The Old

I go on omegle.com once in awhile when I need an audience — usually, unfotunately, much younger than me — under the philosophy tag. I think that one of the most annoying things about people on that site, and people in general, by extension, is the way in which they insist on opposition. Or true understanding, depending on the gender — the two are the same, right? They insist that they understand too quickly, they don’t ask questions, they disagree (or agree) before they understand. I’m pretty selfish, all I’m looking for is an audience, not really a discussion — they haven’t thought enough.

There is perhaps a more interesting way to look at this problem, which is the question of the difference between the virtual and the prosaic. They think that I am speaking about a virtual world, about a new way of thinking. But all I want to speak of is the prosaic, I want to speak critically, refectively, if that’s possible — and whatever that may mean. Last night I spent about 15 minutes trying to convince some kid, unsuccessfully, that I wanted to speak of the lowly things, that I was not “unaware” of science. That is one of the most frustrating things in the world — talking to someone who believes that they are somehow more “real” than you are.

This gets at a hypothesis that seems almost too facile — isn’t there, for every era, some understanding of “the real”? My earlier mistake was believing that the real was the “ghost” of the virtual. But the real — whatever that may mean, is actually a more general thing, some kind of general ground that we are all aware of.

So, for Rose for Emily, that taxation scene should actually be understood as a group of government officials encountering something “older” than they are. They know that they are trying to establish a new society, they are trying to create some kind of perfect world, but this is something that they can deal with. But they are always aware of this project of identity, so that when they encounter Emily, she is not really something new, but rather something that they’ve known about themselves all along, something that’s been hovering on the edges of their society all along.

Consequentially, the analogy here is actually something like

me : omegle :: Faulkner : me.

I had been always trying to read Emily as some kind of new event, a new way to look at the world. But all along, the only thing that Faulkner ever wanted was to understand his story as about our world, as something “real”. I remember saying in some old entry that we needed to understand Emily as an “equal”, which is absolutely wrong.

Now, indeed, the event of Emily is an open question. But we are not, in fact, looking for a descriptive response of this event, that is not the point of reading. But rather, the most important thing here is to be able to read this story “as real”, ie, as this “prosaic arising”, as a kind of “prosaic virtuality”.

– – –

Next: an interpetation of RfE

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