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Tel Quel

je sais bien mai quand même

Tag Archives: Unbearable Lightness of Being

The lights didn’t take my eyes, I’m still alive, I still know how many fingers any-generic-you are holding up: two, three, four, six, two point seven. It’s difficult to accept reductive quantification. I am a number. Technically, the intransitive aspect (despite the absent verb) invalidates the clause. Metaphysically speaking, again, it’s all part of one giant antipathic cosmic equation. This time, I used antipathic as a derivative noun. Because language is such, as such, that is why two point seven is not blunt force trauma, it’s plain trauma.

It’s a travesty because sometimes I refuse to explain (to) myself. In spite of language being and extending outside of everything if possible, the structure (I don’t like the word structure) of the word as in morpheme and phoneme being the process of sign, signifier, signification is premised on the assumption of one meaning at any one time and space. One suggests wholeness, an absolute, finite and in terms of the Boolean constant: true; the markers of perfection. It’s a simultaneous breath and death in every word and sentence, and punctuation. Punctuations have souls you know? They aren’t linguistic accessories or by-products of academic ignorance, with much respect to Vonnegut and Brian. What they might have liked to imply was its flagrant misuse and misrepresentation instead. But coming back, I know my fundamental logic has been compromised along this paragraph but it’s the same difference between a structuralist and post-structuralist. To use Barthes’ metaphor, a camera lucida. However, it is so much more alive than I can even begin to describe and since I like cats, I’ll use Schrödinger’s cat as an allusion, metaphor and everything else.

It’s a misunderstanding. Language does not fail per se, it is hyper-effective. Dualities are also pretty bogus sometimes so it’s not an Either/Or logic, especially so in this context. Just as I cannot adequately, conclusively process the prospects of forever or use Kepler’s Laws to measure the meaning of always. I am finite.

Yet sometimes I just trust, and feel, in spite of; to just stand within  (and not just to hear, according to Kundera ) the semantic sussurus of the tributaries whose nature resemble the Mandelbrot set, and breathe. I revere them because they protect me, and they protect me inside. If I repeat this number and several other concomitant facts long enough, they will gradually become awkward phonemes and empty sets, all over again. So Winterson is relatively wrong when she said, “As though repetition might achieve what faith could not.” But I still believe her anyway.

This is all displacement, so they say. Ego and Superego protecting the Id from material consequences: just an extension of the continuously evolving socio-cultural mores of modern society therefore law, logic, empirical reasoning for quantity control at one one-trillionth of a scale. I did mean quantity, not quality. Maybe not one one-trillionth because Jung postulates the presence of Synchronicity, or the collective unconscious. It came to a point where the numbers broke my heart: 945, 1216, 2020, 0525, 2.7…, but it doesn’t mean enough anymore. Numbers don’t protect me, all the little earnest love-making pairs of morphemes and phonemes do (and also incidentally reminding me of mome raths)

Thus weary of the world away she hies,
And yokes her silver doves; by whose swift aid
Their mistress, mounted, through the empty skies
In her light chariot quickly is convey’d;
Holding their course to Paphos, where their queen
Means to immure herself and not be seen.

11. 1189-1194

Apparently Paphos is the Southwest of Cyprus, nice. And if not Milton or Shakespeare, let there be no other. (Also because it is one of my favourite paintings from Vecelli) I have absolutely zero technical eye for Renaissance art, but it’s beautiful in a Shakespearian-Threnos kind of way therefore unconditional, because sometimes I really don’t have a reason for everything. The world spins madly on.

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01:05

I fell asleep at midnight but my heartbeat was too loud, like the symptomatic pause before the actual collision. The strangest dreams are the ones that have all the literal meaning and I figure it out immediately because I’ve somehow lost the space to be subconsciously aware and pardoned in advance because of the lack of clarity. But I’m completely lucid, so there’s an error. The most problematic yet is relativity

02:15

“Everything is pardoned in advance therefore cynically permitted”, according to Page 4. But I’m completely lucid you see or at least I’d really like to think so, I think I know what I’m doing. I wish I were more appreciative of Murakami’s novel because it is profoundly honest in a mildly sensualist sort of way but I found his exploration into alterity disturbingly axiomatic (in language, symbol…) Then again, to me the entire novel is indiscreet, not in a bad way, I’m just not used to it. After Winterson, Vonnegut, Kundera and Lewis Carroll, and now Pirsig (whom I’ve learnt metaphysics through practical organization of papers so far), I’m more inclined to becoming simultaneously less and more transparent at the same time. Murakami’s more linear, almost like a throwback to reality although I don’t appreciate it as much as I would like to. Two things that stuck with me though, is Laika (however paltry her appearance but I think that is the point) and the incident in the ferris-wheel at night. The gravity of sensory-perception could not be more heightened then, for me. Still, I’m not too sure if he’s a favourite, perhaps in a different way.

03:04

Stendhal, Chapter 39, Page 131 : “It is, therefore, most important to control the imagination in…” Objectively, I keep myself occupied inside before I realize that the cold is getting to my hands and feet but it might help me fall asleep tonight, like a car indefinitely in reverse

What hath night to do with sleep?
Night hath better sweets to prove,
Venus now wakes, and wak’ns Love
Com, knit hands, and beat the ground,
In a light fantastick round

If not Milton, let there be none.

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I embraced the first day of school, the comfort of reluctant familiarity. The prospects of impending essays… and the prospects of impending essays. It may seem a trifle, but I’m sure the way we write our friend’s names between empty spaces of our timetable have a deeper meaning than we could possibly understand, not just for the company but a greater indistinguishable metaphor in itself. Like how I write out maudlin (but colour-corresponding) monologues at the edge of my paper, Death Cab’s Marching Band of Manhattan. And for what purpose? What metaphorical form does it take? To what cathartic effectiveness?

