Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proceeding in Bad Faith: Syncretic Poetics I

On contemplating and developing a syncretic poetics both theoretical (critically so) and fictionally free form: yes, there is influence, profound and nigh untraceable strains throughout.

1. We begin with truth.

"Headaches and bad faith
Are all that I've got.
First I misplaced the ending
Then I lost the plot.
- Newsboys, "Lost the Plot"

To compose is to lie. To speak then, also. Though perhaps, or rather, almost certainly, that gives the wrong impression, connotes an inaccurate sense (an I am all about connotation and sensibilities). For to lie implies the deliberate act of misleading, a willful desire to mask, hide, and elude the truth. To lie implies that its opposite - truth-telling - is possible. Naturally, it is not.

Truth, with a capital T, Truth in the Platonic sense, if it can be said to exist in any manner, exists only behind a veil, behind a gap, a rupture in our human understanding and capacity to comprehend, behind and beyond the glass that through which we now see but darkly. Truth is that asymptote, that limit which we curve towards logarithmically (if we choose to seek it rather than content ourselves with its lack, that niggling sense that our average everydayness is not enough but will suffice), that which we can approach, grasp at but never grasp, reach for but never reach.

What we have left then, what we can access and make use of, is consensus (which we may choose to accept or reject in our individual manners, fragment and reform, or even ignore) and interpretation via analysis (multiple and multiplied as ever). Truth is, then, what is said to be true, what is accepted as true, what sounds and seems truthy. As Philip J. Fry might knowingly joke, "It is a widely believed fact." Stephen Colbert, prescient as usual.

What then? What then the point of this late reminder that, despite only vague popular acceptance (Absolutes and knowable Truth are still themselves widely believed facts), is not new or news? Clearly the current elections cycle will remind us all of the meaninglessness/triviality of our various truths (and the power to persuade that they hold over so many).

And so, conjuring forth from the darkness of a sunny afternoon, typing notes composed primarily at the mall, why do I speak? Why do I toss this opening salvo in a war already over?

I suppose it could be argued that I am officially choosing sides. I am staking my claim with those who would seek (despite the futility of ever achieving the destination) the infinite. For the journey through the shifting sands of our collective narratives is quite rewarding. Our messy lives as much a text (and more so now that we all so actively construct our identities via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media) as any static written document. But therein the difficulty, for if all is opinion and consensus if all analysis is corrupted by its inability to claim any more truth than that which it denies in the world, what is left? Play? Yes, there is play. And in this play of shadows, traces of influence and history, we conduct our lives. We make note of the notable, we forget nearly everything and we pretend. But first I will acknowledge my position. I am fraught and fraudulent. Ask me no questions, I'll still tell you lies. But the story will hold you, will captivate and entertain, and perhaps lend an air of authenticity to your own searches, your our sojourn down a path from here to somewhere else.

I proceed in bad faith, I will be lying. And yet, in telling these stories (both in the theoretical texts I seek to compose and employ as well as the fictions I would craft) there is perhaps little else possible. We continue, walk with me for a while.

(Coming next, perhaps revelations on beauty and technology: black box theory)