Notes on the Inexact Sciences

“Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness.”

Transfer Phenomena & Two-Person Languages

“Spotted: a dirty brown bag crushed under a tennis shoe. Looks like someone won’t be eating dinner tonight. XOXO… Gossip Girl.”

The thing about voices is they are contagious.  I can’t do accents, but spend a week watching TV re-runs and I can GPT-3 an essay in the narrator’s delivery.

Otessa

A hot blonde with a trust fund self-medicates into blackouts with the hope of changing her life. What does disillusionment look like, to Moshfegh? The visual field is cinematic, detached, mediation creeping: “I did feel a peculiar sensation, like oceanic despair that — if I were in a movie — would be depicted superficially as…… Continue reading Otessa

Divided Minds

Sea Scroll 4Q248, previously entitled “Pseudo History” We can’t go on together / with divided minds.—Pseudo Elvis Last time on @4Q248, i.e. PA.blogspot.com: We’re not saying life makes people schizo, we’re talking excessive frustration left unprocessed, or regular baseline frustration amplified by unstable parents [and] chaotic environments, charges vectors in the direction of schizo process.…… Continue reading Divided Minds

Valerie, No

i.  dry 35° / lavender / wet west gust Before anything else, Oval (Elvia Wilk, 2019) is an idea novel. Anecdotes, ruminations, political monologues, thought experiments pushing the usual simulations of scifi into something almost philosophy. Its subjects are ecology, government systems, and that ambiguous word neoliberalism (here meant in the sense of blurring private sector and state,…… Continue reading Valerie, No

Poets are Intelligence Assets

As I understand it, the idea in Benjamin Hoffman’s “Poets are intelligence assets” is that there’s all this ambient information about specific cultural moments which is packed into a text unintentionally. My impression is past theorists have called this, loosely, “ideology,” though the word carries deep-politic connotations. “Worldview” may be a better term, but I’m not…… Continue reading Poets are Intelligence Assets

Metric Prose in Austen’s Emma

Rhetorician Fred Scott divides writing into what he dubs the “motative” and “nutative” styles. Nutative writing, as its name implies, has a rhythm which nods; it was, contemporaneous with Austen, synonymous with verse and poetry. Motative writing, meanwhile, moves: Scott describes it as having the rhythm of the tides, moving shore-ward with each successive rising and falling wave, then receding back again in a similar fashion. It is writing which has climaxes and troughs but which bases its dynamicism on  content. (Pound’s distinction between the “musical” and the “metronomic” comes to mind.) Motative writing is primarily communicative; it encompasses the essay, the argument, the novel — essentially, prose writing.

New Fiction is Psychic Occupation

Fiction—or more generally, longform narrative text—has long been the handyman of culture, serving whatever functions are most urgently needed at a historical moment. The Greek oral tradition, famously, functioned in part to preserve cultural histories and customs—hence the sprawling lists of names and figures, or lengthy descriptions of hospitality, in Homer. Arabic maqamas synthesized and…… Continue reading New Fiction is Psychic Occupation