(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
"I have a few parasites of my own, and for once I'm not talking about the Fool. These are more vampires upon my time and energy than mental illness."
What do we consider our friends and peers, especially those whom we acquaint ourselves with through that amorphous realm we call the classroom? Through Nanotexts, Parasites and interactions further provoked by and because of these settings, I’ve come to learn the difference between @cephalopod and @vladislavxodasevic (the url doesn’t lie, he is not @nerbiotxiste), and Kai and Andrew the same as they have learned to tell Acelessthan3 from Danny.
But in this triumvirate, what role do we each play? As Jack (Joe? The man in the hat) put so concretely in a comment on one of my blogs, “And is this what you want? To be the host, to be the giver, to be the useful? Or maybe this role [is] symbiotic in your eyes; you extract joy from the parasitic encounters. Is that more accurate?” In short, what do we want from each other, from this interaction?
I responded in a separate post:
“I think you hit the nail on the head as the saying goes when you ask if I have been feeding, guesting, leeching ‘all along, under the mask of the host.’ Because when it comes down to it, is not the rule of the extrovert to do so?”
But that only answers the question of what I want, or rather what I do, in general. When we change scale and zoom in on the specific interactions that happen between Andrew, Kai and I, we find a quantum tangle of interlocking and overlapping wants.
“Acelessthan3 asks What do you want of me?”
Before I deleted the responses and effectively rebooted this update, Andrew had asked me if it was directed at anyone in particular. I lied and said something akin to “No one. Everyone. Anyone who cares to answer.” It was directed at him specifically in an attempt to goad him into giving me the biggest thing I want of him, his attention, to see some of that energy come my way.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that part of it had to do with the fact that I’m attracted to him and have been essentially since Nanotexts spring quarter. It’s not something we talk about, like the bats lurking in the shadows of the belfry, but the elephant in the room acts as an invitation.
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
In the perfectly parasitic relationship, we find that both these statements hold true. The included wants to use, the excluded wants to be used.
I have something Andrew needs: namely books, the ability and willingness to listen, to act as someone to bounce ideas off, to push him past these creative and innate barriers keeping him from producing. But despite all outward appearances, this host has his own agenda, seeking to leech and feed in a libidinous want for attention. And it can never be quite satisfied, is always “Hungry for love,” so the host invites again and again.
Then in this plurk: http://www.plurk.com/p/3oyhk2 a little after Andrew responded with this:
We find a short discussion about Ace/Danny in relations to Ceph/Kai and Vlad/Andrew, the kind of thing you would expect to find in a private plurk, the kind of thing I don’t think I was ever really meant to see. In a sense, it was Awkward Sauce.
I can’t speak much on the Kai/Andrew relationship except for what I’ve observed, which is a slight parallel to the Danny/Andrew as I know it. Insomnia manifests from this relation, perhaps the spreading of an infection. He wrote a lot about sleep in his last thought experiment so I think he’s been infecting her and not the other way around.
Kai and I seem to have more of a mutualist relationship than parasitic. We gain in each other an outlet, a vent for all those little frustrations that we don’t allow ourselves to express in the greater population of our peers. We foster in each other an openness that allows the id room to stretch.
But we also seem to share in what I’m sure Rickels would call an oral fixation, namely our cookie connection. We put food in each other’s mouths, just as we are able to put thoughts in each other’s heads.
We ingest the food, the cookies, the parasite of each other and so are interrupted. And we spread this infection as well with our inside jokes that carry over between irl interactions and plurk interactions, the private and the public. Andrew is infected, bacon snickerdoodle, anyone?
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
February 16, 2009
I find myself moving, cleaning. Agitated. As if I'm overcompensating for something This cleaning binge I'm on I know it's symptomatic of something else. I'm emotionally disturbed and as a way of maintaining the illusion of control, I'm perfecting my environment. I'm faintly disturbed by this becuse I consciously know I'm doing it, but I can't stop. It's an effort of will to even sit down this long and write this.
