Footnotes to Heraclitus I: The Aesthetic of Floods

manu 8

Abstract: Not so recently, a video from the rapidly growing YouTube channel ContraPoints entitled ‘The Aesthetic’ [1] garnered some criticism of Natalie Wynn, who presented the ‘aesthetic’ as just smoke and mirrors, as just a ‘just’. No one, however, seems to be addressing what is the real issue: the poor conceptualization of what is aesthetic. Or rather what it should be. The word seems to be growing these days, people jokingly use the term   “A E S T H E T I C S” to represent the late capitalist affect of an ontological lack of meaning. We need, however, to outgrow this unhealthy characterization, this becoming-word, maybe even by appropriating this description. Her artistic video essay to exemplify this sentiment that needs further investigation, exploration, and expansion, not to say remediation. Nevertheless, re-vitalizing this concept is the priority of this developing project, that collects and analyzes currents and traces of this forming window. To investigate the causes of this phenomenon so that Aesthetic can be secured, from meaning ‘just’ to just about everything we can imagine.

Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rites, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete [2].

An ode to my wart

When I was a kid, I had a wart on the outer border of my nostril. “Look at his big-ass wart.” Said the other kids, daily. One time a guy, some parent of another school kid, thought it was a booger and tried to yank it out. I do not know if it is some kind of cultural thing, but quite a few people tried to do this. It always bled for some hours, but it never worked. One day a random peer parent crushed it so hard he tore a chunk of it off, but it grew back up again, bigger and more asymmetrical.

It was the only time in my life that I ever cared a whole lot about my physical aesthetic and body image, besides that time I was kind of fat for a kid my age, another story for another time, ironically, or perhaps logically sequential to this, I became aficionado for conceptual and artistic aesthetics, for one I still love to rub myself on otherwise meandering things such as sentence structures and euphonia, down to its minimal crisp.

Upon asking my mother, she argued it would not hurt to just let it continue there, but after some insistence, she agreed to go to the doctor with me. We tried a lot of remedies, being somewhat poor, we could not afford laser surgery. I thought about forgetting it, and kind of did. Some months later, my mother came with a proposal: go, in secret of the rest of my religious family, to a witchcraft meeting in the middle of an abandoned part of a sugarcane plantation outside the main city area, to try an enchantment that was “certain to work” as said by some local almost-100-years-old group of women.

I was reluctant, even at that age. I always loved the occult since the first book I ever read, an out-of-print little study of mystic magnetism in three parts, with a critique of Illuminist thought, or what happened behind the curtains [3]. But, honestly, that was my clean view of an artificial European occultism, of magical sages living about out of fruits and rainwater. Local voodoo-like incantations and rites gave me the spooks, as I would feel like running away at the sight of a dark, little, old woman ambulating with many random objects around her neck, reciting weird non-rhyming verses, looking for chickens to kill off and drink their blood – at least that was what I thought they were doing.

But I did go. I was too desperate to take that thing off. And, after surprisingly meeting a triad of normal-looking old ladies, with rock n’ roll shirts and shampoo-smelling hair, and after patiently waiting confused as they recited something while holding hands, as someone waved a bunch of long leaves, it worked. Not immediately, it took the night. But I woke up and it was gone. Or it washed up in the sink without me noticing. That made me even more interested in the occult and spirituality, that, like the stars and dinosaurs, became my obsession for years to come.

Cariri

I remember the first time I got to go out frog-hunting with my father. It was about the same time the wart magically got removed. And it was rainy season, one of the two seasons available where I grew up, and it was too cold, too damp, too flooded for anything to properly function: so no school, and no work. My father asked if I wanted to bring some home, to put in the aquariums and tanks he had, full of beautiful fish and aquatic life that could do a lot with some frog treats. He asked that only to sting me, he knew I was against it, almost to scream from the top of my 6-year-old lungs about animal cruelty and the universal right for life and freedom. So the frogs were put inside plastic Coca-Cola bottles for a quick appreciation, later released at the exact same place of capture, when it was time to go home. So, there we were, me and my father, walking the street as if there was not heavy rain thundering above our heads, just before mother nature’s laxatives kicked in.

I grew up in a small city in Brazil, Barbalha, in the liminal metropolitan area of Cariri [4], possibly meaning “silent” in Tupi-Guarani, in a junction area between tropical Atlantic climate and semi-desertic Caatinga. A place of swamps, brejos, hidden veils of gold and basins, hot springs and exotic animals, from big cats such as powerful spotted jaguars to the exclusive-to-the-place soldadinho-do-araripe, all next to each other and sometimes intermingling in bizarre boundary enclosures where some people rather rumor finding one or two mythic members of the eponymous indigenous race. The ground, if pierced randomly over the sacred sierras and peaks, would soar in pain, gushing warm water from pressure points unmapped, water desired by conquistadores as magical, fountains of youth, and later exploited for its purity and taste when stripped of the mysticism. Where pterodactyls once roamed the skies, hunting for large diverse fish all around, since ironically, the whole semi-desertic side was once composed by a series of lagoons, large bodies of flowing and static water alike, now either dried up or hidden below subterranean crystal-filled caves [5].

The whole of the region, if not the whole state, looks like a pan, and people live in the middle of it. Maybe it is more like a series of pans, each city its unique broken shape, all linked in different heights and sizes, different peaks and vales. A matryoshka of pans, where a smaller city is enclosed by a bigger one, little holes inside bigger holes. Once it is dry season, everything boils. It is when it all feels like someone put a fire under the pan, and some people die from heat waves and the sheer stuffy pressure that does not escape because of the high crests of earth all around. But, once the land sheds the older skin, coming full-circle to the other phase, the rainy one, everything floods, everywhere, and with the bad conditions, people die from the reverse of dryness. This only possible due to bad infrastructure, that was even worse when I was a kid and got to go out frog-hunting with my father.

After the first encounter with Deleuze [6], which burst my mind into flames of green goo, flowing, coiling up my thoughts, I met another rising star of the scene. Karen Barad’s book Meeting the Universe Halfway [7] interfaced with me well, gently touching on uncomfortable areas through the light of theoretical physics, which I was formally studying at the time. Her views sprawled over those of Deleuze, forming a beautiful lichen mattress, a perfect symbiosis. And not only with Deleuze but also distant figures such as Ian Hacking, or the ones closest to me such as Paul Feyerabend [8], Niels Bohr, and Michel Foucault. Covering topics that I felt familiar with, like she knew the insides of my forming mind, and even some questions I had been asking for years, since a little child, even, long before my first encounter with Deleuze. Her almost Buddhist pacifist route of ‘going through things’, intra-acting, meeting things halfway, as the title says, was something I felt was right in my core. She gets it, I thought, after reading the first part of the fragmented essay-like structure of the book. Why was that? I began to wonder as the reading built momentum. Why was that some people seem to arrive at similar conclusions, or even go for the same things, ask the same questions, sometimes in completely different cultural settings and backgrounds? And, after many unsatisfactory answers, I came to the conclusion in a word: aesthetics. I surely had the same, or very similar, aesthetic needs and motivations as Barad, or even Deleuze, that individuated with me as with them. Not that we asked the same questions, but ones that had the same answer, or answers too similar to one another. I say with not to say that they just shaped me, since that would make her squirm in anger upon reading this, if I am so lucky, thinking “this guy didn’t get it”. An aesthetic intuition governing even what books you want to read, if only through the title. An ecstatic, almost Nietzschean, intuition [9], but not quite falling in that whole program. As ecstatic as Bergson’s notion of philosophical intuition [10], but without avoiding the talk about vagueness. I admit putting her book on hold for some time, afraid of losing my own focus after finding her answers too satisfactory. Afraid of imitating her as some people say Deleuzians tend to do with Deleuze, even if I disagree with them (at least sometimes).

