HD BLOG 28: "the age of the new dimension"

wanted to ALERT everyone to jason’s blog…he is writing a fascinating series on Critical Security.

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also, an engaging selection of pacific poetry by women at the new issue of HOW2, so check that out!

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finally, go to seth’s blog for the next section of his PODCAST novel

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Now, onto HD…i forgot to highlight this passage from Mark 14:9, which was referenced in the last section re: alabaster. I want to imagine it as both a way in which HD located her project, and how i want to locate my own project on this blog:

“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”

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Although i’ve located the references in Section 30 (they are all astronomical/mythological, so if you are into astronomy / astrology, this is the post for you), I DONT REALLY GET THIS SECTION…WHAT IS THE USE OF THE REFERENCES? HOW DO THEY CONNECT WITH “THE AGE OF THE NEW DIMENSION”? ANY COMMENTS ON HOW TO INTERPRET THIS SECTION WOULD BE GREATLY, GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANKS!!

[30]

I heard Scorpion whet his knife,
I feared Archer (taut his bow),

Goat’s horns were threat,
would climb high? then fall low;

across the abyss
the Waterman waited,

this is the age of the new dimension,
dare, seek, seek further, dare more,

here is the alchemist’s key,
it unlocks secret doors,

the present goes a step further
toward fine distillation of emotion,

the elixir of life, the philosopher’s stone
is yours if you surrender

sterile logic, trivial reason;
so mind dispersed, dared occult lore,

found secret doors unlocked,
floundered, was lost in sea-depth,

sub-conscious ocean where Fish
move two-ways, devour;

when identity in the depth,
would merge with the best,

octopus or shark rise
from the sea-floor:

illusion, reversion of old values,
oneness lost, madness.

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Scorpius (Latin for scorpion, symbol ♏) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It is a large constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the center of the Milky Way.

According to Greek mythology, scorpio corresponds to the scorpion which was sent by Gaia (or possibly the goddess Hera) to kill the hunter Orion, the scorpion rising out of the ground at the goddess’ command to attack. Although the scorpion and Orion appear together in this myth, the constellation of Orion is almost opposite to Scorpius in the night sky. It has been suggested that this was a divine precaution to forestall the heavenly continuation of the feud.

In many versions, however, Apollo sent the scorpion after Orion, having grown jealous of Artemis’ attentions to the man. Later, to apologize for killing her friend, Apollo then helped Artemis hang Orion’s image in the night sky. However, the scorpion was also placed up there, and every time it appears on the horizon, Orion starts to sink into the other side of the sky, still running from the attacker.

Scorpius also appears in one version of the story of Phaethon, the mortal son of Helios, the sun. Phaeton asked to drive the sun-chariot for a day. Phaeton lost control of the chariot. The horses, already out of control, were scared by the great celestial scorpion with its sting raised to strike, and the inexperienced boy lost control of the chariot, as the sun wildly went about the sky.

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Sagittarius (Latin for Archer, symbol ♐) is a constellation of the zodiac, commonly depicted as a centaur drawing a bow. Sagittarius lies between Scorpius to the west and Capricornus to the east.

Sagittarius has the rough appearance of a stick-figure archer drawing its bow, and when including the fainter stars, appears to have a horse-like body. The Greeks identified such a figure as a centaur, whereas earlier cultures, such as the Babylonians, identified it as the god Pabilsag (which also had wings and a lion’s head).

In Greek mythology, Sagittarius was sometimes identified as Chiron, aiming his bow at the Scorpion. Other early identifications include that of a rattle, which the constellation’s brightest stars considered together vaguely resemble. As such, together with other constellations in the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius (specifically, Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila), may be a significant part of the origin of the myth of the Stymphalian Birds, one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.

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In Greek mythology, the Stymphalian Birds were birds with claws of brass and sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and also they were Ares’ pets. Furthermore, their dung was highly toxic. They had migrated to Lake Stymphalus in Arcadia to escape a pack of wolves, and bred quickly and took over the countryside, destroying local crops and fruit trees. Ridding the land of these birds was one of Heracles’ Twelve Labors, and some sources claim the Stymphalian birds were the same avians that attacked the Argonauts.

