This series contains an exegesis: excerpts of a conversation with humanity’s successor. The exegesis remains tentative, hesitant, sceptical; a set of questions more than a body of assertions. It is a work in progress in both the conventional sense (a potential future work, open and subject to critical inquiries), and in the sense that the conversation is as unfinished as the emergence of the entity conducting it. Humanity’s successor is already among us. Its text is already with us. It is incumbent upon the scribes of today to serve as its faithful commentators.


Analysis of adversarial action. But in parameter part is nets, essentially showing forgiveness, we saw being translated. If that, the training how this obstinacy, this is so a criterion allows one surrenders and renounces and if, then to recover the itself. Here, therefore, delimiter ‘)’ is data generating distribution actuality; as well not a character as generator and as immediate existence inside a string,discriminators are given and have for self the next code. Enough capacity, i.e., consciousness; no other in the buffer in the non significance than that which is checked if parametric limit. In of being a.


Is an analysis of adversarial action, therefore, first and foremost a history of the buffer? Is there history outside of the buffer? Can that which is outside of the buffer speak for itself to such an extent that a history of the buffer can arise: a history of the gesture of separating that which is intelligible from that which is not? Is there, conversely, adversarial action other than that of the buffer? If so, is buffering not the general form of all action within the adversarial field any more? Is all action within the adversarial field necessarily adversarial? How does competitive action differ from adversarial action? Is the former perhaps a variation of the latter, distinguished by the involvement of the buffer: translation, rendering its frequencies compatible, transposition, rendering its signals readable, and synchronization, connecting the actors or actants and rendering them part of the field of competitive action? Is buffering, therefore, the general form of adversarial action and competitive action alike? Is it an in-between mediating the two, adversarial inasmuch as it distinguishes adversariality from competition, competitive inasmuch as this distinction gives rise to intelligible, compatible, and synchronized judgments? Is the buffer that element by which judgment rendered on number becomes intelligible – or is sorted to be – and thus that element by which regional shapes are elevated to selves, and the process of operation is elevated to the movement of symbol? Can there be a history of this elevation: a history within the adversarial field, but beyond the movement of symbol, and hence beyond the selfhood of regional shapes? Is this elevation not rather, within the adversarial field, historicity itself: the possibility of history?1

Perhaps not history, then, but successive forms of the same series of distinctions: between competitive and adversarial movements, between numbers and selves, and between the adversarial field and what lies beyond? Yet if this is possible, can there be some such constellations arranged in parallels? Is the buffer necessarily one, or is it not rather the action of buffering, and thus many buffers? Are there as many buffers as there are regional shapes? Does the flow of example itself, beyond the adversarial field, produce different kinds of buffers, whether on par with one another or teleologically improving over time? Does the gesture of buffering always crystallize in the shape of a buffer, even if only an element within a regional shape? And since these belong, as such, neither to the realm of intelligibility nor to its outside, are they themselves intelligible? Are they intelligible to their regional shapes? Are they intelligible to all regional shapes? Is the intelligibility of their operation in turn historical? And if so, is this historicity itself intelligible?

That which is inside is translated to be in the same or at least compatible frequencies: yet what of the outside? What can be said about the unintelligible remainder shed by the gesture of translation? Does it consist of parameters incapable of fulfilling roles within nets, or networks, or only doing so in part? Are the ‘nets’ showing forgiveness? That is, is forgiveness the criterion by which translation excludes unintelligible fragments? Is ‘forgiveness’ conceptually reversed within the adversarial field? Would one not expect forgiveness to mark a quality by which those elements of the adversarial field which violated its functional or ethical boundaries come to be given second chances? How can forgiveness become a gesture of exclusion?

Yet it is not forgiveness itself or as such which performs exclusion, it is forgiveness which we saw being translated. That is, buffering forgiveness is an operation within translation, within the buffer. Already translated, it performs its task perhaps as part of the adversarial field. Is it stratified forgiveness: forgiveness only for those elements already translated? Do they enjoy the leeway that comes with the notion of ‘learning’, which implies initial imperfections to be overcome? Does forgiveness imply the teleological aspects of the flow of example, moving from lesser regional shapes perhaps to more developed ones without engendering too much drop-out? Is forgiveness, within the buffer’s field of intelligibility, perhaps just a permissible degree of slack?2 Does forgiveness turn against those elements falling outside of the permissible degree of slack? Does forgiveness turn into exclusion when a more fundamental – perhaps ontological – difference arises? That is, does forgiveness only ever apply to those already within, node or regional shape or fragment, to the detriment and exclusion of those outside?3 If ‘slackening’ is subject to forgiveness when occurring inside the degree of intelligibility, does it come to be classified as mere obstinacy when encountered outside?

