Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mistrust as the Beginning of Thought

The following is a re-post of an earlier entry: (original Title "Silence Our Only Hope..." I wanted to add a few words explain my use of the word 'mistrust.'

Every word an individual believes to have originated out of his/her self is a vehicle of delusion, for what issues forth has equally... almost surely more than equally.. been ingested and regurgitated from a linguistic and cultural pool as broad and deep as the history of our babbling species, the effects of which return to that pool in the form of consequences, almost all unforeseen and beyond the control of the speaker.

Like Blake with his Muse--language will serve us... rather than we it, in a degree strictly proportionate to our mistrust of its powers, a mistrust that follows our recognition that it is never an instrument we can claim to own or control or bend to what we believe (deluded creatures that we are) to be our purpose and will. We speak, and others speak through us; they are numberless, and we do not know who they are or to what end we are being used.

I have relatively greater trust in the language of art precisely because it is a scam, and doesn't require me to believe otherwise to grant me the pleasure of  being lifted from the stream and redeposited more deeply disturbed than I was before the encounter.

What I've written here stands as demonstration of the depth of my disease, of the pathologically seductive power of language and my own helplessness in the grip of its powers... so much so that I find I'm in thrall of the sound of the words in my head and will, against all reason, likely copy and paste them--or some variant thereof--onto the back of the Dog.

Because language is always inadequate to its task, there is no end to the need to explain ourselves... or rather, what we have said. We respond with mistrust, not to dismiss, but to generate new language acts (speaking, writing, thinking).  Writing that lulls the reader to complacency, to a false sense of completion and closure, stifles this generative continuity. Better to let the seams and fissures of our arguments remain visible than to smooth them over. Poetry and philosophy, which must go beyond the given, are both weakened by a style so refined that they take on themselves the appearance of the given, lulling the reader to settled complacency. The kinds of disjunctive strategies I described HERE are more than stylistic devices; they are the structural fundaments of poetry's thinking-with-others.

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