thunderbirds tweeting at dawn / history and ghostly objects

Can’t sleep. The sun’s starting to come up, though with the fog it’s hard to tell (there’s a reason why the locals call this Fog City). The birds are starting to sing their morning songs.

Every week I walk downtown to George Street, which is infamous for having the most bars and pubs per square foot in North America. Every Friday, the Jockey Club gets together to talk philosophy. We have a deal with one of the pubs there where they open early for us (4:30, we’re usually there until 6:30 or so) and we give them regular business for the trouble.

Every week I tell myself I’ll bring my camera to get a photo of a particular piece of graffiti that I love. I am always sure to walk by it on the way there, just to make sure no one has covered over it. Every week I forget to bring my camera. It turns out someone on Flickr already had a great photo of the Thunderbird.

thunderbird

I love everything about this piece, from the design itself, to the dripping halo of colour around it, to the wear and tear, the scrapes and gashes. This is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about history; I don’t mean some grand system or synthesis. What I mean by history is this, the simple fact that over time (that is, through the work of drive) things change, pieces and relations fall away, while new things attach themselves to the object. These “missing” pieces aren’t truly missing however, as the absences continue to affect the thing, with both the former pieces as well as the gaps coming to define the thing. That is to say, the thing is never merely it’s current properties or relations, but is also in some way all of it’s past forms, as well as its future forms.

Where Graham says that there are dark recesses within objects that are never touched, I see the gap here in the existence of history. It is because the thing is always missing pieces (both the pieces it has lost as well as those it has yet to take on, both of which are part of the thing), existing in this awkward spectral state, that thought fails to grasp the expanse of Being, and ultimately why I’m not doing a new correlationism. This is also why I think hauntology, an acknowledgement of things never being entirely present (in fact, claiming that absolute presence and absence are both impossible), is first philosophy.

I need to try to get some sleep.

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