[NetBehaviour] Happy Thanksgiving in a darker world!

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 28 22:13:26 CET 2019

Some thoughts on Kermodes book Sense of an Ending:

Here is a quote from the epilogue, which he wrote for the 2000 edition, the first ed being from 1965:

"I continue to be interested in the idea, mentioned in my second chapter, that within human time one can distinguish between the chronos of mere successive days and the kairos of high days and holidays, times or seasons that stand out (red-letter days, as one used to say) as belonging to a different temporal order.  It was my belief that in referring to the sound of a clock not as "tick-tick" but as "tick-tock" we substitute a fiction for the actual acoustic event, distinguishing between Genesis if "tick" and apocalypse of "tock," and conferring on the interval between them a significance it would otherwise lack.  The fictive end purges the interval of simple chronicity.  It achieves a 'temporal integration'--it converts a blank into a kairos, charges it with meaning.  So it can be argued here that we have a tiny model of all plots." (Epilogue p. 192)

This reminds me of Benjamin's concept of charged time, and makes me wonder if the "integration" being discussed is a network or fabric phenomenon of time.  Also, whether plot itself might be a hallucinatory fabric designed to "fill in blanks"!  :)

Kermode also mentions Dante's reference to "the point at which all times are present" ("il punto a cui tutti li tempi son presenti") so that seems to have a network quality as well.
From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Max Herman via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2019 1:05 PM
To: Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>; NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Cc: Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] Happy Thanksgiving in a darker world!

Hi Alan,

Coincidentaller and coincidentaller!  My tinnitus is raging today, I am thinking of millstones, and I just learned the word "hypnagogic" last week reading Sacks' Hallucinations for my book club.

No wifi so I haven't viewed the files yet but will.

Re solitons, I love those for some reason.  I think they must relate to a lot but am not sure what or how exactly.  Perhaps to the essence of time?

Also in book club we read Barnes' Sense of an Ending years ago which mentions solitons I think, and of course Barnes studied at Cambridge or Oxford with Kermode who also wrote a book called Sense of an Ending.

Sacks' book is exactly what you say -- when a faculty is damaged or deprived of input it loses "constraint" and you get hallucinatory "release" activity, as the system fills in the blanks.  Phantom limb is one example he mentions.  He does also associate hallucinations with the highest levels of art and cultural creativity, perhaps even history itself (certainly to his own very personal history, revelatory to a degree in this his last book before death, most explicitly).

As is often the case I was the obstreperous theorist in book club last week.  Many thought the book was too "laundry list" of symptomology, with no frame or exploration of "interconnections" or larger ideas.  My argument was that the method so to speak was to describe broken networks, processing systems with damage, deprivation, or both.  We wrangled about that but generally I think it made sense gradually, though at first I wasn't sure if it would.  It wasn't a perfect book and did have plenty o' filler one could say, but as a person's final book who can criticize.  Sacks' did mention the "musical network" of the brain and "default networks" (i.e. the default mode network which is very important in brain functions of internal neurological as well as social situational balancing or baseline).

In this ramble I think the question of solitons and Barnes' idea of narrative is the least clear point I'm raising, vague for me as read long ago.  In his novel there is the key image of a wave that goes backward up a river.  The main character also learns he had been much more cruel and vain in his life than he had realized, self-serving, sort of like a tragic hero seeking out his own acts of hybris.

Having found perhaps a useful gap in my knowledge today, I've taken the Kermode book off the shelf for review, and notice it is about apocalyptic agendas in how artists and writers from "Plato to William Burroughs" have "imposed their fictions on the face of eternity, and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit.". It would make sense that our fictional "endings" are attempts usually to place a structure on the unending; a discovery or "uncovering" (i.e. apocalypse) of the "true map of things," an attempt at an authoritative resolution of debate out of dire adaptive necessity and imperatives of cognitive momentum.

One critic calls the Kermode (haven't opened it yet) a "non-schismatic view of human time" so I'm curious what that means, whether it could pertain to Benjamin or Frankfurt school and thence to "The Work of Art in the Age of Network Reproduction."

An attempt to tie together: the fictional endings we create are creative ways of filling in blanks, which can lead to knowledge, knowledge which is both bounded and free in space and time.

Now I will view files if signal permits, read some Kermode, some Time Reborn, then snowshoe a bit.

Thanks for good art and writing, and very best holiday wishes to all,


From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2019 11:59 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] Happy Thanksgiving in a darker world!

Happy Thanksgiving in a darker world!


Surface tension, capillary action, developmental catastrophes
at the edge of a waterfall, about twenty-five images.

<image> http://www.alansondheim.org/P1070769.JPG
<VIDEO> https://youtu.be/JxYjIJuKAuI VIDEO
<image> http://www.alansondheim.org/P1070752.JPG

The video moves through all images, approximately 5 sec./image.
The shadows are the past history of the lip; the bright areas
are the current development. I've always been fascinated by
these phenomena in nature; they're common enough, but almost
literally take on a life of their own when captured. Captured,
never released: the image still the shape into the biological
phenomena of the dream. When I write about somatic ghosting and
its relation to the flesh, these also come to mind, the dream
of the flesh/flash haunting the fast-forward world which, under
normal circumstances, never reveals itself to it. Watch the
video to the end; the fine-structure of the phenomena needs
time to reveal itself. This particular waterfall is part of an
antique millrace in Seekonk, Mass.; the original images are far
more detailed.

Perhaps the phenomena of dreaming, hoping, fearing, appear as
similar revelations, much as tinnitus is the self-organizing of
part of the nervous-system. under the duress of silence. In any
case, these particular images reveal a world of incandescent
beauty, one of higher and lower knowledges.

" In mathematics and physics, a soliton or solitary wave is a
self-reinforcing wave packet that maintains its shape while it
propagates at a constant velocity. Solitons are caused by a
cancellation of nonlinear and dispersive effects in the medium.
(The term "dispersive effects" refers to a property of certain
systems where the speed of the waves varies according to
frequency.) Solitons are the solutions of a widespread class of
weakly nonlinear dispersive partial differential equations
describing physical systems. " - Wikipedia

Bad science of solitons = dreams, tinnitus, living creatures in
froth and foam, incandescent sensory phenomena.

Hypnagogic images, I see these, sense these, on the way to
sleep, something about origins, surely delusion, but surfaces,
beneath or within surfaces, perhaps, already gone. As if our
lived time doesn't register here, our vision, our longevity or
short, shortened lives. Preposterous intervals, invisible but
suffocating ignorance. Breathing, I can't breathe.

Dawn gone, done.

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