words written in the week of
January 2nd to January 8th
in previous years.
This was 4 years, 3 months, 4 days ago

180109

Hong Kong, possibilities enacted.

Free association hampered by an artificial keyboard,

Going deep requires some sense of presence that is primarily internal, the feedback arrows pointing inwards, get the loop de doops to keep on going, running, aching.

What’s important is to wrangle up a sense of Ka, perhaps adjacent to anger, or excitement, or righteousness. Something Must be done! Can be done! Get those muscles firing. Go go go. Have at it. Run run run. See what happens. This is all for you. Your work is for you! Or rather, your work is for others, but through you, not through others, others not like a mirror, but you, I am the ecology that terms and grows and rolls and rollicks, I am full of generosity and sharing in the same way that a sprig of tomato plant is generous! There’s more where this came from, not because we made it for you, but because I, we, the royal we, are in the process of changing through, changing, being, growing. Who will we be? Let’s see. And so we grow, you know, change move change move.

The answer is not - who cares about others. The answer is to care about your self, to tend to the garden of the self, to the jungle, the planet of the self, to terraform areoform egoform the self. Alter the self. We are rolling, moving. Work on what feels right.

Your gut is right. Follow your gut. Your gut doesn’t want you to do easy things, or hard things. Your brain wants the easy or the hard, the good or the bad. The gut is moved, is curious. The gut explores. Exploring up a mountain, taking weeks. Exploring across a continent, taking months. Exploring the cracked and cratered landscapes of disciplines, taking years.

Trust in yourself, and your ability to see. Trust in others, and their abilities to see.

Make space for yourself.

During a conversation with J i say:
The world is very good at parting you with your money. Of making sure that you’ll never quite have enough. Above a given level of money, there’s always more you could be spending on, always just a little bit more you could have. That ratio stays consistent, as your income climbs and dives.

The world is a selective sponge of sorts, just avoiding saturation.

And we concur.

And then: the world is also good at soaking up your cognitive load. There are so many thoughts you can juggle, and an attention economy uses all of this, soaks it up, so that if you only had a little bit more time, and a bit more attention, you could know or hear enough. There’s so much to read/gossip/talk about.

As with money, after a certain point, the answer is not to keep on earning that ‘just a bit more’, but to stop spending money on certain things altogether, to make a decision that is outside the valuation of money, of not doing such and such. Decision, not judgment.

What do I decide not to think about? To lend my cognitive load to? To focus and limit?

Remember. Old habits, old spaces, old spaces, old habits.

Towards always changing one’s slug juice.

This was 8 years, 3 months, 7 days ago

last year (has it already been that?) I said:

be certain. move with momentum that imples a desire, not a dogmatism. feel free to change your lines of sight. lean inwards. remember to let yourself trust yourself, the best parts of yourself, to be able to count on the solidity of your own being that you have built up from base principles. everything is constituted out of feedback loops that either negatively oscillate or positively accumulate into intensification. all the cliche things originate out of seeds of truth, as you know, that repeat, return, continue to circle back towards yourself as newly gained, even more newly gained understandings.

this year, I will say: none of that, and all of that.


I realize how privileged I am to have these trips to Korea punctuate my being, little pressure releases that give me perspective outwards. nothing to give you perspective like the media culture of another place that you fully comprehend but can't fully contextualize. nothing like flying on a plane and seeing the world recede away from you, all minuscule, scaled. nothing like encountering another set of processes, not just as a tourist or even a traveler, to make you fully realize, fully emphasize that all processes come laden with their own baggage. context. all of these realizations, understood in concept like the force of a playful slap (measured in newtons, 1/2 * m * v^2), realized in practice like sensation of impact (measured the timbre and quality of exasperated noises emitted and the width of a pained grin).


so. all of that goes to say. resolutions, for an abstract set of principles, manifested in a concrete list:

1) make rituals, appropriately deliberate and necessary: a shower that ends when it ends, a cup of coffee, a clean table.

2) fewer quick fluff articles, exemplified by the nytimes. more longform, more books. zoom out. if you wouldn't read the korean equivalent, why read the english one?

3) go with your gut. "if I wasn't scared, I'd do X"; mapped onto the world.

4) gently distance, of not disengage, one's self from exchange-oriented discourse. withdraw from hearsay and society. make work. make more future-friends, fewer network-nodes of socialization. tease apart the knots of institutions and grab the threads that matter.