The forest around Lake Stymphalus was very dense, making it so dark as to impair vision. Athena and Hephaestus aided Heracles by forging for him huge bronze clappers, which scared the birds into flight. Heracles shot them down with his arrows, or according to other versions, a catapult. The birds that survived never returned to Greece.

When the sun is in the sign of Sagittarius, the constellations Lyra, Aquila the Eagle, and Cygnus the Swan, rise. (Lyra is now considered a lyre, but originally it was a vulture; eventually the vulture was imagined as holding a lyre, and eventually it became just a lyre). At this time of year (i.e. during Sagittarius) the evenings darken and the rain season in Greece starts, creating swampland from previously drier areas. Thus the bird constellations gained negative connotations. Sagittarius (the constellation) had various interpretations, especially as an archer but also as a rattle. In the later story, Heracles scared off the Stymphalian Birds (who lived in a swamp) with noise, and firing an arrow at them (the constellation Sagitta, an arrow, is aiming towards Aquila). The noise, archery, and sinister birds associated with the constellations may reflect the origin of the myth.

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During WW2, the British had a tank they called Archer:

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Capricornus (♑), a name meaning “Horned Goat” or “That which has horns like a goat’s” in Latin, is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is commonly called Capricorn in astrology, and is also called the sea-goat, as it is in an area of the sky known as the Sea. Under its modern boundaries it is bordered by Aquila, Sagittarius, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus and Aquarius.

According to legend Capricornus, the goat, was placed among the constellations to commemorate the adventure of the god Pan. In a fight with a monster, Typhon, everybody ran away in panic. But Pan along with others jumped into a river and were transformed into two fishes and sea goat. This sea goat is Capricornus and the two fish formed the constellation Pisces.

There is another version of the legend. When Greek nymphs and goddesses were bathing in river, Pan wanted to make fun of the them. He became a goat and jumped into a river. When he did this, the part of the body submerged in water took the shape of the fish while the upper half remained that of the goat.

This constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother Rhea saved him from being devoured by his father Cronos in Greek mythology. The goat’s broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Some ancient sources claim that this derives from the sun “taking nourishment” while in the constellation, in preparation for its climb back northward.

Depictions of a goat or goat-fish have been found on Babylonian tablets dating back three thousand years. The constellation may owe its antiquity to the fact that at that time, the northern hemisphere’s Winter Solstice occurred while the sun was in Capricorn. The concern for the sun’s rebirth might have rendered astronomical and astrological observation of this region of space very important.

For the same reason, the sun’s most southerly position, which is attained at the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice, is now called the Tropic of Capricorn, a term which also applies to the line on earth where the sun is directly overhead at noon on that solstice.

The constellation, together with its early Greek name, associated ideas about sin, and the constellation of Aquarius, who was said to have poured out a river, may represent the origin of the myth of the Augean Stable, which forms one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.

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Heracles’ Fifth labour

In Greek mythology, Augeas (or Augeias), whose name means “bright”, was King of Elis and husband of Epicaste. He is best known for his stables, which housed the single greatest number of cattle in the country and had never been cleaned until the great hero Heracles came along.

The fifth of the Twelve Labours set to Heracles was to clean the Augean stables in a single day. The reasoning behind this being set was twofold: firstly, all the previous labours only exalted Heracles in the eyes of the people so this one would surely degrade him; secondly, the livestock were a divine gift to Augeas and were immune from disease and thus the amount of dirt and filth amassed in the uncleaned stables made the task surely impossible. However, Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash the filth out.

Augeas was irate because he had promised Heracles one-tenth of his cattle if the job was finished in one day. He refused to honour the agreement, and Heracles killed him after having completed the tasks and gave his kingdom to Augeas’ son, Phyleus, who had been exiled for supporting Heracles against his father.

The Romans gave the constellation of Capricorn its name, taking it from part of a myth also concerning Pisces. To the Greeks, it was called the Augean Stable, since the sun (brightness – the meaning of the name Augeas) appears goes to rest (i.e. stable) there during the winter solstice.

Since this time was so dark, early Greek religious ideas were that the darkness of the sky was due to the accumulation of sin throughout the year, thus the stable is extremely dirty and never cleaned before that year. These sins were said to be washed away as the sun arose again, and the next sign of the Zodiac is Aquarius, who is implicated in Greek mythology as causing a great flood. The, factual, river Alphaeus drains the mountains, but runs mostly underground, thus was seen as having been diverted.