As it is being expanded today, Liminality deals mainly with the study of human institutions, of “culture” in an exclusive sense, nomos. The deal is to make “nature”, physis, human, but not human-exclusive. Nature as culture – not due to any transcendental truth, but due to our means of understanding through our natural imagination, being our current point of access into this notion of “culture”. Culture as natural, nature as cultural [11]. Hume enters the chat.

It is the job of the poet to capture the currents of this purveying movement. To mold it into language using language – but the poet does not need be a person, it can be a people, the silent Cariri, or the whole of humanity – nor does it need to be a poet, or at least a poet of verbal language. It could be a musician, a gardener, someone who tends to fish making simple aquaponic systems for free, anything. Or it can be a place, an evolving hidden garden in the middle of a forest, the insides of an ancient beetle, cultured through the years of flying and fighting and surviving. Or a person, but a non-human one. Imagination is the true limit. Imagination is what creates the ground, these territorialities, these boundaries, be it as the plane for it, as in the case of a forest growing somewhere remote, or as the consciousness to delimit it, as a gardener who tends to a personal space, and even as the poet who curates sensations and thoughts, creating and tending to an ecosystem of ideas. This is a double-articulated movement [12], with the “subjective” study being the recollection, the daydream, the “meaningless”, and the discursive, “meaningful” interpretation appearing in diachronic comparative analysis.

Poetry as the primordial birthplace or access point of everything is perhaps how Goethe deeply unified his genius’s voice and purpose, an obsessive will to power over other conceptual forces. If he could become a word in the Thelemic sense [13], Poetry would be his name – or rather her name. This finds repercussions in Deleuze’s notion of becoming as perhaps a becoming-word [14].

Similarly, if Deleuze, in his organismic orgy of concepts, sober in his locked room haunted by Guattari, isolated something like difference – scratch that – becoming, and channeled all his mastery of aesthetic written performance – again, with Guattari– to practically become a word, be it becoming or difference – unscratch it – could it be possible to develop a completely hollow concept to robustly meta-analyze Being [15] – or whatever else you want to call it? Probably not. It would probably repeat the whole logical positivist program, an all-powerful, all-dominating word, or self-replicating logic, for the exclusion of everything else. My region became a word: water – an active violence: flooding; the verb that I hope to never see again, or become. The overabundance of that came in detriment of almost everything else, not to call a land fascist, but rather alcoholic. For a very short period, I almost became a wart, slowly sucked into my own nose, fading as it grew over me like a Pynchonian adenoid [16] that I removed when a baby.

A completely hollow, meta-method might even be possible, but not sustainable. It will eat everything until only itself subsists. And it will eat itself when the time comes. It is doomed to be full of holes, or with one single hidden big one, that will suck everything to its infinitesimal center point. When it is finally found, if it is, memory reenacts to prove how it was always there, not even trying to hide, much like privation, that hollows everything to so sober a state that it begins to get drunk on itself, drenching all else with its lack of meaning [17].

But what is a word? Can the poet become a word that is not a “smallest element that can be uttered in isolation with objective or practical meaning” [18]?

A type of composite nuance, a movement, a process, if you will, the aesthetic – or what is commonly thought as it, is too important a quality. For example, Wittgenstein seemed to have had much in common with Deleuze [19], but the latter seemed to avoid the former. And the former would probably vehemently hate the latter. Wittgenstein, learning philosophy in the early analytic tradition, had specific motivations alien to Deleuze’s. If motivations for expression can be understood through embodied aesthetics as recursive intensions, intentional needs, Wittgenstein’s ecology of thought would have seemed impoverished to Deleuze, his whole program absurd and evil. If vice-versa, to Wittgenstein, Deleuze would likely fly over the head, or sound incoherent.

Is not the philosopher a non-fiction poet? Are affective dispositions and intensionalities “pre-linguistic” in a way that precludes or predates the becoming-word? If so, how could the movement affect->word<-affect work, and if not, what are the repercussions? This relates to how Deleuze sees Spinoza as condensing his concepts into specific keywords that shorten reading time and pick momentum. This sophisticated rhetoric is aesthetic – it is a linguistic manipulation. It interfaces the text with the reader in an ever more optimal way, faster than she can process herself out of it. It hybridizes her thoughts to those of the text. Spinoza, a precursor of organic SEO. And, as Spinoza ultra-condenses sentences, he uses a “translateral” method, a transverse strategy much like Pynchon’s [20], connecting a multiplicity of becoming-words as narratives born out of narratives, sprawling everywhere as an untamed rhizome [21] that defies its making-sense by its own writing hand [22].

Picture the branching of a rhizome as a liquid flowing through a tubular structure that is malleable, like hot glass. If the structure distributes itself in accordance with external forces, molding itself to it, it also is shaped by the intensities of the fluid, that presses the tube around. The seemingly random way this tube is shaped by the flowing of the fluid is how this aesthetic boundary can be understood. Not the fluid’s trajectory, the substance of the fluid, nor the measurable variations in the glass, but the virtual boundary interfacing these two. It functions as an internal logic for an isolated system (virtually isolated). Doing so, speculative analysis is possible, but it is so unpredictably low in chance of “objective” assertiveness that it looks more like something akin to poetry than to what is commonly understood as science. Something vague and loose if seen from outside this locked system. This is what happens when full autonomy is given to any type of rational argumentation, from sophisms to many consistent forms of logic to classical magic and meta-mathematics. That is not to say that these are not valuable. This is the same as being fiction – which is more than valuable. And which is not to say that this movement is not real. It can be, but with degrees of validity. This is problematic since it can be viewed as a relativist approach, or even disregarding the necessity for a reality altogether. This text believes that if we continue grounding it on a Spinozian metaphysics, we will eventually understand there to be a hierarchy of realness – a pragmatic boundary analysis much like how he perceived humanity to be a boundary, a set of categorical pragmatisms that may be ascribed loosely, but with a weird rigor [23]. This, however, can prove itself as dangerous as strong ontological relativism, since it can prove itself bordering on reactionary, a conceptual Leviathan.

