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Writing Under Influence (6-7-2017): Contrast, Mindfulness, United States, Holy Ghost, Little Deaths

The term latency connotes delay (diachronic) as well as something that exists but is not manifest (synchronic). In both cases it addresses the effect and influence of something that escapes the present. Thus it connects phase-shift with spirituality.

The mind is composed of many minds (Aevi’s drawing of “My Mind is My Mind”). One mind serves as object to another–the lesson of psychoanalysis (and to a lesser degree, Marvin Minsky). This allows for a relativization of the body-mind dichotomy via scale: body-mind problem exists within what is deemed (blackboxed) as mind (and the same can be argued for the body as well). A scalar relativization which dismantles opposition on macro scale by decomposing the given unit into its constituent multiplicity on the micro scale. Though this may not annul the difference on macro level, it does lessen its weight/fixity by foregrounding micro/latent differences composing this difference.

Scalar relativization is contrary to the Independence Day effect: when aliens attack the earthlings become one. In that case, the micro differences are annulled by the foregrounding of unity on a larger scale, regulated by an Other (enemy) who approaches us on that level. The alien is, in other words, a mirroring device to adjust the scale of what is deemed as “us.” This is by the way also the operating principle of the United States: if there is problem (schism) inside the country, wage a war with an outside enemy and the country becomes united. No enemy, no US.

If this is so, then scalar relativization must occur by eliminating the enemy/Other which regulated and set the scale of the primordial difference in the first place. Which means that the collapse of unity can be achieved by exterior means: collapse the Other of the unity which regulates its scale.

Although it may seem that people desire a state, what they are really after is contrast—the switch between one state and another. Not fame or love per se, but the difference experienced from moving from the state of not having one to having one. Once attained, all states tend to be naturalized, a ground one accustoms to and thereby forgets. When perceived as state problem, one cannot understand why successful and famous people often kill themselves. But as a contrast problem it makes sense.

A state is a totality—every state is a total state. So the move from one state to another is the transition from one totality to another: a phase transition. Although it may take a while to boil water, once it is boiling, it is boiling. There is a boiling point and there is a melting point. There is desire for that transition because there is pleasure in it; there is pleasure in it because one gets used to a given totality with such ease. Humans naturalize everything; once attained, the process of getting there is quickly forgotten (this is the nature of knowledge acquisition as well). For instance people do drugs for contrast and not state. That is why addiction only escalates. Influence becomes naturalized and difficult to acknowledge.

Mindfulness confounds the mind as a state when it is really a contrast of states: a movement from one mind to another. The mind is not a state of mind but a change of state. Or one could say that it is only possible to be mindful in a new state: mindfulness is tourist mentality. Mindfulness as a whole only exists in the view from outside—it is the enemy’s point of view that gets internalized. Which means that it requires another mind (that of the Other). Mind needs other minds to be mindful of itself. A mind needs to be reminded.

It is therefore not expansion of state (whether territorial or of influence), but contrast that we (and empires) seek. United States of America gets this wrong and fantasizes about how when aliens attack the whole earth becomes the US.

This is true not only for humans but for all organisms. For how can the metamorphosis from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly be explained otherwise? There must be pleasure in that. Or the 7 years that cicadas spend underground only to come aboveground and live for 7 short days. We can think of it as teasing. The various sequences of sexual act may serve as metaphoric models for life. Life, as sex, is all about contrast and the pleasure of that. Metamorphosis is erotic.

Metamorphosis of organisms occurs because the organism is bored. Boredom is a state of being stuck in a state. No stimulus, and therefore no life. For life and liveliness is about contrast. To live is to move and to move is to change states. So all organisms move to prevent boredom. Life exists because otherwise it would be too boring. To be still is to be dead–being bored is a matter of life and death.

If things are seen as being lively it is because they also change. Anthropomorphism is predicated on metamorphosis. But thinking about things that change may be a strange conception since things are defined by their fixation in one place and time (state). But perhaps even things change if they are bored enough.

