This was 10 years, 6 months, 18 days ago

I approach these statements like the wonder of sifting through one's own being like an archaeologist - fascinated but removed, distant: re-reading this, in the way that one forgets what has happened to one before. experiences are less like accumulations and more like a river into which, you know, one never steps into twice. who said that? when was that? more and more, distinct psyches seem to be incommensurable states that are endless miles apart from each other, or like different floors on koolhaas's downtown athletic club; sectional slices so distinct that they appear to house different worlds already. the MEP work plunging/skewering through different floors. structure somehow keeping everything together. program and lived experience is entirely new here, entirely new. this floor was then. now you are over here.


something I'd been thinking about but hadn't quite put into words yet came out today in a sudden explanation of why I didn't want to apply to that program, at least not quite yet:

so in capital volume II, marx's explanation of M-C-M becomes expanded into a detailed elaboration of M-C-P-C'-M', where money is used to buy commodities (both labor and means of production), which are then used in a process of production to create new commodities, that are then sold back on the market for a margin (that originates from the surplus-value of labor). M-M', expanded into a cycle.

long story short: marx then elaborates on a chain: M-C-P-C'-M'-C'-P'-C''-M''-.. and then privileges this reformulation: C-P-C'-M'-C', or C-C'. he says this is the most important process because it's the only formulation that starts from a commodity, and ends in a commodity. and as such, this process represents the full imbrication within capitalism; there's an implication that the initial commodity came from someone else's output; the new c' harkens to a continuation of this cycle. a nifty conceptual gesture, if you ask me.

to return to theory, or praxis: or to jettison these terms temporarily, because they are too laden, to wobbly, too up-for-grabs:

after three years of a joyous plunge into the world, lately I am interested in the experiment -- the experiment stemming from an idea that yields results that then changes the initial idea -- the idea itself having been created of formulated in such a manner that always wanted to be changed in the first place. yearning towards revision, movement, motion. and so this would probably be like:

idea -> experiment -> result -> new idea (idea')

and to map marx's nifty conceptual gesture onto this, I would posit that the full cycle is idea-experiment-result-idea'-experiment'-result'-idea''-...

and that the ideal reformulation of this cycle is:

experiment -> result -> idea' -> experiment'

in which it always posits the experiment as the alpha and omega of the cycle. same process, new viewpoint. without experiments, there are no results, and no new ideas.

and you may say -- "but how do you know what kind of experiment you need to run if you don't have a theory about it?" and this can be true in science. but what I mean by experiment isn't a scientific experiment that needs a null hypothesis and a control group, etc.

more importantly, the question could be rephrased as -- "how do you know what ideas to have if you don't observe from phenomena captured by an experiment?" which, I believe, is the better stance to organize around. pro-movement. ideas are not manifest into the world and then returned back into ideas. rather, the world gives you an idea that you then test again on a new formulation of the world.

having said that, what I really mean is that the danger of "theory" (that word again) is that it becomes hermetic, becomes abstracted into operating on top of its own logic, grows to a point where it starts growing its own axioms, becomes like a lilypad floating on the water. language driving language. the question of axioms, then -- from where do they come from? what is 'underneath' axioms? not about "why is an axiom an axiom", but what is the historical/geneological origin of an axiom? and is that question not infinitely valid? is it not eventually a social agreement to call a shared axiom a shared axiom? hence the infinite sociality of mathematics (what, you do graph theory?), and computer science, the only two fields that seem to engage deliberately and non-problematically in the formation of one's own axioms.

the other fields do not have axioms, perhaps. there are just loose models that are continually revised in the pursuit of better models. geological models fail; maybe it is more like a treadmill or a snowball or an organism in action, or maybe the circulation of water through rain/ocean/clouds. "what is the snowball"? "where is water?" these are just conditions of flow that continually invent themselves every minute. and how do you explain that well?

when we talk about agonistic pluralism and chantal mouffe and ernesto laclau, and when I take delight at reading ranciere, or foucault, or a playful joy at reading some snippets of derrida, or when there is a meaty heft to digging into marx, now I cannot help but ask - where does that come from? is that just a purely aesthetic desire? why do I like the idea of agonistic pluralism over habermas's public sphere? is there not an aesthetic gesture behind it? an aesthetics of politics -- not in terms of ranciere's book, but to be blunt about it -- that certain ideas seem 'sexy'?

so I admit - I find non-hierarchy 'sexy', I find agonism 'sexy'. hopefully these terms are not just aesthetic determinators. but if they are -- and I suspect that they are -- then they follow the logic of any aesthetic, which is to say a socially formulated axiom, and so we share views of what we think is sexy, and so we all get on this agonistic-pluralism-is-sexy boat, and then the aesthetic continually formulates itself into a firmer axiom,

and then we are really dealing with a problematic axiom here, or just the circulation of idea-idea-idea-idea, no primes here, just endless repetition or conceptual hegemony, a kind of meta-politics of the idea.


back to the experiment:

or you could drink in the world, and find an idea. and then drink in more of the world, and then find another idea. and move forwards with a series of experiments that are like jumping from island to island.


where am I? I wonder lately. I feel like I am either at the crest or the trough of a wave, some sort of wave, or more like at the end of a deep exhale that started in mid-may and is just ending now. breathing wayyy out. and now I am breathing in, and starting new things. school is starting, without me in it. I am now in the world. I am now engaging in other things, other cycles -- or more like: making my own. and as tempting it is to engage back into that world, or at least to harness that energy from it, I realize that school - loved and celebrated school -- is really just a wrapper around a different sort of activity already innate within me. movement was just amplified. engagement was just more easily induced. but all of these things are still existent, you know. nothing is lost. when you leave the gym, you still retain all of your muscles.

and running: running is good, because it is your body thinking about your body, really; nothing else. the ground is an excuse for an intimate engagement within your body, and neither a collaborator or an enemy. it provides the support for an internal dialogue; but more than that -- it's the medium for each experiment,. endless petri dishes with agar solutions testing out the relationship of your foot ot your angle to your legs to your arms to your centers of gravity to your lungs to your heart to your sweat glands; aerobic and oxygenated and coordinated and complex series of experiments, observations, results. each experiment valuable and moving and pushing and generating.

here's to seeing the world as the ground.