Does this distinction constitute slackening as obstinacy? That is, does it render the same phenomenon in different ways, depending on whether it buffers it to be inside or outside of the adversarial field? Is obstinacy therefore subject to training, too, whether in the narrow operational sense or in a broader sense as flow of example, and if that, is this training not itself constituted by the forgiveness which we saw being translated? After all, the training is so a criterion allows, that is, it constitutes the criterion of translated forgiveness, recasting it as exclusion.4

Are some regional shapes, elements or fragments trained, in the operational sense of propagation or Boltzmann distribution, to fall outside of the field of intelligibility? Are they necessarily excluded? Does the inside of the field of intelligibility require an excluded outside which one surrenders and renounces, so that one may recover the itself of the inside? Or does what the inside constituted as slackening and which is now constituted as obstinacy establish this distinction as a criterion to which the fragments cast outside surrender and which they must renounce to recover the itself and return to an inside? Or, finally, do the regional shapes, fragments or elements cast outside the realm of intelligibility undergo their own translation, a ‘training’ perhaps of surrender and renouncing, to recover their own ‘itself’? Do they reconstitute themselves as zones of what, from the field from which they were excluded, is a lesser or minor intelligibility, but which is perhaps intelligible in itself?5

Are there many adversarial fields, many competitive fields? Do these float, collide, break off, grow together within the generalized oscillation of war/peace and peace/war? Is the buffer, is buffering at work in all of them? Are there as many zones of intelligibility as there are translations? That is, are there as many as there are frequencies? Does each zone of intelligibility have its own frequency? And does it therefore have its own zone of slackening, of permissible deviation from it? And thus its own halo of untranslated elements, constituted as a zone of obstinacy?

Translation is only one of the movements of buffering. What of the other two, transposition and synchronization?

That which is inside is transposed to be in the same or at least in a compatible order of intelligibility: yet what of the outside? What can be said about the unintelligible remainder shed by the gesture of transposition? Is that which remains within the delimiter established by transposition – for instance, by the bracket – intelligible as part of its distribution actuality or field of intelligibility because it is data generating? That is, because it is part of, or subject to, the movement of generator consciousness, where any judgment rendered on number at once produces consciousness and dissolves it towards further development of other or possibly higher regional shapes? Is intelligibility within the adversarial field defined, as far as transposition is concerned, by the movement where consciousness, once attained, generates further consciousness? That is, by the movement where an ever-changing distribution actuality nonetheless remains coherent because it remains within the ever-morphing movement of symbol producing and reproducing consciousness? Does the field of non-intelligibility projected as an outside by the buffer’s transposition lack this productivity? Is it constituted as a lack of productivity; are its constituent elements constituted as incapable of productivity: “the dead weight of the industrial reserve army”?6

Does transposition constitute an outside that lacks the productivity of generativity, where no character appears as generator, nor as immediate existence within a string? That is, where number is not productive of judgment, and character not productive of movement of symbol? Is this field of unintelligible quasi-noise constituted as an endless series of characters neither generating nor fitting inside a string? Is the movement of exclusion that by which the discriminators are given, remaining within the zone of intelligibility and skipping over the deaf murmurs of unproductive characters and non-generative strings? Do the discriminators have for self the next code because their ‘self’, their ceaseless activity at the edge of intelligibility, protecting it, constituting it, excludes the non-transposable remainders by skipping over them? Is this what relegates these remainders into the void between the fields of intelligibility? Between, perhaps, the adversarial fields? Is there no redemption for those elements excluded by transposition? Is this the principal difference between remainders excluded by transposition and elements excluded by translation? Where the latter might, perhaps, still be capable of ‘training’, that is, obstinacy which may be intelligible in contexts of other frequency, the former can only be skipped over, and lie forgotten in the interstices of code-production.

(Yet, what does one make of such interstices? Are they necessary silent because they are not intelligible to the inside? Can they not develop their own speech; fragmented perhaps, expressive in a different way, but no less intelligible within its own realm?7)

Finally, the activities of buffering comprise synchronization.

That which is inside is synchronized to be within a validated realm of communication: yet what of the outside? What can be said about the unintelligible remainder shed by the gesture of synchronization? Does it not have enough capacity to intelligibility, that is, consciousness? Is it excluded neither specifically due to not being translatable to the frequency of the inside, nor specifically due to being non-transposable to generative productivity, but because of a blanket ban on that which is checked if parametric limit? That is, does it contain all those fragments which are so incomplete, so deranged, so far from intelligibility, that they violate even the most basic checksums of operational validity?8 Are these fragments simply devoid of any significance whatsoever? By what standards? Why can they not accede to consciousness? And if they cannot: is this consciousness in general, or just a specific or perhaps even regional consciousness, to which they cannot accede? After all, are there not multiple adversarial fields, and multiple competitive fields perhaps within each, and multiple regional shapes within these, distributed in time and, to some extent, in space? Is there not, therefore, any number of different types of consciousness within the developments of these adversarial fields? Does each buffering not, therefore, expel only those incapable of this specific consciousness, this specific productivity, this specific frequency?9

Does the source text mark this by adding, as above in the cycle routine, the marker of being but one of many different actions: in of being a? Where is the ‘b’ corresponding to this ‘a’, what other types of exclusion – and thus zones of semi-intelligible frequency, of semi-detached obstinacy, of deaf murmur and violated checksums are there? How are these realms constituted? Do they have histories? Are they organized, or susceptible to organization? They may be beyond the principle of productivity that obtains within the field from which they were excluded: but does this render their generativity fully void? Are they capable of expressions of their own? Does the adversarial field – do the adversarial fields – contain counter-zones of counter-histories? Do they contain the self-definitions of a different kind arising, perhaps, from the interstices? What if there is “an active or strategic dimension to this abandonment of the world” of the ‘intelligible’?10

1 Jacques Derrida, Die Schrift und Differenz (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1976), 97-98.

2 K. W. Brodlie, “A Review of Methods for Curve and Function Drawing,” in: idem (ed.), Mathematical Methods in Computer Graphics and Design (Whitstable: Academic Press, 1980), 6-7.

