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Technique

Mendaciloquent recently has been writing on the problem of becoming lost in thought. That is to say, of winding paths burned by a dross ridden mentalese*, and so missing the trees of the phenomenal mire. Or, as the case may be, the not-so-wee-beasties. One thinks too much, and the current of life runs over her—but does not run her over—and then runs dry. And she remains untouched by water. The problem seems to be that over-thinking may lead us out of the world and into a tangle of thought whose claim to our attention we ought not necessarily grant. One might see this as a stifling of existence.

Practical fellow that I am I have thought on this—spun myself up into an unbecoming web of thought, perhaps—and come up with a technique. Because I think that technique provides a sort of extension into which what we call mind can pour; consider technique a lens a scaffold or stilts if you like, but it’s all and none of these. With the right technique, the impossible becomes the merely difficult. The goal of our current technique is to see if we might suckle a bit more of the marrow from life, perhaps without stripping it bare, to cultivate a mental state in which those epiphanic moments where we may just be more proximate to whatever it is that surrounds us, envelopes us**, which I am going to call the world here all the while resisting to think of that name as anything other than an air-puff. Unless one is exceptionally gifted, she will not be able to directly access the world by sheer force of will; that is to say, most of us, myself included, find it difficult to come into closer contact with the world for any sustained amount of time. One needs to practice a technique, much as one ought practice a bit of swimming before leaping into the river, lest she be overwhelmed, and return gasping for air to the shore.

It seems to me that the rules for this technique ought be completely arbitrary, or as arbitrary as human effort will allow, to prevent any silly religiosity or linking of the processes of the technique to advances in ability. That is to say, one ought not begin to worship Moleskine as the true window to being (that will become clear in a second) simply because one used a Moleskine product in his effort to ply into the world. So, here’s my arbitrary technique: begin tapping into the world slowly, certainly not at all times. Assign sites of focus, segments of space and/or time where one tries not to be carried away by a flurry of meaningless thoughts but to be in whatever environment one finds oneself; assign sites of reflection, where one allows thought to take its own course a bit freer. Over time, increase sites of focus, if it proves possible. Or if the effort proves fruitful.

In the spirit of inquiry, I will do the following: I will purchase a Moleskine six-slot portfolio that measures about 4 x 6 inches and so will slip snugly into my jacket’s inner left pocket. Each day upon leaving my home, I will make the effort to place myself in the becoming world, with the end of collecting souvenirs from it and placing them in my keen new portfolio; this game, I believe, will be a sort of goad for my mind to focus on the world. When I return home, I will think as I usually do, in flurries of disjointed anxieties, desires, and lusts, but I will then pull out my packet of objects and try to recollect them, reconstitute them. If all goes well, eventually I will find it much easier to focus in the manner I desire, and the Moleskine and its game will become unnecessary—but no less quirky-cool, a sort of mental waxing-on waxing-off. If all fails, at least I will have oodles of odd little objects that I picked up off streets and street-corners, planters and bus-stop benches: gum-wrappers, bottle-caps, stuffed animal button-eyes.

*Ad campaigns, desires, fears, forces of the false, otherwise using tools of deciphering perception as tools of perceiving itself, &c.

** No, we’re not in anything, but usage hinders me.

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2 Responses

  1. When I was reading this, I was trying to guess at what route you’d take, but this is totally and interestingly unexpected. I think what I like about it, or what’s unexpected, is that instead of ignoring it opens the possibility of subverting object-relationships toward an aesthetic end, sort of like “found art” pieces except in a way which underlines rather than obscures the point of origin in the everyday.

  2. Well, if I can sustain motivation long enough to see how this works, I may have some interesting observations to make and share. We shall see.



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