Picture the current state of theoretical physics and the ginormous mass of bubbling agglomerated tendril-like flesh deformities emerging, forming and fading continuously that is current string theory – or theories. There seem to be two possible ways to tackle this problem as Lee Smolin [24] sees it: 1. This theory of everything is simply a reductio ad absurdum. It obliviously grows like a mindless, innocent tumor, being so enforced by militant confused cells. Or 2. There are no theories, but only approximations of a true single theory to come. But are these two possible ways really that distinct? Is a tumor really mindless? Is acephaly possible? Could not there be a transversal point, a meta-metaphysical wormhole of sorts, to join through these two options? What if what is wrong is the representationalist rooting of these disciplines? Would an inverted transcendental program be of any use? That is if we understand theoretical physics’ problem to be a metaphysical impasse. It has formalized itself out of viable experimentation and abstracted to a point where professionals are not properly trained to comfortably analyze and meta-analyze these questions. They are trying to Hegel and Heidegger with an X-Y graph and a heavy simplicity obsession. They are, as mentioned, more poets than anything, minimalists bordering on self-imposed Crowleyan mysticism without ever having read a single grimoire.

What would happen if the current ontological stanzas of plural frameworks fighting for power as the sole champion were changed to a series of monad-like virtual groundings and loose categories in a way to embody theory as Spinozian vision, giving it an ethology of concepts? Imagine Feyerabend’s plurality with an accompanying body of translational frameworks. Analyzing any tenet, from discipline to argument, as if dissecting the cavernous organs of an alien giant that just fell on Earth, trying to understand it by comparative analysis with our own coherent ecology, and its own internal relational coherence. As if translating by cracking a code of a long-lost language by comparing the narrative’s tablets through organic diachronic evolution of spoken languages. Or as careful nomadology. That would make the ToE [25] a virtual representation of our own creative insights, not imposing on our understanding of other bodies. As a limit of a journey, but not an end, just the point of beginning of another one. This would make any human discipline constructive in a way, and somewhat fictional. Poetic approximations unable to fully reduce an ineffable image into words, a reality in its entirety – and in its smallest possible part (for there would also not exist the smallest possible part to anything. That is, no possibility of perfection in anything in life, and only unreality out of life. Everything is infinite, even if in a not-yet-existing aspect. Because reality is creative, and a ToE is coming out, for example, of the orgy of string theories out there, but not only will it be reduction ad absurdum, as it already is – in fact, humanity is a ToE reduction ad absurdum, and that is fine, that is our poem.

But how could this not fall into the whole hollow program of late capitalism? The sheer momentum that travels sucking everything in its path, filtrating and synthesizing minimalist reductions, exemplified by the “world music” affair in the 80s and 90s [26].

Still, going even further, would not an extreme case of the scenario above of there not being “ontological stanzas of plural frameworks fighting for power”, like animals in a zoo, be bad? What of immanence, and the Nietzschean ideas of organic Being? Would this ideal be the eco-grounding for the now free animals to live, or just another precarious zoo disguised as Utopia Naturalis? Moreover, what could be the repercussions of loosely ascribing humanity, or any underlying notion of kin? As Vico also loosely demonstrated in his poetic vision of a New Science [27], the human was a title given to the ones who struggled against a certain conception of nature, the nobles, the sons of giants – while others prefixed by this becoming-word continued animalized, or worse, downgraded to the sub in sub-human, a virtual prison out of bounds. Purged from paradise by peers, in free fall, while their new god turned a blind eye.

A rhizome seems to only exist after a word – or regime-sign – has crystallized everything in its path, condensing the fluid into solid, trapping field forces into burrows on the ground, like an invisible strange attractor. The rhizome emerges from the break, the caesura of the ice that floods uncontrolled. This is exemplified by Gavin Rae’s research on identity traces in Deleuze’s differential ontology [28], more specifically on the grounds of the common. After everything became of the same substance, then everything can consciously be different. A magician that successfully became god, only to die, and from his disquiet organs, each a world, each a word, new realities multiply, new births, always inwards, nothing outwards, not really.

Floods

So, there we were, coming back home with a small injured tortoise, wanting to take it to a veterinarian, when a large boulder dismantled itself, just like that, falling almost liquified some meters away as my father ran carrying me, seconds prior to the first scream across the street behind ours.

Someone, I can’t remember who, broke a leg under a tree that fell from “a lightning strike”, as the victim said, and was struggling as my father and other neighbors tried to lift it up just enough to free the woman. I dropped the tortoise back when my father yanked me from certain death, and I did not even realize it until days later. I never saw the little being again.

Water surged violently as we hurriedly walked back home, flowing sideways, washing away the half-done concrete off the poor-planned streets. We lived at a hybrid space of the urban and rural areas, in the furthest expanse of the state forming a triangle with bordering regions. A no man’s land where rumors purported transforming manatees taking human-shape to lure women out of chastity, and neo-Nazi cybergoths roaming about after dusk, these talks sometimes coming from the same mouths. A place where you could peacefully sleep with the sound of snakes coming from under the broken floor tiles, if you had enough mosquito repellent, and where scorpions could appear from virtually anywhere in your bathroom while you obviously wasn’t expecting. There was even some joyful speculation about natural selection occurring for people with resistance to mosquitoes, since my generation practically does not feel them anymore, nor do we display any signal of skin irritation since infancy.

That night I barely slept, could not close my eyes, trying not to hear my baby brother’s screams as animals flipped outside, from donkeys to dogs to a diverse cast of colorful birds, with thunder tearing the sky as the edge of the pan collapsed rock sliding down the slums. Marmosets, rare, shy creatures, barely audible otherwise, could be heard agonizing outside; similar to the iconic lion tamarin, the Mico-Leão-Dourado, also purported to have existed here before. A great symbol of the region, silent, marvelous little monkeys, but not so much when the dams explode with water surging halfway over the light posts, where some of these animals, desperately wanting to survive, died electrified. I lay there shivering under thin blankets, trying to block the noise for hours until my young body took the best of me and I fell asleep. At least for some time.

I remember waking up after a nightmare with dolphins. I still cannot hear the sound of one, least I see one or imagine one, as I acquired what I like to call a selective cetaphobia since I still adore whales for some reason. I remember trying to scream, but only bubbles coming out. Muddled water covering up to my nostrils, drips from the ceiling striking only the tip of my nose. When I raised my head out, I could hear my mother’s screams as my father desperately punched down the door. I quickly picked up my still sleeping baby brother and swam our way out. Frogs croaked all the difficult way to my grandmother’s house, where we slept for the next week or so.

Passing through more affected places, we saw people canoeing a little boat, with the ones unfortunate enough floating over fridges, sofas and the casual tree or plasma screen. People waiting over roofs, walls, trees strong enough. Dogs swimming, cats shivering above the tallest cars, soon to run out of options. When it is really needed, almost anything can float.

We escaped the house with armies of fish bursting from the tanks and had to carry our larger-than-usual Rottweiler. It almost seemed like retribution, but my father, having no time to complain, only felt it after the storm.

