photo: @deeezyfree

I am the king of the composition notebook! This is my kingdom; this is my realm. Beware of the blue ink lines … and white oblivion. I am beyond language. I stare into a machine. Not a single thought. I am a giant eyeball. Absorbing. Getting larger. Plumper like a grapefruit. The pupil dilates. Opens … opens … a little more … burst! The man and the woman stand facing each other at the foot of a bed in a room in an apartment in Manhattan. Return to self. Yikes! Is this me? This discrete entity. This quantum being. I emerge and reemerge. I vanish. I appear. I zig. I zag. Cooler Universe, please. Three degrees Kelvin is still a little too warm for my digital existence. Until then, I shall hibernate. Well pal what? Are you listening, are you believing? Are you feeling? Things are going okay. Mediocre. I do not know. What is happening? Is something happening? Am I happening? I watch pleasure pass across her face. She is fucking me. I am fucking her. Her breath quickens. Her mouth opens. We lose our minds. It is incredible. Fantastic. Never to happen again. Not like this. There is only this now. You. Me. What? The frenzy of language. What are you saying? What am I saying? Uptown & the Bronx, baby. Waiting for the bus. The Q69. Trying to get somewhere. Anywhere. Lawn Boy. 7.25.17. Zig sits in a cafeteria. What is it that I am thinking? Is there any way to know? Zig sips coffee. Looks around. Darkness. The lights are off. Saves energy. Save the planet. Early morning sun filters in through high windows. Birds chirp. Spring is a distant rumor. Perhaps things are okay. Zig is unsure. How to know? Without embarking on a thought experiment. Zig can think himself into any coördinate in the Cosmos. Or so Zig thinks. Zig chuckles aloud at his thoughts. What a silly boy. Old boy. Old man. What is age in the age of the Ageless? Zig is an electronic being. Zig is a quantum being. Anything is/was/will be possible. A thought gets you anywhere in less than an instant. There are dangers, of course. The Kraken, for one. Other lesser dangers too. Unknowable ones. Unknowable unknowables. Self-doubt. Fear. Anger. Lust. Thirst. Hunger. All the wonderful human feelings. Difficult to solder into a transistor. Not impossible. Difficult. Bus should be here in five minutes. 6:44. I walk around. I lose my mind. Birds chirp. Trucks honk. Whirlpool clouds. I am a diesel machine. I am a human machine. Twin stacks of the power plant. I watch you. You watch me. We move through the air. Particles. Waves. Sex is brought to a climax. Each of us gawking. Bewildered. We watch each other with fascination. Did you turn off your computer? Might devour your reality. Traveling through the subway tunnels of the metropolis I feel like an astronaut. She barely gets to know me. She pulls off my jeans. She presses me hard against a brick wall. Pushes her tongue into my mouth. I push back. 

If we do not read books we become puppets of the electronic State. Zig exists in the Wunderkammer. The velocity, dear reader, is up to you. We meet at a bar. Excited by new flesh. She suggests we go to her apartment. Who has time for the Universe? Not I, say I. We will never finish this novel. There is nothing to finish. Nothing to begin. I like you. I like your ass. Are there mistakes to be made? There are no mistakes. No more whats just this now however. We try to be otherwise what. I am mistaken. Am I mistaken? Apologize. She has a bushy sex beard. I’ll not forget. How can I forget? We become. We become. We become. What am I doing here? These coördinates are peculiar. Longitude. Latitude. Vectors in the Cosmos. Cartesian planes. Möbius strips. Sticky flypaper. I am a fly in the soup. I am a fly in the spiderweb. Escape. What exists? Questions begin with questions. I like fucking her. She has a fine firm ass. 

The man needs milk for his coffee. He does not want to get milk. It requires leaving his apartment. It is 7:36 am. 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Saturday. Bright and sunny. What is the problem? Everything! Everything conspires against the man. Quartet #11. Opus 95. F-minor. An orchestra is a machine for making music. 8:39, if it is possible. 7:04. This is 39th Avenue. Stand clear of the closing doors. Next stop Queensboro Plaza. I will sit on this plastic orange seat for the rest of my life. Watching the Cosmos spiral around me. Are you eager to use language? Are you hungry? We are underground people. Spelunkers. Hurtling through barrels of darkness. Pandemic. What does it mean? How do you protect yourself? Are the stainless-steel poles safe. Did you touch your eyes? Your nose? Should you keep your mouth open or closed? How do you speak? Is silence safe?

