Archive for July, 2007

The “Raw Creative Energy” of Kerouac

While at the Lowell Folk Festival today, I visited the display of Kerouac’s scroll of On the Road.  One of the museum display placques describe his “bop prosody” or “wild form” in which “terms collapse the distance between raw creative energy and the finished work of art.”  A bulletin board invited us to write a message about how Kerouac has influenced us.  Most wrote little letters to Jack.  Mine said the following:

Jack! You’re still burning bright in all those inspired and ignited by your work. Energenesis:  the origin of energy: flow burn flux lava-language: I’m on fire now:  thanks for the light.

I then found a call for submissions for a commemorative anthology to be titled Where the Road Begins, which also asks for “one line on Kerouac’s influence on your work” in addition to your submission.  I wrote the following:

 ENERGENETIC/POETIC VERSION

Having read Kerouac’s work at the birth of my writing career, I learned to burn burn burn brightly right from the start and to channel the energy of his life/writing/mystic-sunburst-fire the way metal conducts electricity: energy-flux lava-language neo-spinozist neuron blaze smolder.

SLOW/GLASSFLOW VERSION:

Like many who started to write as a teenager, I first encountered Kerouac’s work in high school and was influenced by his high-energy “bop prosody” as well as his exploration of eastern religion; this influence continues to emerge in my writing and thinking 25 years later.

Kerouac was a writer of energonomic proportions…. and has been remembered as such.

29 July 2007 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment

Energenesis: A Philosophy of Creation

I’ve been reading Peter Hallword’s Out of this World:  Deleuze’s Philosophy of Creation, which starts its first chapter, titled “The Conditions of Creation,” with the following:  “Deleuze equates being with unlimited creativity.  This means that all actual beings exist as facets of a single productive energy or force” (8).   Hallword introduces the book with reference to the Spinozist focus of Deleuze’s thought (“Deleuze’s own philosophy is less distinctively modern or critical so much as enthusiastically neo-Spinozist” [12]; Deleuze affirms “a Spinozist cogitor or being-thought” [12]), which puts the above statement into context:

Deleuze certainly doesn’t acknowledge any transcendent idea of God.  Nevertheless, in a number of important ways his work is consistent with the general logic of a cosmic pantheism, i.e. the notion that the universe and all it contains is a facet of a singular and absolute creative power. (4)

This is the first time I have encountered a theological spin in an explication of Deleuze, but it makes perfect sense, especially given the heavy debt Deleuze is said to pay to Spinoza for his immanentism and anti-transcendentalism (as Todd May writes in his essay on “Difference and Unity in Gilles Deleuze,” published in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, “The philosophical problem Spinoza sets himself is one of developing a perspective within which the antitranscendental position can be coherently realized” [41]).

Hallword also delves deeply into Bergson’s work on mysticism, which furthers the theological tint of his explanation.  As Hallword writes,

Bergon’s mystic is that person or rather that impersonal  super-person who seeks ‘to complete the creation of the human species and make of humanity  what it would have straightway become, had it been able to assume its final shape without the assistance of man itself’.  To complete the creation of the human species is nothing other than to make it an adequate vehicle for creation as such, i.e. it is to participate in God’s own ‘undertaking to create creators’. (22)

Elsewhere Hallword writes,

The great mystics are people who become  perfectly transparent vehicles for the singular creative force  that surges through all living things.  They incarnate a maximally expressive power or creativity.  By leaping across all social and material boundaries, they achieve ‘identification of the human will with the divine will’.  They ‘simply open their souls to the oncoming wave’, such that ‘it is God who is acting through the soul in the soul.’ The description of such action is explicitly mystical in Bergson but only implicitly so in Deleuze.  One of the aims of the present book is to demonstrate that this difference, at least, is largely insignificant. (21)

 All of this gives some form to my neologism of “energenesis,” which was the first invented term that later morphed into “energonomics.”  But I think there is a place for this first term, especially given Hallword’s sense of Deleuze’s “philosophy of creation.”  “Energenesis,” invoking as it does “genesis” and the first book of the Hebrew Bible, points to the creation of energy, whereas “energonomics” involves the “management of energy” and energy flows once energy been created.  The title of Hallword’s book certainly invokes a kind of theological theme as well. 

Of interest here, ultimately, is the focus on energy:  quoting Deleuze, Hallword writes, “There is only one matter’, ‘matter equals energy’, and there is no ontological distinction between ‘matter and life'” (which quotes, variously,  A Thousand Plateaus 153 and 335, cf. Leibniz and the Baroque 7 and Empiricism and Subjectivity 119) (10); “Deleuze’s ontology is meant to revitalise or re-energise being, to endow it with a primary and irreducible dynamism” (13).

What really excites me about this book is the same thing that excited me about Todd May’s book-length introduction to Deleuze:  Hallword suggests that, “With sufficient effort, we can learn to become what we are” (20).  May writes that Deleuze’s entire body of work addresses the question How might one live?

28 July 2007 at 2:25 pm 3 comments

Harnessing the Energy of the Winds

While browsing Manuel De Landa’s A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, I came across an early passage in which he speaks of harnessing the energy of the “‘double-conveyor belt’ formed by the trade winds and the westerlies, the wind circuit that brought Europeans to the New World and back again” (53).  He mentions the wind as a form of solar energy:

The oceans and the atmosphere form a nonlinear dynamical system that contains ten times more solar energy than plants capture through photosynthesis, and only a tiny fraction of the potential energy of plant life powered most of civilization’s past intensifications. The enormous reservoir of oceanic and atmospheric energy fuels a great variety of self-organized structures: tornadoes, cyclones, pressure blocks, and, more importantly for human history, wind circuits. (53)

This reminds me of Kevin Phillips’ work, especially in Wealth and Democracy and American Theocracy, where he tells of the history of empires ranging back to the Reformation.  The Dutch followed the Spanish and preceded the English/American hegemony when it harnessed the energy of wind circuits. . . .

The ability to sail across the oceans constitutes an important chapter in an energonomic interpretation of history….

4 July 2007 at 2:48 am Leave a comment

“Energy Bursts” of the Solid Earth

I’m researching “sedimentology” at the moment for an essay on the theme of “straits” and came across an article about the future for “sedimentary geology.”  I’m trying to find out about the geology of straits and am culling the data mine that is the internet.  I came across this expert article, which speaks of prediction as an important part of the natural sciences these days (what with drilling for oil, natural gas, and, soon enough, fresh water).  Here, the author mentions the kinds of prediction in time such geologists pursue:

Predicting oceanic and atmospheric climate constitutes the principal task in the time domain. Prediction in time also includes catastrophic changes related to ‘‘energy bursts’’ of the solid Earth, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides.

I never thought of earthquakes, landslides, and eruptions as “energy bursts,” but it makes sense in terms of potential energies captured and awaiting release.

The notion of sedimentarity is interesting from a Deleuzian perspective insofar as his philosophy (developed in conjunction with Guattari) invokes “stratification vs. destratification” as a major concept, as well as the “molecular” vs. the “molar.”  Manuel DeLanda in his excellent explications of Deleuze suggests that such geologic behavior constitutes a form of “non-organic life” that is simply another manifestation of matter-energy flows; as he writes, “reality is a single matter-energy undergoing phase transitions of various kinds. . . ” (A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History 21).

3 July 2007 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment


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