Hundreds of people died, especially around poor neighborhoods, where people made little huts and survived off of trash. If that night was the first time I ever felt conscious terror, I could only imagine how it was for someone living in a cluttered pot full of trash, with edges of trash and vultures dizzily waiting above. I saw one of those sites during a school field trip. “The vultures didn’t even dare to land”, said my teacher, “the floods here continued for weeks nonstop. The sun disappeared for days.” Which, for a tropical/desertic place, is improbable, something a local would not believe had it not really happened to them. Infrastructure improved since then, somewhat. But not before many more years of flood after flood. As my “memory” fronted with that of the land, I realized I may be part of it as just another wart that I prefer to think as not all-together undesirable, but that may be false, since, after all, the floods are killing people. I remember wondering if people felt the same way before dying, magically washed off out of nowhere from that body that was sick of becoming the word Human as I was of becoming Wart.

The implications of Deleuze’s double articulated time [29] rooted in transcendental difference is perhaps the diachronic memory developing here in these floods. It is, perhaps, the analysis of a type of sublimation that happens when the Aionic and Chronic meet – a theory of nostalgia through metaphysical analogy, and perhaps of language emergence and even affective birth as a form of aesthetic movement [30].

The next bit occurred about 6 years after this one, and this time my once baby brother helped save our new baby brother.

It happened on a particularly misty afternoon, sometime after I ran a good half-hour from the infamous Cavalo do Cão (Demon’s Horse), a cryptic gigantic species of bug, possibly a beetle, but maybe just a cryptid. Still kind of tired, as I played a version of streetball with my friends, I began hearing screams in the distance, brushing it off for some time, thinking it was all in my head, playing tricks on me, as it is said to be common in places of high altitude, even if you are a local. From the moment a bolt of purple lightning came from the sky striking exploded a tree some meters across the street, I knew it was some sort of signal.

Each kid rushed off to their home, and so did I. That moment would become legendary amongst us and other neighboring kids, the time the universe gave us a sign. The smudged one-quarter of the tree remained there until a couple years back when the city elected an unfunny, self-serious overly conservative prefect.

This one did not wait for a high moon to rise, it happened just like that, without notice and out of nowhere. Moments after the lightning, it began raining hard enough for the gutters to overflow. Arriving home, the first thing I saw was my mother locked out the house, my father was not home, and I needed to climb a nearby light post, risking a full-blown electrical discharge, to jump over the wall. She helped me. The gate continuously vomited water as if to block passage, and she blocked it. It was almost impossible to climb it like that. And the landing almost broke my ankle, but it only hurt the next day. Inside, I hopefully could unlock the door and get my brothers out of there, as well as some much-needed things like my favorite book at the time, my hard drive and poem to my favorite crush of the week. My brother held my other brother so poorly I almost slipped laughing, even in that situation.

Up there I felt almost touching the clouds, violently painting a Bosch of the flattened landscape. An apocalyptic scene, things hidden seemed to float out the pores of the ground, leaking congealed tumors, clot from the bowels of the earth.

While climbing the light post, for a moment I thought about remaining there after seeing the destruction in the city. I could see the churches’ screams, the many cows breaking line, the unsyncopated rhythm of many small bells against the big one, as well as horses, donkeys, and sheep, numerous, not in pairs, but all drowning in the flood, no ark to the rescue, and everything dancing in a maze of poor projected streets, filled by teeth-looking houses of all sizes, like a series of pathetically small fortresses. Houses that, like crooked, decaying teeth, were plucked after being hammered to pieces. Failing posts that now more trapped its owners than protected them against invaders. There was only one invader, and it could effortlessly enter anywhere.

Up there as well as now I remember getting lost in the abysmally big, cavernous hospital, barely feeling anything other than ecstatic drive to walk and stroll to a place that should seem random to everyone else outside me. Not capable of understanding my grandmother’s condition in there, I found my little sanctuary at a remote mini-greenhouse, with camouflaged moss-covered walls and brownish plaster images of Mary. The rain always seemed to correlate with me being there. The memory of that place is red as in a beating heart of light. And normally I would sit on the corner of the floor putting together the 5000-piece puzzle my grandmother bought me – from the Disney’s movie Dinosaur. This happened during the floods, that have a soundtrack in my mind. The first song being Gattsu’s theme, from Susumu Hirasawa’s original score for the 1997 animated version of Berserk.

In the movie, little lemurs in a lemur-exclusive island find a little dinosaur and nurture him as one of their own. The story is an obvious rehash of Mowgli’s story from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, that Disney also adapted much earlier, and that also was one of my favorites when a little child. In the beginning, a meteor storm destroys the island. Only the dinosaur protagonist and a set of lemurs survive it. The movie is not very good, but this scene I never forgot. A family of gigantic warts falling from the sky out of nowhere, destroying everything in their path. Up there in the post, I remember seeing the little monkeys acting like the anthropomorphized lemurs in the movie. I could almost understand them. Something in me says I did but forgot most of it by now. Maybe one day I will forget about this hunch, just before forgetting about this movie, and this event.

And one or two chairs randomly surfacing here and there. It could not be all just reflections on the water.

The whole drunk ecosystem can be viewed under a diffractive light coming from the same source, and we are not observers out of this system, but rather a single light ray of this rainbow that mutates as it passes illuminating the land. Through this light, the line of thought that exemplifies: Since things of a nature tend to interpret other things as also being of that nature (such as anthropomorphizing)… can be understood as misguided. So when the narrator thinks of the region in terms of the human anatomy – a god, the flood as an aneurysm or something of the like; water as something flooding just as blood in the body, but using the contrary: the whole human culture there stripped of its usual transcendental nature – instead seen as part of that Lovecraftian [31] body, prisms and light alike, we can see the process of realization. A Bachelardian [32] movement, from immensity to miniature to roundness, in no particular order and always revolving, coiling back and spiraling outwards. But the round, the miniature, the immensity, are not trapped into human imagination as in a Bachelardian sense. More in an Azatoth-like vision or event.

Later I learned how lightning struck down a part of the central chapel, leaving the already ancient bell to weaken in the rain and wind, that toppled it over, rolling down the hill-like street to meet my school’s main entrance. It made a hoarse, slow toll all the way. Given it was a catholic school, it was interpreted as a sign by many, but not enough of a hindrance, since there are not a lot of schools around. Someone told me it subtracted from parents’ paychecks.

The church, first thing to be seen when entering the city by any road, standing tall, could not be heard for some time.

It is funny how I remember climbing more than needed so I could see it all better. The failing light posts as the city plunged itself into darkness were some early examples of energy blackouts, that would worsen in years to come, and the darker it became, the louder my mother screamed among random background screaming heads. Until she stopped completely, accustomed to her new reality.

Another week-long dragged at my grandmother’s house, this time with regular visits to my place sprinkled between, to help my father with putting everything in order again. I was old enough for that this time. A cold I got developed into an ear infection, which made my head feel like a block of slowly hardening concrete, making me lose balance and fall every five minutes. The main gate deteriorated with the repetitious flow of water, making a xenomorph screaming sound each time someone touched it.

Some time ago a heavy rain started, thunder everywhere and lightning striking by surprise. I had flashes of these early days as the gutters overflowed black muck streets below. The entire pan, now somewhat leveled and properly holed, seeped out by the cracks and sides. Still, I heard the dumps, favelas, and extremely poor places suffered just the same as so many years ago. In fact, this time around more people died.

