Sometimes, he cannot help but think that animals are close to the divine.
It is we who were expelled from paradise, he says. Not the animals.
The world outside of mind we can know only from the beast’s face, he says. He is quoting.
He cannot help but think that animals show him something. That an animal is nothing but that — showing.
There is a lesson he is being taught. There is a lesson that animals are trying to teach him. But how can he heed it?
What an animal is — is obvious. It is there, simple. As to what a human being is …
What would an animal say if it were able to speak? Of course, but animals remain on the other side of speech. On the far side of speech. Still, all the animals around us can be understood to interrupt our speaking, he says. To cut across it.
He has always thought of himself as awaiting the Word which will release him. It seems to him that it is this Word which resides with animals, on the side of animals.
The animal exists in a state of grace, of that he is sure. The animal is already in paradise.
— Lars Iyer, Wittgenstein Jr.
The hills are unaware that we are watching them, he says. The trees. The insects. This is what is marvellous.
No one is watching us, he says. Nothing sees us.
But at other times, it frightens him, this ‘no one is watching us’. It’s as though not-watching itself is watching; as though the sky, which sees nothing, sees everything in that seeing-nothing.
We can have no secrets from the sky, he says. We are read by the sky.
— Lars Iyer, Wittgenstein Jr.
He can imagine me as a boy, W. says, cycling out through the new housing estates, and through what remained of the woodland – muddy tracks along field-edges, fenced-in bridleways and overgrown footpaths. —‘You were looking for something’, he says. ‘You knew something was missing.’
He sees it in his mind’s eye: I’m carrying my bike over the railway bridge. I’m cycling through glades of tree stumps in the forestry plantations. I’m following private roads past posh schools and riding academies. I’m looking for barrows and ley lines, W. says. I’m looking for Celtic gods and gods of any kind.
And what do I find as I wheel my bike across the golf course? What, in the carpark of an out-of-town retail park? What, on the bench outside the supermarket, eating my discounted sandwiches? The everyday, W. says, which is to say, the opposite of the gods.
Religion is about this world, about the ordinary, the everyday, W. says, over our pints at The Queen’s Oak. Why does no one understand that? W. says. Why will no one listen?
But when it comes to the everyday itself, I am the expert, not him, W. says. Only I understand what it means to reach the depths, which is to say the surface, of the everyday.
It has to be felt, the everyday, W. is convinced of that. It has to have defeated you. Humiliated you. A man who hasn’t been brought to his knees by the everyday can have no understanding of the everyday, says W., aphoristically.
I’ve certainly been brought to my knees, W. says, that much is clear. I’ve spent whole years on my knees.
‘We are ferociously religious’, says W., quoting Bataille. Are we? —‘Oh yes’, W. says, ‘especially you. Especially you!’ That’s why he hangs out with me, w. says, he’s sure of it: my immense religious instinct, of which I am entirely unaware.
It’s all to do with my intimate relationship with the everyday, W. says. It’s to do with my years of unemployment and menial work, he says.
When he thinks of religion, he immediately thinks of me working in my warehouse, he says. He thinks of me in the warehouse with no hope in my life.
Only the hopeless can truly understand the everyday, W. says. Only they can approach the everyday at its level. And only those who can approach the everyday in such a way are really religious, W. says.
— Lars Iyer, Dogma
W. dreams of a thought that would move with what it thinks, follow and respond to it, like a surfer his wave. A thought that would inhabit what was to be thought, like a fish the sea – no, a thought that would be only a drop of the sea in the sea, belonging to its object as water does to water.
— Lars Iyer, Dogma
Each time, the act of writing depends upon what Kafka has called ‘a merciful surplus of strength’ that returns the writer to the ‘I can’ that opens the world according to what is possible for a human being. Each time, strength lifts the writer from the quagmire, from those swamplike moods in which the self is not yet gathered together. Moods which, if not uncommon are too quickly forgotten, like the night mists that vanish with morning.
One writes for the disadjusted… that is to say, for one’s friends, and less for the friends one has than for the innumerable unknown people who have the same life as us, who roughly and crudely understand the same things, are able to accept or must refuse the same, and who are in the same state of powerlessness and official silence.
— Dionys Mascolo, via here
Sometimes it is necessary to depart. Sometimes it is necessary to leave it all behind. That’s how I understood the act of blogging, back when I started Spurious, the blog which shares the same name as [my] novel. As someone who had made some progress as an academic – a journey which implies valuable training as well as compromise and despair – I thought a kind of exodus was necessary, from existing forms of published writing. Leave it all behind! I told myself. Leave the Egypt of introductory books and academic journals and edited collections behind. Leave the slave-drivers behind, and the sense you have of being a slave. Leave capitalism and capitalist relations behind. Leave behind any sense of the importance of career and advancement. Leave behind those relationships that are modelled on investment and return.
Zoon logon echon: for the Greeks, it is the ability to talk discursively, to speak, that marks out the human being as the human being. But for the human being, language is not a tool but a condition: one speaks not with a language but from it. We inhabit language — or rather language inhabits us. Language is not a tool that would offer itself to be used, but a field that opens through us and opens the world to us, determining what it is possible for us to say and not to say. But it is, for this reason, never the “object” of our awareness. It dissimulates itself, except at those moments when the capacity to express oneself comes to crisis. Language opens like the day itself, granting a world to the human being — but furled in this opening and opening with it is the dim awareness that something has come between the human being and the rest of nature.