There's nothing left for me to clean short of going downstairs and checking out a vacuum. I don't think I'm ready for that tonight, but maybe Thursday...
February 17, 2009
Excerpt from a dream:
"We still have the ability to change the world, even if we don't have the abilities to change the world."
I don't remember the context of this first entry, why I felt so agitated, but I know the feeling well. Stress manifests itself in strange ways. It marks a strange and sudden shift from the first half wherein I had waxed poetic about the inspiration I gained from meeting my friend Kevin for the first time.
And then the next morning I wake from a dream where all I remember is a simple inspirational quote that almost makes no sense.
I ask: What interruption pushed me in these ways? And hold no clues but the vague memories of the past and these small, concrete writings.
Friday, February 19, 2010
And I avert. My eyes, to talk to this person sitting next to me, this indentation on the seat cushion. Play with my hair again and I will melt. Replace that, find me an answer on your quiz. I'm surrounded on the literal of the metaphors. Screen names I see, faces reflected reflecting para-personalities.
downward dog amazing but excrutiating
And I hear voices. They're speaking to me. They're talking talking words in, around, through and on. Music, sound, interruption. I feel the energy. Feel it like the swirling colors of this screen tickling my retinas. And I want to move, to dance, to groove the night away. I don't need no alcohol, just give me a beat. thump thump thump. You are colors to me, ruthless eddies of emotion buffeting me, slapping me hard in the face. A punch to the solar plexus, send me wind-milling backwards, upwards, twirl twirl twirl as I spin on the ball of my foot.
Type type type. This is my piano/keyboard cat love ailurophile definition of a new word. Sunset horizons are the beginning of the night. Make it long and hard on the recovery. Strong on the drive.
And I'm losing it, this stream of consciousness. I don't want to. I don't want to. I don't. Want to. I want. Let me climb up on the banks and dry off.
If you prefer it that way, I've provided links to the original posts as sub-heads, but my responses are collected here.
Power to the Sheeple
In essence, the first part of your argument is saying that we are all the same because we are all different and so the idea of a status quo to begin with must be false; I cannot deny that. But as an idea and concept, the status quo exists, and it is one of those vague, "normalized" notions that everyone understands but no one can ever quite define.
A lot of my background in this idea of normalization of society is based in my reading of Grant Morrison's the Filth and the "Status Quo" of that graphic novel and more generally, my experience as a student journalist through high school and seeing the kind of mass media effects on our country. So when I say something is agreed upon by society I generally mean the kind of agreement you would find were you to poll the general public.
I agree that parts of me will always fit into somebody's interpretation of status quo, but do the parts make the whole? Am I as a self-identifying individual defined by the facets of myself that other people label? And here we come to an impasse, because I don't think so and wouldn't want it to be so.
But I tend to follow a very Gestaltist line of thought on these matters and perceive problems and ideas as wholes, which is why I'm always trying to connect and build what I'm learning in say Eng 227 to Eng 238 to Eng 203 to Anthro 201 to Physics, Linguistics, etc.
In short it comes down to the difference between the 1 vs 100 line of definitions and which you follow. You make a good case here that I will always fall into the status quo in some way on the individual level and that is not a bad thing, but just as anything it does not hold true the wider and broader you open that lens.
People will always be able to put me into different boxes, but it is the act of defying the box that I attempt to seek. And so it comes with a level of cognition, being able to recognize the boxes and subvert them as much or as little as is in my power and desire.
There's an egotistical, arrogant side of me that I think unavoidably flavors posts like this one because they're about me and how I view the world.
"So what? … What happens now, Danny? What happens now..."
Much like the silence that permeated our classes on Wednesday, I don't really have a set answer for this, Joe. The most I can tell you is what I would like to see happen, what I can see happening based on prior experience and from a combination of the two what will most likely happen.
A Sudden Exodus
And here you've asked a question I've been asking myself for months. What do I want?
And I must say, there are days when I want nothing more than escape. Because you're very right in saying that I keep myself busy as a distraction. It is easier for me to become engaged in this, that and the other thing. It's almost a demand of my extroversion that I find something to occupy my times. Idle hands are the devil's playground.
