In Episode 5 I talk about my experience of the world. I hope you find it interesting.
It was my first attempt at drafting a script before recording which meant I was only left with about 20 mins to read and record what I wrote down. I’m not sure if I like it. It sound better towards the end but the opening few minutes just sound flat to my ear, and not what I’m going for.
You live and learn I suppose.
We should always try to speak openly and honestly with one another about how we experience the world. These honest discussions inevitably lead us back to first principles. Past external identity, past language, right down to the notion of self.
I understand on a conceptual level that everyone I have ever met has a differing understanding of how they place themselves in the world from my own. But unless you have these kinds of discussions with others you don’t understand how radically different they can be.
But it is such an important discussion: As once we situate ourselves in the world and understand how others do too, we can then begin to see how we act in the world but also upon it.
To do this we must make claims about our perception of the world and the validity of these claims must be taken at face value. In the world of fake news and post truth perhaps believing in the possibility of what someone is saying without requesting proof is a skill like active listening that can be exercised and built like a muscle.
And in this episode I want to talk about my own experience. These are of course subjective claims about the world but they are mine.
Anyone who knows me AFK will know that I love a good conversation and when I have occasion to meet someone and converse with them it is always a thrill, especially if I am familiar with their work in some way. So I want to talk a little bit about how embodied a conversation can be for me.
Claim Number 1.
For me a conversation is the interaction between myself and one or more people using spoken words which the poet Ben Lerner reminds us are simply vibrating columns of air.
But I *see* and *feel* a conversation. As it happens I feel it’s eb and flow usually in my sternum up across my collar bones and into the upper arms. I *see* a digression or a tangent and feel it somewhere out in space between us like a rubber band stretching thin, as the conversation loops back to the main thread, I feel the scratchiness relax and resolve like a cadence. A conversation for me feels like water flowing separate points from high in a watershed to eventually meet the sea when it’s time to go home.
Claim Number 2.
I experience dialogue differently from a conversation. Dialogue can happen in written form or in conversation. It does however feel different for me observers can watch the thrust and parry like a tennis match. But to me, to engage in dialogue feels like pushing a boulder over a cliff and running behind it to try and steer its direction whilst it bumps erratically on the surface it’s falling on. True there is back and forth but dialogue with someone whose position I disagree with feels like the sensation of playing wipeout halfcut at 4am on a big TV when the sense of acceleration becomes a sense of falling forward.
Claim Number 3.
It is absolutely galling to me that we refer to whatever it is that happens when we communicate over WhatsApp or twitter a conversation. It just feels different from a conversation. It feels like I fling bits of myself across the internet at the other person waiting for their own shredded signs of life to return. The blinking rhythm of the cursor creates emotions and nuance but they are smashed against the rocks of with written word and flung into the digital the release of the return key
Letters feel different, holding a letter in my hand makes me feel strange. A ‘heavy text’. The way you see a star or a planet warp spacetime in the physics illustrations. I don’t think i have ever written a letter and not experienced visceral emotions.
Internet really chat,
I don’t know. But it’s not a conversation
Claim Number 4.
All conversations are specialized, I see conversations in my mind’s eye. Each one has a different shape, colour, texture. Some serious conversations at my last job about budgets and money were crystalline, hyperdimensional, transparent, with pink and purple hues. Some conversations that I’m not enjoying have strange organic shapes and just taste wrong. Sometimes like an old metallic penny or taste like the smell of creosote on a hot summer night.
The script above is the original script written for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the edit.
If you’d like to support this blog and its various projects, please consider making a regular contribution here. It genuinely helps me keep things up and running, so thank you!