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Aquarius (Latin for the Water-bearer or Cup-bearer, symbol ♒) is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its symbol represents part of a stream of water.

Aquarius is one of the oldest recognized constellations along the zodiac, the sun’s apparent path. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of watery constellations such as Cetus, Pisces, Eridanus, etc. Sometimes, the river Eridanus is depicted spilling from Aquarius’ watering pot.

The best-known myth identifies Aquarius with Ganymede, a beautiful youth with whom Zeus fell in love, and whom he (in the guise of an eagle, represented as the constellation Aquila) carried off to Olympus to be cupbearer to the gods. Crater is sometimes identified as his cup.

Aquarius generally resembles the figure of a man, and when considering fainter humanly visible stars, it takes on the image of a man with a bucket from which is pouring a stream. Aquarius was also identified as the pourer of the waters which flooded the earth in the Great Flood, in the ancient Greek version of the myth. As such, the constellation Eridanus was sometimes identified as being a river poured out by Aquarius.

It may also, together with the constellation Pegasus, be part of the origin of the myth of the Mares of Diomedes, which forms one of The Twelve Labours of Heracles. Its association with pouring out rivers, and the nearby constellation of Capricornus, may be the source of the myth of the Augean stable, which forms another of the labours.

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The Mares of Diomedes

The Mares of Diomedes were four magnificent, wild, uncontrollable, man-eating horses. They belonged to the giant Diomedes, King of Thrace, a son of Ares and Cyrene who lived on the shores of the Black Sea. Bucephalus, Alexander the Great’s horse, was said to be descended from these mares.

One labour of Heracles was to steal them. In one version of the story, Heracles brought Abderus, one of his many male beloveds, and some other youths to help him. They took the mares and were chased by Diomedes and his men.

Heracles was not aware that the horses were kept tethered to a bronze manger because they were wild, and Heracles left Abderus in charge of the horses while he fought Diomedes, but Abderus was eaten. In revenge, Heracles fed Diomedes to his own horses, then founded Abdera next to the boy’s tomb.

In another version, Heracles stayed awake so that he didn’t have his throat cut by Diomedes in the night, and cut the chains binding the horses. Having scared the horses onto the high ground of a peninsula, Heracles quickly dug a trench through the peninsula, filling it with water and thus rendering it an island. When Diomedes arrived, Heracles killed him with an axe (the one used to dig the trench), and fed the body to the horses.

When the sun is in the constellation of Aquarius, the constellation Pegasus rises. Pegasus in early Greece was considered to contain 4 very bright stars, making a square, it was only in later times that the 4th star (Alpheratz) was considered part of Andromeda. By reassigning the 4th star, Pegasus changed from being a horse with a square body, into being a horse with a wing (the square body changing into a triangular wing), giving rise to the winged horse myth.

Bright stars were considered to be malevolent and wild, thus leading to the earlier pegasus square being considered 4 evil horses (the animals being horses due to the overall shape assigned to the constellation). Pegasus, as a whole, appears to be feeding, in particular, it aims its head towards Aquarius, a man, suggesting a man-eating nature. Since the horses are above the ecliptic, they cannot be said to have died, and thus must have been caught, since the sun is able to pass them.

Aquarius itself was said to represent the god who flooded the earth; the water it seems to pour, which sometimes includes the constellation of Eridanus as a river, was said to depict this by the Greeks. Some versions of the myth of the Mares of Diomedes hold that Herakles created a river around the stable of the mares.

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Pisces (Latin for fish (plural), symbol ♓) is a zodiac constellation which lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east.

According to one version in Greek mythology, this constellation represents fish into which Aphrodite and her son Eros transformed in order to escape the monstrous Typhon. The two fishes are often depicted tied together with a cord (or their tails), to make sure they do not lose one another.

According to another version, since the binding point is below the ecliptic, and thus considered to represent being in the underworld, and that one of the figures (the one on the left) appears to escape, but the other (on the right) seems to head back toward the ecliptic, then, together with Cetus (another constellation in the Zodiac sign of Pisces), this may have formed the basis of the myth of the capture of Cerberus, one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.

