Clunk Vibrate Clunk

sensation

I have a small window in which to think. I seem to have spent it hunched over a computer.

Yesterday I felt my mobile phone going off in my pocket. I reached for it but it was not there, it was sitting on my bookcase.

I take a break, have a coffee, my invisible mobile phone goes of again. When I stand up it switches off.

Today I notice it all the time.

My reader and Biblioklept point my in the direction of the New Yorker and DeLillo’s new story “The Itch

I read and vibrate.

Then look at the clunk of language I have written today and shudder, early stage Victorian dad syndrome.

Secondary draft in a processes, which will become countless if it goes further. I always wonder who I am looking at as I read? It’s always surprising no matter how habitual it becomes, the familiarity of what I wish was unfamiliar. I like the way they lie dead on the page. Did I really think like that two hours ago, last week, last year? Sometimes yes more often than not no, such is my way with words.

Just a passing sensation.

I tell myself as I think of sterile rooms, the freezing shock of the k.y. jelly used to scan my leg. I will know this time in advance, if it has become that time again.

Deep repetitive throb. I hope it is gone by morning.

Doctor: You think you have an invisible mobile phone going off in your left trouser pocket?

Patient; No, It just felt like that.

I hold my breath, the last time I has a discussion about sensation with a doctor he drifted off and started reciting some sort of mantra on the subject that I could date to the early 17th century. Was he going to drink that urine specimen I had handed in at reception after I was gone to examine my vital spirits further?

I decide not to drift off any further. I smile. Yes, it’s just a sensation.

Doctor: These things generally go away. Come back in a year if it happens again. I had a patient like you last year. His symptoms went away after only a few months!

Patient: How did you know if you never saw him again?

Doctor: I banged into him outside a theatre.

Patient: Thats very reassuring thank you.

I decide to end this processes before he does. I scan the room for a jar of leeches and leave. The absence of the leeches is at least reassuring, the rest of the processes I remain uncertain about.

I wonder if I will become the reassuring patient he never saw again to the next patient with the same condition as mine.

Mis-spent youth learning to move leaves me highly attuned to the way I move, how it alters, it is a part of memory. I noticed the very early stages of disease at its inception.

I did not recognize it as such or worry about it. I don’t worry about it now. It’s not being ill, it’s the processes of becoming a patient, that is something to worry about.

A large pile of notes and mounting mis-observations (unless the answer can be confirmed by a machine with no feeling and limited vision) a grasp of philosophy and psychology that makes my hair stand on end.

Just a passing sensation like all the others. When it is dark, as any good Doctor would, I like to whistle loudly.

I know what this one feels like. Very early stage of the spasm you get after long hours of dance before the real pain sets in. Exercise is always like this you never sit or rest and until the muscles can go no further, then you have to push past that for a little while longer. That at least is reassuring, it is a familiar ghost from the past rather than the present in which I have the vascular system of some one almost double my age.

I prefer not to think when the last time was I noticed the same familiar muscle movements from the past, in a situation where they should not be present.

Look at it for what it is. I know how to act. I can cope with its pain and distance myself from the subject. I can deal with stress, it requires no more than to walk and breath, get into the rhythm, watch the world around me. I have a training for life and a method that allows me to live within it, give it life and then let it die.

Words lie dead on the page. But I can alter the rhythm and adjust the inflection. It just always requires looking in and holding the thought for a moment, before the next sensation. Which is to take a deep breath and scan every muscle ensuring it is relaxed.

 

 

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The Relationship Between a Floor a Fish and Gravity

Merce Cunningham, a soloist in Martha Graham’s company developed a working relationship with musician John Cage.

Music and dance were created separately and simply occupied the same space at the same time in performance.

“It decentralized space, created unexpected and often witty combinations of body parts in movement”

Reference

Sally Banes, Democracys Body: Judson Dance Theatre, 1962-1964

Dead Air

 

A Birds Eye Perspective

In contemporary society if Captain Birdseye is a few fish short of the full fishing quota, wider society is not going to fall to its knees.

The availability of Fish Fingers is not going to go into steep decline on the supermarket shelves, as long as the issue is contained and not replicated among the worlds fishing fleets. Its the end of the line for the brand not the product.

If Captain Bridseye is operating at a subsistence level the balance here is very different. Captain Birdseye needs to have the qualities that ensure he catches fish.

If the community does not work it dies and as it is small each individual part of the whole plays a vital role in ensuring its survival.

