Saturday, April 6, 2013

A hierarchy of forms establishes itself through no obvious conscious endeavor. It merely falls into place and then calls attention to itself immediately, raising the specter of antagonism and hashish, of the dispossessed maneuvering through the streets in packs that resemble abstract concepts or un-sheared sheep in their tendency to get snagged and slowed down momentarily on stray bits of iron fencing that stick out into and obstruct the sidewalks through poor planning or the ravages of weather. Immanuel’s entrance is always prefigured by a blast of trumpets to hear the others who have witnessed this tell it, but I can’t report so much as a single hair standing on end, and if I could I probably wouldn’t just because it seems counterproductive. The sort of thing designed to aim the attention away from that which deserves it. The wigs on the heads of the women standing at the front of the room and lecturing. The enormous plastic balls balancing on either end of a stick in a photograph hanging on the wall between other photographs also depicting various everyday objects (tin cans, stuffed armadillos) brought into unnatural alignment for no other reason than that a photograph was to be taken. Of course, I know from the beginning that it is Immanuel who will announce the time for departure, who will demonstrate through a certain unearthly humming that there is no place for me on shore any more and that the residents of this village are like the residents of any other village in that they chain their imaginations to solid rock; they taunt their imaginations and kick them and feed them a substance something like gruel and something like broken glass. A concoction from which no nutrition can be extracted but which sounds sufficient enough when it is merely theoretical, when you are not the one unfortunate enough to have to consume it. This is always the way with Immanuel, making his pronouncements from the shadows where he believes he is safe from scrutiny by all but the most sympathetic of observers and participants. Those who studied his manifesto closely when it appeared a few years after his death, who even dropped the forty dollars a hardcover copy set you back. The question on everyone’s lips then was similar to that which is on virtually no one’s now – is Immanuel correct in labeling all grasping at what the gauche refer to as “meaning” an unmistakable symptom of disease simply because it is obviously so among those who would connect every random occurrence and event into “signs”, into an overarching paranoid narrative with themselves at the center as arbiter, as simple instrument of reception? Or has he overstated the case in a cunning, yet ultimately misguided effort to make himself seem guilty of exactly the same thing? By way of answer we have, I suppose, the sudden change in air temperature inside the room when he makes his appearance. The nitrogen and oxygen (and whatever other trace elements happen to be present) entering and escaping your lungs when he does so in a frightening yet entirely predetermined and therefore predictable rhythm.        

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