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Tel Quel

je sais bien mai quand même

Category Archives: Unreality

It’s one of those midnight ruminations again because I can’t get started proper even though my brain activity is usually at its highest at this hour and beyond but also the most complacent… Are multiple conjunctions even legal? My supervisor says bad grammar is annoying.

Anyway I was looking at a couple of pictures off my usual haunts, and it’s oddly mesmerizing how I could never imagine myself actually being surrounded by post-coital ashes, having grimy hands (paint-stained, glitter-covered for whatever old-rave/new-age, artistic reasons), poorly maintained knees (cp. one of the average Tumblr posts – Why? I don’t know), or being photogenically reduced against dubious-looking wallpaper. The whole grunge, hipster-whore (not a derivative of hippie) movement is too unreal and mildly unhygienic. But I did notice that the long hair helped to cover most of the faces, which is universally good advice that I intend to manifest in due time. Even if these images represent a fetishized cult of the Social, I don’t understand how these could pass off as anything but mainstream. There’s really nothing characteristic about poetic/imaginative filth or intentionally unkempt conditions but there is some sort of perpetuating obsession about it. It’s not that I’m one of those harmony-preaching harpies or better still, a germaphobe but if you’re telling me that people (who profess to be part of the scene) can or will live like that, yousa lyin’ sonofagun. It’s like the myth behind pornography where everything is exceptionally clean, sound and timed right; the grass doesn’t give you hives and even the bonnet of the car isn’t that hot after all, and copious amounts of semen is actually good for the eyes…

My table might be in a permanent mess and so is my hair on most days but still I appreciate good shelving habits and clean fingernails. I might repeat socks and sweat-free t-shirts on the off chance —
Well I suppose I am dirty, but not that dirty dirty.


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“Like the physically and spiritually impoverished, six of us huddled over beer and cigarettes, forming a haphazard circle of possibilities. Into the night, frivolity left our lips. We spoke without a care or obligation; without a care of the said “End of Days” while the ashtray depicted a downtown Tokyo, blackened by soot but continued to gleam sporadically, a makeshift pyre and subconsciously (or no), a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are the In-Betweens, straddled between now and never again, between the metaphorical gutter and the stars. This is our halfway house…

… with lots of plants. (Out of which brought forth Plato, Locke, Kant and at some point De Sade.) Eyes wander and avoid, darting off bubbles, froth, objects and people to release the tension held by a single irreversible knot leading to the gap between Law and Lawlessness. (We are the In-Betweens.) In the midst of all things, I realized we were being watched over (from the top right window) by half-bodied mannequins with neon-coloured hair and gaping mouths. These are Conrad’s “lower sort of apostles” as we sat still in the spirit of religious-like fervour, embalmed in the smell of our own hallowed tobacco and the blood of dead philosophers.”

I used to be so much more interesting; perpetually caught up in the maelstrom of my own monologues, both real and imagined. In any case, I really liked this post. Now all that’s left is a fiercely self-conscious obscurantism —


I’m not so much disturbed by the knowledge that I ultimately have to form my own impressions on matters of dissent, but more with the prospect of things that (I earnestly think) might be right may not necessarily be true. (Truth being inevitably predicated on some constructivist epistemology or worst still, consensus) How now meine frau

Also, I have to add/freak out here that the idea of absolute moral judgment on the pretext of karma, or justice, for that matter, escapes me completely. I do not see how any part of the alleged Japan Karma Trifecta can make sense, at all (I’m not even going to specifically comment on the obscenity of certain misspellings) At this point I am desperately trying my gosh-darnedest* not to feed the trolls because there are, safe to say, maybe 300 million of them inhabiting Plato’s proverbial cave. The more I read, the more guilty I become of being essentially in the same damn genus, and I sincerely hope that this guilt is not the product of some subconscious First-World empathy.

Needless to say, I have lost my moral compass.

When I am more lucid, I shall come back to this post again but in general, I am decidedly more productive after 00:30 than the other twelve hours of my waking moments put together (which are periodically littered with opulent naps).

