Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The First Paragraph Tetralogy Experiment

Here I'm trying to associate the first paragraph of each of the following works together, not to compare but to understand a certain pattern beyond their historical or personal disposition.

Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities 1859

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incerdulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way _ in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis 1912

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.

Félix Guattari
The Three Ecologies 1989

The Earth is undergoing a period of intense techno-scientific transformations. If no remedy is found, the ecological disequilibrium this has generated will ultimately threaten the continuation of life on the planet's surface. Alongside these upheavals, human modes of life, both individual and collective, are progressively deteriorating. Kinship networks tend to be reduced to a bare minimum; domestic life is being poisoned by the gangrene of mass media consumption; family and married life are frequently 'ossified' by a sort of standardization of behaviour; and neighbourhood relations are generally reduced to their meanest expression . . . It is the relationship between subjectivity and its exteriority - be it social, animal, vegetable or Cosmic - that is compromised in this way, in a sort of general movement of implosion and regressive infantalization. Otherness [l'altérité] tends to lose all its asperity. Tourism, for example, usually amounts to no more than a journey on the spot, with the same redundancies of images and behaviour. Political groupings and executive authorities appear to be totally incapable of understanding the full implications of these issues.

Gilles Deleuze
Immanence: A Life 1995

What is a transcendental field? it can be distinguished from experience in that it doesn't refer to an object or belong to a subject (empirical representation). It appears therefore as a pure stream of a-subjective consciousness, a pre-reflexive impersonal consciousness without a self. It may seem curious that the transcendental be defined by such immediate givens: we will speak of a transcendental empiricism in contrast to everything that makes up the world of the subject and the object. There is something wild and powerful in this transcendental empiricism in contrast to everything that is of course not the element of sensation (simple empiricism), for sensation is only a break within the flow of absolute consciousness It is, rather, however close two sensations may be, the passage from one to the other as becoming, as increase or decrease power (virtual quantity). Must we then define the transcendental field by a pure immediate consciousness with neither object nor self, as a movement that neither begins nor ends?

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