solip

today’s journal entry~~~

 

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It was half-past noon. I got in the car with Charlie with nowhere to go. No destination in mind. Just drove. Down Fillmore, wove towards Haight. Once I got to Buena Vista Park, I stopped, parked. I walked up those steps I haven’t since college and something came back to me walking from the sun into those trees. The ‘Dog Run’ with its dug holes and paw prints. The sandy dirt covering my naked feet in my strappy sandals. Charlie exploring freely. A warm breeze. That dark cypress green, unlike any green I’ve ever seen under any other sky of any other city. People sitting. Small groups. Twos and threes. Some walk alone. I eye the colors of the Victorian houses beyond the trees. Spot my dream apartment building. Black trim. Lofty ceilings. Monumentous of sorts. 555 Buena Vista West. My whole body, happy. I’m here, I’m here, I’m here. Like I never left. But I did. And I’m back, not the same, what’s different? Nothing in the name. It’s the essence, no, that’s also the same. The things around it and in it. The side of the spiral it’s on. Something like that. Something like a woman now, as I loop this same shady labyrinth. But turning up and down paths I never had back in college. Too stoned, scared, I’d stick to the same lower route. I’d sprint straight through, but now I meander more slowly. This time I discovered the lawn at the top. Sunbathers. Another chihuahua. A man eating a burrito. // Back to my car, I drove to Twin Peaks. It had also been a while. Since college, for sure. Oncoming traffic: Fifteen skaters or so bombed past. I breaked and gave them space.  At the top, three friends—two girls and a dude—pass around a Swisher, enjoying the view. This Sunday afternoon everything felt as it should, as if everything in the universe still maintains it perfect/chaotic order, as if this isn’t the middle of a pandemic. As if San Francisco never changed at all. And neither had I. But we have, we have. It is. But the bones, the essence, the roots, it’s still the same. // On that drive to nowhere which became the drive to Buena Vista, Twin Peaks, and back, Miranda July was being interviewed on City Arts and Lectures—88.5, KQED— about her new book, a reflection on her past work. The archive of her life. It was only the beginning I caught. Recorded on 4/20/20. Recorded remotely, not ‘IRL’ as it was meant to be. They mentioned the irony, how it was rather appropriate to conduct the interview over video chat, drawing on the recurring theme of July’s work: the way we use technology to connect. ‘The struggle,’ she replied. It is a struggle. We crave each other, but we also crave the space and the noise and the information and the screens, but what do we crave most? It must be the We. But anyway, she was saying, about the pandemic, this reality we’re in, how will it end? In death, in transformation? Words will fail us, but she’ll try to use them because that’s her job. But to try to describe this reality while we’re in it, she said, is like trying to describe falling mid-air. A foolish endeavor. She’d try anyway. Amazed by ability to adapt. At first, she was overwhelmed by the fact that her daughter would be out of school for two weeks, and now, she’s experiencing some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. The interviewer, too. She, in Oakland, but I’m forgetting her name, also feels a strange resistance reaching the other end. “A friend asked me to go for a socially distant walk, and I just froze, like, I’m not ready for that. To spend time with anyone but my boyfriend…?” Me neither. I’m not ready to see anyone. I’m not ready to write about what any of this is like. A week without that small screen. I’m not ready to say much of anything. This morning in qigong practice over Zoom Sally Chang said this year is all about ‘small strength.’ A little bit of the lot of energy. Like a bud about to break. It’s the Year of the Rat. The smallest animal, the first of a new cycle. So now’s a good time to shed, to plant seeds for the coming twelve. // Back to Miranda. Her voice. So distinctly hers. And calming over the radio. What’s a voice but a memory?

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Producing language, we wank, we eat, we regurgitate, we research, we demonstrate, we expel; with what has been expelled we repaper our bodily walls, and this wallpaper is intricate, befouled, and potentially asemic—nonsignifying scratches without a linguistic system backing them up, scratches we nominate as words by agreeing together that this scratch means wank, that scratch means cang, this scratch means diatomaceous, that scratch means masks… Literature—the respite of the fallen—is the process of making do with mask and task, diverting ourselves with tasks that mask our disenfranchisement. We are disenfranchised, regardless of our station, because we belong to an earth that will continue to bear our presence only if we remain adequate custodians of this material envelope, fragile, in which we dwell, an envelope consisting of just a small interval of habitable temperatures. To unmask the systems that will destroy our possibility of inhabiting the earth is the task of a language that operates through masks and the avoidance of tasks.”

-Wayne Koestenbaum
The Writer’s Obligation

The physicists are giving us an entirely new view of reality, called string theory, where poten­tiality is real and multiple universes may be possible. Fundamental notions such as caus­ality are being attacked as illusions of the senses and our living, partici­patory perspectives are proving to be ingrained into – entangled with – the very fabric of space, time and matter. The cosmo­logists are bending reality farther and farther beyond what we can recog­nize or may even compre­hend. The philosophers and myst­ics are tearing down the idea of a sepa­rate self, an ego at the center of existence, from all sides – leaving only a longing, empty space that needs to be filled with relations and partici­pation. Neuroscience is exploding, with its philoso­phical cousin cognitive science following suit and the strange next cousin computational neuro­science still being born. So-called posthumanist think­ers are radically challenging humanity’s biased view of herself in rela­tion to the other ani­mals and the rest of reality, taking us beyond the anthro­pocentric (human-biased) perspect­ives we have hitherto lived by. The mathe­matic­ians are teaching us that most things in reality emerge through chaos and com­plexity and that so many of our modes of thought are outdated and dangerous, since we are oblivious of the non-linear patterns and relation­ships that matter the most. Systems science and syst­ems perspectives are breaking through, from their home bases in com­puter science, informat­ion science, chemistry and ecology – to all aspects of life, includ­ing the interactions bet­ween physio­logy and psych­ology. The social scientists are tearing down the found­ations of the state, of the market, of money and of science itself as we have known them. Econom­ists are telling us that the economy we took so seriously was really a myth all along, just a story. Radically new spiritual movements are cropp­ing up, notably the ‘atheist’ practice of Syntheism. And music­ians are creating stranger and stranger electrical sounds and rhythms, mixing them with strained voices, as if to underscore just how mysterious, yet pecul­iarly fam­iliar, it all seems. And fashionable, tattooed young female DJs play that music on the dance floor, and we dance under flashing lights into the darkness and get high and drunk and make out, as the reality we thought we knew is being torn down and we plunge into the sublime and the unknown. And far out into the desert, under the clear skies of that luminous, open black­ness lit by perfect stars, we find each other in an intimate, loving embrace. Without the slightest effort we converse for hours and all of reality melts away as we let go of our inner shields and become one. In that timeless moment of for­giving embrace we lose our­selves and find ourselves, both at once.”

-Hanzi Freinacht (Emil Ejner Friis and Daniel Görtz)
The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics