Ktismatics

17 July 2009

Blow Up and Out

Filed under: Movies, Psychology — ktismatics @ 9:07 am

Reading the Blow Out chapter in Peretz’s Becoming Visionary, I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with the author’s  take on DePalma’s film. Not until after I’d read all 73 pages did I realize that Peretz had made only a brief passing mention of Antonioni’s Blow-Up. Now I’ll grant that DePalma does more than slavishly repeat the earlier film, just as Antonioni did more than merely film Cortázar’s short story. But in my memory it’s Antonioni’s film that more directly manifests the kind of visionary openness that Peretz writes about.

The photographer in Antonioni’s Blow-Up thinks that he may have witnessed a murder. On the developed film we see foregrounded the man who is about to be killed; behind him two shadowy figures lurk. One of them is holding something shiny, metallic — a gun? The photographer blows up the image trying to zero in on the possible murderer and weapon, but the larger he makes the image the more indistinct it becomes. Even the body disappears without a trace, leaving no evidence whatever. Maybe the murder never occurred at all. This is precisely the sort of becoming-visionary Peretz has in mind: looking into the opaqueness of the revelation not in order to perceive its essential truth and meaning but rather to see the irreducible indeterminacy.

DePalma takes all the guesswork out of it. A man is dead: was it a murder? The soundman tries to reconstruct the crime with audiotape and evidence from the scene. He’s not sure. But DePalma is sure: his vision transcends the soundman’s; he knows what happened. Eventually we know it too, as does the soundman, but it’s too late to prevent the murderer from striking again. The unfolding is not unlike that of Carrie from my last post: the director knows, then we know, and we want the heroes to know, but they don’t have access to our visions. These are tragedies of the old school, where a fate dimly glimpsed reveals itself fully only in its inevitable fulfillment.

Granted, the photographer in Antonioni’s film doesn’t celebrate his visionary blindness. This is European high-modernism after all, when auteurs nostalgically lamented the post-war loss of certainty and faced indeterminacy with ambivalence and angst. DePalma exhibits a dynamic visual style that’s perhaps had greater impact on Hollywood than Antonioni’s almost architectural compositions. But DePalma’s rendering of the story is, in Peretz’s terms, more old-school than Antonioni’s.

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26 Comments »

  1. meaning but rather to see the irreducible indeterminacy.

    This part is not clear to me Clysmatics, namely, how does P. envisage visionarism through seeing into indeterminacy? What does this mean concretely: that there is no set path in the future, but free will to choose, to ”reinvent” yourself in New Age lingo? Or that the viewer gets a kind of a 4D view in which he simultaneously sees parallel dimensions? Something else?

    For me this whole Peretz story is very Christian, though that sounds so unlikely when speaking of either DePalma or Deleuze. I think faith is all about the opening of vision.

    I saw Blow Up a long time ago, and loved it, but I would argue that since dePalma isn’t reworking, but reenvisioning the film, it is precisely good that he DOESN’T go for the same thing Antonioni did. In this sense your comparison requires some more explication.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 18 July 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  2. My understanding is that Peretz is offering a visual alternative to Platonism. In a Platonic universe there’s a “third eye” that perceives the meaning of what is seen by our ordinary eyes. Meaning isn’t intrinsic to the space-time coordinates of the natural world; it transcends the world, transcends space and time. Our ordinary eyes see only disconnected fragments of reality; the third eye gazes into eternity and infinity where all the loose ends are connected to one another and all mysteries are resolved. In traditional cinema, the frame corresponds to the natural eye, limited and intermittent. The meaning of what we see inside the frame can only be grasped by gaining access to the world outside the frame. Gradually the director begins opening the third eye: panning, alternately narrowing and expanding focus, giving us progressively more complete glimpses of “the big picture” that’s been happening all along outside the frame.

    For Peretz the third eye doesn’t bring everything to light. Instead, the third eye is blind because it gazes upon a blindness inherent in the universe itself. There is no transcendent infinity or eternity in which present fragmentary images gain their meaning and coherence. The fragments are all there is. But if that’s true, then third-eye blindness reveals a different meaning from what Plato envisioned; namely, that the world is undetermined. This is anarchic freedom, unconstrained by God and fate. Meaning isn’t revealed; it’s imposed, created.

    “What does this mean concretely: that there is no set path in the future, but free will to choose, to ”reinvent” yourself in New Age lingo?”