*my virgin attempt at being refined

[/Edit 04:16]
As I come to the conclusion that the best people I’ve never actually met (or the precious one or two that I already know) are on Tumblr, possibly the most devastating news has just surfaced onto my Dashboard. Can’t seem to collect myself appropriately for a coherent response.

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One of the best prose pieces I have read, in my opinion; an alternative reproduction of De Consolatione Philosophiae in the advent of a post-ism social scene — (an excerpt)

“Some kinds of happiness may be subjective, in the sense that people are often contented if they think they are. Sometimes you just have to take their word for it. You may be wrong about thinking you are happy in some deeper sense of the word, but it is hard to see how you can be wrong about feeling gratified and at ease, anymore than you can have a pain and not know about it.

The kind of happiness that matters, however, is the kind which is much less easy to determine. You cannot tell whether your life is flourishing simply by introspection, because it is a matter of how you are doing, not just of how you are feeling. Happiness is about living and acting well, not just about feeling good. For Aristotle, it is a practice or activity rather than a state of mind. It is about realizing your capacities, not having a particular outlook on life. “


I would like to believe that, at least for a moment, in the reclamation of Tahrir Square, the people had began to embark on a collective pursuit of happiness through the realization of an intrinsic solidarity of will(s) to power and Freedom, regardless of consequences. Deviating from the Nietzschean solipsism of “will” and “power”, the murmurings of promise in an inchoate neo-democracy is not in the sole force of individualists for change but in the greater Vox Populi — There were no said directions of Right or Left, reminding me of Akroyd’s Plato who believed that perception was always constrained in so far as (our) three-dimensionality was concerned and it is true; the morbid sentiments of history have always been crudely reduced to geometric opposition.

And in the momentary dissolution of Rights and Lefts, there was only a resurgence of Hope, not a wave of euphoria but the promise of Paradise Found endemic to their people and immortalizing once more the namesake of Midan Tahrir, “Liberation Square”. It is understandable then, to romanticize the revolutionary movement as a kind of transitional zeitgeist of mustard gas and roses, but watching the reports from Goodman et al., commentaries from Confessionsofanautisticboy, Mohandas Ghandi etc., bring back a fervent realism that it could still very much go either way, and the idea of Fate or Faith is as foreign to me as trying to imagine myself anything other than the way I am now. There is nothing inherently romantic about the establishment of self-governance and communal order through collective efforts for peaceful, “civilized” protest and ownership of Tahrir Square because it is an arduous but necessary, uncompromising journey to fight for Change.

However I did feel something else, watching the coalescence of sweatshirts and Tweed suits collecting and separating trash for recycling (People were walking about carrying open trash bags calling for donations to the “National Democratic Party”), traditionally gendered boundaries momentarily transgressed in the setting up of generic shelters and medical points; for the lack of a critically political lexicon — like the second wave of something big. I remember reading once, a critique of Nationalism as an outmoded, ethnocentric sentiment with a potential for irrational jingoism, but this is not always true (…except maybe for the Americans which often manifests itself under a different name and cause); in fact this is beyond Nationalism since the Revolution of ’52, something much more integral to the well-being of a people.

“There is nothing retrograde about roots.”
— Eagleton, T., After Theory

Perhaps it is also a reminder in light of the events that while the rhetoric of Hope and Change is infectious and potentially volatile, therein remains the persistence of a fundamental humanity and “the kind of knowledge bound up with moral value” which I have yet to fully understand but like many others around the world, continue to hope for.


It has been an oddly tenuous evening, I have too much on my mind but I doubt John would accept that as a feeble attempt of an excuse for my draft having gone to the dogs. Me and my First-World problems —
Guilty, guilty.

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I have been away for longer than expected, but I owe nobody explanations. Between the familiarity of pages and irregular pagination, I remind myself that it is my handwriting that gives (my) memory a voice, not this Georgian type-face; a feeble projection of the binary-coded decimal.

