Liquid rush

Section 105 is struggling to verbalise

“When did you last see him Jean Luc?”

“I was careless enough to take a ranting call from Tarkey; Émile was listening in from the kitchen.”

“When?”

“Last night Vernon.”

Though painfully obvious the sentiment needed expressing. “Jean Luc this is tragic. Is there anything I can do?”

Now that Jean Luc had faced up to the worst of it, the liquid rush of vocabulary was drying up. It was as if the incidental complexities he offered initially represented the dubious sludge at the bottom of a reservoir that has been dredged to recover a body. The technicalities and subsequent emotions were both now running dry.

The rush of technical jargon was clearly Jean Luc's safety valve in operation. The vocabulary was beginning now to dry up however.

The rush of technical jargon was clearly Jean Luc’s safety valve in operation. The vocabulary was beginning now to dry up however.

“I doubt it.” sighed Jean Luc, “I’ve let the police know. Ari is beside herself with worry. Émile’s got the money you gave him and as you know he’s a canny sod.”

“I have to ask this Jean Luc; do you think he did it?”

No measurable hesitation was evident. “He’s arrogant and self-assured, and he’s technically capable Vernon, but I don’t think he did

The job’s yours Vanya, Vinnie, …er Vincent.

The Buddhist Fathers had learned how to laugh all the way to the bank.

The Buddhist Fathers had learned how to laugh all the way to the bank.

Section 102 And the job goes to the man over there with the name

“Hey man, that’s something I’d love to do but the Buddhist fathers are not commercially minded ya know. There’s no so much as a gnat’s whisker between the bomber’s wing and the hanger doors.” Mr Snapper advised sympathetically.

After a barely perceptible pause for the sake of decorum Vernon replied. “I’ll be glad to take the job.”

“Well bust my britches man that’s a scoop Van… er Vernon. I’ll get the paperwork to ya. Formal offer to sign, Visa procedures and so on. Have a great holiday. Come early to Thailand man, take a look around. It’s a small place but you’ll like it.”

There’s so much to see in the Nonsense Filter

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Tickled

Light touch, not soft touch.

Light touch, not soft touch.

Section 101 is taking place in room 101

‘Please Mr Bannall I must insist that you do not eat the feather, no nor insert it into any orifice, it is needed for the physiotherapy.’… “No Frau Pinnelig …please restrain the patient for a moment more and we will continue with the observation.”

Like a tidal wave charging through his consciousness Vernon realised that Nsansa had a therapy session underway, he remembered something vague about spinal injuries being tested by appraising genital sensitivity. To top it all by the sound of it she was being assessed by a senior member of staff. Vernon shuddered at his own incompetence and Nsansa’s probable annoyance. Better leave the country he thought.

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Purpose and significance in the human relationship to technology; Part I

Heidegger contends that ‘questioning builds a way’.[1] In previous posts I have identified the human being as the questioning being and, whether its interrogatory stance is an unthought embodied response to worldly existence, or articulated in conceptual and reasoned thought, this is how humans have made, and continue to make, their way in the world. In this sense I employ this descriptive term rather than to imply that all humans are conversant with the rules of logic or consciously subject experience to sustained analysis.

Building a canoe places one in a profound relationship with technology.

Building a canoe places one in a profound relationship with technology.

Every human person stands in some relationship to, or provocative juxtaposition with, technology understood in the Heideggerian sense of a functional lens through which the world is perceived. The Amazonian Indian has a place in the community defined by his purposeful contribution as much as does the German law graduate. Everywhere life is understood in the context of the human activity of positing ends and procuring and utilising the means to realise them.[2] Thus the building of a canoe or of a body of legislation are intrinsically part of what technology is. Heidegger acknowledges as correct such an instrumental and anthropological definition of technology, affirming that it is correct, but he asks, is this all?

Heidegger’s rather laborious discussion of Aristotle’s four causes concludes that a thing said to be technological owes its being present to these four causes, but something else entirely unites them all. That uniting element is poiesis, a ‘bringing-forth’[3] or the making-apparent, of something. ‘Through bringing-forth the growing things of nature as well as whatever is completed through the crafts and the arts come at any given time to their appearance’.[4] Thus the fourfold cause of a thing causes it to come into appearance in bringing-forth, in a manner which accords with them.

Is technology a revealing of what truly is? Maybe, in the sense that technology imposes upon things a mode of revealing which obscures all else. The ‘putting to use’ of the matter of facts in the world is  a consequence of purposiveness, so that as Heidegger contends, technology ‘puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such’.[5]

Building a body of legislation; what is to be prioritised, what works, or what matters?

Building a body of legislation; what is to be prioritised, what works, or what matters?