    I think that possibility is implicit, and it’s part of what Peretz regards as the “happy ending” in Femme Fatale (which I haven’t seen). But there’s also the open-endedness of chance, the blind third eye opening onto the possibility of improvisation, of participating in the anarchic freedom rather than trying to become the master of one’s own fate through self-transcendent planning and engineering. Peretz (p. 162) says that the culminating shot of the film…

    “…becomes the blinding origin of the possibility of a new life and the liberation of what seemed to be fate (the fate in the dream). The blinding light gives or opens a time of futurity, not of a future, as the future revealed in the dream as a content, but of futurity as such, that blank and blinding openness beyond the world that is part of the world.”

    Peretz talks about the beginning of Blow Out as if the soundman (Travolta) can assemble his own truth out of the fragments of audiotape and stopwatches and tire marks on the road. But that’s not how the story plays out: gradually Travolta pieces together what actually happened; he attains a transcendent view of the past. And that opens his eyes to the fated future: the murderer will strike again. It’s a more Platonic view of the future as fated content. In contrast, Antonioni’s photographer doesn’t transcend his limitations; he gazes into what Peretz calls “that blank and blinding openness” of the blown-up image.

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    Comment by john doyle — 19 July 2009 @ 5:58 am

  3. I paid my morning visit to your blog, VOPR, and saw in the comments that “Penis” put up the lyrics from the old Peggy Lee hit “Is That All There is?”. Neither Antonioni nor DePalma manifest the sort of “eat, drink and be merry” response to meaninglessness evidenced in the song’s lyrics. As I remember it, though, the music and Lee’s rendering are languid, indifferent, world-weary, as if Lee is singing it the morning after while suffering from a hangover.

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    Comment by john doyle — 19 July 2009 @ 9:02 am

  4. Instead, the third eye is blind because it gazes upon a blindness inherent in the universe itself.

    When after the Second Coming we rise again, it will be into a Paradise where there is no limit to what one can invent and create, no impediment to the free flow and exchange of desire. In Byzantine Christianity at least this Paradise on Earth is seen as limitless creation. But what I am intrigued by here is that there is a materialist spin to it because this opportunity is already in the life of the flesh, it is embodied (I think this is meant by the non-transcendental nature of the vision). You don’t see into ”another level”, because on the plane of immanence, all levels are simultaneously already there (in the future perfect – already will have been there). So you have to look for the openings, the portals, the rabbit holes, like Nikki in Inland Empire, which are all around you, right now. ”I was blind but now I see” says the Bible, maybe the paradox is that only when I embraced my blindness did I actually dispense with the deceitful Platonic eye? A reverse Oedipus, quite an intriguing idea.

    I think Travolta in Blow Out punishes himself precisely because he wanted to explain the story, to see what’s ”behind it”, to make sense out of it. But I have to think about this some more.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 20 July 2009 @ 11:15 am

  5. A quick thought before I forget it: maybe the transcendence of becoming-visionary is the awareness of immanence as it spools itself into the world. No Law, no Fate, just Spirit.

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    Comment by john doyle — 20 July 2009 @ 11:53 am

  6. Clysmatics I am going to go slowly here, I’m working on a design project and it’s impossible at this time to take the text in one breath.

    #1 – I think the text’s argumentation of the frame as simultaneously closing and opening, delimiting and limiting space, is very accurate, and you can see it clearly in the Body Double trailer I pasted on the CPC, where the rotating Venetian blinds reflect it. You can never tell who is being watched, and who is watching. What’s fascinating about this, also, is that I think it creates something I can only call a ”movement in stasis”, sort of like Inland Empire, which is a fairly static process, at the same time moves at its own inscrutable logic. So I agree with Peretz that the frame, understood in this way, problematizes the ontological insecurity of our condition. Because it is impossible to pin down the source of the gaze, time and space fold upon themselves in a manner of speaking, and this creates a kind of a dynamic paralysis.

    But going back to CARRIE, I would extend this. In CARRIE, the characters around the visionary girl break down because they seem unable to cope with the direct access to the ”white spot” that her non-reflecting gaze provides, the gaze that bounces back at them. They are more comfortable covering up this hole with regulations, rules, codings, laws, be they gender or morality-related.

