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Convergences - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Convergences
Ever since she woke up this morning, the Bean has been developing her latest elaborate storyline, in which a captive princess has to fight off a dark Sith lord who takes the form of a tornado monster whom she drew on cardboard and cut out before breakfast. Now her friend K is over again to play. In the two hours since K arrived, Bean has been doing her best to include her in the planning of a complicated theatrical performance. The two of them have spent the last hour crafting various characters with which to people it.

I spent much of that time on the sofa in the front room, reading Giorgio Agamben's wonderfully mind-opening The Open: Man and Animal. Coupled with my viewing of Revenge of the Sith last night, the convergence of the book and the ambient stimulus of Bean's story-building got me thinking that I should try, yet again, to find out why so many smart people are so devoted to interpreting the work of Martin Heidegger. I concluded that it might be a good idea to start with the dialogues -- still untranslated, I believe -- that he wrote at the end of World War II. Then Thing Two came over for a visit and I mused on his animality for a bit, struggling to reconcile my perception that he seeks out love with a chapter in The Open focusing on research that forcefully articulates an argument to the contrary.

As I became more absorbed in my book, I let the Bean's intricate drama recede into the background. Then I heard her half-giggle the word "penis," followed by the statement, "I'm going to erase it." K apparently examined the drawing Bean was working on and pronounced it gross. "Yes, there's a penis inside that heart," Bean replied. I wondered at the familiar strangeness of this image for a minute, then drifted back to the book.

Soon I came to a passage where Agamben describes Heidegger's fascination with an experiment in which a bee sucking honey will, after it has been cut in two, "continue happily to suck while the honey visibly streams out of its open abdomen." I reflected on the passage from Heidegger's 1929-1930 lectures that Agamben quotes, then floated back to the surface to hear Bean ask K, "Do you know what a cephalothorax is?" Five minutes later, I was sitting down to write this entry and she was alternating a discussion of the Star Wars film she has yet to see with further commentary on the creatures she and K were in the process of making. "Some spiders don't even have a home," she noted, then leapt with the most minimal transition to explaining that the Death Star is, "a fake planet made out of lots of hard, rotten stuff."

What's remarkable about all of this is that the Bean's far-ranging, aphoristic statements today have so seamlessly blended with my own thoughts, whether in relation to last night's movie or to my reading of the The Open. In that context, there's nothing more sensible than thinking about the morphology of spiders and the composition of artificial worlds in the same breath.
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Comments
somemonad From: somemonad Date: May 24th, 2005 04:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I wonder when it reads "visibly streams" whether that means it's visible to the bee or just an observer.
somemonad From: somemonad Date: May 24th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I also meant to chime in on Heidegger. I don't know much Heidegger, but I've started Being and Time many times. I am always struck by its beginning, i.e. that startingly obvious, but chillingly profound observation that metaphysics has historically been a study of presence. I always want to say "well, of course it has been!," but then I think of the implications of this in terms of the deification of presence being the lynchpin of the priveleged term of any binary. </babbling type="undergrad theory">
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