Surveillance- May 21, 1987
1. A veil of attention.
2. A proposition. In both senses. Do you agree?
Then *take* it.
3. So one proposition at a time. A melody (quote Chopin)- a "run" of assertions.
These are delicately made
Lightly: Thougts about Alan- meeting on Saturday.
Was I abrupt- my sensitive registering of *response*.
4. See the dash there? An attempt at
a *light* melody. Light emphasis.
"These are instructions: construct a
melody. Carrying forth."
5. Questions of *institutional* committment.
6. Sneaking away, fading away,
running away, hiding away. With
the attempt to "carry forth" the
powerful impulse to back off. Toni
does this too. The antidote is
7. What would "initiative" or
"surveillance" look like in a purely
physical medium? "Initiative" might
be translated as "spontaneous
combustion," the response on the part of
matter to certain "forces." Words
change the way we attend to
phenomena. As soon as I use the
word "force" the visual referent which
explains the meaning of the word to me
particularizes a certain boundary of
possibly related phenomena...
Twice I've quoted my own "aphorism"- to
Alan and to Charles without actually
writing down in this notebook- I
wrote it at work on a scrap of paper.
"Under repressive conditions, it is conservative
to do what is obvious, but revolutionary
to say what is obvious."
With each poem, carry something over from
the previous poem, as Chopin did
with his waltzes. This provides
perhaps, ways of avoiding leaving the
poor particular ideas or
thoughts out there stranded with no
connection to the others.
Nostalgia for the whole. As soon as
one sees a new connection, comes the longing
to convert this insight into a new
key to the whole. Too often this comes to
trying to force things. I get that picture
of Einstein after his work being extremely
altered by Heisenberg's indeterminacy
principle and Einstein spent the rest of his
life trying to match this chess move.
He failed, perhaps because this idea
was better adapted to the actual
technical problems in dealing with the atomic
entity itselof, rather than its abstract
place in the cosmos.
The yearning for the whole, the
nostalgia for the whole, the myth of
the whole (Blake on details ["particulars"])
Wholeness a question of being, rather
than of seeing. Our knowledge remains
fragmentary, possibly precisely because
we are constantly being changed by
the knowledge we keep pursuing.
The yearning for the whole ultimately
is a yearning for stasis.
What if we gave over the role of
wholenss to the realm of death? For
one thing, both seem to be in the
same category- areas we ca only discuss
in the realm of complete conjecture.
Almost all conjecture in the history
of written ideas is on this topic
anyway- and if it isn't, this
topic will inevitably touch on it anyway.
Perhaps the answer that we want- that
the whole is attainable in life- is just
the opposite to what is true. And perhaps
death- that we view as the opposite of
wholeness- is complete dissolution- after
all- that is what we see- and seeing
is believing. Yet, even though I can
accept almost nothing offered to me by
conventional religions- it is very possible
that in disposing of religion- and going
over to science we robbed the mind of
one of its most fertile and enlivening
topics- speculation as to to other states
as these relate to the state of being.
I often wonder about the fundamental
aspects of the relationship between the organic
and inorganic universe. The obvious
thought that I usually turn to is that
inorganic and organic life are
functions of each other, and light is
a transitive substance between the two.
If light is empowering, perhaps it
is the organizing force in nature.
it is the one that moves the quickest-
this best adaptable to have a function
of "suveillance." And it is
being "watched" that we usually
connect to being "looked after."
Perhaps just as we need light to
see, light watches us in some way,
so as to watch over us. We are
warmed by the Sun, and it lights our
way. So, being enabled to
watch, we are watched.
So perhaps also, in dying, in giving
up our individual perspectives, we are
ennabled , in some unimaginable way,
to be part of it all, in a dimension
unobtainable to any living being.
And perhaps this wall we reach, this straining
after something *complete,* something total,
But, after all, doesn't all experience
lead to more and more glimpsing
something behind physical reality
if not more than the assumptions guiding
our way of looking at it.