Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All the mind's a stage? No way

Le cervau de Descartes- left temporal lobe  Britannica 1911
  And tomorrow becomes today, above freezing, but still with that wind from the Pole.  When, oh sethren, will the ignorant stop confusing climate with weather?  What hope is there for us, the wretched of the earth, our glaciated marrow, our sluggard tubing?  Fire, sethren, the fire of knowledge.
  Demons are called, those stable cycles of energy in the part of the continuum of the universe which is the human brain; which is an ideoverse; demons are called, I said, to the workspace.  And what is this workspace? you ceaselessly demand.
  To be honest, sethren, being a bit of a thespian myself, I think of it as a stage.  I am Prince Hamlet, and everybody else is the ghost.  I am an actor director.  I call demons to the stage, we act things out under my direction, I aim to end each scene with a soliloquy that is dignified, passionate, moving, wise and inspiring so, as the ghost fades out yet again, the expression on its spectral mug is “How I desire to be e’en more like thee, oh Hamlet”.  Then I say to the demons, okay, off you fuck (surely I can say that to demons), and so they do.
  Things don’t always turn out like that.  Demons arrive in hordes, and not always those that were summoned to the stage.  Often they disrespect my directorial role, they shout out, they brawl, they set out, in alliances, to undermine my confidence, my amour proper, they jostle me into places I do not want to go.  But at the best of times, they make me what I am and what I would wish to be.
  Here’s an example.  “What’s the time?”  That’s a common question.  And one with a fairly simple answer, as long as we don’t get philosophical about it.  I ask it of myself.  “What’s the time?”  Actually I have no watch.  Yes, I had one yesterday.  Just another sad story of our times.  Our times, times of austerity for us lot, undreamed of wealth for plump and pink Etonians.  Okay, our times demons, I banish you from the stage.  “What’s the time?”  Welcome, oh image demon, image of a church-tower-with-a-clock, welcome.  I look around, but no out-in-the-world perception meets with this image.  There is St Paul’s, but it has a spire, and no clock.  Get ye gone, ye trying to be helpful church-tower-with-a-clock demon.  Aha, my eye alights on sether Derostro, surreptitiously engaged in congress with his phone.  Another image demon arrives, the phonescreen demon and, summoned by that demon, a top-right-hand-corner demon, a four-digit demon, I plunge my hand beneath my robes, withdraw my phone, thumb demon and silver button demon, and there it is, time demon triumphant, 11.32.
  (Yes, sether Punctilia, that does seem to be the case.  Every demon I have summoned is in fact an association of demons.  And yet church-tower-with-clock does seem to me a single demon.  Perhaps we need to look further at the relationship between language and demons.  A demon is not an existence in language, though a demon can metamorphose into language in order to travel between brain and brain.  Language, which has to be finite and recursive [the system, sether, not the utterances], may present a demon such as the silver button with which I switch on my phone as a thing of infinite variation [gold knob radio], each locus in the paradigm continuously variable [the iridium molar with which I chew one marigold leaf].  But that necessary structure of language does not mean that in my ideoverse, and therefore in the metaverse at large, the silver button with which I switch on my phone is not unique, and a perfectly ordinary, perfectly respectable demon.  Uh-oh, we are losing them, sether.)
  Order.  Order.  I summoned demons to the stage to find out the time.  I found out the time.  But as always, that time has passed, your cheeks are slabs of mountain slate, your tubes cry out for the worst sort of cholesterol.  I showed you the workspace as a stage to which I, Hamlet and director, summoned demons.  But I confessed at once that that was the way I thought of it.  Wrong, entirely wrong.  There is no stage.  And what is this "I" that purports to summon demons to a non-existent theatre?
  Oh, we are in deep water, sethren, deep and boreal, a perilous sea I shall before your eyes shoot out of like an intercontinental missile from one of those ocean-going submarines with which plump pink Etonians (yes, and before them shallow and venal Fettes boys) protect our streets, yea, even our ringroads.
  And when I land, I shall not atomise a city.  I shall, without ado, say what the workspace is and how demons are summoned there.  Away with you.

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