Tuesday, October 27, 2009

parting gift -- an essay entitled "synesthetic reading"

I will be gone a few days to aid in the birth of my daughter Emilie Lara June. So I will not be emailing much. Here is an essay I composed just now, as a token of fidelity that I will return shortly.
Synesthetic Reading

            Kafka’s novels the Trial and the Castle present dreams, characterized by strange and fantastic events which the reader and the reporter of the dream might ponder over, but which the dreamer and the characters curiously don’t wonder over at all. In the Trial, the protaganist K. never asks the fundamental questions about his case which you or I would insist on knowing first: “what’s this all about? What’s the charge? This court can go to hell: I have a life to live!” Instead the plot involves a mysterious charge of guilt by a mysterious court, which is taking session in somebody’s attic or who knows where, and K takes the matter seriously. I could never understand why K would cooperate at all—but I was taking the book too literally. The entire setting and plot is mere articulation of the mood of K, the mood of Kafka, the mood of the 20th century Jews, an aspect of the mood of the 20th century itself.

          Schoenberg caused the halocaust. Perhaps an unnerving joke, but true, nevertheless. The exposition of the joke makes it obvious: the horror-show aspects of the world wars were a result of and not a cause of the mood of the early 20th century. Philosophy precedes history, just as poetry precedes philosophy. The greatest heroes and villians – both of whom I love and purr gratitutde towards – are ever philosophers.

          All people resonate, not just the religiously bound. We could easily say the Jews are the guilty, but in America it is a different matter, and the Jews here are sublime and greater than anywhere else, as my own favorite authors, who first initiated me into philosophy, were Adler, Bloom, William Goldman, a cheerful sort, the life-affirming sort that accords with the American Spirit of affirmation.

          We are first of all Needs, second of all Mind, and yet body is mind, face is brain, and our physiological type as well as the national type which has for centuries sorted through our genes and also impressed itself on our collective and personal habits and traditions, mingling them with the choices of our personal eternal, makes us eternally—American! Your body will die and never be resurrected. But because it will never be forgotten, but integrated into mind, it will never die in the first place. Know a book by its author—always judge a book by its cover. Indeed, would you read another man’s mind, merely mirror his face and body.

          Zizek, Lacan, and Freud instinctively chose the most horrible of ideas as proof of truth—truths so true we would deny them to escape them. That is not too far from our own tactic of calmly drawing together a man’s love and fear together as opposites conjoined into a joint dynamo.

          Body is mind, and if the body were burned to ash, the mind would survive as an atom of body, holding in the entire history. What was called “Neurosis” only meant one of the various forms of anxiety, a tension that catches mental energy into physical muscles. All mental illnesses pertain to the nerves of the brain, of course, but also to the body, and really, is always and only a block of flow, an intentional anxiety strategy. Mental illness knots the flow, and this as a tactic that hurts like a fever is a tactic that hurts, to stop the overflow from oversensetivity. Sensetive nerves are the basic cause of mental illness. It is also the presupposition of artistic greatness, and artistic creativity is the source of the greatest happiness known to mankind.

          If history were a striding man, that man sat along time upon a crucifix until he got disillusioned – priests why have you forsaken us! – and in the Renaissance he became Greek again (that is: beautiful). The Reniassance tripped into reformation, stepped back up with Enlightenmen, and balanced the tottering with the Romantic extremism. And then came the moderns. The modern movement comes from a fusion of romanticism with enlightenment, giving us Modernistic Nihilism and anullment, the analzying down to bits we saw in Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Joyce. Joyce’s Ulysses, seemingly intending to show the stream of conscious as described by William James, fails utterly to present it. The book puts the stethescope to protaganists temple, to catch the inner speech, but misunderstands, for the inner-speech is so immersed in symbols and feelings, that to listen to it without that context renders instead this abortive schism widely knows as “the greatest novel of the century.” Well it is a great modern novel anyway.

          Modernism, as a tripping of the legs, falls into postmodern spasms. We are Allism, the return of the Renaissance by the subsumption of everything since– ultimately, the ever returning balance of classicism. The “American Renaissance” is indeed Renaissance, though not of the deathless America, but of the Italian Renaissance again, after it had tried out the Enlightened eye of Aristotle, and the Romantic heart of Plutarch. This is the key to the world’s future, embodied in the writings of Emerson and Whitman. “Song of Myself,” “With Antecedents,” and “By the blue Ontario’s Shore” contain already the future history.