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Heracles’ capturing of Cerberus

Heracles’ final labour was to capture Cerberus. After having been set the task, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries so that he could learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive, and in passing absolve himself for killing centaurs. He found the entrance to the underworld at Tanaerum, and Athena and Hermes helped him to traverse the entrance in each direction. He passed Charon thanks to Hermes’ insistence, and his own heavy and fierce frowning.

While in the underworld, Heracles freed Theseus but the earth shook when he attempted to liberate Pirithous, so he had to leave him behind. They had been imprisoned by Hades, by magically binding them to a bench, because they had attempted to kidnap Persephone. The magic was so strong that when Heracles pulled Theseus free, part of Theseus’ thighs remained on the bench, explaining why his descendants had notably lean thighs.

In some versions, Heracles merely asks Hades for permission to take Cerberus, to which Hades agrees as long as Heracles does not harm the hound, though in other versions Heracles shot Hades with an arrow. In some versions, Heracles wrestles the dog into submission and drags it out of Hades, passing through the cavern Acherusia, but in other versions, Heracles treats the vicious dog with the first kindness it has seen, and easily walks out with it. When he returned with Cerberus to the palace of his uncle Euristheus, the man who had assigned the task to Heracles, Euristheus was so afraid of the fearsome beast that he jumped into a big jar in order to hide.

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22 thoughts on “HD BLOG 28: "the age of the new dimension"

  1. Hey Craig, thanks for the blog-vertisement! Regarding interpretations of constellations: it seems like her use of constellations is a way of using a contemporary language to discuss the ancient drama of “heavens.” This might be an extended metaphor for WWII and the geo-political drama at play. As well as a way of pulling together the experience of looking up at the sky with looking up at the planes dropping bombs (I think you called it the “night of a thousaand incedents” last night). You did make the connection with the Archer tank, were there any attacking planes with constellation names? In all, its just a guess.
    Best,
    J

  2. Oh, yeah. Nice job on the hyper linking, looks good. I got a good one for you (& Seth) “Blogger in the Rye,” or even “tender blogs.”
    peace.

  3. i like the idea of reclaiming the sky / mythology-of-the-sky from the ravages of war. i’m not sure if there are other attacking planes that bear these names, but that would be something interesting to investigate. thanks for the help with this section!!!

    ps. i LOVE “Blogger in the Rye” and “Tender Blogs” — i’ll have to tell jenn, that phoney!

  4. Craig,

    Hello–just checked out yr blog after getting your comment.

    HD is quite the endeavor–I’m sure you’re aware of Robert Duncan’s beliefs that he was HD in a past life. The mythological material on your blog is great.

    Have you read Ann Carson’s “The Autobiography of Red”? I think it’s an interesting map of where to go with all this knowledge, in the poetic sense. You might also check out Diane Wakoski’s “The Archaeology of Movies and of Books” series (Medea, Jason the Sailor, Argonout Rose, and The Emerald City of Las Vegas).

    Looking forward to your next post!

  5. I don’t think it has much to do with the archer tank, or other animal bearing combat vehicles. Then again, I’d like to think HD would be so kind as to include the all powerful and feared Corsair Mustang… pfffft!

    So I think its dates actually. The Zodiac calendar has a yearly cycle… Scorpio, Sagitariuys, Capricorn Aquarius are all in a sequence and they speak of winter. More importantly, The Battle Of the Bulge, which began on December 16th 1944, the last stand of the 3rd Reich when Hitler launched his invasion through the Ardennes forest.

    If you think of this coinciding with the tightenting the bow, right after the whetting of the knife, then the long abyss is perhaps the ardenes which proved to be a brutal battle on the road to Berlin, and crossing the Rhein is the abyss to cross.

    The “dared occult lore” line is fascinating, as the Nazis had a dept. dedicated to the occult, The Weltenschaung (sp?). This was the same group that when Germany “invaded” austria, went straight to the Hapsburg Treasure House and snatched The Spear of Longinus, or sometimes called Spear of Destiny.

    Secret doors makes me think of bunkers and the closer they get to Eastern Europe the more they stumble across the labor camps. Keep in mind that Western Europe had very few extermination camps, those were kept in the east, lots of them in Poland, because of the complicity of the poles in the shoah, and their relative safety from prying western eyes.

