Monday, July 30, 2012

"Structural Positioning" an essay

As always, the public form of my complex subversion and reversion of accepted world order take on the cheerful and abstract form of philosophical recommendation -- as the very title of the essay indicates. The form of innerdependence I slowly approach through the playful cut of all the ties of society, binding no more, till the subject substantiates himself on that aboriginal infinitude of his innermost being. But I prefer the language of games, play, and structuralism for the task.


Take care, Caretakers

Structural Positioning

                The positioning within a system adds to the intrinsic value of an entity by realizing through relationships some aspect of its infinite possibility. All of life is the positioning and developing of our powers within the world system. Positioning is strategizing, and the game of life is lost or won by knowing where to stand.

                Consciously, however, we understand only basic relationships, and as for what we can express in language relationships take on simplistic sets. We can draw a family tree with lines and names, but as for understanding the relationships between grandparents, parents, and children, perhaps a novel could suggest a few things, but what we fully know below the surface is not the stuff of language. Rather, it is a language of its own, expressed consciously through comparatively simplistic art and story. What is art, after all, but some aspect of life purified, intensified, simplified, and closed off into a neat unit so as to render it an object of contemplation?

                Our myths, and the myths of our myths, what we tell ourselves they are for, guide us on our path, are the basis of culture, in fact are culture, and the rest is repetition and variation; no story lacks archetypal gestures.

                Dante's myth-based Comedy, for instance, offers a hypersimplistic map of heaven and hell, so much neater and cleaner than, say, a map of Italy. In this system, God posits himself as least mortal of the world -- and Dante's geography elucidates this. At dead center, the source of gravity and narrative is the triple-headed beast, Satan; and farthest from that is the tripartite Godhead. Yet at the belly of the beast as its eternal abiding secret is the Exit towards the source, the only path God can take to his own greater apotheosis. As God's heaven becomes less and less tolerable, say a microscopic crack ever thousand years, which adds up to nothing worth sweating over, but nevertheless puts a final timeline on things; after eons and eons he will have to face the accursed beast and be swallowed into the void. Lacking such a bold move, he would be stuck in his mode of perfection, a being without becoming whose skin is slowly starting to itch.

                To speak less mythically but perhaps just as abstrusely, we can say that only when a thing has died and become a completed object does it become eternal. Subjectivity, which is an experience in time, is by its nature mortal. We must make peace with our mortality and also make peace with our immortality; as it is, many fight against their own dual identity, projecting there unease on their wrong-headed enemies whom they then dispute. The West envisions opposites as a cross, a tearing apart and infinite divorce, whereas the East envisions opposites as a circle, as tear drops mutually spinning and mutually impregnating, as an eternal marriage between man and wife. By the logic of the East, the West cannot be dropped off but must also be incorporated into the circles of the world.

                The world is circular; laws are circular. The complete course is the revolution, not just spinning, but spinning outwards in an ever increasing spiral. In this, the Western timeline unites with the Eastern circuit. It balances against its own imbalance. Criticisms of Emerson's Law of Compensation, which describes system after system in nature and society, but especially in moral laws, where excess balances defect and punishment balances crime, prove themselves to be small-minded and unwilling to imagine the reality of the all inclusive circle. The criticisms themselves weigh against a naive take on the Law, but they imagine that though virtue may well be its own reward, vice is not its own punishment, necessitating laws both human and even divine -- which are at least imaginable. But what folly to suppose such a thing extends beyond the same balancing circle! Such criticisms exist only to compensate our frustration at the ugliness of crime and our feeling of impotence against the world's pains; if they were not evoked to answer an imbalance, we would never have heard of them. Balance and its internalized unbalance are basic and there is nothing outside of them, excepting the source of the imbalance, the innermost center of self-increasing logos.

                Emerson's compensation is true because it isn't original. It is everywhere always and without counterexample. A counterexample could only be a counterbalance against the law naively understood, and thus in this way implicate itself. Every morality assumes its truth.

                We find in all moral systems a table of values and a system of evaluation. This is how we understand the things that enter our world. We evaluate ourselves in fresh ways as the game evolves. For instance, it is uncommon for a decent woman to approach whom she knows to be a married man, and this for respect of the institution of marriage, and for fear her own good name will be sullied as a home wreaker, and more to the point, that the man himself would not really respect her. On the other hand, if a decent woman falls in love with whom she only later finds out to be married, the likelihood for her to compromise her morals is exasperated, though the honest married man who approached her did not trick her, and the lying married man did, for unconsciously she would prefer to be tricked, for then she can't be held accountable, and "through love all things are possible." It could even prove to her that the married man respected her integrity more than the straightforward cheater, who would have esteemed her as the type who would willing initiate such a liaison. Deceiving others can be a sign of respect for others, if not ourselves. The thick math of moral placement within the grids of dozen games gives shifting values to each move. We articulate risks of loss to face for the possibility of richer gains.

