Monday, April 3, 2017

When We’re Not ‘Making’ Sense

Had another sense/thought –
sense/memory re: time past & time present.
What first comes back, or at any rate came back
when I was sitting on my bed a while ago,
was something I'd call the 'texture' of time –
that it 'moved' for me in childhood (it never moves
of course, but the experience of existing moment
to moment is a kind of imagined thought-movement,

a superimposed narrative) with exactly
the same mystifying unknowability (I want to say
'slowness' but it can't be expressed
with any word that suggests passage of time)
as it does now. I remember feeling it
(if 'feeling' is even right) as a small child in exactly
the way I feel it now. "To make us feel existence" –
that Keats line from Endymion I keep repeating –

I'm drawn to that line because whatever it is
I'm trying to describe is 'feeling existence.'
It is unlike any other experience because any other
experience is bound up with intention: wherein time
'goes slowly' because you want to be somewhere else
and aren't, or goes fast because you can't get
what you want done fast enough, or it feels weightless
and happy because you don't want to go anywhere.

‘Affect' – feeling – directs your notion of 'time' moving
either because you like the feeling and want time to slow
or you don't and want it to speed up - and it does!
Time is entirely a function of narrative;
it obeys whatever story we put it into.
But when there IS no narrative –
when you're just sitting on the bed –
what is it then?

It is this 'sense' of something – it's not nothing –
maybe felt as a kind of inner & outer envelope,
maybe pressing lightly on you and in you –
you're in, indeed are indistinguishable from, something.
There's no such thing as nothing. But it doesn't obey
any of the laws of life as we are taught them
by instructors whose abiding first aim is always always
to get from point A to B to etc. That’s a useful aim,

of course. It permits us to align with gravity
and periods of light and dark and seasons
of warm and cold and therefore survive incarnate
on the planet. But however useful this may be
for getting us into and through and out of pragmatic
coherences and rhythms through the day –
so that we feel like we're making sense – the 'reality'
of time or matter or energy we need for this alignment

is a fiction. We literally are ‘making’ sense.
We conjure it up out of a desire for it.
But it’s a dance, a game, a sneaky maneuver.
When we're not “making” sense –
what’s happening then? We feel existence.
And that’s a very strange centrality,
more interesting, I think, than my little
primate brain so far can fathom.


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