Thoughtscape

THOUGHTSCAPE
(An Interlude)

To think is to surpass myself. To think about things in a way that exceeds me, whatever I am, to strip myself of every intentional meaning, or to let them be stripped away, so as to pave the way for the “intentionless intention” of thought, by letting the tracks run as they will. To think is to be surpassed by thought itself, in oneself, not for the “self” in general, but for what exceeds each self in every “oneself” every instant, where this excess-over-oneself is put into play as thought. But thought becomes difficult here, where everything seems clear, misleadingly “final” or “true.” And as the adage suggests, what’s true must be tried: put on trial, put to the test. Thought tests itself by testing its “staying power” and tempting its fate, succumbing to infinite reconfiguration. It draws only one conclusion: thought has no staying power. That is, nothing stays still in the thought. It can only tremble on its own edges, disrupt its own timeline, bump up against its own shoulders, space itself out.

Thoughtscape: not a landscape we’d know, where intentions, projects, and ambitions were mobilized or sketched out, but one unknown, where we’re tensed and stretched, exposed in action and mobilized like this: in the different tracts that run and end. Thoughtscape affects us and we affect it, makes changes to us as we make changes to it, leads us back to it by leading us away from it, in thought. “It,” “us,” “thought”: unknowable landscape in/of language, putting all its knowns back into play, exposing everything given to what exceeds the gift in itself. Thought: exposure to an infinite “outside” right here, coming into tension right here, being subject to something (a scientific or political truth process, a work of art, a line of prose, a train of thought) right here. Thought: resubjected to thought’s escape.

Thoughtscape: the unknowable result, equal only to its own expanse, its own “substance,” everything in it misleading, held for deception, so as to be thought. Subtle tension between writing the line, drawing out the thought in mind, and (anonymously) the line being written: the being-drawn-out of the thought (mysteriously), such that script and scribe cannot be discerned and yet, together. Thought irreducible to the thinker, thinker irreducible to the thought: a move toward thinking in the desert. Thus thoughtwander: activity of thinking the “thinker” (who?) to the end, activity of the thinker thinking thoughts by holding true to the train they follow, the gathering-together of a thoughtscape, the “undone doing” of a thought in its spacing, allowing abandonment. A deranged landscape, a spot exploded, thought doing but one thing: sending itself further.

This sending or spacing – wandering and scaping – is lived. But the trajectory of this life in thought is blurry, obscure. Its train falls off track so as to come into existence genuinely. Thoughtwander: experience of the trembling of this line, the derailing of the track in motion. Thoughtwander: experience of a life. No one is the “first” to undertake it, everyone does; and yet “society,” the headless mass, remains ignorant of this thought, as if by definition: ignorant of thought as experience and life, unable to account for it without subtracting its thinking essence and thus doing it the worst evil. In the great works of its thinkers, “society” cannot detect a world, but merely a thesis, an argument, a concept, a “work.” But society gives way, for and in the thinker, to thoughtscape: where a power to think remains unbound and permeable to an act of excess. Where there once was a society (collection of elements), a world is createdA thoughtscape is a world among worlds, touching other worlds, other languages, other thoughts, other voices, referencing some and avoiding others. (Remember, no world is continuous with itself, for there are as many ruptures and lapses in it as there are moments of convergence.) Between thinkers, or even for the “same” thinker, no thought stays the same; for it is rooted in the world-creating being of thought that, in the act, does not wait.

The thoughtscape cuts thought off, runs it dry, leads it astray. It traces the limit of society by exceeding it, by refusing to cohere. It incites a transformation of its use by resisting all predicted effects. It establishes the outer boundaries of what’s possible, manifesting surreptitiously, in the process of its consumption, a thoughtscape, which indicates that something “more” is possible, that “thought” is the way toward this “more,” or simply is more. Thought traces the very limit of the world – whose “inside” limit is society (all its conventions in language, gesture, etc.) and whose “outside” limit is pure thought (nothing/pain) – by making an impossible thought possible in it. To make an impossible thought possible: to experience the impossible and follow its line.

The inside limit of a thought is its form, its outside limit its desire. Thought doesn’t want to be “a” thought, but a thoughtscape that estranges and loses, to the point of blending in with the abyss. Thought wants to take form as thoughtscape so as to give itself over to another thought, another thinker, another thoughtscape: criss-crossing of actual-virtual subterrains. Not to pierce the abyss, but to continue to stand out from it, however tenuously or submerged. It wants to remain swerving irrecusably on the margins of its form, in the trembling of these margins – in sight, felt, considered. In the same gesture that exceeds society or self, thought makes a world or an experience out of this exceeding. Thought makes for more. Drawing everything from the inside limit of the given “contents” of society, it experiences the inconsistency of these contents and, drawing back from them, draws them out, draws them to their “logical” conclusion, which is to explode and be undone. In this way, thought gives something back: a veritable world in the tracing of an experience of thought (not totally unlike “withdrawing” from society, but withdrawing so as to demark it, to foil).

