[NetBehaviour] Happy Thanksgiving in a darker world!

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Fri Nov 29 03:05:43 CET 2019

I was working through formations of water that occur literally for a very 
split second, that's all, and how these forms are generally overlooked by 
us. The examples I gave are very biomorphic, forms momentarily held 
together by surface tension and air bubbles within the water. I couldn't 
begin to understand the mathematics and dynamics of all of this. But it 
doesn't point to endings, certain to the froth of continuations. I haven't 
read Kermode as far as I remember, so I can't comment on that. For me 
there are flows, ontologies, outside the local ones of particle physics 
perhaps, are problematic all the way along, endings are of our own doing, 
Mikel Dufrenne's world of the book and Schutz on relevance theory are 
useful, the latter pointing to the ad hoc, etc. I've written extensively I 
think (for me) on the inadequate, and how inadequacy is fundmental, and 
this comes out in the work I do; if I didn't have tinnitus, I'd still not 
ever hear correctly, harmonies come poorly for me for example; we hear 
such a small spectrum of the world around us etc. I'm a failure; I'd 
rather think through failure, "own it" as they're now saying about 
athletes, because it's also fundamental; there's no adequacy, no success 
except through hallucinogenic mimicry...

- Alan, thanks -

On Thu, 28 Nov 2019, Max Herman wrote:

> 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,
> Max
> ____________________________________________________________________________
> 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!
> Animals
> 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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