Now listening to : The Walkmen, '100 Miles Off'
Especially recommended : Well, not so much a recommendation as a question. Is something up on Track 8, "Tenley Town" that I'm not quite getting? Is it very suddenly 1980-something again? I'm not saying I don't like it, just that it seems a little contextually odd.
So at various stages, one must substitute Other Things for actual energy. Like caffeine, for instance, or music. I used to run around my dorm in college when I got too sleepy, but it's too fucking cold to get that done at the moment, and also my present tiredness is as much physical as it is mental, so I need a totally external battery source.
Well, not totally external. The mechanics of the conversion are internal.
The Augustinian confusion (my Augustinian confusion. The reader has primacy nowadays, which we've paid for by ceasing to require responsibility of authors.) of the real boundary between exterior and interior is caught up, of course, in his sign-theory and in his hierarchical understanding of creation and in his fixation on 'temporality' as the indicator of imperfection and gross materiality. All of these things are in there. The Word, being the only actually perfect sign, can transcend the boundary between outside and in, can be in the world properly without being essentially subordinate-in-essence to that which it brings TO the world, can participate in motion without thereby being radically cut off from the discrete stages of that motion.
It is proper for the rest of creation to take in the external world, insofar as we contemplate it in order to produce that sciencia which leads to wisdom. And faith is in there somewhere -- and somewhere intensely important to Augustine, but I can't quite reconcile his characterization of it as inherently temporal with any really stable place in this system -- but mostly just as a corrective to the giddy heights of untethered intellect. Implicit in that propriety is the idea that we actually DO take in the external world. Somehow; though our relation to it was hopelessly muddled by the fall, whether that was Adamic in origin or merely (pre)natal.
So we, in our interiority, do respond to externals. 'Take in' is perhaps misleading, because it implies a possibility that the boundary is transgressable, when the only thing that transgresses is that perfect Sign, the Word that is God in the only way that can be true both grammatically and theologically. If the quote went, "In the beginning was (the word), and (the word) was with God, and the word was (toast)," then that would require the construction of a theology in which, for whatever reason, the word toast was in the beginning with God. You could do that grammatically. It would mean, though, that a word without a referent exists alongside God. The 'word Toast' exists, but it doesn't say that toast itself exists. Word already implies a distinction between sign and signified, so you can't easily understand that sentence to say that actual toast exists, just that the word toast did.
But instead the quote goes, "In the begining was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God," which is so much simpler, more elegant. God is both the word and the thing it describes, and they exist together in untortured simultaneity. Creation is so constructed as to have interiors that don't have the same perfect correspondance; whether you take theology or experience as evidence of this, it makes you uncomfortable with anything you don't produce all on your own and all by your lonesome.
The caffeine, the iTunes playlist; if these are propping up the mind, then is the mind going rightly, in the right direction? Augustine would say that it's the will that picks direction, so as long as my will is keeping faith with the Proper Relation, I can safely depend on these externals. Because they can't get inside the Real Me. (The Augustine in my head is very fond of capitalizing concepts.) But I don't see where will comes into the semiotic theory as I've laid it out above any more than faith does (which is perhaps why Augustine doesn't lay it out that way, and explicitly says that signs are dependent on will, on intention; that that is a constituent part of their signification). Which is, potentially, just my own stumbling block. But if I can't see how it relates to internal/external and to signification, than I don't trust it to keep these things honest. I have trust issues.
As did, I'd argue, Augustine. I have a habit of being a little overly freudian when I contemplate Augustinian writings; I tie everything back to his frustrated loves, his incomplete intersubjectivity projects. Is my problem that I'm looking for intersubjectivity with my coffee and my 'Snow Patrol'? That would be silly. But my modern mind can't take anything in without first converting it into some mode of equality; p'raps this is what Ratzinger rails against, when he rails against modernism.