Inspired by O.G. Rose Conversation Episode #65 with Tim Adalin of Voicecraft
This was inspired by my conversation with the wonderful Tim Adalin of Voicecraft. Tim Adalin is a writer, speaker, and philosopher with interests in metaphysics, psyche, culture, and nature. He is working to develop networks and communities which seek to support wiser contexts for education, contribution, and belonging.
For more by Mr. Adalin, please visit here.
What’s it like to speak? What’s the difference between the moment of silence and the moment with words? Sometimes words feel like escape, running from the silence, while other times not speaking feels like running. Conditions change with time, and what we should do and shouldn’t do changes with those conditions. Why do they change? Why is saying, “I love you,” in some situations the best of all possible acts, and in other situations it is an act of manipulation? What makes words mean what they mean? From where comes their meaning?
Note: This piece is written in a different creative nonfiction style than normal
It’s strange to experience oneself speaking. We know what we want to say, and we try to say it, and perhaps we think we succeed, only to find we failed: the person we’re speak with looks back, silent. It feels like lowering a bucket into a well, filling the bucket, and lifting it back out. Speaking feels like a great “drawing out” — or maybe that’s our fault. Maybe we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. Maybe we should just learn to small talk. No — Heidegger would support us avoiding chitchat. “A being of small talk” would fail to stand against efforts to turn the world into a “standing reserve.” But if we can’t chat with our neighbors, can we ever be present? Must “shooting the breeze” be an effort that kills our capability to really feel the wind in our hair?
We are all radically hidden, even as we speak, which feels like unveiling. We only ever “(un)veil,” as we stand here, in the open. We are not hidden, and yet are elsewhere. And we hide with this “thing” we Bring Forth as a voice, but is the voice “the thing?” We are testaments of a Mystery, front and center. Testaments. Tests. We must Bring Forth, yes? We wonder as we stand around others who are hidden and to whom we are hidden. They could say they hate us. They could say we are failures. And this could destroy us. The hiddenness is dangerous, and we are hidden. We must face it if we have faces. Is this why The Bringing It Forth feels miraculous? Because we are in danger? Something More comes. It does not kill us but could. God could kill us all. Dead. Cross-ed. The radical nonsense that is not stupidity but a breaking of sense. Brought Forth.
Life and death is in the tongue. The world is spoken into existence. All of history is full of stories about how words create the ground on which we stand. We don’t merely place words over things. Words are in things, knocking on their hearts. Knocking them out. Beating. What are we to be capable of speaking things which touch essences? To suggest that there is a “radical hiddenness,” which we know about with failure. (Un)veil. Life/Death. This great strangeness tempts us into death-driving “chit chat.” We do not like Heidegger. We do not want to believe we glimpse a tip. More. But the dynamic of self-forgetfulness that emerges in “The Dialogs” points¹1 It points. “Communicative rationality” and “substantive democracy” are possible where that dynamic is mastered, but how can we master what entails a mastery of losing ourselves?² Who can become a master?
If self-forgetfulness cannot be mastered, democracy will weaken. Democracy can be saved, I believe, if the dynamic of the Great Something pulls us together. Beauty can save the world.³ The dynamic of being lost is what we must find. We can only be found where we are lost in something elsewhere.
What do we feel when we feel ourselves about to speak? For me, it often feels like digging my fingers through sand, trying to find something I cannot describe ahead of time, a point reminiscent of Plato and Augustine. How do we recognize something we’ve never seen? How do we remember a new thought? Do we Think? Capitalizing letters can feel like unlocking the universe — or pulling a fast one. Maybe this is wrong. Maybe we shouldn’t “bring anything” out when we feel confused and unsure; maybe we should just sit with not knowing. Or maybe that’s just what we tell ourselves so that we’re not merely justified to not try to Bring Forth, but also moralized to not try. Moralizing inaction — is there anything worse? Maybe the world is a mess because of too much action? How can we say unless we Bring Forth?
As argued in “On Words and Determinism” by O.G. Rose, words to me prove freedom, precisely because someone speaking can make me feel like my freedom was taken away. If someone says, “Let’s go to the movies,” I am no longer free to live in a world where I am not so asked, and thus I must face the possibility of wondering if the person will be upset if I decline the invitation, if I’ll be missing out, and so on. Words (un)veil freedom: they don’t just give it, and they don’t just take it away. Freedom is always a practicing of what reduces it. The loss of freedom is evidence that freedom was used.
