Wednesday, July 31, 2013

'As if' and Ecstacy, Logomachy Four

This continues an ongoing investigation of A. O. Spare's Logomachy of Zos. A copy of the work can be found at the Hermetic Library here. Check it out. In general I have been selecting epigrams which seem particularly important or interesting. In many cases I select ones that build on insights considered previously. 

by A. O. Spare

4. “Subject understanding object by ‘as if’ may become, with courage, an ingressive
emotional experience giving mutual expression.”

Anyone familiar with Robert Anton Wilson's "Quantum Language" or E-Prime?
Sounds like an early precursor right here. "I see the cat 'as if' it were walking towards
me." Anyone care to comment on the idea of an "ingressive emotional experience"?

5. “Ecstasy is our out-span touching Reality. It is a potent generative instant having a
surplus that, when synchronized, may be used abstractly to incarnate another wish.”

"Subject understanding object by 'as if' may become, with courage, an ingressive
emotional experience giving mutual expression."

Anyone who really pays attention to the thrust of a lot of my comments would
inevitably notice that I am no friend to the subject/object distinction. In point of fact I
view it as a distortive artifact of early modern thinking which we have all pretty much
internalized and which we now take for "common sense" or which we consider
"obvious". All that being said, the first statement seems to suggest a way out of the mess
(as I mentioned earlier, something along the lines of E-Prime or quantum language where
all forms of the "be" are removed). Notice, however, that this need not specifically BE
something like E-Prime. I can say "It appears as if the cat lies in front of me." or "It IS as
if the cat IS in front of me." the question is what the difference is. The "as if" need not do
away with a concept of Being or Reality, phenomena can be viewed as just as real as the
things they express its just that they exist in a different ontological region (realm of
Being). Phenomena exist as "as if"s while other regions will have their own modes of
being. The purpose here, then, does not seem to be to limit our dogmatic assumptions
concerning what does and doesn't exist but rather (to begin with) to place objects into the
realm of phenomena. (Note that I can be a staunch Realist and experience "It is as if the
cat is before me" as "I am receiving visual data concerning a substantial material object"
or "There is manifest an expression of constitutive desire" neither of which need be read
as failing to assert the reality of the cat before me.) The western (especially modern)
world has been working with a wildly depleted sense of both Being and Illusion for quite
some time due to a compulsive search for an absolute Reality against which everything
else can be written off as illusion, "mere appearance" or "mere opinion" (Recall here, for
example, the famous saying "What is real is what allows itself to be measured."). But I

Why courage? Surely it takes courage to recognize over and over the implicit
changeability and unpredictability of everything. In a realm of phenomena as expression
all things become dependent upon an unknown expressor and/or thing being expressed.
We are always, as it were, in the middle of a work of art the purpose and origin of which
we don't know. I don't mean this in terms of fluffy cliches ("Life is beautiful like God's
art" etc.) Here the ground starts to slope away and the endless mystery, in a dark terrible
yawning sense, opens up. It is all Other, Foreign and Unknown. Really submit to this, and
your coffee cup can come to be a revelation, a terror, or a riddle destining you for the nut
house. Everything is "as if" and "as if"s are always tentative and changing... all is mask.

Good, now we take the turn to a "ingressive emotional experience giving mutual
expression". I will bracket [emotional] for now and focus on the concept of an ingressive
experience giving mutual expression. The word emotional adds another loop later.

When we ingress we enter. When we, as subjects, understand objects as
expressive phenomena we have an experience of entering which gives mutual
expression... to what? Mutual expression to both subject and object. Then who is having
this ingressive experience? I dare say subject and object. Subject understanding Object as
expressive phenomena enters into their unity (overcomes the dualism) in an experience
from whence (mutual expression) both arise (remember expression as more than its usual
meaning, but rather as origin of the unabsolute as well). This "as if" exercise then, with
courage, brings us into the originary experience of the birth of subject and object. The
final thing to note, that bracketed "emotional". All of this is wildly cognitive and
intellectualized. But it is not thinking which puts us in contact with Reality, but rather
Ecstasy. The ingressive experience is an emotional experience. Beyond the bounds of
illusory reason stretches the explosive experience of the world's unity (our unity with it,
and the derivative nature of both "I" and "it"). This makes alot of sense, the philosopher
Heidegger (for example) talks about "mood" as a fundamental attuning to the world in
which our unity with the world (what he calls Being-In-The-World) is made apparent to
us. Mood, read here as emotion although Heidegger has in mind only some selective
ground-moods (anxiety, boredom, joy), reveals us as wrapped up, caught up, in the
world. We are involved and also more than a little at the mercy of our being in the world.
How we feel affects how the world shows up, but the world dictates much of how we
feel, and neither is in our complete control. Take this to the point of an absolutely
paralyzing anxiety or boredom, or a world changing joy or ecstasy, and the artificial
epistemic construct of "I" and "world" and our "interaction" or "experience" of each other
can fall away into the primordiality of relatedness.

This relatedness in which we experience Ecstasy, this out-stretching striving
wherein finally the object striven for and the subject striving explode each other and
dissolve, is the same creative moment from which both come. It is the relation out of
which the subject and object derive, and so in the return to that moment just before or
after the relation one can "incarnate another wish". Note this surplus. Of course there
would be a surplus, because subject and object are always more and other than they seem
when experienced "as if" they were separate and oppositional. What they seek to express
is more than they manifest as expressions. There is so much more to say, I suspect, but I
need to stop for now.

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