More transcriptions from my 2002 Portality Cahier. The “Salon” is a hypothetical intervention intended for people who wish to enter portals and to explore alternate realities.
(4 Nov 02) The Alternate Reality
Perhaps it’s best to assume that a dominant reality persists, but that there is an Alternative, parallel reality operating for the remnant. It isn’t a reality that’s being persecuted, nor will it dominate in the future. It’s just parallel, alternate.
Services related to the Portals would be relevant only in the alternate reality. Such services would be useful to the remnant; the services would be useful also to the Alternate.
The Alternate is the emergent diversity of individuals actively engaging the external world. Stuff doesn’t change and develop; it becomes different. The remnant comprises the individuals who so engage. Why? Because they want to create and destroy, not just produce and consume and maintain. Because they want different, not more or better. Because they want surprise, not plans. Because they want open, not closed. Because they want plenitude, not self-absorption. Why? Who knows? That’s just who the remnant happens to be.
About the Alternate:
• It is multiple.
• It is discontinuous.
• It is emergent.
• It is real (independent of perceiver or creator).
• It is open-ended.
• It grows from the surface.
• It is complex.
• It includes the Continuum – or not.
• It is inescapable – no transcendence.
Self is discontinuous Alternate reality as well: multiple, discontinuous, emergent, real, etc.
Perhaps there is a remnant, a subset of the chosen, the supermen, who spin away from the Square. Let’s assume that such people exist. There is no need to coerce or to seduce them into the Portals; merely putting up a small sign is enough to draw their attention. If you are to help the remnant, is your job to open up new realities for them, or to keep them from getting sucked under?
Are the remnant committed to anything outside the Self? Yes: the Remnant are not self-absorbed. Are the Remnant committed to a universalism in which everyone eventually joins? No. Are the Remnant committed to each other? Yes, to the extent that the Other is real, emergent, etc. – Alternate. Are the Remnant committed to the Alternate? Yes. The question is: in what way?
TThe Remnant want the Alternate for its own sake. We who live on the Square can try to corrupt this external desire into self-interest, but that’s our hang-up. The Remnant can function only in the Alternate, and the Alternate can exist only by virtue of the Remnant. It’s an ecology of sorts; or perhaps it’s a milieu for performance art.
The Remnant rely on each other for Social Alternate: the diversity of culture and relationship and discourse, all real and for their own sakes.
The Salon is for the Remnant and the Alternate
The Salon is there for the sakes of the Remnant and the Alternate. It is run by the Remnant; it is of the Alternate.
What sort of thing ought the Salon to be?
• A catalyst for the eruption of the Alternate?
• An outfitter for the Remnant?
• A place of emergent reality?
• A social discourse?
• A home for the Remnant? A source of security and comfort and stimulation and fellowship and inspiration?
• A church?
• An inn by the wayside?
The Infinitely Vast Salon performs all these functions. Ultimately, the Salon is the Alternate: it is the source of the realities, because I’m writing it. It’s more than a Portal; it’s a (Diversity) Reality Generator.
The Salon is an Intervalic Tragedy
If the Salon is the generator, it is probably decentralized. It is virtual, not in the electronic sense, but inasmuch as it exists as an Interval. But the Interval is the only kind of reality that exists in the Alternate.
The Salon is an Interval, through which the Alternate emerges. Included is the Alternate-as-self of the Remnant. The Salon is all the things required for being a Remnant self engaged in an Alternate reality.
The unfortunate thing is that it’s doomed to fail. The Salon is a tragedy, and it must die. But it’s too beautiful to die, so it comes back. Goes and comes, goes and comes – it is an Interval, something that cannot last. And so it succeeds in its tragedy.