In praise of the yin state

The Good Typist:

The prospect of getting lost, physically or otherwise, has always terrified me. But I am coming to see that there is power in being lost. There is power in existing in a state of not-knowing, of having no answers, no foregone conclusions, no assurances, and no real sense of the outcome. I have stopped fighting it, and have instead decided to explore it, to feel its textures, and see what it has to offer. And I find that I’m enjoying the drift, the sense that all possibilities are open and that I don’t yet know what is unfolding for me creatively, only that something is.

In praise of silent transformations

The Myriad Things:

What I love about this idea of “silent” transformation is its gentleness, its freedom from drama. It does not hysterically shriek that time is passing and that we need to do something before it is too late: instead it quietly solicits our attentiveness, asking us to look to the subtle and labile nature of the multiple changes that are already in process. [François] Jullien spends a good deal of time talking about what he calls—against Badiou—the ‘mythology’ of the event. There is a certain strain within continental philosophy that is obsessed with the idea of the ‘event’ as a break with the existing order of things, a kind of rupture that is necessary for something new to happen: because without some kind of break in the order of things, so the story goes, there could be nothing of newness in the world. Events of this kind—events that seem to be a break with the existing order of things—could be called noisy transformations: like the events of the nightly news, they monopolise our attention, so that we don’t notice those quieter transformations that are happening all the time. And I can’t help wondering if the very drama of these noisy transformations blinds us to the fact that even these events are not really such a break in the order of things at all (hence Jullien’s ‘mythology’ of the event): instead—but only if we ignore the noisiness and the drama and look a bit more patiently and calmly—we can see, in retrospect, that the seeds of these transformations had been growing for a long time.

(Be sure to read the comments thread as well as the post.)


erasure of a page from Samuel Pepys' diary

[The old man brought porridge and nothing else.
The swan, in little hopes about down,
got £60 for her neck and lodgings in the field
and would not give bedding like a fool.]

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 1 February 1659/60.


Where is he now, the boy
in our fourth grade class
whose mother went missing

for days until they traced
a stench to a shipping
carton shoved underneath

the bed? Her body, hacked
to bits by a disgruntled
client: found wrapped

in old newspapers and stuffed
into a box that might have once
transported milk and dairy

products— I’ve forgotten
the specifics, but after
the funeral, we saw

how he went on, came
to school and met what each
day required with no small

dignity. And I remember
the collection taken up
in church for the family:

how, as the baskets
went around, all of us
wanted to empty our pockets

of change— still stunned,
as they filled, at how a body
could be so rashly divided

into parts and tucked, ear
by finger or hip by joint, bones
loosed from the purse that held them.


In response to Via Negativa: Changeless.