Which isn't to say I don't like being involved in the things I keep busy with. Hell, I love them to death, but recognizing them as distractions from other aspects of my life poses a problem. Because of my inborn sense of order/honor/rules I cannot willingly abandon my involvement. I've made a commitment and intend to keep it.
But what of when that ends? And I'm no longer beholden to that activity? Perhaps what I need is a little devil in my life.
We Have An Infestation
Again, we come to the question of what I want. And in this particular context, I think I prefer not to answer the first part of your comment because after talking with Kai and Andrew during our Bacon Cookie (debacle? Adventure? Whatever you feel like calling it.) we agreed that answering this first part would only ever result in an incomplete answer. I would need some kind of reflection of how they view our collective relationship. In order to fully comprehend the nature of the relationship.
Yes, a lot of this is introspection on my part and there is value in that, but the strength in that kind of observation and critique would be in comparison, with perhaps an outside observation. Perhaps Kai and Andrew (and I think Tony since he's seen us together the most) would be willing to write a small piece on this three-way interaction.
As far as the second part goes, I think you hit the nail on the head as the saying goes when you ask if I have been feeding, guesting, leeching "all along, under the mask of the host." Because when it comes down to it, is not the rule of the extrovert to do so?
Relating again back to the Bacon Cookie Adventure, I found myself tired. At my youth mentoring that I do every Thursday afternoon, I sat and watched a slideshow, nodding off.
Change my context a few hours later though, put me in a room with friends, and I'm wired. I'm still tired. I'm rhyming apparently, but I have the ability to maintain the kind of mental focus I was unable to sitting and watching a slideshow.
In short, I was feeding off the energy of the room. And I suppose technically I was not host to begin with as we were at Andrew's apartment, but this interaction really applies to all of my relationships.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I got Lawful Good. Some notable examples given are Superman, Sherlock Holmes and:
I was reminded of it when @Billchu13 and @Dahamburgler approached me one day while I waited for a friend for lunch and asked what alignment I thought the X-men's Magneto would fall under (for the record, I answered Lawful Evil)
I bring this up because of a recent thought brought on by my writing and then thoughts on life in general. You see, I believe rather strongly that you must know the rules in order to be able to break them. Be they the rules of the game, the rules of convention or the rules of society. Not to say that you cannot break the rules if you don't know them, but to break rules unintentionally is ignorance.
This is a matter of intention and creating meaning. The act of breaking a rule, knowing full well the consequences of your actions makes the act a political statement against the rule or system the rule represents. So there is a morality to the breaking of the rules that define our morality.
Comparing this to the ideas expressed in the Avital Ronell clip from Examined Life, we find that the honor of the Lawful Good or Lawful Evil is exactly the kind of alterity that maintains a level of consciousness about their actions. They are bound by their moral code, it is the law that obligates them to act honorably and in doing so occasionally question the higher authorities that ask of them to compromise for the greater good.
In starting over with parasites, we are effectively rewriting the rules, but this requires us to break the old rules.
Destruction is a messy process.
But so is rebuilding.
If love as Serres puts it is the great inbetween, the included and excluded third connecting two points, the parasite, then this what we are doing is an act of love. It is the chaos of noise before we habituate (there I go using that word again). This rebuilding is the fever that we talked about in class.
In that sense then, what we are doing is an intentional act. We know we are breaking the rules and are making a statement in order to create the kind of meaning we want to get from this class.
On a completely separate note:
While watching @low's clip of Melville I started thinking about Cinema as an act and how it relates to this class.
Cinema is a performance. Cinema is noise. Cinema is a "labor of love." Labor -> pregnancy -> production. See that thought process? It is the incubation and internalization of all the work being put into the production. Cinema is the intermediary between audience and director/producer in the same way a book is the intermediary between author and reader.
And it is uttered from the mouth of the actors.
