The Components of History

History is a lot more disjoint that I had thought. I’ve only recently realized that the insights we reach are in fact mostly independent of the path we take to reach it. There are basically a few major components I can think of right now:

1) The Hunt — This is our removal from the origin, our difference from the origin. By the hunt, I mean mostly, our search for the origin. Maybe we can think of it like a search for “honesty”, a search for the truth, the attempt to write the book of love, etc.

2) The wild — “There are no dogmatists in the wild” (borrowing that cliche regarding atheists and foxholes) was an expression I coined, the wild is the place where the hunt takes place, it is not simply the text. If hunt is that which seems to structure our entire lives, then it takes place in the wild in which dogmatism cannot be maintained, as there is an underlying honesty to the hunt.

3) The Event — This is what we have found or think we find. A work, such as a poem, for example, could be an event, or it could be some technology that guides the hunt, etc., is something that houses an event.

The big idea here is that the hunt, wild, and event are in fact “componential” or independent. For example, we would like to think that our hunt guides us — but no, when we hunt, we step into the wild, and the wild seems to take over. The idea that there are no dogmatists in the wild speaks of the way in which the wild plays upon our assumptions going into it, so that there is an interaction between the hunt and the wild, the wild transforms it.

But mainly we want to talk about the event, or rather, let’s further subdivide (3) into two things:

1) The Volatile Work & 2) The dismembered work

… which are sort of opposing principles. All art is “volatile”, and this is a characteristic that we’ve known for a long time but initially considered it merely as “ambiguity”. A work of art could obviously mean many things, it can quickly go from saying one thing to saying the opposite. Here, we mainly want to think about the relationship between the work, the hunt, and the wild. The work is not necessarily the object of the hunt, it could aid the hunt, it could — like Buddhist koans or something — be a point of meditation. Speaking frankly, the work could very well be independent of the hunt in the sense that “it’s just what we do” — we write, or we paint, etc. etc.. So volatility is a corollary of “componentization” since it’s basically the thinking of the shifting relationship between independent elements work, hunt, wild.

Second, there is the dismembered work. The volatile work is still fairly holistic. In thinking about the dismembered work, we wish to think about the possibility of (1) the independence of insight and (2) the — as always — the historical importance of insight.

The independence of insight should be a surprising thing, it is what one would call a “flashy claim” or a controversial claim, it is the claim that the insight is independent of the path we take to reach it. But this would not be all that substantial a claim if we were merely talking about an illusion.

But what we call “insight”, the object which the hunt reaches (and, as we know, maybe something that will change the very conditions of the hunt — fine) is of enormous importance, it is that which seems to fix or place the hunt, that which orients the hunt, and perhaps even the society of the hunt. Volatility is not enough, there is more to art than mere volatility.

NEXT, very soon: The materiality of insight


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