December 7th, 2010

S.C. Hickman

Abyss radiance: Toward a Dark Realism

"Nihil est sine ratione....nothing is without a reason."
       - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

"We have to allow the reality of force in physics." 
        - from the Theodicy, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

In his Theodicy Leibniz comes to a theory of finitude saying, "A fuller power to represent the universe is necessarily combined with dominance over an organized troop of members; for the mind knows the universe only in so far as the universe is expressed in its body.  That is what the finitude of the mind means."[1] He sees the objective universe of brute matter as devoid of mind, and "representation, in the required sense, is a mental act; brute matter can represent nothing, only mind can represent." [ibid. p. 23]

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S.C. Hickman

The Abyss of Freedom

""This is the sadness which adheres to all finite life...From it comes the veil of sadness which is spread over the whole of nature, the deep indestructible melancholy of all life."
           - F.W.J. Schelling

"Schelling is one of the first philosophers seriously to begin the destruction of the model of metaphysics based on the idea of true representation, a destruction which can be seen as one of the key aspects of modern philosophy from Heidegger to the later Wittgenstein and beyond. He is, at the same time, unlike some of his successors, committed to an account of human reason which does not assume that reason's incapacity to ground itself should lead to an abandonment of rationality."
        - Andrew Bowie, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling

What is this sadness that adheres to all finite life, and what must this indestructible melancholy be to have forced Schelling into so dark a turn in his philosophical thinking?

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S.C. Hickman

On Becoming a Rat: A Storyteller's nightmare

The story goes that Karni Mata once tried to restore the dead child of a storyteller back to life but failed because Yama, the god of death, had already accepted his soul and re-incarnated him in human form. Karni Mata, famed for her legendary temper, was so inflamed by her failure that she announced that no one from her tribe would fall into Yama's hands again. Instead, when they died, all of them would temporarily inhabit the body of a rat before being reborn into the tribe. Therefore, the rats are considered to be incarnations of storytellers and are much revered.[1]

At Christmas I wished for a rat, in the hope, no doubt, of stimulus words for a poem about the education of the human race.
       - Gunter Grass

Have you ever thought of becoming a Rat? Maybe like Chang Tzu and his butterfly, but with a nightmare twist, you are just a rat dreaming it is human:

"Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there was I, visibly Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that he was Tzu. Between Tzu and the butterfly there must be some distinction. This is called the transformation of things."

Ah, mutability, the dream of change and transformation, things in endless metamorphosis through all the particles of our universe of dark energy and matter. Or, maybe like Grass's oneric relationship with the She-Rat we will all follow the trajectory of a dark sublime toward some infinite species of rat-men in a civilized society of  utopianism beyond history.

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S.C. Hickman

Spectral Musings

"If we would understand a fine art, with that completeness, which its criticism requires, it is necessary, that we should first be acquainted with its various technical methods, especially in so far as these control, and determine, the nature of the design and workmanship employed in its productions."
           - Herbert P. Horne, The Binding of Books

The mustiness of libraries have always held a fascination for me, the rich smells of leather and glue, the bindings of ancient tomes with their strange allure and elegant leaves hiding a mystery that can never be fully resolved into the light of day. The art and craft of binding books is almost a lost science in these days of electronic readers and the intertextual mazes of linked blogs and twitters and facebooks: all hinting at the short-lived mysteries of an electronic labyrinth of knowledge that is always just out of reason's calculated grasp.

There was a time when men sheathed their written secrets in rings of carved ivory covered in hieroglyphics, bound in leaden tablets covered in gold and silver; even earlier, in baked clay with cuneiform characters carved by a bone stylus, each tablet hidden in temples out of the site of all but the masterful literati of a dark and nihilistic religion; and, at other times, and in other ages men covered palm leaves with imperceptible silk threads in a folded brocade of endless words of magic; still others were kept in cedar boxes, written on the hides of carefully selected and sacrificed animals, on carefully tempered Vellum collecting the black thoughts of elder gods and demons; while, later, in such capitols as Byzantine books were inlaid with precious jewels and metals using what they termed as the "Art" to secrete their relics in cavities of dark and spectral materials, housing the ghostly thoughts of the dead. In even later times the Moroccans used the fine tools of the Venetian's to create a style of book binding that encased their works in bold gold lines arranged in geometrical designs of such intricacy that the very substance of the work became a hyperdimensional artifact of rare quality, allowing the beholder to enter strange dimensions outside the reasoning walls of our temporal universe.

It was one such work that came into my possession by chance, when one Gaspard Remy entered my studio on a cold winter's day.


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Note: a another story idea I'm working on... stay tuned... :)

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                                       May not be reproduced without permission