I really have no idea if or how I was going to develop this any further. I just thought I'd share in case it made any of you readers felt compelled to question any of this.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
the rises and falls of outrageous karma
or to update against a timeline of parasites
And, by opposing, anger the plurk gods. To rise, to vacation
No more -- and by vacation to say we mark
all as read the thousand unread responses
that absence is heir to -- tis a plurk verb
devoutly to be wished. To rise, to vacation
To vacation, perchance to rest. Ay, there's the friend request,
For in that vacation of silence what updates may come,
When we have logged off this browser's page,
must freeze our screen. There's the cookie
That makes loading time so short.
For who would bear the tweets and bulletins of MySpace,
Th' plurker's wrong, the blocked man's contumely,
The dings of ignored updates, the internet's delay,
The insolence of spambots, and the responses
That fans merit of th' rise in karma,
When the plurker did not interest intend
With a random word? Who would IRL bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the anonymity of a digital life,
The boundless country from whose forums
There exists every form of image, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than log in to others that we know not of?
Thus plurk makes addicts of us all,
And thus the screen resolution
Is adjusted o'er with the pale pixels of light,
And YouTube videos of great volume and length
With this regard their owners refuse embedding,
And lose the name of action. -- Soft you type!
The fair avatar! Google, in thy cached infobanks
Be all my updates remembered.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I have a few parasites of my own, and for once I'm not talking about the Fool.
These are more vampires upon my time and energy than mental illness.
Anyone remember these:
Or how about that phone call I got from @cephalopod on Wednesday asking me to go to lunch with her so she could physically stay up?
I serve my purpose to these people. In the capacity of friendship, feedback generator and bouncing board, etc. I am available because I make myself so, sharing books, time and ideas and what do I get?
I get exactly what I ask for. Which by nature of our relationship, isn't much: the occasional conversation and tea. Did Harker ask much of Dracula? What does the country mouse ask of the city mouse? What did Master Abraham ask of Murr?
As I sit in class now, listening to the conversation about Serres and what we're getting, what we want from the text, I think the question applies here as well. We are the excluded third of Parasite. It's pushing us where we're used to pushing the text, forcing our way in. What are we asking of the text? But also, what is the text asking of us?
I state it here: I'm pushing. I'm asking that you push back.
And that's what I believe the text is doing as well. Pushing us and the only way we can understand it is to push back.
"If we're going to compare the class to a sort of organism, why not go with the metaphor of an immune response. Sure, it may have been rude of Eli to interrupt and not be completely in terms with the way the class is run, but I personally found her input stimulating.
If you completely isolate a biological system, say our class, and then randomly introduce foreign bodies, you kind of have to expect a certain level of chaos to accompany that introduction. Exactly like what happens when those little black critters get in through the little boy's nose (mouth? I don't remember). [Referring to a video we'd watched]
My point here is that I don't think Eli served so much as an invader as she did a vaccine. You can't expect the incoming bodies to follow the same routine and must adapt accordingly until they are gone. "
I take this quote from a blog post made by someone in the Nanotext class I had with Tony last spring.
The post was about a girl, Eli (pronounced like what is perhaps the more familiar spelling of Ellie), who visited the class at the invitation of one of our peers and the reactions the class had to her on plurk afterward.
I bring this up because I see it as being relevant to our Parasites class. Would we have the same kind of reaction? I hope that with all our discussion of the interruption that the answer would be no, but if I recall correctly, even in Nanotexts, we'd just finished a rather lengthy section on alterity and the meaning of the other, the exterior.
In thinking about this though, I'm brought to the question of what is a parasite unto our collective Parasites class? Clearly there are a select few of us in the 2:30 class who are parasites upon Tony's time. We're welcomed by the gracious host that he is, but even still, we encroach on his office hours, essentially owning the class from the inside out as we discuss what is, what was and what is to come: often eying others as an intrusion.
And here, I think the answer is in ourselves. We are our own parasites, interrupting and disturbing the quiet status quo of the class. To relate to another text from Nanotext we are the Ned Slades upon the Hand. We have infiltrated the system and are slowly destroying it from the inside out. This is our education.
