look, it’s 01:32, and the notebooks in the pits of my drawers are not enough for the horror that is tropical disease biology studies…

/

I wonder, when you decide to voice your questions, when you send off your impressions, when you speak or write or type, out of the blue, to your unsuspecting peers, is it done with an obstinate hope that you will receive at the very least any kind of response? A measured reply, despite the overwhelming standard of there seeming to be so few who would not only appreciate the question, but would consider an answer at all.

In a manner that is self-deprecating, I think, I have been hunting for forms of connection that are more opportune for people who would rather not engage in anything so “aggressive” if “cute” without first throwing their daily habits into disarray. For whom such randomly expressed vexations of admittedly pretentious proportions pose as minor amusements, surprising puzzles, forms of performance art, and above all, a craving for approval–the latter, undoubtedly, many of my hurriedly scribbled down remarks are, but more, I suppose, a form of reassurance to myself that it is fine if I cannot help myself. Rather that than a kind of validation that is supposed to instill in me, over and over again, my sense of self-identity and worth. That would be very silly, don’t you think? But it is to be expected that more often than not we will seem silly regardless, and are loved despite of it, than seem as we want to be, and are loved because of it. So herein then, ought we not to give free reign to the expectations of others, and to our own, and tailor our contentment accordingly?

From there has emerged, I reckon, the infamous, “Nevermind that,” for which I am chastised here and there alike. Yet it occurs to me that I do not dismiss so much myself, but what I see as the toil and burden for you to bear if I did not do so.

I have never thought of it like this before, or thought of any of it for the longest time, if only in passing sneer in relation to my own expectations of people. Suppose I have dismissed thinking about it entirely, but wouldn’t that truly be considered as “settling”, after all?

/

potpourri

as per usual, i discover myself on the verge of a mistake

“he’ll hit the wall like gravy in a storm”

Imagine my mouthing something at you from across Oxford street while imitating the grace of lightning a match with my hands–but you’re not aware of the latter bit. Me? Yes-you. Really? Weird! Don’t understand, will probably ignore.

Now, imagine that the lady standing next to you has waltzed out of the parallel-reality of Fendi with a larger-than-ordinary pimped up canister for a handbag. I wouldn’t be acquainted with either one of you, but while my gesticulating would probably seem merely nutty to you, I may have only now insulted the lady next to you, regardless of my true intentions. I mime a lot, actually. Seriously.

Movement/action on its own does not seem intelligble (though it may be intellgible in itself) except with the movement’s further interaction with the context. In this instance, it also transgresses with the expectations of normality (though less so with the snugness of the streets). What’s the backdrop like, right?

So, contemplate notions like personal growth, and striving. To put pressure on the properly detached and self-assured You in order to make progress at a certain higher-than-random speed–well, on its own, the act does not make any sense. We require reference points, not to say we’re natural ferocious copycats as pertains to learning; can’t very well do it in isolation.

I find it fairly awkward, actually: to compete with myself over how fast I can pull myself up by my shoelaces. It’s not so much that these intentions won’t pan out, but that I’ll get a fairly skewered view of the results, provided that I will detect any narrative-breaking changes in my relation to the world at all–I have, after all, thought it perfectly doable to live on the sustenance of my character and imagination happily ever after in my back yard. One big urgency-free harmonious sandbox of wonder. Because, and especially nowadays, competition is bad, ugly, yuck in principle, right? Such a darling, this progressive populism…

Additionally, if growth in isolation would fail to make sense (the backdrop’s either too wide, or unimaginable)(provided that we would realise that on some level), I’m guessing it’d be rather difficult to siphon off that nourishing intensity and drive from the emotional commitment to an aim. Suspectibility to affect has its upsides.

I.e. do we not lose out on the potentially utilisable reservoir of capabilities by nobly refusing to be drawn into tiny personal races and almost adversarial bumping into each other’s sides?

We need someone to provide us with a playable context[1], to make the world small for us. In this sense, I think, we have no true adversaries. Just the people we play ourselves up against from time to time. Who provide the necessary tension and the constraints and the walls. Maybe we don’t do it intentionally, but most always self-forgetfully. We come into focus for ourselves through another, or in the worst case, through forgetting the existence of the walls-getting lost in the intensely sentimental miniature. You don’t adventure, nor learn, nor transform yourself much in a mellow vacuum or across the curvature of the Earth.

