— Gertrude Stein (via svaartpractice)
— Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968, France)
It’s a common misconception, embedded in the language we use, that shame follows transgression. Of course it does, but the mistake is in thinking it wasn’t already there to begin with. In other words, shame is not the consequence of transgression – it is the cause. We find ourselves recently in the habit of praising transgression itself as a virtue, but our celebration is a ruse. We hold in our hearts the true rule according to which the false one is broken, and so, we violate the false god to make way for the true. We believe we act freely, but really we obey, just as our ancestors did. It therefore follows that to everything to do with shame and regret there is a ritual component, not only as a necessary consequence of transgression, but also as the ground for transgression itself – not only its remedy, but also its impetus. Transgression is, therefore, a form of double negation. When we transgress we not only violate the false law in order to restore what we take to be the true, we violate the sanctity of what we believe to be the false self: false because it is whole, and false because it is good. Because we find it so difficult to believe that it is whole and that it is good – that is – that we are whole and that we are good – we feel this ritual compulsion to shatter what we believe to be the false image of ourselves as beautiful and worthy of compassion. Now having broken the false idol, we give ourselves permission to acknowledge the shame that preceded it. Now we perform the ceremonial apology to restore wholeness to the self that we shatter in violating it. But no sooner do we restore the self than it is unsettled at once by our suspicion of its false foundation. Our apology is an attempt to restore the false order we believe we have shattered; but, ultimately, until we face our own primordial embarrassment and regret at our own existence, we are cursed to repeat our ritual destruction in perpetuity. We are cursed to deny the true order of being for the false order of regret. This is the true meaning of original sin – not that some god above finds us lacking, but that due to our own belief in our own imperfection we struggle against our own will to prove it, against all evidence to the contrary. So convinced are we of our own inadequacy that we invent reasons to act against ourselves just to demonstrate our unworthiness, so that we can ask for forgiveness. But forgiveness is not what we need. We are not guilty. There is no god to judge us but ourselves, creating the world only to deem it unworthy of our love in its natural state, acting out against it, and in so doing, against ourselves – attempting to undo our own creation out of our own regret at it’s perceived unworthiness. We are the creation, and we are the regret at creation. We are the law, and we are the flood.
Sun on the back of my head. Waiting for the clothes to dry. Deleting.
"There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of a boundary. But the idea was real…Like all walls, it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on."
Ursula K. Le Guin
"…the book functions like a time machine. As a work of art it’s not "transcendent." Looking at it catapults you backwards to the particular reality of another era. Whoever made this book, it seemed, was living through a time where you can do no wrong, where every move’s deliberate and hilarious, and everything you do is art. Each of its thirty pages represents a day, and each day, the cast of objects is re-arranged and photographed against the backdrop of a larger play, the world news as reported in the daily paper. The book’s a blast because it makes anything seem possible. It is a medieval book of hours recast six centuries later in a place where no one seems to be in charge. Like theater, the work takes place in space and time. Reframe your life like it’s a science lab and anything that happens will be art.”