Saturday, November 10, 2007

It is essence that escapes the structure that conceptuality imposes. The pleasure that suffuses the senses, is evoked by an experience of the insubstantial, the taste of a sweet cake, the scent of a lilac. There is nothing in the experience than can be seized upon, or conceptually grasped, but the body that was conceived, finds intense pleasure in it.

Proust is suggesting a connection between the pleasure of taste and smell and the pleasure of remembrance. Simultaneously with the physical pleasure, there is psychological pleasure, a release from the tension of the structure. Images from the past are as insubstantial as some sweet scent. Proust leaves the substantial world outside, and moves inside to immerse himself in the insubstantial.

The pleasure of music is an affect of essence. The elemental, the composition and performance are suffused with a scent or a taste that is heard. It is as if, composition, the elemental, decomposes in the presence of the essence, and in so doing, it appears that the elemental is the source. But that is illusory; the essence is threre, before one note is put on the page.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Imagination is essential, conceptuality is elemental.

"I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An equisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory --- this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savors, could not, indeed, be of the same nature as theirs. Whence did it come? What did it signify? How could I seize upon and define it?" Marcel Proust, Rememberance of Things Past. 34.

Proust, in the paragraphs that follow describes his experiment in making the state reappear. He tastes a spoonful of tea a second and third time without result, noting the resistance to the reappearance of the blissful state.

"Undoubtedly what is thus palpitating in the depths of my being must be the image, the visual memory which, being linked to that taste, has tried to follow it into my conscious mind. But its struggles are too far off, to much confused; scarcely can I perceive the colorless reflection in which are blended the uncapturable whirling medley of radiant hues, and cannot distinguish its form, cannot invite it, as the one possible interpreter, to translate to me the evidence of its contemporary, its inseparable paramour, the taste of cake soaked in tea; cannot ask it to inform me what special circumstance is in question, of what period in my past life." 35.

He struggles, finally gives up and decides, "to drink my tea and to think merely of the worries of to-day and of my hopes for to-morrow, which let themselves be pondered over without effort or distress of mind."

"And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray ( because on those mornings, I did not go out before church time ), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first into her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval, without tasting them, on the trays of pastry-cooks' windows, that their image had disassociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the forms of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds,were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection." 36.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Imagination is unsystematic, oblivious to the "law of contradiction." The imaginal body is unorganized, unconscious, and unreal; it neither eats, nor shits, nor fucks. The prefix "un" describes the relationship between imagination and conceptual thought. The prefix "anti" is inappropriate; imagination and conceptual thought are not opposites. Imagination means, it does not produce and it is not anti-production.

Imagination does not represent something inside or outside itself, it simply imagines. To be is to imagine; to become is to conceive. Imagination is timeless, ignorant of points of origin, and end points. Ignorant indeed of all points and lines, and planes, and cubes, and tetrahedrons, ignorant indeed of dimension. Conceptual thought comes and goes; imagination is.

Conceptuality begins within the isness of imagination. The "fertile egg" is a concept. Human experience makes it clear that the conceptual body develops from the fantastic body; the "adult" develops from the "child." The world is fantastic before it is real. The child shares with Magic Man, a world still under the sway of unconscious processes. Scientific Man is Magic Man, all grown-up, well not quite grown-up. He won't be fully grown until he has abjected the last hint of imagination, and his body and his world are purely conceptual. The idea of purity is fantastic.

The ego complex is a psychic immune system. An immune system separates past and future conditions of the body by maintaining a present. The political system is the immune system, a method of compromise between opposing forces. It is the certain knowledge of the future failure of the immune system that provides the clue as to its relationship with the whole body that it separates.

The maintenance of the system is problematic; it requires constant effort to keep the opposing forces from devouring each other. It is a balancing act in which at any given moment you may fall off the wire. Maintenance is work, the expenditure of a finite amount of energy, to maintain the working body. To work is to eat and eliminate, to incorporate the good and abject the bad. The life-time of this working body is limited, and at the limit it stops working. We know it stops working, from having seen a corpse.

The idea that fuels the work is that the working body is the only body; that when the work stops, there is the void, empty infinite space. The idea implies that existence is work and that if you do not work, you do not exist. The working body is the conceptual body, the elemental body. The body that does not work is the imaginal body, the essential body. Time for work.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How am I to appear to you? How am I to represent myself to you? And, why is this question elemental? It is the ? that is elemental. The elemental is not essential. Images are essential, concepts are elemental.

The extraction of the essence is a different process from the extraction of the element.

Henry Miller says, "stand still like a humming bird."
Day light is no longer being saved on Harris Creek, and so darkness descends at five o'clock, and I feel the comfort of winter's coming. Curried white beans and white rice warming on the stove, electric, no flame, but these are late times. Late times are times of decline, reclining times. Flat is best.

How to get flat? How am I to flatten myself, cartoon myself ?

I have fallen in love with winter's flat whiteness.