                We fall into such articulations by accident, or so it seems, but really from a sense of boredom, which at its heart is a dread of death. The poet who wastes his night in revelry has also fed his muse. After all, the poet's poet aims to impress the impressive, not the impressionable. My own exclusive love is unapproachable without my intending it so.

The reverie of revelry admits a fine reality

Dreaming highs at midnight, pleasing teases steadily.

                We choose our values intuitively and only at a slant, but we choose our ostensible values loudly and visibly. This is no hypocrisy because it plays out too naturally to be intentional: we don't know what we actually believe. What we profess to believe is assuredly not it. The surest clue to what we really want is what we finally get, and what we in fact really believe is shown by our actions, not our purported goals or later regrets. The rest is coding through society's norms.

                The anxious and lucrative market of jump-starts and sneak attacks sold for toddlers and such is a fine example, where parents are impressed to teach their children math and phonics a year before the schools teach the same, in hopes that the kid can then dominate their classroom -- but this teaches no lasting advance. Regarding the too soon 2+2 and the preemptive "i before e," the child only learns society's nonsense a breath earlier, which comes to nothing. The true lesson nevertheless is inculcated into the children, and in case they missed it, mom and dad will insist: you must outdo your peers by perpetual study and continual hard work if you are to impress us or even yourself.

                Probably a useful lesson -- could have been useful for a slew of underachievers -- but the precocious 5 minus 4 is not only obnoxious but distracting for the lessons naturally relevant for the formative child: how should I regard myself in relation to others? How shall I desire, hope, dream, love, and seek? What people, what things? Why? These lessons are learned through the parents but not from them, as if the adult's will had any power to bar it. The children will inevitably learn the world, from the parents first and their adolescent peers next, figuring how to view one's self in relation to the rest.

                In this way, they position themselves in the world game. The world, after all, offers a foil by which one can brag to himself, like those IQ tests that give a little ego boost to those who need it, as if the test proved something substantial. Distinctions from the world are an immediate benchmark for personal satisfaction, especially for those who evaluate foolishly, unable to praise one thing without criticizing the other. Once one has cemented his temperamental preference for his place in the world -- "I sit at the front of the class," "I sit at the back," -- one seeks to situate himself in the world to maintain that comfortable role that best fit his repertoire of mental tools. Each person can find some symbol that epitomizes his placement in his roles in the world; all his living roles are analogies of the same.

                The ego is the nothing that moves everything, a filter that by pulling out all objects but one wills it into existence. Underneath this, the instincts provide a universal grammar, since in themselves they are nonhistorical and noncultural. Culture is that thing we build over it, the solid language we put those liquid feelings into. And once we have created those fictional forms, they become our heaven, and fill with the new energy and new instincts of each higher form. Fictions are eternal, history merely passing. Fictions are blanks by which we can shift what is. Position is possibility.

                Position is power, for power is a relationship between a man and his materials. If a man who vaguely knows you learns of your success in life and speaks words of honest admiration, you are cheered -- to a degree. But if your father looks over your work and smiles with pride, this can mean much more to us. That is the peculiar power inherent in the parental role. The admiring man may in fact be a father himself, but that doesn't matter because he is not your father. He may be able to take a paternal role to a degree, but that power is derived from, and in no way added to, the position of the true father, both in the idea of father and what it means, but also by your fleshly father, the blooded abstraction, who takes on the role, plays the role out in his style, never able to escape comparison to the cultural norm. His relationship to all these ideas and standards form the basis of our evaluation, our endless series of evaluations of all things, many of which we make without knowing it.

                Having a child, therefore, metaphysically changes a man or woman's soul. A whole code of being a good parent is imposed on him -- and this for good and necessary reasons -- so that his duty in the world has changed, whether he admits it or not; his purpose has also changed; his purpose must now also emphasize the two decades of careful education of his children, and his lifelong availability to them.

                Such a heavy obligation could only become the norm if it were based on some powerful inborn instincts.

                These impositions characterize most careers as well: one can't act certain ways as a policeman, even if those behaviors weren't against the laws and rules. The open talk and the hidden rumors of the other policemen, both of which are always felt and known even when they seem not to be, as well as the open talk and hidden rumors of his family, and also of the general population would remind him of his indiscretions at all times and with immediate feedback. He can read his value in the eyes of others: and the world is full of eyes. If he deviates he can't but know.

