…I think I’ll reanimate this blog yet again. To get myself back in the mood, I’m posting transcripts of entries in my old cahiers (French for notebooks) focusing mostly on
PORTALS AND ALTERNATE REALITIES
Preliminary Notions (24&27 Oct 02)
A Portal is a channel between one Reality and another. The Portal is the place or moment at which you enter an Interval. To step into the Portal is to engage the Strands.
The Strands are links between the Self and the World. A Strand is intensely personal, but it operates independently of individuals. It is transpersonal, but it operates independently of groups. Strands propel the Intervals. To let the Strands carry you along is to enter an Interval.
The Intervals are times when Strands between self and world link together with each other. The Intervals are spaces and times between. Between self and world, between self and self. Between cause and effect, desire and fulfillment, before and after. Together, the Intervals are a multiplex of places/times for people to operate in.
An Interval is an element of the Discontinuum. The Continuum is there to help you resist the Strands, disruptive Strands such as gods and cruelty and lust and tyranny. To engage the Continuum is therefore to enter an engagement of power. But the Continuum cannot make the Strands go away; it has merely covered them over, tried to hide them. Because they can hide, the Strands can grab you more easily if you seek to maintain yourself in the safety of the Continuum.
Distortion and Pulling Out
The Portals are a bit nutty. If I believe them, if I am earnest, I don’t need to distort them. This tension – earnest nuttiness – often leads somewhere. To distort what you believe is to enter into self-parody. Did Freud believe? Did Jesus? Kafka?
Distortion is a trick performed to achieve an effect. The purpose of distorting a Strand is to pull the Strand out of rational orbit, or out of the Modern world. By distorting to the point of pulling out, does something become revealed that would otherwise remain hidden? Or, by engaging the Strand in earnest nuttiness, does the Strand pull itself out? Is this a work of fiction, distorted for effect, or is it a real journey? Am I a fictional narrator, or a real one? Above all, I am earnest!
There are good reasons why the Intervals should exist even if they didn’t: hence there is no need for farce, for self-parody. Similarly, I need not act out the tragedy, the ultimate failure of the intervals, their implosion. Rather, I need only be aware of and state the absurdity. And so it is that a Portal is simply the association between an awareness and a reality.
Borges emphasizes the delirium and fantasy and unreality to which the portals lead. But he also emphasizes creation and the openness of possibility.
The Pull of the Strand
The Strand pulls you; it focuses its forces on you; you are caught in the stream. If you choose not to engage the Strand, it might grab you anyway. Success is a Strand; the pull to succeed is a Portal. Pressure is a force, tangible, that speaks of Strands and Portals. The pressure of stress, of influence, of money: does it come from within or without? Because the Strand links Self to World, every Strand is both inside and outside; every Strand links inside to outside. To speak of a Strand as a physical thing is to speak metaphorically.
Preliminary Portalic Deductions
If Difference exists, then there is a playing field in which Discontinuity is the timekeeper. If the World exists, then there are Portals affording access to psychological states that exist outside the self. If the World is an open one, then there are times in which Realities are created and destroyed.
Intervals – Two’s a Crowd?
If the Strands link Self to the World, and if the Strands pulls the Self into the Intervals, can more than one person occupy an Interval? Is an Interval an objective thing, or at least an intersubjective one, like a war or a fad or a relationship; in other words, like a Strand? Or does the Interval enclose the Individual in pure isolation? Isn’t the Interval in fact built for the isolation of the Individual, for individuation? Isn’t individuation the starting point and the ending point of every Interval? Isn’t that what the Intervals are for?
If you want a playing field where the individual can exist and function unconstrained by nature and culture, then you need a bubble that’s positioned in between. In such a place pure subjectivity can come into being. But make no mistake: the Interval isn’t just a product of Self, which is deceived into being stretched along in the world. Rather, the Interval is a place and time between, fragile but real. It isn’t just a psychological state.
On the Existence of the Intervals
The Intervals are a creation. The Intervals, as created places/times, are art. And then they exist.
Faith in the Intervals
Unfortunately, it is difficult to feel strong optimism about the Intervals. I am overdetermined – by who I am, by what the world will or won’t allow. Squeezed – from the past by disappointment, from the future by dread and anxiety. No decision amounts to a hill of beans, or seems worth having been made. Surely part of the running from place to place is the search for a new bubble of freedom. After awhile the places seem the same, but home doesn’t beckon either.
Trying to create an opening by sheer force of will requires a cooperative world that lets the opening exist. If I can’t pry it open I feel badly about myself, about my lack of ability to make something happen. It’s the world’s fault really. Must I then learn to make peace with the world? Perhaps the Intervals exist outside the world of overdetermination. I am not optimistic about it.
What then am I to do? How do I make a life from here? There’s no going back, and the future looms ominously. Is there a going through? Is there some other Reality to occupy, present only in the Intervals? In this other Reality, future and past don’t go out of existence; they mean something different. The present thus is shaped differently there.
The Christian can see the possibility of a higher purpose, a higher will, a design, a plot. Faith gives them the eyes to see the patterns. But if there are no gods, do the patterns exist anyway, or are they pure fabrication? Either way, can you build a life on them?
What is there to draw you, besides the world and the mystic? What holds you, besides momentum or the holy spirit? Is there anything in the world to grab hold of? If it lets you go, is there no handle for grabbing hold again? Is there faith in the Discontinuum, faith in the Portals, telling you that something will open up eventually?
Sameness and Difference (28 Oct 02)
The Portals are samenesses, like Fate. They exist independent of individual participation. The Strands are overdetermination: you are linked to the Strand that flows through and over you. Again, sameness. Difference emerges within the Interval.
Things become different from the surface outward. At the depths, everything is the same.
The inability to engage the Strands derives from the fear of overdetermination, of Fate. For surely you must walk into it, and you cannot change it or absorb it. You can only engage it as a separate being – separate at least for awhile.
Heads as Portals
Is your head a Portal for things – like memes, like identities? That’s how things got in there, isn’t it? And you must fear that they will continue to get in, when you engage. So you must also disengage.
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These are pretty much verbatim transcripts from my cahier, so the writing is a bit cryptic and insular. Subsequently I’ve rethought some of these ideas, but the general thrust persists. Over the next few days I’ll post the continuation of Cahier One’s meditations on the Portals, then see where that leads me.