On the question of symmetry’s own relation to both thought and desire, the conclusion is this: it all revolves around potential not principle. It may be that when considering desire we may say that all things revolve around drives (some would call this biology; the sophisticated ones will bring in Lacan), but in considering thinking, questions arise: what if there’s more? (some would call this metaphysics; the sophisticated ones will bring in geometry, and then call it chaos theory).

The nonsense perpetrated for ages, which dictates that one cannot, at the same time, be both a mathematician (able to calculate desire) and a poet (able to imagine the effects of desire), has been surpassed by all those whose prime characteristic actions are these: 1) not to hesitate, and 2) not to anticipate what is not in one’s power to anticipate. A mathematician and a poet will thus take potential over principle any time, all the time. On a deeper level, the implication of claiming the position of being both/and is that the mathematician/poet will always be able to make the ultimate gesture: to offer trust in another's actions even when these actions are identified as being the effect of self-delusion, such as we find them in this situation: act 1) we go with principles, but, act 2) we don't believe in them. Where symmetry is concerned there is always, already only one bottom line, if one cares to take the time to recognize it. And when perfect symmetry occurs, it occurs in and of itself beyond and above drive and drone. What kind of magic is there in it, for us?

I’ll pose this question to Anthony Johnson, specialist in Renaissance literature, the only alchemist professor I know who is both a mathematician and a poet, who knows perfect symmetry, and doesn’t mind telling me about it. What say you, my friend? I’ve been reading the other Jonson’s marvelous text, Masque of Beautie, and was reminded of your essay on collaborative form. “Dost thou not know me? I, too well, know thee…” Fling the symmetry, Anthony!


Anonymous said…
Hi Camelia. Here is one for you from your old homeboy of deconstruction on the question of (dis)symmetry, and a little bit on dreaming of the innumerable:

"[..], I have felt the necessity for a chorus, for a choreographic text with polysexual signatures. I felt this every time that a legitimacy of the neuter, the apparently least suspect sexual neutrality of "phallocentric or gynocentric" mastery, threatened to immobilize (in silence), colonize, stop or unilateralize in a subtle or sublime manner what remains no doubt irreducibly dissymetrical. More directly: a certain dissymmetry is no doubt the law both of sexual difference and the relationship to the other in general (I say this in opposition to a certain kind of violence within the language of "democratic" platitudes, in any case in opposition to a certain democratic ideology), yet the dissymmetry to which I refer is still let us not say symmetrical in turn (which might seem absurd), but doubly, unilaterally inordinate, like a kind of reciprocal, respective and respectful excessiveness. This double dissymmetry perhaps goes beyond known or coded marks, beyond the grammar and spelling, shall we say (metaphorically), of sexuality. This indeed revives the following question: what if we were to reach, what if were were to approach here (for one does not arrive at this as one would at a determined location) the area of a relationship to the other where the code of sexual marks would no longer be discriminating? The relationship would not be a-sexual, far from it, but would be sexual otherwise: beyond the binary difference that governs the decorum of all codes, beyond the oppostion femine/masculine, beyond bisexuality as well, beyond homosexuality and heterosexuality which come to the same thing. As I dream of saving the chance that this question offers I would like to believe in the multiplicity of sexuallly marked voices. I would like to believe in the masses, the indeterminable number of blended voices, this mobile of non-identified sexual marks whose choreography can carry, divide, multiply the body of each "individual," whether he be classified as "man" or as "woman" according to the criteria of usage. Of course, it is not impossible that desire for a sexuality without number can still protect us, like a dream, from an implacable destiny which immures everything for life in the figure 2. And should this merciless closure arrest desire at the wall of opposition, we would struggle in vain: there will never be but two sexes, neither one more nor one less. Tragedy would leave this strange sense, a contingent one finally, that we must affirm and learn to love instead of dreaming of the innumerable. Yes, perhaps; why not? But where would the "dream" of the innumerable come from, if it is indeed a dream? Does the dream itself not prove that what is dreamt of must be there in order for it to provide the dream? Then too, I ask you, what kind of a dance would there be, or would there be one at all, if the sexes were not exchanged according to rhythms that vary considerably? In a quite rigorous sense, the exchange [underlined in the original, shb] alone could not suffice either, however, because the desire to escape the combinatory itself, to invent incalculable choreographies, would remain."

- from "Interview - Choreographies. Jacques Derrida and Christie McDonald" (1982)

And a final one from my own very dear and queer New York poet-logician, which could be today's motto:

"To wit, man plays a role in his conspiracy,
ergo, he cannot be a victim."

- from "Tuesday Evening" in John Ashbery: Can You Hear, Bird (1995)
Unknown said…
OH, MY GOD, Søren, my dearest. Am I losing my head? No, I'm not losing my head - some Beckett for you... Now, where were we? Yes, if I weren't such a Marxist I would marry you on the spot - well, as I would also marry Bent and perhaps a couple of others, yes, Derrida, indeed - I'm sure he would have said yes, as would Ashbery, if asked, and Federman too, if he weren't dying right now. Imagine that, the jolly queer troupe of thinkers, logicians, critifictioners, Bach musicians, and marvellous mathematicians. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For fuck's sake, that made my day.

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