A last point on the idea of ideas
I've already posted this as a plurk update, but wanted to reassert and expand upon it in a more cohesive format:
We hear talk of energy and tend to think it is bound within the realm of physics, that it obeys the first law of thermodynamics, but with the energy of ideas -- or rather ideas as a form of energy -- this is wrong. Ideas and technology work together as a kind of perpetual energy machine, generating more energy (ideas) than is input and required in other systems. The teme is self-replicating. It is parasite.
It's a matter of infrastructure. We've built the kind of infrastructure in our technology that allows this growth with minimal maintenance. To send a message to 20 people no longer takes a three hours of writing, 1+ days travel per message, etc. Yes, we've expended that kind of energy in building the technology to allow us to bypass that, but that was a one-off. We do not use that every time we send a message. We're standing on the shoulders of giants.
Once we've sent off enough ideas, the exchange of that being sent versus that being put in to maintain the system becomes uneven. Our investment has more than paid for itself.
If we think of the meme/teme as a unit of the energy of an idea, we see that this growth has the potential to be exponential. A hyperlink, a small underlined blue word can send us to a page full of thousands more words, images and even videos. Or you input 5 words, and it's replicated 20 times with the same amount of energy it took you to put those in.
We see it here in that video we watched in class:
A simple search of a few key words brings us thousands (and even thousands upon thousands) of search results, of ideas. And I've said it before and I'll say it again; ideas are dangerous. Ideas are parasitic in their ability to control you. This whole update represents the small seed of Tony sitting next to me in class on Wednesday and mentioning the word energy. Like clicking an internal hyperlink in my mind, we take one simple word and expand it.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Autodidact, from the Greek meaning self-taught.
After watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox last week, I plurked about Tony's methods and was promptly asked if I was a TA. I was quick to correct Halfdome and say that I wasn't, but I can fully understand where he could get that idea. Whether I mean to or not, I have a way of stating my opinions with a kind of force that comes across as either knowledgeable or arrogant depending on whether or not I actually know what I'm talking about.
I'm an autodidact of patterns and connections. Gestault -- whom I've brought up previously -- would be my chosen school of psychology. I observe. I watch. I see. I listen. There will always be a part of my consciousness paying attention and squirreling information away for future comparison.
You say 2. They say 2. I can usually figure out together you're making 4.
Now that I'm actually thinking about it, this probably explains why I love film noir so much, but I digress.
Parasites, much like it's predecessor, Nanotexts, and I'm sure the majority of the other English classes Tony has taught where a majority of the course work takes place outside of the formal classroom setting, lends itself especially well to the autodidactic.
Assignments like our blog posts and thought experiments with rather loosely defined prompts offer themselves towards the kind of self-induced exploration of ideas that most traditional midterm-and-research-paper English classes fail at providing for.
@nanotext mentioned the idea of multiplex consciousness in an offhand plurk back in December while I was enrolled in the GLBT Literature course. It was an example of his thoughts of the moment, that fleeting experience of multiplicity as many windows opened not only through into this digital world of plurk and wave and blogs, but also into the mind. Nanotext has multiplex consciousness.
Like one of those thought parasites, this small idea infected me and remained nearby, a postulation on the sense of identity tickling me as the Fool developed.
So when we came to our thought experiment, it seemed only natural that my exploration would be into multiplexity and how it relates to this parasite of the mind. Some of the best reading I've done for this class has not come from the assigned texts, but the supplementary books I have found within Tony's library and online and drawing the lines that I saw connecting them.
But at the same time, there exists a danger in this. Distraction and interruption. Diversion. It's a fickle balancing act between staying focused at the task -- in this case readings -- at hand and those supplementary articles that we devour alongside them.
I can tell already you see where I'm going with this. The word is on your lips. With all his talk of eating and shared tables, Serres has trained you well in identifying these parasites.