          This is our dance, I merely comment. Is a song even heard if the listener holds still? Classicism is the great antagonistic balance of control, but Romanticism is a lunge of strength. Romanticism is to make tyrrant one great passion, but not the will itself, which would bound all passions to their opposites and varients, and control them al (the classical motto “All things moderated by knowing yourself”). To return to the classical Greeks, having gained the passion of the Romans – the excess to rule the whole world! – requires refinding Greek loves: sex and wrestling – the two great forms of love. Coupling and fighting, and the honor of the friend, and in the mind: synesthesia.

          Anxiety pluralizes energies so the will cannot move among them. Anxiety slows down what indeed needs to be executed slowly. We could, however, end up like Zizek, who uses the same grammatical forms ad nauseum. His sentences contain little bits of horror, and the rest is padding. “Love, sex, self, religion, they all are made of castration, failure, paradox, and knotted repressed secrets of hidden void” – yet the man never simply says “Life is Shit.” A drunkard is more direct than he. Instead we see his grammatical tics, verbatim motifs, and endlessly recycled anecdotes. The postmodern man aspiring to be modern again!

          With the guilty Jewish authors of the early 20th centruy we have a balance of the America Jewish authors of the late 20th, who are stronger, better, and healthier for mankind. They are a sign of what America is becoming, and of our own place as Allists. Just as the early 20th century authors can be set alongside each other, so we may hear what in them resonates, and by being set close and resonating, all else is shaken off and dissolved, leaving the one nerve thread that runs through them all, and that to stimulate the muscle of all else they do, so too do we resonate and hum when we breath into each other. The child’s body is born of sperm and egg, but the child’s soul is born of orgasms. Our resonance is in this line of Whitman’s: “I reject none, I accept all, then reproduce all in my own forms.” We resonate through the joy of challenge at recreating a whole system. And this means reading the world aright, reading the world synesthetically.

          To gain control of a system is a joyful challenge. To master it is bliss. To internalize it and move on from it is relaxation. To address the next more complicated system is happiness. Each book is a system. An infinite book can be read forever.

          Style is personality. The person too is infinite.

          Live your life as a blended braid, making all of life thick. Do not relax completely, but relax from that by doing this. Make every moment count, and do ten things with every one thing. Move worlds when you read.

          For above all of the senses, we have Sense, the integrater of them. This gives us a Sense of what it is all about. But this Sense above the senses can project images back to them. Listen to a song. Imagine what the song tastes like, how it dances, how it reads, how it looks. Then integrate them into one poetic idea. Concepts are seen and have literal shape, but to the fleshly eyes they are invisible. The mythological understructure of all events is also invisible. But you may imagine a plausible guess of them, and impose this over them. With every idea, and every abstraction you read, affix concrete images. Reading is among the most active of activities.

          Postmodernism is ugly and spiteful, and spits on beauty. Because it has exhuasted itself in modernism, it resorts to the ugly and the extreme to stimulate itself. Pain at least stimulates.

          Consider how a God walks. If one of Lux’s children were to walk from person to person through the dimension of language, he would walk through different styles of words, different shapes of mind, and like a man through a funhouse, appear distorted in every mirror, and yet come out the same at the end. He retains his integrity through all subjective interpretations that translated him – nothing was ever lost. Squint at the Bible in translation and you will see the Hebrew letters.

          Do you understand my parable?       The American Renaissance is still with us, and has never been lost.

          But walking beside the infant is the Satan, our old friend. Satan, an utterly pure and yet utterly deluding spirit, walks within a miasma. We never see her, but we imagine her, for she projects a thousand false images, and we always get her wrong. Yet though we always get her wrong, and though she does not exist out of the lies we say of her, her perfected purity and utter God love is intact underneath.

          That is my second parable? Is it also understood?

          Of the senses, hearing and smelling and taste resonate, sight and touch resonate, and so we have two forms of senses. This break down is our clue to the synesthesia of a pointed experience.

