Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sense Information/Look for our communications. (An Introduction to Imaginary Friends - Part III)

Editor's note:*
Yes, this is the introduction and work statement that accompanies Imaginary Friends. I am leaving comments open on both the posts that unfold this poem and the individual chapters of the novel, and I invite my readers to conduct a conversation relating the information in the narrative to the expression of the structure in these verses.

I also want to take a moment to spell out dedications:

“Sense Information” is for Nick Walker and Kassiane Sibley, who remind me constantly of the relationship between my mental health and my physical being. I would not be able to regulate my body well enough to communicate what I really mean if I did not have their constant motion creating tidal forces to modify my trajectory. “Look for our communications.” is for Alyssa Hillary, the person I know who most exemplifies what should be meant by people who use the term “self-advocate ACTIVIST.”

“Poetry as Scaffolding” and “Narrative, Literacy, and cross-Cultural communicating” will post Thursday. “Poetry as Scaffolding” is for Zach Richter, whose challenges to my communications as I have been writing have been both necessary and exciting, because they underscore the importance of the entire project of this book and its associated discourse verse. “Narrative, Literacy, and” is dedicated to myself, because I have painted my way into a corner in a wonderfully stimulating room and I need something explicit to code switch out of it so I can write prose again. Please read it as a moment of personal reflection and transformation.

Then, on Friday, Imaginary Friends begins.

*If you missed the earlier parts, click here to go back to the first post in the series.

III. Sense Information as Superfluid Movement

The fundamental structural feature
of communication's existence
has not yet been dealt with.

This thing is what I call thumos
and it is more fundamental 
than the elements of rhetoric—

(Let's drop the act and just admit
that what we're talking about is narrative,
and that rhetoric was a poorly defined box
thrown around a particular section of it.)

Thumos is an element of existence, 
and its persistence 
gives rise to many things,
just one of which is narrative.

Rising thumos is also 
sexual expression,
physical exertion,
appreciation of painting,
interaction with music,
and echolalaic satisfaction.

Thumos: it's where the party is.

Thumos is information independent of intentional transmission.

It is a human's full range of sensory experience.

Think of it as a cultural superstring,
and by its constant vibrating all the probabilities
in all the fields communications interact in
emerge like holograms from the
basic nature of its existence.

Alter the sensory field, the thumos,
and you alter the basic laws of
communication's existence.

Thumos is cognition,
different for every individual
and based (but never grounded) in
the constant change of sensory state
that is the present.

It happens
in a way mostly invisible to direct observation.

Call it either sub- or super-
liminal existence.

(Or both, depending on
what we're talking about
and/or who we're talking with.)

The Greeks would have said it was the soul,
but our receptiveness to that exact metaphor
has made the word “soul” so vague
that it can not be but terrible
if the goal is to reduce the probability field
of available interpretations
by using specific vocabulary
with known connotations.

So let's just call it the mind/body connection,
and it reveals that our knowledge of our own existence
is a function
of our interaction
with our environments.

Now, for a moment,
consider a thought experiment:

That other methods of communication might have arisen
along parallel developmental tracks
that intersect and interact
with rhetoric (as the classical act).

Imagine the experience of communication 
and persuasion 
in the language of movement,
or an entire theory of psychological development
delivered as a series of mathematically arranged functions 
playing out their waveform expressions
in the auditory spectrum.

Informational vibrations along other dimensions of sense
are the only communications that escape our idea of rhetoric
now that the Standard Model has expanded it.

What if we widened the concept more, ran it around on a lathe, and smoothed its edges until we no longer recognized its shape?

Then, we would see the emergence of neurodivergent participation in intellectual traditions.

Not because we would start,
but because the rest of you would get it
and stop brushing off what we do as just art.

The flipside of that radical act
would be the necessary abolition
of behavioral conditioning.

How else would we prevent the destruction
of our artistic talent?

Forcing communication down narrow verbal avenues is cultural stagnation,
part of the same emergent, conformist edifice
that interacts with other intersections in our social communication matrix.

For the neurodivergent, the chief difference
is the blunt directness (but not the fact) of
it being used to deny the reality of our bodies
and what they experience.

Our only deficit
is the society which thinks
languages
are privileged to exist,
and denies the fundamental nature of communication
as an evolutionary structure
seen in other animals,
a direct emergence out of biology,
just as biology came from
particularly complex chemistry.

This is not to say that “autistic” is a “more evolved” way to be.

Contrarily, 
it is simply
to point out that it is
an available 
(and viable) 
ecological niche
and that if it is occupied, 
as we seem to be the proof of it being,
then it is necessary to balance out the biome it emerged in.

Not a thing to be eradicated.

IV. Look for our communications if you want us to bother with your language.

Since our sense of communication rides alongside our generally elevated level of sensory information,
you can not be surprised if our communication
happens along all our senses at once,
expressing our emotion in movements
accompanied by shouts of joy
or screams
depending on the reception to our ways
that is always painted on your face.

The microexpressions in our faces might be invisible to strangers
but it's not because we don't make them,
it's because the level of energy in our expressive interaction within the field of communication
happens in a different balance and proportion
than the one that you were more familiar with.

Translation is difficult,
like transcribing the words of a song in an email
and hoping that the melody travels with.

When you demand that we collapse all of this in an instant into speaking,
you are simultaneously demanding a physical performance of the muscles of our bodies
that must be calibrated by our brains actively
and also an analytical task:

choosing the concepts to express
when the full range of our expressions
can not be guessed
by a guest 
who refuses to be on best
manners, and who requires 
all manner of concessions
before communication 
is possible between 
parties.

Can you see how this would be excruciating?

Still, we accommodate the lack of language in your body
by letting you think we're the ones who can't read body language
and focusing on keeping you on track with the conversation we've been trying to have
but that you keep pulling us away from with your incessant questioning of our intentions,
a process that you've proven is nothing but transferrence and bad guessing.

You, outside world, need to start pulling your own weight in this conversation.

Next: "Poetry as scaffolding" and "Narrative, Literacy, and cross-Cultural communicating".

Interested in supporting Shaping Clay? Click here for subscription information.