Sunday, June 15, 2014

Alma Matrix (Patriarch's Day)

modeled on Gregory Bateson’s
metalogues with his daughter)
Daughter: Daddy, how come this course sucks?

Father: Oh, I like this class…

Daughter: No I didn’t say “class,” I said “course”: 
there’s a difference.

Father: Yeah,  of course:  “course” refers to a
higher level of logical type: a class is  a  sub-
collective member of a course —a matter of 
specific and generic: easy to  conflate the two.

Father: Descriptively all my  courses suck.
Some of  my classes  do, too:  us leaning in to
Alma Matrix for nourishment and not just

Daughter: What are you saying?

Father: Well, “suck” is a “feminine” notion and 
derives from  Indo European: dhei-.”to suck” —
“female,” “fetus,”  “fecund,”  “ felix,” “felicity”
(happy: felix natividad): happy nativity ,happy
the 11 yr old still feeding from the source in 
Denny’s. Happy,  all of us sucklings swimming
in  the matrix, our ongoing alma  mater so to 
speak. How does this jovial word “suck”  lose
it’s genial connotation and become pejorative?

Daughter. . Oh, Daddy: you know.  
                   Nature abhors a vacuum. 

Daughter: But we’ve drifted off topic, as usual
—fooling  with the words instead of paying 
attention to sentences. How come this course 

Father: Well, as I said: all my courses suck in
the sense that that they don’t maintain the standard 
chaos-filters of task and purpose and covering 
ground and getting some WHERE that shape &
edit the normal  random-to-order  ratios for nailing 
down what’s useful & what’s useless, what’s
timely and what’s a waste, what you got to do for 
a decent grade etc: what you 
can call clarity, consistence, &coherence.
     Without standards like these (that the players 
can accept or reject) the whole  deal pretty much
sucks, yes?
A  vacuum  draining our structure and infra-structure:
exciting at first, maybe, but ultimately demoralizing if
we don’t re-create our own game.

Daughter: Isn’t this when you start flashing your
arrow  of purpose and mandala of  all-at-once-ness  
to  provide visual-aid accentuating the difference 
that makes a difference between  the values of  aim, 
purpose, &  goal, on the one hand and the values 
of constellation of possibility (potency:power) on the 
other hand;  and how  obvious it is that they can’t 
Just Get Along: arrow  and mandala.  
Any fool can see that.

    POTENTIAL (POWER: Potency)

       PURPOSE (impotence)                  

Father:  Yes: And PURPOSE (“impotency”)is our 
dominant paradigm. “Power” literally means posse:
 possibility; potential. A potentate has the power. 
When he USES it: it’s an impotency. The same way
a WORD  (like “power” say) has infinite potential. 
Drop it into a sentence and it’s confined to a specific 
syntax and purpose and loses its Potency and 
becomes (as it were) IMPOTENT.

Daughter: It depends on which LEVEL of logical type
you are operating on Daddy. Most would say a Word 
gains power in a  sentence—not impotency.

Father: Sure most would. That’s the Common Sense. 
I’m not knocking the Common Sense: it rules. Dominates. 
The Arrow of Purpose  Uber Alles —eclipsing if not 
occluding all the REST that’s possible and potent.
Common utilitarian getRdone purposive practical sense 
determines what’s possible/impossible (right/wrong, 
correct/ incorrect) sucks off and blanks-out the larger 
POSSIBILITIES that always float, hover, permeate.
 Look: if I’m determined to drive to San Francisco
Duluth is an impossibility.

Daughter: Not a logical impossibility, Daddy.

Father: No, an illogical impossibility, which may be
 more impossible than a logical one. “Logic and Sermons 
never convince,” says Walt Whitman.  We’re going to
San Francisco. I’ve made up my mind.
Daughter: No wonder  some guys have commitment 
phobia. Sucks all thepossibilities out in  committing
 to a specific choice, aim, purpose, goal.


Daughter: Is that why your courses suck, Daddy?

Father: No. They suck in the Common Sense.
Possibilities over whelm: too much potency and power.
damnit.  Chaos invited in on a daily basis. No clear task.
No forced gun-to-the-head No filters dictating good & evil, 
right or wrong, A;s from B's from C's from D's. That sucks.

Daughter: Or is that sucking in the Uncommon Sense
 creating a vacuum by annihilating the agenda. Lower 
purpose abandoned for the higher Purpose of Having-
No-Purpose: that’s got to suck big time—hap-ily  or 
un-hapily: depending on how ANYONE frames it.

Father:  “suck” as in nurture (feminine: felix, felicitas); 
“suck” as in vacuum: exhausting the insides of some 
system—physical or psychical. clean sweep, nirvana 
(literally: blows, ventilate). Descriptively: that’s what 
suck does.  Add on yr judgment—whether you like it 
or not and it becomes complicated.
THIS COURSE SUCKS- yes, it does in fact. (describe mode). 
Yea or Boo? (assess mode: love it/hate it) That’s a course of
another color.   

Daughter: But Daddy, I don’t think you’re explaining WHY :
  1. why do your courses suck?  And
  2. sometimes your classes? And
  3. maybe even a particular real-time 
  4. class-going-on-in-the Be Here Now. Sucks.
Father: You want an Explanation? An Interpretation? 
A Reason-Why? a Because & Affect? A blamation. 
Scapegoat  that will stand for CAUSE,  and address clearly 
the Difference between SUCK/NOT SUCK on the
one hand, and then on the other hand  apply it to
  1. Courses &
  2. Classes in general & a class-in-real-time specifically
 so that you can understand—and maybe regulate—the
levels and  instances of suck-itude: suck sucking suck-fully
in describe mode (aesthetics) as well as in assess mode (ethic)?

Daughter, Yes, please. I want to know why and how.

