Saturday, March 12, 2005

Predictability

My lesson this week is still stewing in the realms of predictability.

We went to a concert by Omar Faruk Tekbilek, a master of turkish music. After Mark's disdain of turkish chord structures and (should I say syncopation?), I spent some time thinking of how predictable American Blues seems in comparison, even jazz. The predictability gives the audience something to grab hold of, but is it perhaps disrespectful of the listener's ability? Or is it a coat hanger by the door, allowing the listener to deposit the mind on its structure, freeing the verb of art to dance freely, unconstrained?

Haven't come to conclusion yet.

....

Two days later -- ok, I've decided. It's the latter. And not just because I fear Paul deLay finding out that I called him lazy.

3rd Person Omniscient People

The people who write the "cue cards" for displayed works of art in museums have the most interesting job. They have to stradle the silence/participation balance delicately -- giving enough context to produce greater appreciation/thought, but not enough to cause premature cognitive commitment, as Frank would say.

Further, their words are wholly authorless, and in fact, have the position of being God-like. There words are not portrayed as being the creation of opinion, but rather simple state fact that is inherent in the state of existence, as fundamental as an atom or a mountain.

What a powerful, difficult and thankless job. I'd love to meet such an artist/critic -- they seem to be an example of someone who is "far enough from me to be stimulating, but close enough to be consumable". Admittedly, though, I would lose respect for them if they themselves did not feel to be an artist at heart -- thus upsetting the silence/participation balance in their personal lives.

I'd start with one who works for the San Francisco MoMa.

Always

Why is it that the use of superlatives always undermine an assertion? Or should I say, sometimes?

Silence as a verb [Self-censure]

This post continues the hypergraphia from the previous entry. Unlike the previous post, however, the lucidity of thought has degraded here to be just ranting. I thought it worth capturing nonetheless. It is more focused on my social struggles, and most certainly lacking the humility imparted by National Geographic since!

The balance of participation versus observation is a never ending struggle with me – I seem to be incapable of making the fine tuning necessary in this balance – I have parkinson’s disease and am trying to lay the needle of the record player perfectly at the beginning of a new song. And too easily, in my struggles, it results simply in arrogance.

The answers here are obvious of course, but I’ll still pose the questions:

Why is it that I have to tread so delicately with the expression of thought? Invariably, when I open my mouth with ideas, the conversation ceases, the exact opposite of my intention? The result is always either a hurried departure to the door, or a pseudo intellectual assertion of entirely non-relevant ideas or defensive posturing that attempts to assert that they too have ideas.

Wittgenstein says the true merit in ideas is in the question and not the answer. If so, then why do people shy away from my questions? Is it that a) the questions are non-sequitor and not understandable, b) intimidating, or c) not of interest. Where is the endurance of others to keep a thought alive? I am weary of having to tread so delicately, to elucidate maximum input from my peers. If life isn’t for exploring these questions in this wholly unique moment in time, then how can they bear to live? It is a dangerous statement, for it too easily opens my sense of existence to a masturbatory farce. But I’d rather error on the realm of depth, than to succumb to the wholly nonsensical state of meaningless existence, which others seem to find more easily defendable against than a view of life with depth. I must live my life in such a way that I envision another, future reader [hypergraphia loving, of course] as reading my thoughts inscribed, and thinking “Yes! That is it! [Cosmic importance in the trivia, laughs my humility]!” It continues to be an eternal maxim for me: I seek depth and will accept no substitute, and will not tolerate, at least for myself, giving up after the second, third, or hundredth asking of “Why?”

I can tolerate self-constraint when it comes to interaction with others, to the giving of advice, to the convergence of opinion. But to speak of ideas, pure, and otherwise wholly independent of entity – they are sacred and should not be couched or coaxed to the sensitivities of the consumer. They have their own existence and should not be held accountable to their owner. But alas, no, that is effectively not the case and I will continue to be the owner of the quick way to close the book on a conversation and quickly establish routes for hasty departures.