Not all words are equal. I use words in my head right now. Hear them? “Bird.” Did you hear it? You likely saw it, only think you heard it. And, truth be told, “plane” was in my head: “Bird,” was to throw you off. What is said and what I think can be disconnected. Words can hide words. Words can match words. Words can fight words. A (w)hole wor(l)d. I honestly forced you into a world where you had to confront the word “bird” so that I could hide “plane.” Keep it to myself. Keep me in control. Empowered. I used language to run. To? From? And since language can be used to run, there is always a feeling of uncertainty when words are said. Even if a person means what they say, we cannot know it. I cannot know it about my own words, actually, and, similar to your situation, I cannot ask you for help.
Matter structures. There is a door nearby, and so if I want to go in the room, I must lift my hand and turn the handle or kick the door down or blow it up — matter forces decisions and actions upon me. Words are “like” matter, always hurling “structure.” Things I must now have in my life. And, if you ask me, they come quicker than objects (objects are fairly good at staying in place). Perhaps someone can throw a chair, but they couldn’t quickly throw ten chairs at me, and yet I can throw ten words at you before you have a clue of what’s going on. Very fast. Very quick. And now you cannot live in a world where you don’t experience these words. Freedom confirmed in a snatch.
Words fly without wings, demanding apprehension. When I see a tree, I can wonder, “What is that?” The tree stands still. But when a word flies at my ear, it feels strange to ask, “What does that word mean?” “Cat” means object. Still, individual, and unparticular. But words present themselves as if they ought to be apprehended, while objects can do the same, but it’s much easier to stop and wonder about them. Words come and vanish and demand to be known now. And miraculously we often do know what they mean, just like that, though they are gone just as fast.
What, what do I mean that it’s strange to ask about words? We ask about them all the time, don’t we? Well, I’m not sure: I think we often ask about the “objects” of words, but not much about words themselves. I think we spend a lot of time asking “What does that word mean?” but not enough time wondering about what constitutes the “form” behind words, “The Thing” behind the letters which seems deeper than merely “the signified.” Yes, words are “signifiers” which point to what is “signified,” but we would be mistaken to think that the “signified” is behind the word, that “the signified” is “out of which” the words came. The “signified” is not in “the signifier” at all — words point away. But from what do they point away?
We often ask about what words “point to,” but what do words “point from?” Is that a stupid question? I think not, because when I talk about “the cat I saw down by the barn” this afternoon, it is not the case that the actual cat and the actual barn are motivating my speech. Yes, my speech is about these objects, and perhaps I wouldn’t be speaking if I didn’t experience these earlier in the afternoon, but they aren’t motivating my speech now, which is to say they aren’t forcing me to talk. I’m choosing to talk about them, perhaps because I’m looking for connection with my Dad or feel pressure to talk about something with my neighbor — there are many possible reasons. But the point is that what words “point to” is not readily identical with what words “point from.”
Alright, where do words “point from?” Motivations. Desires. Thoughts. An inner world. A me. A subject. Words are subjects “pointing to” subjects of conversation while “pointing from” subjects. Subjects all the way down. I’m not sure if I want to claim it’s always this way, but it seems that words are always both “pointing to” and “pointing from,” and of course it’s possible for me to talk about what’s going on inside of me, meaning my words “point to/from” — a strange double action which might deserve unique focus, like two mirrors reflecting on one another. Hard to say.
Do words point from their meaning? Is meaning “The Thing?” Maybe, but “The Thing” seems deeper. This spirit. This emotion. This experience. Behind the letters. But I cannot portray experience. A summons to the psychedelic? To the whole glacier? Hard to say. Aristotle made a distinction between “substance” and “accident,” and I suppose my question is “What is the substance of words themselves?” Not a word. But words themselves. Is that a sensible question? Maybe I should hope it isn’t: If it can be put into words, how can it possibly be at what I’m trying to get? Am I trying to get at nothing? It can’t be nothing, for I do indeed “point from” something. A lack. Perhaps a lack.
The word “signifier” might be part of the problem, for it suggests words defer and only defer. And yes, words “point to,” but I wonder if they are only “signifiers,” which I think is how we have often spoken. Words come from someone. They are evidence of a place. But what is that place? Arguably, words are an effort to make that “place” be in the world. In it and not of it. We might never succeed, but the failure still “points from.” Do we decide what from? Into what have so many spiritual practices — praying, humming, chanting — tried to tap into?
Let’s discuss speaking “horizontally” more before turning “vertical” on words themselves. Let us discuss why speaking todays needs to be more “vertical” so that we survive Globalization and Pluralism. Then, the need for “meta-skill” established, we will turn “meta” on “the meta-skill” itself, searching for new depths.