Kundera himself said “Metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to…” Of course, it eludes me like Invisible Cities, like Bakhtin’s Formalism, like Love. Neil is right, there is no teleological metanarrative. But what is the non-metanarrative, the not-Unifying theory? Is it a series of smaller, mutually independent incidents held together by… I have no idea. Suddenly I realise I can only describe what something is, by what it’s not; and that’s not even considering the fidelity of lexical semantics (Evidently they are not faithful at all.) I feel guilty for this sudden (re)assurance of capriciousness in the relativisation of a lot of things, it seems too easy. Yet, we could have been sitting in the very last row of Rushdie’s cinematic spectacle after all, unaware and unable to go to the front where the faces on the screen begin to contort, and expand into individual blocks of colour-coded number sequence. In Part 4, “Dialogue on the Art of Composition”, C Salmon asks Kundera “What does the word ‘farce’ mean to you?”

This is where things start to have the appearance of ‘sense’. Our inherent vulnerability and failures are so because we only have words, and they are never enough. Even as I am grounding my consciousness into composition, they start to change and take on different nuances over a different space-time. This is beyond metamorphosis, one could say an anamorphic reality even. In truth, we fail (and fall) because we have so little to hold on to. But that’s not to say we disregard efforts, our own and others. Because what Neil says, “The World as Text”, ultimately also becomes the World as Idea, and this Idea is a universal incomprehensibility and moral vacuum (however he may disapprove). I’d like to think of it as an echo. The further sound travels, the fainter it becomes, up to the point where we wonder if there was ever a sound produced in the first place, then it passes through reason and memory; and we will not even remember if we ever wondered about a sound that produced a veritable echo.

Actually, here’s the thing: we forget everything eventually. We don’t even need to stimulate a mock stressor to pass into lacunar amnesia, the mind naturally forgets. Everything. Perhaps this is Lyotard’s La condition postmoderne: where the only memory, narrative, morality we can ever preserve, is not in our own efforts but others. A coagulation of unrelated fragments that subsequently unifies perhaps, however awkwardly. Through a series of smaller, mutually independent…

+++

Right now, I only know of metaphors. And metaphors above metaphors, meaning more than the original metaphor. The weight is unbearable, but upon reaching critical mass, I finally understand. The Parmenidean progression (or transgression) from weight to weightlessness. All I need is an echo, you know?

“Just like a faucet that leaks/ And there is comfort in the sound”

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When I keep replaying the images in my head, I think I’ve always been drawn to Lionel’s character in Rising Stars. It’s not easy to be the only one who can see what the other’s cannot, and still believe in them even to the point of helping them. It was always him and the others, one acquired perspective against a common collective consciousness. He was a spiritual medium, but also in the literal sense, straddling between two time-parallels therefore belonging to neither one nor the other. A modern-day Constantine bound in an earthen Purgatory “with no possibility of redress” (I like that phrase from Kundera’s ULoB) . In my excitement I’ve repeated the story of the Pederson flash to some friends, but they don’t know what happened/happens to Lionel or at least, not significantly. Well, he saved the world in his own way, from a meta-dimensional destroyer that sought to bring balance into the scheme of Things, for the fictional rest of us without this particular gift of sight (in more ways than one) it’s hard to fathom the gravity of such events. I can only imagine how painstaking it must have been to keep so much inside, like the Watcher, having to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders silently. It’s also hard to imagine how he must have felt, to be special (in more ways than one) because in the end, even the one he truly loved gets hit by a car, leaving behind nothing more than a scent and a feather from an angel’s wing (presumably hers) after her soul was taken by the world destroyer. Such a gift can only be described with an inchoate sadness, if nothing at all.

***

Last night/This morning, when I voided my insides, I voided my soul. And now I am a walking, breathing corpus delicti of a vacuum in a vacuum in a vacuum. It is the times when I feel the wind rushing up on my face as I stand on the edge of uncertainty that I suddenly feel alive; alive with the putrid smell of my own vomit, or alive with the rush of vertigo. “What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” This emotional holocaust, it is breathtaking. I am the air, insubstantial and tenuous. By the third time I’ve read the book, I cannot help but think of chance, luck, happenstance or fortuity- to which each holds it’s own value, breadth and depth. It took “six improbable fortuities” for the fate of Tomas and Tereza to bind together and weave a new symphony of colour and sound, whereas mine is a conflation of accidents, clumsy retorts and goodwill. One of Kundera’s leitmotif “Muss Es Sein?” is a timely reminder, with every page and personal memory affirming the protagonist’s half-convicted resignation “Es muss sein.” The ghost of Beethoven’s Sixteenth haunts me with a terrible and difficult past into the light of unbearable beauty: I am not the child in the bulrush basket sent downstream, I am not in the playing field. Maybe, I am just not enough.

***

These aliens, these foreign, obtuse bodies alarm me as they gradually encroach into my radius; my hallowed ground of privacy and disconnection. I avoid their dubious eyes, the tinted windows of their souls; they shall never meet mine. Without disappearing entirely, I leave behind encryptions, metaphors and abstractions where an isolated understanding becomes “the emblem of a secret brotherhood” as I hope for a co-incidence, a converging of kindred souls. (“They felt they were standing on a snow-covered plain, shivering with cold. Then they moved together like lovers who had never kissed before.” ) I still get the occasional bad dreams, but I am not Tereza, I am not the child in the pitch-daubed bulrush basket sent downstream.

“Please find me,” I whisper to nobody in particular.

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