                But we fall into hundreds of such roles and unconsciously adapt to them with ease. We already know all the rules, making a faux pas is exceptional

                This is not true for all people, however. Some seem immune to cultural expectations and can't play along, not from spite, or self-assertion, or intentional perversity, but because their organs of conformity don't work. A man can become conscious of his weirdness and will it, making it into a virtue and a triumph; or he can resist it, ever feeling out of sync with the world, and taking on the guilt as if it were his choice. Both mistakenly posit will as the cause of his temperament, and from that create useful fictions, either pride or guilt, or as is often the case, a peculiar mixture of both. Guilt and pride are energies, giving us a handle over our situation and also giving others a handle over us, which both ingratiates us to them, but also oppresses us with the sort of manipulation that all people do at all the time everywhere in both polite and rude society.

                Spouses, for instance, delight to find consistent flaws in their others by which they can invisibly and unconsciously blackmail them. A famous cry during a fight is "why are you bringing that up now?" But it is brought up from desperation, or opportunism, as the big guns are pulled -- though such a combative logic is a subtle layer of all talk. A perfect spouse would be intolerable. It is the same with our beliefs. We are happy to believe in God so long as we have our inner cynic and doubter hiding in the shadows in case we need him. It seems God also needed such a safety valve when he created Satan, "the accuser," to harass overly moral men and women whom God found intimidating. We must remember that the angel never fell, never was Lucifer (that's a Latin name for the Greek God Phosphorus, a deity from a different pantheon with its own internal logic), remember that Satan was doing his job when he tried the saints. The Catholic holy office of "devil's advocate" provided a similar function.

                We give each other such roles all the time; we are treated as such because we unconsciously instructed others to treat us as such: a man's relationship to the world is mere projection of his relationships to himself. What only you know has the highest worth.

                Because we do such and such in secret, we are able to do these other things in public -- though the connection between the two is unapparent. We build ideas from our private crimes and indulgences, we grasp psychological niceties, and by watching ourselves in our cleverness we can ferret out the secrets of others in their cleverness. It is absolutely necessary to have a hidden side, a private, personal, shameful side. A man fully transparent is a monstrosity -- ugly to know or look upon.

                And so every personality has its bonuses and pitfalls, every character its parasites. We would fool ourselves to envy celebrities who just as often envy the anonymous and free-living fans. Every situation evokes its challenges, its failures and triumphs -- pity and envy are usually naive.

                In the game of life, we create our own tensions, and we convert our emotions into the ones we can do the most with -- the familiar and well understood. Pain is much more tolerable than itch, just as guilt is preferable to anxiety, and depression to guilt. With the depression there is no more stinging consciousness barking its "what is to be done?"

                In all these developments, a relationship slowly immerses one lover to the complicated skin of the other, noting the weaknesses, the strengths, getting into their skin and picking their brain. This intrusive process is called "love"; it begins with an initial exuberance called "romance" that is designed to mask the terrors of such intrusion, just as runner's high masks the suffering of a will-beaten body, and just as the brain releases us into detached pleasure at the moment of our death.

                All the world loves a lover, but we love his story even better. There is no living in syllogisms. Jokes and stories and anecdotes are the entertaining way the mind consciously represents the thick inscrutable and infinitely complex calculations below. Images and symbols stand in the consciousness for complex programs the way computer icons stand for complicated programs. The philosopher, who tends to complicate things, is after all seeking a deserved and genuine simplicity, not a fraud simplicity which oversimplifies and wrongly stereotypes, thus freezing out interesting truths. Naive simplicity, ignorance, is the start of the journey; experienced simplicity, wisdom, the end, a passless path upon which one reaches his apotheosis. Chaotic complexity lies between.

                We position ourselves upon this path, upon this worldly game board, using the motive in our engine, the instincts in our gut; perfection is not one's proximity to a publicly acclaimed figure, but a relationship of a private man to his own unique potential.

                Easily satisfied is seldom deeply satisfied, lacking the long hunger and increasing need necessary to build a metaheavenly satisfaction. On the other hand, there is the man who says "there was a time I would have killed for this, but that time has passed, and I couldn't have it. Now too late I have too much. What use do I have for it now?" Such a cynic has merely hit a plateau, the journey yet goes on.

You act formal.

You don't mean the forms, yet the forms don't lie.

I accept that you don't mean the forms

But will not accept a forbearance to enunciate those forms.

That other one meant what he said, but had to die to be able to say it.

We repeat what he said, not as he meant them, yet the meaning is preserved, despite us and him.


"I will now prove to you that what you experienced does not exist"

--that was first a religious gesture and now has become an antireligious gesture.


We each give our lives to earn our words, as Odin died on the World Tree to gain the runes,

We transmute our very vitality into swords of truth,

We pour our hearts out and lift the gem of pure refulgent light, the coming of love, the evergiver.




\ ~@M@~ /


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