Showing posts with label Joni Mitchell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joni Mitchell. Show all posts

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Memes...

As I write in my notebook, I look over at candies lined in large canisters as a rainbow of dyed sugar across the wall at the "...Sweet~Factory." Where, later, I will buy chocolates, after sipping a bowl of Miso, a perfectly flavoured broth of nourishment, in the empty Japanese restaurant that is arranged like a cafe on the red granite floor of the underground concourse. It is quiet here, where I come to write, to take a break from the tedium of the job upstairs, the repetition of information which I transfer meme-like from Word file to Excel chart.
On Dawkins concept of Memes: "structured units of knowledge that are able, more or less, to reproduce themselves by making copies of themselves from one mind to another." Marvin Minsky.
A system of ideas can evolve by itself through structured units of knowledge that are able to reproduce themselves by making copies from one mind to the next, without biological change. Without life, or death. Simply being carried in neuronal synapses, from reading, or hearing, or seeing, words or numbers or concepts. Carried on. Through life-bearing organisms, and in texts that we create, documents and spreadsheets.

Like the economic system, but isn't that too big to grapple with? Let me, instead, grumble about how much senseless information is passed on through replication. Information that gives us a demographic, but doesn't impart the bloodbeat?

Where 'being on the edge,' or at the core of a 'denuded' life, a naked life, counts. Having wrestled free of a quarter of a million dollars of debt, most of which wasn't my doing, I live without luxury, accoutrements of ease. I owe nothing and I have nothing. My life at zero. Zero is the place to be. Zero-consciousness: death-consciousness. No debt, nothing to be paid off in the future. In the Bergsonian eternal present, never mind time: financially. My karma is clean. I am free of baggage from the past and encumbrances in the future.

In the movie, Children of Men, the future is presented as an impossibility. Capitalism depends on 'borrowing against the future,' and debt is contingent on future payment. What Children of Men presents is the alternative of no future. The spectre of a species coming to the end of its line. In the film the women of the world are infertile. The 'other,' is blamed: racism is heightened, mass deportations are ongoing. Society becomes totalitarian. The system crashes. Memes flounder trying to reproduce the world through their reproductions of it. Nothing works. The youngest child in the world, an 18 year old, dies, and the world mourns through global networks of news. But there is hope, a Black Madonna in their midst. White roses should line her sacred path instead of the blood of constant murder.

The mystery, protect it, honour. Mystery. Profundity. Fear and trembling. Beauty. The sublime.

Feel it. Live as an unsheathed nerve. A strange image in this underground vault of stores and eateries lined with large tiles of polished granite. Open, vulnerable, sensitive to the essence of the beating pulse. And to write from the real, and not sugar-coat, or pretend, but to feel all life's modalities and tonalities, from the dark and confusing and heavy, to plaintive mourning, to joy and ecstasy and bliss, to communion. Love, every breath. What I like are suspended chords, what Joni Mitchell calls, 'chords of enquiry. They're unresolved.' Then the composition becomes harmonically complex. Then it's possible to hear a full range, including what throbs below the cacophonous surface.

She looks out beneath long and lustrous eyelashes, coated with deep brown mascara, under a perfectly drawn line of dark liquid eyeliner. Courbet-brown hair, elegantly pulled back; lipstick glossy on her lips; nails a deep red; her earlobes and neck and wrists and fingers rung with fine gold. She's from North Africa, perhaps of Middle-Eastern and East Indian lineage. Sleek oiled beauty, an older woman, short, soft, rounded. For her I transfer information from charts to lists. Charts with boxes of names, and numbers, and positions in departments, who's who, staff, or contract, and where. Hierarchies of power replicated department by department. Updating what will be obsolete in a few weeks because people move in the bank, changing offices, positions, and her charts keep up with the changes so that everyone can reach everyone else by phone or email or mail. We need to be in our places, even if we're constantly changing places. Across sound-proofing office dividers, floors that are accessed by different blocks of elevators inaccessible to each other, around numbers spilling out of every computer screen in the whole complex of corporate office buildings. Mergers, take-overs, credit departments, marketing, delinquent accounts. Increase on investments. On the take. On the go. The bodies who make up the organization in the lists. Under those dark, swept eyelashes the lists will be reviewed, corrected with up-to-date information, and fed back into the system. Women like me come and go; we rarely speak of Michelangelo. The bank needs to keep track of itself.

Banks are the circulatory system. If the stock exchange, investment firms and investment wings of banks are the dark beating heart of the global financial empire, banks are its blood. Taking capitalism to every corner of the globe, every tiny capillary. Money in, sending it back out, or using it for loans or investments. Lending it; making money through interest payments. The bank, an aorta. Upstairs under the stories-high glass roof of skylights, a semi-circle of marble counters that the bank tellers stand at counting money. Transactions. In, and out. Money circulating, sloshing around the world.

My mind slowed into thickness and I left, and went to the Japanese restaurant and ordered Miso soup and wrote this while looking at the candies, like sweet tower turrets, a wall of dyed designer sugar laid out like a rainbow. When I go over to buy chocolate, I discover the turrets are soft plastic tubes created to 'look like' a candy store, and the candies are photographs printed on posters wrapped inside the clear canisters.