Where else could this mechanism apply? Innovation, R&D, business, biotech, affection? In the latter case, the ancient sentiment of our transforming our identities through loving and being loved yields something along the lines of:

’tis realising what we’re capable of becoming.

(it may be that the wall is there to keep the monsters in, the interesting things out. the other way around, maybe, or maybe we craved the walls into being in order to work on something: some fancy, or wound, or curiosity. in any case, the walls hold off nothing. eventually, they will crumble under our own exhaustion.)

I think this is fairly functional, especially if we consider what, aside from lust, draws us to certain people at certain times in the first place. Works on platonic scale as well, and not always in an overly desirable manner.

(in fact, to what extent are our perceived similarities to, and differences from our companions merely the recognised degrees by which we desire to learn and build ourselves further?)

magicians do not write about other magicians
(while learning how to do just that)

i could,
but i have lost my regard

it’s not that i don’t enjoy,
but i do not

a puzzle that wasn’t

it has become exhausting and a little sad

living with a parent minus the child[2]

you hero. you big, happy heart. look at what you’ve done with me.
i learned myself from you, yet you called me a sage. i take a bow before the little comely hysteria–your heroism. goodness before brilliance. in the soggy back pocket under the purple eastern sky, you remind me of raisins: condensed sweetness all over the roaring floor of one wretched bus.

play

she’s a desolate sight, having been denied an arc by a bag of tricks left hanging.

barely able to tolerate myself, an auto-antonym,
i guess satisfaction is not in my nature.

“only the mistakes were mine.”

- xkcd

xkcd


[1] In which, by the termination of the game, the sum total in terms of experienced novelty outweighs the playing costs, but doesn’t surpass the current imaginative capacities (the attributed actual probabilities to potential total outcomes, and sub-outcomes).

[2] Miguel de Unamuno – “Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion.”

hermeneutics of the soul,

We like to go to theatre here. The sprouting theatre criticism has at very minimum ensured that the name of Stanislavski flickers in the shady spheres of theatre-goers and “those sport-enthusiasts” alike. But hardly more. So, for some time now, for years, “theatre magic” has been paraded and yanked around by critics, meta-critics, dabblers, and journalists. Or maybe call it curtain-bog, theatre-mysticism, shush-spit.

Nevermind that, for theatre does have relevance in Estonian society. Pertaining to local political corruption-scandals of 2012–briefly allowing for the public the release of calling out in victory, “I knew it!” to whichever worthy end–, the political role of theatre on the stage of domestic politics was taken up again. To some extent. Aside from that, there’s happy shush-spit. Because theatre’s a tricksy place where ‘wonder’ occurs and in principle, the critics and the audience are obliged to be loyal to the magic. And in large part, they are. Nobody’s coerced, for god’s sake! Affect does not set inhuman standards for liking and relating, does it? It’s just that affect is superbly indiscriminate, and we are, despite the magic, not too wary of theatre, or wary for wrong reasons entirely.

A bit about us. There’s a meek bourgeoisie reverence to that mindset (theatre as a teacher, theatre as a cultural guardian), guilty pleasure of adulterous mischief (so much is allowed in theatre), glorification (critical theatre, heroic unravelling of society’s tricks, fifth power), and a sense of quasi-religious cult-likeness (theatre and drama schools as churches, or monasteries). Given that theatre has been handed a monopoly over a more-or-less autonomous space for breaking the frames of day-to-day social reality in a “risk-free way”, such chatter about the magical and privileged properties of the theatre bounces off the walls as a bit ridiculous way for saying, “here’s an institutionalised nature of human play–wean onto it!”

It does occasionally sound like a marketing strategy and feel-good institutionalisation of wonder (e.g. Christmas) all in one. Of course, it’s also a nice gesture: even a bow to the art of performance and storytelling, to “impersonating towards understanding” as a maxim, if you will. But why another holy cow? Wonders also tend to come about in the kitchen, the tennis court, the road side string shop, the bedroom, the ditch, Mecca, and in Antarctica. That rings horribly unfair to all that we are capable of making ourselves go through in most meagre of settings, hardly tooled-up at all by our critical shepherds.