This suggests a difference may be noted in the way such properties are inherited and that these features may be prone to alteration over- time.

At a subsistence level you would not expect to see such properties exclusively held by one family or one particular social group. It would be found anywhere within the system.

A rare quality subject to a system of rationing would be socially unpredictable.

Fisherman’s luck is an essential property to hold for fishermen. The nature of things suggests the shape and form of such essential qualities may be subject to alteration over- time.

It’s not a rigid rule to be imposed on all things. Fishing is a working practice then as now, modification and exception should not be unexpected. But we can still allow things to have a history and gain a generall sense of what that history may look like.

Note

General rules are helpful when you feel disinclined to engage in an in-depth investigation into the early history of deep-sea fishing in the North Atlantic, I find. Although on their own they are never enough.

It gives the direction of travel, it also allows exclusions to be made at an early stage. I am more than open to any suggestions that avoids the possibility of having to exist on a diet of early medieval cod for a few weeks.

I can’t break the pattern, I am familiar with it. That raises one of two possibillities.

 

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Family Resemblance

Lord, o.e. (Old English), lit. Loaf- giver, the head of a household and its internal distribution system.

To what extent is this identification made at a household level?  Each household has a lord and this feature of internal organization is replicated across the board without distinction?

If we understand lordship to be not simply a measure of social distinction between households but a property shared by all households, this raises one further question, how old is this idea of things?

Its method of reproducing itself may give us a rough estimate of its approximate age. This biological feature give’s us it’s potential range. It is rather wide.

Nuclear family, noun: nuclear family; plural noun: nuclear families
  1. a couple and their dependent children, regarded as a basic social unit.

 

 

Blessed Are The Cheesemaker’s?

Sgoiltidh Farnad Na Creagan (Envy Splits The Rocks)

There is a Gaelic saying that “Envy splits rocks”……., and in proof of this the following story is told. An industrious, careful man sold more cheese than his neighbours, and was much envied when seen, as he frequently was, on his way to market with a cheese and a bag on his back. One day, instead of a cheese, he put a small mill-stone in the bag. His neighbours, filled with envy, saw him jogging along as usual to market, and stood in their doors looking after him and making remarks. On reaching the market and opening the bag he found the mill-stone broken in two, a certain proof of the power of envy and of the truth embodied in the proverb.

Reference

J.G. Campbell, Witchcraft & Second Sight in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, 1902.

An example of the power of the evil eye. As the name suggests it is a power associated with vision.

It’s clearly not a form of x-ray vision as it can’t note the difference between cheese and rocks. No invisible beam leaping out of the eye and feeling its way around the objects, no sense of feeling or touch. The sight of the cheesemaker and his bag is enough to trigger the emotional state which fuels this form of vision.

In terms of a theory of vision parts are perfectly understandable. I can see the bag, I can’t see inside the bag.

The relationship between vision and emotion, as something that has the power to shatter objects at a glance. This relationship has clearly been the subject of some discussion.

“If Work Was A Good Thing Then The Rich Would Have Taken It For Themselves A Long Time Ago”

Give a village fish it will feed itself for a day. Give it a collection of fishing rods and within a week it will have ordered itself, discovered an entire cosmos, filled it with gods and a mysterious system of rationing that seals the fate of all within its grasp?

If we are feeling particularly emotive we can finish with some dramatic appeal to reason and a statement of the obvious ‘for such is the nature of the primitive mind.’ Such expressions have the power to shatter rocks and remove all doubt

In any community where farming the land and extracting resources from the environment is at a subsistence level, one observation rules them all.

Things have to work.

This allows for the rejection of certain things as later retrospective features of the system.

Fisherman’s luck is a good thing something to be valued, the evil eye here a disruptive presence. Whatever the wider system you want to construct around these processes, it cannot escape this simple rule at this stage in the game.

It has to work.

Bread has to be placed on the table. This is the nature of the game.

 

 

Pre-historic Thought (Weather Is Here Wish You Were Nice)

According to pre-Christian mythology, the oceans and the lakes were created out of the blood of a giant, and governed by the god  Njodur, who was in charge of fishing and sailing. In this cosmic order humans were merely tiny pawns, subject to supernatural forces and manipulated by aquatic animals. This is apparent in notions of ‘fishiness’ (fiskni, fskiheill), the ability to get fish. Fishiness was a transient quality people considered to be differentially distributed among fishermen. According to an old proverb ‘no one catches another man’s fish’. Most of the catch was divided by a share system, but some species were not distributed. These belonged to the individuals who had caught them and were spoken of  as fortunate draws. Some people were thought to scare fish away and were called ‘fish- deterrents’. The foreman of the boat arranged his men according to their fishiness.

