Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hominidd Crossing

Oh Betsy I cannot appreciate you for I cannot differentiate you.

I haven’t got a desire for you specifically.

I can’t manage to separate you from the rest of the hominin batch of goodies I cling to in the night, mainly for warmth.

You are there and so are a bunch of other floating things discombobulated and available for a moment and then gone. I doubt there is anything charming about the space between your legs or between your lips or in your wavering eyes…

My Serengeti! Your crotch, your lips, your eyes…These are intensities. They signal me, to be sure. I don’t like being signaled, though.

I have an erection in the same way I have to stretch my limbs to keep them limber.

I have an ejaculation in the same way I have an eructation or a fart.

It’s all the same release – ejaculation, eructation, fart.

None is more pleasurable than the other. It is all good and it is all imprinted on the nothingness of sky and dirt of the Serengeti…It is written. So it is written. I have confidence in that, as farfetched as that may be.

Oh Betsy was that your arm pit, your navel or your vagina into which I eructated, farted, ejaculated? I couldn’t say and neither could you.

We were both trembling flesh and when we looked into each other’s eyes we both blanched and both immediately forgot everything. You didn’t notice me chuckle and breathe and I didn’t notice you chortle and wheeze.

Certainly I am not repressed and neither are you. Nor are we a we or an anything.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Earning Becoming

I spent quite a bit of time this morning trying to find the exact name of the exact book on how to write jokes Drew Carey checked out from an Ohio public library in order to learn comedy and to launch his career. ( I learned Carey had done this listening to an interview of Carey on NPR.)

As if there was this one “how-to-write jokes” book and it was the magic one and I had to get that single book in order to get the magic. There doesn’t seem to have been one book in particular…More likely it was a collection of books he used and selected from. I guess the idea is simply that Carey became a successful comic by reading about comedy; he became funny by reading about how to be funny...He used books available free to the public--in other words, his methods for funniness are in wide distribution and utilizable by millions and no doubt used by millions to no funny effect whatsoever. Why did reading library books work well for Carey but not for (many) others?

Carey learned to do standup comedy by reading about it…Which does seem counter-intuitive and miraculous and does prompt the question: did he really? Did he really learn that way? (Upon further reflection I understand my own nearly-subconscious feeling that Carey had discovered a magic comedy book in that Ohio library -- the ONE book capable of making the unfunny become funny...)

Why do I have a strong feeling Carey’s self-interpretation of what happened to him (he became a great comic by reading books on how to be a comic at the library,) is a wrong one?

There’s something funny and “funny” about one of the most successful comics of our time becoming one of the most successful comics of our time by reading how-to-do-it books from the library.

Do I want to be a comic? Nope.

Why was I looking for this information? I can’t really say. I don’t really like Drew Carey that much either. It might have something to do with a queer thought which came into my head yesterday as I was driving to Pro Music. I was thinking of things I’d wanted from life, for example – to write a book. In my mind, these things were exceptionally important…They made life. They gave life meaning and substance. But I have somehow found a way that they not have this life-draining substance, this hold on me…And this is not merely a “sour grapes” feeling I’m having now when I realize the unattainability of them for me. To write a book – I would sit down to write a book and what I would always feel was the inadequacy of any particular book I might write to fulfill this requirement. I took it as my own inadequacy (which it might have been to some extent, but that’s not the point,) but in the important way it was the inadequacy of any book, any writing, to do what I had wanted the book and the writing to do and to be. To confer this magic specialness upon me and upon reality itself. If I wrote beautifully, then what? I became beautiful? Perhaps, but not in this shimmering way I had hoped for?

I could write a book at any time I sat down to write the book. It might have gotten published, too, perhaps. (Meaning it’s in the realm of possibility though not a likelihood.) But I also had this sense of the misguidedness of what I was trying to do (not the misguidedness of seeking perfection, though in part that; I think more the whole idea of trying to assign to myself a worthiness through taking on this or that activity- let’s call it the pursuit of excellence…As if, through pursuit of excellence I would have value…This too is not untrue;) Is it the pursuit of love through the pursuit of excellence? Did I feel how there was nothing I could write which would have a lovely excellence? If it did have a lovely excellence, I think I would note how it was by chance alone that it had a lovely excellence, and this “chance alone” quality would invalidate the effort and the effect.

