what are you lookin at

One comes to crave meaning so much one learns a new way of craving. I can’t even say desire because the term is so wrapped up in Lacan and how speaking about Lacan reverses the work Lacan suggests one desire by, yet there exist entire publications designed to pull the curious and unrecruited in to act as confirming gaze for psychoanalytic milieus transferring young souls into the academic bank. This is not a cynical rant. I have no interest in mania, or passivity, or being being-seen. Sometimes I think television … and I suppose now all moving images on//with dual narrative screens are simply religious icons, the better to practice the fantasy of being seen and judged by embodying that gaze for a screening of a future perfect self.

there must be some way to introduce oneself, and future readers, to a text without some variant of an idiomatic generalization about the lack of motivation at a certain time of day, or an arbitrary collection of emotional, social, governmental or financial forces stretched around one’s world to take the role of warden.

a fictional space is created, and depicted in such a way so as to challenge the protagonist in her righteous claim to autonomy. archetypes, be they scientific, historical, communist, feminist, anarchist, et al, are argued to be clustered around these hubs of illegit power, and the writer enjoys an imaginary authenticity within his or her internal narrative, for a time.

much planning is said to be underway. the scientists and engineers work to keep that tech edge the powers at be find so irritatingly semelfactive; hackers never appear, only a brief trace of their work, coded insulation nested within codes within codes, and then gone, leaving revolutionary texts on homepages like “the coming insurrection,” or “the coming community,” announced once and then never seen quite the same way again; anything so long as the message left for media-loving peoples is one of a continuing contradiction in the world.

it’s suggested that there’s something out there, brewing, plotting, violent and ungodly, waiting to take common securities away. the plans are personal to their core. for once, the rhetoric of revolution isn’t for an oppressed class, or sex, or sexuality or nation, any more than it is an idea or simulation.

for once, it’s about you.

somewhere on the upper east side a designer whose life flies between work in the financial district, home entertainment, and pre-arranged three-ways lets loose a dime from her fist, on its way to a waitress’ model hands, and the cycle is broken for an instant, and she thinks

{is this…a simulation?}

slowly, depositing doubts in each phoneme’s contours about who her CV says she is, about why she writes her assignations in her planner, about why she leans on social media accounts for self-assurance and correspondence rather than email or a phone call.

she can’t remember the last time she made a phone call, she can’t remember when she spoke out of character, the last time she spoke without constraints and without three to five trending words on her mind to fill awkward silences with. she couldn’t remember the last time she thought without sex, money, or power being its object, its End.

her phone makes the alert sound to remind her of her trendy mask. she gained another twenty likes for throwing in the hashtag “autumninnewyork” on a nature photo, and below she can see the comments, whereupon she is reassured that this is real, that the amalgam of quantitative statistics suggesting for her that she will, in fact, exist, if only she would announce it according to google analytics. And who could argue? google tells her she has many more hits this year than last, and the further back in time she searches, the less she exists.

in fact, her social media accounts and the followers contained therein tell her, there is a good deal of her who has come into being since 2005. she Likes over 128 bands now. in 2005 she only liked genres. she has Read over 100 books on Goodreads. Before then only a few friends and family had seen her holding a couple of dozen. how scandalous! she thinks, how much time she spent reading privately, thinking privately, presuming a signature self not subject to the democratic assent of Likes and Shares. how could she ever claim to be a bibliophile if she wasn’t seen reading or digitally shelving her books? her thoughts on the book were given value, Goodreads says, if only she’d transcribed them online.

it’s difficult to level the insult of historian so succinctly at anyone in a group, today. every experience is devoid of value unless it is Social, i.e., liquidated for its quantitative potential through Likes, Retweets and so on. Thus every user account on social media networks is collectively writing the fiction of now, and history is a knot of embedded links and #shoutouts and archetypal reminisces from the position of a dead icon or author, whose death thankfully preceded the death of the author.

there is no history, because reality is narrative, and that can be purchased, re-interpolated, weaponized. i remember going back to the future last month, how about you?

this is why your memory is so unreliable. virtual space has extension, too. our lives extend there before anywhere else. but writing online constricts language’s use to the lenses of those positions pushing the trendiest terms; an anti-poeisis always already at work between every hyperlink and image.

if there is always a finite number of lenses with which a text can be interpreted, then communication itself’s reductive. semantic scarcity is the desert of Facebook.

all things equally exist so long as all things are social. then, after the (in)different is silenced, all things (left) exist equally.

02.13.2015→unedited fragments.

There is a trail of dried wax resting on this white wooden table in the dark. The only illumination is this computer’s light, vaguely outlining this old Harlem room. Recordings of thunder and rain fill this space with memories of more authentically introspective nights in the Midwest, back during a time when this writer could speak candidly about a soul’s eternal fate, in that contented intermission between love lost, social transgression and academia.

I am sitting in a broken chair, balanced into its upright position with one foot, held down by the weight of the other. Crumpled copies of my manuscript and notes dating back to 2011 litter the oak floor, and the drive to complete even a single essay escapes me. In seven hours I will be at work again, begging strangers for money on the streets of Manhattan, fighting to keep what thoughts I’ve summoned in the past few hours within reach.

Time is one’s greatest enemy. The internet only plays at democratic pluralism, only pretends to be free mediation. Without the space to write one’s own categorical imperative, free from social assent or dissent, one’s attention becomes fragmented, polyvocal, self-contradictory and unsound. Endless feeds of news, politics and art elicit only urgency, decadence and envy, respectfully. We are forced into ego-death, and redirected to the races, our “careers.” While it may be true that only moral (or immoral) action yields individuation, it is also true that the absence of non-political spaces precludes the formation of a stable ego.

In a completely politicized world, friendship becomes enmity with an other’s lack of correspondence with the completed, idealized other of one’s imagination. A series of images is organized and consolidated enough to resemble a whole, then it is renamed as such, as other; gestalt.

An anonymous quote has intrigued me as of late:

a man once said to himself, “so tell me, is it better to die?”

A man posits a transcendent, future-perfect self who is both oneself and who one will have been. He walks along a crack in the road, one hand over the sun, the other like a wing swinging down, looking down through imperfection, through the trace of his more earthly, contingent self’s mortality, and considers his fate from this distance.

It’s something everyone does. An absolute imago, totally sheltered and abstracted from the blinding uncertainty of the present. But it is also a deferment of the question. If there is a higher self to ask, then the question is senseless.

He whispers his name. He repeats it, he echoes. He thinks greek, and feels the pull from the other, the magical space of noumenal intuition Kant posited between the phenomenal and the political, so he’d ‘know’ what was right.

isolation is a cold, epoch-producing machine. it brackets causality, it removes the castrating effect of proper use endemic of the term social. if Dostoevsky lived today, he would agree with Zizek that if there is no God, then everything is prohibited.  We cannot act how we’d like to because there is no afterlife, no future-perfect to which we can defer our complicity, and delay our need to make amends.

time is one’s greatest enemy, not in the senseless way of lacking a requisite quantity or duration, but because it has been pulled down to us, in our hyper-mediated world. it drives us through so many frames of reference that we can no longer project it in any other way but how it wants us to. there is no era. there is no tribe. there is no season, no history. only statistical analyses and quantified jouissance.

when tomorrow finally comes to stay, perhaps yesterday will finally make good, and all of us will face Hegel’s Divine Day, present, game-free, unmythologized, undetermined and unavowed. breathing, divining, shining into one another’s eyes, we will cease to posit “me,” and exist as the future does: for one-self, in the future anterior, the origin of all past repetitions.