TWENTY SIXTEEN: IN REVIEW

TEETH, FEET & FINGERS

Author’s Note: The provenance of the phrase history is written by the victorious is disputed.  But what can attribution achieve in this instance?  The sentence (or sentiment) must surely have been uttered or thought by many prior to the origin we seek, and also ex post facto by many unaware of their plagiarism.  The point remains that the marginalised have, historically, been denied a voice.  When you are dead or imprisoned, uneducated or denied access, putting forward your version of events becomes problematic.  Once something has been destroyed, only those left standing can rebuild, and do so with the only tools available to them: theirvision.

It could be said that, to some extent, in the real-time networked world we have awoken in this side of the millennium, more people than ever have the ability to make themselves heard.  But what do we find now that the curtain has…

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TWENTY SIXTEEN: IN REVIEW

Author’s Note: The provenance of the phrase history is written by the victorious is disputed.  But what can attribution achieve in this instance?  The sentence (or sentiment) must surely have been uttered or thought by many prior to the origin we seek, and also ex post facto by many unaware of their plagiarism.  The point remains that the marginalised have, historically, been denied a voice.  When you are dead or imprisoned, uneducated or denied access, putting forward your version of events becomes problematic.  Once something has been destroyed, only those left standing can rebuild, and do so with the only tools available to them: their vision.

It could be said that, to some extent, in the real-time networked world we have awoken in this side of the millennium, more people than ever have the ability to make themselves heard.  But what do we find now that the curtain has not just been pulled back, but entirely torn from the frame?  A cacophony of bewilderment and confusion.  Given the ability to connect, we find the opposite: rival factions forming even within so-called liberal and humanitarian endeavours.  True, beneath the media hype circus and informing every echo-chamber is a series of seemingly incomprehensible yet profound events.  To make sense of these events we cling to the narrative structures that reinforce our own belief systems (even those who claim to be free of them entirely).  But what we see is that these narratives, constructed in a context of individualism, serve to divide us further.

As well as the political and global turmoil, twenty-sixteen has, for various reasons, been a trying year for me personally and those around me with whom I am lucky enough to share a more intimate relationship.  It is not my intention to emphasise either a positive or negative interpretation of trying.  About midway through the year I discovered the writings of Charles Eisenstein whose philosophy has subsequently resonated with me profoundly: pulling together various paths of thought that I had been unable to do so alone.  All ideology is narrative.  Humanity has been driven by a story of separation, the self as a discrete entity.  Science, politics, art, education, religion, economics &c. are all ideologies constructed to make sense of the world.  All of these ideologies have failed because they are predicated on a falsehood (the story of separation).

What follows is my review of the past twelve months.  It is necessarily my own perspective.  A chronologically driven (linear and cyclical) second-person narrative, this story is one-part diary (personal and political), one-part consumption (books and music) and one-part philosophical exegesis (bildungsroman).  Depending on your proximity: in jokes, pop-philosophy, bad puns, scholarly intent, juvenilia, paradox, pretension and/or pith.  Anything underlined is hyperlinked to the source of the reference (music, words, obituaries &c.).  Direct quotes are underlined and the reference is hyperlinked from the (Author, Date) notation to where the quote exists in its full context elsewhere on my blog.  Before writing I set myself the following rules: Each entry must a) refer to the events of that month, both internal and external b) include a quote from every book I read that month that can be as seamlessly as possible woven into the overarching narrative c) contain a reference to some music I had on repeat that month, and d) reflect the nature and personal development of my philosophical enquiry.  There follows a full bibliography and an appendix.  Ma gavte la nata.

Adam John Miller
20th December, 2016

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THE LOGIK

A thought must arrive all at once, or not at all, he says.

Spontaneity: that is his aim.  To think spontaneously, as by a kind of reflex.

We must retrain our thought-instincts, he says.  We must rehone our most basic thought-responses.

*

Inside the Fitzwilliam, sheltering from the rain.

His brother thought of himself as a kind of Noah, Wittgenstein says, as we wander among the exhibits.

Logic is what guards us against the Flood, his brother said.  Against the annulment of order.  Against the destruction of goodness.

Noah sought sanctuary on the face of the abyss, his brother wrote in his notebooks.  And isn’t that what I am seeking: a sanctuary on the face of the abyss?

As love is stronger than death, so is logic stronger than chaos, his brother wrote in his notebooks.  In the storm of the world, the ark of my thought will anchor on the mountain of certainty.

*

There’s a fire backstage, he says.  The clown comes out to warn the audience.  Laughter and applause.  They think it’s a joke!  The clown repeats his warning.  The fire grows hotter; the applause grows louder.  That’s how the world will end, Wittgenstein says: to general applause, from halfwits who think it’s a joke.

*

And the first morning of the world will dawn again, he says.  The eternal New Year.  And he will step with us all into the new world.  The coming world.

And there will be only forces and densities, not forms and matters, he says.  And there will be but currents and countercurrents, peaks and troughs, and nothing enduring.

And there will be nothing but God, he says.  Nothing but divinity, angels torn apart.  Nothing but the end, perpetually ending.  Nothing but the beginning, eternally recurring.

After philosophy, we will have no names, he says.

Lars Iyer, Wittgenstein Jr.