Quantum Field Poetics (CCafe 8/21)


(Ed Mahood) #22

We infer (which is a skill) and interpret (which is an even more challenging skill) what others (some are, what you are implying, “smart” and some not so. And these inferences and interpretations should be, to my small mind, rooted in more than their opinions (and by opinions I mean the results of thought, not a substitute therefor). I’m sure we agree that this is not always the case. Be that as it may, this does not mean that we cannot gain a stronger, perhaps clearer, understanding of what they are saying if we are open enough and willing enough to make the sizeable effort needed to attain that.

However, your following statement is a non sequiter. There may still be a “supermind” and there could be “superhumans”, and there might be something we could call a “Noosphere”. Just because some smart people are sometimes stupid (where I would say they simply overshoot their intelligence), it does not follow that ALL smart people suffer from this malady.

If you mean by “amoral”, “free of morals”, then I’m with you. Without human beings, there is no notion of “morality”, but I’m not clear on what morals has to do with “smart”, “inalienable rights”, what constitutes a “person”, or “equality”. Once those notions are clarified and agreed, we can start thinking about potential “shoulds”.

(Mark Jabbour) #23

Oh, @madrush - here’s the photo. [IJ|240x320] you’d have to bring up the text, but as I recall the author said “they” did a poem with the skewered words.

(Mark Jabbour) #24


Here it is. (I need an intern.)

(Mark Jabbour) #25

And there you have hit the nail on the head. Who among us is willing to do that? If one is lucky, one may run into such a person. And then what happens? A deal/contract is made - You show me yours and I’ll show you mine - and then a cost/benefit analysis is done, consciously or unconsciously. Now, we’re getting into infinite jest territory. … which binds @madrush & I together.

(Mark Jabbour) #26

See - I would take the “conversation” into “parts unknown” … yet connected.

(Ed Mahood) #27

Not really … or perhaps in your own so-constructed reality. In my world, once the connection is established, we would mutually explore our views in search of what is sound, lasting, and perhaps even enduring, knowing full well that another could enter the conversation and take it in other directions. It is called the pursuit of knowledge, but, as I’m guessing you’re about to say, “who gives a shit about that”?

To put it in Gebserian terms, the focus these days is on being right and so a deal is struck. We’re all the poorer for it. And we remain poor as long as we yield to that.

(Ed Mahood) #28

I believe – in spite of the System’s admonition not to reply to you again – that a poem was generated by the skewered words. I also believe that it wasn’t a very good poem.

A poem can be made of any words we like, but that does not make it a good poem. Who cares?

Where @madrush and I concur, I believe, that it should be worth our while to read (hear/experience) that poem. I don’t see how skewered words pass that simple test.

(Mark Jabbour) #29

Wrong, w/r/t giving a shit. W/r/t Gebser “these days” on being right. The behavioral ecologist/naturalist/evopsychologist/paleopsychologist (me) would say: is that “being right” has survival benefits that supersede proximate reasons for “agreeable”. I.e. We (humans) would not be here (and dominate the environment, to some extent) had not we (some of us) been risk adverse, and that that trait was attractive to females.

Not true. We, as a species, dominate. We are rich, abundant, in amoral biological terms. I suspect, predict, that even if we kill 99% of our species, we’ll rise to dominate again. Just saying …

(Heather Fester) #30

A couple of things that this post made me think of:


Also, I can understand the disagreement in point 2. I teach writing and so also see that writing and thinking are intimately related, and one develops the other in both directions. A lot of the “right word” talk, I think, was more or less pointing at a “felt sense” (more on “felt sense” at the bottom of the page) or “thinking at the edge” form of creativity (to use Gendlin’s terms–ones which I find very helpful–both in tension and in resonance with the other ways of writing and thinking. …if that makes sense. :slight_smile: ) I’m not saying that @madrush was exactly using Gendlin’s ideas in his descriptions. He seems to have his own bodily semantic system for choosing the words as well. But, I think the two systems might be simpatico.

@madrush, I wondered if the word you were looking for was erasure… wasn’t available to me on the call for some reason. And, then, after the call, I thought of the word “verisimilitude” in relationship to some of what we were discussing (and then toyed with “objective correlative” too).

(Marco V Morelli) #31

Well…just Googling it, the method (which varies slightly) seems to go by at least three terms:

  • erasure poetry
  • redaction poetry
  • blackout poetry

Neither of these, however, is what I was thinking/feeling! Yes, from the poet’s perspective, there is a ‘right word.’ But of course, it’s completely dependent on all the other words in the local (and cosmic) field.

(Mark Jabbour) #32

So, as background, one of my “students” (2013) was one of Chogyam Trungpa’s “girls” @ Naropa (back-in-the-day). She wanted me to teach Creative Writing @ Naropa. I said “not for me.” She was working on a memoir. Anyway … It (Life) is all very interesting, and I wouldn’t change a thing, w/r/t to my experience. Cheers, m

(Mark Jabbour) #33

So, where do you teach? Perhaps we (you @madrush & I) could get together? I suggest, if Marco had taken my class - he wouldn’t be so conflicted, but by now a famous, NYT’s best seller. Kidding of course, but then again … quantum physics and what not, who knows?

(Maia Maia) #34

While listening to this group experiment, (9/4) I wrote , too, lines that flowed out or seemed to flow out
of what you all were doing, which was like raising a cloud of complex flavors and energies…
Thanks for being playful in a most serious vein.
More to come, I hope!