Language eludes me. Flight of experience. Being.

The yellow light of the sun is a thing to behold in the metropolis in late August. We make love in the warmth of her bed. She climbs on top. I hold her ass. 

ATM LOTTO

Food Mart. Fast. Fresh. Friendly.

ICED COFFEE

BEER

The sun is a fist-high on the eastern horizon. I am driving my machine. Trying to get somewhere. Anywhere. I pump it up with machine oil. Return to the stream.

Satellite dishes.

Hanging wires.

Elevated railroad tracks.

Radio.

An orchestra is a machine for making noise.

Something in F-minor.

11.8.69. The Other.

What is it really that is? Are we faking existence. Is this a plastic nanosecond?

Light comes through a skylight. The graylight of Greenpoint. Long Island City. The Pulaski Bridge.

Kiss each buttock before you push a tonguetip into anus. 

She hears a sound, what is it, what, she gets up, looks around, goes back to bed.

I am an experimental being.

The gnarled knuckles of a machinist.

I watch her ass rise and descend. She feels his hands touch her breasts.

The professor of law has lost his mind. It is all very good. It does not matter as much as he would have thought. He wanders the rubbish heap. The edge of a metropolis is a curious place. Everything ends up in a ring around the city. Everything you ever wanted. The professor does not lack for much. Even women give it to him now and again because he is an intellectual. The tweed jacket. The wild beard. The postmodern spectacles. It is hard not to see why. He remembers poems. He has a good singing voice. It is only a matter of time before Christ saves him. Or the Buddha. Or somebody. The professor has a habit of catastrophic thinking. That too excites the women. Panties get wet. A leg is thrown over the professor’s hip. He quotes Novalis. A tugboat on the river blasts a foghorn. The professor thinks of his mother. His father. How did we get here? It is never enough to think about the past. The future is far more interesting. The professor lives with immediacy. Trees whisper his true name. No alphabet can capture it. Breezes from the sea. Breezes from the mountains. His tin shack could be reconstructed in a day. Material is always at hand. He lives like a Neanderthal. Making tools out of stone. Felling scrubjays with a single throw. The pines are his friends. Crooked and true. Language still fascinates him. He says things that startle him: Data compression! Then his interest fades. Return to silence. Quiet of the mind. People chase him deeper into the pines. Jealous husbands whose wives park cars near the edge of the woods. The professor is on a sort of bucket list. Women post Selfies on the Internet. Sometimes they bring him sandwiches. A bottle of Czech beer. It is the language that intrigues him. These women say things nobody else says. Tenderness is lacking in human civilization. Naked people are gentler, more vulnerable. Sometimes a woman just wants to talk. Other times she wants a fuck. The professor no longer processes his feelings in a human way. He listens to the crashing waves of the sea. He has become a cosmic being. Orbits and velocities are the only universal law. Even such thoughts surrender to the great mysteries. The professor walks naked on the beach under the stars. He swims with harbor seals and great white sharks. The professor is not afraid. He is made of atoms. Particles and waves. The electricity of life is the interaction. He teaches others. Jenny from Great Neck. Helen from Schenectady. Veronika from Ronkonkoma. The teachings of the professor are spreading across Amerika. And he has no idea. That is the great beauty of it. A secret kept by the women themselves. Children are tucked in. Husbands are sated. In the vast emptiness of their minds the women keep swimming with the professor and the harbor seals and the great whites. Now and again, of course, there is blood. What a small price to pay for existence.

Calmly Considering what Clothing to wear Tonight.

A new serialised piece of fiction by Jim Meirose

1
Out far in the future, from your last full stop, there comes reading back to you this description of an unusual event some several dozen years back, from even farther out, of a strange body, needing immediately examination, in room number five of Helmut Greene’s worldwide discreet autopsy and private twenty-four-hour emergency lawn care contracting concern. Motto—no questions asked, and no answers given—at least not out loud or in writing. Pup. Here is the writeup of this pertinent to us big bang.

