myself to this world, though a strong faction within me, perhaps a majority, would prefer not to. I contemplate writing about political stupidities uttered by certain of my students, but a voice from the back overrules by shouting, “The heck with it. Why bother?” I ordered the ocean blue and commanded a fleet of dolphins, and now look at me, I mutter with an eye roll. My soundtrack on the ride home from work yesterday was Categorize Your Dose, particularly that track “Therapeutic Firearm,” by Ben Versluis.
Well-timed beat-based techno. Long live the exploratory self, habitual reality ties suspended. I slide my chair down a snow-covered hill. My legs yell, “Use me! Use me!” But all roads point toward archives. The bread and the butter of my discipline. Part of me wonders: does the plant want to be inhaled? I would say, I would think. Do they think? And do they communicate only by bonding themselves with neurons? Chemical fusion, psychotic reaction. We’re thick here with the rest of the world, the multitude of material things. Beyond words and without time, hurrah.
Up step them, the members, and me, the leader of the Rubber Band. “We’re the members,” sing the members. “I’m the leader,” sings the leader. Why have I faltered (for there’s always a side door) when advised to read “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”? The sky darkens and teen culture mutates accordingly. Next door at the bar, my theologian friend recommends that I read Deleuzian theologian Daniel Colucciello Barber’s book, Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence. What do we think? Is our aim to evaluate? Do we wish to classify worlds, or aspects of worlds, in terms of good and bad? At some point, the bartender leans into the conversation. He, too, recommends a book I’ve never read: Daniel Quinn’s The Story of B. When I arrive home from the bar, I read the Le Guin story, in part because my mind is racing, and I don’t want to soil these recommendations with unnecessary comments and presuppositions. Of course, I would walk away. A grifter god who demands of us a theodicy in exchange for luxury communism in the hereafter is a pathetic god indeed. Or no god at all, really — for the being we’ve imagined remains placed amidst scarcity, and subservient to a logic of exchange. Nature as pointless engine — garbage in, garbage out. Even when this grand “system of systems” invents for consciousness an imaginary telos of the not-yet, it does so solely to prolong its own dumb metabolism, its balancing act atop scales of cosmic justice, with its components all still bound to their crosses in the name of some distant whole. God is only ever an invented persona anyway, a voice by which the self speaks to itself. God are you there? Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Like the Judy Blume novel. Except in this case, God replies, quite convincingly, with Meet the Residents.
As the sleeve notes state, “Soon you too will whistle the merry tunes.” Let this day forevermore be a day for celebration of first contact. How are children able to invent for themselves imaginary friends? And when and why must that phenomenon cease? “Pure art,” writes N Senada, “can only be made without consideration of the outside world.” Nobody
can do the boogaloo like me