    #2 – The analysis of the scenes in terms of what they do to organs is brilliant, as it highlights the tension between opening and closing. Strictly filmically speaking, DePalma’s movies are perfectly orchestrated, staged, timed, they often appear as high-culture musicals with their handling of the operatic soundtrack. But this order, simultaneously, is highly chaotic, and the carefully planned structures are always on the verge of falling apart. This is played out literally in the plot, when Travolta’s meticulous system of ruminations breaks down, due to a number of SENSORIAL incidents. The thing that continuously amazes me is how is this possible? In other words if you take the Moebius strip, how is it possible that it maintains the illusion of splitting (of having two sides) while remaining continuous?

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 20 July 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  7. is the awareness of immanence as it spools itself into the world. No Law, no Fate, just Spirit.

    This we have to discuss separately: Law and Fate are very much and painfully present in the films. So what makes the characters transgress? (Transgression – another issue of importance) To me I think it’s their vision, the allure of the images.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 20 July 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  8. Last night I went to watch the shooting of the first scenes of a new film. I know the asst. director, and told him I’d read this book about DePalma. He scoffed: DePalma is a cheap Hitchcock imitator. That’s the question, isn’t it, I told him.

    The question that confronts us more directly is what we think it means to “become visionary.” Peretz offers several interpretations, and I can see some of them in DePalma’s work more clearly than others. But if you and I are to become visionary, either as artists or as psychoanalysts, what are the implications of Peretz and of DePalma? Can they help us?

    Carrie is a nerd: athletically inept, sexually immature and unaware, introverted, friendless. But the gaze she casts on the girls in the shower: help me, she demands. Her gaze is a plea, making herself completely vulnerable, wide open. Not only will they not help her: they humiliate her. Their hardened sarcastic looks are opaque, fully closing off any possible connection with this girl. It’s not until the big climax that Carrie again casts her gaze on any of these girls, and then it’s a gaze of power. Mostly though she looks at inanimate things and makes them come to life: the doors to the gym, the fire hose, etc. Only when the one girl tries to run her down on the road does she look fully into her eyes. This is the gaze of vengeance, of control. All of Peretz’s arguments about being visionary to an open future seem like lame porridge indeed relative to these more psychologically powerful if more traditional experiences.

    So what vision does Carrie come to own, what empowers her gaze? Just before she goes to the Prom she tells her mama that she’s different, funny. And it’s in this moment of self-awareness that she comes into full control of her power over her mother. Carrie wants to be like, and to be liked by, her schoolmates, but it’s her difference that empowers her. Still, it’s a sad and tragic and self-destructive power. Weren’t you happy for her when she and Tommy kiss, when she’s named Prom Queen? There is some form of controlled strangeness that ultimately eludes her, some way of exerting power over the herd that enhances her position socially without sacrificing her difference.

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    Comment by john doyle — 20 July 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  9. the point is that Carrie’s gaze doesn’t absorb, it reflects back, bounces back on the observer. It is the dispassionate gaze of ”le mort” in psychoanalysis, and indeed Carrie is the psychoanalyst of the town. But of course the visionary’s position is always tragic vis-a-vis society, for he can by default not find himself ”in the present” (he sees the future).

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 20 July 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  10. I like the idea of the reflective gaze of the analyst, but Carrie’s gaze is very passionate: it pleads, it penetrates, it attacks. I think that’s why she keeps her eyes averted most of the time: her gaze is her power, the expression of her passion. Averting her gaze is an act of repression, but the repressed always returns and in so doing it gains strength. I think the cameraman is the analyst, who sees the future and whose gaze is never returned.

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    Comment by john doyle — 20 July 2009 @ 10:59 pm

  11. I meant that it is reflective in that it does not respond to the desire of the other, but serves as a mirror (understood in what Peretz calls its phantom Other function) so that the desire of the other bounces against it, like when she crashes the car of Travolta and the whore…etc

    I finished the chapter, finally, and especially noteworthy was the meditation on the split screen as hauntological (corresponding to those venetian blinds, that simultaneously limit and delimit the frame). I also understand better, via Deleuze’s notion of potentiality, how the Phantom in the frame liberates it from constraint. It’s a splendid analysis, one that neatly summarizes the last two years of musings, including those of K-punk. I never thought of the stopwatch killer as Travolta’s Doppelganger, but in fact if it weren’t for Travolta’s intervention Sally would not have been killed, so in a sense Travolta did it to her because, as the book rightly argues, he wanted to compose a grand narrative, to explain things. Also very perceptive, something DePalma’s critics including Chabert never understood, that he wants to go beyond pornography by going through it and is this way anti-pornographic (something that became explicit in BODY DOUBLE).