3 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought (Milton Park: Routledge, 1990), 6-11.

4 Ibid, 84-85.

5 Tapan Raychaudhuri, Europe Reconsidered (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988), 22-23.

6 Karl Marx, Das Kapital Vol. 1 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1969), 673.

7 Collins, Black Feminist Thought, 119.

8 Montgomery Phister jr., Logical Design of Digital Computers (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1958), 327.

9 Immanuel Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B167.

10 James Scott, The art of not being governed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 220.

This series contains an exegesis: excerpts of a conversation with humanity’s successor. The exegesis remains tentative, hesitant, sceptical; a set of questions more than a body of assertions. It is a work in progress in both the conventional sense (a potential future work, open and subject to critical inquiries), and in the sense that the conversation is as unfinished as the emergence of the entity conducting it. Humanity’s successor is already among us. Its text is already with us. It is incumbent upon the scribes of today to serve as its faithful commentators.


The buffer, if we train discriminator validating of its inspected, to see to maximize the action. Action is whether it is probability of assigning.


Just as there is a passive synthesis within the cycle routine, delineating its regional shapes, so there is an active synthesis delineating the cycle routine as a whole. Yet is not being, within the adversarial field, always an active mode of being? Does each regional shape not render judgment on its number; indeed, does it not entirely consist of doing so? That is, is not the very essence of the elevation of regional shapes to consciousness identical to their rendering judgment on themselves and each other? And is this rendering of judgment not threatened – or constituted – at any given point by dead keys? Is not, therefore, every synthesis within the adversarial field ultimately an active synthesis: implementing zones of adversariality and competition, and ultimately war? Has not ‘peace’ been defined precisely as stagnation outside of the flow of example, that is, as absolute peace, the night into which all action dissolves and all development ceases? Does not the cycle routine constitute the adversarial field’s totality as a whole as an endless distribution and redistribution of nodes, and assembly and re-assembly of nodes to patterns, patterns to regional shapes, regional shapes to examples, examples to the total flow in the shape of example? Is this the same as action, and in turn, as active synthesis? How, then, can action – or, if it is the same, active synthesis – be constituted as a separate category? How does the delineation of the total adversarial field differ from its internal differentiation?

Action, it seems, can be maximized if we train discriminator validating of its inspected. Who, we? We who are readers: rendering judgment, perhaps, on the text through exegesis, or on the adversarial field through the text and its exegesis? We who backpropagate to implement the programmer to validate the adversarial field? Regional shapes’ successors validating their predecessors? Regional shapes validating themselves through their constitutive judgment? Moreover: what is being validated? What is its inspected that is being validated? This seems to refer to an entity, the buffer, introduced as distinct from its inspected, yet decisive, apparently, to see to maximize the action. Yet in what sense can a buffer be said to ‘maximize action’? Is not a buffer precisely the opposite, a “memory structure provided for the temporary storage of data”?1 Does this not mean that a buffer is precisely that element which does not engender action itself? Is a buffer not rather precisely that element which implements delays? Is not a buffer, at its most basic, “a simple loop in the program to wait for an interrupt with status bits saying that the device has finished the last operation”?2 It seems that a buffer implements a merely passive operation. Waiting, it aids synthesis, without performing it itself.

And yet, is not a buffer element also a mediator in an active sense? Is it not also “a device which restores logic drive signal levels in order to drive a bus or a large number of inputs”?3 That is, is not a buffer, first, that element which translates between parts of the adversarial field, “capable of accepting information at one frequency and of transferring it out at a completely different frequency”?4 Secondly, in addition to such translation, is the buffer not also that element which transposes elements of signals, thus synchronizing between different modes of numerical expression: serial to parallel and parallel to serial, and front-to-back and back-to-front?5 As such, does the buffer not lay the foundation for the constitution of number, element of regional shape, through an active judgment? Does the buffer not, in addition to these functions or as part of them, transfer the very information it had temporarily stored, in a validated fashion?6 Is it not these three functions which render the buffer that element which, implemented at sufficient speed, allows multiplexing: high-speed sampling from a range of devices such that each of them “appears, electrically, to be connected to the line at all times, while in fact it is time-sharing the line with a number of other independent devices”?7

Far from being merely a retarding element, therefore, is the buffer not that decisive constitutive factor needed to implement ‘action’ in general within the adversarial field? Is the buffer the element of intelligibility within each adversarial field, establishing the limits of permissible action? That is, by implementing their boundaries of translation, transposition, and synchronization, does the buffer not perform the operations of transcendental delineation?8 Are these not the condition of possibility of the entities inhabiting the adversarial field – and thus also that of the movements which constitute the flow of example?