The biggest contrast of all is of course death. Death is the other side of life that regulates it as a whole. The imagery of afterlife and god, something that transcends life and is beyond (outside) it, is necessary to conceive of life as one totality. In this sense God is no different from ghosts (lesson of Christianity: God = Holy Ghost). Even if it does not take recourse to religion, life is always constituted by this other side (beyond) of life. Which means that death, a future event, constitutes the fullness of life, the present state. Future possibility is in this way proactively (preemptively) influences the present—it defines and frames what the present is. The essence of occult is a serious inquiry into this other side (beyond) of life. While science tries to bring everything on the other side into the side of life (which is, in terms of basic mechanism, impossible, for life is define by this beyond), occult strictly retains the division but tries to understand the workings of the other side from this side.

Influence always comes from the other (no matter on what scale). It is the workings of the beyond which regulates/defines/controls/frames this side. When something on one scale influences another thing on another scale, a common scale is established by this. One cannot self-influence. That is like trying to surprise oneself (a thing I’ve attempted before when driving in order to not fall asleep on the wheels). It doesn’t really work because surprise is an effect of contrast and contrast can only be introduced by the other—or more accurately speaking, contrast is the other. The other is always a surprise.

Lesson of Christianity: God = Holy Trinity—therefore a multiplicity, a unit composed of multiple subunits (mind as multiplicity of minds). It is a solution to boredom: it makes things interesting since there is contrast within the perceived singular totality of God/mind. Internal multiplicity/contrast introduces latent movement. It keeps things lively. They surprise each other and they surprise us, the viewers. We are surprised of their contrast because we regulate ourselves according to this beyond (which is a multiplicity), and hence experience ourselves going through the similar contrast/surprise. It’s like watching a movie. The pleasure of surprise, and therefore the other.

On one hand, death is the ultimate contrast, but on the other, it could be seen as merely one extreme in a varying spectrum of contrasts. Which turns death into a problem of degree and not of kind. That is why ending of things always feel like little deaths. The closure of an event/act is conditioned on such, artificial deaths (extreme contrasts). And orgasm = la petite mort; not pleasurable as state (if it lasts long it quickly becomes torture) but as intense contrast. Organisms live for and because of petite mort. And a good orgasm is always surprising.

Latency is the minimal other (the othering of self). It is oneself removed in time (diachronically) or manifestation (synchronically). No Collective’s House Music (A): And the Rest of You was a piece about latency: the self as a ghost revealed/brought out/encountered through delay (electronics—Max patch) and subliminal reflection (mirrors placed in total darkness). The “rest of you” frightens and surprises you. Fear is the feeling of wanting to preserve the same totality as now. It is related to conservation. To cling onto a given state and not want change. It is a way to survive but not to live (well).

Done Idea: a music piece where every sound the instrumentalist plays is delayed for X minutes. The first X minutes is therefore only gestures, the second X minutes is only sound.

Technology serves to bring out the rest of you. To perform or act is to transform yourself—to bring out and stage the rest of you, to become the beyond. All our performances were all about contrast. The fact that it is composed and presented as a “work” conveys a sense of closure/totality despite the contrasts within—a meta-contrast. While at the same time, the fact that this totality explicitly involves contrasts allows it to be perceived not as a singular blob but as a totality composed of independent sub-totalities (components)—i.e., a system. What distinguishes art work is that its ultimate goal is not its own perpetuation like almost every other form of systems: art works are systems with death built in–artificial apoptosis. The contrasts employed in our works were shifts of state, not only on the same scale (sequential), but across scales, and therefore of scale (consequential). Consequence is about shift of scales. Move from one totality to another always happens not as a sequential transition on the same scale but as a consequential transition from one scale to another. A new state is a new scale. Therefore there is no scale with which multiple states can be compared. That is why states are incommensurable and transition from one to the other is consequential—like death. That is why I always forget what I wrote/made and have the sense that they are much smarter than me. Because they (the rest of you) retain a thought that I have left behind and is not in me anymore. I have moved on in, and because of, my life. A work is something that remain in the past but can be retrieved in the now.

But Aevi sings: life never goes away from you. And then there is love.