Tuesday October 24, 2017

We’re struggling, we’re grieving. Shit’s rough, y’all. This is what some call a “limit-experience,” an experience that, for theorists like Bataille, Blanchot, and Foucault, breaks the subject off from itself, exposing it to that which consciousness refuses or excludes. We can think of it as a testing of the limits of ordered reality. The latter is abolished and, as Peter Berger would say, “something terrifyingly other shines through.” Imagine it as the parting of a previously invisible set of curtains where once there was a wall. Relinquishing the words we have, we rediscover words we’ve lost. Sarah and I ended up having to put down our dog Daphne yesterday. Kidney failure, liver failure. Euthanizing her was the only way to ease her pain. Our final night together was excruciating, every few moments punctuated by a sigh or the peristaltic rumbling of an upset stomach. I would lie with my eyes closed watching a comet cross an inner night sky, when suddenly the dream’s plug would pull loose from me, and I’d be lying awake in the dead of night, listening to her whimpering, her labored breathing. How is she but a pile of ashes now, this companion of mine who loved and was loved?

Sunday September 10, 2017

Writing requires as its precondition grounds on which to relax and listen. Words appear — enter perception — in some domain ontologically different from, but nevertheless coextensive with, embodiment amidst being. This domain is what I’ve elsewhere called “consciousness.” Raymond Williams, by the way, neglected to include that term in his book Keywords. Do I need to review debates within Marxism regarding materialism and idealism? How else would one assemble a theory of consciousness? We who wish to advocate on behalf of acid communism need such a theory, for consciousness serves as the heavily trafficked bridge connecting the otherwise radically distinct discourses of Marxism and humanistic psychology. (Along with the latter, I should add, we also need to consider its successor, the field of “positive psychology.” About this more recent field, I remain conflicted, particularly given the current, ongoing appropriation of its concepts — “eudaimonia,” “human flourishing,” etc — by paid ideologues working on behalf of capital.) “So I sing these words,” sings Kevin Ayers. “Let them fly around like birds.”

Horn part on “When Your Parents Go To Sleep,” I salute thee. Soundtrack thus established, we return again to the task at hand. Remember, too, to consult the work of Lev Vygotsky — including, for instance, his book Mind in Society. My theory of consciousness views the mind as an embodied multi-sensory medium; dreams and fantasies are its purest productions, assembled through use of historically-derived forms, images, concepts, languages, sign systems — in other words, that vast edifice that Marx called the “General Intellect,” acquired by each of us through socialization (though only ever incompletely), and modified dialectically through lived experience. What happens to consciousness, however, when its experience-stream delivers to it the event known as ego death? To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever myself experienced anything akin to that. Except: no, wait: I take that back. Those jumps, remember? Screen glitching, consciousness tumbling rapidly down many levels. The Subject, through parallel realities, takes flight. The unity makes itself up, just like that — and we are one with that, remember? The path keeps changing scale, until my observing self turbo-powers itself free of the gravity and haecceity or “thisness” of all things. The bodies of the non-player characters, with their oversized plastic bobbleheads, rapture away one by one. The self acknowledges itself as the occulted Alpha and Omega, the one with all the free swag. Thus the Self invents as a gameworld for itself its own adulthood.