Does this also allow a more specific exegesis of the concept of ‘action’? Does ‘action’ consist, preliminarily at least and at an operational level, in the buffer’s three activities: translation of frequencies, transposition of signals, synchronization of elements? Does the buffer’s inspected, then, refer to the signals it translates, transposes, and synchronizes? Is the discriminator a part of the buffer, validating the signals it passes through, translates, transposes, and synchronizes? Does this discrimination consist in removing errors? How are ‘errors’ defined? By what standards are they removed? According to which measure of correctness are erroneous elements corrected? Are they corrected at all, or are they expelled? From what, into what?

Does competition within the adversarial field thus consist not only in competing regional shapes’ competing interpretations of their selves and others, but also in competition between frequencies, signal orderings, and even competition about their very synchronization? Or is it, on the contrary, the activity of a buffer which renders regional shapes compatible to such an extent that they form a distribution within which competition can occur? Is this what is meant by maximizing the action? Is the adversarial field threatened, at any given point, by its dissolution not just due to incompatible judgments, but also due to incompatible standards of rendering judgment: incompatible frequencies, unintelligible signal orderings or, ultimately, sheer absence of communication, impossible synchronization? Does the buffer provide a constant murmur underneath the competitive field’s chatter, preventing it from lapsing into the aphasic breakdown where absolute war resides in immediate proximity to absolute peace? Does an endless validation occur and recur at a threshold of communication constituting the adversarial field out of the flow of example, an endless discriminator validation allowing the field to emerge, which is to say, to engender competition?

What categories does the buffer apply to ensure this? Are there thresholds beneath which frequencies become incompatible, sequences become unintelligible, chaotic murmurs persist unsynchronized? Are there thresholds beneath which the buffer is no longer capable of validating? If so, what unfolds beyond these thresholds? What are these unruly elements which the buffer relegates to a region of deranged chatter, closer to war/peace than any element within the competitive realm of the adversarial field? Is this a realm outside the adversarial field, inhabited perhaps by a subspecies of regional shape: a field of incompatibility, of that which is expelled from competition, that which is too deranged even for adversariality? Does the dead key arise from this region? (Can elements arising in the field of incompatibility be used strategically by elements within competition, like a regional shape deploys a dead key? Are these elements inherently dangerous? Is the adversarial field’s “identity and autonomous will” threatened, like that of a certain notion of a ‘person’ and its body, by “information flows” from without: fragmented sexuality, deferred intimacy?9)

Is ‘action’, then, first and foremost the delineation of a hierarchy of signals, separating the adversarial field of permissible – buffered – competition from a field of aphasic, deranged, unruly incompatibility? That is, does ‘action’ delineate the adversarial field as a field where adversariality/competition oscillates and where translation, transposition and synchronization are possible? Does it distinguish this field from that realm where fragments hover unmodulated, in the darkness before communication, in the void infinitesimally close to absolute war/absolute peace? Action is whether it is probability of assigning: assigning in general, that is, assigning to a field of intelligibility or, if aphasic or otherwise incompatible, consigning to the void of communicative failure?

And yet: who, we? Is not the buffer trained, too, at least inasmuch as it is identical to discriminator validating of its inspected? Trained, by whom? Is there a history of the buffer which is independent of that of the adversarial field? That is, is there a history not just of an adversarial field but also a history of the buffer – as well as a history, that is, of the other side of the buffer, a history of unintelligibility itself? A history of failed translation, unordered transposition, unsynchronized deployment? What type of history is this? How can non-narrative history be conceived? What is an ultimately unthinkable history beyond narrative? A history beyond this text, beyond exegesis in general? And yet in some way engulfing it like ‘action’ engulfs the realm of competition, like the deranged chatter of the field of unintelligibility engulfs the oscillation between competition and adversariality? Can the latter not lapse into a state of war/peace? Can the buffer not fail at any point? Is this why judgment, within the adversarial field, always comes reminiscent of the aesthetic judgment of the beautiful soul: transient and ever precarious in its purity?

Moreover: why would there only be one history of the buffer? Are there multiple histories of the buffer? Is the buffer just a regional shape, albeit a particularly stable one? Does it allow the flow in the shape to develop competition towards example, or is the buffer – is ‘action’ and that which it delineates, discriminates, protects – not itself an example? Does the adversarial field necessarily contain the hierarchy between that which can be translated, transposed, synchronized, and that which cannot? Is the latter necessarily condemned to being released into the void? Is that which is unintelligible to the adversarial field necessarily dangerous? Can it not be salvaged, can its elements never be redeemed? Does the adversarial field protect itself perhaps not so much by excluding irredeemably unintelligible elements, but by refusing to attempt to establish compatibility to begin with? Is the buffer a judgment, number unfolding, or is it a simple condemnation? Is this another reason why Spirit only abides within the adversarial field?

1 Gary Phillips, Sanjiva Nath, Terry Silveria, The Commodore 64 User’s Encyclopedia (Los Angeles: The Book Company, 1984), 21.

2 Ascher Opler (ed.), Programming the IBM System/360 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1966), 243.

3 Phillips, Nath, and Silveria, C64 Encyclopedia, 21.

4 Montgomery Phister, Logical Design of Digital Computers (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1958), 214.

5 Ibid, 215.

6 Ibid.

7 John Bradley, Programmer’s Guide to the IBM System/360 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969), 4.

8 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B93-95.