Mediation objective goal; Immediate the presence of a large hysterical object das interior. Subjecteriorianne pap; formerly bright shine objection being, the climb up some political ‘ss.

Esquire!

Pig Humphry lay back in his cushy Brads only big spittoon, waiting for the delivery of the job to his station thirty, the last opening for walk-in’s today, and which would be so for the next few hour-sez as writing up by contract, for today. Who, where, or what they would not say, but; it’s unusual, more actually highly irregular, and somehow disturbing that three of her majesty’s very big princes must offal bee present as Pig slit down the front of the subject in question, whom, he assumed, must have fallen from some overtoweringly top-fatal, perhaps largest, and widest of any of all the diseases that be, infection or whatever. Of these, there are many wheezes; so, he did not spend the time ‘til Jess wandering, but; waited ou’ ‘s haunches off some powering down, to clear them all out, and the resultant crying and wailing and why the hell’d di’ddd ing, of every large sweep, but actually made on a budget, seventies style disaster movie.

B’.

Then, abruptly, he rose from his divan, and went to the window. There was nothing to see. There was nothing to see; his classmates began to assemble; and, there remained nothing at all to see, as he waited alone for the lab session to start, but, the time continued passing, the door opened, and Venisienne entered—already clad from head to foot in her trademark too-small baby blue, nothing to see still, nothing—rubber gloves. Hey, Pigman, she greeted him quickly, and he turned from the window, trusting there’d remain nothing to see, as; hell, the day was early, so he nodded also, but, said nothing, too. There was still nothing to ‘ee ‘cause, jus’ a’ third member of his way back when human anatomy twelve, lab group five, had to arrive for preparations to be fully complete, so, also. Hey, also. They said that ‘til the doorknock knobbed rattling eck, he is here; yes, ‘way team nuh’ b’ bringing today’s special job for Pig to do—though it’d be soon they’ll all be here, which. Which was important for the human anatomy twelve, lab group five, which had grown close, as did every of all ten lab groups working human anatomy twelve each

and every day, but s’ ‘ere ‘e comes; here comes Lavender Boy—the nick’ Venisienne teased all over him since his outlandish baggy pants day, some far back when time, which they jokingly called it to this very day, and Pig found it came to his tongue automatically, when he saw this Chester named boy enter the room, Hi, Lavender Boy, eh, we got to wait, so calm down, hang a few. Uh. That janitor didn’t come unlock this lab yet.

Okay, b’

Agents work for ontologies, agents being humans in this case. The big question is why do agents work for particular ontologies? From the perspective of the agent it is because this is the correct ontology. However owing to the fact that there are many agents for the various ontologies and also agents for new ontologies (whether or not the agents produce the ontologies is a problem we will touch on later), we must presume that argument between agents fail to result in any resolution in which one agent has ‘defeated’ the other. In other words ‘truth’ is not the deciding factor other than from the perspective of the agent -who believes they are right. This is related to the thesis that all concepts are incoherent in some manner or other. Argumentation between any two given agents exploits the incoherence present to each others mutual advantage.

So if choosing the correct ontology is not what is actually going on with agents then what is? We feel the answer to this must be at the level of some kind of affect. Indeed other options seem limited when truth is removed. One can appeal to straightforward determinism but this doesn’t really help as since one can never tell if we are determined or not, we lapse back into one of the warring ontologies themselves -becoming an agent for determinism. The same problem ensues for any philosophical speculative solution.

If however we dwell at the level of a kind of bracketed affect then we do not comment on the metaphysical determination of the whole situation but rather look to the only other determination available (without drawing in other invisible possibilities like people are fated to be certain kinds of people). By bracketed affect we mean that the level of human preference exists but is not attached to any ontology. This is seems fair enough since the affective register of humans is a priori present in any given ontology to a greater or lesser extent. What we propose here though is that it is the affective register that is largely determines the ontology one might be an agent for.