The region is big, so big most of it is uncontaminated wilderness unexplored by humans. The city is growing in a snail-slow rate, with remote locations divided into lots sold for high prices, all unapologetically exclusive to local elite networks, while the areas most in need of infrastructure continues getting more and more loaded with people and dejects, all boiling under the sun. A type of unregulated gentrification pushes people to ever more distant patches of untamed soil. And erosion is most of the result, if we forget about the strictly socio-economic problems.

My culture is of that rare, reverse kind, that occasionally shows oozing a blatant putrid miasma on the surface, while undisturbed purity and richness rests below it all.

I would love to say that I saw a Cariri native, a “silent” precursor warning me of the imminent danger from the distant woods, but I did not. It would make a magical sense, that instead of a boring second lightning, my moment of epiphany and encounter was with and about the roots of the place, but no. Nor did I learn anything particularly cherishable years later. To today’s date, only the trauma remains. This essay, in part, is an effort to extract and share some sense out of this, as little as it may be.

These territorialities are incommensurable to each other: when people in Brazil translate liminaridade to English, they tend to write it as liminarity rather than liminality. You even wonder if they mean the same thing. This is a very common mistake, and it seems to go undocumented. But, as crafty poets, we know this mistake can be modeled into meaning. We can generate a new concept not out of these two but through these two. Not a synthesis [33] full of death-drive and Edipian (and Electran) complexes, but a new boundary, a new category, a new concept.

Laminar [34]: From Latin lamina. Of fluid motion, smooth and regular, flowing as though in different layers. In, or consisting of, thin plates or layers. In the form of thin flat electronic circuits, usually flexible. In fluid dynamics, laminar flow (or streamline flow) occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers [35]. A thin piece or sheet of metal, wood, marble, etc., a plate, leaf, layer red-hot plates used as torture devices. Money, coin, gold, precious metal. Saw (cutting device). Flap of the ear. Tender shell of an unripe nut. Limina, that sounds like lâmina (blade), a virtual tool for carefully slashing or dissecting (limina as a concept for the material aesthetic analysis). Liminarity, that sounds like laminarity [laminaridade] under the proper light. A gardening instrument, a tool for the pruning or maintenance of flows, that appear to have revealed themselves more dangerous and robust in power than previously imagined in rhizomatic form.The liminal/laminal pincer: the rhizome may accumulate currents and achieve a becoming-word, a vegetative overflow into a blackhole, feedbacking into itself, co-recursively. A virtual constituent of the plant, say, water, agglomerating. Becoming-water. Lamina, blades, limina, as virtual blades, not barricades. Not to stop the flow, just pause it for a virtual amount of time. Liquid blades to cut the liquid flowing. Or direct it. A blade to cut just excess warts. The flooding happens when you barricade. So don’t. Never stop the flow. Instead, learn its course, study it, integrate yourself around it and be part of it. And who could say a little tweaking here and there would be for worse? As we are part of nature, we should not abstain from transforming it, since technology is natural, only the movement of the Physis.

Taking into consideration the rhizomatic hungover [36], let us now focus on the water flowing inside these roots, as well as the trees above them. Both are growing, but not fast enough. And if they come to a halt, or grow out of proportion, we need to be prepared. Trimming can serve both ways, it can cut down the excess or help give it a boost. Sometimes both at the same time. In this way, Philosophy is a sword, a blade that fortifies as it ages and its user acquires more skill.

Being an aesthetic study (and thus a subjective study) of floods, we are accountable not only to report what happened here, or to report how I felt about it, but to produce a larger dialogue on how this experience of floods shaped the aesthetics of the region itself – how it affected our ways of relating to our culture, how it affected the group organization of ecological entities such as vegetation and all the animals here. With sprawling terse case studies, show how we organized the church after, what we developed to stop it, how it changed the vegetation, what it did to the humor of the little monkeys, etc. The bell as a motif, appearing multiple times through to have its fate dissected at the end. Now abandoned, covered in moss and mold, it was castrated and thrown somewhere to rot for centuries to come. But what was ascribed for it by humans did not happen, since it became the house for a mini-ecosystem of animals and plants, lichen, algae and fungi alike.

A Spinozian view of a liminal region, with the irony that comes of this century. Somewhat inspired by “weird” texts like Annihilation [37], but in a creative nonfiction format – that could be interpreted as fiction, just as good fiction can be interpreted as real and great fiction as essential. This material analysis makes the aesthetic carving two-fold: when we investigate objective changes, we can make objective inferences and observations, which show something material, something not subjective as it is commonly understood, thus giving material meaning to the aesthetic evolution of a physical system (the region). How, then, to bridge the gap between subjective/objective so as the subjective becomes real and the real fades into a novel conception of fiction?

This material analysis is of the “earth” itself, of the virtual boundaries and territorialities of what constitutes that “land”. Thus, the Cariri, the present case study, is well-defined as a body, a threshold, and the “rite of passage” is the many floods experienced by this body. This advocates for the understanding of humanity as a boundary as well, since the new arising concept of Liminality can be the study of culture in a human sense, we can expand Liminarity, the contingent little error, as the material study of non-human boundaries.

A E S T H E T I C S

The irony of this is that all that is proposed here was used to create the text, thus being the “truth” of the text, and also being the text reminiscing of their own past and interpreting its meaning, trying to understand its development. More than that, this meta-text seems alive and knows it, being doubly alienated because of that. As sincere as that is, it is still an irony when translated to a bigger context – this might just be the essence of metamodernism [38] and why it is laughable even though it is lovely. And it might very well be unstoppable if not irresistible.

This all relates to fiction, for a metaphysical status for fiction, that always seemed to be left alone on the side, not properly generalized. Aesthetic creation, this nuance that births itself from diachronic comparative analysis, much like a story we weave into existence, that we try to tell as if lying until it becomes true, so ingrained in our brains and culture that we begin to shape reality to fit into its context, instead of vice-versa as it once began. And since this cultural understanding advocated here is natural in a sense that nature is culture and culture is nature, this applies to everything, not just artistic expression on paper and theory. Nor, for that matter, human-exclusive.

I wrote about how I did not learn anything, but that is false. I learned something through the writing of this piece. Learning is an exercise, it is not a given. And that is also part of the lesson when trying to understand the aesthetic experience as travel, as if you are moving on a virtual territory. The process of learning through acting, that includes writing and reading, sharing. This may give another layer to mimesis. In nostalgia, all the badness of events gives way to understanding, acceptance, vision, a distant joy in knowing experience again, and thus knowing truly, and knowing more, or at least differently.

