Loss

I’m interested in the idea of human loss. It’s not just about death. Well, maybe not the material fact of death but perhaps more about death as possibility, as structuring principle of being. What happens when you lose someone close to you, but you don’t know how you’ve lost them? You might be religious, and be certain that they have gone somewhere else; but you might be agnostic, and unsure of whether they got there. Someone may have drifted out of your life and there’s no way of tracing them. Not even Facebook; their profile just leaves a ghostly avatar of ancient posts and friend requests. What happens when someone seemingly vanishes from your world?

I guess it’s because I’m quite invested in Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of the rhizome. You know, the notion that we aren’t distinct beings, ‘humans’, but rather caught up in machinic assemblages, flows, lines of flight. We are a kind of network of ever-shifting actions and material/ideal bodies; there are no subjects and objects, only planes in which we pass in endless reiterations and configurations. We exist only as we connect to other machines. It seems to make sense. What happens when something you’re close to disappears, when the connection severs? You lose a part of your assemblage, or, to borrow a dodgy humanist word, ‘your self’. Don’t worry, it will grow back, like a colony of ants; another line will grow out of the chasm. But how does this happen?

I’m drawn to characters who close down at this point, who seem to retreat into a world of surrealism and pretty dreams that cover their broken reality. I think it’s interesting to watch the human organism branch out of itself, struggling to understand what’s happening to its fundamental being. I think if it were to happen to me, I’d travel for a long time — even if it were just walking across the countryside — and I’d mutate in person. I’d meet people that changed me. I wouldn’t forget, but I would be forever moulded differently, my roots tangling with others. I don’t think I’d know the original person; I’m not sure there ever was one.