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Thread: Say something clever

  1. #16
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    Any attempt to satisfy the demand "say something clever" will always fall immediately into stupidity, banality, cliché, repetition etc.

    I have been wondering a lot about how it is possible to write poetry on demand, in the middle of a busy thoroughfare. I think it is a very admirable practice, if approached without cynicism. It could be done horribly: imagine every encounter being "tell me your name and what you do for a living, I'll think of a rhyme for each and produce you a couple of metric quatrains, like 'there was a fine chap named Adam / he was a skilful plumber / but his missus was a madam / which was a serious bummer'". That it can be done joyfully, in a spirit of invention and generosity, is a bit of a miracle. I imagine that it must involve, as a basic first step, suspension of the desire to seem clever, to say something clever, to satisfy the other. We don't know what will satisfy the other. But we can try to tickle them.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by poetix View Post
    Any attempt to satisfy the demand "say something clever" will always fall immediately into stupidity, banality, cliché, repetition etc.

    I have been wondering a lot about how it is possible to write poetry on demand, in the middle of a busy thoroughfare. I think it is a very admirable practice, if approached without cynicism. It could be done horribly: imagine every encounter being "tell me your name and what you do for a living, I'll think of a rhyme for each and produce you a couple of metric quatrains, like 'there was a fine chap named Adam / he was a skilful plumber / but his missus was a madam / which was a serious bummer'". That it can be done joyfully, in a spirit of invention and generosity, is a bit of a miracle. I imagine that it must involve, as a basic first step, suspension of the desire to seem clever, to say something clever, to satisfy the other. We don't know what will satisfy the other. But we can try to tickle them.
    You're absolutely right about this. Spot on.

  3. #18
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    So you have to access the emotion direct, and accept it for what it is, and allow it it's dignity. What I always say to Edmund who is hampered by an indie kid past is, it's r&b it's not indie. You take things face on without trying to evade them with cleverness, cynicism etc. Write another love song, and mean it.

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    I fundamentally don't understand R&B. I used to think I just didn't like it. Now I can appreciate its qualities, but it still seems to me to be being beamed in from a parallel emotional universe. Metal makes sense to me because it's basically collective/solipsistic - you might experience it listening alone in your bedroom, or as part of a heaving mass in a moshpit, but with the exception of "metal ballads" (almost uniformly terrible) you'd never sing a metal song directly to another person. (An interesting exception here might be Deftones, which is unusually intimate - not for nothing is there a rather good Deftones Sade cover, for instance). R&B is about seduction, praise, remonstration, apology: it's a person-to-person medium. The speaker is always caught up in an intersubjective game - very often the answering voice is included in the song, offering encouragement or retort. I'm fairly terrible at all of those things in real life, and don't really understand what people who are good at them are really doing. R&B seems to me to be about imagining yourself, successfully, as a kind of intersubjective virtuoso: not just a loverman, but a really persuasive loverman, one who believes in himself and wants to be believed by the other person.

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  6. #20
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    The indie-kid stance: I'm not persuaded, and if I'm persuading you it's because I'm fooling you, which is very clever of me.

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  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by poetix View Post
    I fundamentally don't understand R&B. I used to think I just didn't like it. Now I can appreciate its qualities, but it still seems to me to be being beamed in from a parallel emotional universe. Metal makes sense to me because it's basically collective/solipsistic - you might experience it listening alone in your bedroom, or as part of a heaving mass in a moshpit, but with the exception of "metal ballads" (almost uniformly terrible) you'd never sing a metal song directly to another person. (An interesting exception here might be Deftones, which is unusually intimate - not for nothing is there a rather good Deftones Sade cover, for instance). R&B is about seduction, praise, remonstration, apology: it's a person-to-person medium. The speaker is always caught up in an intersubjective game - very often the answering voice is included in the song, offering encouragement or retort. I'm fairly terrible at all of those things in real life, and don't really understand what people who are good at them are really doing. R&B seems to me to be about imagining yourself, successfully, as a kind of intersubjective virtuoso: not just a loverman, but a really persuasive loverman, one who believes in himself and wants to be believed by the other person.
    Yeah this is something I find quite intriguing about you as clearly you do exist in a parallel emotional universe (from me) you clearly sift and arrange and probably experience your thoughts in a very different manner from me but there's still an overlap, a zone where we can understand one another, and even come to the same conclusions via different paths.

    Do you not find yourself sometimes caught in an intersubjective game within your own subjectivities?

    I have the same complete inability to understand metal as you do with r&b. I want to point to the pantomime of it, the histrionics, but obviously aware that some people think of r&b in the same terms. i get quite upset with it. Even the visual stuff around it, like when our guitar guy, padraig posts a load of stuff in a thread I get viscerally upset, have a temper tantrum, scream. Just looking at the images.

    Sometimes it's very tempting, just assuming humans are various different aliens in a standardised earth suit, with incompatible needs and desires. Burroughs vision.

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  10. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Yeah this is something I find quite intriguing about you as clearly you do exist in a parallel emotional universe (from me) you clearly sift and arrange and probably experience your thoughts in a very different manner from me but there's still an overlap, a zone where we can understand one another, and even come to the same conclusions via different paths.