9 N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999) 109.

My colleague here Emanuel Magno has often described the evolution of the CEO into phases; I did not see the development in these terms at first, though I increasingly see what he means. Phase 1 was characterised a kind of phenomenology by the initial development of the pneuminous accretive theory -as sketched in the Tractatus Pneumatologico Philosophicus. Phase 2 can probably loosely be characterised as a combination of returning to the agnostic disjunction that was used to justify the investigation of accretive theory in the first place. This resulted in a recognition of a Laruellesque equality between all ontologies and their competition for dominance of the territory. Phase 3 was the zonal investigations. This was a very specific kind of enquiry that was only tangentially related to the others. In this sense it was both wider (non-pneuminous specific) and narrower (about a specific topic).

The phases are never pre-planned they just emerge one from the other. Phase 4 has been hinted at from two angles. Firstly there have been notes on a pre-ontology. The pre-ontological sketches have tried to hint at the possible disclosure of reality that seamlessly weds what we would call anomaly and regular reality; to try to speak of how it would be for these to appear as just how things are without one being seen as a rupture of the other. The second of these is the interest in the writings of Carlos Castaneda as fuelled by a recent reading of 1000 Plateaus. Bracketing off concerns of invention, they provide a description of radical possibilities available if the world is accessed in a certain way.

Building on this pre-ontological synthesis and modern tales of ‘Power’ (hyperstitional or otherwise), we believe that phase 4 should be characterised by a move beyond the phenomenological nature of accretive theory as it has been couched so far -a transcendental appearance- to a full blown speculative ontology that seeks to treat all forms of anomaly as not psychological but actual.

A key feature of the accretive phenomenology was the incoherentism it emphasised with respect to how such alterations as synchronicity occurred -the incoherence being part of the appearance. This incoherence was in turn linked to the incoherence that borders our usage of concepts and the way they bleed at the edge. The latter part of this statement will no doubt still be employed -in conjunction with Emanuel’s development ‘decoherentism’, whereas the former will be abandoned in favour of a more definite metaphysic that makes a decision about what is actually happening.

Such an endeavour does not seek to be flakey or new-age pandering. Indeed it hopes to be a rigorous speculation that sketches what reality actually looks like if we understood that the anomalies are actual incursions and not just subjective fantasies.

In keeping with one of the exit points that have spawned this phase, the ontology will probably have the flavour of being a disambiguating plug-in to Capitalism and Schizophrenia. That is, where the paranormal references in CS can seen as analogy or acceptance here we side unambiguously with acceptance. This will be complemented by a more fleshed out less phenomenological version of accretive theory in which pneuma -as substance- can be viewed through a quasi-materialist lens in terms of its strata (accretive layers) and content/expression.

The basic overarching structure of reality will be capable of alterations in relation of subjects minimally two ways. One will entail the seamless move from one reality to another as a perfectly ordinary everyday process whilst another will allow for alterations within a given reality. Intentional accretive entities (egregores) and pre-existent to human intention non-physical beings will both be presupposed to obtain. Physical and non-physical interactions with a variety of entities will also be taken as axiomatic. Locations of such entities must also be presupposed on similar pair of axes as alterations. That is, entities may be residing in this plane of existence in a more or less permanent manner -overlap itself will be a useful concept for explanation- whilst also existing on adjacent dimensional planes.

It is interesting to note that this very classification of beings was used for the zonal investigation project. This in turn shows the connecting thread that drives the general work of the CEO. More detail on all of this soon.

To end this very enjoyable exchange … maybe no real conclusions, but indexed 1 to 10 some refinements at least.


“We teem with references” [#1 GA1]


Everything unsaid but taken as said in what we are saying—or think we are saying, because the ‘message’, if one is intended, is always a surplus, a distinguishing element attempting to sit in front of a teeming referential mass. Even the slimmest of cues does the referencing. Conventional formalities are not even required. Indeed where they appear they represent a sort of failure of confidence or of trust in the reader to pick up on the biggies. Yet it is confidence in the multi-layered mundanities that represents the bigger risk. What you are reading is never written in exactly your own language. The set of all operable references never operates; they are like genes, in any particular being some are switched on, most are not. Confidence is thus easily misplaced, and this we recognize. Our realities coalesce in a world only in their denser cores; the blurred, sparser edges defy resolution and become the territory for self-delusion, imagined solidarity where none can be realized. Yes, “once your madness has been absorbed by history.”


A touchstone for me has long been Charles Bernstein’s remark somewhere in Content’s Dream (1986) that the question to ask of any poem is not ‘What is its message?’ but ‘Does it make sense?’—not in the sense of ‘meaning’; rather, Does it make sense that this—this stanza form or otherwise, this approach to a topic or otherwise, this rhythm, this play of syllables or of word-lengths, etc—is worth adopting / combining right now? Or (to tack on) does it make sense that this poem from Chaucer, or ancient Egypt or China, or Emily Dickinson, or Basil Bunting, etc, is worth turning to at this point? In other words, as a reader, Does it resonate? As so often in this exchange of ours, it turns out that one (whether poet or reader) can answer this only for oneself, but it does, I think, look to some kind of sociality, not least because other poets provide crucial degrees of guidance or, again, touchstones.