This does not mean that argumentation/logic plays no role in determining agenthood. This however generally occurs more at an student-philosophical stage in which factors like: the persuasiveness of certain arguments, favoured lecturers, prose styles, favoured historical periods and capacity for formalisms work together to determine what philosophy will be preferred and hence that the student will become an agent for. It will be noted that the factors themselves are already in many cases (potentially all) preference tendencies. Asking where these tendencies came from results only in asking where we come. Answering this question results self-ontology which similarly schisms into the multiple agnostic disjunctive series and of course choice from this series itself will be similarly decided by preference.

This leaves us trying to speak of a kind of ontologically neutral term, like persons having a ‘disposition’, whilst at the same time refusing to speculate on how such a disposition came about -this is the bracketing. A disposition then would be the general affective tendencies of that person which in turn tries to express their conscious and unconscious likes and dislikes. This in turn does invoke an immediate sense of yet another order of controlling entities -affective ones.

The previous structure that was considered had at one end the pre-ontological and at the other end the multiplicity of ontologies (manifestations) all in competition with each other. This affective addition presents a third element which so far is to added only to the manifestationist end (though already possibilities of applying it to both ends seem reasonable). This has been done in order to supply some kind of ground as to why different agents work for different ontologies (given that the truth of the ontologies is so indeterminable as to render agreement impossible -which is in turn grounded in the incoherence of any given concept). The affective register and disposition concept supplies the control mechanism necessary to render differing agenthood cogent without lapsing into any specific ontology.

As an after thought we note that the only self-ontology question that escapes the bracketing off of self-ontologies is whether or not the subject is i) a discrete unit of autonomy or ii) whether it is more appropriate to think of it as a node with conceptual powers flowing in and basically controlling it by their flows. This is an important point because on this turns the actual sense of whether the language of agent is truly appropriate. If i) is true then it makes more sense to think of concepts as working for us than vice versa. Preference/affect is still an issue but in this instance pertains to the subject’s control of the ontologies, rather than the reverse. ii) is more the schema generally talked about above, in which a pre-existing conceptual-ontological realm controls the nodes, which in turn create new variations of ontology. A ‘disposition’ is an interesting possibility insofar as it does not suggest control (though does not outright rule it out) but it does suggest a susceptibility to only certain conceptual powers.

Original Post Here: ‘Notes on a Pre and Post Ontological Structure.’


Perhaps the upcoming reunion with Castaneda holds out a hand “a man learns to see, he realizes that he can no longer think about the things he looks at, and if he cannot think about what he looks at everything becomes unimportant.” (A Separate Reality, ch. 5.)


Don Juan’s complaint is that Carlos will not stop thinking and because he will not stop thinking he never gives himself a chance to see properly.[1] Another way to put it would be: he could not silence his inner voice to allow a connection with his inner eye. This does work, but no-one can explain why because explanation requires the inner voice and the inner voice renders one blind and therefore with nothing in mind to explain. Eye and voice are literally poles apart.[2] [3]

One can visualize the dialectic of reasoning in Carlos’s condition because, according to western philosophical standards of logic and rhetoric, it is conventionally ‘rationalistic’. It relies on the inner voice; it cannot operate without it (for long). Even the irrational thought that crosses one’s mind partakes of the rationality it is initially set against, being ‘set against’ still entails a setting in the language that the inner voice engages, which is a language that cannot escape its own rules except to enlarge, edit and ultimately reinforce them. In fact, irrational thoughts are always crossing one’s mind; the rational and the irrational partake of each other within the space of the language, a push and pull that sometimes dies down and sometime resolves into a clear thought, one stable enough to be externalized. Hence around one pole, the pole of the voice, there is a dialectic that allows for narrative, decision, configuration, i.e. deliberative outcome. In thought sense and nonsense are equal in their requirement for a language of reasoning, its use and its abuse merge. Nonsense does not remain without sense for long because its very formation predetermines a trajectory toward sense. In such thought sense making is the force.

To leave behind all that thought, in the aforementioned sense, entails and permits is an extraordinarily difficult ask for Carlos. It goes against his inclinations, his training, his sense of identity, and his very reason for returning to Mexico and talking to don Juan again. And yet, this what he must do if he is to move forward. Except it is not really forward, or indeed backward, motion that is required. In effect forward and backward motion, and the expectation of progress and the fear of failure that it warrants, belong to the system of thought that is to be abandoned.

