Tuesday, February 22, 2011

circus note

From The New York Times today, the end of “A Romp…,” by Dennis Overbye:
Some scientists say we won’t really understand life until we can make it ourselves.

On the last day of the conference, J. Craig Venter, the genome decoding entrepreneur and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, described his adventures trying to create an organism with a computer for a parent.

Using mail-order snippets of DNA, Dr. Venter and his colleagues stitched together the million-letter genetic code of a bacterium of a goat parasite last year and inserted it into another bacterium’s cell, where it took over, churning out blue-stained copies of itself. Dr. Venter advertised his genome as the wave of future migration to the stars. Send a kit of chemicals and a digitized genome across space.

“We’ll create panspermia if it didn’t already exist,” he said.

The new genome included what Dr. Venter called a watermark. Along with the names of the researchers were three quotations, from the author James Joyce; Robert Oppenheimer, who directed the building of the atomic bomb; and the Caltech physicist Richard Feynman: “What I cannot build, I do not understand.”

When the news came out, last year, Dr. Venter said, the James Joyce estate called up and threatened to sue, claiming that Joyce’s copyright had been violated. To date there has been no lawsuit.

Then Caltech called up and complained that Dr. Venter’s genome was misquoting Feynman. The institute sent a photograph of an old blackboard on which Feynman had written, “What I cannot create, I do not understand.”

And so his genome is now in the process of acquiring its first, non-Darwinian mutation.

Monday, February 21, 2011


A narrative began mid-story—or a story began as ending—better living through rebirth in context; and a circus brought to touch a bi-cycle of lives were altogether removed to leave our narrator in a short pathos of too many titles in his dreams, dismissed through idle play with a keyword, as if cohering axis, troping uncounted possibilities for relationship.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

days go by.3

Ironically, I’m obsessed with the news each day, yet don’t let that distract me from a venture that actually resulted, in part, from decades of obsession with the news—which, by the way, dissolved any dependence on notions that a past has clearly-causal efficacy (contrary to persons still, in effect, living in Cold War thinking), as if conceptions of history can well serve (not) understanding the emergent, evolving present out of evolving Time—though of course planetary life has inestimably definite structures and dynamics, but these are evolving in generative interplays (and mirrorplays) also evolving, just as a tangible organism has definite structure, yet thereby unpredictable plasticity.

So, the news is the news. Track it diligently enough, and you may be confident of what the narrative of our evolving is all—is all—about. But that won’t give you mastery of the future (which the gods were supposed to provide, then science).

Every day emerges from itself, not from the models that estimate its ultimately ruleless game (anyway, more fascinating in unpredictability).

A group of idiots can change the tone of an era, but tone is so much less than tapestry, which can prevail such that the effect of idiots is forgotten through a cumulative, though elusive, intelligence of the tapestry. As if suddenly, perpendicular to all presumption, an era dissolves into emerging netweaves of events, whose inter/mirrorplaying profusions seem unprecedented, if not impossible.

In retrospect, an Event might have been predictable. But it wasn’t predicted, even barely anticipated.

humility of a venture

Originally communal idealization in a pantheon of gods (which became humanistic idealization in God) wasn’t at heart an expression of implicitly given selfidentity (not a mirrorvanity of proffered perfection), but a venture of learning—adventuring self-formative advancement (which became “progress,” which was mapped back into nature as “evolutionary”— which, by the way, ecological natural selection, as such, is not)—progressivity that would (one hoped) enrich sensibility (beyond estate!) into/unto the richest conceivable senses of sensibility—broad, deep, high sense—and educe inhabitation by found heights.

One’s belief in human perfectibility at least promoted development and cultural evolution, even though the horizon always receded.

Perfection isn’t possible, but innocence is generative.

Accordingly, I don’t consider my upcoming narrative excursions as self expression, but as presentation—renderings of venturings, reporting on exploratory inhabitation—partial reports on, so to speak, Ontogenic indwelling far away.

Laugh. I’ll laugh with you.

loving to make an academic issue

“The” current issue for me is literary psychological inquiry.

That isn’t the same as saying: “I’m currently interested in literary psychological inquiry.“ Yes, I’m interested in that (have been “forever”), but these days I’m seeing the interest especially in a large-scale context of philosophical interest that my literary-psychlological interests (call it, for short, LP interests) didn’t imply years ago. I’m now moving into a focus on LP inquiry that’s part of the larger-scale interest (or—choose your favorite cliché of mine—the larger-scale venturing, journeying, seafaring, vining, or pathmaking), which includes my LP interests as issue.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

leaving the stage to rethink a theater

a substantial change of address
(and appendix to “creative fidelity”)

version 1

I’ve gone for awhile. Take what you please. In the meantime, I don’t forget you. I’ll be back to you in spring.

version 2

One can only share something (e.g., stage a play) if there’s something (the play) to share, obviously. Wanting to share something substantial implies having something substantial to share, first wanting to do the substantial work (or to obtain the substantial thing) that one wants to share.

Doing the work is drawn by aspiration integral to the working, not anticipations of a given audience (unless the work is essentially about or to a given audience). Work that seems to others to not be relevant to them might be just their prejudging—the judging of their own presumptions (or projections)—about what the work is to be. Benefit of the doubt toward creative fidelity may be deserved because something really new is unlikely to be what’s expected (and, in complement, creative fidelity can’t expect something really new, just venture as well as one can). Though the work can’t be about undermining expectations, really new work also is not about conforming to given expectations.

Bear with me. Doing the math comes before explaining it. Is there something wrong with putting pieces of it online? What’s obscure in upcoming months can get clearer in light of mediating it down the road with what’s inherently interesting to you (given your contact). Don’t blame the work for not being primarily oriented to you. The work’s own appeal is no devaluation of your interests! Proximal strangeness is no sign of ultimate incompatibility of sensibilities.

It’s simply that a work’s own appeal calls for a way of working that may be not yet comprehensible to others because doing the work is prior to, thus different from, the derivative work of making sense of it, i.e., mediation (at best with someone specifically). The Work and the work of sharing are different kinds of work, like an ordinary difference between creation and presentation. Writing the play is not the same as staging it (which can be done variably, for different readings of anticipated audience). To be creatively “lost” to the writing—and sharing that online—is no sign of disinterest in future staging or disregard for any audience.

“Leaving me during the writing because the staging didn’t come soon enough deserves a salutation of ‘good riddance’”—or else an appeal to your patience or generosity, which this note is.

Don’t lose my address. Don’t forget me.