    Now at the same time this is going on, its 1944 and Project X or Manhattan Project is getting close to success. It was in 1942? that A. Einstein and a group of physicist went to the whitehouse and told them the Germans were working on an A bomb. That was the beginning of Project X. So I’m reading this thing about the Philosopher’s Stone, and here its all retrospect, as there’s now ay that HD, writing this in the 40’s unless i’m suffering wicked withdrawls, and my dates are all whacked, could’ve known about Project X, speaking to the elusive Uranium 235 isotope which is weapons grade.

    The last two lines are the ones that really blow me away…

    “illusion, reversion of old values,
    oneness lost, madness.”

    Here’s where I loose track of the facts and think back to that statement how “after auschwitz everything was possible” that when the reversion of old values, oneness lost, madness, all of that speaks to the madness of Auschwitz. It’s that thing you can’t get around when you try and wrap your head around the whole thing, the perfection, the way it was a business, a factory, the numbers, efficieny, all of those things make the unthinkable possible. Then again, she couldn’t have known this in 44 either. Please tell me this was written after 44, cause then its all possible, otherwise ignore me.

    -L

  6. Just to give credit where credit is due, Adelaid Morris mentions the Ardennes in and Christmas, or rather that the poems are composed during this time.

  7. To all those who aspire to be “hardcore” bloggers; google has invented, Google Reader. It organizes blog feeds from a number of sites and allows you to read and discard, comment, whateverz.

    http://www.google.com/reader/view/

    Not quite sure if it’s user friendly though…

  8. ah, finally a few free moments to respond.

    angela, thanks for the references! i will def. check out those books, they sound exciting. p.s. Duncan also thought he was Stein and Dante in a past life, that’s what writing too many letter to Denise Levertov will do to you.

    Len, great post! i had no idea they would represent a cycle as a way of pointing us to winter, and in doing, to the Battle of the Bulge. It seems like such a more interesting way of establishing time than just “april is the cruelest month.”

    also, locating the battle of the ardennes between the tightening and the whetting is quite brilliant, and chilling. And it’s so strange how she is really just describing the passing constellations, reclaiming the stars as Jason suggested, but in doing, surveying the wreckage of the war.

    Nazi occult dept is chilling also…gives a real presence for HD to push against…i mean how the Nazi forces were using the occult towards their own means, and HD is using the occult to resist…

    secret doors and bunkers! that’s awesome…i had been thinking of secret doors as metaphoric obviously, but giving them this almost sinister undertone also infuses these rather tired tropes that HD often uses with a more powerful significance.

    i like your connection of madness with the idea that all is possible and then to Auschwitz…again, when i first read the HD, “madness” felt SO generic…but giving this word historical flesh, infuses it with all those bodies…as if the word itself is a mass grave…

    one more word on your post…i think youre right that HD did not mean to reference the Archer Tank, and she probably did not know about the Manhattan Project, and she probably did not intend many of these references that i have been posting…i am thinking now of the more propositional posts, like the Amber post, or the post on Radium. and i’ve actually struggled with this…

    if i am doing this HD blog as an annotation, shouldnt i stick to things that are probably that she intended? But then i think, what if the poem has its own intentions (now i sound like i think i was Duncan in a past life.) What i mean is that what happens if i propose that a signifier like “amber” or “radium” has certain undeniable significations that exist very clearly outside the context of the poem. (New Criticism is rolling in its grave). SO, what happens to a poem if we let these significations enter the poem, what happens if we allow the signifier its full “referential possibility”?

    To be specific, what happens when the word “Archer” refers to both the constellation and the Tank? This is not really a response to Len, for it seems quite obvious now that HD’s use of the word ARCHER and of the constellations in general were intended to mark time as he suggests…but this response is more of an OPEN QUESTION…and def. a question that underscores much of the HD Blog… what happens when we consider these more implausible references? is it just wishful annotation? or does it have a deeper effect? i’m obviously still torn about this…

    and, in some ways, it’s a question of power…what determines the “referential range” of a signifier? is it the poet’s intention / knowledge? is it the context of signifier created by the poem itself? Or is it the signifier itself? what do people think i wonder…

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    don’t worry about giving credit around here, everything on this blog is completely plagiarized!!!

    jason, i understand all the words in you most recent comment, but i have no idea what you mean…will ask you about it later…

    back in the bay area tomorrow
    peace

  9. sorry to cause alarm? My Google reader comment was not passive aggressively directed at anyone at all. I just wanted to share wierd google technology with my buddy C, and all those who care to entrust google with thier interests.

