Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The de Lubicz Perspicuity Dilemma

Reading some Bourriaud lately, his "Relational Aesthetics." It's really good and seems to jive a lot with many of the things I've studied in my life. Trying to keep a focus on this long-form blog so please excuse my meandering. At times it is difficult for me to keep a focus or some of the word associations I make mid-sentence send me on tirades into different areas without warning. Sometimes I don't even catch myself doing it. Many times I feel like de Lubicz.

de Lubicz wrote "The Temple of Man," which is a multi-volume treatise on the architecture of the Luxor temple in Egypt. Also included are many of his theories about the intellective culture of the ancient Egyptians, their manner of encoding knowledge into their buildings, and other aspects of their language and thought. de Lubicz, according to my understanding, was at first under the influence of the Theosophists (who also influenced Guénon, another of my idols). Then he did a lot of reading of esoterica, I believe with a focus on alchemy. I read his "A Study of Numbers" at the beginning of '10 and just read through his short version of the temple. If you follow any of my thought online via Twitter (@toastbeard), you'll note the recent emphasis on architection.

But the reason I've brought up de Lubicz is a concern I have, more so recently, of knowing what I want to say and not quite being able to say it clearly. From my readings of de Lubicz I tend to get the same feeling. This is a man with a tremendous depth and breadth of knowledge of world religion, esoterica, alchemical processes, sacred geometry and symbolism. Sometimes, however, when he attempts to communicate this knowledge he gets caught in a sort of esoteric cheese-ball's game of using Capitalization and other blanket terms that render some of his meanings meaningless. I always try to put an emphasis on being clear and distinct in my writing, in my conceptions and in everything I share. I have tremendous respect, more so recently and building more and more every day, for people who can communicate simply and effectively. I think much of this is demonstrated by my sometimes-obsession with Bieber. But my interest is more on the side of "how does he get that many eyeballs? What is he doing that seems so universal?"

Now there will be quite a few of you out there quick to pounce on my Belieber-ness with some explanation of how he's just a puppet of the mass-marketed music industry apparatus or some-such. This I verily realize and if you're seriously mounting that criticism toward me then you don't have much of an understanding of where I come from or what I've been up to for the last ten years. Not that you really should. Perhaps I'll mention some of it now.

First of all, I've been writing, chiefly blogging, since around 2001. I began my first livejournal in May of that year and started out just keeping a journal. I'll spare you many of the details as I've come to believe that much of the magic of an art is what is left out, the ambiguity. I seriously began poesy there somewhere around 2006 and I've since collected much of the things I've felt were conceived formally in this folio. I'm also a practicing musician. Chances are if you are here you already know about Toast Beards. If you don't, hear us here. I have plenty ideas constantly about the import of art in the social sphere and the impact of massively popular musics. I've been, as I mentioned, reading Bourriaud's art theory lately and have been filled with a plethora of ideas.

He brings up the term "interstice" and I think this is a vestige of Marx terminology. I haven't read much Marx, hardly any really, but I do have a copy of "Capital" lying around that I will get to when the time seems appropriate. The interstice is the space between things, the space between people, the space between subject and object, the "medium" we may say between the seer and the seen. As we can see from its prefix, it is related to interval, which in music is the word for the space between pitches, not a pitch itself. Intervals are what give music its character, in India they have a term called rasa which means "flavor". Intervals have different associated and connoted ethos. Much of this we can approximate by Western conceptions of major or minor key. A major key, for example, has a "happy" intonation, seems bouncy and pleasing. This is because it is composed of a grouping (a seven-note set, heptatonic/diatonic) of intervals with close relationships. By close relationships I only mean that the ratios between the pitches are made of relatively small whole numbers.

See what I mean about digressions? It is very difficult for me to stay on topic, on point, without falling into another digression based on some whim. Apparently there are so many things I'd like to say that I get distracted by the last thing I've verbalized. This is perhaps why Twitter has become such a valuable tool for my writing process. I am able to use it as a mobile desk, a place to leave ideas I would like to revisit in the future. Also a place where I can quickly jot down ideas via telephone and then revise or reimagine them later. Still I end up in a confused jumble of jargon. Thanks to everyone who makes an attempt to sift through whatever goofy terminology I've chosen to employ on whatever day. As I mentioned before, I'm trying to keep it simple and to be clear and concise. I admire Descartes' "clearly and distinctly" too much and feel that effective art is so effective because of its simplicity and base clarity. I work daily to translate whatever knowledge I may have into terms palatable by the highest number of people. Perhaps someday in the not-so-distant future I will realize this ambition of writing understandably for a large audience. Until then I return to silence. Much love always.

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