Reflection on the Kantian observation I made previously, that purposiveness is a cognitive trait of human knowing, in conjunction with the Heideggerian observation that technology champions a functional appropriation of the world, and Merleau-Ponty’s positing of a pre-conscious, whole-body, functionally recursive engagement with it, combine to reveal a dominant historiological element in the Landscape of Being whose bias is apparent today. Human identity is constrained to appropriate a world which it predominantly understands in utilitarian terms.

To break out of the unreasonable demand-making that expects the world and its people to furnish one’s purposive needs, a disruption must wean one from this profound bias in environing culture. Awakened by such a disruption, the questioning being is forced to assert its latent desire for significance, in an all too rare interrogation of technology and its functionalist tunnel-vision, in an effort to regain ontological equilibrium.

 

Purposiveness, procurement and the technological reduction of the person.

Purposiveness, procurement and the technological reduction of the person.

Increasingly in the twenty first century, despite its potent individualism, the development of human identity is warped towards a satisfaction of its capacity for purpose in denial of the essential desire for significance that complements it. Failure to strike a balance of some kind leads to exploitation. It leads to the procurement of the other as a means to an end, rather than as an end in itself; ironically it also entails that one succumbs to the appropriation of oneself by the other as a useful thing.

 

[1] Editorial by David Farrell Krell, in The Question of Technology, Heidegger; Basic Writings, (Ed,) David Farrell Krell, London, Routledge, 2008, 215

[2] Heidegger, M. The Question of Technology, in Heidegger; Basic Writings, ibid, 2008, 218

[3] Heidegger, QT, in Basic Writings, ibid, 220

[4] Ibid

[5] Heidegger, QT, ibid, 223

You’re trying my patience …while I’m trying my patients!

Clearly one of them was not getting enough oxygen.

Clearly one of them was not getting enough oxygen.

Section 100 and Vernon is trying Nsansa’s patience

Vernon gave Nsansa a ring on her mobile.

“Hello” Nsansa sounded formal and reserved, unusually so.

“Hi darling, it’s Vernon. Look I need to confirm something with you; it’s quite important. Is it convenient to talk”

“Hello sir, I’m glad you returned my call yes the patient is fine and with me now.” Was this another of Nsansa’s role plays? No, surely not, they were reserved for an audience and it didn’t make sense to fake her role to an audience who knew it already.

“Darling sorry, following  our conversation about Thailand while we were away I have decided to ring Mr Snapper and snap up his offer. Are you okay with that or do we need to talk some more.”

There'd be no excuses when you could finally see down the phone line... or privacy.

There’d be no excuses when you could finally see down the phone line… or privacy.

What’s going on?

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‘Hindsight’ …a boot in the backside

Section 98 applies the brakes too late

Stooping, Tarkey drew close and whispered, a little too loudly Vernon thought, “She’s Ms Negativa”. Vernon felt as if the whole event was sinking into farce. He whispered back to Tarkey, “for real, Negativa?” Tarkey looked again at his guest list and corrected his mistake, “Ms N. Egatvia.”

What is hindsight but a boot in the bum that opens your eyes?

What is hindsight but a boot in the bum that opens your eyes?

Vernon pulled himself up to his five foot five and spoke calmly into the microphone, “Ms Egatvia, I am sorry to say that until humans have given something meaning, all is nonsense. Not being human the nonsense filter does not render things meaningful it filters out that which has no meaning.”

Looking back at the occasion through the soft warm glow of certitude known as hindsight Vernon always told himself he should have stopped there at the safety rail of truthful anti-climax. But he had not.

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Alignment or refinement?

It is my philosophical judgement that human identity is a conferred descriptor whereby the inherited meanings and values of the human world are applied to the life of each questioning being. This accretion of meaning however is inevitably misaligned and indeterminate, for human identity is not a fixed proposition about any fixed thing but a ‘we interpret this to be’ directed at a fluid, changing, self-defining being. Nevertheless, the accretion of meaning which the world identifies human persons with is a accoutrement which must be tried on for size and made to fit.

Perhaps one can audit identity in collaboration with others; certainly identity-sense demands that identity be audited with or without the help others offer.

Perhaps one can audit identity in collaboration with others; certainly identity-sense demands that identity be audited with or without the help others offer.

The accretion of meaning that each human life acquires is not an objective and factual description derived from some abstracted a-temporal measurement, and nor can it be. Human identity conferred is essentially a witness to the desire for significance and capacity for purpose, that the lives of others are driven by, which are directed towards that individual. Meanings, be they regarding race or nationality, gender or sexual orientation, age or maturity, are situated temporal value-judgements and so, oriental and Japanese, female and gay, 23yrs of age and independent, are inevitably meanings loaded with variable connotations. To affirm as true any of these requires some explication as to what connotations are inferred.

The gauging of success in self identification is applied according to ones balance of ones desire for significance and ones capacity for purpose.

The gauging of success in self identification is applied according to ones balance of ones desire for significance and ones capacity for purpose.