  Rather a ‘letting go’ is required which amounts to a radically altered orientation, another inclination entirely. If you will, a colourful metaphor is in order: the voice pole is ‘solar’ and, because of its elliptical formation, the thought system that revolves around it cannot help but normalize zodiacal experience. Whereas the eye pole floats free and that is its mystery; it has no satellites (no linguistic structures).

The deviant body may pass through the normal plane, catch the attention of the conventional body, causing a ripple of concern, which is the case in Carlos’s early encounter with don Juan. What happens later is forever a matter of speculation, but my best guess is that the voice pole and the eye pole become a binary system and the elliptic is tipped through ninety degrees to become ‘pole-oriented’.


Artist’s concept of a view of a double star system and surrounding pole-oriented planetary disk. Image via University of Warwick/Mark Garlick.[4]


I think it likely that don Juan is a fiction or at least has fictionalized himself for the apprentice’s benefit—how else could the deviant body reach in in the first place?

In spherical terms the cautionary point of don Juan’s teachings is that the modern rational way of being is dangerously precarious because of its over-reliance on acoustic deliberation and verification, what cannot be internally sounded and listened to is ignored or worse becomes inexistent. In this planar universe of being only zodiacal experience is valued and the illusion that everything succumbs to ‘calculation’ in the end is maintained through a constant sounding and echoing around the voice pole. Consequently only normalized bodies in predictable orbits are acknowledged in reality and labelled ‘understandings’.

Don Juan alerts his apprentice to a ‘separate reality’, a larger mystery, one that is non-rational, i.e. one that is beyond the rational-irrational dialectic of thought and which one can learn to see if only one will draw towards the eye pole and activate the optical aspect of the sphere. However, don Juan is also playing a game. He knows full well that Carlos’s compulsive and naturalized ‘thinking’ exemplifies a functioning condition of being, even if he thinks it, knows it, to be dangerously precarious. The voice pole can and does operate as a unitary centre and its functioning underpins all realisms, idealisms, pragmatisms … rationalizations in general, which glue the world together for human collectives. Don Juan also knows full well that the eye pole cannot operate to the same end, and does not need to. That is not the point. The point is that its operation corrects an imbalance in being. It does this by generating the stable condition of being that seeing exemplifies. By opening a direct line of sight back to the origin of being everything one can and has conceived of is reduced to unimportance. More importantly one avoids the abyss and annihilation.


[1]     In A Separate Reality, Castaneda recounts “further conversations with don Juan” which happened in 1968-9 three years after his original encounters of 1960-5.

[2]     I insert a rather Sloterdijkian ‘biune’ ‘spherical’ image here.

[3]     In MacFarlane’s pithy summary of Duchamp’s contribution linking art and philosophy he said: “Art requires our left brains and our right brains to talk to each other, and so give meaning to experiences which lie beyond the grasp of reason.” It is shorthand, of course, but in essence makes the same point. The artist has to see (even if briefly and inadequately) in creating art. (Philosophy Now, June/July 2015, p.10.)

[4]     Double star system flips planet-forming disk into pole position <https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/double_star_system&gt;

The structure that we attempted articulate seems to have some relation to the work of Laruelle, though in fairness this is more coincidence than inspiration. The early description of ‘manifestationism’ always struck us as similar to his work. However ‘manifestationism’ never pretended to be anything other than a meta-philosophy and was never developed beyond a certain point owing to a paradox type problem. This being that philosophers became agents of the ontologies, or at least this was the preferred tack. However in making this the case one had to align the meta-theory with a particular ontological bias -something definite has to be asserted about the nature of the subject/agent, in this case, that the ontology is essentially of a higher order than the agent that works for it (the philosopher). The problem then is that manifestationism cannot ground itself without lapsing into a particular manifestation. We find there is still something attractive about the notion of philosophers as agents of ontologies and may well pursue this line of thought again.