So, having these views of reality as irreducible, what the work of art tries to do is emulate this quality in virtual-constructive grounds. To make fiction real. To dispose enough aura into something as to make it live on its own. Imbue it with a residual whiff to attract traveling animals. To take from this ethereal layer to ours. So, when a sculptor uses marble, she is naturalizing that once alienated material, giving new use for it, a new home into another body. With this view, art not only tries to take the person into the ethereal realm, as it tries to authenticate this realm into ours. Art humanizes the non-human while making the human consciously meet – and experience herself as – non-humanity. So, when a writer stylizes her prose in a complex and joyful way, she is trying to make that work as real as possible, while trying also to actualize reality from beyond [39]. Those times my region was the artist, as my nose was, as I am now, and as the text will become once I die after putting in the last word.

This way, intuition, gaps in commonly understood logics, jumps, can be seen as traveling faster – through the conceptual plane of a concept – on a rhizome. Speed, in this sense, becomes a living thing, but a non-identity; and position acquires metaphysical value. The ability to “do more’ in a Spinozian sense can be seen as the ability to travel, to breath the air of – to become-lamina, blade – a place; to cut-up, to translate, to articulate. And breath back life in. Being loose. And educated imagination, or educated intuition through educated imagination, a vehicle, a blade, magic, power. In this case, it does not matter whether we consider the volcanic nature of objects [40] or the intra-active cutting [41].

In this way, intuition is sui generis. In fact, all act creation is. Nuance is the evolving body of an aesthetic experience or process, its occupying of space with its unique speed and flow. A mutating topoi, it does not seem true, it is true. And the more capacity it grows, accumulates and absorbs, the more nuanced, strong, and true it becomes. Intuition is proof, it is just too loose when born, as intuition, the same way someone would fall down and puke after their first teleportation.

 

Liminaridade (do latim: līmen) é um estado subjetivo, de ordem psicológica, neurológica ou metafísica, consciente ou inconsciente, de estar no limite ou entre dois estados diferentes de existência [42].

Some time ago, I was studying what is happening in the ToE (Theory of Everything) movements and what passes as physics from an aesthetic stand-point, a comparative analysis of why people are trying to unify fields and disciplines and what that entails. With this, also, I began to investigate what makes the rhetoric of these professionals lacking when compared to other professionals such as people in the humanities (why is it that Lee Smolin’s arguments seem so simplistic and lacking in nuance, at least in some of his new books, when he tries to tackle abstract ideas outside the reductive scope of physics, ontology, metaphysics? Is it because he designs them to be very public and of easy understanding? But checking some papers of people in his ecology of thought, the problem persists. There seems to be a common, even normal, difficulty in tackling foundational issues from inside or outside these fields. This also extends to the analytical tradition in general. I wanted, primarily, to show how trying to be simplistic can make the text – and the tradition, consequently – poorer.

As a specific case of this aesthetic analysis, I began to investigate the traces of Hegelian metaphysics in the work of Kuhn [43], then Feyerabend and his influenced Lee Smolin, and all people in-between, such as Mangabeira Unger [44], a Brazilian philosopher who influenced Lee Smolin. When I found an article [45] that opened the keywords for me to research deeper into this kind of opinion, that seems to be the majority at the moment, not only to outsiders of these fields, but also to many of the emerging and leading people in these fields today. For brevity and briefness of discourse, let us limit the text as not to elaborate more on this or cite many more sources here, since the project pretends to develop more in-depth studies on these seemingly disparate topics later on.

As of this article, this view that theoretical physics is “just metaphysics”, or worse, “just aesthetics” is damaging in the way that it tries to both disqualify what theoretical scientists are doing as well as the disciplines of metaphysics and aesthetics. This if we restrict ourselves to not generalize and speculate further.

Metamodernism is an example of what is emerging not because we exist in multiple realities is a novel concept, but exactly because it is not. This ‘lack’ of meaning that comes from ascetic castration, especially relating to this view of aesthetic, generates confusion in our postmodern condition. Take Vaporwave, for example, that  early metamoderns would call ‘oscillating’, is nothing more than our failure to hold together affective forces. This accumulation of power in a Spinozian sense, without action, generates a convulsive state. Without a central regime, nor grounding for anything new to flourish, everything that accumulated conjoins into each other, screaming in a blind panic, accepting anything but its own confusion, and sometimes only accepting its own confusion. And there seems to be a real issue at stake when reactionary ideas begin to take over. Donald Trump is in office. Now Jair Bolsonaro here in Brazil. Could it really be that soon we could receive the news that someone like Jordan B. Peterson will be running? This convulsive state, as of blasted by light flowing like water through the tubes of an immanent consciousness, connecting them all, unifying them by a single substance all-purveying, is the first step. A painful opening of a third eye, a fever dream before an awakening. Now, as neophytes, the true bargain begins. Big boys’ game. Neophyte here being the right word, since the world’s current state is of a perpetual near-death experience, a masonic initiation loop, and the stakes never seemed so high.

Another example would be the Internet, that, in its current state, most people have access to, be it to information or online communities, and this diverse boiling pot is too loose and new to properly translate, since there is no rigor, framework or main language. There is no unifying logic flowing through. Instead, a plural patch, or limina, minor languages and places, of pluralities getting slowly subdued by growing monopolies, by sheer force of inertia and the accelerated momentum of late capitalism. We need a novel framework for aesthetic analysis. A growing, changing, living machinic composition of internal logics and meta-logics. Not to be used as a tool by these mutating agglomerations, but to weaponize these pluralities so they can fight back. So they can cut excess warts and tumors in formation. As Deleuze already said, there is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons [46]. There is only room for vision and joy. ContraPoints, Natalie Wynn, is an example of an artist struggling to respond to many different communities, trying to construct a way to interpret them in their own terms and so communicate with the broadest possible audience, without losing aesthetic balance and integral meaning. Patricia de Vries’ essay [47] once again sheds a prescient light on how the Internet is now a barricaded rhizome. As I understand it, however, is that right now the water flowing from root to tree and back again is more interesting than these vegetative structures themselves. Not the air inside or outside a bubble, they are the same, but the colorful boundary that reflects, diffracts, distorts and transforms. The surface that makes meeting possible. Light out of water.

When will the floods begin? Maybe they already did. And they are not evil. There is no evil [48]. There is only what remains after the water, new life growing like moss over the ruins of poor-shaped blocks of cinder and concrete, as these once smashed the moss. Beauty always finds a way.

In her essay, de Vries’ says, “Admittedly less poetic than an aesthetic transformative experience, it all started with a shit-smeared pet — but the story didn’t end there.” On talking about the birth of the Wood Wide Web. But I do not see how it would be something other than an aesthetic experience. Reformulating her phrase, I would say that an aesthetic transformative experience never ends, and the shit-smeared pet is halfway, always in the middle, pulsating towards the end and the beginning.

The goal is to investigate the current holes in the interdisciplinary approaches to these fields and their translations and mappings into each other, to, using a reconceptualized view of aesthetics, this time heavily supplanted by contemporary metaphysics, consciously further the tradition by fortifying these living boundaries and renovating them to current times and needs,so they can create not only into each other but from each other and through each other. Water as dynamite, imploding from inside, forming again over the remains. Since, the times and its struggles, much like the confusion of contemporary theoretical physics, and the state of the Internet, have opened a window for the right meditations and re-categorizations. A window that screams for us to jump [49].

