Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Chick a boom, chick a boom, chick a boom, boom, boom…. Concept!

A bat flew past, dancing and darting briefly beneath the glowing exterior light attached to the telephone pole, on the edge of the mowed lawn, which was bordered by a terrible, dark forest.

I had no sensation of anything piercing, or anything malevolent. I had the sensation that for that split second, the lawn had been a stage, the light had been stage lighting, and that existence had been illuminated.

Fluttering wings made of skin flap.

So what?

How are ya? Congratulations! Bye Bye!!!!

Bat sounds: eeee…ckckckck….ckkcklclclcllslclls ehehehe.e.e..e.. chankchankchank.ckckkckckckck….eeeeeee…eeeeee….e. (I quote.)

“Zounds, wowie, zonkers, and whew!”

Is that the soundtrack of relative deterritorialization, American style?

Exclamations of pain, of fright, of wonder… involuntary breathing, gasping, moaning… bursting into song, cussing, snorting…

Is this the soundtrack of absolute deterritorialization, International style?

Absolute deterritorializations ? :

Jerking spasmodically, twitching, winking without meaning to, sprocketing arms and legs, twisting, leaning back, crossing arms in front defensively. Posturing…gyrating…swaying.

Relative deterritorializations ? :

Watching a Hollywood movie for its cultural content, its educational value…

Listening to jazz to be cool…

Doing anything to be cool…

Doing anything in order to be smart, or smarter…

Doing anything to show sensitivity…

Working on the abs…

Having sex for purposes of psychic hygiene.

Jelly Roll Morton wishing he could be Johann Sebastian Bach.

“It may be more accurate to think of objectivity as a direction in which the understanding can travel. And in understanding a phenomenon like lightning, it is legitimate to go as far away as one can from a strictly human viewpoint.” - Ernest Nagel, from the essay, “What is it like to be a bat?”

Ernest Nagel is literally saying here that objectivity is a deterritorialization…. That it might be more accurate to think of objectivity as a form of deterritorialization than in terms of truth value.

“In the case of experience, on the other hand, the connection with a particular point of view seems much closer. It is difficult to understand what could be meant by the objective character of an experience, apart from the particular point of view from which its subject apprehends it. After all, what would be left of what it was like to be a bat if one removed the viewpoint of the bat?” – Ernest Nagel again, same essay.

However, I do not think that Ernest Nagel had ever considered something like this:

“ In Moby-Dick, both Ahab and the whale lose their texture as subjects in favor of ‘an infinitely proliferating patchwork’ of affects and percepts that escape their form, like the whiteness of the wall, or ‘the furrows that twist from Ahab’s brow to that of the Whale.’ ‘We attain to the percept and the affect only as to autonomous and sufficient beings that no longer owe anything to those who experience or have experienced them.’” – from Daniel W. Smith’s introduction to “Gilles Deleuze: Essays Critical and Clinical”; the Deleuze quotations from within are from “ Bartleby;or, the Formula,” and “ What is Philosophy p.168”, respectively.

We might encounter a bat’s deterritorialization with our own deterritorialization ; we might begin to find it more accurate to also think of subjectivity as a form of deterritorialization than in terms of its (lack) of truth value; and we might take a warrant to say that it will be “legitimate” to go as far away as one can with this subjective form of deterritorialization… in fact, far beyond “ a strictly human viewpoint.”

“eeee…ckckckck….ckkcklclclcllslclls ehehehe.e.e..e.. chankchankchank.ckckkckckckck….eeeeeee…eeeeee….e. ///:://eeeee . ch ch ch”

–Little Brownbat McBachmorton, speaking off the record.

That is not a viewpoint.

3 Comments:

Blogger Matt Brown said...

Oh no! You've got the wrong Nagel! ;-)

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

Hey man, do you think that a person with the sophistication and intelligence to call a blog post, "chickaboomboomboom," would make a simple and stupid mistake like getting the Nagel wrong?

Oh, no. No. It could never happen.

You see, in my infinite cleverness and loving care and attention to every possible finer point on which I might briefly touch, ( even though those finer points can be painful to touch,) I reflected on this final comment from the Nagel essay:

"We would have to develop such a phenomenology to describe the sonar experiences of bats; but it would also be possible to BEGIN WITH HUMANS. One might try, for example, to develop concepts that could be used to explain to a person blind from birth what it was like to see. One would reach a blank wall eventually, but it should be possible to devise a method of expressing in objective terms much more than we can at present, and with much greater precision." (emphasis mine)

You see, my friend, I could think of no better way for THOMAS NAGEL to begin upon his phenomenological project than to begin, yes, with humans, but specifically, to begin by transposing himself into ERNEST NAGEL.

Subtly, you see, I wanted to suggest this as the beginning for the more general philosophical, phenomenological project:

" What is it like for a Thomas (Nagel) to be an Ernest (Nagel)."

I'm not sure I was successful, but at least I do believe that I....

...NAILED it.

( Seriously - thanks for your comment. It's lonely out here in weirdo land.)

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, Yusef. You are NOT alone in weirdo land. We are right there beside you.

Your project is the busting of categories.

That's commendable. No, it is absolutely necessary!

You are out-deleuzing Deleuze's imperative of concept creation.

When he writes:

A concept is therefore a chaoid state par excellence; it refers back to a chaos rendered consistent, become Thought, mental chaosmos. And what would THINKING be if it did not constantly confront chaos? (What Is Philosophy, p. 208)

- he is still locked in the categories of his (and history's) own making: Philosophy, Science, Logic, Art (title of Part Two in op. cit).

Deleuze is a traditionalist humanist, however much he doth protest.

You try to break free. As HE should have, but never did.

Immanence shouldn't just be a concept, but a practise.

I try - as hard as I can - to follow suit. But I often fail.

Keep breaking free, Yusef.

Orla Schantz

5:27 PM  

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