Saturday, 7 January 2012

Centre Justified.

It's interesting that as I've progressed through school onwards to college, the more I wish to unlearn and the more I wish could be undone.

There are lots of reasons for this, one being that I haven't had a conventional educational career- already being in my third gap year. This present gap has proven disruptive in so many ways, both good and bad. But always instructive. I feed off disruption.

All the same, I must believe that between all the scholarship and reading, writing and thinking, deconstruction and agonizing analysis, I can retain some semblance of a pre-intelligent, pre-literate, pre-narrative self.

That self has so much to say and so much to do. I know it. I'm just hoping it hasn't died beneath the weight of all those words.

Sometimes I think that the shelf-life of a book is its afterlife. All these prophecies, histories, mythologies- are posthumously ours. We're all just paying our awe-struck respects.

A library is not unlike a cemetery to me. It's where knowledge goes to die. Goes to rest in silent peace. But like any good old ghost story, I believe, not all of it (knowledge) is dead yet. Some of it still haunts. Still resists. Feels like the oldest haunting in all the world. Feels like a mystery that's not myth yet. Feels like the unknown and unknowable. Feels like the stuff of a story, in search of a narrator. But there's no narrator to be found because maybe- the narrator is as implicated in this story's wonders and horrors as the characters are themselves. How could the narrator tell it, when he/she too, was it? All authority is lost. Authorships are disrupted, turned on their head. The scene is set- the camp fire frustrates against the firewood in its hunger for secrets, the marshmellows are ready and there's an appropriately spooky night chill- but no storytellers.

I have never wanted to get to know my pre-intelligent self more than when I'm at the library. In a flickering moment of semiotic disruption, I tell myself- there is nothing here. This is a maze of knowledge. All the truths here are centre justified or left aligned.

None of the books make any sense. They say nothing at all. Maybe if I held them, or smelt them, or tried tasting their pages, they'd mean more.

The universe seems to say, get over yourself, I came a really really long way, and I am not studied in my absolute awesomeness, nor am I cautiously humble about my infinite vastness.

I'm so much bigger than you and better than you and infinitely smaller than you too, and you will never shelve this.

It says, every time you begin a new sentence, the words are actually just falling off the goddamn page, because the world of words, is flat. The world of words hangs on an edge. Reading this world is a tenuous exercise and requires adjustments for loss of idiom. There’ll be seepage and stuff will get out; top secret stuff. Some of it will get out because it never really got in, to begin with.

All the same, I am sure you will search me out and call for me in the void, which is not the same as emptiness. It is the most fulfilling hollow of all, and if you try, you can hold it in the palm of your hand. The void is a giant metaphysical cunt. And I use the four-letter word here with the utmost deliberation. It is no mere coincidence that one can conceive both an idea and a baby. There is a pressing linguistic relationship between sex and knowledge. 'Ken' means both 'know' and 'give birth' (Barbara G Walker, 1983). When I am conscious of the yawning divide between the sign (signifier) and the signified, the image of falling into a gap or a hole, helps me express that lapse in signification- it's a deep and dark cleft. It's as frightening as it is welcoming. I feel that in order to achieve a better understanding of Self and Source, I must come to terms with the hole. All of them. The one I came out of- the one my words come out of and the one in the iris of my eye through which light enters. Each of these holes is an opening- it's a way in, and a way out. I must not fear the dark. And here's why.

The pupil- that dark, circular aperture in the iris of my eye, the aperture of the lens through which we view the world and maintain perspective and host worldviews,  is black.
The pupillary lumen is black. The word lumen is Latin for light and an opening. These connections remind me that for all our preoccupation with vision, illumination and seeing the 'light', all our light, all our luminous ideas and insights are refracted through a void of utter blackness. I do not fear the dark- I cuddle up next to it, and in its deep chasm and dark cavity, I sense possibility and promise. I sense a source. There is an opening in the dark.

As for words, and language, instead of an opening, I am presented with the obtuseness of an edge. Thales was right. The world is flat.

That's a lot of fallen words. We reinventorize them so that they rise again, and fall again. and rise again. left to right and right to left. We collect ourselves as we gather all the words together, as we pick up the fallen ones.We learn em up and commit them to memory, without asking whether they're committed to anything beyond their own semantic schemes. As Korzybski said, the map is not the territory. The word is not the truth. The word is not the first or the last, nor the beginning or The End. I speak and write in words but these words are never really, truly, my own. We killed it when we christened it. And yet, here I am- such a  mouthful. I'm gagging on the galaxy, choking on cosmos- not quite getting there. Every word leads me to yet some more words, as every map leads to yet some more maps, ad infinitum. As Bateson says in Steps to An Ecology of Mind (1972), "The territory never gets in at all....Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum." We are locked in a loop of recourse. I know my references but I know not the source. Maps of maps. Words of words. Gods of gods. Narrative of narratives. Texts of texts. Names of names. Kinda like the cover to Memento. Damn, that was a great film! And so, I regress infinitely.

Speaking of names,  something about the culture of “naming” in general fascinates me so much. It's very functional and irrational at the same time. Pseudonyms have always been as much about evading the public eye and masking the private as they have been about resisting the convention of naming all together, despite acquiescing to the 'need' for a name in the first place, a true testament indeed to the importance of being Earnest. This begs the following questions:
 If we could re-name ourselves as we willed, what implications would that hold? Would such an exercise leave way for protean shape shifting identities? 
Has the concrete, given name anchored identity and rendered it static?
Am I as personal as my name?
Is the extent of my Person the extent of my Name?(and vice versa) Can my person extend over and beyond my given name?

You know those moments when words and language and names of things, for a brief moment, don't make sense? but make lots and lots of sound. Not so different from water-sound, owl-sound, cricket-sound, neon-buzz sound or empty corridor-sound. That's where it's at. That's the magic. 

I like to think every word has an underbelly. And sometimes, when a word leaves my mouth, my tongue longs to lick its nether regions.

As I fall, the universe seems to say: You will soon recognize that your intelligences will do you little good, or bad. they will simply do. Your sentience however, will save you. It will not wonder whether to be or not to be. You won’t need to make sense of the world around you; you will have sense.  Sense will be had, not made.

and then and then pre-intelligent Ahmed dies. Society and correctness resurrect him; he's come around again, back within the margins. And he can spell truth all over again.

Here he is

Centre justified
Left aligned.

Posthumously yours.

Forgive me for sounding obtuse.

That's a lot of fallen words.

1 comment:

  1. This was really something. Loved this:
    "I'm so much bigger than you and better than you and infinitely smaller than you too, and you will never shelve this."