(Arkapravo Bhaumik) #35

Hello everyone. I am new to the concept of QFP and l was wondering if Riddley Walker fits the bill? It is Hoban’s magnum opus and unlike anything that you may have read. The text lacks in structure and also logic, and though being told by a young boy it conveys the existing dystopia. The lack of consistency and a known timeline adds to the uncertainty in interpretation, and creates the harrowing scenes of near future. Iain M. Banks and David Mitchell have found inspiration from Riddley Walker.

(Geoffrey Edwards) #36

I am unfamiliar with this writer, @arkapravo… I shall certainly look him up!

(Marco V Morelli) #37

Thanks for the suggestion, Arkapravo. They have that book at my local library and I’m going to check it out too.

(Arkapravo Bhaumik) #38

@Geoffrey_Edwards and @madrush this is a beautiful exposition, the opening lines are;

On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. He dint make the groun shake nor nothing like that when he come on to my spear he wernt all that big plus he lookit poorly. He done the reqwyrt he ternt and stood and clattert his teef and made his rush and there we wer then. Him on 1 end of the spear kicking his life out and me on the other end watching him dy. I said, “Your tern now my tern later.” The other spears gone in then and he wer dead and the steam coming up off him in the rain and we all yelt, “Offert!”

The woal thing fealt jus that littl bit stupid. Us running that boar thru that las littl scrump of woodling with the forms all roun. Cows mooing sheap baaing cocks crowing and us foraging our las boar in a thin grey girzel on the day I come a man.

Set in southern England (now called Inland), the tale of how humanity has evolved after a nuclear war is nothing short of stark horror. Hoban is genius, and should be read more often, and should have found more readership in his lifetime. One does get into a ‘give it up’ mode as the language is based on its phonetic structure and is a reminder of a Joycean wetdream (read Finnegans Wake) but please do try - it is just about 250 odd pages. You may wish to use this website, http://www.errorbar.net/rw/ to help you.

Iain M. Banks’ Feersum Endjinn and a part of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After) were directly motivated by Riddley Walker.

(Marco V Morelli) #39

That is beautiful exposition, Arkapravo—and, it seems to me, plausible ‘old’-future English. It’s funny you make this suggestion just now becuase yesterday I was thumbing through an encyclopedia of the English language and looking at examples of old runes and texts—also my 9-yr old daughter has been reading a book with sentences in old English, old German, old French, etc… She has been walking around the house reciting the wyrd words aloud testing if we can understand them.

(Douglas Duff) #40

Thank you for the connection of Hoban —> Mitchell @arkapravo . "SLOOSHA’S CROSSIN’ AN’ EV’RYTHIN’ AFTER " in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas clearly represents a strong influence arising from Hoban’s style in Riddley Walker. (I read a few pages of Hoban’s work…so can’t speak for the entire novel). And somehow, with what limited understanding I have of Quantum Field Poetics, I believe these works of fiction shoot their particles like waves into the quanta. @Geoffrey_Edwards overview up top provides a nice introduction, and my bold highlights below are what I feel have connections with Hoban’s/Mitchell’s efforts:

Could Riddley Walker be compared to Finnegan’s Wake? Are these works able to be filed as Quantum Field Poetics? Can the scale of a novel achieve such feats as the cloud of meaning or resonances in the poetic field when the focus in QFP is not necessarily page by page but more on the quantum level, word by word, phoneme by phoneme and how these loop back around within the work? This was one of my first thoughts when hearing about the QFP:

If we look at one of our authors here, I believe David Mitchell demonstrates the idea of field poetics in his writing. Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten can be viewed as a collection of short stories nested like Matryoshka dolls, creating a self-referential effect that is “collectively aware” of each layer. Or as a tapestry of woven words that connect various threads as the stories become intertwined, that lace together various strands of perspectives from individuals across the globe (Ghostwritten) or across time and space and across multiple genres (Cloud Atlas). Even the title “cloud atlas” makes one think of the clouds gracefully flowing by in a field effect of its own, forming and dispersing, reflected and diffracted in the waters below. Does Mitchell focus upon his work, word by word, honing in on even the individual letter placement in the grand scheme of things? Probably not or the novels would never be written. But there is a connective structure within Cloud Atlas and even within his ever-forming cosmos of characters who reappear across time and space, providing “residual field effects” that flow into all his other books.

aside thoughts...

Our minds do not have to be computational devices, forming algorithmic strands of information to be disseminated throughout the body and into the world. We can be the ever forming field of clouds, forever formulating, feeding upon droplets upon droplets upon droplets as they arise as invisible bits of nourishment.
Or closer maybe to QFP is imagining the field of sky as our ground of play. the tabla rosa on a clear blue-sky day or infinitely dark night. Like gods we savor upon the drops dripping into our field, phenomenal phonemes and phenomes formulating its next charting of the night sky, or piecing together the cloud atlas of the day, building upon the previous days’ formations and diffusions.

I hope to check out Riddley Walker more. Thanks for the reference!

(Arkapravo Bhaumik) #41

@madrush, @Geoffrey_Edwards and @Douggins I feel privileged to introduce all of you to this wonderful book.

Since we are already into the realm of ‘less-than-ordinary’ brand of literature, have a look at the Palencar Project and the Anderson Project. The contributing authors were asked to meditate on a painting and put together a short story on it. The genre is broadly science fiction, futurism, fantasy and magical realism but it brings forth a newer blend of writing. I, as a reader was always visiting the painting in my mind as I was reading the short stories. I am a die-hard Gene Wolfe fan, and unfortunately his contribution, ‘Dormanna’ does not rival his best.

As a summary, these projects made me appreciate that vision is a far reaching mode of communication and expression, than writing - a picture tells a million tales… and maybe … as a reader, I did feel some quantum connection with the writing via the painting …