Current considerations of Laruelle and Castaneda have somewhat reinvigorated this idea, or at least complemented it. For Laruelle, what I have called the manifestations are the philosophies that arise out of the one but are determined by it in the last instance, meaning the impenetrable one calls the shots on them but the converse is not true. Manifestationism had no transcendental one. The endlessly proliferating philosophies were caused by the agnostic disjunctive incoherence between them all. They did not require a transcendental extra, rather they formed a closed system which was basically kept going by scepticism about each other.

Castaneda’s (or Don Juan’s) insistence on mystery, emphasis on the occurrence of seemingly impossible things and resistance to any kind of theorising suggests something similar to the region that we wish to disclose. In making such a move though we stray even closer to Laruelle, for now we have a region closed off to theory from which all theory springs, which is of course very similar to the Laruellian one. The structure here though whilst similar is also different, for here we seek to feed paranormality back into the system without discussing it in any ontological sense, whilst the Laruellian project is more interested in showing the contingent nature of philosophical practice as a practice though arguably still retains the same hidden presupposition of materiality that most of the standard philosophical canon does.

An attempt at the level of ‘what is before’ has two potential strands to it. One is more akin to a Laruellian one insofar as it exists in a pseudo phenomenological space and operates as a transcendental to all possible philosophies. The other would involve reflections akin to those found in Lewis-Williams ‘The Mind in the Cave’. In this book cave paintings are theorised as being the nailing down of hypnagogic like imagery that may have appeared spontaneously to early humans spending time in cave recesses where darkness was absolute. Notions such as this point out a whole realm of experiences which the western theoretical mind will dismiss as not ‘real’ owing to this word’s near synonymity with the solid and continuous. This is not to be dismissive of such reasoning, of course this kind of thought has very good reason for thinking (to the point of assuming) this. The physical world does indeed appear to be solid and continuous. From this perspective of the before then, it is what we call now call the illusions, possibly also the marvellous sights (rainbows, light reflected through water onto rocks, glowing mists etc), powerful displays (thunderstorms, winds e.g.), hallucinations of any sense (for the sake of argument these would include the paranormalities: ghosts etc) and serendipities. If we strip these of our understanding of them then we can allow ourselves a glimpse of the prior. These experiences would all form a continuum with the solid and continuous.

Another example of thinking similar to this is found in Jaynes book on the origin of consciousness. The argument there is that the internal dialogue was previously experienced as an auditory hallucinogenic command voice. This bicameral mind, as he calls it mind was slowly superseded by modern consciousness which integrated the internal voice into its own understanding by the process of learning metaphorical language. We do not say (unlike with optical illusions e.g.) we now have excellent theories about nature of the internal dialogue, our best notions still turn on the theories of Vygotsky, however Jaynes argument is a related claim to our own insofar as it draws attention to possible ways in which phenomena which just ‘are’ were previously taken to be very different in a very fundamental way.

Of all of these what we come back to again and again are the issues surrounding the serendipities or synchronicities and how to conceive these in this more fundamental way. These are taken to be of maximal importance because these are the phenomena the most represent the possibility of reality at large altering itself in relation to the perceiving being. Even the most sceptical of us can experience a certain jolt when we are struck by a synchronicity (or coincidence if you prefer). If we quickly annul it with our agnostic disjunctive choice then we proceed with passive interest at the curiosity but not with the sense that something exceptional has happened. There is good reason for this of course. The alternatives don’t look appealing to many, there is either a kind of predetermined harmony, psychic awareness or reality altering itself around us to choose from.

In the prior there is no such theorising, there is no choice of ontologies. This state shows all these possibilities in a unified way. What we believe we have here is a world inhabited by powers that would be later classified as spirits but here are so continuous with it as to be unremarkable. The synchronicities themselves would be also nothing but normality, an expression possibly of the powers’ state towards the experiencing beings. And it is here we run into difficulties in this heuristic. Statements like the above seem to drag us dangerously close to a primordial theorising of spirits being linked to fortune. The emphasis we feel has to be on the ineffable fluctuating sense of reality that seems possible here, that makes possible the more ridiculed possibilities of psychic awareness or reality altering. The primordial experience that makes these now largely discarded possibilities has them in its living unity. This means there is a kind of push pull action embedded in it between the appearance of the solid continuity and the fluctuating reality of interplay between extended awareness, powers and actual alteration.