Identity sense I have argued is an holistic measurement each questioning being maintains, whether consciously, pre-consciously or both. This existential audit gauges the harmony obtained between its own aspirations in the world, fuelled by and balancing its own desire for significance and potentially conflicting capacity for purpose, and the accretion of meaning its life acquires in the intersubjective world it inhabits. One’s identity sense is therefore an audit and curation of what significance the world imparts to one’s life, and the purpose for which the world procures one’s life. This is an ongoing, never completed endeavour, and healthy self-knowledge demands that the questioning being accept its auditing efforts will never ensure that it’s life aligns to its own aspirations any more than the world’s conferred identity does.

Fastidious folly

Tarkey, looking fit to steward Henley’s regatta was decked out in lemon yellow chinos and a double breasted navy blazer that shouted out loudly, “you can’t afford me.”

Tarkey, looking fit to steward Henley’s regatta was decked out in lemon yellow chinos and a double breasted navy blazer that shouted out loudly, “you can’t afford me.”

Section 96 is fencing with folly

Tarkey was enjoying his moment of glory.

“We have loaded the app into this mobile phone; it is compatible with all types of device and will interface successfully with all known search engines but take us far beyond their guesswork. We will feed into it a well-known piece of nonsense literature and you will see the sense it makes of it. I am assured by my team that no programming has given the device the answers. The app uses the internet and swiftly searches the archives of human meaning-making in order to provide a best fit picture for the researcher. We envisage that it will eventually search the airwaves directly too. When we have run this test we will distribute a limited Nonsense Filter ‘Light’, on these scanned memory sticks, for members of the press to experiment with. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you Ladies and Gentlemen that the Nonsense Filter is copyright.”

Vernon let out the breath he had been holding involuntarily and groaned quietly. All the speculation the three of them had voiced in their private meetings seemed to have found its way in to Tarkey’s boasting speech. He glanced nervously across at Mrs McGuin, who was seated close enough for him to observe how fastidiously she had dressed for the cameras. Not merely the happy-snapping press photographers, but local TV too, enticed in from the wilds of Norfolk. She glanced his way, head on one side and he winced. Her smile was conspiratorial but he did not regard her as an ally, there was a limit to his folly.

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Heart stoppin’ elegance

Section 95 is

Wherever he looked Vernon could see grandeur and delusions of grandeur.

Wherever he looked Vernon could see grandeur and delusions of grandeur.

They were at the Athenaeum, seated in the spacious well lit Georgian chandeliered ballroom. This recently renovated grandeur, costing the local council around £600,000 made exactly the splash Tarkey was seeking. The site had been the home originally of the quaintly named ‘the heart of the hop’ Inn. Vernon, locked as he was in his morose thoughts had renamed it ‘heart-stop-inn’ while he waited for them to build the scaffold, or the stocks, or whatever was causing the delay. He’d been waiting since he arrived at 5 o’clock. and now it was 7.30. Though a best frock ballroom was as suitable a place as any for him to be defrocked as a charlatan, that did not mean he was insensitive to the disgrace.

Originally developed in the 18th century as Assembly Rooms, and later playing host to several readings from his works by Charles Dickens, it was a curious mix of the popular and the elegant. Unsettling the balance decisively, were the inelegant popular press who were there in force. National and Local; Vernon expected sensationalist exaggeration from the former and bad spelling from the latter. But hey, what damage could either do to the press release he anticipated, ‘Filter is nonsense.’ As he sat there fretting and tugging his beard, ‘It’ll never work’ kept running though his head. Thankfully Émile their computer wizard was elsewhere.

There was a well disguised cord around his neck and the knot felt over tight.

There was a well disguised cord around his neck and the knot felt over tight.

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Underwater hang-gliding

Vernon expected to sink without trace along with his nonsense filter

Vernon expected to sink without trace along with his nonsense filter

Section 94 is attempting the unachieveable

There was no answer from Jean Luc and Vernon realised that his friend was hurt or deeply embarrassed.

“Sorry Jean Luc, he’s a bright boy and any mess is my own doing. Shall I meet you there tomorrow or call for you?”

“Sorry Jean Luc… shall I meet you there tomorrow or call for you?”

“Better meet me there Vernon” Jean Luc finally managed to say quietly, Ari has bought a smart outfit. She’s been told TV cameras will be there so I’ll have to arrive in a manner suited to attract their attention. Sorry I didn’t get chance to demonstrate it to you first; It’ll all work out in the end, these things always do.”

Vernon ended the call and realised that he was still sitting in the flower bed. He got to his feet creakily and went into the house. What was he going to do if it didn’t work, if it fed out spurious lies or incendiary racism? What was he going to do if it gave the same interpretation to every piece of data? What was he going to do if it did work? He shuddered and shook his head bitterly at that false friend. It wouldn’t work… the Nonsense Filter couldn’t filter out nonsense anymore that he could master underwater hang-gliding. If the cameras were there he’d better decide what to wear.

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