Posted by: glue | June 4, 2009

Threshold Contamination

The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-23, Edited by Max Brod, purchased in Madrid, Spain, 1965, when I was twenty, still imagining how to become  a writer.  Here is the very copy in my hands now, with the pencil marks selecting certain passages.  Kafka’s ambivalence about his plans to marry Felice Bauer crystallized a general dilemma, an aporia at the center of life that Sartre later formulated as:  live or tell.  Entries dated 1913 inventory reasons for and against the marriage.  The choice seems to be between Felice and Writing.  Several times he wonders if the only solution is to throw himself out a window, not without his gallows humor.  “I have come to believe that there are possibilities in my ever-increasing inner decisiveness and conviction which may enable me to pass the test of marriage in spite of everything… Of course, to certain extent this is a belief that I grasp at when I am already on the window sill.”

Her name was Happiness

Her name was Happiness

Kafka articulated how the world is, or was to me then:  two realms, two dimensions, two realities, with no connection between them, with me as a potential movement between if not for being rooted or chained to the spot.  I did not understand Stimmung at the time, that I was in a Mood, it was not in me, an attunement shared by the culture collectively, thematized in the forensic atmospheres of film noir and the paralysis of cities evoked in modernist poetry.  The cliché or commonplace human condition of alienation I experienced as a personal and private anxiety of indecision, specific to me.  Sanford Kwinter, commenting on Metamorphosis, describes the interface of Dasein and the Outside that I could not identify in 1965.  It is the conditions of a threshold, a boundary zone.

Thus the break with time is often also inseparable from a negation of worldliness and a collapsing of space.  The moment of waking reproduces these same border or limit conditions.  One world continues indifferently, unmoved and unchanged, while another spills into it, filling all the cracks and chinks between objects with the swirling indefiniteness of a wanton becoming.  Though the dream-time of sleep has come quietly to an end, somehow the pure virtuality that animates it has burst its barrier and invaded the real, depositing there precisely what had always been anathema to it:  the so-called untimely, or the irreducible, absolute, and incontrovertibly new.  We are assured now that this grotesque inmixing (and this is developed in the narrative as a befouling and as a pollution in every possible sense) is in every manner real (Kwinter, Architectures of Time).

[ An experience emerges here, in the manner of a figure to be explored:  an isotopy aligning Spain Decision/ Superfund disaster/ Trace.  Nachtraglichkeit.  Replication.  It is felt now]

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