    Do you not find yourself sometimes caught in an intersubjective game within your own subjectivities?
    Yes, certainly, and that is really my pathway towards understanding what's going on with other people. A common metaphor used by computer-minded aspies is to talk about doing "in software" or "in simulation" what other people presumably do "in hardware" (i.e. having a sense of what other minds are up to, so that your own emotional read of a situation is coloured-in by your anticipation of the other person's emotions). The idea isn't that neurotypical people are somehow telepathic, but that their intuitions (observations and conjectures) about other minds are embedded in the "main feed" of their own emotional experience, so that there isn't the same sense of untimeliness and delay, of painstaking reconstruction after the fact. When people's intuitions go badly off the rails, and they find that they've misread the other person to the point where they don't understand why a situation has developed as it has, they are then thrown into the same position of trying to model, in simulation, what the other person must have been thinking and feeling after the fact. Interestingly, it's then that the aspie often has a bit of an advantage, as they've had to cultivate that skill, and a whole repertoire of conscious interpretative strategies, in order to handle everyday interactions.

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  12. #23
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    For years, before I started thinking in terms of neurodiversity, I called this faculty "moral imagination". I think some people lack it somewhat: they're fine so long as they're dealing with minds that work just like their own, but terribly thrown, and often rather offended and put-out, when they encounter someone who's configured at all differently, who doesn't feel what they're "supposed" to at any given time. My joke about "theory of mind" (which ASD people are supposed to lack) is that if anyone has an explicit theory of mind, usually quite a ramified theory, it's surely aspies. The Burroughsian viewpoint is the enlightened one, I think.

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  14. #24
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    I do this less than i used to when habitually stoned. Now it's conflict which will force me into that position. This has modified my idea of conflict over the past couple of years. I used to think it was just a chance to do rutting like glorious highland stags, a enlivening test of strength, exciting and fun, now I tend to think it is because I'm being a dick. I've made some miscalculations and got sloppy. Didn't see the angles. So it's a chance to check again and readjust the trajectory. Very necessary to be shaken out of it sometimes.

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    I have chosen I suppose to believe in a magical idea, that when your trajectory is perfect you will encounter no resistance. Total acceleration. Full speed ahead to the promised land.

  16. #26
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    I often think about Larkin's line about the sexual revolution - that "everything became / a brilliant breaking of the bank, / a quite unloseable game" - in reference to occasions of unexpected ease, all obstacles surmounted, success leading inexorably to success. Of course Larkin was imagining the way it must be for other people, and largely imagining it wrong: the game stayed the game, even if certain players found themselves unexpectedly turbocharged and lubricated.

    The virtuoso guitarist Shawn Lane had an interesting line about technique - there were certain things he played absolutely freakishly fast, and the normal wisdom is that the way you get to play something fast is to play it slowly and then gradually speed up. No, said Lane, for some things you have to just leap into playing it fast - "transcendental technique" - because there is no way to cross the phase transition between slower-than-freakishly-fast and freakishly-fast by small increments. Lane was kind of the guitar shredder equivalent of a twitch gamer - he was using reflexes that lie some way out of the normal human range. You have to break through something to get there.

    If you watch Troy Grady's videos on picking technique (I'm not saying you should, just reporting back on what I've seen) you can see that very fast pickers do something different when they speed up - they shift into a set of picking mechanics which are optimised for playing particular things very fast indeed, and they often do it without knowing that they're doing it: if you ask them what they're doing, they'll show you what they do when they're playing it slow, and then tell you to do that with a metronome and gradually increase the tempo. It turns out this is terrible advice!

    I'm very interested in leaps, breaks, phase transitions. They happen all the time in child development. Children don't learn in small increments. They toddle about basically incapable of some whole class of thinking or doing, and then something clicks or kindles and they're suddenly, very quickly, the kind of creature that can think and do the things in that class.

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  18. #27
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    Yes, I was talking a little bit about this in another thread. Something switches and right then and there you have a new superpower. Or, in the other direction, you look in the mirror and find you have aged ten years overnight. Some terrible retribution is harvested.

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    Trying to work out some primitive science of these breaks is something I'm very concerned with. Some process of destruction and reassembly at higher attractor site. New arrangement of components at greater degree of complexity.

  20. #29
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    Abandoning one model and grasping for a new one, reaching out in darkness and miraculously grabbing hold, finding it there, available.

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    Something I realised in the archeological museum in
    Athens is that the V for Vendetta mask gains its power
    From what is known as 'the archaic smile' the characteristic
    smile worn by the oldest Greek statues, before the 'severe
    style' wiped the smirk from their faces.

    This smile is also the smile worn by the heirophant
    In crowleys Thoth tarot deck.

    "
    It is the aeon of Horus, of the Child. Though the face of the Hierophant appears benignant and smiling, and the child himself seems glad with wanton innocence, it is hard to deny that in the expression of the initiator is something mysterious, even sinister. He seems to be enjoying a very secret joke at somebody's expense. There is a distinctly sadistic aspect to this card;

    "

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