Let’s step back.
Is art something we do or something done to us? The same can be asked about water. Do we drink water, or does water sweep us away? It depends on the context, but none of us chose to live in a world where water exists. We are all forced to deal with the reality of water. How do we respond? We need water, or we will perish. We must respond. How?
We know the famous point on how water takes the shape of whatever vessel it is in, and we know a raindrop is not a threat, while a flood can destroy us. Water, depending on its capacity, changes everything. So it goes with voice. A single word can be hard to even notice, but a long and extensive speech can wash and overwhelm us. Water can bring us life in a desert and despair during a flood. So it goes with the voice. And a world without “voice-craft” is a world where we have no control over what the voice does. It’s random. And 99% of the time, we might be fine, but that 1% we might lose everything. A single flood can set us back years. A single misplaced statement can ruin a mind and soul for decades. Water and words must be crafted. And yet we think little of crafting voice.
To craft speaking, we must discuss it, and yet that risks taking us out of the “flow” of conversion, and yet if we don’t talk about the dynamics of conversation, we risk botching them and causing trouble. When diversity and difference is less, we don’t have to be nearly as “meta,” because similarity tends to provide people similar frameworks by which to operate. They tend to share similar points of views, use words in similar ways — discussion is not so at risk of falling apart. But as Pluralism and Globalism have intensified and difference increased, it is not so “given” that we share similar metaphysical frameworks and hermeneutics. Difference is increasingly deep, and we do not naturally like difference, let alone deep difference. Difference makes us reflect back on ourselves and causes existential reflection, as discussed throughout Belonging Again. We don’t tend to respond well to this: our only hope of avoiding it is through “meta-reflection” on how we feel about conversation, how we carry ourselves, how we presence ourselves, and the like, all of which threaten conversation.
When we think about conversation, we are not conversing, and that could hurt conversation. The C.S. Lewis “Meditation in a Toolshed” comes to mind here, on the difference between looking “at” a ray of light and looking “through” a ray of life. When we look “at” conversation, we are not speaking “through” conversation, and this risks us not conversing, but never speaking “about” speaking risks causing misunderstanding. It’s easy to “freeze up” and struggle to think when we are thinking about ourselves, as it’s hard to talk when we talk about conversation. We must overcome and “forget” the meta-dimension, but how? And didn’t we just say that the failure to be “meta” can contribute to conversation failing and difference being “overwhelming?” Yes, there is a risk and tragic “trade-off” that is not easy at all to navigate. How can we? Not easily. The tension of conversation is very similar to the tension in Belonging Again between “givens” and “releases”: in conversation we see at play the very dynamics we must navigate and live with that we see on the macro-social order. To converse is to face the challenges of the whole society.
A good conversation requires what Timothy Keller calls “self-forgetfulness” — an amazingly helpful category. Between “selfishness” and “selflessness,” it is a state where we cease thinking about ourselves and just “flow,” per se. But how do we forget about ourselves? We’re always in and using ourselves. Yes, which means it is a very hard and difficult challenge: one wrong step, and we’re back to thinking about ourselves. And being “meta” about conversation is risky, because by definition we are focused on and thinking about “ourselves” and “our conversation.” How can we do this and become aware of ourselves and discussion without at the same time ruining them? Well, it’s an “art-form,” a skill, one that will not come easily. Basically, we need to be aware of difference without becoming self-aware of difference, which is to say we need to honor and respect differences without the differences hindering “flow.” How is this possible? Not easily, but it is a necessary undertaking.
To be “meta” is to look over the dynamics of a discussion and to see how all the variables and parts work together. It is to attempt to understand why misunderstanding occurs, why people unintentionally hurt one another, and the like. All of this is critical, and it is precisely because people are always “in” life that they can fail to analysis how life operates and thus lack control over those dynamics. Those who do not understand dynamics are those who must be at their mercy, and yet discussing dynamics risks “flow” and “engrossment” in a relationship. We don’t want to just talk about love: we want to love. How though? That is the question…
Pluralism and Globalization inherently entail elements of destabilization. We are “off.” Thus, we are always “not right,” which means there’s a sense in which the damage of “meta” has already happened to us, precisely because we are existentially destabilized by virtue of diversity and the internet (see Belonging Again). So engaging in “meta”-thinking is not disembodiment at this point, because we are already disembodied. Rather, it is easily to get back to embodiment. Why? Well, I think it can help if we understand the nature of “meta.”
