May 23, 2020

Recursion

I’m slowly forging a path through High Weirdness, Erik Davis’s inventory of 1970s mysticism. He writes wonderfully about the feedback loops between our shared imagery and the sense of spiritual possibility that each of us carries: “The object of weird fascination is folded back into the subject, constructing a strange loop of cultural play, recursive enigma, and extraordinary encounter that makes a raid on the real.”

Every time I come across the word “ontological,” I need to look it up, and the definition always inspires a low-grade panic attack because I know I’m reading the same sentence about “being, becoming, and existence” for the thousandth time.

Contemplating the blurry line between media consumption and my soul reminds me of a moment in Don DeLillo’s Underworld when he moves one of his characters along the Jersey Turnpike:

…and he saw billboards for Hertz and Avis and Chevy Blazer, for Marlboro, Continental and Goodyear, and he realized that all the things around him, the planes taking off and landing, the streaking cars, the tires on the cars, the cigarettes that the drivers of the cars were dousing in their ashtrays—all these were on the billboards around him, systematically linked in some self-referring relationship that had a kind of neurotic tightness, an inescapability, as if the billboards were generating reality…

And I’m generating such terrible realities for myself whenever I vacantly scroll through the day’s headlines, clickbait, two-minute hates, and social media psychodramas.


The Field – Looping State of Mind

Looping State of Mind | Kompakt, 2011 | Bandcamp
Each night in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these days into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.
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