This was 9 years, 6 months, 7 days ago

just before I am about to swing my right leg over and onto my bicycle and ride a little bit north, I talk with H in front of his stoop about futures, presences, places, positions, ages, etc. "as we grow older", etc. trees are damp and this familiar post-summer pre-fall brooklyn night is made up of red/yellow/white point-source lights coming from cars / streetlamps / headlights. etc. I head home. here we are. yo la tengo, ala 93.

if there's anything I've been considering this week it's that lessons come again and play themselves in full-force, and that the only sense of fixity is one's own self, and that all I can do is to delight in my own previous, current, and future stubbornnesses about things and to play those out, re-enact them again. I am who I am. the things that are important to me are important to me. I do the things I do because I am interested in the things I am interested in. tautology in full-force here, tautologies driving the world.


maybe it's that action appears like tautology, the inertia-laden flywheel of a mechanism turning because it turns, things continue to move along the fabric of spacetime because they were moving, etc. or maybe action appears like tautology because they are one and the same; 'reasoning' and 'explanations' are in the domain of concept, thought, knowledge, which beats its chest and proclaims loudly of causality, understanding, graspable concepts, calls these things history and theory.

to offer a critique is to examine all the repercussions according one's mental model / cognitive framework / methodology and to then say, "this is bad for such-and-such reason", or "this has such and such repercussions", or "this framework appears to be like this other framework".

lately I've been thinking of this like comparing to algorithms, or two neural nets. the worst case would be in which there's merely an aesthetic/formal evaluation between these two models / frameworks, like: "ballet dancers interact in the way that corporate executives coordinate merger deals", in which you get shitty formal analyses of the form "model a LOOKS LIKE model b", or someone tries to stake a career on the idea on "dancing and derivatives", etc. maybe another example is like: "a hand looks like veins in a leaf, so they are somehow similar." or: "bubble sort looks nothing like quicksort, so they are completely different", which is a statement that's not even wrong.

sometimes this is called 'abstraction', but that's not right either, because abstraction is, well, too abstract of a term to really accurately pinpoint the danger at the heart of this, which is to say that the joyous metaphorical practice of invoking things together and creating new emotions/perspectives, called a "metaphor", is killed/butchered to take the form of causality, the skin of one animal wrapped around another (ugh, that mental image).


in any case. what does it feel like when you're moving? how do you explain processes? so far the language of logic and philosophy and theory and history, which I still love, has not succeeded in accompanying me in discussing what it feels like to move, or what it feels like to send an email out and all of a sudden gather a bunch of people together, or how to resolve a labor dispute, or how to be diplomatic, or how to assert yourself, or how long to spend looking out a window onto the city, or at what point you stop certain things and start them up again, or vice versa.

the language of theory and history speaks to me about certainties that we discuss, but what I am interested in right now is how to make decisions with imperfect information; how to exactly move when you don't know where you're going, or rather, what steps to take when you know you want to go over there but have no idea what the path is. trying to do things with unknown unknowns. how, in what way, do you navigate?

it occurs to me that it might be interesting to study the rhetoric of sports strategies. the surfer's response to water is not to model the fluid dynamics of waves, but rather to gather a series of strategies and techniques and to amass them into a body of knowledge. heuristics.

where is the theory of heuristics? construction seems to be all heuristics, rules of thumb. maybe my central quandary these days is really about what happens when you attempt to capture a heuristic and write it down into a theory. heuristics and theories are orthogonal concepts, perhaps, intersecting at one point but increasingly divergent at all others.


back to fixity. the tautological self, myself and my own heuristics at play. here we are, and I am playing out the things I wish to see.

the only way in which I learn is if I find domains and experimental processes in which I have the possibility to be wrong. failure is lovely, really, but more important than failure is to actually be wrong, to set up an experiment in which that is at stake. often times, the things that make you wrong are giant pre-existing ecologies, such as natural/material processes, the construction industry, politics, etc. ideas you can modify are not ecologies. the test of a clay pot is when it gets enmeshed in your kitchen and breaks in your dishwasher. written concepts are actively altered in the field. ideas failing at the assembly line. etc.

here's to seeking a heuristics-oriented philosophy; here's to trusting my own current heuristics / actively seeking new heuristics / doing what I need to do.