“Meta” is “vertical,” while “non-meta” is horizontal. This is obvious enough: when we “talk” we face each other, while “meta-talk” is when we metaphorically climb a tall ladder and look down upon what’s happening to understand it (as if we are looking down at an anthill). But we forget that “vertical” is not merely up, though it’s hard to remember this because relative to us, standing on ground, “up” is the only vertical we experience. “Vertical” technically also includes “down,” which suggests that we’re only “halfway meta” (which risks incompleteness and pathology) unless we take into account the ground on which people stand, which I would argue includes their emotions, hearts, and the like. “Meta” is not merely an awareness of dynamics “outside” the subject, ignoring it, but “meta” requires us to take the subject very seriously. Their values, reasons, hermeneutics — things of life. We are not “meta” if we are disembodied, though part of “meta” is the ability to see situations beyond contingency, but the other half of “meta” is a deep consideration of individual “grounding.” If we aren’t vertical in both an “up” and “down” sense, we’re hardly vertical at all. We’re “halfway” at best. Incomplete. And if we’re incomplete, how do we think we can help situations and dynamics which result from an “incomplete” understanding of how we operate?
We must learn the art of dancing between “the horizontal” and “the vertical,” the “speaking at” and “speaking through” — a dance we will fail at and that I will call “The Art of Bringing It Forth.” We never become masters at what we do not love and do not create habits around. How can we love “Bringing It Forth?” How can we all become more like artists? Aesthetic? Conditional?
“We are what we love,” James K.A. Smith teaches, and he wants us to realize that what we love is influenced and shaped by our environments. If we spend our time in a mall, that works on our loves, and then we produce habits of buying the shirts we desire. And we almost are our habits, which means owning our spaces is part of owning our loves. Thus, if we are going to love “The Bringing It Forth” that we have described, it will require spaces which incubate that love in us, through habits and desires. We need spaces to habituate us to “bringing forth” and being around the “bringing it forth.” We speak about dance performances, jazz performances, but here we seem to be speaking of “Bringing It Forth”-performances, a new kind of art. We speak of Jazz Halls. Can there be “Bringing It Forth Halls?” Places of the Dialogos? Or will that necessitate too much self-awareness? How can we escape self-awareness? Well, that is part of the art. Perhaps a duty of curators to determine.
If we want to engage in the art and habit of “Bringing It Forth,” we must design our spaces. We must think about them. We cannot simply want to “Bring It Forth” and expect we will. We must own our spaces. Our spaces incubate our desires and habits. And we must love and habituate ourselves to the failure of speaking. To the inability to ever completely “Bring Forth” what we want to “Bring Forth” but must so fail so that we have reason to think there is a Thing which we are trying to “Bring Forth.” The failure points. Where there is no failure, there is no “pointing,” and so we don’t think we are missing out. Failure means there is Something More, while success means nothing. The failure is a gift, but it is a gift that exists only to the degree we try to “Bring It Forth” and love the failure. Marvel at it. And realizing that the Something More is only there “to us” because of the failure is grounds to love the failure. But we must believe. We must believe that the pointing points at Something. We don’t have to believe that, for we choose if we believe in “lack” or “nothing.” A free choice. And based on our inner experience, we have reason to believe in “lack,” I think, but that’s up to us. We must decide.
The Mystical Vision is an encounter with a Something More, and there’s a hint of mysticism in every voice, in every use of language. A world is suggested that is not here and isn’t yet is (wor(l)d). When we experience the Other World, Mystically or Psychedelically, it is difficult to not see all of life according to its horizon. We seek to find what Brings It Forth. We can wonder if the Mystical Vision was an act of self-deception, if the World was an act of the drugs and nothing outside of the drugs. We wonder. So we seek to “bring forth” that World by other means. By other ways. To suggest the World is not imagined. And we fail. We must fail. But we can fail better, and every use of language and words feels like a performance of Bringing It Forth. Can we? Can we succeed?
In Christianity and many religions, there is a notion that learning to love God is how we learn to love others. To love God is to love and be loved. Perhaps something similar applies to the great “Bringing It Forth?” The more we Bring It Forth, the more we love and feel love. The more we connect with a world that isn’t here. Perhaps it is only through The Bringing Forth that great diversity and difference can learn to get along? Perhaps there is no other hope? If so, then creating spaces which incubate a love for Bringing It Forth will be everything. A matter of life and death. Of the world holding together or not. But this will not be easy.