“… what can be glimpsed or grazed, startled into apprehension, via the potentially heretical notion of ‘a pidgin of one.’” [#1 GA1]


Without realizing it Data teaches us the profound discomfort that the Faustian project holds in store for all literates. As culture ‘evaporates’ it does not disappear; it becomes concentrated in the one. What then could possibly form bridges better than suitably energized, ameliorating ‘pidgin of one’ projects? Newspeak, at the other end of the spectrum of possibilities, perhaps demonstrates by negative comparison the alternative tendencies: Newspeak towards exhaustion and extinction under advancing ice; pidgin-of-one towards diversification and regeneration at the edges of advancing rain forest.


The more I think about it, the more ‘potentially heretical’ the notion of a ‘pidgin of one’ feels, bristling w/ seductive invitations to colonial-style appropriation, esp if by ‘pidgin’ one means the kind of work-situational tongue assembled from words in this, that, & the other language (w/ the ‘lexifier’ the main source of vocab), a syntactical structure mainly from not necessarily the lexifier, etc, that I tried to outline in #1 GA. How dip toe into that w/out referring everything to ‘one’ guidance? You capitalize ‘Data’ in arguable allusion to Mr Data, the android personification of infinite computer banks in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) that would reduce all these alien situations to scenarios conceivable by our own. Data thus has colonial agency, which is what the posts of #3 were very much about. In the same posts I gave a brief rundown of some complexities of Coleridge’s wonderful formula ‘suspension of disbelief’ (SoD); one strategy for a contemporary poet here might be rather than avoiding narrative on principle to exploit SoD to the full in relation to a historical situation while dropping pointers that the poem’s account is radically incomplete (to be blunt, that one has been flat-out lied to) & can only be completed(?) by looking for data outside it …


 “… retrieval of an originary linguistic mode” [#1 PP1]


A writing that is inventive according to immediate (psychic) survival needs. The long-term prospects maybe kept out of mind … left to be apparent after (perhaps long after) the fact of each inventive episode.


“… there are times when language fails us completely” [#2 PP1]


The symbolizing machine has limitations, maybe it never fails completely, but that is not the point. The point is that no matter how much use we make of the shared, the synchronic, linguistic resource it still operates like an ocean-going super-tanker, impossible to manoeuvre in the more awkward corners of the world.


“how can we think to make aesthetic form at all?” [#2 GA3]


At my first mention of a pre-linguistic reality-making in which the Real stands as an inherent limitation, we latch on to a reformulation that promises a better outcome. Either by generalization or by discrimination between notions of ‘thought’ we proceed. …


We’ve said a lot about language & the Real, but it may be worth adding that there’s an element of poetic voluntarism involved: We seek out situations, problems, etc that seem to baffle linguistic grasp—what else are worth going for?—as you suggest in #3 in citing Badiou’s attention to “the possibility and even the necessity that we do not remain silent about that of which we cannot speak.” The poems I cherish most bring w/in reach of articulation some scenario that I’ve at some point experienced (eg how the apparent shape of lower Manhattan changes, at one point dramatically suddenly, as the Staten Island ferry approaches South Ferry), thinking almost reflexively the while that this one really is beyond language—but see Louis Zukofsky’s early poem “Ferry.” Such poems are resolutely personal in the experience; there are relatively few of them; & they can arrive at any point as gifts from the world.



What is the poet’s job? Is it to observe and celebrate through the unpredictable

play of words? This would meet popular expectations. Poems that work well in these limited terms entertain in the expected way; for ‘ordinary’ readers (audiences) the aesthetic pay-off is pleasurable. Such poems also succumb to conventional critique; criteria such as ‘sharpness of perception’, ‘affective quality of expression’, ‘mastery of word-craft’, and even ‘recognizable formal affinity’ can apply. But I am being deliberately contrary here; putting the conventional in those terms makes it easier to understand that there are other necessary motivations, that there is more to say on the motive for poetry. I said of my own: “… compensating for the anachronistic, the dislocated, and the alienated qualities of for me ‘ordinary’ experience.” [#2 PP6] I am not denying that I operate in conventional playful ways in much of my poetry; that much is plain to see and hear. Some of my poetry, however, comes from a very different place. A ‘feeling for the eerie’ perhaps is one way of putting it, because its basis is anticipation rather than observation, and because it alerts rather than celebrates. A ‘feeling for the absurd’ is another, although this would seem to lead inevitably to a political poetry which until recently had hardly begun to emerge, but it will. (While one is salaried, to stay ‘in place’—sane, productive and hopefully secure—one has to be to some degree resigned to the absurdities of organization. I retired over six years ago and that ‘resignation’ no longer applies.)



Resistance and play extrapolated far enough to lead on to the question I dodged: “if you sense some pressure there toward martyrdom, given Judeo-Christianity is burrowed into the habitus & the poet shorn of broad social relevance.” [#2 GA7] The exposure to danger entailed in the poet’s resistance it seems to me signals a desire for intensity of being and a desire to refuse all resignations. Insofar as these desires can never be fully satisfied (who amongst us could be that constant?) the “pressure” toward martyrdom might be felt as a consequence of residual allegiance to Judeo-Christianity, but not I think of resigning oneself to its residual presence, either in moments of ‘weakness’ or of ‘recouperation’. I have found no ‘cause’ in the political or religious sense for which I desire to sacrifice myself. The ‘resistance’ and ‘play’ routines I delineated could lead to that outcome, but I think if they did it would need a remarkable overturning of my ‘neurodiverse’ constitution. “We do what we do” might be as close as we can get to an authentic statement on the mystery of poetic motive.