Post Card From The Edge

I how do I date this collection of things?

At this stage I have moved from pre-thought, spotting a pattern to pre-history and taking the subject out of its cultural context.

Icelandic history is a fuzzy mess in my mind, I need to sit with the books and have not done so yet.

It clearly states on the tin pre-christian mythology. So it’s giving me a sense of time but what time?

Does this myth offer me a window on the Iron age for example?

When was it written? I don’t know but can hazard a  rough guess, 13th century.

Literacy is a late arrival in the part of the North. This may be an exception, the scholarship may have altered since I last dipped my toe in the water, but it’s not going to escape the observation that this is a pagan past written in a christian present.

Tradition is a thing of the present rather than the past. Yet I do not have to drink with my glass half empty. I can stray across material from the 18th century or even the 20th century that I can trace back for a considerable period.

In terms of getting even a rough timeline of usage, these forms of myth are difficult and time-consuming to deal with.

The rest of the paragraph can I come up with a rough guess in regard to the availability of the sources. Early medieval sources will be zero. If you are lucky a small handful from the middle ages. If you are very lucky one or two from the 15th and 16th century with an increasing spike from the late 17th century to the present day.

The great mass of information must have been less organized, travellers tales and the like. Of the vast quantity brought in each generation, most was lost. But while it was in circulation it might be harvested. A Polybius or a Strabo might, if he wished, join the circulation of warm bodies for a while, and get a sense of the flow. But it was sufficient to stand at the right points of the system and gather ethnographic knowledge as it passed by, like a coral polyp fixed on some reef, selecting titbits and rejecting others from the rich currents, according to some prior design.

I also have to factor in that I am chasing the tip of an iceberg. Despite the introduction of writing most learning and discussion is not conducted in books.

I am not optimistic about getting a firm historical date range. I am mildly optimistic I may get a potential ball park figure using comparative anthropology and some generalization.

What I am missing at the moment is the early settlement pattern and archology for Iceland, which will give me an initial further hit or see it fall to the ground. So far I am utterly out of context I have a simple pattern.

A universe comes into being when a space is severed or taken apart…. The act is itself already remembered, even if unconsciously, as our first attempt to distinguish different things in a world where, in the first place, the boundaries can be drawn anywhere we please. At this stage, the universe cannot be distinguished from how we act upon it, and the world may seem like shifting sand beneath our feet.

A very simple pattern. Some have more fish some have less fish.

Relations by contrast, are conceptual inventions designed to reconcile the violence that the drawing of distinctions inflicts on the environment as a whole

I know something about this.

I should now go to the rest of your excellent remarks upon the Beef, the Geese, the Loch, the Peat-man & the Kyle nor shall an iota of them drop. But they have all (of them) their peculiar Weight

Take it out of context.

Place it in a frontier society. Add the general rule that these societies will have a tendency towards a relatively flat social hierarchy.

Differences in status are not the result of competition between households but determined at the household level.

The differences we see, gender, age, master, servant.

I can apply science and look at this in fine detail in early Anglo-Saxon society. Grave goods and the alteration in the objects that they contain overtime provide the evidence base.

‘Relatively’ flat social hierarchy, points to these household differences. Yet we have one further measure.

I cannot express my difference from you by having a cellar full of fine wine, a gold hilted sword or a large chest filled with silver. All I may be sitting on is a hill of beans but that hill of beans may be bigger than you’re hill of beans. You have more cows, I have less, three pots to my meagre one.

Possessing an identical and limited range of material objects, having more or less is the marker of difference. What would the objects of reconcilation look like here as relationships and ties are made within the community?

More than/ less than is a form of arrangement  you would expect (or hope) to find in the early stages of a settlement. I cannot say this is a feature of early Icelandic settlement. But as yet I can’t rule it out.

It does however hint at the form of social organization in which these things took shape. Its also giving me a general sense of direction and the potential location of where further evidence may be found.

Reference

Gisli Palsson, The Idea of Fish in the Icelandic world-view.

Greg Woolf, Tales of the Barbarians: Ethnography and Empire in the Roman West

G. Spencer Brown, The Law of Form

K. Krippendorff. On Communicating: Otherness, Meaning, Information

A correspondance between Lord Reay and Samuel Pepys, 9th of January, 1700