Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Ecce Laptop (cont)

Chris Palazzolo cleanses his mind and realises the laptop isn’t that scary.
 – The story so far Teasing Threads – Sundry Film and Literary Criticism: Ecce Laptop Part 1

Image result for laptops imagesThe human mind is armed with all manner of devices in order to sort through and make sense of its world. Foremost among these is language. Language is the great organiser of the world; it gives things in the world meaning and relates those things to other things, so that the mind can form totalities.  These totalities are, beyond the immediate proximity of the mind, schematic, inferential, filled in, or papered up with images, concepts, and received notions (ideologies) which sometimes more sometimes less accurately approximate what other proximities may be like, but which in actual fact are radically unknowable.

The world nonetheless is there, whatever can be said about it. Language (which is the basis of human world-transforming industriousness) has already shaped it so that proximities interrelate, in that fellowship of going-about-one’s-business busyness known as civil society, to all those things (industry, logistics, law and order, divisions of labour and consumption) that make civil society possible. I am sitting in the café. I see people walking past. I can never be what they are, I can only infer it – I have the entire resources of language at my disposal to make a life narrative about each one of them – but I can never be them, I can only ever be myself. I, and in the most fundamental sense that modern philosophy (and more recently modern physics) has never been able to think past, am radically separate from them.

Before me, on the table, is a device for receiving and storing signs. These signs are shared by other minds (I assume) but their arrangement here is entirely novel. Never before in the history of the world have signs been arranged like I am arranging them now on this device sitting before me. The action of placing and arranging these signs on this device is an event that I and I alone can experience. No one else can experience this event, only other events. I am alone in the ecstatic event of composing this piece, but I’ve just knocked off two long blacks one after the other and I’m stoned on coffee.

Ecce Laptop. I love my laptop in the same way I loved my typewriters and pcs. Every piece of mine, no matter how many transformations it’s undergone, or media it’s been transferred to, carries (for me and me alone!) the mark of the device it was first composed on; poems written with pen, dialogues bashed out on typewriter, novels constructed on pcs. When Nietzsche subtitled his book Twilight of the Idols, ‘how to philosophise with a hammer,’ what he meant is that he’d got his hands on one of those newfangled typewriter thingies (manufactured by Signor Mitterhofer, 1867) and was going to write with that from now on – little hammers bashing in the teeth of the idolaters. This is the reason for the aphoristic turn of his later books. The writing technology changed his writing. You can’t bash teeth with a laptop because that would damage the keyboard, and the quicksilver nature of the automation means you’re more likely to smother with a spiritless cloud of too-easy-to-type signs. If you think of the staggering exertion of writing Clarissa with quill, inkwell and paper, then you can see how easy us writers have got it now. The laptop (as a typewriter) requires a different kind of discipline to other writing technologies. I don’t want to give away all my trade secrets, but generally I try to get rid of most adjectives.

– Chris Palazzolo

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