I would have to be excellent in order to become excellent. Drew Carey would have to be a great comedian in order to learn to become a great comedian by reading library books. I want to earn what I want to become, but maybe that’s where the impossibility inflicts me…

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Critical Becoming

I have some vague and unsatisfactory idea of the meaning of the word “becoming” which mainly consists of certain sets of images which are images of flowing. I think of becoming as a kind of river carrying everything along – its headwaters are at the origin of the universe, and its mouth is at the ocean of infinity, which might be heaven or death and extinguishment. Time is a river. At this moment of the play of images in my mind I lose track of any purpose in playing through these images, and I go kind of gaga. I’m willing to conclude the matter of becoming is inscrutable. I get a pleasant sort of relaxing wonderment out of this little mind game, which I think has some relationship to what I feel when I experience the erotic, and so I hang on to it – I come back to it now and again. I definitely feel closer to the erotic in this play of images associated with whatever “becoming” might name than I do when I try to imagine being – a landlocked idea of dry Greek geometrical shapes carved immutably into marble or granite – colors and warmth worn away by the ages, but the form itself virtually untouched and untouchable.

We side with the erotic, against the fascistic and the inflexible, and therefore we align ourselves (and this alignment is kind of an unconscious political alignment,) with some vague and unsatisfactory idea of becoming and against being conceived as the unchanging (which, if being opposes becoming, it must be seen to be.) I don’t think this works the way we seem to continue to believe it does. The idea of becoming which is backing this alignment, giving it what we seem to believe is some critical edge, isn’t capable of giving any critical edge at all…We have an illusion of an idea, of an edge, which we then attempt, with all well-meaning and good intentions, to apply in political situations – to negotiating the real—and it won’t cut. We can’t think becomingly.

I frequently confront the panta rhei quotation of Heraclitus, (it is actually as if the panta rhei fragments are the only fragments of Heraclitus which survive – the other fragments are popularly ignored,):

“Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.

You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet others go ever flowing on.”

This encapsulates in a very wonderful way every image of becoming I possess. The problem is that it does not help me to think becoming, to think becomingly. I am not sure it does anything for me at all except act as a touchstone for the allegiance to becoming I’ve mentioned above.

What can be done with the panta rhei doctrine in this immutable form by which it has been handed down through the ages? I think there are only a few responses possible: 1) I can believe or disbelieve it- I can treat it as a matter of belief; 2) I can passively wonder at it, in the manner of a mystic; 3) I can be prompted to indifference by it…If everything flows and nothing abides, I also will flow and not abide…So what? I’m already becoming; I must be thinking becoming by the mere existence of my thinking at all…My thinking flows and does not abide because everything flows and does not abide.

I don’t think there is a productive response to this image of change; I don’t think it will yield up creative or critical thinking. The making of becoming into a matter of belief is the worst part…The attitude of belief is an extremely peculiar one, anyway. Maybe at one time not so very long ago, no one, and especially religious or mystical persons, had attitudes of belief. But now, we speak of having belief, of “beliefs”, as if belief, to believe, is synonymous with religion, with behaving religiously. (Believe in being or becoming—it is the attitude of belief which is the important thing…More important than whatever it is one believes in.) This also has the effect of setting the religious into opposition to the critical attitude.

We have to actually think becoming before we can have a critical becoming; we need to create concepts of becoming in order to make philosophical thinking productive.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Banana Publican

I’m a hominid. I can do very little. Because I am a primate, and because primates have been scientifically shown to have enormous excess brain capacity (I’m thinking here of the latent language capacity of the apes. Taught in captivity, apes have achieved – what is it? A vocabulary approaching that of a small child? I think that’s about right,) I believe I can rightfully claim to have enormous excess brain capacity. You’d never know it looking at me, as I lumber along, silently scavenging for whatever I might happen to come across…

Scavenging is too glorious a word for what I do, alas. I literally have to stumble over something to find it…Stumble over it or get close enough to it to smell it…My olfactory powers are greater than yours, but they are not great in comparison to any of the animals around me…I am not competing in any biologically-acceptable use of that word…I am bottom feeding what is left behind by all the other bottom feeders around me…If I am faced with the situation where I must clash or fight with them, I give way. I can’t fight off even the jackals, I cannot withstand the bites they would give me.