 

 

Endnotes:

[1] ContraPoints, “The Aesthetic” (video essay), directed by Natalie Wynn, posted September 19, 2018, accessed November 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1afqR5QkDM&t=18s.

[2] “Liminality”, Wikipedia, last modified November 4, 2018, accessed November 6, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality.

[3] Possibly impossible to find, and this most certainly the last time it will be cited, if it ever was, but, if you want, and can (you probably cannot) find it, see [Gilson Soares?], História do Ocultismo: Da Renascença ao Século das Luzes [History of Occultism: from Renaissance to Illuminism] (Rio de Janeiro: Fase Press, 1982).

[4] For more on the historiography of the Cariri region, and the Ceará in general, I recommend the fresh historiography of Airton de Farias, see Airton de Farias, História do Ceará [History of Ceará] (Ceará, Brazil: Armazém da Cultura Press, 1st ed., January 26, 2016).

[5] The way I structured this paragraph helped condense an important word-concept of this essay, for later expansion, specifically on ecology and deep ecology. For a thorough initial understanding of classic ecology, I recommend the book Foundations of Ecology: Classic Papers with Commentaries, edited by Leslie A. Real and James H. Brown (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1st ed., December 20, 2012). I believe the formally heavy, data-based experimental approach important to understanding the more abstract eco-philosophies, and vice-versa.

[6] This essay, being very “Deleuzian”, will rely on many of his books, and ones written in collaboration with Guattari, that is, as ‘haecceity’.

[7] Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Durham, NC, and London, UK: Duke University Press, June 1, 2007).

[8] Important to this essay, later expanded, is Paul Feyerabend’s book Against Method, 4th ed. (New York and London, UK: Verso, May 11, 2010).

[9] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. ed., trans. Michael A. Scarpitti, and R. Kevin Hill(London, UK: Penguin Classics[Penguin Books], March 28, 2017), 281-87.

[10] Henri Bergson’s “The Creative Mind”, essay on Philosophical Intuition, is an early example of a “becoming-word” analysis, more specifically when Bergson analyzes Berkeley’s philosophy. In a way, the essay questions what I call the aesthetic core of concepts, and it discusses influence as a conceptual notion. For this essay, and a good place to start with Bergson, see Key Writings, rev. ed., edited by Keith Ansell Pearson, and John Ó Maoilearca, Mélanges trans. Melissa McMahon (London, UK: Bloomsbury Revelations, June 12, 2014), 285-302.

[11] I believe Deleuze’s book on Spinoza, “Spinoza: Practical Philosophy”, is a good place to start connecting Spinoza’s and Deleuze’s metaphysics to Deep Ecology thought. See Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1988).

[12] The concept of double articulation is better developed in the essay (or plateau) “The Geology of Morals: Who Does the Earth Think It Is”. See Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 16th ed., trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), 39-74.

[13] Aleister Crowley has a weird little book called the Book of Lies, which is also Falsely Called BREAKS. The Wanderings or Falsifications of the One Thought of Frater Perdurabo, which Thought is itself Untrue. Liber CCCXXXIII [Book 333]. It can be understood as a grimoire of sorts, or completely read for its poetic imagery, exclusively. He seemed to see language in the Magick sense as a ‘programming language’ for the mind. Mind not necessarily correlating with the brain. Through a complete hollowness of meaning, the book dissolves the reader’s conception of truth as it goes, each page a questioning, each page offering a path to salvation and the right life, only to dismantle it completely by the end. Each word contains a world, and each world dies with the turn of the page. To be successful, the neophyte must interpret everything rightly, and accept each last breath, to, at the end, come up with their own series of lies. See Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies, rev. ed. (Weiser Books, June 1, 1986).

[14] The texts cited represent powerful examples of this residual absorption, this nuance-fication and aesthetic analysis purveying paradigmatic metaphysics. Such a becoming-word that is too loose to completely crystallize to a breaking point, as the becoming-law of Vico in his New Science, or becoming-method of Feyerabend – even Nietzsche’s becoming-animal. A meta-analysis of becoming would be close to a becoming-x itself, or becoming-indeterminate, thus, a rhizome, or a random point in one. The question is: is there a limit to this way of doing metaphysics? If not, should there be, even if a virtual limit? How could the uncontrolled flow of living concepts prejudice humanity in a non-exclusive sense? See Giambattista Vico, New Science, 3rd ed., trans. David Marsh (London, UK: Penguin Classics [Penguin Books], 2013).

[15] In perhaps what is most pressing here, a Heideggerian sense. Not to focus on just similarities or the viability of comparison and accuracies to the concept of Being, but more so to illustrate an analogy. I recommend, for a more in-depth comprehension of this, or what this is trying to refer to, Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, 7th ed., trans. John Macquarrie, and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper Perennial [HarperCollins], July 22, 2008).

[16] Much like Thomas Pynchon’s Lovecraftian adenoid at the beginning of Gravity’s Rainbow (London, UK: Vintage Classics, July 2, 2013), 17-19.

[17] See Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier (Continuum Publishing, January 5, 2010). It is not necessarily relating to this passage, but it certainly influenced this vision. It speculates a future god from the bowels of contingency.

[18] This is Wikipedia’s summary of the minimalistic approach to linguistic meta-definitions. Since this concept of becoming-word can be seen as very reductive, I think it fits well. See “Word”, Wikipedia, last modified September 14, 2018, accessed November 8, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word.

[19] I am basing this assumption on my interpretations of “The Philosophical Investigations”. I plan to develop these into a comparative study between him and Deleuze later on, using a translational method of aesthetic-analysis, particularly with respect to their ecologies of thought and cultural moments. See Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 4th ed., edited by P. M. S. Hacker, and Joachim Schulte, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Chicester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell [an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd], March 1, 2016).

[20] Thomas Pynchon’s triad, that could almost be considered a non-linear trilogy, reconceptualizes different key modern periods. They are Gravity’s Rainbow, Mason & Dixon (London, UK: Vintage Classics, December 1, 2006), and Against the Day (London, UK: Vintage, November 1, 2007).

[21] Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 3-25.

[22] When Spinoza died, and the Opera Posthuma was published, it should really be called Opera Posthumana, since his speed surpassed the human, only to marvel at its sight in the distance, and come back full circle realized. Spinoza’s non-human abstractions, for Deleuze, are what define the human, as a boundary, an enclosure all around that becomes transparent when vision strengths itself through joy. See Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, 110-130. For more on Spinoza’s speed, also see Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, rev. ed., trans. Janis A. Tomlinson, and Hugh Tomlinson, and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, May 23, 1996).

[23] For more on this, I recommend the book Diagrammatic Immanence, by Rocco Gangle. The book tries to formalize the beginnings of an immanent metaphysical analysis through the common lens of Category Theory. In it, the author uses this novel mathematical translation-framework to conceptualize a dialogue mainly between Spinoza, Peirce, and Deleuze, three philosophers of immanence. See Rocco Gangle, Diagrammatic Immanence: Category Theory and Philosophy (Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, December 1, 2015).