The minute someone inquires into the gift, they cease to be enclosed in society and become an open world. For while thought gives a world in the “terms” that society knows (similar letters, similar punctuation, similar concepts, same tradition), it only does so by making these terms and everything “similar” tremble in dissimilarity, making its own inconsistency and fragility manifest. Inconsistency reaches its pitch of tension in the thoughtscape, precisely where “nothing can come to an end.” In this process, the “thinker” – who is really just a by-product of thinking, divided into thoughtscape and thoughtwander – feels isolated precisely because he or she has literally drawn the inconsistency of the whole world (including his or her own thoughtscape) to its breaking point: precisely, to the limit where it outdoes itself. Society is a helpless illusion without the “proactive” transformation of its “stuff” into an artistic, thoughtful world. Thought (speech, art, song, revolution) quite literally “falls on deaf ears” because only an ear “deaf” to society can hear it, one that can hear a sentence beyond itself and anything given in it priorly. That is, an ear bent to the gift of the world/self/other complex, an ear that lends itself, so as to be affected by and resonate with the gift that each world is. Thoughtscape: an ontocartography of the gift.

Thoughtscape: the trembling of the thought-world in an ear. In it – although it’s composed of outsides alone – social life and the life of thought come into accord, appear to. Life is exiled into the space of participation (society) and life participates in exile (thinking and the creation of a world). Accord, harmony, rhythm, correspondence: between thoughtscape and thoughtwander, between society and a world, between life and its activity, between the form and want it wants. Pleasure of the thoughtscape: to find an infinite pulse, each time, outstripping or re-functioning the finite form.

Because the thoughtscape is distinguished from a mere thought in this: a thought can be pinned down (and obviously, word by word, it is), but a thoughtscape can only disconcert, flounder, sink and fall away. A thoughtscape is a space that, without “holding” or “containing” thoughts, arranges a movement of thought and, first and foremost, a desire to think. In a word, it’s pleasing to compose a thought, and it’s displeasing to survey its nonexistent totality in/as the thoughtscape. This impasse is generative and yet destines to defeat. The desire to think plays out between these two extremes, which pass seamlessly and unnoticeably into one another in the act of thinking. Dissatisfaction with the thought drives thought on; consequently, a world is created, a thoughtscape is engendered or formed. For the desire to think can take no form other than an act of thinking – sending, addressing, tending –, and the pleasure of thought found in the act precipitates from its own self-dissatisfaction.

The form of an act of thinking is thus thoughtscape: where the form will never settle because of its concomitant dissatisfaction with itself (which thought inscribes into the thoughtscape), due to its imperative to world. Thought is dissatisfied with itself because the only evidence of thought is in the thoughtscape, which always falls short of the world. But the pleasure of thought lies in thoughtwander, which wants and knows it wants more, such that “the thought” cannot be finished, no more than a “life,” a “world,” or a “want” can be finished. Thought therefore opens on to the infinity of thought and world, and expresses this. This expression is thoughtscape, infinitely reopened, reworked, rethought, expressly thoughtwander. Tension between the landscape of thought and its wandering, the given society and the gift of a world, the conventions and the convening of heart.

Interplay, intervention, intersection: interspersed locutions, interjections, mediations, relations, missions, interviews, interchanges, interruptions, interpretations. Interminable “interiority” made of intermittent interconnections, intersubjectivity intervoked, each of us interested and interlocked. Starts up an attention, turned and tuned in toward thought: the very question of inter-, the very question of tension, turning, toning up: what drives an “artist” to his “medium,” or more simply an “art” to its “art form,” a being into being-world, thoughtfully and attentively extending the tension along a line (of thought, self, work, love, world) as far as it will go. In each instant, thought exhausted, wasted, disposed of, lost, knowing that its “trace” (word, sound, line, file, color) cannot “contain” the tension, the thought “in itself,” knowing that the trace in itself is in exile and requires an “involvement” to recover it from senseless oblivion. Knowing that the trace in itself is perfectly common: perfectly societal until it becomes perfectly world, becoming perfectly social in standing out from every existing form of sociality, creating its own form of communication as its creation of itself.

The trembling of pure thought between a thoughtscape and a world. Thought creates itself as if it were in exile in its own thoughtscape, even though the thinker only has a thoughtscape – a world! – for its resource. Thinking resources the thought ex nihilo, reconstructs the world out of its own nothing, draws itself from the flat expanse of nothingness left behind. Thoughtscape, then: not a “receptacle” for thoughts, because in receiving them it displaces and disturbs them immediately; not the “interval” between thoughts, because there’s no pivot point but the very pointlessness of “points” made manifest; not a pure “space,” because something is there, something real (world, life, experience).

Thoughtscape, then: the exhaustion and transformation of every form of life and thought, every word, bent on recomposing the precarious, cherished world. Khôra giving way to boundary lines, bounding forward, unbounded and unbent. In an immanent way: shared. Wandering from place to place, thought to thought, experience to the world and back, on a trajectory immediately undone by the dual imperative: think the thoughtscape, create a world. Compose them both, in and from the very body’s place.

Thoughtscape: a body, this one here, this body of thought forever unfinished, but showing itself forth, coming forward as something, someone, exposed. A loose transformation in consciousness, practically deprived of a world…

December 2012

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