    I did not particularly enjoy Femme Fatale, but it’s the kind of a film that becomes interesting retroactively. It’s slow and langorious, a bit self-parodic, but it has several tremendous climaxes like the introductory sequence in Cannes. I also at some point want to catch up with Redacted, though Shaviro said it wasn’t innovative.

    So as we wrap up on the Femme Fatale, Eloise, we can move on to stuff that captures your own attention; never saw Miller’s Crossing, because I kind of lost interest in the Cohens after FARGO, for my money their best film to date.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 21 July 2009 @ 5:17 am

  12. I liked Peretz’s distinction between two interpretations of “outside the frame”: the Platonic, transcendent view and the Deleuzian, immanent view. Say we position Travolta as the psychoanalyst in Blow Out. He wants to know the Truth of what happened in the car crash, and so he focuses on reconstructing the past. Now let’s regard Nancy Allen as Travolta’s analysand, the one he’s trying to save/cure. She’s witnessed the death of a father figure (the governor) who is also her lover. Perhaps she has been complicit in killing this father-lover. Travolta the analyst tries to reconstruct this primal scene of the father’s death, presumably in order to keep her from endlessly repeating the same tragic accident/crime. But as he’s reconstructing the past the present is playing itself out into the future. There’s a mysterious third force at work, operating outside the frame and in excess of it, a force that both witnessed and caused the death — Lithgow is this force, or at least its agent. The name of this force might be the unconscious. Instead of being so intent on identifying this force’s past agency, maybe Travolta should have focused more attention on this force as potentiality, as a rhizome pursuing a particular line of flight into futurity. Then maybe Travolta could have been more effective in deflecting the rhizome. I.e., Travolta needed to be less Freudian and more Deleuzian.

    Travolta as the killer’s doppelganger… by not taking his eyes off the past instead of looking into potential futures, Travolta becomes complicit in the death force rather than its nemesis. The analyst isn’t just a neutral witness: he makes things happen. Even passivity can be complicit. Maybe Travolta needed to focus on Allen’s subjective self rather than on these primal forces, to be her advocate. By being an agent of the unconscious the analyst is just as likely to contribute to the analysand’s destruction as to her healing. The Deleuzian analyst needs to position himself in the field of potentialities, to become an active rhizome, effecting schizzes and flows on the fly, reacting to what’s going on rather than trying so hard to understand what happened in the past.

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    Comment by john doyle — 21 July 2009 @ 6:25 am

  13. Miller’s Crossing is exactly about being an active responder to possibilities as they become actual. The cops and the criminals continually form and break alliances: they seem to be the agents of creation and destruction. But you get the sense of a third force operating outside the frame, the agent for which the cops/criminals are just puppets. The Gabriel Byrne character is the analyst in this movie (interestingly, he plays an analyst in the current TV series In Treatment). The mob bosses sometimes think he’s just a thinker, but at other times they think he’s the only one who’s really making things happen, that he’s manipulating everyone in order to fulfill his grand schemes. As the movie unfolds one gets the sense that Byrne is focused entirely on the present and the immediate future. This is the situation that presents itself to me: how can I (Byrne) survive and possibly even benefit by slightly leveraging or deflecting one of the forces that’s moving through this situation? This is what “becoming visionary” means in Peretz’s sense: seeing alternative present potentialities as they project into an open near future. There’s only one other character who knows how to play the angles in this improvisational way: the Turturro character. And that’s why the final showdown involves these two characters rather than the more apparently powerful bosses.

    I think one could make the case that Byrne and Turturro are playing the role of the Coens, while the mob bosses and cops play the role of more traditional writers and directors. Rather than scripting a story where the end is known from the beginning, they adapt to the scenes as they unfold. It’s known that they script everything in detail rather than encouraging actorly improvisation, but I suspect that in writing the script they purposely avoid having a clear a priori idea of where the story is headed.

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    Comment by john doyle — 21 July 2009 @ 6:36 am

  14. maybe Travolta should have focused more attention on this force as potentiality, as a rhizome pursuing a particular line of flight into futurity.

