brooklyn, up to 6/3/2014
reading sontag diaries. will be posting an assortment of curated extracts over the next few days. steel yourselves.
The list in our time (“28 Places To See Before You Die,” or else what?) makes its fantastical claim that order exists, that order can be known, that order is known by someone who will describe it to you, that you will be able to make sense of the description: but this is not true. In the simplest sense, there is no order, and what scanty order there is is almost incomprehensible; as the chair of Harvard’s physics department once told me about her research in Switzerland at the Large Hadron Collider, “If at any moment you think you understand it, that’s how you can tell you’ve made a mistake.” The majority of those who claim to comprehend the barely existing order are lying either to themselves or to us, or both: we can rescue splinters of temporary significance from the wreckage and general falsehood only after our most extreme efforts.J.D. Daniels, on listicles.
portrait of e
courtesy of jasper
mixed media — ballpoint pen, graphite, angostura bitters, cigarette ash&ember, cheap whiskey
Necessary error, school mistress, faltering essential companion, we love her, because she is the only way we have on this earth to feel the truth, which is always a little farther, exists, a littler farther away.
And repentance? No repentance. We who draw are innocent. Our mistakes are leaps in the night. Error is not lie: it is approximation. Sign that we are on track.
And: to not become gloomy from not ‘attaining.’ We don’t lose anything by erring, to the contrary.
The unhappy thing would be to believe we had found.
As long as we are seeking we are innocent. We are in naive submission. In prenatality.
I advance error by error, with erring steps, by the force of error. It’s suffering, but it’s joy.
I seek the truth, I encounter error. How do I recognize error? It is obvious, like truth. Who tells me? My body. Truth gives us pleasure. It makes us burst out laughing, trembling. Blushing. It’s hot. It’s like this: I grope. I try the word ‘hesitation.’ I taste it. No pleasure. No taste. I cross out. I try: ‘correction.’ I taste. No. I taste ten words. Finally I fall on the word: ‘essay.’ Before even trying I already sense a pretaste … I taste. And, that’s it! Its taste is strong and fine and rich in memories of pleasure.
Truth strikes us. Opens our heart. Our lips. Error makes us sense the absence of taste. Drops us like a dead person, apathetic tongue, dry eyes. Error really can’t fool us.
I should do something;
I should do nothing at all;