the theory of bloom 1

“NOTHING is simple.  NOTHING is complex.  NOTHING is faceless . . . you cannot give NOTHING a face.  you can not articulate what NOTHING is. nor can we.”

“the BOOK is a dead form” . . . luckily, i’m reading this on the internet, a PDF–flat and virtual with the temptation to always click of to some other site or place on the internet–rather than a (physical) BOOK. “the great books have never ceased to be those which succeeded in _creating_ a community; in other words, the BOOK has always had its  existence _outside of the self_”.

on the train or bus, walking around town, we’re surrounded by strangers, “but we have had to prepare ourselves over the years, by scrupulously becoming perfect strangers to one another” . . . but strangers in a way that we dont mind, or absentmindedly, sharing anything and everything with. for example, overhearing personal, private (cell)phone conversations is nearly a daily occurrence.  in other words, as strangers, we are also “_completely intimate in this strangeness_”.

to comprehend the BLOOM (or more specifically, “the _face_ of the BLOOM”) means giving up the idea of not only the subject, but also of giving up the concept of objectivity.  STIMMUNG, then, is “a fundamental tonality of being”. “The BLOOM therefore _also_ names the spectral humanity, stray, unpleasantly vacant . . . the crepuscular being for which there is no longer either reality nor the self, but only the STIMMUNG.

“empty angels, creatures without creators, mediums without a message, we walk among the abyss.”  there is a nothing that links these together,  “but that NOTHING is the absolute reality before which everything in existence becomes ghostly.”
“Each is most estranged from himself”
“We evolve in a space that is entirely controlled, entirely _occupied_, by the SPECTACLE on the one hand and by BIOPOWER on the other.”  and this condition is one we cannot rebel against since the SPECTACLE “is the power that wants you to talk, that wants you to be _someone_”, even a rebel, while BIOPOWER is the (benevolent) “power that _wants you to live_”.  in other words, “we do not belong to ourselves, _this_ world is not _our_ world”.

“Indeed, we are nothing, nothing but the nothing around which revolves the movements of our ideas, our experiences, our miseries and our sensations”, or “I AM THE INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN THAT WHICH I AM AND THAT WHICH I AM NOT” which fills in (with nothing) the nothings left in JEHOVAH’s answer to moses when asked about HIS identity: “I AM THAT I AM”.  a being becoming (and un- becoming), the passage to becoming-other.  even in god’s description of  himself, the two I-AM’s separated between a THAT do not coincide.  rather, a double-articulation.  “_the BLOOM is the masked NOTHING_”, which is why it’s nothing to celebrate. reduced to bare-life, we find ourself “_formally separated_ from [our] existence as a member of the community.”  a double nothing of consumer and citizen.

from marx: “the reciprocal and all-sided dependence of individuals who are indifferent to one another forms their social connection.”  in a market-state, with all it’s freedoms, everything needs to be separated “into sterile fragments”.  in other words, an uprooting of real social connections so that relations between people take on the form of relations between things (or commodities).  banishment then becomes an ordinary situation.

now we’re on to metropolises (of separation) which combine the greatest number of persons located within a geographical space with the highest intensification of separation.  from this, the hipster: “the imperialist faction of the BLOOM” and “final consumer of existence”.

rockets, missiles and space travel chapter 1


by willy ley

viking press – 1951

aaron gave me this book for my birthday last year

[according to the page opposite the title page, willy ley also wrote a book titled THE LUNGFISH, THE DODO AND THE UNICORN.  i should look for a copy.]


there are four-several ways whereby this flying in the air hath been or may be attempted: (1) by spirits or angels. (2) by the help of fowls.  (3) by wings fastened immediately to the body.  (4) by a flying chariot.

a fantastic quote from bishop john wilkins to begin the book, but where would rockets and missiles fit in the bishop’s schematic?  while flying chariots seems the obvious answer, bishop wilkins most likely had in mind the chariots mentioned in ezekiel—chariot that fly of their own (or god’s?) volition.  so, “wings fastened immediately to the body”?  possibly, considering how astronauts are embedded so tightly within the structure of the rocket that the movements of the cosmonauts create movements of the space-ship.

but is that true?

thinking back to mrs. hodge’s class in second grade . . . there was a substitute-teacher the day the challenger exploded . . . we watched it live in school . . . i was busily filling out these sheets of papers with 100 spaces separated in 10×10 graphs . . . we were assigned to fill-up 10 pages of these spaces with different numbers, 1 to 1000 . . . or that’s how i remember it now.

i’m not a rocket scientist, but i don’t think the cosmonauts themselves launch the rocket.  i imagine the astronauts are not much more than passengers on an automated journey, at least until they reach space.  with the trajectory separately accounted for and the automatic firing and discharging of the rockets, can they said to be an extension of the space-ship in the same way as a driver of an automobile?  maybe a flying chariot after all.

