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Holderlin, the outside, and my insides

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Holderlin's poetry explores, in Foucault's words, "the shimmering absence of gods and pronounced the new law of obligation to wait, infinitely long no doubt, for the enigmatic succor of 'God's failing.' From the very outset, then, Holderlin waits for failure. At least his art, his writing, his desiring, is already the art, the writing, the desiring of failure. To be sure, he does not desire failure, but he already embraces it, already writes it upon the text that is his being, and hence upon the text of the Everybeing.

If Death, writing, desiring, if these are all one and the same, and at the same time, separate (since each has its own structure, its own modus operandi), and if Holderlin's waiting can only be a waiting for god, the absent god, who fails, must fail, is already failing, then language, the act of desiring itself, must forever be an act of reaching for an outside, an outside of meaning, the other side of this, "the otherwise than being" as Levinas would have it.

I am trying to reach that point, not only in my being, not only in my life, but also in my intellectual understanding of why i write, despite not wanting to, where one sees the otherwise than being. Of course, it is a very intellectual exercise, and does not seem to have any bearing on the banal everyday, the teeth-brushing, toilet-going, obligatory handshaking banality of the evryday. And yet, at moments of frightening clarity, I see everything in one big blast of yellow light, a yellow light that engulfs both the banality and intellectuality of my project. I cross the line constantly, constantly crossing myself, transcending what seems to be the limits of my banality, but each time I shit on my own palms (in an attempt to search for some secret to my inside) I am already on the outside of everything, and the more my life becomes the epitome of banality.

And to be sure, once i have washed my hands of this muck (though the trace of its abject warmth remains throughout the day and the silent pathways to my dreams), I am no more and no less than the picture of mediocrity, no longer a transgression, but merely a preface to it, a preface that never ceases being one.


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5 Comments

Posted

Deep sigh; do all questions need an answer? Everything is better than

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Posted

Of course, not all questions need an answer, and I am quite aware that this is nothing but an intellectual exercise. But existence itself is a question, that will keep being asked, irregardless of the answers that are sought.

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Posted

There's a passage in one of Albert Camus' Notebooks that I can't quote exactly, but that I've never completely forgotten and yet can't completely remember. Camus is, I think, lying on his bed perhaps on a winter day. There is a sliver of sun coming through his curtains. I can no longer quite remember if the strip of light is equated to a fingernail, or if he is thinking of himself as a sliver of light or sliver of fingernail. I think I remember it, albeit vaguely, because during the moment described he was totally aware of his physical being in its baseness and beauty and was also able to write about its significance. When I read your blogs, niven, I think of Camus.

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Posted

I don't recall that Camus piece, AllBlue, but now that you've mentioned it, I must hunt it down. I am undeserving of being mentioned in the same sentence as Camus...

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I used to have a two volume set of the Notebooks split into 1935-1942 and 1942-1951. Now I only have the later volume (:mrgreen:) and I haven't found it in there yet, so I think it must be in the 1935-1942 volume. If you do find it I'll be interested to see how much different my memory is from the actual text. I have a visual memory of it, like a dream image, with my own bedroom in my parents' home as the setting. It's about a 30 year old memory..

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