Some Notes On Relationality- What I Know So Far

– What does it mean for a human being to be connected? When is one wired and where does this wiring go? Is the wiring visible like a marionette, or are we all wireless now? Am I connected? Of course I am, but to what? Is it to you or to…

– On my relation to my relations. As object, I remains distinct from those other objects around me. But I am not entirely distinct, as I am not simply an isolated atom, but am defined by the complex relations I build, maintain, and destroy. The family members I don’t speak to or foods I avoid are a part of me, just as my significant other or favourite songs are. There is no “at bottom” when describing myself, because I am more than myself, I am outside of myself.

– What then, if anything, am I? I am animal, of this I am fairly certain. I am mobile, desiring, creative flesh and bone. I have been told I am rational (of this I am always doubtful). I am a thing which thinks (though often doesn’t). I am real, this I accept. I am, but am not reducible to my relations. The same goes for my character. For I am also a history, and a trajectory.

– I am not my static presence, but a past and a future as well.

– My past is perhaps unknowable, as my past selves are themselves defined not in terms of isolated character traits or unchanging substance, but by their relations, both to other things, as well as to the relations of those things, and those things, and and and.

– I am a history in matter, a formation in the rock. I am a tender history in rust. I am an outgrowth in reality; a smudge on the windshield. I am a violent outburst of sight and sound. I am tired.

– How is history even possible?

– It gets crowded in here with all these memories (lies). For the amount that I write and think about memory, about haunting and the residue of relations, you’d think I had more of them. All my writing about memory is really about forgetting. (This is perhaps the thinker at his most candid, take note.) I forget everything. The vast majority of life forgotten: days, months, years, feelings, thoughts, homes. I would not survive without pockets of lists. My archive is continually destroyed by the washing machine. What would Freud say? (Don’t even get me started.)

– I am a force, a drive, a movement. I surge forward, in search of food, drink, this, that. I am empty, please fill me. Please, fill me.

– I am always to come, that is to say, I am not yet ready, but always in preparation. I am not yet, and yet…

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2 responses to “Some Notes On Relationality- What I Know So Far

  1. fallingsilvers

    this is gorgeous.

    “There is no “at bottom” when describing myself, because I am more than myself, I am outside of myself.”

    i feel this, quite well, i suppose
    sometimes
    there is
    like smoothing shapefulls along a horizon
    line,
    like trying to hold your breath within an edged visual
    submerged
    through the body rounding…
    a
    ‘turning away’,
    …contour, subtle, & yet
    just swelling
    out of sight…

  2. What you are is absolutely irreplacable. So much honesty and depth!

    As usual you remind me of the most profound things, like the only time I’ve been able to meditate well this summer, it was only for about 15 minutes, and when I started I was a residue of history, all assumptions and dread, a stagnant swamp of obligations and forgone conclusions, and when I finished, a living being, ghost free. Sometimes it seems believable that the choice to become aware of the tendencies of habitual, unexamined thought is a sword for fighting one’s trove of zombies, for freeing oneself from a living death wherein the mystery of being is completely taken for granted. Anyway, it was one of the best moments I’ve had in a while, so thanks for reminding me of it inadvertantly.

    There’s that Rumi poem, You are as You Are, I add it here because of the way it relates to the ending of your post, and because you too are “an indescribably message, coming on the air.” And also it is in the spirit of freeing people from their ghosts and zombies.

    Yesterday, you made a promise.
    Today, you broke it. Yesterday,

    Bistami’s dance. Today, dregs
    thrown out. In pieces, and at

    the same time, a perfect glass
    filled with sunlight. Give up

    on figuring out appearances, the
    dressing in green like a Sufi.

    You don’t resemble anyone. You’re
    not the bride or the groom. You

    don’t fit in a house with a family.
    You’ve left the closed-in corner

    where you lived. Domestic animals
    get ridden to work. Not you. You

    are as you are, an indescribable
    message coming on the air. Every

    word you say, medicine. But
    not yet: stay quiet and still.

    Cheers, I look forward to your book on death drive.

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