Thursday, March 31, 2011

Icunabula vol II: Cut ups and Becoming

By Mr. VI

"When you cut into the present the future leaks out." - William S. Burroughs.

Previously, I've spoken of the incunabula - natives of the mythic. I've argued that the distinction between between myth and reality is meaningless because 'reality' as we know it is a model, a narrative created to comprehend our perceptions; reality as we know it is born out of the same construction process that we use to make myth and spin our tales.

You can't separate it from physicality, because the physical is our interface with the wider universe. It's as intimate as blood, breath and bone, as vital as sexual secretions and just as rich.

And just like those fluids, it's a lubricant; a fluid-smooth space that allows flow and tranverse movement. It contains the potential for life, and also death and disease of the psyche

It's not a thing of top-down authority and hierarchy, indeed if there is any movement which could be described as solely vertical in terms of myth, it's an upwelling - born from the ground of being itself - bottom up.

UrĂ°arbrunnr. The Well of Wyrd; the dwelling place of the Weird Sisters, the Nornir who lay down and weave the events of a person's life into what they will become.

Cut, arrange, and put together; folding events in and under over. Perhaps Burroughs was more right than he knew, perhaps it's not the future that leaks out when you cut the present, but the wyrd-fluid, the raw material for becoming?

Make the incision, cut the flesh and the vital fluid wells up - for incunabula the blood of their body flows free, an opening is made to serve as entrance and exit. It becomes an access port to their own becoming-as...

Endorphins get you high, get you flying, get you soaring, get you awake and alive. Opening yourself, creating a gate to the unknown, the unintelligible spaces beyond the senses. It's blood magic, to feed and gift yourself to all comers.

We'll come back to that later - for now recall that the body-as-text is an essential of the incunabula. That being the case, who owns the text? Who has the right to edit and re-write its narrative?

Glossy magazines and moral prohibitions; eidolons of form to aspire to - these are not bottom-up processes. No, they are hierarchical and top-down. The individual must operate as a thrall to such imagery - authorative texts.

Taxonomy via text - classification and definition; truly People of the Book, an inviolate and holy manuscript.

An immovable arrangement of form, sanctified by divinity because YHVH made humanity in his own image and there's only one divinity, yes?

The brimming cornucopia of myth says otherwise; this apparent transcendent authority is not alone. Kami, landvaettir, alfar, dwergar and muses. Annunaki, shedim and lilitu, bodhisattvas, asuras and daevas. Nagas, tulpas, piskies, puccas and ghul.

Not one text - and the knowledge of this is reaching common awareness now - for did G-d have a wife? Anyone with half an interest will smile and tell you this is nothing new. Asherah has been around for years, god-wife or no.

But the incunabula makes the ink into blood, running on skin, carving out new juxtapositional language by dismembering the old - powerful creation. Just ask Odin, Marduk or any personages - human or not - who've broken things down, remixed them and come up with something new.

There's a glorious multiplicity of form here; the fluidic spaces of becoming certainly echoing the amniotic fluid.

The poem by Gabe Moses entitled How To Make Love To A Trans Person speaks loudly of such wonderful becomings and though it's a little long to reproduce on this site, here's an excerpt:

Forget the images you’ve learned to attach
To words like cock and clit,
Chest and breasts.
Break those words open
Like a paramedic cracking ribs
To pump blood through a failing heart.
Push your hands inside.
Get them messy.
Scratch new definitions on the bones.

Get rid of the old words altogether.
The incunabula must know that they are their own authority on themselves. The awareness of this lends them a kind of strange - some might say spiritual - strength that enables them to operate outside of notions of property or category.

Others may attempt to shape them, contour them, but they are covered in that new fluid which comes from within them, pulsing with every heartbeat. Nothing sticks - it is carried away on a tide of metaphor, ever unreachable.

For they understand something - that we are creatures of language, that our cognition is intimately bound up with our bodies. Don't believe me? Then answer me how getting up high increases charitable donations, why don't you?

We've all felt it; the freezing stare, the cold shoulder, the burning lust.

So what about diving down, to plunge into the depths inside us?

Piercing, scarification, tattooing, all these can be simple things, or they can be ways of bringing visions into flesh, incarnating and grounding them in the intimate processes of existence. Just as sex can be a perfunctory release of tension, or can be an almost mystic communion, so can all bodily functions - the performance sanctified by millions of years of successful ancestors.

And if the universe ends beyond the reaches of our senses as far as direct carnal knowledge goes, then who knows what lies beyond those boundaries; more to the point, what lies within us, beneath our conscious awareness?

What comes to call at the presence of the fluidic becomings, the plasmic offerings of potential? What seats itself about us and consumes the food offered on the altars of our bodies?

If the flesh is so central to humanity, then we must necessarily acknowledge its decay, its movements and metabolism, its sags and wrinkles, ripples and self-combustions. To do otherwise is to create an escapist narrative that ultimately ends in exhaustion and failure.

Each chapter is a bounded slice of experience, each word an embodied thought, but their arrangement is nigh limitless. Death may not be an end, but instead an integral experience which informs the rest of the narrative. Burroughs speaks again:

"The cut-up is actually closer to the facts of perception than representational painting. Take a walk down a city street and put down what you have just seen on canvas. You have seen a person cut in two by a car, bits and pieces of street signs and advertisements, reflections from shop windows - a montage of fragments. Writing is still confined to the representational straitjacket of the novel ... consciousness is a cut up. Every time you walk down the street or look out of the window, your stream of consciousness is cut by random factors."
In the next post, I'll be exploring how the rearrangement of the human bodily narrative can lead to new perceptions - including a field report of such a rearrangement for the curious; the so- called 'Ghul-chod' practiced annually in the UK by a group of extremely sinister individuals.

Until then,

Be seeing you.

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

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