Father: Suck on the one hand; Not Suck on the other. 
You’d think  it’d be as easy as describing on and off, 
open and closed.  Pregnant and Not.
Linguistics and Information theorists have a beautiful
trick they  play for determining MEANING (significance)
which they define as   a difference that makes a Difference.

Daughter: Stupid definition: Meaning is sunsets and
mockingbirds   and ice cream and hugs and all the stuff 
we want and live for,  stuff that does not suck in the 
pejorative sense: good stuff that  makes life meaningful.

Father:  So if something sucks, it’s got no meaning?. 
You break a leg and that’s not significant? Meaning full? 
Only positive, smiley-face, not-sucking stuff has meaning for you?

Daughter: You’re playing games again, Daddy.     
You know what I mean. 

Father: hmmm – I know what you mean about the meaning 
of meaning.  And I’m just quibbling to make meaning mean 
more (or less) than just 

    Yeah I know what you  mean right now
     in real-time: we’re getting along,
     covering ground, building up some
    conversational velocity,

say: and now I’m  being a jerk and messing with the
meaning of meaning; it’s like throwing a monkey wrench 
into the converse-action machine.

Daughter: what you talking bout? Daddy.

Father: Never mind. You say tomato, I say tomahtoe
:there's a difference that don't make a difference, true?  
You say bit and  I say bet;  I say bitter and you say better:
differences that make a difference.  Semantic significance
carried in the physical difference between  a high-frontal
vowel  /i/ and a mid-frontal vowel /e/.
Linguists call this Minimal Pairing: isolate a single
difference in two systems that are otherwise the same:.
 /set/sit   can/kin sap/sip   eating bread & grape juice /
consuming the body of christ;  boxing/fighting...Etc.

The single difference is the difference which  makes the 
difference  between the two systems. Hence: meaningful. 

So there's a difference between a  difference that doesn't
 make a difference, and a difference does make a difference
3 different kinds of  difference—yes?

Daughter: that's a lot of difference in the word  difference, 
Daddy.  And you are using the same word to carry radically
 “different” differences of meaning.

Isn't that a problem--when you define something in terms 
of itself,  alling meaning a meaning in terms of a difference
that makes a difference?    Loopy? Circular?

Father: It's called a tautology—a rose is a rose is a rose,
said  Gertrude Stein. I couldn't sleep  last night because
of “dormitive dysfunction” (sleep disorder) . Tautology:
defines something in it's own terms, or variation of the 
same term disguised so as to sound significant:

 I hate my  body. Oh, that's because you got 
dysmorphia (body antagonism).

My legs jitter because I have R.L.S 
(restless legs syndrome). 

You aren't paying attention to me because
you have A.D.D 

These are diagnoses and explanations and because-alities 
that add no  information but  sound as  if they do. Sort of
like  PLACEBO's We are tricked into thinking a significant 
significance when in fact there is only a significance  that
doesn't have any significance (except in the :mind.)

Daughter: What's a placebo, Daddy?

Father, Well, literally it means I PLEASE in Latin, 
and it's the first word of the Last Rites in the Catholic 
ceremony for the dying. :I please the Lord in
the Land of the Living.

But in medical science a placebo is an empty pill—one 
that has no potency or use or curative quality: a sugar pill,
 say. But if you take one under doctor's orders—and 
assume it will heal you, it can.

Daughter: How?

Father: Tricks the Conscious mind. Conscious Mind 
thinks it will help—so IT does.  Showing what mind
can do over body if it THINKS it's being rational
and scientific.

Daughter: you mean Mind, if it doesn't KNOW it's
minding-over-matter,  can actually mind-over- matter, 
but if it does know it: it can't? .

Father. Yes. Unconscious Mind is able to do stuff 
Conscious Mind can't.  I'm not even going to try and 
untangle THAT for now. You can, and bring it up in
 psychology class. Or better: just think about it your
own self. Here,  take this pill—blue or red makes no 
never mind. Now THINK. 

Daughter: how did we get from why does this course 
suck to  differences  that do and don't make a difference,
tautological definition and placebo? 

Father: that's the nature of live, unscripted conversation:
it wanders, it wonders (Note: a minimal pair: /o/ /a/ is the
difference that makes a difference between wondering
and wandering.).

Live converse constellates as opposed to arrow-of-purpose
move-on-down- the road & get some WHERE: 
dead and deadly.  .

Both kinds of conversation suck in the pejorative sense
but also  in the descriptive sense. If you're a practical myn 
of purpose, “live” converse feels like spiraling up your own
rear end.  Sucks. If you prefer loose play and open-ended 
inquiry: on-task talk feels like necrophiladelphia. Sucks

Daughter: well why can't the 2 Just Get Along.?

Father: Exactly. It sucks that they can't. If we aimed a gun
at them: would that do it? My courses, by the way, are
exactly like all the other courses: syllabi , textual
assignments, papers to write, class meetings 
nd discussion, journals, in some cases 
final exam.

A Course is a Course is a Course: all the same: me and 
John Brock, and David Bradshaw, Katherine Burleson, 
Ali Climo: yes? Need we  argue? more same than difference.

There's one difference, however, that  separates my course
from  all the other courses.  A difference that really makes 
a difference. A significant difference and might be the
 reason why,  the explanation, the interpretation,,the because
affect,, the scapegoat,, the blamation that generates the 
suck-i-tude in all my courses.

Daughter: Tell me why, Daddy; T
                  That's what I asked in the first place.

Father. I can't tell you. It would ruin the joke.

A man walks into the Rolls Royce Showroom,
starts kicking the tires & asks the salesman:
what do one of these babies cost anyway.

“My dear man, “ says the sales person.'
“If you have to ask, you can't afford IT. “

No comments:

Post a Comment