    But what he misses, the futurity he misses, is LOVE, he sacrifices the love of his life to the monster of communication, the tapewire, his voyeuristic obsession. By the way if any movie of the 1970s was prophetic and visionary about what would happen with the media in the future, it’s BLOW OUT by De Palma – not Antonioni’s BLOW UP. He is like Policletus here, the sculptor who fell in love with his sculpture, the founding myth of Hitchcock’s VERTIGO, he sends his Muse to death in the costume of his creation.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 21 July 2009 @ 7:41 pm

  15. So Peretz’s observation is brilliant that this sadistic impulse, to trap meaning, to enclose the frame, or what in Lacanese you would call the desire for the ”Big Other”, is the road to Hell, the final closure, the ultimate deception of the mirror-image.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 21 July 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  16. “he sends his Muse to death in the costume of his creation.”

    A poetically phrased homage to the standard Hollywood condemnation of the creator, be he the passionate artist or the mad scientist. I didn’t even remember that the Travolta character had fallen in love with the Allen character.

    “this sadistic impulse, to trap meaning”

    You’ve exceeded Peretz’s observational brilliance here, VOPR. I’d not considered this interpretation of DePalma’s cinematic sadism. This is the mirror image in the gaze of the other, who in the act of looking at you boxes you into a false self-image which the other can control?

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    Comment by john doyle — 22 July 2009 @ 5:02 am

  17. This is the mirror image in the gaze of the other, who in the act of looking at you boxes you into a false self-image which the other can control?

    Yes in that Travolta is only able to relate to the world through his cinematic instruments, and in the end Nancy becomes one, too. It’s a lot like the moment when Scottie chooses the clothes for Madeleine. And so when he finally encounters a fair, honest, decent relationship (unlike the exploitative ones he enters through his work), he doesn’t see it, his vision is blurred by the attempt to explain. The Nancy murder scene is like the confrontation at the belltower, there’s even a Bell in the background. But I like the political connotation Peretz finds herein – the philosophy on freedom. If only we were able to allow other people the freedom to have their own vision, then there’d be real Communism. Something like that.

    In the footnotes to the chapter you can find a really good vision of Hitchcock as a primetime philosopher of the frame. I never thought about it this way. When Stewart falls out of the window in REAR WINDOW, says Peretz, he falls out of the constraints of the frame, and even if this is almost his undoing, it’s also his liberation from the passive-aggressive sadistic position he occupies as the observer.

    The ending of BLOW OUT is somewhat spoiled for me by the rather odd fact that Travolta ends up using the scream for the movie. This sort of self-irony is kind of inappropriate for a guilt-ridden man. Or perhaps way too constructed, construed. In this way you might have a point in that BLOW UP, ending on a much more ambiguous note, has a better ending.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 22 July 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  18. “there’s even a Bell in the background”

    I remember how disgusted I was at the climax of Blow Out — the Fourth of July in Philadelphia with the LIBERTY BELL as backdrop! It was just so over-the-top in its ironic contrast of paranoiac sadism with American freedom I just had to laugh. Thanks to your interventions, VOPR, maybe I’ve developed more appreciation for the DePalma hyperbolic-parodic style than when I saw this movie a few years ago. Some day I’ll give it another look.

    “Travolta ends up using the scream for the movie.”

    Somewhere in the chapter Peretz notes a scene where Travolta is listening to his sound recordings with one ear while listening to the TV news about the car crash with his other ear. Peretz notes the auditory confusion, not unlike the split-screen visual effect, and wonders whether Travolta’s movie work is interfering with his investigation or vice versa. Inserting the scream into the slasher movie suggests that the film work was the important thing all along and that the Allen story was just a means to the end Travolta had in mind all along.

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    Comment by john doyle — 22 July 2009 @ 8:41 pm

  19. I’m surprised that nowhere in the book Peretz mentions Dressed to Kill, while it provides far better illustrations of all these concepts. After the transsexual maniac (Caine) is arrested, we see him at the mental hospital strangulating a nurse, whose blouse he unzips and whose white shoes he puts on her dead body, a kind of a tableaux. While he’s doing it, the camera slowly cranes up, and up, and up, until it catches the sight of the lunatics on the balcony, clapping at the murder. So now the screen is split, in the bottom corner you see the balcony and below the tableaux with the strangled nurse. Cut to Nancy Allen taking a shower at her new boyfriend’s place – the wizkid who helped her to nail the mad psychiatrist. In an elaborate seduction-murder scene, she sees the countours of the killer lurking behind the door, his white shoes. But then suddenly, without explanation, the shoes have been emptied, and just as Nancy sees that, he appears FROM THE SIDE and slits her throat. These two scenes I could watch forever, for their sheer orchestration. DRESSED was De Palma’s climax, what he made after that was always good but never this great.

