Nothing is More Normal than the Weirdness of the World

So one day you wake up and for no apparent reason you're thinking about your friend Jamie. You haven't talked to Jamie in, I don't know, 2 years. But there she is, her virtual self staring you in the face. Never mind, whatever, you go on with your day.  And then there's that distinctive pluck of harp strings announcing a new text message: it's from Jamie!

"That's weird," you say to someone. "I was just thinking about her and, bang, there she is! I'm telling you, man, it's fucking weird!"

But, of course, nothing is less weird. It's only weird because, for some reason, the basic forces of the universe elude our science and everyday assumptions about the world.

Because, as it turns out, the world teems with forces that exceed us. Egad! The world is not just an object of our will! No, no it's not.  The world has a lot of bodies in it the least of which, in many ways, are human bodies. There are rocks and bugs, clouds and winds, not to mention all the shit we've made from Pokemon to airplanes to nuclear bombs to Borges to the bible and this here interwebs. There are planets and asteroids and black holes and suns — so many, many suns, so many more suns than there will ever be people. 

Now picture the life of all of these things. What is the life of a sun like? My god, it's intense!  Makes your latest break up look a tad, well, paltry. Not that the break up isn't important, too. But just consider life, for one moment, on a cosmic level.  This shit is complex. And to say there are forces at work — more than gravity and centrifugal — is putting it mildly.

Pay attention to all the information, all the flows of mood and energy, that run through any given day beginning with your dreams and the state they leave you in when you awake. And your day hasn't even begun! You wake with a mood, with a sense of the day that comes from all sorts of places — the weather, what you ate the day before, what you think will happen that day, and then...all the solar storms, all the moods and thoughts of all the people you'll interact with today, all the people who may be thinking about you in one form or another, all the debris that's kicking around this cosmos.

And then there's you, a node amidst this vast network. And you think it's "weird" that you were thinking about Jamie and then — and then! — she texted you.

Now carry on with your day. What's the temperament of traffic? You jump in to a coffee shop to grab an espresso. What's the vibe? You know there's a vibe. So what is it? And how are you feeling? Ask yourself why. Try to see all the forces that might have lead to this mood at this moment on this day. It's only 8:42 a.m. and you've experienced so many forces, so many moods and flows, that exceed you. Keep up this interrogation all day and then tomorrow and the next day and the next. What patterns emerge? What have you learned about the cosmos and how you go in, and with, it?

The universe is overrun with energetic forces, the human amongst them. We are not actors on a stage. The stage is alive and complex and various — it's playing us. There are so many forces at work at any given moment, driving your moods and experiences, from the solar to the digestive.

So wouldn't it be even weirder if you were thinking about Jamie and she didn't text you?


drwatson said...

I've been swamped and haven't had a chance to check out your blog in a week or so. I just finished writing my first post in a couple weeks and then thought of this blog and checked it out - and as per usual - man you've got a talent for making the complicated not just approachable but seductive. I've used one or your posts in my class, actually - because of that reason - it's approachable but it begs to be played with.

Anyhow - I'm not trying to just be nice - I hope you know that.

But what I thought of was this time I was playing this gig on a little outer bank island. Solo gig, opening up for someone. And after I struck up a conversation with a random person and we got on this kick about how weird it was, how many random things had to happen for us to have this banal conversation. And then the conversation immediately became non-banal.

Something about the interplay between the network and the solitary form of existence are what I'm wanting to think about now - anyhow - I'm writing quicker than I can think - Got to present on Don Delillo tomorrow and I need to do some work.

Pleasure as always.


Daniel Coffeen said...

@ Dave: Thanks, as always, for your comments and time. I'm curious how you're going about your network/solitary work. Are you reading Guattari's 3 Ecologies?

drwatson said...

I have read Guattari's 3 Ecologies. I'm also looking at a book called Hypermodern Times and some network theory - Bruno Latour. I just presented on Delillo tonight in what will be my last presentation as a student - last semester of course work for PhD - and I linked Cosmopolis with Hypermodern Times. Gilles Lipvotesky I think is the author. Anyhow - what I love about his work is that he claims that the hypermodern is a produce of opposites that aren't mutually exclusive - it's not a Derridian decontruction - it's not that opposites bleed into each other - it's that you can stand in a line at a bank, it can take forever, but at the same time money is moving at hyper-fast speeds (this is my example not his) and at the same time check your iPhone and be in 4 places at once. So I think that is a good starting point to think about the network/solitary, but he's not as complex/profound as Deleuze and Guattari.