“one cannot conceive of a trip away from earth unless there exists a previous concept of other worlds.”

the beginnings of this idea—the idea of space-travel—can only be said to exist if their first exists other ideas, each with their own genealogies . . . ley attempts to identity the first notions of other worlds by listing numerous historical cultures who, while having a sophisticated mapping of the stars and their movements, lacked, in ley’s judgment, an idea of worlds other than earth.  “then cames pythagoras of samos . . .”

everything was going great until aristotle and his antikhthon or counter-earth—a counter-part to earth in every respect (“including inhabinats”).  the antikthon follows the exact course of the earth but is always blocked from the earth’s view by the central fire (which, even though not specified by ley, i assume is the sun).

10,000 bc: the geology of morals (who does the earth think it is?)

it is a question of speed, and speed is a differential

[i spend much of my work day reading different things on the internet.  it turns out that many of the books i’m interested in reading appear in different locations online.  but the differences between reading a physical book and a scanned copy of a book in a pdf file are many.  regardless, i’ll occasionally post notes of books i read online.]

it starts with a cute picture of a lobster . . . a double articulation

further on: “God is a Lobster, or a double pincer, a double bind.”

matter: the plane of consistency or body without organs . . . the unformed, unorganized, nonstratified, or destratified body and all its flows. content is formed matter with two points of view: (1) substance are matters “chosen”, while (2) form is matters chosen in a certain order. [i have no idea what that means or what the difference could be.] expression is the name for functional structures and “to express is always to sing the glory of God.” everything is stratified — plants and animals, orchids and wasps, rocks and rivers — and every stratum is a judgment of god. but remember: god is a double articulation (or god articulates in double), “the first articulation concerns content, the second expression.”

but every articulation is always double.  so the articulation of content is double, as is the articulation of expression. so content and expression “are defined only by their mutual  solidarity, and neither of them can be identified otherwise.”

then an argument about forms and types and types of forms in a pupper theater. . . “we’re a little lost now.”

we are too.

persuasion chapter 12.1

[in the original edition the first volume ended here.]

their final stroll along the sea-shore, that zone of indistinction where the same geographical space is both land and sea (and the in(de)finite phases in-between depending on the time of day or the moon or whatever causes the tides).  with heavy wind preventing the party from walking along the upper cobb,

all were content to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captian Wentworth . . . she was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment, ran down the steps to be jumped again.  he advised against her, thought the jar to great . . . she smiled and said, “i am determined i will:” he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!

wait, what just happened?  a paragraph ago anne and captain benwick are discussing poerty (“Lord Byron’s ‘dark blue seas’ could not fail of being brought forward by their present view”) and now Lousia lies lifeless on the pavement?

there was no wound, no blood, no visible bruise; but her eyes were closed, she breathed not, her face was like death.

is she dead?  mary (who is quickly becoming my favorite character): “she is dead! she is dead!”  frederick: “is there no one to help me?”  everyone, not in shock (mary and herniretta) or possibly dead (lousia), looked to anne for direction (anne as crisis-manager?): “a surgeon!” and captain benwick is speeding off to town; “carry her gently to the inn” and fredrick obeys.  “it was all done in rapid moments.”

it turns out lousia isn’t dead and she isn’t about to die, but this kind of difference in expressed time—a way encoding time into persuasion that differs from the rest of persuasion; a difference that you feel as you read: your breath increases; the words appear more aggressive, attacking your visual field as you struggle to make sense—this time continues through the discussion of who should stay with lousia and who should return to uppercross to inform mr and mrs musgrove:

we must be decided, and without the loss of another minute.  every minute is valuable.  some must resolve on being off for Uppercross instantly.

persuasion chapter 12

and even i, at this moment, see something like anne elliot again

anne and henrietta are pulled again towards the sea . . .

they went to the sands, to watch the flowing of the tide . . . they praised the morning; gloried in the sea; sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze—and were silent . . .

novels, since they spend so much of their time on descriptions of (imagined?) situations, often find themselves in the position of needing to describe absences.  here, for instance, we see anne and herniretta’s silence—their (temporary) lack of communication—indicated not with another absence, but inscribed with this “and were silent”.  in other words, the gap in speech needs to be textually described precisely because this silence weighs on both anne and henrietta . . . an oppressive nothing that needs to be broken.  but what to talk about?  healthy bodies, of course.

henrietta breaks the silence with an observation of the positive health benefits of the sea air, wondering weather a a change in climate would help a certain aging curator which would then lead to an opening for a new curator at uppercross, a position that could be filled by charles hayter.  if only there was someone who could convince dr shirley to leave his position at uppercross for something near the sea . . .

