Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seven Concentrations (2008)

1. Entrance

This should be easy to enter, like a building. Not that all buildings are easy to enter, but the idea that they could (or should?) be. "The complexity of philosophy is not in its subject matter, but in our knotted understanding." Ha.

2. Retreat

Philosophy unties the knots in our thinking, not unlike a holiday which doesn’t include a single digital component. Our thinking became less mushy once we exited the city. For a moment our bodies felt lighter than notions. A tingling of safety. But ads gave chase, behaving as do subatomic particles, which the physicist can only know by inference. They surfaced even in the most private of spaces: the pimples of the tongue, the shield of the retina. There was no longer a question of where – therefore escape had no meaning. There were arguments already and we needed other channels of conversation to erupt.

3. Reading

No amount of reading will ever be ‘enough’. This does not require a diagram.

4. Coding

It wasn’t the effect I wanted; this made me especially happy. Inelegant code.
Widely-circulated propaganda: shots of webs supposedly threaded by spiders in various states of intoxication. Two flat whites. Dark promise of an uncharted mineshaft. Or open-source; an open-cut mine.

5. Mythology
Overheard: "... your money where your myth is." The study of contemporary mythology. Where science ends, where we begin... to feel... unspoken? We can only hope.

6. Art

Too many artists (moths) at this 'soiré
e'. Their code is elegant. Pretty in black, sloganesque. To be one of them, one of theirs. Shaping to be unexpectable.

7. Meditation

We take smoke-roads out of town, until we rise from morning meditation. A doubt: were we meditating this time, or waiting? To think is to stray. Slipped and cut. The mind is overcharged, wades in all the gone and unwritten. But to return to the point… return after return is the practice. Returning to the one point is the practice.

"The complexity of philosophy is not in its subject matter, but in our knotted understanding" and "Philosophy unties the knots in our thinking": Ludwig Wittgenstein, as quoted in Anthony Kenny, Wittgenstein, Allen Lane, 1973.

An earlier version of this piece was published in otoliths 12.


  1. Hello, great blog, I noticed you had Underworld listed as one of your music favorites which leads me to believe that you like electronica which also leads me to think we have similar musical tastes. If you do, please read my latest post (in fact, read the last few to understand what my blog is about). I'm trying to get this music thing going grassroots style.

  2. Love the bit about coding, I can see what you are hinting at there :-)

  3. Purple Floyd, is that you...?! ;)

    I've played around with the coding section since your comment. No doubt this piece will continue to evolve (as they all do).

    Thank you both for the encouragement. :)