It’s been unsettling, the past few nights. I wake up, mildly lamenting my painful inability to have bearable dreams, much less brilliant ones. Mendeleyev dreamt up the Periodic Table, Lederman conversed with Democritus in the dreamscape of Fermilab’s Collider Detector Facility… I, on the other hand, was more inclined to hover between life and death situations in my lucid dreams: reversing the Euclidean condition and the accidental discovery wormholes, conspiracies, the Venus Project, the cognitive asylum between the humanist and the futurist, the scanners, the All reet! All reet! of Bester’s mad android, and in particular the neanderthal child. As usual, Asimov had the most influence on my dreams (the last time it was the Blood Daubers by Kosmatka and Poore in Asimov’s Science Fiction however indirectly) and I’d wake up with a queer feeling of physical and mental displacement that lasted well throughout the day. On one occasion, I solemnly watched my lunch travel from one end of the table to the other. These dreams were wearing me out and I could feel it.

Nonetheless, I earnestly swear by Asimov (and Bradbury, and Sturgeon). They are immensely enticing and horrific but I suppose that’s the fundamental premise of science fiction – hypotheses as infinite possibilities, the existence of the multiverse; the spiritus mundi as a thought experiment. Every night I found myself walking into Schrödinger’s Cattery, surrounded by cats and un-cats alike.
I can barely tell them apart sometimes.


Piece by piece the fragments are returned; the body, the work, the love, the life. (…) And which is true? That is, which is truer? Memory. My licensed inventions. Not all of the fragments return.

It was an irreparable vacuum of every other farewell. I turned towards the source of stillness so that none may see my face but you called out, like a wreath cast into the ocean. I let you take me in, coaxing me with an unspoken promise before releasing me once more. This wasn’t freedom, I did not want a choice and you didn’t give me one. On the contrary, we remained as lovers in a quantum entanglement; never one without the other, with the variability of motion and stasis in the same breath of logic.

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Like Scheherazade, I sit here biding my time- with the exception that I am no storyteller, surreptitiously armed only with a fervent imagination of sonnets and seas and tangerines; waiting for an inconclusive ending to a single story with algorithmic in-betweens of in-betweens, ad infinitum. (The Persians invented the numeral system)

No king, no conquest, no trial, just story after story, or episode after episode. There is no said Godot one is waiting for, just waiting. It is a delirium, an enchantment: “I have received orders not to move.” I have lost all mobility of thought, a mere repulsion or recurrence of “the lover’s fatal identity” of I’s and You’s. This is also a story about the mandarin and the courtesan with the promise of a hundred nights and the following abandonment on every ninety-ninth. One hundred minus one: There is always less not more, where everything hinges on everything and the consequential regression into a numbers game; pure mathematics.

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I opened the door thinking it was you, but it wasn’t.

(Knock knock) “Hi, would you like to buy some roses?”
Sorry, I don’t believe in Valentines’ Day.
(Pause) It’s okay, in that case, there’s also another option: Maybe you’d like to celebrate Friendship week instead?
…Not really, no.

I think I came across as brutally honest and/or socially awkward, I should have lied in some other way. In any case, I would like to believe my sincerity as a friend or potential lover is worth more than a flower or the exchange-value of one, especially on the attention paid only to one particular day. I don’t need the sorcery of mass consumerism invading my room tonight, what I would have done instead is to distribute 118 to 128 of The Culture Industry to the source of all these (menacing) flower-peddlers. I really don’t understand, and even so, the mortality rate of flowers are completely abysmal. It’s not even about viability in the first place; how is it that such a faculty is reduced to an apparently purposeful conduit of the industry, is beyond me. I cannot even consider Barthes’ question of evaluating viability and it’s supposed Goodness, but I do find something deeply ontological of one question in particular, “Why is it better to last than to burn?”

Of course, the merits of what must be considered (with regard to Barthes) outweighs the feeble attempts to consolidate the cultural standards of modern affection. I would think I have the capacity to deliver promises, not flowers – and not just for one day (to compensate for three hundred and sixty-four other days of potential, therefore also permitted, inadequacies).

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