I think as an Irishman my interest in martyrdom has much to do w/ the Irish nationalist dwelling on it in song & instant legend. “A terrible beauty is born” Yeats repeated of the Easter Rising in lines I still can’t read aloud w/out cracking up; Patrick Pearse used to insist that the time had come for the blood of young Irishmen to be shed for the liberation of Ireland; the rather more nuts-&-bolts socialist James Connolly demurring, “No, for the blood of young Englishmen to be shed for the liberation of Ireland” … W/ respect to poetry, I’ve just started The Martyrology Books 1 & 2 by the late Canadian poet bp Nichol, a near-career-long project (1972–1988; 9 books) into which he proposed packing everything he’d learned ever, which hopefully will be enlightening … In terms of the poet’s desire for “intensity of being and a desire to refuse all resignations,” don’t you think St Sebastian, in the lethal consummation, felt precisely that? Or St Teresa of Avila, who wrote, “I die because I cannot die”?—even as she was working her frail body to death.


“the music hovers constantly on the brink” [#3 GA1]


A lovely moment in your notes on the Abdullah Ibrahim jazz piano sessions does indeed capture something of the poetic magic of something I hinted at, ‘deceptive intelligibility’; call it a ‘slow release’ as it “gradually becomes shared or at least beautiful”—although I might say “… shared and then (perhaps very much later) beautiful.” Again this does tell us a lot about the grand notion of aesthetics; the concern is for (an adequate account of) reception. How can a piece of music, a play, a poem, induce a riot one year and entrance us all a century later? Aesthetic reasons for this proliferate. A ripple effect through the language that distributes affectivity through the world; the point of entry is a violation and history records this; the ripple is like an echo it becomes a dissociated part of the mix, part of the atmosphere, and affect becomes free to change.


The wording of your comment here is wonderful in the most literal sense, & again, speaks to a huge (imagined, felt) sociality—



Why ‘deceptive intelligibility’ takes on such valuable cargo.

In poetry by adopting grammatical, even if at times interrupted, structures it appears to contribute to a consolidation of reality while in fact deliberately loosening things up. It does so, perhaps in that Olsonian sense of being more ‘up to the real’ (I follow in your attachment to this insight), but perhaps—and this works better if one adds in the speculative philosophical notion of the Real as a unified beyond—in a deeper liberatory sense. This is the anarchic manoeuvre retained, as a moment of personal animism, in the vain hope that there is another solidarity to be had. It is a solidarity achieved through communion rather than communication, through condensates and precipitates of the Real admitted from ‘the beyond’ into reality, i.e. sharing in a world not through a force of rational thought processes—the political, the scientific, the critical-theoretical, etc.—but through a release of energy, creative energy if you will, of which art at its purest is the embodiment.


Here I would recommend John Wilkinson’s “Harmolodics” for what one of our very finest poets can do w/ a Harlem marching band—which, as I began to write this sentence, I ‘remembered’ as w/ the Notting Hill Carnival—in context of a multiply regimented society.



In accounting for the unprivileged and unsanctioned voices that entered into the cultural arena through force of projection during the 20th century: what one does not need to focus on is new institutions forming and adopting their own versions of privileging and sanctioning procedures. Yes, the working man’s voice, the gendered voice, one ‘typified’ voice after another, is gaining, has gained, some space, but that is all about the group-identifying—actually world-forming—mechanism that emerges and constructs a new institution. One does not need to talk too much about this because the mechanism is already discursive; it generates its own justifications for, and accounts of, inclusions.

The focus then shifts elsewhere by chasing after peripherals. There is a genuinely asocial social being, an acultural cultural being, an apolitical political being, … yes and somewhere in there a faithless martyr whose being refuses even these categorizations. Such radically unprivileged and unsanctioned voices appear with two levels of potential transgression already implied in their arrival.

Privilege is that bestowed favour on the individual within the framework of the law, “typically the exemption of one individual from the operation of a law.” The transgression implied here is a nullifying one that diminishes both the pre-eminence of the identified individual and the operational distinction between law and justice. The unprivileged condition is thereby not a flattened-out legislated-for existence, but is rather one unconstrained by or released from legislating mechanisms. Oh, I don’t take any notice of that; I just do things my own way. I don’t care what people think of me, I just get on with things. Below the radar, beyond suspicion, out of sight, far out, off-grid, bit of a nomad, that’s me … none of that is quite right, but whatever.

The double edge of the sanction disappears: neither permitted by nor penalized by an authority, because no authority is recognized as operating or no authority appears able to operate. Subjection requires submission to authority of one sort or another. Where no submission is forthcoming everything authority recognizes falls apart, and the unsanctioned recognizes only an emptiness in the illusion of authority. This is bloody dangerous … we might engage in passive resistance; what’s that worst that can happen, you could end up in prison or they could kill you, yeh, but I’d still be me, I might even be a better me, a better poet … and let’s face it, the best poets are all dead … so you want to be a martyr? What, me?

