The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Reading as best I can Weak Chaos and Quasi-Regular Patterns,
Zaslavsky, Sagdeev, Usikov, and Chernikov and wondering about
those borders that are somewhat permeable, entangled - then
listening to Susskind on the firewall problem re: black holes
and potential wormholes as a solution. Again understanding as
best I can, not so good in either case. The characters on my
shakuhachi indicate that Kiyama, who signed it, was a resident
of Suifu, a small town by a river which has since been absorbed
by a larger metropolis created from a conglomerate. What I am
interested in is always marginal, always entangled. I was then
reading Bataille on religion and 'animality' and found his
thinking wrong-headed, specist, and primitive, although his
hysteria informs everything he does, as if there were truth
pushed through by virtue of emotional extremity. So I cross that
out and turn to Cassirer's writing and that proves hopelessly
Kantian in relation to number etc., even with Einstein; the
Whitehead and Russell stuff is seen as background - not even
Godel had come along by then. So there's a regularity that will
soon, within a couple of decades, fizzle out. An article by
Mandl warns about software complexity leading to more flash
crashes, at least in its nettime interpretation, and we're
finding the world economic system increasingly abstract and
autonomous - answering to nothing but its porous closure and
entanglement with programs large and small world-wide. There's
no future for ecological action in the midst of all of this. I
can't read an ornithological book for example that's more than
2-3 years old; it's so fast, this knowledge and its management,
that it's always on the verge of collapse. Penrose tilings
appear in the weak chaos book and there are nice relationships
between higher/lower dimensional intersections and resulting,
might I say, organic, partial symmetries that go on forever.
Oddly, three large books on the archaeology of a Han tomb give
examples of similar symmetries where organism appears just as
the symmetrical seems to collapse; I'm thinking of a particular
chest where swirls are inhabited by miniscule and mythological
creatures that ride them, perhaps create or destroy them; the
swirls move across the formal borders of the design much like
contemporary comic books. Miley Cyrus' incredible performance at
the MTV Video Music Awards amazed me; it was incredibly sleazy
and seemed to have production values and slickness, closure, on
the level of everyone else. But the deliberate sleaziness of her
performance undercut that and gave it an edge I didn't see
elsewhere in the show. It's these borders where inhabitants
appear and make themselves at home; the inhabitants live for the
ingestion and production of negation, neither this nor that, not
both this and that, anything creating trembling divisions and
walls that allow for the appearance of normal life. Maybe gods
follow or maybe gods come to roost. They're as subject as anyone
else to the catastrophe-theory fragility of good things;
Ragnarok can bring them down. The gods quarrel and gossip, and
their affairs never go unnoticed. Unlike Bataille they recognize
the world-views of animals and other organisms; the world is an
ecological soup with local porous barriers, killing fields, and
the occasional safe haven. Let's go there, with our notions of
detective stories, from procedural to fantastic, and see what we
shall find.

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