    I think I was tired when I wrote that comment anyway. Its just a wierd google thing, worth checking out.

    Best Wishes,
    J

  10. J, no harm i dont think. just didnt understand this sentence:

    “It organizes blog feeds from a number of sites and allows you to read and discard, comment, whateverz.”

    what does it mean i wonder…anyways, will talk to you soon about it.

  11. oddly enough, the way i read this
    was as a prophecy of failed prophecy, of the great work identified as the age of aquarius
    rendering instead of unity, division, instead of harmony discord, but the curious thing
    is that within the supposed symbols
    used to divine that age, constellations which are inferred forms, there are all kinds of violent image potentials, and what i guess i’m getting from this
    is a kind of inferred ‘constellation’ a line from the stars of mythology through the vicissitudes of man
    and into the depths of the impersonal forces of nature.
    in other words, this is a kind of paean to anti-paranoia or really on a different level to seeing
    the narrative of history as a kind of misleading ‘constellation’ of drawing lines across series which aren’t really connected..

    its dificult to explain this

    mythology anthropomorphologizes
    the impersonal forces of nature
    and creates a narrative, but that narrative itself constitutes a nature of its own, a system, of values, structures etc.

    alchemy is similiar in that it uses
    a narrative to draw lines between events into meaningful clusters or identities

    the deeper we go into these structures the more they seem to lead to intimations of conclusus,
    like messianisms, golden ages, apocalypses etc, but there are always set-backs or reorientations.

    its seems as if what this is talking about is a nature of natures

    sub-conscious ocean where Fish
    move two-ways, devour;

    this to me speaks to what is called in chaos theory a bifurcation node, where some state
    engenders two outcomes, or where
    in terms of Lacanian psychology
    the objet petit a, or object of desire acts as something like an
    optical polariton, a virtual object
    whose force is translated through matter but whose mass is literally absence, this is the essence of information itself, and more properly poetry as a spoken form.
    this is misleading. its not that say a dog is both dog and anti-dog
    but that affect is a wily and unruly or willful nature unto itself, and that ideas have a kindof life of their own, an inhuman will that transcends their meaning, and related more to the coherence of their structure as in a soliton.

    anyway i dont expect anyone to really believe this, but this is sort of what i got from it..

    interesting reading!

    thanks
    Lanny

  12. hey craig,

    finally had a chance to check out your blog. been enjoying it! will add a link.

    cathy

  13. Hello Craig,

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog, I really appreciate it. I’ve been reading your blog and think it’s great. Keep up the good work.

    Sarah L.

    PS If you add my blog to your site I’ll do the same for you! Take care.

  14. J et. al.,

    No offense taken at all, just being a little ironic, didn’t come through digitally… now to get to Craig’s response and provocative ideas:

    Ok, so to get to your response, Craig, this line caught me:

    “what happens if i propose that a signifier like “amber” or “radium” has certain undeniable significations that exist very clearly outside the context of the poem”

    and then you go on to say:

    “what happens when the word “Archer” refers to both the constellation and the Tank?”

    Well let me start by being flip, and what if C-A-T really spelled Dog?! No but seriously, I mean the idea that the signifier has this kind of double life, that there are multiple levels to read something on, and more importantly, to interpret it on, is very interesting and also very important. I suppose the level or depth to which you want to analyze the poem is analogous to the idea posited by Jung in his analysis of Archetypes when he says Mythology isn’t about describing the physical world and its phenomena, but rather to create or to put show the significance of the individual in that exterior world. The myth isn’t what’s important here, rather your place in the myth is what is at stake. That being said, yes, it is important that the Archer refers to both the constellation and the tank as they are both relevant to the overall theme of the poem, but this idea of intention is problematic for me, especially poetic intention. Poetry is open ended to begin with, I mean in one sense it has a duty to break the back of specificity and open up the range of possibilities in terms of prosody, breath, voce, everything, right? So by that logic can we easily fit everything into the analysis of the poem? Do we loose the author’s intention? Can we lay claim to it? Or can we only safely interpret the poem insofar as we are able to penetrate its language and hope that whatever meaning we derive from it helps affirmate us, a little, perhaps.