I seem to be running a 3200 meter race, in which my compatriots (well intentioned and much admired) are running 100 meters. Image my look of awareness as I cross that 100 meter line, continuing, alone.

I could care less about a propriety or self-representation. I seek depth and am indiscriminate as to whether it stems from the interaction of two unknown lovers passing on the street or from a stimulating conversation with friends, or from the clarity of a child’s open tongue, or from the depth of my lover’s pupils. I seek depth and will accept no pseudo-intellectual substitute, no insecurity-formed excuse, or no hurried avoidance. And close behind depth, I need intent, I need synthesis and semantics. As always, leave the insecurity and catharticism at the door.

Indeed, all this to say that I am weary of self-censure.

Verb, action

Data is inherently a noun in form. The internet is inherently a noun in form. When in a foreign environment, you need 10 basic verbs and 100 nouns in order to communicate the intent; the representation of self is essentially at the same state. To reach the important subtleties in full fluency (perhaps cosmic importance of the trivial), we need to incorporate verbs in our legacy-based concept of self.

Silence is an instantiation of action, only a lack of action. Through verbs we interact with others, through verbs we gain intelligence and learn, through verbs we inherently and reflexively be. The noun is the realm of the engineer, the scientist. The verb is owned exclusively by the artist. They are the only ones who can capture the flow inherent in a verb. The noun is fact via vicarious observation; the verb is action via living participation. Without a verb, we are nothing but bits on a hard drive, pictures without meaning. Music knows what it means to be a verb. Smoke rising is a verb. Try capturing smoke rising on a wikipedia, which is inherently noun-based, fact-based.

I have all this data of who I am, but it is all in the end – data, a noun. It needs action. I need my data interacting with other people’s data – verbs. I want to store all my data, noun, in the internet collective and have it interact with others for me, looking for those people who are far enough from me to be stimulating, but close enough to be consumable. As the internet explodes with data-nouns describing people’s lives, we need to find the verb that will allow them to connect, interact.

The most basic form of a verb is the transition from one thought to the next. The brain in motion is the purest instantiation of a verb.

If you can form a model of the verb, of capturing the verb, as the internet and digital data is the model for capturing the noun, then the entity moves from being ephemeral to eternal with the help of the internet. (An artificial immortality subject to the kindness of future generations, true – but what are graves?). Immortality aside and better yet, the soul moves to being active in the present for you universally, adding action to global connectivity. My soul will be able to seek out others to engage [verb] with and find new patterns [nouns] of thought beyond the existing physical restrictions of locality. My “avatar” has conversations, actions, with others for me, and reports back to me on the lessons and potential new thought patterns. Imagine waking up each morning with a top three list of new ways of thinking, as generated by your avatar after it has talked to 1,000 people that night.

Humility via hypergraphia

While reading through National Geographic 3.05 I came across a picture of a woman surrounded by three tight white walls, all covered in writing. Her arms were covered in writing. The title of the page was “extreme expression”. Amazed, I dove in to the picture and thought, “There must be a treasure trove in here. Look at the extent of this writing. There must be unfettered consciousness here, of this woman releasing. There must be cosmic importance caught red-handed in the subtly of all these words! This is so close to my ideal of a white room.

I could only make out bits and pieces of the writing, though. “What to do what to do” was clearly legible. “Let me go let me go let me go” trailed off into illegibility on her raised forearm, beneath the pen in hand. “Sun Moon Sun Moon” accompanied a drawing amidst the words. I searched for the cosmic meaning that must be locked in these writings.

I then move on to the article, which discusses hypergraphia, a clinically diagnosed maniac condition characterized by a irrepressible writing. As the article states, “it may also lead to hyper-religious feelings and a sense that even the most trivial events are filled with heightened meaning and cosmic importance”. Blogging itself is collective hypergraphia.

“Ah, but the trivial events are filled with heightened meaning and cosmic importance!”, or so I defended. And therein came the rush of humility as I realized that perhaps I was simply a recovering hypergraphia, or perhaps a hypergraphist who has lost their pen.