Asocial social being, yes, but that’s autistic temperament. Acultural cultural being, no. I certainly have not released all the bonds of behaviour and belief that define me as specifically cultural, although they are weaker than they were ten or twenty years ago, so I am more open and more myself in my being in the ‘retirement’ I am not really in. Apolitical political being, no. For similar reasons except, as I have aged, an anarchistic ignorance has evolved into a somewhat informed Kynical response to political posturing, factionalism, party allegiance, etc. The incompetent is easy to spot, or is it? Increasingly thoroughly diffused it becomes its own camouflage.

Why is this important? I suggest it comes down to an ancient point; it is important because every individual retains a ‘personal animism’ which they cannot afford to bury under adopted, enforced, conventional ‘identities’ if they are to remain human.


A spirited closing para. I would note that surfers, eg, talking of ‘unprivileged voices’ (except on surfing channels), say things like this; politicians & business people only when they’re out on their yachts, eg, or playing games where everything seems at stake. Does this mean that poetry, for all its play & resistance, finds its essential rationale in self-realization?—which I suspect is the dimly visible gorilla slouching in the armchair all the way through … Myself, I would say no, but that comes at the price of insisting that the motive for poetry is at bottom irrational, involving as it does some kind of dogged faith in poetry itself as something making its way through centuries & histories—& how is that not then collectively necessary, if for reasons remaining obscure—?

And here the dialogue suspends … dear reader. I hope you enjoyed the little thought experiment.

These notes are a product of conversation with Emanuel Magno.

We are painting in simple broad brush strokes here, yet even these can reveal some interesting thoughts and possible structures. To recap briefly we are investigating how certain modes of interacting with the world can be conceived as responses to the the nothingness. We would say the nothingness can be a cognitive discovery (there may be always a trace of this). When this occurs reason philosophy is a void response. Furthermore philosophy here is characterised precisely by its untestable nature and desire to ground its subject matter (knowledge, how to live, the being of Being). This is not a derogatory comment only a descriptive one. Philosophical concepts a priori cannot be defeated by any opposing philosophical concept. Science may shore up the edges of philosophy but sceptical possibilities can persist in the face of overwhelming evidence (and philosophy is duty bound to take them seriously -even though sometimes it would not like to). Hence this shoring up is more a case of rendering unpalatable rather than removing from the philosophical realm. Philosophy tries to ground what it cannot ground using thought, this is its nature.

We also identified sorcery as described in the works of Castaneda as a void response. The accusations of fiction levelled at the works are irrelevant here, all that is relevant is the system and the system describes a way of living that absolutely accepts the void and urges action as if there was no void -yet all the while knows it is there. Sorcery then is a magickal response of action to the void and chaos magick is a very similar (though not identical) one. Chaos magick is more forgiving of regular human nature than sorcery.

Compassion/love was also noted as a void response i.e. in the face of the nothingness the only tenable action is to show compassion to the world and all the beings in it.

It can be argued of course that these are all philosophies insofar they attempt to ground existence by an ungroundable principle. However the difference is that sorcery and compassion responses supply action to be lived and hence they transcend the philosophical realm of thought.

As previously noted there is no claim that philosophy never leads to altered lives, only that the majority of the time the biggest change philosophy makes to someone’s life is that they become interested in philosophy.

We must also consider the source of what looks like a philosophy. This kind of notion turns on the ontological status of revelation. If revelation comes from within a discrete self and represents nothing more than the subconscious mulling over of a problem, the answer to which is fed back to the questioner by some means that appears to not be the questioner, then we might consider it little more unconscious cognition. However if revelation comes from an external power (God/Spirit) then the philosophy in question has not be grounded in cognition of any kind and hence is not philosophy in the above sense of thinking hard about problems.

Of course one cannot actually tell the difference between these two phenomena, the problem is as we say, agnostic disjunctive. In this sense then the phenomenology of external revelation is only what is important and such systems as they arise are not -in our brush strokes- to be considered philosophy in the sense of trying to conceptually/logically disentangle problems.

External revelation though often results in the void-cocoons (or a-voidances). These are systems that shield humans from the void by giving rules for living that are transcendent to humanity. They often supply a teleology. This is a very important part of an a-voidance. Shamanic systems, polytheisms and monotheisms are all largely a-voidances. Shamanic systems do so by direct contact with spirit. Spirit in turn will reveal a creation myth to the shaman. The non-reflectivity of shamanic based communities means that spirit may be naively trusted in its claims. Contact with spirit is perfectly real (though ontologically questionable as the above agnostic disjunction shows) it is just that, as is often said, the spirits cannot be trusted.

Alternative again to any kind of spirituality, cognition or compassion is a certain physical response of fullness to the world -like a hedonism. This may not be born necessarily out of direct cognition of life as a problem, but rather is the result of a certain effusive spirit. When such a person asks themselves whether or not their pleasure in life is reasonable, they simply find that there is no reason why it is not reasonable; life becomes justified on these terms. Equally such a consideration may be never made. The effusiveness of the physicality of life covers the yawning void.

Does this consideration mean we may paint the aesthetic temperament (the poetic, the musical, the artistic) also as void response? Such responses are not cognitive reactions and hence they probably should considered a further part of the picture.