“I wish Lady Russell lived at Uppercross, and were intimate with Dr Shirley.  I have always heard of Lady Russell, as a women of the greatest influence on every body!  I always look upon her as able to persuade a person to any thing!”

this is maybe the third time someone has remarked on lady russell’s power of persuasion in anne’s presence, and each time anne appears oblivious even though lady russell (specifically, lady russell’s appropriation of the ghost of the late lady elliot) was arguably the biggest persuader in anne’s decision to break of her engagement to frederick.

on the way back to the inn, anne catches the eye of an interesting gentleman.  after breakfast, anne runs into the gentleman again,

. . . this second meeting, short as it was, also proved again by the gentleman’s looks, that he thought hers very lovely . . .

there are two types of looks (or gazes) in that sentence: the first is the gentleman’s looks at anne; the second, her looks—her person and embodied gestures—which the gentleman is looking on approvingly.  this second encounter finds the gentleman on his way out of town.  after he leaves, they find out he’s anne’s cousin and the heir to sir walter’s baronage. with all these looks and looks at looks, what was mary looking at?  “i hardly looked at him.  i was looking at the horses [of his carriage]”.

after breakfast, with it’s excited conversation about the chance meeting with mr elliot, the party heads down for a final walk near the sea . . .

persuasion chapter 11

these places must be visited, and visited again

thus far, the locations in persuasion have been land-locked—the gardens of kellynch hall, the walks around uppercross, the dinners at the mussgrove’s; the sea approached only through second-hand accounts, limited to the recollections of admiral craft and captian wentorth while the young miss musgroves scoured their ship listings and clippings to identify, in writing, the specific ships and places mentioned.  even as the new wealth and powers created by the logistical battles of naval forces gradually engulf these specific lands mentioned, like a rising tide that still to this day has not began to subside, the sea itself is only mentioned as a (often un-thought) horizon or threshold.

frederick hasn’t been scene at uppercross in two full days sending everyone in a panic.  he finally arrives with news from an ex-ship-mate who frederick must visit immediately . . .  but, of course, he cannot go alone,  so “to Lyme they were to go—Charles, Mary, Anne, Henrietta, Louisa, and Captain Wentworth”.

After securing accommodations, and ordering a dinner at one of the inns, the next thing to be done was unquestionably to walk directly to the sea.

this unconscious (they walk directly and without question) drive to the sea is ranked only after two of the most basic human needs: shelter and food.  as the smooth, logistical space of the ocean washes over the social and economic fields of places like kellynch hall, those same residents are pulled back towards, at increasing speeds, it’s (geographical) origin.

at lyme, anne befriends another lost in the past of a love-event that didn’t come to pass.  captian benwick was engaged, but put off the wedding “waiting for fortune and promotion”.

Fortune came, his prize money as lieutenant being great—promotion, too, came at last; but Fanny Harville [benwick’s fiancé] did not live to know it.  She had died the preceding summer, while he was at sea.

the rupture suffered heavily on captian benwick, reorienting him towards “quiet, serious, and retiring manners, and a decided taste for reading”.

in persuasion, those who appear to suffer heavily are precisely the ones who spend the most time reading . . . i wonder what that means for those of us reading persuasion.

st thomas aquinas on the first epistle to the corinthians — prologue

let us turn, therefore, to the text

secrets are sacraments, for aquinas, while sacraments refer specifically to the seven sacraments (baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders and matrimony).  the reason then for this commentary is to “la[y] bare” these sacraments/secrets “to Christ’s faithful by their teachers and prelates”.   aquinas then enumerates three reason behind the need to de-conceal these sacraments/secrets, the third reason being a quotation of st paul: “‘To me, though I am the very least of the saints, this grace was given, to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God’ (Eph 3:8)”.

within the prologue, this revealing of the sacraments/secrets of god seems to come from two different positions: for aquinas, the revealing comes from within a hierarchical institutional structure, from teachers and prelates; for paul, the revealing comes up from the bottom, from “the very least of the saints”.

if paul already was given grace to make everyone see the mysteries of god, why this commentary (not to mention the mountains of commentaries written on the pauline letters throughout the last two thousand years)?  of course, only a fraction of paul’s writings remain today, and those are only accessible to most of us through various translations.  so there’s a language problem with the de-concealing with which paul was employed.  but still, i have to wonder if all these commentaries, the institution of not only the catholic church, but all other christian churches, the fact that many of the letters attributed to paul were decidedly not written by paul and so on are the very things keeping me today from easily seeing those sacraments/secrets.  but also i wonder: what if these mountains of writings on paul and the way paul has been appropriated by these different institutions also provide traces back to those mysteries paul, with his given grace, was able to simply reveal?

either way, i should take the advice of aquinas and turn to the actual texts of paul (if even only in translation).