Friday, February 5, 2010
I am a creature of habituation : I acclimate to change like a cockroach to a new set of floorboards. I'm not what you would call an early adapter in most things, but in this digital age, I catch on quickly and keep up with what's going on. Facebook changed their layout again? Okay, it's nothing to start a group over. My English professor requires us to get on this social networking site called plurk? Sure, I'll just add it to my routine.
I'm also a social creature. Sit with me in Red Square during a regular day on campus and I'll name at least 5 people that walk by in under 10 minutes.
Online though, I am my social network.
As social person and extrovert and someone adapted to evolve with the internet communities of which I have become a part, this last statement becomes especially relevant because this combination essentially has created in me a social networking addict.
For a while, I had plurk, Facebook, Google Wave, dailybooth, LiveJournal, formspring, stickham, OKCupid, twitter. And while I still have accounts with all but twitter (and on some have multiple accounts) and rarely use the latter four I still find that for those that I do use I'm heavily integrated.
But overlap puts me in a unique position.
Though I consider myself harmless… mostly harmless, Williamnot has legitimate reasons for concern in his crossover friend. There exists a danger in the overlap of networks, a danger of information, because what might be appropriate for one network might not be so kosher for the other. The jock with secret yearnings to be a theatre star does not associate himself with both groups at the same time -- unless he's in a Disney movie.
I'm unique in that for many, I'm the tie between the worlds. More so for the people I interact with IRL, but also for many who aren't, and this makes me dangerous because I hold the information. Thinking about it now, it's rather apt considering my chosen handle, Acelessthan3. It's a play on the Ace of Hearts and in that I act as a conduit between these spheres, I hold all the cards.
Now, before anyone blames me of ego stroking, saying I know everything, I will admit that as a hub this also makes me particularly vulnerable to the same kind of informational redirect. Because I am a fulcrum for so much crossover everything I say must essentially be public and available. If I don't want all my contacts to see what I have to say I must resort to silence or rely on the private messaging of the people I trust. Open to all or none.
My point is, it's an interesting position to be in and I'm not always sure what to do. Who can trust me?
As we've seen in the Tomcat Murr and the Fantastic Mr. Fox with their faux humanity, the people who straddle the line don't quite fit into either category. Who am I to you dear reader? Plurker? Facebooker? Friend? Drinking buddy? Whatever?
I'm an insider, privy to what you post, and this separates me. As I've said before. I'm a parasite upon your social networking experience.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Regardless, Mr. Fox is not only a parasite, but he has been infect by some rather nasty ones.
On a basic level, and here I refer to my readings with Serres' Parasites, Mr. Fox is a parasite. The whole movie is about his ability to steal from and feed off of the human farmers: Boggis, Bunce and Beans.
We want him to win because he's cute and witty and fun whereas they're cold and mean, but like Serres relays, Mr. Fox is the rat at the tax-collector's table, "a guest at an interrupted banquet."
The noise that sends the fox away is the rather extreme of his tree home being bulldozed into oblivion.
Look at the second image @vladislavxodasevic posted on this plurk. Now, tell me, how does that compare to this image of Mr. Fox:
Mr. Fox is infected with us, our thoughts, our anthropomorphic ideals. Like our good friend The Tomcat Murr, he is become human and this sets him and his furry compatriots apart from the rest of the world.
It repeatedly comes up in the dialogue of the movie that Mr. Fox has what he calls a phobia of wolves. They terrify him for reasons that are never completely spoken. However, when we see the wolf at the end of the movie, Mr. Fox does not react with what we would imagine to be phobic fear, but rather a kind of logical interest.
He greets it in English, Latin and French and receives no answers. As foils, Mr. Fox and the Wolf represent opposites of the animal spectrum. Where Mr. Fox is completely anthropomorphized and infected with human thought, the Wolf is wild. Mr. Fox wears clothes and walks upright. The Wolf runs on all fours.
It could be said then that Mr. Fox has a phobia not of wolves, but of the wild nature that the wolves represent. He is the epitome of the anthropomorphized, he is essentially human and the wolf then is everything he is not in that sense.