Especially if the critic (a) declares the phenomenon ‘inexplicable–thus holy and untouchable’, (b) sparkly-eyed, drools over emotional fireworks and hyperbolic existential rage, (c) uncomfortably scurries away from intellectual discourse and clash of views in favour of ‘good ol’ family drama’, (d) writes up an anaesthetising class-composition on timeless deepities.

“For even very brave people are not able to live with the endless consequences of comparably innovating or releasing behaviour off-stage, even if this behaviour were possible there. Yet they do dream things like it.”

“Theatre shares immediately with others in an institutionalised setting these otherwise stifled dreams; it thematises them and can release us to a more controlled and productive relationship to them.”

“A necessary condition of understanding ourselves is that we understand ourselves as understandable by others.”

– Bruce Wilshire

The “de-facto bracketing of the human act“, the kind of intense and regulated praxis and processing of anthropological data, that is being attributed to Theatre is the nuts and bolts of human learning, really. But a ‘safe space’ is asked for, so people would not have to break uncomfortably with their daily appropriateness.

Perhaps this is necessary. Perhaps the requirement of distancing ourselves from our affected and engaging mindset in order to understand ourselves as individuals among other individuals is ordinarily too costly to utilise. Perhaps imagining is not obvious. Perhaps good thinking is difficult… Yet, frighteningly less is usually operated with. The standards are not all that high for ‘getting life’, apparently. Which is excellent for the sheer number of applicable ‘do-it-yourself’ methods it offers (bias and anti-intellectualism/anti-anything included, though), sure.

So, is experimental trial-and-error really deserving of such resentment and neglect, when we flatter ourselves with half-arsed sophistication, or is it just that many of us have aspirations for speckless social accounts, “seeming”, “in the real world” while not being quite as excellent as we think we are in evaluating our chances of getting away with it?

The human act is not a fairy. Honestly. It happens itself in your nearby store, in-between your two ears–under all kinds of circumstances. Artistic mimesis hardly has to be institutionalised and laurelled in order to make itself known to people. Or is it that making good use of it outside of ‘safe space’ is usually recognised as ‘mischief-making’?

Poor man is king here as long as he sticks around and keeps his edge. Doubtless, they’ll set the lab on fire a couple of times. Advocating for avoiding the fire at all costs speaks volumes, I think, of the state of our confidence in people’s thinking tools and ethical understandings (educational system?), of our glib affection for ‘science’, and of what kind of human being theatre as an institution is idealising.

This here is theatre partisanism (the unimaginative kind as it depicts art and theatre as enclaves).

“On this view, then, theatre is a ritual enactment of a fuller range of our potentialities. It is where we go to hear the resonances of our selves. It is a hermeneutics of the soul.”

We are (capable of) doing better than that.

arbitrary sew up

hang on
good will

tangling,
depending

i know not a thing

keep up,
don’t run

holding,
mistaking

that’s a cookie crumbling

sew up
a hat

quite enough,
quite okay

an anecdote’s too much of a pat

have me
too

biting,
imagined

think a piece of rampant art

eating pencils alive
so i sit in mudpie sky
with a rubber duck,
a faux kismet,
around my waist and heart,
mind blown –

it’s an arbitrary sign.

“the lyricist” ashamed

Taking timid steps in fast track grass
backed up by white noise
and a blasé applause; lifting wordy meanings,
our lyrics for us when we snooze
you and your kin work hard,
harder than any talented jack in brass.

It’s a shutter speed afternoon
in a concrete yard: you sit
silver screened, misplaced, bemused
listening well in your tangled lace and brogues,
playing down your tastes,
your interest in svelte sense’s form.

Soft sketchy lips blowing bottletops,
I thought of dressing you up
for show, let the dress’s false promise
of the real you drag their noses to the ground;
all as real as anything, all true, a play –
what’s there to be understood?

Step by step, don’t break your back
under pretty concrete means;
mean a little, mean them minds
whose meanings don’t mind the means.
Under heaving nonsense, to think,
you came,
as you long had seemed.

impulse IV

Life lesson: when perceiving yourself in debt to time and the world (in youth), keep “the ‘ordinary‘ human basics” away from the meta-sandbox; it’s usually too much cake for you already either way.

edit: the wonderfully kooky opposite can throw people.