the Arbitrary

entertainment

Well-known member
do you like the arbitrary or not?

is Joyce celebrating it, pointing it out, or is he trying to overload some system into implosion?
 

luka

Well-known member
I don't know that I like it and you don't even need to accept this particular interpretation of Joyce, but I found it interesting. More broadly I think it presents itself as a problem to which there are various, variously inadequate solutions.

More pragmatically you can, for the most part, simply rebury the awareness and carry on as though nothing had happened.
 

luka

Well-known member
The argument the book makes is that Joyce "dismantles the ideology of 'organic' art." So similar, in that sense, to what Gus wanted to do to the notion of organic self-expression in his Mask thread. The two things are closely related.
 

luka

Well-known member
"An arbitrary convention, to be hegemonic, must put itself forward as the only possibility. To propose two or more conventions for the same 'object', on the contrary, is to invalidate them all and renounce all hegemonic pretensions. This is exactly what happens in Ulysses."
 

luka

Well-known member
To go back to the Pollock thing, Valery did in fact set himself the task of writing a purely conscious and deliberate poetry so that he could take responsibility for it and affirm or stand behind every decision it makes. So that he was not, as most of us do, handing over control to an assortment of imps and goblins.
 

luka

Well-known member
If you have a drive, or feel yourself possessed by something that demands expression, there is, most people think, something objective about that, and they find, in that drive, a way to escape the feeling of the arbitrary.

But it does open up the question of what it is that possesses, and to what extent it might be compatible with your own interests and values.
 

luka

Well-known member
with Charles Olson you get this notion 'writing out of the centre of your self' and that is bolstered with some stuff about A Man needing to find the centre of himself before he can write through it. The rock he stands on. and in my experience, and in the experience of some of my friends, there has been an experience of locating 'the core'.

you could posit this experience as a defensive operation set in train by the ego to protect itself from the morbid self-consciousness i mentioned this morning.... but you don't have to
 

entertainment

Well-known member
The argument the book makes is that Joyce "dismantles the ideology of 'organic' art." So similar, in that sense, to what Gus wanted to do to the notion of organic self-expression in his Mask thread. The two things are closely related.

i feel like i'm getting stuck in a maze thinking about this.

there's a layer too where organic self-expression is an oxymoron.

where you, yourself is not organic. for example, you cannot escape your interests, brain, your memories, your cognitive patterns, which are all impressed on you by outside events. they don't come from within. so the more you're trying to get to within, towards some supposed 'core', the more unorganic your expression becomes.

by this thinking the most 'organic' expression is the one from which you have removed yourself, where you let the world express itself. this is cage/feldman territory.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
i don't know exactly where i land on all this. Iøm not too keen on the 'core self' thing - i feel like it's a trap.
 

suspended

Well-known member
I’ve recently started to suspect that bragging about cultural omnivorousness has become its own form of snobbery, and that the new face of music-nerd elitism is not the High Fidelity bro but instead the Twitter user who would very much like you to applaud him for listening to Ke$ha and Sunn O))) and Florida Georgia Line and Gucci Mane and …
 

entertainment

Well-known member
I think as a person you are able to have impressions that are more independent of your self than others, feelings that circumvent the ego, and that expressing these in the most free, selfless form is the closest thing you come to 'organic art.'
 

suspended

Well-known member
My feeling is that when we say affected vs wholesome, when we say performed vs sincere, what we really mean is conscious and unconscious. I think Luka is onto something with his posts about how conscious things are chosen and therefore up for grabs and therefore manipulative or strategic whereas unconscious stuff, even though it is still computational and strategic, is an enigma to the conscious mind and therefore we see it differently. And that if you think about it this way, it makes sense we would evolve an unconscious and be self-deceptive. To better fool others
 

suspended

Well-known member
Cosmopolitan omnivorism etc taste is a response to the sense of preferred styles being arbitrary sociocultural products that are typified to a target demographic whose identity a style reflects/captures
 

suspended

Well-known member
the spontaneous and the automatic in Kerouac is another way to circumvent this problem
It gets you out of responsibility for what you write

And if Kerouac wanted anything it was to abolish his own nagging sense of responsibility in a pursuit of unbridled existentialist freedom
 

suspended

Well-known member
Suppose an eight-year-old writes a story about being chased down a mouse-hole by a monstrous spider. It’ll be perceived as “childish” and no one will worry. If he writes the same story when he’s fourteen it may be taken as a sign of mental abnormality. Creating a story, or painting a picture, or making up a poem lay an adolescent wide open to criticism. He therefore has to fake everything so that he appears “sensitive” or “witty” or “tough” or “intelligent” according to the image he’s trying to establish in the eyes of other people. If he believed he was a transmitter, rather than a creator, then we’d be able to see what his talents really were.

We have an idea that art is self-expression—which historically is weird. An artist used to be seen as a medium through which something else operated. He was a servant of the God. Maybe a mask-maker would have fasted and prayed for a week before he had a vision of the Mask he was to carve, because no one wanted to see his Mask, they wanted to see the God’s. When Eskimos believed that each piece of bone only had one shape inside it, then the artist didn’t have to “think up” an idea. He had to wait until he knew what was in there—and this is crucial. When he’d finished carving his friends couldn’t say ‘I’m a bit worried about that Nanook at the third igloo’, but only, ‘He made a mess getting that out!’ or ‘There are some very odd bits of bone about these days.’ These days of course the Eskimos get booklets giving illustrations of what will sell, but before we infected them, they were in contact with a source of inspiration that we are not. It’s no wonder that our artists are aberrant characters. It’s not surprising that great African sculptors end up carving coffee tables, or that the talent of our children dies the moment we expect them to become adult. Once we believe that art is self-expression, then the individual can be criticised not only for his skill or lack of skill, but simply for being what he is.
That's from Keith Johnstone's Impro

It's making the Ex Machina Pollock argument, in favor of letting our unconscious imps and goblins do our bidding as creatives
 

suspended

Well-known member
My feeling is that when we say affected vs wholesome, when we say performed vs sincere, what we really mean is conscious and unconscious. I think Luka is onto something with his posts about how conscious things are chosen and therefore up for grabs and therefore manipulative or strategic whereas unconscious stuff, even though it is still computational and strategic, is an enigma to the conscious mind and therefore we see it differently. And that if you think about it this way, it makes sense we would evolve an unconscious and be self-deceptive. To better fool others
To put it another way, self-transparency is a social liability past certain points

(You become "self-conscious" )
 
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