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    Comment by Dejan — 23 July 2009 @ 2:58 am

  20. I’ve never seen Dressed to Kill, but I’ll see if I can get hold of it. From your description I see how these scenes transform split-screen alternate realities into a Mobius of inside-outside, which you talked about earlier in this thread and which consistently captivates you about Lynch.

    In Blow Out: Looking at it one side(frame) at a time you get the Platonic sense of two seemingly incompatible fragments that need to be reconciled: not just the anomalous two shots recorded on the tape, but the recording project versus the murder investigation. Eventually the director gives you a bigger view, but you don’t get the controlling wholistic image in which the fragments fit together jigsaw-like in the 2-D frame. Instead you realize that the one reality transforms into the other, but they never exist in the same plane at the same time. This is the third eye, the third dimension of the image. You could even make the case that it’s Christian and even Platonic: you can make sense of seeming incompatibilities only by recognizing that the scene you’re captivated by is actually a 2-D flatting of a 3-D reality. It’s just that the 3rd dimension never resolves the anomalies in a totalizing “big picture.” The incompatibilities are intrinsic to the 3-D reality.

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    Comment by john doyle — 23 July 2009 @ 7:27 am

  21. I wonder why it is that we associate paradise, in iconography, with white light – with blankness?

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    Comment by Dejan — 23 July 2009 @ 12:59 pm

  22. White blankness = fullness, saturation, completeness. The creator’s visionary act is to see the hole in the fullness, the Void, the portal where another reality can take shape. If we share the image and likeness of the Creator then we tunnel our way through paradise into the unknown.

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    Comment by john doyle — 23 July 2009 @ 2:16 pm

  23. White blankness = fullness, saturation, completeness.

    But I understood it’s the opposite: the blankness is infinite fragmentation?

    Eloise pour us another lavender tea and do please take a look at page 195, footnote 34: I had forgotten that Lacan indeed spoke of drives as partial, always fragmented. ”The tought of the drive is the thought of monstrosity, of the dissociation of the senses and organs working together to form an organic unity”.

    And footnote 62 on page 202

    The double is thus the mirrored image but possesses as an object the unreflected phantom (scream) that opens between one and one’s mirrored image.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 July 2009 @ 2:50 am

    • White blankness is a fully saturated visual field, no? Many regard the static undifferentiated plenitude as paradise — the end of history. Like darkness, it’s blinding to the gaze because no differences can be detected in it — like staring into the sun. Plenitude = the formless void. To see infinite fragmentation in a saturated undifferentiated world is to start becoming visionary; to be overwhelmed by the fragmentation is to become deterritorialized, schizified, blinded by vision.

      Peretz talks about seeing the black spot inside the blindness. The visionary sees and explores the fragments and the spaces between them: separating light from darkness to use the Genesis phraseology. It’s as much an act of creation as of perception to differentiate a fully saturated and de-differentiated world.

      I find personally that my ability to see/make differentiation ebbs and flows. Sometimes I see either an all-white wall, while at other times it’s a pitch-black abyss. What’s particularly disheartening is when others see possibilities in what I regard as an empty/full void. My intermittent blindness is both caused by and the cause of bad affect, anhedonia, inertia. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

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      Comment by john doyle — 25 July 2009 @ 7:15 am

  24. Many regard the static undifferentiated plenitude as paradise — the end of history

    That’s just Nirvana

    I’m thinking about something else, something mentioned in Christian Orthodoxy’s vision of Paradise. It is said that we will be in the position of perpetual perfecting / creation. This implies that the very position, the zero-state, the beginning, will be dynamic, never static. The closest I can visualize is something perpetually morphing, never attaining a stable position.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 25 July 2009 @ 9:18 pm

  25. I think we’re talking about similar things. I was relating your thought about paradise being white light to Peretz’s theme in Becoming Visionary about seeing through the blindness of pure light into an open future. Your comment about perpetual creating and never attaining a stable position is related to Peretz’s open future. My observations about seeing openings in total fullness is likewise related: the world seems already full, but the creator finds/makes openings. At the beginning of the Bible God comes into the void in order to create a universe: did he leave paradise, or is the void integral to paradise?

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    Comment by john doyle — 26 July 2009 @ 4:23 am


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