Philosophers will talk often of description and prescription, of how people should be and what people should do. But how do we invite? What is our philosophy of invitation? Do we know? We need participatory knowledge, none of which come easily. And we will not “fall into it well” without love and habits and desires changing accordingly. We must love our failure to Bring It Forth. We must try and try again. We must love feeling lost. And this is not easy. But we must try, for we Bring Forth nothing but from vulnerability.
The Bringing It Forth.
But what do we Bring Forth?
From where do we Bring Forth?
Having now “horizontally” discussed “the vertical and horizontal,” we must now talk “vertically” about “the vertical and horizontal.”
Belonging Again has mostly been a book of description.
We are now offering a prescription with an invitation.
The invitation is also a warning.
“The All Possible” is “The All Possible.”
Edmund Husserl allegedly assigned his class a mailbox to study for a semester, and something similar might be attempted here. What is a word? What is “The Thing” behind words that “isn’t” words but words would be impossible without? Perhaps this is like asking a video-camera to film itself on the screen to which it is projecting — an eternal regression. How do we talk about what is behind words with words, words that will trick us to looking “at those particular words” as the objects of our focus? How do we talk about from what our talking emerges? The behind-ground.
Voice establishes connections that otherwise the universe could never generate. Expression allows me to say, “That chair is Mom’s favorite.” Sure, Mom could know it was her favorite and treat it like her favorite, but voice makes possible a connection and series of events that would otherwise never come about. Voice is the realm of “high order causality.”⁴ It feels like objects “most real” and words on top of them, while when I speak it feels like what is “inside” is most real and what I say is a failure. Yet words translate inside to outside and fail but suggest that there is an inside. This is what interests me. The suggesting. The suggesting of “The All Possible.”
(Yes, “The All Possible is “The Infinite,” but every now and then I like to use a different phrase. “The Infinite” struggles to moves us.)
To speak is to fail, but without that failure we’d lack reason to think there was a “distinction” between the inner and outer. The failure gives us reason to consider the distinction. It is a call to help. An SOS. So when I say that chair is “Mom’s favorite” — there is a failure to portray the fulness of what I mean. It means Mom rocked me to sleep when I was a baby. It means Mom’s father made it for her. None of that is in the sentence, but the failure of the sentence also says that “What the chair seems to be might not be all it is.” The failure suggests “Something More” than what we experience. Likewise, when I speak, I say, “There is ‘Something More.’ ”
The failure of language to fully “point to” gives us reason to think it “points from.” If our “pointing to” never failed, we would be trained to think that our speaking simply represented external things in the world, that the external things somehow inspired and caused words, and that would suggest words simply “pointed from” memories and experiences. But we cannot access “things in themselves,” and so our words can be inspired by memories, yes, but they cannot be “reduced” to memories. There is something else at play. A subject. An experiencing subject which tries to fill the gaps with our subjective experiences. And fails. But in that failure we suggests a realm we “point from.” A realm of us. The realm of the subjective. What is that realm?
The subject dwells in The All Possible. This is our strength and our torment.
Words “point from” a place where anything is possible. Anything is possible in us but not as us.
Prayers, hums, chants — these are perhaps efforts for The All Possible to gain more strength.
I skip ahead.
If there was no failure, there would likely be no “Something Else” to us, either because language mapped onto the territory perfectly, or because the doorknob “never broke” to become visible so that we noticed “a break.” So if expression never failed, there would be no Mystery. Words would be things. Why there is failure is a mystery. Something to investigate. And yet failure is what makes us feel like we never access the mystery, and yet if there was no failure, we’d probably not feel like there was a mystery at all. The failure is why we care. The failure is why we use language here and fail to reach mystery there.
We experience language as expressing, but it never fully expresses. It is like experiencing our limit as limitless in Hegel: the limitlessness is evidence we are limited from experiencing our limit. And so the expression of language is evidence it is not what is expressed. For we experience a word as an expression of a thing that it is not. And in that failure, it succeeds at communicating that there is Something Else. “The All Possible.”
The “substance” of language, the essential act beyond the accidents of the objects of words, is the suggestion of a “Not Here” in the “here-ness” of language. We experience language as a “missing,” which means there must be Something we are “missing.” The failure thus communicates. But what are we missing? Well, answering that requires language that must miss the mark. But can we miss “well enough” to approach the Something like lines which never touch? Maybe. We spend our lives “always already” speaking, hence perhaps why it is so hard to experience the Something, like fish always in water. Yet Walker Percy focuses on “The Heller Keller”-moment as a start of humanity, meaning that the craft of voice might be crafting our humanity. But what do we need to craft? Our vocabulary? Our tone? All of this seems accidental. What is the substance of language we need to craft? The failure. We become human when we suggest “a Something More we are missing,” and perhaps our humanity is developed relative to the degree we take seriously that “Something More,” that “All Possible.” Perhaps psychedelics introduce a new humanity because it introduce a radical “Something More?” Language introduced the first iteration and experience of Something More. Perhaps Mystical Experience and psychedelics introduce a higher iteration? Who can say?
