Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Humankind 9: Flashes

I made myself write yesterday. I mean, I just made myself. I sat in the cafe and just wrote until I was done. I needed to take frequent breaks between sentences, paragraphs, pages.

Then I had a very nice evening, and this resulted in a flash, which inspired me to write a few more pages. Intellectually, strictly speaking, that was the main bit.

But the really integrative part came this morning, after I woke up. I realized I've been exploring this particular issue (which has to do with partial objects) since about 1993. I gave a paper about something to do with Blake, one of my very first conferences in the USA--maybe it was the very first one at which I gave an actual paper. I was so nervous. Jesus. I remember a kind professor from Georgetown getting me a cup of coffee before I went into the room. It went down okay, in the sense that none of the asuras in my realm tried to kill me.

But today, that part of my mind swam up to the surface and said hi to the Humankind Verso part of my mind, and what a lovely meeting it was. It turns out that by swerving from writing strictly about food and diet like I was doing at first, I was able to find some ideas that actually help to flesh out (you can't avoid potential food puns when you even think about food) the older work, while the older work is incredibly synergistic with the new stuff.

The poor young scholar has something left to say to the older more comfortable and successful scholar. And the successful scholar was carrying the flames of the younger guy like carefully held lit matches, wherever he went, apparently. It's that kind of feeling.

It's also emotionally moving for me because I've literally moved, physically, five times, and lived for ages in the places to which I've moved. In other words, I haven't just moved to a base then fanned out and returned. I've had five bases. That's really different and let me tell you, if you haven't ever done it, it involves an enormous amount of grief. There's a reason why moving is right up there in the stressors chart. It sounds so fun--and feeling bad about it sounds so trivial or temporary--but wow. Just read John Clare if you're in doubt. That guy was relocated because of industrial agriculture and ended up in a lunatic asylum.

And that has ended up with me blanking and blacking out, almost like an alcoholic, a lot of different parts of my life. I didn't even let myself explore them. Until about a few days before I went to Paris last week, when I got on Facebook--yes I'm one of a vanishingly small number of people with online access who wasn't on it. It's totally overwhelming. I'm a totally naive neophyte newbie and I'm loving it. It's like someone injured in a war waking up in a bed to find that he does in fact have prosthetic legs and can walk. Much to my surprise, and thanks to computers, I'm bionic.

Really, if it weren't for all these prostheses such as computers and stomach bacteria and therapists, I'd be gone. It's gotten quite serious about three times. I'd have gone about ten years ago. And then again about six years ago. And then again about three years ago.

Also, this whole thing teaches me--typical me; I sort out of my intellectual life first, then everything falls into place. One of my Vajrayana friends at Oxford was impressed by my spontaneous upaya around how to write a dissertation, how to sort of trick yourself into doing it. That kind of mojo slowly seeps into my life over the years. Slowly. Bear with me.


2 comments:

D. E.M. said...

"Really, if it weren't for all these prostheses such as computers and stomach bacteria and therapists, I'd be gone. It's gotten quite serious about three times. I'd have gone about ten years ago. And then again about six years ago. And then again about three years ago."
This is heartbreaking-- but understandable, given how you respond to everything (all the things / music/ art /words/ vultures/ etc ) so powerfully.
In solidarity. If it weren't for therapists, cats, certain categories of drugs.... I'd've gone swimming with the fishes too, 3 bad times too.

D. E.M. said...

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/genetic-memory-how-we-know-things-we-never-learned/

Remember when we talked about remembering things from the long long past -- from our hunter-gatherer days .... The memories passed down that make us know that we're in now is broken. That makes you write from reincarnations of memories....