Now granted, the two previous blog entries are nearly the sum of my previous writings to date for the past year – not exactly irrepressible writing. But I do have the ego that says, if I can get my act in gear, my thoughts do have cosmic importance. It’s that feeling of being in a movie while you are sitting at a gas station waiting for the car to fill up. Or that question that lurks in the background, constantly asking “would the reader of my biography get bored by this point?”

The conclusion of these thoughts, besides humility? I can only come up with more humility.

It was with irony that just a few days before, I had a night of drinks and cigars with Mark, Kathy, and Justin in which my drunken state pushed me over a social fine line of silence and participation. I ended up writing in scrawls afterwards, endlessly up and down over the margins of left over newspapers, on my restaurant receipt – I suppose I could have gotten to my arms if I didn’t run out of steam around 1 AM. Hypergraphia.

The next blog entry (Verb, action) is what I wrote.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Silence, Redux

Silence continues to be on my mind – it is a word very similar to time, in that it is a simple concept with many variations in common vernacular. Here are the instantiations I’ve come across this past week:

  • Silence in fiction. There is the difficulty of writing of a character that you wish to portray at a level of intelligence beyond what your own capability is. Refrain and implication is one way to do that. Kipling does it by course and wit with Kim and his mentors. Give enough tidbits of intelligence, and then let silence fill in the rest. Kipling, of course, did not need to use the trick, his ability is not questioned by me J Harder still is conveying silence in a work of fiction. The reader reads at a steadied paced. How do you inject the silence to force a reader to pause and hear it, much less to convey the character doing the same.
  • Silence in business transactions. I had to close contracts this past week, where there were several periods of silence when people wished to wait for any questions of legality, or wish to push for closure in negotiation. It is a common negotiation tactic, especially on the phone, to use silence. People tend to hate silence in conversation, and will strive to fill it, even if it is there own caving to negotiation. It reminds me of the power of being in tune with someone in the height of romance, and silence only amplifies the connection.
  • Silence in comedic timing. It is crucial for proper telling, and obvious skill I lack.\
  • Silence in meditation. Ms. Culley and Frank so long ago emphasized that approaching meditation with an active mind can be in stressing and lengthening the silence in between the words of the mind’s stream of consciousness.
  • Silence in conversations. I am ambivalent on this, as some people use silence far too much to convey intelligence when actually they are hiding ignorance. This is especially the case in political interactions. The counter is, some of the wisest people I know are so in tune with silence. For them, it is not a trick of guile, but a state of being.
  • Lack of Silence. I saw a foreign film (the French NOTRE MUSIQUE by Jean-Luc Godard) that in some ways lacked silence. It was a continual assault of statements, non-sequitors, “clever” assertions, and a feign of intellectualism by shear volume of words. The movie undermined itself in its lack of silence. It allowed for no digestion, much less consideration of weight. It was an assault that in the end, even I was calling it psycho babble of pseudo intellectualism. Great words, huge quantities, but it left me with the impression that the author had no real depth to them, only the book knowledge of words and clever linkages between the concepts. These are the people who leave “it is an exercise for the reader” as a excuse to hide the ignorance. With silence, ironically, I believe it is much harder to hide ignorance – you allow time to let others see through your cheap tricks.
  • Silence as Danger. We have fear of silence. Our baby was silent for several days this week, causing us to go in to be checked out. (all is fine)

These lessons in silence have made me realize the importance in using silence in my codepoetry work. How does an artist convey a mind at rest? A mind that is freed from the consciousness – a state elusive to me. How does an artist know the intellectual version of comedic timing to give the reader a rest, and thus avoid the babble fate that the French film reached?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Silence

This week's lesson comes from Kipling's Kim, when he mentions that too many people hide behind unfamilariaty / cultural differences when they offend others due to ignorance. Kipling notes that such defense to the offense means little, that the truth will still result in a dagger.

Ignorance is a poor excuse. Silence perhaps is the only valid communication when in doubt, it is universally shared in all languages and cultures.

Silence, exile and cunning?

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