The River, an Impromptu Discussion

. The last thing we wrote was about power-rigor
…. this idea that our most intimate, most personal and most honest moments are at least parly encounters with the past
. Not purely encouners with the past, but rather in the sense tha the past is how we think about these moments
. Basically, I feel like this discovery is perhaps more practical than anything — it gives us a way of investigating history, I mean
. The history of rigor always involves the transformation of preexisting elements rather than the development of new elements, new “spaces”
. Let’s actually talk a bit about historical processes in general, about how rigor arises
. And although I want to focus on Bartleby, … well, let’s be discursive as always I guess
. the historical process I’m inerested in is the means by which a supplement becomes an essence via rigor
. For example writing — let’s return to that topic, the evolution of langauge
. In a sense we’ve given up on this topic
. Whenever we revisit this topic we’re always surprised by just how amazing animals are
. What interests us is not the development of technical abilities but rather how writing transforms society — and the codevelopment of language and society
…. err, I’ve been very sloppy in the above — let’s actually talk about language as “speech”
— or rather, is it speech? Or has language always been associated with “the symbol”, and thus, with writing?
— can there be audial symbols?
. Well, in any case, I hypothesized long ago that language, symbolic communication, was a lot like a virus
. in that it subtly transforms society in order to ensure its own survival, without really caring about how exactly it is used (eg, communication, memory, records, evidence, etc.)
. And this actually fits in very well with what we’ve spoken of above, “power-rigor”, and subtle transformations
. I said above that “in a sense, we’ve given up on this topic” — we spoke above about the investigation of a cultural codevelopment rather than a pure neural formation
. Which also means, in fact, that we are talking, not about traceable systemic changes, but rather about the functioning of a “single point” — I mean, the functioning of of rigor …
. Because, without this dusicussion, we would really be talking abou the history of technics, of language as a tool — and not adhering to this “virus principle”
. Let’s speak, discursively, about how this “virus principle” may work
Heart of Darkness actually has a good example, about waterways, rivers —
. Waterways are a means of facilitating transportation, and in tha sense they are supplemental
. But on the other hand, the river becomes a possibility of rigor
. well this is the suggestion when Marlow talks about the women, not only the two women (the intended and Kurtz’s African mistress) but also the party who gathers around for that storytelling session
. the women, I mean, who hold out their hands or who look out over the river, the “infernal river”, “the river of darkness”
. he also spoke about the entire endeaver of colonization — and not really entirely in condemnation
. I mean, the river, exploration, was a miserable existence — and I’m not talking about he abstract glory of adventure and discovery either
. he spoke of “tax collectors” or Romans who came out to “mend their fortunes” — so certainly, those who went out there went out there to make a profit
(He also spoke, incidentally, about the poet who glorifed the entire enterprise wbut would not go out there — “I am not such a fool as I look, quoth Plato to his disciples” was the quote)
. So I am not suggesting that the river was this entirely idealistic thing — not even for the women — it rather seemed to offer us all that we desire, I mean, it appears differently to each of us
… “all that we desire” — not in the sense of, the consumation of our desires, but rather, in the sense that it offers us some promise, the perfect promise to all of our desires
… it offers the possibility of our desires manifesting I guess? It offers a certain concreteness to our desires
… As a kind of personal example, this is sort of my experience with love and happiness
— and maybe with all love — I mean, the standard trope of love is that we start losing interest in everything else, everything else becomes merely “play” or something
— and there is a sense that in love we experience happiness, and the value of happiness, for the first time
. Maybe a philosophical toy problem concering happiness is, whether happiness in a pill would be genuine happiness
… I’m rambing, but with love, it feels as though, for the first time, that we come to desire happiness, to want happiness, and to cease thinking about / dismissing happiness as a psychological event.
. But — where were we? — I think we were talking about the way the river becomes the possibility of realizing or manifesting our desires — something different for each of this
. This is like rigor too, isn’t it? Love is certainly related to rigor — the river becomes associated with something very real, even though it is itself not real, but it seems real because it seems to offer an oppurtunity or a possibility of something happening
. Let’s actually talk a bit about Bartleby
. Bartleby himself is the “river” isn’t he? Well — not quite —
. He is a sort of a puzzle to be solved — maybe he has seen the river, or understands the river — I think that’s the idea
. The mark is the river — langauge is the river too — I mean, it seems to mirror all of our desires: it is the gate by which the messiah enters




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