epigrammata

1. ghostmob

they have you this isn't real wake up we're here we'll find you

Alone, practice walking through a crowded area and saying this closely and quietly to five people that you pass, without making eye contact and without slowing down. Go for the tone and level of a quick, urgent private exchange between two people on a crowded sidewalk, clearly but only immediately audible. More importantly, DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THEM. Again: don't change speed or gait. Don't turn your head, don't look at them, and above all don't make eye contact. You aren't there. They aren't there. The trick to being like a ghost is to see others as ghosts. They aren't looking – they won't respond – they certainly will not give chase, preferring to ebb back into their repetitive rounds as momentary attention fades into confusion and memory loses surety. If you keep that in mind, you can relax. You're not anyone, it's OK, you can fuck up the first time. Lean too close or too far, maybe they didn't catch what you said, or a prettier face than you expected makes you stumble a bit. Who cares? Don't worry, don't react, keep up a brisk passing pace and vanish into the crowd or around the corner. It's two or three words they didn't even hear. They won't call out or hunt after you (unless they do, in which case they might be worth sharing a few more words with, one way or another). You'll get good at it, just like you did at driving without really paying attention, and twisting around just right in a seat so you can make a credible attempt at passing out for a while. Just remember: you aren't there, and therefore you're not talking. Someone else is, and they aren't talking to you, so you're not paying attention; you just pass by, heedless.

If I may suggest: go for a long walk, wherever. Wait until you forget momentarily about why you went out in the first place and start to feel relaxed and curious. You'll remember when you reach the crowd you were looking for, and before you can think about it too much, just do it. It always gets easier after the plunge. Keep it going, make it a thing, try a few in a row, but don't do it all the fucking time. Don't stress or agonize over it. Stay relaxed, it's not a plan, it's just something that happens sometimes – then more often, probably in the same places, maybe even the same person. The dead, like sleepwalkers, are prone to repetition. Just pass the signal:

they have you this isn't real wake up we're here we'll find you

Later, carefully try this in a pair, maybe more if you're drawn by a particularly large crowd. If the flow is right, try to hit the same people. You can only whisper – better to focus your energies. This won't be easy at first; it requires the kind of coordination that's not quite distinct from inattention, trusting yourselves to know where to go and how to move.

[message continues]

The face of your sleeping world twitches with the dark passage of repetitions resisting disclosure. We are running out of time; as each end approaches, the chaos of the real stutters in its flow like a dried-up spigot. Lines of surreal and disturbing order emerge from the familiar, organized turbulence of everyday time – the never-the-same-river – like the return of some monstrous lost continent, at once the invention of a philosopher and a city that sank to the ocean floor. The labyrinth has betrayed its sacred boundaries; now the minotaur hunts Theseus, and Ariadne's thread becomes a web that binds, as angles proliferate and every path disappears into darkness. They bought Adderall and Valium on credit cards to obscure their children's disaffection and oscillation: what will they do to the face of our schizophrenia?

2. the minotaur

A monstrous offspring lurks Below - or is it around us already? The shroud of illegibility Infernal in its repetition and labyrinthine Imprisons and embodies Tracing lines of darkness Into flesh branded With strange grammars of night

Distrust Ariadne, Theseus Her thread binds. Let the child guide you out If you can find him where he hides

He can hear the lines sing But in the dark it sounds like screaming Follow Echo, he knows the way (the name... the secret...)

3. bodies

The body, like the ontological openings lately called “sense[s] of self” that it cultivates, is originarily multiple. (thus, less 'the body' than 'our bodies.') The far better part of the competing, coordinating, overlapping operations we call “the body” are composed of its mobile elements, flows, and concentrations, not its static structures. Energy and nutrients, hormones, nerve signals, neurotransmitters, propagating pathogens and symbiotic colonies, functional movements or paths like circulation and peristalsis, the mechanical-morphological growth and development processes of stratification, invagination, etc. that shape cells and embryos, sweating and vocalizing and walking and crafting tools – these are constituted and regulated as a body by their shared boundary conditions, whose material encoding surfaces (regulatory/expressive horizons) are organs, faces, senses of self, personae. It is critical to remember that those bodies we inherit from and share with other organisms are not simply antiquated regions of the brain, endocrine system, or chromosomes – the primitive hindbrain, primate curiosity and aggression, predation and herding instincts – but living, integrally responsive systems that interact and compete for energy, primacy, attention (resources). There is a deep bodily you whose entire existence consists of nothing but its hundred-thousand-year watch over the savannah, against threats it has known so well for so long that naming and distinguishing them is a worthless encumbrance. And so on and so forth. What unites them as your body is reproduction: not simply the dense, stable encoding surfaces of DNA, but the deeper, continuous, corporeal fact, of which genes are only a central functional codification, that you are the most recent moment in an unbroken multi-billion-year flow of successful struggle for unlikely survival.

