Everything is subversive.
It is likely that this post is annoying to the wrong audience, and I felt a forewarning is polite and necessary:
**about my issues with facts+humans per last night’s solo music viewing of Elaine Elias as well as dogma+purpose/a comment about facts are subversive by Timothy Garton Ash
So I watched Elaine Elias play at Birdland last night. Dig her rendition of So Danco Samba and had to see it for myself. She came on stage and started speaking about her recent Grammy on Made in Brazil and travels in Europe, great charisma, I dug that talk. Let her fingers tickle the keys, slow at first but sure and her voice soon followed. She made the “cos” and bas” sound real nice.
As she played my mind wandered and wandered. Like reality, the difference between first person dogma and third person introspection, i.e. empathy. The kind that’s not necessarily well or ill-intended, just is. About playing character and feeling there, taking my seat and sitting and watching. A sensible chuckle or applause, a sip, the folding of hands or a criss-crossed leg. Lot of other things too.
Stopped by Carnegie Club after to say hi to a friend. We talked, and I brought up facts and how I was feeling a bit estranged by the difficulty in perspective. Had sipped on a couple glasses of a Caladu from Sardinia, but that wasn’t the reason. (try Caladu btw, it’s a Sardinian Grenache, really nice cherry notes with a dusty mouthfeel that’s like rough home-cooking but scotch-y layer-wise). I bring up wine for reasons later. You’ll see. Wine+tasting+categories.
I’m talking about facts and thoughts and feelings. Like when I walked outside Carnegie, I was playing around with the skyline by looking at it in rectangles and vanishing points. The gap between the buildings seemed to shrink as proximity neared its end. And that type of tower, 40-story shrinkage, made me feel a little crunched, and the distance is the same, but my feelings are saying it’s not. The fact is more in the perspective than in the reality, and that’s why my facts aren’t always trustworthy. They’re sneaky and I feel foolish sometimes. At Birdland, the sounds, audience, the drink, the food, were all contingent on their differences in perspective, and with facts, the disconnect between feelings and senses and reality can be truly overwhelming.
I don’t think it’s possible to truly know a fact in it’s entirety, and please excuse for limited philosophical knowledge in this area. I make the fact claim because of limited perspective such as the building example. It’s easy to see the convergence and seeming differences in space, but not that the distance is the same in fact. That fact is an inference based on presupposition. So easy example, but what about other things like… wine! Where the differences may not be so obvious. And categories. And what to look for and profiling and classifying. What about your tongue vs. someone else’s tongue. Is it just a feedback device for yourself? Does it only teach you about your tongue’s response to fermented natural growth for different grape variants?
Well, what’s interesting is that different tongues can have similar experiences, but the variance and debate in precision makes all inference a proxy to fact. So never quite feel or perceive the fact. That’s the issue. Sensing and feeling seems like a probability through proxies. There’s a certain chance that you’ll pick up a certain flavor, which will be determined by experience, by ideas on types of flavors, like categories, and such til the perceptions converge to infinity (the fact). Check out confirmation holism, that no individual statement can be confirmed by an empirical test. All proxies and co-dependence. Think about theories in science, how nit-picky? Does one need to know perfection or fact or is the proxy enough?
Don’t get me wrong, facts are real! I think. I kind of think of facts like seeing a steamy bear turd and a bear in the woods next to it with some crusties on its ass but kind of unsure if the bear did indeed shit. Maybe bear #2 is nearby. I also feel like this is a, “you gotta believe me!!” moment per Idiocracy, if you’ve seen that film.. The satire being ones feelings and senses to their person. But I do in fact feel unease, and I feel the imprecision and conversation between mind and perception. Sure you can smell the flowers, but can you ever really know how the flowers smell? It’s like skiing in flat light or dissonance. Even getting up from bed and heading to the restroom is a new experience each go. What about looking at a pile of leaves? Which ones do you see? There could be millions, but the facts are only so complete and contingent on personal comprehension. It all goes back to categories and language and things that can’t be described.
This weirdly bothers me and going back to Nausea/Sartre type works and existentialism, feeling here is hard and confusing. Simple presence and alertness. Can I even know the fact of my own life?
This circles me to the dogma issue in being first person. The problem of course is purpose and in defining what’s right and wrong. Even those facts are also untenable and are proxies, which sounds a bit smart-assy but I think it’s important to note.
Also, are experts really just those with the best proxies? This is the storyline in experience and why one has to “see for himself” or themself ;). whatever is conventional per say. (why don’t we have an androgynous single person other than “it”. it’s so annoying) Is this why photography that highlights and blurs is so captivating? Do experts use the right categories? We need to keep challenging categories to fit the times and new cultural integrations. I don’t remember the last time, I used a new foreign food to describe a wine flavor and that bugs me because I’m missing potentially neat sensory connection. I could be looking the wrong way. I bet if I learned all of Indian foods, wine would take on interesting new flavors. Tell me what terroir is anyways. To each his own. Or user experience. Drugs and their distortion / enhancement. Here and back again.
Now I want to talk about another point of confusion. Dogma+purpose. Can purpose be unconscious? Subjectives/Objectives. It goes back to perception. Or is it always conscious, and also is there any answer to morality or are those answers just proxies? It is therefore, impossible to be objective in the fact of morality? Is purpose because morality doesn’t have fact, i.e. rules, always finding itself dogmatic? Are governments, in the optimally perceived manner, proxy experts on morality. Is that the function of governance? In the ideal circumstance, they are our best guessers? Probabilities — governments never truly know. But dogma and purpose and maybe God is like Reckoner by Radiohead, “Reckoner”, may not have direction by evidence based on perception from different angles:
You can’t take it with you
Dancing for your pleasure
You are not to blame for
Dare not speak its name
Dedicated to all human beings
Because we separate
Like ripples on a blank shore
Because we separate
The ripples on a black shore
Reckoner, take me with you
Dedicated to all human beings
Could ripples from a mover, i.e. the rock or dropper of the rock be why coexistence is so compelling as true? But how do we know which experts to trust and when to listen or care? Like ripples that separate from a creator, which way do we go? Is there this level of constant subversion by ourselves in our interpretation of facts? Could the mind have a cloudy tendency not to listen to the incomplete transience in proxy gathering? Are these biases possible to overcome? For these questions, I think coexistence is necessary to accept.
As I mentioned in the title, I feel subversion in not just facts but in my own existence toward determining that subversion. But it makes things like art really cool and conversation worthwhile from time to time.