Being alive and paying attention in this moment is often hallucinatory. I’ve heard people say that nothing makes sense of the senseless like LSD. I, for one, sure could use a sense of oneness, of unity and contentment, some way to accept and forgive and love this entire fucked, fracked, and fractured universe. I keep my postcard of LSD in a recipe box on a high shelf in my kitchen. The promise of oneness beckons, and I’ll soon abide.
So in a sense we first of all have to “break and enter” into discourse before we can speak truth to power. We have to break the constraints on political representation in order to expose its violence and oppose its exclusions. As long as “security” continues to justify the banning and dispersion of protests, assemblies and encampments, security serves to decimate democratic rights and democracy itself. Only mobilisation on a large scale, what we might call an embodied and transnational form of courage, will succeed in defeating xenophobic nationalism and the various alibis that today threaten democracy.
Also, as a writer of the English sentence, I am very conscious of the assertion of subjectivity. You can’t get very far in the sentence without having to make a big gesture of identity. “I,” “The man,” “She”—these solids inside which a certainty is assumed to exist. I like to think of moving through the sentence (as writer or reader) as moving through a kind of terrain. The sentence is at once a map of where we have gone and where we wish to go. You can see how dropping a city over this “map” might allow one to work on a figurative level. Your question about progression can become a character itself.
We no longer look at images–images look at us. They no longer simply represent things, but actively intervene in everyday life. We must begin to understand these changes if we are to challenge the exceptional forms of power flowing through the invisible visual culture that we find ourselves enmeshed within.
Jefferson slices the corn in the morning. Using a chunk of granite sharpened into a blade, he carves the corn off the cob and into my hands. He bites the remaining kernels straight from the cob. I like to shake the kernels around in my palms, seasoning them with sweat, before licking them up. The corn is uncooked and bullies our teeth. I have lost a couple of crowns and spend many days distracted by pain. Jefferson’s missing two canines, his smile a crumbling fortress.
I also think we’ve entered a ripe cultural moment for utopian thinking: sea levels are rising, a right-wing demagogue could win the US presidency, scenes of violence flood our news channels. We have an opportunity, here and now, to choose between despairing over an apocalyptic future or actively considering what a better world might look like — even if it seems pie in the sky — because we’ll never reach that reality without first daring to imagine what it might be.