(Inasmuch as they are basically consonant on the phenomenology of the body, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty are both suffering from their inability to conceive of the purely multiple, or hence properly of the finite multiple. There is no irreducibly-singular central axis of self whose emergence signals a definitive break; quite the opposite. There are many selves, many bodies, many worlds. This production, modification, and coordination of an unlimited manifold of horizons or surfaces which inter/face and (dis)engage with other bodies, codes, equipment is the originally technical essence of the anthropic break, contrary to the Enlightenment error – the human wonder is in, as the times would have it, our becoming the USB port or power strip: we can and will plug into anything.)

4. repetition

I still repeat the Lord's Prayer in the back of my head sometimes, and I doubt I could comfortably refrain from repeating it with the congregation in a church service. Some habits die hard; old prayers are old for a reason. The institutions – churches, religions – are secondary causes, assemblages of things like that. Repeated elements – rituals, symbols, utterances, stories – of synergy that coordinate groups of people, in unison or dialogue, performance or cooperation, whose history is older than the institutions that develop to claim, regulate, and exploit them – older than civilization, even older than our species. Our bodies know how to do this in a way not fully distinct from desiring to do it: to raise their voices or repeat their gestures in concert with others. I suspect there is far less of a difference than one would imagine between the unison of howling wolves and that of humans reciting an ancient prayer. A wolfpack's avaunt functions similarly to the tuning of an orchestra before the concert, or a drummer's one-two-three: it synchronizes the wolf-bodies, crystallizing the consensus tempo and order of the hunt and coordinating the identity of the pack. One could make similar – though in no way identical – claims about dolphin pods, eusocial insect colonies, or our own ancestral monkey troops.

5. love

Words can be inspired by love, but cannot express it per se; desire and silence, which the gods first taught to man, are the ways of bodies. You move, he moves, and over time and depth, paths and directions come into being whose meaning is illegible at the levels of each alone, or either among the many – whole private languages of faciality and play, passionate trust and creative drive, in which the subtle rhythms of your bond are written... to be as sleeping wolves curled together for warmth, flowing across the terrain of a common dreamscape, becoming one as we only very rarely do.

And yet: I love you.

6. on time

Any relatively cosmic (ante-phenomenal) time lies in a plane of consistency: the abstract-yet-immanent totality of virtual happening: of what lies outside the room, behind the walls, beyond one's knowledge or beneath one's awareness. The white background of experience, an unbounded potential from which phenomena first emerge as what is already-happening – noise.

Happenings emerge from the plane of consistency in/to experience like colors from white light, that is, as waves – one does not say that, between beats, the heart is not beating, or that during pit stops, we are not traveling; neither is it incorrect to describe wakefulness as a circular path perpetually beginning and ending with sleep; in these we see periodicity, circularity, and vibration (aspects of waveness) – also (perhaps better) rhythms... their discernibles, e.g. of pattern and rate, derive from their finite(ly) heterogeneous combination within fields of intensity.

Life (as experience) is a musical improvisation or nondeterministic computation, in the sense of being a self-interacting open bundle of iterative sequences of differential elements – vibrations, waves – waking and sleeping, meals, seasons, the whump-whump of the dryer, traffic, crickets, shifts and staff meetings, academic calendar, domestic habits, smoking cigarettes, weekly TV series or phone call to your mother, entering and leaving familiar haunts, updated blogs and RSS feeds, 24-hour newscasts, electoral cycles – these emerge from and fade into consistency, aggregately encoding its surface as the permeable horizon constitutive of a world.