[24] Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, reprint (Boston, MA, UK: Mariner Books, September 4, 2007).

[25] ToE stands for “Theory of Everything”.

[26] Cuck Philosophy, “Neoliberalism, World Music and Corporate Aesthetics”, directed by the host, posted September 24, 2018, accessed November 8, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sCRcfYRslg.

[27] Giambattista Vico, New Science, 4-29.

[28] Gavin Rae, “Traces of Identity in Deleuze’s Differential Ontology”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2014, 22:1, 86-105, DOI: 10.1080/09672559.2013.861003, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672559.2013.861003.

[29] The essays or series in Deleuze’s “The Logic of Sense” sprinkle the conceptual forms of time as the Aion and Chronos throughout its novel structure. See Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, rev. ed., trans. Mark Lester, and Charles J. Stivale, edited by Constantin V. Boundas (New York: Columbia University Press, June 10, 1993).

[30] The emerging concept of “cringe” may be an early trace of this aesthetic need. As a sort of aesthetic ethology, it demarks what constitutes good or bad acts, things, understandings. Many young people in the generation seem to take it seriously, and this empathic affect of shame, so interconnected, never seemed to exist on quite this level. It is common to see people talking about personal cringe compilations, be it of video, audio, or written media. In schools, regimes and routines of bullying, exclusion, strategic ways of acting and being are forming around this concept.It might be one of many examples of a diagrammatic, “hollow” meaning materialized in day-to-day life like it does today. The same with meme culture, that some may argue to be almost pre-linguistic.

[31] Based on the “weird” writings of H.P. Lovecraft, re-emerging figure influential to contemporary philosophy, besides literature. For context on his excellent body of work, as well as the almost complete body itself, see The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, 1st ed., edited by Leslie S. Klinger (USA: Liveright [WW Norton & Co], 2014).

[32] These Bachelardian movements could be applied to linguistic routines, as there are people who, living in a minor country with minor language, learn the main language, say, English, and, doing so, conceptualize space in their minds, constantly evolving an ecology of thought and a diachronic comparative nuance, a cross-cultural traveling path that is novel, always in-the-making. This new layer to the minor<>major is perhaps an emerging global phenomenon exemplified by the generation’s digital nomads, autonomous freelancers expanding the market through the virtual space, decentralized. Bachelard did not seem to conceptualize a unifying logic to his ‘plateau’-like studies in poetics, but it can be aesthetically synthesized as flowing through, as movement. See Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, rev. ed., trans. Maria Jolas (London, UK: Penguin Books, October 15, 2015).

[33] In the Hegelian sense, see Johann Fichte, Early Philosophical Writings, trans. Daniel Breazeale (Cornell University Press, 1993) p. 63.

[34] “laminar”, Wiktionary, last modified October 23, 2018, accessed November 8, 2018, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/laminar.

[35] Batchelor, Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, 2000.

[36] Patricia de Vries, “When Fungus punched Anthropos in the Gut: On Crap, Fish-eating Trees, Rhizomes and Organized Networks”, Rhizomes, issue 34, 2018, DOI:https://doi.org/10.20415/rhiz/034.e04, http://www.rhizomes.net/issue34/devries.html.

[37] For the book, see Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, February 5, 2014). And, for the movie, see Annihilation, directed by Alex Garland (Skydance Media, DNA Films, Scott Rudin Productions, 2018), accessed February 25, 2018, Netflix https://www.netflix.com/title/80206300.

[38] Luke Turner, “Metamodernist Manifesto”, 2011, accessed November 13, 2018, http://www.metamodernism.org/.

[39] If the movement falls short of connecting, it can be interpreted as uninspired on one side, or escapism on the other. Since, if the work fails to instigate travel, or fails to bring someone back from a travel, it is somewhat incomplete, or lacking in vision. It can, however, be remediated, since art, like everything else, is open-ended and free, it does not distinguish between human hands, and, there not being a set, essentialist, view of art, or, for that matter, anything else. Only a sea of becoming-hands flowing over loose marbled surfaces, forever reshaping it and being shaped by it.

[40] Graham Harman, “The Volcanic Structure of Objects: Metaphysics After Heidegger”, Sofia Philosophical Review, 2008, 63-86.

[41] Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway.

[42] “Liminaridade”, Wikipedia, last modified March 13, 2013, accessed November 13, 2018, https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminaridade.

[43] Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution, 4th ed., 50th-anniversary ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, May 22, 2012).

[44] He and Lee Smolin produced a book together, what seems to be a speculative, fashionable cosmology, unlike many seen in the field today. Together they arrive at the conclusion that time is not an illusion at all, but very much real, and perhaps not just a property of objects, but a field in which they exist, much like space, and it could be even more real than space. See Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Lee Smolin, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, January 8, 2015).

[45] Scott Locklin, “The problem with Lee Smolin and physics”, posted October 15, 2009, accessed November 13, 2018, https://scottlocklin.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/the-problem-with-lee-smolin-and-physics/.

[46] Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control”, October, vol. 59 (Winter, 1992), 3-7.

[47] Patricia de Vries, “When Fungus punched Anthropos in the Gut”.

[48] But is it possible?

[49] In his essay on Philosophy as a Concept Synthesiser, Can Batukan smartly embodied the key concept of synthesis as a musical instrument, a machine that acts, regulates, and transforms real things. His essay, which comes to many conclusions similar to this one, after understanding Deleuze’s ‘program’, claims that “This changes ontology as well.” I believe he is right, but maybe not quite willing to take a deeper leap, or wider? This not only changes ontology as it reveals more of its movement, it, in fact, creates a new layer. Ontology becoming-aesthetics. Just picture the bubble, or rhizomatic structure of earlier, with its boundary interface between outside and inside being a humanized aesthetic experience, constant, but always different. Aesthetics is the human in a non-human ontology, the translated language of the world, a changing surface, a nomad ship in a much bigger world, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Heart of Gold with a broken Infinite Improbability Drive, that we can now, finally, fix. This, as I see, is a better option for Deleuze’s loosely proposed nonphilosophy companion to philosophy at the conclusion of “What is Philosophy?”. When Nietzsche summarizes “each event which becomes conscious is a terminal phenomenon, a conclusion – it causes nothing”, The Will to Power, 285, he is dismantling the panopticon-like views of the time, from within. But now we have fragments of an intuitionistic non-method, or diffractive, mutating method to categorize these properties without making them dominate as they did in Platonic  and Platonic-derivate metaphysics that formed what Nietzsche denominated nihilism. A conceptual symbiosis from former parasites. See Can Batukan, “Philosophy as a Concept Synthesiser”, Rhizomes issue 31, 2017, DOI: https://doi.org/10.20415/rhiz/031.e02, http://www.rhizomes.net/issue31/batukan/index.html.

 

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P.S.

The second part of this two-part essay “Footnotes to Heraclitus”, named “Aesthetic of Blackouts”, is to appear on Parasol vol. 3. And it may or may not disagree with everything here, since, after all, it wasn’t written by the same person. No flooding endnotes in that one.

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