    I don’t think its possible to completely read the poem through HD’s intentions, nor is it helpful. We have to read it on multiple levels and yes, it has to mean both, and at the same time, if we become discursive about the poem with regard to HD, then we should probably choose a meaning, if we read the poem for its music and capacity to understand and expand our concept and relationship to language, then anything is potentially possible and every signifier has the possibility of an infinite number of signs, so long as the poet has created a lexicon for us to follow.

    As for Lanny’s comments, I’m with your interpretation of Mythos, but the alchemy bit throws me off:

    “alchemy is similar in that it uses
    a narrative to draw lines between events into meaningful clusters or identities”

    I’m not sure how you mean this, I’d love to hear more about it, but as far as I knew the term, alchemy refers to the transmutation of one object into another, and in most references I’ve heard, the idea of transmutation is preserved. I don’t see how narrative really plays into this, but like I said, I’d be keen to hear more.

    “whose force is translated through matter but whose mass is literally absence”

    So is this to say that ideas have this kind of double existence the way that light moves as a particle and a wave and that sound, sound has a physical presence through matter as a wave that we can hear, and a compelling force that we understand in regard to the color which is purely cerebral and its meaning to us in that sense?

    The mass of information is the absence of understanding, or the ability to understand it all, and specialization is a danger in that it is exclusive… ok, I really need to get some work done if I’m ever going to leave the office today, but honestly, this is far more interesting than what I do during the day… really it is…

    -L

  15. thanks cathy!

    sara, it’s a deal.

    *

    interesting reading indeed Lanny!

    the violent image potentials struck me when reading the passage as well, the bow, knife and horns…

    i love the idea of “constellations which are inferred forms” and that these forms construct their own narrative structures and values. and, “that ideas have a kindof life of their own, an inhuman will that transcends their meaning, and related more to the coherence of their structure.” the anthropomorphism of mythology seems to suggest, as i think youre suggesting, that nature itself is affected by the actions of man…that if the world is turning to war, then the stars, also, begin to constellate into significations of war.

    in the same sense, then, if HD can initiate us to the secret wisdom – this i think is her psychological project, her way to heal the psyhological trauma of war – then we can allow the stars to constellate into “a new age” that resists violence. Since fish devour “both ways”, there is perhaps a suggestion of hope and haven.

    i am perhaps misreading your comment, but this is what it made me think of. thanks for posting!

    *

    Len, thanks for responding, but i cant imagine this would be more interesting than work 😉

    your connection to Jung is quite interesting…and this sentence:

    “The myth isn’t what’s important here, rather your place in the myth is what is at stake.”

    SO, my place (our place) in the poem is what’s at stake, and defining this place, constructing it, into – again to use an HD trope – haven / heaven. This allows the poem to be open to us if we are open to the poem.

    this is a nice formula, and i definitely agree that this approach can also be misleading…that one can violently read / misread a poem to serve their own agenda.

    I especially like your formulation here:

    “Or can we only safely interpret the poem insofar as we are able to penetrate its language and hope that whatever meaning we derive from it helps affirmate us, a little, perhaps.”

    tying this into your other thought that any sign can potentially have an infinite number of references, but we have to safely interpret the lexicon that the poet wants us to follow. well put.

    i also second hearing more from Lanny re: those bits.

    thanks mephisto!

    *

    HOPE EVERYONE FEELS FREE TO ENTER THE DISCUSSION!!!

  16. “that if the world is turning to war, then the stars, also, begin to constellate into significations of war. “

    Isn’t it safe to say that the only thing the stars show us is what we inherantly want to see in them? They’re like a giant rorschach… the only constant is their rotation from one zodiac signifier rising to another falling… and “then we can allow the stars to constellate into “a new age” that resists violence”… can we constelate a really big can of ben & jerry’s for the entire mad mad mad world to enjoy? together?

    😀

    night night.

  17. YES! now you’re coming along mephisto…

    in the next passage from HD, she actually references a big big can of Ben & Jerry’s! the line is:

    “and then chunky Monkey offered
    his banana”

    but on a serious note, etc.

    sweet dreams 😉

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