Voice, religion, poetry, psychedelics — all of this seems to be resolutions of an experience of “Something More,” one perhaps making ready the next. We seem to be human to the degree we don’t feel “stuck” in this “what is” (A/A). The “Something More” is B, thus we are A/B in its light, and human ontology seems A/B. The interesting part of expression is that it presents and adds a “high order causality” to reality that presents itself as a failure. And yet the “high order causality” feels less real — why? Is it? Or just the opposite? Language creates causality between “what is” and what “otherwise wouldn’t be” (A/B), and thus suggests a disconnect. The suggestion of that disconnect seems to be the essence of expression. Disconnect suggests a “lack.” The substance of language is “lack.” Or is it nothing? We decide. (“Lacks” suggest humans have free will.)
The substance of language seems to suggest a choice between “lack” or “nothing,” but we perhaps know it is lack, because we know there is intention. But the question is if this “lack” in words is a lower-resolution version of a higher “lack,” Something on the same gradient as what we experience when see a sunset. That beauty. Beauty is “lacking” something it points to, as is language. Are language and beauty on the same metaphysical gradient? Do they point to the same thing? The Great Realm “glimpsed” in psychedelics and religion? In moments of transcendence? Are we always dappling in transcendence? Are we always Transhuman? Perhaps, but that begs the question if we are “Transhuman” because we become The Realm or if we get better at “lacking” The Realm. Hard to say.
Transhumanism might be a transformation of humanity that doesn’t entail “voice-craft,” simply “bio-craft.” It removes “Something More,” and that might be death of humanity if indeed our humanity develops relative to our capacity to experience “Something More” (at higher resolutions). Will Transhumanism develop that? It might. I think we need to make that part of our programing. The loss of “Something More” might be the loss of us. Our freedom of us.
Voice sings. Perhaps voice is only used well singing. Imagine a world where all language was sung. Could we stand it? I actually tried singing philosophical prose, and my entire relationship to what I was saying transformed. It tempts me to sing everything forever. Tone. It was wild. Forcing myself to sing. Very strange. Changes everything. Which proved to me instantly the different forms and relationships to speech which our possible relative to our “towardness.” And how we speak. And if true with signing, it is true with craft.
Are we crafting a relation to a mystery? A Thing “Not Here” that we know is not here because we are saying things which only make sense “pointing from” the “Not Here.” We are a walking “there/here” which language always suggests. Alluding to Hegel, an Absolute Knower incapable of experience words as not “limitlessly reaching.” We must apprehend. We are trapped in being capable of grasping.
“The Phenomenology of Expression” is this feeling of a great “Not Here” and our power to cultivate it and shape it and influence how it exists in the world. It’s a feeling of power that we fear, for who knows what it will do? It is like Subconscious Realm. Psychotics. What Realm is this? It is the Realm that makes us human and that makes us feel like we are not gods, suggesting there are gods which we can be or that we might have been but forgot and can no longer be. It is in tradeoffs that we find out what we believe.
The subconscious and imagination dwell in “The All Possible,” which is to say we live with the “Abstract Freedom” which Hegel whispers of in Elements of the Philosophy of Right. “The All Possible” includes memories of trauma, for these happened to us, and it is possible they happen again. Memories can appear in the future. Repetition is possible in terms of similarity. Sameness is impossible, but similarity, at different points in time, is experienced as sameness. So do not think of “The All Possible” as necessarily divine and heavenly. Demons of infinite horror are possible in “The All Possible.” “The All Possible” we all “point from” and live our lives trying to fail better at “pointing to” is why both Jesus Christ and the Ancient Ones of Lovecraft are possible. Our efforts to craft love may craft Lovecraft.
Words in religion were “breath.” Life force. The power of life and death. The power of externalizing the internal. What connects words to the outside world is sound. Do I hear the words in my head? This is a mystery to me. I fee like I do hear them, and yet there are no soundwaves. There are no vibrations. So what do I hear? Do I create simulations of sound inside myself that I then “hear” so that I don’t keep track of the mystery of how I’m able to create such “inner simulations?” Do I need to believe the words inside are sounds? What would I have to think of myself if I realized I heard things that were not sounds? What “Thing” would that suggest of me?
