OK, so you can wake with a question: What is ‘real’? When have you or do
you feel most real? When do you feel reality is on your side – or against you
for that matter? Somehow we think that reality should be our ally – but is it?
What we might say is that any experience or encounter with the real –
whatever that is – defines our view of what the future will or should be.
Utopianism is never, as it were, off the planet, for it is based in experience.
Experience guides us, whether we like it or not or know it or not. Standing
against experience is the injunction. That too is an experience. To be told
what to do or how to think. We can conform or we can refuse or we can
hover in a sort of questioning state. In each case our relationship to our own
experiencing is modulated or shaped – to such a degree that if we think about
it we may think that refusal – of the command, as we shall call it – is the only
real emancipatory strategy. But freedom from what? Only the command
itself, of the freedom to experience experience as experience itself?
Today I’ve been asked to participate in an art show/event. Short notice. That
is probably good. It may even suit given my commitment to the immediacy of
Now, what is that? Something that in the next hair’s breadth/breath will be
then, involving a shift from experiencing – ‘We are experiencing this now’ – to
‘I experienced this’. Except we may already be in anticipatory mode so that
the experience is casually shelved or put back in the drawer like the knives
and forks we have just neatly dried. You hang up the tea towel. On it there’s a
view of a woman’s back. On one side there is a knife – the right side of
course. On the other side, the left side there is a fork. Please note carefully,
the symbolic order is nicely maintained. Scrupulously, we might even say,
except that what is characteristic of the symbolic order is that it is merely
enacted. So that what we experience as real may simply be the enactment of
the symbolic order. That is our ordering reality. To experience the symbolic
order as the symbolic order you have to recognise its symbolic function or
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