Saturday, January 27, 2007

helplessnesslessness - belonginglonging

I saw the Aronofsky movie 'Pi' again on Wednesday night. It is spastic and delirious, creepy and hypertrophic and most of all subjects the material to little underdressing of intent: the audience has to keep up if they want to undo or resist the disturbance it instills. Problem is, the mainman, Max, is on performance enhancers and already has a preternatural gift for numbers. Try catching that greased-up nerd. The next day, I sat at work, looking down at the drill in my hand, wondering if the opposite effect could be induced. As if reality could be widened with power tools. As if some of the books I've never read, but want to have read, would fit on a shelf I install at the back of my head. Morelike it'd become one of those everything drawers that contain greening pennies, ocular devices, stale loveletters, gunky teenage-sized retainers, broken bracelets and trinkets, tacks, gammy-looking condoms, pebbles, stray cheetos, baggies, defunct lighters, CD covers, capgun ammunition...

Then on Thursday I read the comments on a friend's blog, thought some, added a comment and then thought some more (which may've been less), and decided to try and borrow part of the discussion: What determines personal reality and does it relegate public reality or inform it? Isabel referred to a NYTimes article about predetermination; Steve to determinate causality (in regards to Amy's 1984 quote); Eve to the choices made within that causality; and me to-------


There's a secret smile we can all wear, and all wear where we can. We all want to belong, to ourselves and to more than that, to something greater than ourselves (and yet something that befits our attitudes and beliefs). If I understand this correctly, both are forms of transcendence. Both rely on manners of transposition. Upon joining a group, we are impregnated with the greater personality, the ideology, the identity, the mission, the communal project and we are outside ourselves. Our own personality, while intact, is temporarily transmutated.. we can exceed our own limits (as we see them). This can be (and always is) done on an everyday, individual basis. We know it as a state of flow, or immersal, or involvement, a state of grace... in mammalian terms, as learning. You become bigger than yourself. It's been my personal belief that laughter is the most obvious form of this (I've suspected laughter as a type of momentary metamorph for some time, but there's a dearth of existential investigations about this.. if anyone knows of any...). And, in my humble opinion, the most important aspect -as the only form of immortality (so closely linked, we can't even separate it from our consciousness) yet created; an instrument so powerful we can't really even realize it- language shows itself as transcendental. Paradoxically, we want to resist our horizonal leaps (in the form of seeking security; hidden behind a palisade of Ps: permanence, persistence, protection, principle, prestige etc) and stay the 'ego' as static. As soon as this happens, a whole slew of abstract problems begin to erupt: intellectual, emotional and spiritual. And this becomes a tiny death that we pass off as bad luck, poor self-esteem, lack of confidence/competence. Lived daily. We are meant to outdo the ego. Be in a constant state of becoming. Project. To conceive of ourselves. For further reading, try Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger and friends.

This recollection helped me today while I breathed toxic floor laminate dust. What sayeth you?


Eve said...

Hmm. Interesting.

This is something I've been thinking about. To me, it's about balancing the finding of flow (very important) within a group (always difficult for me) and individually. But I also think that the group is scary. Think mob mentality. Or the Kitty Genovese phenomenon, where people put responsibility on others within the group (military-style.)

And language is the main means of forming connections between individuals. But think about when you are first getting to know a (potential) lover. It's not what they say, but the tones and the meaning behind it. Shit, one could seduce a woman with talk about...toxic floor dust, say.

Um, maybe that's not what you were talking about, but it's what your post made me think about.

pagno said...

You touch on a lot of subjects that peak my interest here… One that stands out to me is the acquisition of self. It makes me wonder if self could be an example of a reality that exists outside of the self. By that I mean could the self be the only objective reality there is? What is the culmination of self? How can the self be defined? I know some existentialists talked about self being a sort of always-now where one’s past choices and future potentials meet. But the events of one’s past and choices regarding one’s future are so interpretive and rely so heavily on perception that that can’t be an example of anything objectively real. And ultimately, my concern is whether or not there is any realm that exists outside of the things we are capable of seeing. Isn’t believing in something like that religious?

Mood Indigo said...

I wonder sometimes if myself is the only reality I can truly know. That seems horribly self-absorbed, but can it be anything but true?

S'Mat said...

you guys are keeping it real!

ames.. what about love? isn't that a form of belief?

pagno said...

ha ha! you mean am i a real pessimist? i guess so. love is most definitely an example of a belief.

i considered love in grammatical forms (love the noun, love the verb, and my distractions concerning whether or not the word verb will ever become a verb), psychological forms (in love, familial love, sex, obsession) and in some of its deceptive forms (love for things that don’t actually exist ie: future hopes, old relationships, the dead, and all realities that don’t exist outside my own mind which i’ve yet to conclusively determine, see the initial springboard for your post here). love doesn’t seem to be anything more than a belief.

if the only real things are the things we believe, then i guess we’re all just a bunch of religious fanatic types.