Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Intimation of the shape of another person, the dialogue begun by the fading out of the image, intervals required for addressivity, drive, relating the intervalic eidos of the imaginary to an eidos of living: all to come.

Scarry says the verbal arts are both counterfactual and counterfictional, by which term she means that they "displac[e] the ordinary attributes of imagining–its faintness, two-dimensionality, fleetingness and dependence on volitional labor–with the vivacity, solidity, persistence, and givenness of the perceptible world" (Dreaming, p. 38). To describe something as fading away is already to imply an additional dimension beyond any imagined purely atemporal, unmoving spatial dimensions. A quibble? Well, I'm concerned that the imaginary is being defined here in opposition to a perceptual that is not true to experience and consequently the imaginary is being mischaracterized. The temporality of the imaginary asks to be carefully interpreted, because on its face the mere existence of a lived time of the imaginary implies a continuity between imagination and perception, a continuity which has been called into question by the very idea of the imaginary. That images fade away is a sign that there is life in the imaginary, some ground for the experience of the tremor. Yet vivacity is neither permanently affixed to persistence nor severed from spontaneity (nor even an awareness of spontaneity)–to what extent perseverance persists in perseveration is a question we shall return to in some form–but swinging. Vivacity is not the leap itself but the oscillation between the leap and the faint. If you remove the faint from vivacity it's as good as dead. It becomes a dead impulse.

What do we say of the vivacity of an impulse to recur? The recurring dream, Scarry suggests, becomes troubling because "its sheer persistence. . . itself seems to contain a claim of reality" (p. 34). Although so far we have only talked about the swings of vivacity and haven't taken the position that vivacity has absolutely no relation to persistence, we must ask now whether claims to reality must divorce themselves from vivacity. If you say of course not then do you, faced with the persistence of the faint and the fading, admit to some troubles? What troubles you about idées fixes? Are you troubled by their faintness–or do they rather testify to a trouble with faintness? If reality can be claimed any number of times then perhaps reality cannot be claimed at all. I can say such a prospect doesn't trouble me, but I allow that I may have resigned myself to a troubled existence, to a certain kind of irreal life. The real is something I imagine as pantamorphic. The pantamorphic on its face recuperates the beat of naissance, the inchoate rhythm, however, the pantamorphic imaginary may hide a way of rationalizing deformity. That may be its sole purpose. Yet which would be the reality we don't want to face? Life may be more troubling to us than death, more disfiguring, more perseverant–on point, vivacity in particular designates a tenacity in living, or a tenacious spirit, and although it connotes enjoyment of life, it reveals a need to affirm life, a need which for its part betokens disturbance. The imagination trembles.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 5:32 AM.


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