12.23.2010

Living in the Mooded World

We — or, perhaps, I — spend considerable time trying to read my body, my mood, and how best to adjust this or that. I shift my diet, my sleep, my booze, my recreation — all in an effort to "feel good."

Now, I go about all this — and, I believe, we all go about this — as if our bodies, and our moods, were distinct from the environment. That is, we view ourselves as contained and containable entities — more or less static machines that need adjustment.

But I've recently become more and more interested — and more and more aware — of the inclination of the world, both visible and invisible.

A brilliant friend of mine, Allison Holt, spent time with shamans in Java learning and mapping their metaphysics. And they operate within a world that has planes of energy, in which events persist in an almost spatial sense, as something to be reckoned — just as we, here, reckon our own bodies.

William Burroughs, too, spoke often of possession, of the winds of madness, delirium, malevolence, excitation that operate in this world.

And so I want to suggest a different architecture of thinking the relationship between body and world — a world that is always already mooded, that has its own inclinations and demands and that weighs upon us, quite literally, in multiple ways all the time. These can be as obvious as the cold of Minnesota vs. the dampness of San Francisco. But they can be as mysterious and elusive as an invisible tide of angst or an eddy of excitement.

As we — as I — tend to my body and mood, rather then trying to adjust it, we should be trying to configure it to best navigate, best negotiate, best "go with" the prevailing — and latent — mooded winds. This is to say, our bodies are always already fundamentally — ontologically — enmeshed with the environment.

And so we need not to be reading our bodies per se. We need to be reading the interaction of our bodies with the world. This means that adjustment of diet, of sleep, of recreation is more or less constant as circumstances shift, as environmental conditions shift.

We are mooded bodies moving amongst mooded bodies, visible and invisible. We are mooded bodies that are always going with a mooded earth, mooded trees, mooded streets, mooded people, with mooded spectres of all kinds. The world is a plenum of moods, infinitely dense, perfectly dense with itself, with affective resonances.

Tending to self is not a matter of tending to a body-machine. Tending to self is a matter of tending to a body-world-machine, to a complex of interactions, many of which remain mysterious and magical.

2 comments:

Vlad said...

i like the idea of "best go with" we're all different, every moment is different, our mood is different, our thoughts are different........if in the evening somebody decided to do a jogging...but in the morning, in 6a.m. it is not so easy to do that :).......... but this is hard to "go with it" we've told by society to do the opposite :( - to "not go with it" to go some ways that you have to go, be someone you have to be, do things that you've told to do etc..

zero reference said...

hahaha yes awesome

on a very surface level, thinking on the nature of machines (and technology) has led to my valuing the conceit of their embodiment. actor-network theory is a field which, though i'm in ignorance, seems relevant and has given me encouragement. this particular concoction of 'machine spirits' ignited what little i know of shinto (though any totemic/spirit-granting spirituality would work i guess, that's just my quasi-Japanophilic self). Then of course, there is brahman and hinduism...

anyway, generic polytheism as a scheme for both 'de-religionizing' and intellectually legitimizing spirituality (everything is sacred, thus plurality and an generally lacksadical approach are permitted, existence is good, and so all things can be thought of as sacred)and for integrating into the self the supposedly mechanistic web of interactions which are crucial to our lives (from affection towards computers to choose-your-ecological-example) has given me some contentment, at least on the higher fleeting levels of thought where one is able to descend and surface without fear of the bends, and also appears related to your most enjoyable post.

sorry for the verbal mishmash! i stand by very little of what i said, but wanted to say hello and say _something_. great blog, and i'm looking forward to reading more of it.