          Science studies external objects, and is successful because it knows how to affix numbers to sensations. To fix a word into a term, and then to affix to that term quantities, is a great philosophical success—necessarily not a scientific one, and science is merely the extension of philosophy into the world of material objects. The artistic is in imagining a possibility about the world relevent and fascinating and plausible enough to invent hypotheses about; science describes the types of tests by which to attempt to “falsify” it. Science, therefore, bases itself on tyranny over language, making one word refer to one thing, and that word to be receptive to quantities.

          The goal in my philosophy, however, is to dissolve all terms. I wish to let the reader see the meaning in all words, to see the terms in all of them; my rightful reader will neither quote me nor spit any of my terms.

          Sensual experiences are facts, how we feel of them, meanings. There is a correspendance, therefore, between formal logic and literary criticism, and they are analogous and Gemini. Signs must stand for things eventually. A symbol abbreviates a set of signs with a sense of more possible signs, and thus a feeling of profundity. But sign modification and modulation alone will bridge all this profound potentiality. The word must be crystallized into a term, and the term into a concept.

          Getting a word to stick to a thing takes an aparatus of enforcement. With science, tradition and the stick of money beat down fakers.


          Books are mostly conventional, at the gross level. The subtle level is in the timbre of the pitch. The timbre of the voice expresses the nuance of tone, the feeling of attitudes, which not only gives every instrument its class voice – a voilin does not sound like a guitar – but even each violin its unique sound among other violins. A book internalizes its context, to a degree, and so is representative of its author’s age. And yet it is as much a reaction against the age as a presentation of it – both are the same thing. The book encapsulates a large amount of context, but sometimes biographical and historical background amplify a literary experience.

          Nietzsche for instance writes against and about the conventions of his age. In his aphoristic works, each aphorism corrects a common prejudice, but one does not even need to know the original prejudice in its context, for he evokes it. One understands every truth by carefully studying deceits. One sees ultimate reality by spying into illusions. One learns the divinest truths only from demons. Beyond Nietzsche’s beautiful rhetoric and charming poeticisms, one can sense the conceptual sign language, the logical methods by which he transmutes signs and symbols.

          Jokes too are bits of logic. Every joke follows a subtle logic meant to demonstrate the wit, the intelligence, even the sexual viability of the jokester, and this by a complicated emotional calculus.

          The will stands within a field of vectors, and is given a purpose according the needs which empower it. What ever the entity, whether rock, man, or goldfish, insofar as the will is seperate from the needs, and so is in external matter, and has made various parts of matter into one thing (will is the “nothing” that binds all matter together into resonating “something.” It is an expression of needs seperated from needs in order to act) the will acts and is through matter. The will is knotted.

          Criticism is the attempt to translate literature into philosophy, art into truth. Philosophical and critical concepts are written in exacting jargon, but literature and rhetoric are yet part of all writing. We are conscious of them aas enjoyment and tone, but otherwise we don’t notice them. Style is to seduce the mind to think thoughts. Beauty inspires strength.

          The interpretive method is to produce summaries of the literature, both justified and fitting, and handling these summaries as if they were cash symbols, to move and exchange and build with them, while the literature yet stands in tact. Using an appropriate and justified summary can lend itself to exciting and controversial connections – the joy of lit-crit.

          To criticize well while you read, you must be able to toggle levels of focus – upon layers of structure. The world itself we see conceptually as a grid, though we consciously see thick detail. In the same way, a given mood is made of all possible emotions felt simultaneously, but in such degrees as to give a seemingly simple shape. The “circle of mood” focuses conscious experience in one place, one feeling, by the unconscous anchor of all the other emotions.

          Hysteria is a nervous mirror of the world, an amplifier. Poeticizing is another amplifier. By putting your passions into poetry, you feed  them back into themselves: they collect compound interest.

          To be sensetive is to be irritable, and to be irritable is to amplify experience into overflowing pain, till it is expelled again for relief, in the form of anger or dance, gesture, and overthick speech.

          We think in our muscles, our concepts are in our body. Let your every twitch be a philosophical dance. If you flow, walking down the street shines more glorious than Shiva – and you the same. Tone is nuance, timbre is subtle, your full self speaks in every offhand gesture.

          Read with your whole body. Subvocalize the words. Vocalize them at times. Imagine the tones and gestures of the author. Imagine the scenes described. Make images of all the concepts he uses, map them out in the margins, or in your head. And care as much as you can, read only the books that shake your arteries and churn your guts. Read as if your life depended on it.















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