I can’t even dream of eating a banana…Are you kidding me? Go up against the chimps? Fat fucking chance of victory there.

I apologize for having made my life sound dreary – it is not. What I mainly experience is ecstasy. I’m experiencing a lot of wonder…That’s the tone of my existence, a kind of open-mouthed gawping wonder at…both nothing and everything. And it feels great. My life is difficult and it certainly would look miserable to an outside observer…If I saw myself as an outside observer saw me, I might be bewitched to lose this innocent feeling of the greatness I feel, but I haven’t invented either the concept of an outside or the concept of an observer or even the capacity of evaluating my feeling or knowing I am feeling my feeling…This ecstasy in me is a kind of baseline default feeling and I don’t even know I am feeling it, necessarily.

The only homo sapiens analogy to this ecstasy I can come up with to describe – and I mean this only as an indication, I’m not being precise--are the feelings accompanying immersion in an important project- but there was time and there was energy and I had that moment and that moment sufficed and felt happy in the very brief moments I looked up and thought about. I guess in making this comparison I am making a celebration of necessity, which has a reactionary ring to it, but there’s reality in necessity and if you can’t celebrate reality, you’ve got problems. We need necessity. To be in need is not necessarily to be impoverished. It’s better to look at it as an intense involvement in one’s life, whatever that life might be.

I want to lay my problems out on the table. It is not at all obvious why I would ever behaviorally modify myself…It is not obvious why I would change my life to make my life easier or better for myself. Why would I ever pick up a rock or clack a rock against another rock? Would I, if I picked up a sharp rock, say cutting myself accidentally, have a “sudden realization” (an inspiration, as they say—incorrectly, I believe,) that this “sharpness” (a quality?) presents me with an enormous range of new possibilities? Of potential “usefulness”? Remember: I am trying to get at what is known as rationality, not merely assume it…Assume it exists, even. Having been a homo sapiens at one point introduces to me a temptation to retrodiction… The homo sapiens knows that the hominid flaked rocks and this proved to be useful to the hominid. In my hominid form, I cannot predict anything. I certainly do not have a concept of prediction, and as a matter of fact, homo sapiens didn’t either until very late in their own game. I cannot even “observe.”

I pick up two rocks, one in each hand. Maybe I can manage this. Can I bring the two hands together? Probably a lot of practice would allow me to do this. Why would I take the time to practice? Would the act of loading my hands with rocks and then clacking the rocks together give me some special pleasure? I think that’s doubtful,(but maybe it would, I’m not sure.) If I do this –clack rocks—I don’t have a distinct idea of why I am doing it. It’s not for the exercise. It’s not to develop my mind. It’s not a “sublimated sexual impulse.” It’s not an embryonic “religious ritual.” I think that this action would have to be considered to be prior to any myth...It can't be considered to be guided by myth in any sense of myth of which I have knowledge. It’s not a job. There’s no inchoate model or plan I’m enacting. There’s no goal or notion of “innovation.” I’m just not so sure I am innately a toolmaker…Of course if I do make that assumption then my way through this thicket is immediately cleared…The whole problem I want to get at is magically removed.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Growl And A Howl - A Whine And A Cry?

The Enlightenment has finally gone underground and this blog lives up to its name. The Enlightenment did indeed try to cast off the self-inflicted immaturity of man and force him to become-human and use his reason simply because he (in Immanuel Kant's own words) had become-TOO-domesticated-animal,

The guardians who have kindly taken upon themselves the work of supervision will soon see to it that by far the largest part of mankind (including the entire fair sex) should consider the step forward to maturity not only as difficult but also as highly dangerous. Having first infatuated their domesticated animals, and carefully prevented the docile creatures from daring to take a single step without the leading-strings to which they are tied, they next show them the danger which threatens them if they try to walk unaided. Now this danger is not in fact so very great, for they would certainly learn to walk eventually after a few falls. But an example of this kind is intimidating, and usually frightens them off from further attempts.

