Posted by: glue | July 10, 2008

Find a “Burning River”

Navigating the range of my rhizome (mapped by the popcycle discourses). A Civil Action shows me the symptom that may also be present in my disaster (the Superfund site). The lawyers believe that someone must have seen something that could provide evidence for the actions of the corporation. Finally they find a witness who saw the river on fire at night.

A Civil Action

A Civil Action

This river fire points in at least two directions, as do the images we see in dreams: one leads into the public history of culture, to show the family relations of the symptom. “Greek Mythology talks of five rivers separating the land of the living and the dead. Phlegeton was one of them – The River of Fire. It burned but did not consume any fuel. (People have always wished for things which come without cost! But of course that it happened only in hell is what we should note). This very same river figures in Dante’s Divine Comedy too which relishes describing the gory details of what dead souls go through. Phlegeton is in the outer ring of Circle 7 specially reserved for those violent against others. Mind you, worse fate awaited those violent against themselves or God in the middle ring and the inner ring.”

The other direction is the chain of my personal associations. This symptom intimates the propensity of things in my existential project, It is a kind of prophecy, like the one the witches told to MacBeth, that he “will not be killed until the Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane hill.” The burning may be heard again in Birnam. The Koppers disaster includes charcoal, perhaps the ashes of this fire. But it is not the scene itself that is my symptom, but something of that sort, expressing a bachelor machine of oxymorons (burning rivers, moving woods), marking a path through the scene of my disaster.



  1. Figure

    The Travolta film shows the kind of stories told about disasters in popular culture. It foregrouds the two predominant ways of saying being in our practices: as evidence and as story (a story about evidence). In Expression both modes are subordinated to a third way: the figure. Moreover, the particular scene of this “smoking gun” is a pivot, opening a way beyond both modes, becoming independent as a sign.

    Instruction: find the dramatic evidence in my disaster that affects me, that I recognize as an objective correlative of my state of mind, my stand, my situation.

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