4.1) I mean, do the math: in a community of 100 people, all doing year-long projects, this means that every 3 days you hear of one fully-fledged, developed project. it seems like machine-gun-fire of interesting-ness. and yes it is. but those 100 cumulative years are slow, procedural. full of showers and coffee and clean tables, a river out the window. etc.

5) do the things that make sense, not the things that should make sense.

6) in the giant game of strategy vs tactics, abandon both and operate at the level of a mountain climber putting one foot in front of the other, which is not either a micro nor a macro level gesture, not just either tactics or strategy, not just detail or big picture, but a quasi-gesture (ala quasi-object) starting from a primordial soup and spreading in all directions.

6.1) in other words: don't do, and do again: do again, and do again again.

7) I mean, were you ever here to be a tourist? operate as if a traveler. the map as a device to allow one to discard the map. wander and seek out this local fast food place serving russian beer soup, that shrine of contemporary culture where the juicy knot of contemporary processes (ANT networks) has especially coagulated, this artifact of infrastructure. drop the shrines, the museums. when have you not? haven't you always? haven't you always.

8) lose an audience, a spectator, a viewership.

7.1, or 9) operate as if wandering. on a walk. guided by curious feet.

10) perhaps this means: sustained wonder through a form of calculated naivete. the pursuit of processes through laser-sharp directedness. find answers in physical processes (farm visits, bed rolls, walks, wanderings) as conduits for answers that have no precedent elsewhere. there is no metaphor for the shower, no simile for a cup of coffee, no analogy for a winter chill. these things constitute primordial analogies, the elemental building blocks -- that is just for me -- forming the vocabulary for the explication of my world, my world-processes.

The familiar unfamiliarity of a hostel room, rhythmic subsounds of chests rising, falling, air rushing into and out of nostrils, ajar mouths.

Perhaps right now and right here, Hong Kong is pure remembrance distilled into these immense towers, sky-high cities. It reminds me of new, new, and dusky San Francisco, of a foreign Miami mostly lit by car headlamps, of a surprisingly warm Iceland. It reminds me a little of the second warm week of spring in New York, when the novelty of not wearing a jacket is starting to wear off, and of fifth grade in Korea, punctuated by shrill whistles in the school field, the steady ding--ding--ding tri-tone sound of an intercom.

And when I first stepped outside I suddenly felt like I understood all the mobster movies, the John Woo gangster action flicks, the archetypical villain looking out onto the city from his/her 67th floor office, the dream of fistfights winning over global capitalism really just a fervent desire borne out of the fetid mix of life here, shadowed everywhere by monstrous towering soaring stretching pullings leaning beings.

This was 11 years, 3 months, 12 days ago

colors more vibrant

--

a new year's resolution from 2007, modified slightly:

"to [continue to] be more like the kid I was when I was sixteen. angrier, happier, emotional, idealistic, more motivated, more hard-working, endlessly voracious about knowledge, carefully opinionated, and above all excited, anxious to face the quote-world-unquote, to find some mystical underlying virtue in this all, convinced and moving. Perhaps -- to be more straight, more true, more properly fletched."

This was 12 years, 3 months, 3 days ago

something about the quality of sideways-sunlight at sci-arc and the drive back, and the quiet oomph of cars on a freeway and the rustle of clothes as my body shifts slightly in its seat.

This was 13 years, 3 months, 8 days ago

I don't know. things were different this time.

things got amplified, fell into place. when kneading dough there's a moment when everything coheres together into a elastic ball, no longer too sticky. the absence of progress in any repeated movement suddenly gives away to a series of revelations and reveal-ations. there's more here, if you look for it. more things sliding under things, if you're willing to be there.

it's not so much the same subject matter transposed onto different languages or cultures, it's the atmosphere itself that whirls in the air, neither form or content but attitude.


having navigated a metaphorical city I come out the other end understanding more of its alleyways. I've entered some of its buildings. I've met some of its people. understood more than a facade.

This was 14 years, 3 months, 2 days ago

I had a dream yesterday night that I was having a dream.
More specifically, I had a dream in which I had a very vivid dream, and I woke up. The dream-within-a-dream was one that was very innovative and startling in its storyline that I wanted to write it down, because I was surprised that I came up with such a chain of events. Unfortunately, people started talking to me and stopping me. Also, I only had a pen in my hand, and couldn't find any paper, or even a computer.

Sometime in the dream (or the dream within a dream) I went to someone's house in which there was a Technics SL1200 mounted on a piece of ripped-off plywood.

In the end, I couldn't write the dream down, and I just woke up.