Here Kant actually turns into an anti-humanist, meaning that the laws of human nature are the very laws of nature: animals behave like humans, thus privileging humans. This is what Deleuze and Guattari refer to in ATP in section 10 as Nature conceived as an enormous mimesis of human behavior. They oppose this by pointing out the fallacy of the structuralistic approach to nature, i.e. that it is internally organized and propagating on the basis of resemblances, through mimesis, like a gigantic metaphorical mechanism.

D&G argue instead that nature is unorganized and simply functions through becoming. And becoming is never imitating. Becoming-rat does not mean resembling a rat. It means functioning the way rats function, as part of the rat pack. Rats too pursue a becoming-rat. A becoming always deviates from the majority. When considering human becomings D&G argue there is no such thing as becoming-man,

because man is majoritarian par excellence, whereas becomings are minoritarian; all becoming is a becoming-minoritarian.

Since man is the primary standard, all becomings, even when they involve women, take off from the point of man. So D&G can write,

A woman has to become-woman, but in a becoming-woman of all man

So, referring back to both Kant and D&G, is becoming-animal = becoming-woman?

Does becoming-woman sound like a growl and a howl, and does man sound like a whine and a cry?

Is sexual maturity becoming-female-animal-man?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Homo Sapped Sapience

The hominid I am becoming is a becoming-human.

The animal I am becoming is a becoming-human.

The human I am becoming is a becoming-animal.

It makes a difference.

It makes a difference.

What we think of as the animal hasn’t got a damned thing to do with the animal. It has to do with reacting to the ultimately restrictive changes and differences assembled by the geniuses of the 18th century Enlightenment and then inflicted upon all of us.( As if we were dumb matter and what the geniuses supplied us with was the “form” which arranged this dumb matter into a "beautiful" sculpture.) That’s all it has to do with. In other words, there's nothing whatsoever creative or creatively-potentiating, in taking up "the animal" as we typically conceive it - it is a reactive and regulating principle, not an activator or actuating concept.

Enlightenment was a casting off of self-inflicted immaturity; immaturity was understood as an inability to reason for oneself... The capacity to reason came to be viewed the criterion of maturity, of being adult.( The capacity to reason came to be viewed as what is distinctively human; the capacity to desire has been assumed to be shared with "the animal." Reason in the 18th century Enlightenment comes to be a form which forms the dumb matter of the human being's many "animal" impulses.)

But there's really only one kind of maturity that matters- sexual maturity- and though "reasoning for oneself" could play some as yet unexplored role in sex-matur- becoming, "reasoning for oneself" alone is not sufficient. Sexual maturity cannot be achieved with an isolating disparagement of "the animal" requires the animal as a creative concept.

The biological-physiological maturation processes, alone, are not sufficient, either. One doesn't reach sexual maturity at the end of puberty- puberty is only the very first baby step in that process.

Enlightenment,having privileged "knowledge" and a "knowledge maturity", has had the curious effect of removing even an expectation of sexual maturity beyond puberty...The dynamic of knowledge maturity displacing a notion of sexual maturity reminds me of the phenomenon of the hypertrophy of one organ or area of the body leading to the atrophy of another, of one faculty developing at the expense of another, but perhaps a more productive way to view what has happened is to see the effect as the "redistribution of singularities" created by the powerful Kantian-Enlightenment conceptual apparatus. The prospect that this redistribution of singularities would doom so many to perpetual adolescence may not have displeased Kant...I see a pertinence to the "merely" biographical fact of Kant spending his afternoons enjoying fine English cheeses, but never ever another kind of afternoon delight. In What is Enlightenment? where we see Kant explicitly equate the power to reason for oneself with maturity, we also see Kant getting down on his hands and knees before Frederick in what I urge be recognized as a gesture of sexual immaturity.

Excuse me now-- Betsy has invited me over for some good, old-fashioned, raw carcass. Oh boy!

The 18th century Enlightenment was really the most important, the primary, step in a becoming human, in what we would all call being human.(Being human comes to mean not being animal.) Let’s be honest about that, okay? It’ll be a lot easier that way.

Becoming animal is a primary step in counteracting the hylomorphic heist of the human capacity to boldly go outside, out there where we can be “out there.”