First post, Our Soupy Mess

I’ve decided to start a new blog — I’ve kept an older Xanga probably going on 10 years. I also occasionally write Facebook notes. But recently I’ve decided that I don’t really care whether any of the people I know read what I write, which sounds pretty bad. At the same time, the discursive, expository mode of the blog is not something I want to give up, so I’ve decided to start this blog.

It’s called “No More Rogues” because I want to shift away from self-reflection, which often features the self as rogue, which I consider an impasse.  Rogues are sort of like “hackers” they are people who go down, beneath the surface of things. In a similar vein, consider the phrase “all that I need” — I feel this to be the defining phrase of love. We can sense in this phrase, too, a kind of “going down”: it marks the point at which I realize what I don’t need — all those white lies, those sloppy ideas, that untested altruism — and what I do need. What’s interesting about this phrase is that it is not, certainly, the renunciation of romanticism — it is the start of a new romanticism that takes place with a moment or renunciation, and also, therefore, an attempt to get at what’s really important, which is now no longer an idea, or a community, or hope, but something much more concrete — maybe even something I once had, as the word “need” seems to indicate the kind of loss stemming from intimately knowing something.

“Our soupy mess” is the title of this blog entry, it poses some a problem to those who utter this phrase “all that I need”:
This is nothing new. Our entire society — and probably all societies, all worlds — are organized around this moment of going down that this phrase refers to. This phrase makes it seem like it was merely a matter of a lack of moral seriousness — and maybe this is one factor — but to utter this is the only the very beginning, we can still fail. There is no guarantee that our newfound focus will produce anything worthwhile.

… We are always after the origin of things, some definite event that will have some influence on the world, something that we wish to bring back. So “all that I need” is not merely a moment of personal commitment, but also a philosophical or intellectual one, it is the dedication to seeking out the most primitive, the causa prima. Well, the non-materialistic causa prima — I called it, once, the book of love: the history of love, the history of the world as understood as a history of love, ie, understood generally, as utterances of the phrase, “all that I need”. It is the imaginative transport to the origin of things, to that moment when shadowy figures and intentions become reality.

In other words, there is no guarantee that our imaginative journey will succeed, or alternatively, there is no guarantee that we will return with anything valuable. This may sound too obvious. But consider our understanding of the relationship between the past and the present: does the present “contain” the past? If we live, in the present, in a world of ghosts, then aren’t we therefore guaranteed to discover the origin of things? Isn’t it, in other words, a matter of purity, of simplification? If the present is the result, then aren’t we guaranteed to find the cause? We here respond “no” to this.

Conrad spoke of “A city of death”, which is very similar to our phrase “A Soupy Mess”. We are a world that wants to seek to origin, that is given, but this desire comes only from absence and not from some intimate knowledge of the origin — we are cut off from that origin. Loss is a consequence of absence and not the memory of presence. Thus, failure, our soupy mess, a city of death even in a society that always seeks its origin is a very real possibility.

Of course, success is possible as well — we will get to this below.


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