Are written words and Sign Language “sounded out?” I don’t believe so, but this simply changes the problem: If I see words in my head, then I see things which don’t have shape or presence. Inside, I hear what lacks vibration or see what lacks substance. How? What is this Inner Place which allows sight of the invisible and hearing of the silent? Is it the “All The Possible?” Is the “All Possible” what we have called “The Thing?” A World of All Possible? Hegel’s Abstract Freedom?
“The All Possible.” “The Thing.” Where silence can be heard and the invisible seen. Where I can watch a cat grow wings and fly away. Where I can see my deceased grandfather again and then watch him ride a rocket to the moon. “The All Possible.” The voice “points from” “The All Possible” while “pointing to” something outside in “the actualized (possible).” This is the magic of the voice. The betweenness. It is the instantaneous and constant translation of “The All Possible” into the actualized (where capitalization is gone). For what “is” is all that is: it and it alone is the only being. And yet “the only being” could have been a billion other things, but not now. The universe and the physical is not The All Possible. It cannot give my grandfather wings, but inside I can give my grandfather life.
The fundamental act of language is overlap of dimensions which cannot cross otherwise. There is no way for what is outside of me to get outside without expression, and perhaps psychedelics forces reality to make what is inside it outside (or offers “a door of perception” for us to walk through). Voice is the conditioning and presentation of something inner to the outer. It’s almost like how we decorate it or design it. The words, “I’m happy,” can be presented a hundred different ways. Voice and craft of voice are how we present “The All Possible.” A skill. Voicecraft is crafting how we “point from” Being while “pointing to” being. How we can “Be/be” well. May the fragments shore.
Language is limited from being “The All Possible” which makes language possible.
We cannot be imagination itself nor be what we can “speak from.”
(“Thinking Here and Thinking There” by O.G. Rose.)
We can say we are anything, but we cannot be anything.
We can disconnect words from being — remark-ably.
As we learn from Hegel, the subject experiences itself as limitless, and thus is limited from experiencing its limit. The subject, seemingly married to the linguistics (Lacan) is from “The All Possible” and thus from it (away). Words are the same.
Words are evidence that subjects are limited from experiencing the limitlessness from which they are from. Words are evidence that we are wrong to think we are limitless while also suggesting that we came from the limitless.
We experience the limitlessness inside ourselves as contained.
We aren’t limitless because we contain it.
The subject’s experience of itself as limitless suggests that the subject contains limitlessness.
Every word we speak is made in “the image and likeness” of this ontological paradox.
God spoke the universe into being. God spoke God’s “image and likeness” into being — us. What we are to God, words are to us.
God incarnated into words. John 1.
Jesus “points from” divinity and “points to” humanity.
Words “point from” limitlessness and “point to” limits. Likewise, subjects “point from” limitlessness and thus experience a limitlessness that “points to” limitedness.
What we “point out from” is what we experience, and yet we experience “in” a world of limits. We experience limits as if they are not limits, for indeed, we can change the world, but we cannot not face a world we could change. We cannot change the fact that we must experience a world we could change. (A point which brings Anselm to mind.)
We are forced to experience limitlessness as a possible result of change not a result of being. We are forced to experiences limitlessness as a “becoming” or else we will experience a “false limitlessness” of our “given being” (“the limitlessness of the subject” according to Hegel). We are forced to face a trick that makes us believe we have what we are being tricked from.
We experience words as if they could be anything but aren’t. We experience ourselves as only ourselves but the only one who is ourself. Strange.
We exist in a constant loop between words that tell us they fail and are limited while “pointing from” “The All Possible,” all while we experience our subjectivity as the only subjectivity and unlimited while “pointing to” the limitations of the world.
The limits of the world never apply to us because we are limited from experiencing limits (unless that is we “Absolutely Choose” otherwise). Is this why we pathologically oscillate between feeling like gods and feeling powerless? Words humble. The people God spoke into being crucified him.
Words humble subjects. We never naturally like humbling, but we need to humble our “given limitlessness” to be empowered. We cannot experience our limits, but we do contain limitlessness.
We cannot experience our limits, but we are also not limited from accepting our limits as “there” while we are “here.” In this way, we are not limited. If there are “limits,” there is an “All Possible” beyond them.
If we negate from ourselves that we “are” an “All Possible,” only “from” “The All Possible,” this does not mean we must be effaced. “I am not limitless” can become “I contain limitlessness.”
