Light and Darkness of the Retrospective Vision

I don’t know at this moment if this will remain a draft, or I will post it to the blog, since it involves an amazing kind of feeling, well, that is founded upon a logic of course.

I have a kind of pipeline established when it comes to what we are thinking about. I think this latest development may, after some reflection, be a further kink in the pipeline rather than an overturning, which is definitely a good thing.

I have been feeling around, and accustomizing myself to this development for the past few days, but today I’ve found maybe something to write about. Basically, the idea here is that events are originated retrospectively.

So that, as we look back, even upon ‘a moment of negation’, a voice, there is also a kind of subtle absence, a subtle melancholy to this experience. We look back to the voice that speaks to us or looks at us, about the lowly, about a work or substantiality without substance, but we also look back in the mode of loss, since we are separated from this moment. This serves to reinforce, for me, the idea of a retrospective origin — specifically, involving the very gaze of mnemonic mediums.

For rhetoric of temporality, this means that rhetoric originates and seems to fill in that moment of darkness, beforehand. We called it a categorization but it is one that seems more fundamental than actual experience.

Conrad has this line in Heart of Darkness that really sticks out: he said, ‘perhaps all truth is condensed into that single moment when we cross the threshold of the invisible’. This is quite interesting: it speaks of a threshold that, because it is invisible, we are unaware of at the very moment of crossing. (This is what I believe he is saying, rather than that it is invisible in the sense of ‘intuitional’.) And this is because this threshold is something that we ‘see’ retrospectively. This vision of the threshold is very interesting — it is not purely logical or structural, but it is itself a vision that (we said above, ‘touched by melancholy’) seems to *reexperience* that vision, but now in full view of the *darkness* that was not visible at the moment.

Something else from HoD may be relevant here: near the end of the book, Marlow says something like – ‘and I saw them both [Kurtz and the Intended] together, I mean, I saw them at the same time…’ – along with this notion of the simultaneous presence of both darkness and light. This is the retrospective vision that I have in mind – touched by melancholy, but not entirely gone, able to see the darkness and the light at once.

There’s a big uncertain claim (B.U.C) I want to make, which may be wrong. But it concerns an amazing moment of experience, the experience of the origin, which makes the claim tantalizing but also vulnerable (which is a good thing — being able to make vulnerable claims). To look at a painting, or a poem — well, I have in my mind’s eye, for various random reasons, a scene of fireworks from a Hitchcock movie. But to look at a moment, and to see there both ‘light and darkness’ in the above metaphorical sense, that is, to a moment when that image, wild, alone, and independent, looking upon me, whose accusing gaze once fell upon me, and also to see the darkness there, to see the leap into darkness, the utter darkness (as Kurtz did, obliged, leapt) — that is, of a voice in the dark, a substantialism without substance — isn’t that retrospective moment the origin of all things?

Well, the other BUC I want to make is that I want to relate some *logic* of how the medium of memory seems to abscond or displace with the logic of the event. This is much like the ‘Rhetoric of Temporality’ claim, we will want to think over that claim too.

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