When I ride cars at night, within this city so yearning towards the west, sometimes I wonder if the westward vector and an eastbound position don't balance each other out, and that what I'm seeing every night passing by is pure modernity, distilled. The science of rectangular signs and buildings taken form, buildings without regard to architectural style, pure neon, light, technology, change seen only when things are passing too fast to discern.


Yes. Do-Ho Suh is very Asian, Confucian, Korean.


I can't do this. I really can't do this right now this instant and this hour, and by 'this', I mean this introspection concerning this and this tuning-fork twin-polar national oscillation. Thought has been a constant process undergone for several years, but thought can only get more complex, takes on issues can only become more intertwined. Really, all I want is NOW to not give a shit, the same way that Do-Ho Suh's figurines wish to defy gravity (and more). Really, all I want is my fucking standing waves to be three dimensional, my own sounds to be inductions of inductions of inductions or something, not limited to a single hyperplane.

I want to see you again, new york.


Ceremony (New Order cover) - Radiohead

I am thankful for the small things, such as songs like the above.

This was 14 years, 3 months, 8 days ago

I'm reading The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, thanks to D who had it on her bookshelf.

The book is really great, excellent. It's heavy and dense at times, but also very light and airy at others, like the cellars and clouds it talks about. It wavers between a poetic/literary exploration of ideas, and a semi-systematic approach to psychology.

I was talking to someone once who asked me why I changed from computer science & English literature to computer science and art history. My response was that I felt that the academic reading and analysis of literature was based upon writing about writing, of the creation of literature about literature -- like building sandcastles on sandcastles on sandcastles. Also: a post-facto, post-creation analysis and exploration of art is done in literature, a different medium than art, I said, and for that reason there is less of a possibility of art coming from analysis; the medium gives birth in a different medium. I said that this was 'concrete', in some way, with more ties to the world full of messy, human politics, religion, and wordly events. Most of all, I said that I believed that art history seemed to have the internal worldview of the creator's public and private history embedded in it, whereas the academic method (that I had encountered) of looking at literature was focused more on a freeform interpretation of the creation, cutting loose the strings tying it to the ground and letting it fly free. Which is great, but just wasn't for me right then -- or so I said.

But reading Bachelard I'm slowly changing my mind -- not about majoring in literature vs art history, but about the nature of analysis, of theory, of thought. This includes writing about art. I really do believe that analytical writing about literature becomes a piece of literature, birth giving birth within the same medium, and containing the possibility of endless progeny. Exploration of literature navigates the same structures, looks at the same themes that literature does. Instead of characters, we have novels or chapters, and instead of plot, we have contextual meaning, thematic connections.

Sandcastles upon sandcastles isn't necessarily bad. The analysis of this endless reiteration upon the initial, is essentially an interpretation not of the original text or the created analysis, but of that process: literary exploration is about unearthing that mystical process in which literature gives birth to literature. When a snake is bitten by a snake which bites another snake, and so on - a sort of helical Ouroboros, the intrigue is not the snake bitten or being bitten, but rather the process of that bite, that mystical bite that is able to conjure up another iteration of the self but at a different level, with a different viewpoint. The 'mystical bite', for literature, is the process of literary analysis, of looking, seeing, and importantly understanding these creations as being simultaneously volatile (as they are built upon each person's own personal imagination and linguistic vocabulary), and also immensely strong and timeless. The mystical bite might take hold of another snake that is drastically different than itself, or it might bite itself in a circular, inward-directed spiral, but the bite itself is endlessly strong and vital, lively and alive, generative and creative, healthy and daring. Full of hope.


Bachelard semi-addresses this in his book. He's talking about the house (not any house, but a specific, universal house that exists in one's memory and dreams) as a kind of origin of the self; it's a location in which the self can exist, explore, and a method of defining one's self, almost. This comes right after a bit in which he talks about a house resisting a hurricane, and the representation this has of the human quality in which the house is "an instrument with which to confront the cosmos. ... Come what may the house helps us to say: I will be an inhabitant of the world, in spite of the world." And then:

"But can this transposition of the being of a house into human values be considered as an activity of metaphor? Isn't this merely a matter of linguistic imagery? As metaphors, a literary critic would certainly find them exaggerated. On the other hand, a positivist psychologist would immediately reduce this language to the psychological reality of the fear felt by a man immured in his solitude, far from all human assistance. But phenomenology of the imagination cannot be content with a reduction which would make the image a subordinate means of expression: it demands, on the contrary, that images be lived directly, that they be taken as sudden events in life. When the image is new, the world is new."

-Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space