If we follow Hegel and understand we experience our subjectivity as “limitless” because we are “limited” from experiencing our “limits,” then we can understand that “I am limited.” This seems to be a loss of limitlessness, but — and here is the key move — this is a negation, preparing way for a sublation. To realize “I am limited” is to realize “I am not limitless,” and this is to realize “I contain limitlessness.” Power.
If we did not contain “The All Possible” which words “point from,” no one would have power over it, and “The All Possible” would “practically” be nothing. Power is necessary for potential to be realized and created. The universe needs energy to unfold, and we need energy to for us to translate what is inside of us into the external world. If we did not have power over limitlessness, we could not create out of limitlessness. The limitless must be “contained” in us to “matter” (as action and description).
(“I contain limitlessness” is our Schrödinger-esq situation which requires an “Absolute Choice” regarding how we choose to interpret it, suggesting the inescapability of (nonrational) freedom and correctness of Fondane. All of this will be expanded on in (Re)constructing “A Is A”).
If we did not contain “The All Possible” which words “point from,” there would be no power over it, and “The All Possible” would “practically” be nothing. “The All Possible” exists because we “lack” it in containing it.
This is the ontological paradox which voice “points from” as it “points to.” Religious practices involving prayer, chanting, meditation — all of this is perhaps “art-forms” to remember and participate in the reality that we “voice from,” that we contain “The All Possible.”
The “ultimate concern” of religion is “The All Possible” — the “courage to be.”⁵
We contain “The All Possible.”
And that means we can un-contain it.
We limit the limitless in containing it and do not readily un-contain it because we experience ourselves as already limitless. We do not think there is work we need to do, and so we miss out on the potential of the limitlessness we (think we) experience. We need to negate the limitlessness we experience so that we experience “Sublimated Limitlessness,” but because we do not want to lose limitlessness, the limitlessness we experience can end up effacing us.
If we are unwilling to die, the infinite we will not give up is where all is lost.
Limitlessness we do not negate becomes Effacing Limitlessness.
Limitlessness we negate becomes Sublimated Limitlessness.
But then it’s up to us if Sublimated Limitlessness is Jesus or Lovecraft.
If we avoid effacement, we are not out of the woods yet.
Dante avoided the She Lion at the start of his journey.
Fortunately, the paradox we face suggests we have power, that “The All Possible” does not have to be a Lovecraft creature, that we could harness it into a Jesus Christ.
We could be like Jesus.
However, if we tap into “The All Possible” carelessly, we might end up in Lovecraft.
“Bring Forth” with reverence.
We must “Bring Forth,” given the Geopolitical state of the world, given Belonging Again.
But “Bring Forth” with reverence.
Because we contain limitlessness, as evidence by our ability to imagine our deceased grandparent alive and to summon the past into inner images, “The All Possible” is not something forever beyond our reach or forever “all powerful” over us.
We contain “The All Possible.” We are the limit, and we have free will. The limit wills.
We can un-contain “The All Possible.” No, not fully, for then we would not “contain it” and thus lose power over it. But we can un-contain it, gradually and slowly. We can Bring It Forth. “The All Possible” can manifest one realized possibility at a time, one by one from All.
We just need spaces that cultivate loves and habits of “un-containing” The All Possible.
This is “The Scholé Option.” If we do this, the hope in “The Meaning Crisis” can be realized. All things can be new. Beauty saves.
Once we see “The All Possible,” it changes the nature of the world we live in. If we see a green cat once, the world becomes a place where green cats are possible. Likewise, once we experience The Bringing It Forth, the world becomes a place where “The All Possible” exists in us, and “The All Possible” becomes a thing which can be summed with skill and craft.
This suggests the topics of Conditionalism and Aesthetic Epistemology, as discussed throughout O.G. Rose.
We condition and live aesthetically to glimpse “The All Possible,” a “Life of Glimpses” possible from the place of “a real choice.”
Once we grasp “The All Possible” within, the world is a place full of containers of “The All Possible.”
What would happen if the containers opened?
Can we build and create spaces that cultivate loves and habits which enable the containers to open, crack by crack, day by day?
If we can, I think we can create spaces which help people become Absolute Knowers, Deleuzian Individuals — those whom can rise to the challenges explored in Belonging Again.
Do we have any choice but to try?
Is there any other way that the hope suggested in “The Meaning Crisis” might be realized?
Olay. Olay. Olay.
Shantih. Shanith. Shantih.
¹Allusion to Timothy Keller.
²Allusions to Habermas and James Hunter.
³Allusion to Dostoevsky.
⁴Allusion to “Experiencing Thinking” by O.G. Rose.
⁵Allusions to Paul Tillich.
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