Work in progress, text version from 18 October 2019
On the ecology of our juridical system
Place: New Delhi, Dharmashala, India, 2019
We have acquired strategies which benefit us in the short term, but which have proven destructive in the long-term. Meanwhile, they have taken root in our civilizational structures and, as a result, have become hard to change. This is the classic question of extinction due to a loss of flexibility.
Extinction according to necessity – injustice according to the rule of time.
Our ideal and seemingly healthy system can be compared to the image of a high-wire acrobat and her ability to strike one unstable pose after another, while the position of her hands and the speed of her movements retain a high level of flexibility. If the body is however bound or otherwise made immobile – she falls.
When the mind stops working, the world also disappears.
When both hands touch, the sensuality of the body appears, we feel the warmth of another, their trembling pressure, nervousness, their presence and closeness. The proximity of another which at that moment becomes on par with our own.
A greeting from the stranger deep inside.
One touch awakens myriad others. An infinity of other beings, and infinity of other spaces in various time frames.
In one of his texts, Michel Serres writes that “the fact that life disrupts the order of the world means that life is initially turbulence.”
With eyes closed we observe the dark blue which disappears the moment we open our eyes.
The body is as foreign as the world. We must accept its weirdness.
Everything which they find here will be related to connection and separation , entanglement – weaving, emotions, visual hapticity, affective ecology, involution, strange and at the same time astounding intimations, sensual registers and interspecies communication.
When two hands touch, how close are they really?
The interzones are filled with many voices, something akin to a cacophony within stories which also function somehow. Stories joined at the hip. Is their proximity at all measurable?
Each of the stories is woven into the others and hidden within. Don’t these stories always essentially touch the understanding, invasion, a sensing of a wanted or unwanted stranger, who is hiding deep inside?
The very form of experimentation is always about contact. The experiment is a living, breathing reconfiguration of the world. The world theorizes and experiments with itself. It whispers. Thought experiments are material things. Thought has never been a mindless or singular human activity. To step into the darkness, open oneself up to potentialities, to wander, to find oneself beyond the beaten path. The caresses of mutually entangled beings.
Forgiveness at the core of attraction. Tremors in a person who is weary of sleep.
Emptiness is not empty. It is the living, breathing uncertainty of non-being. Vacuum is a joyful exploration of virtuality and virtuality is a type of thought experiment on the part of the world.
Virtual particles do not function in time and space. They are frightening and terrible non-existences/existences which are brittle towards their edges – infinitely fine blades between being and the heavens.
But trees are also perceptive beings. Because they sleep.
(However not all trees sleep at night, only some do.)
The night which slowly approaches connects the living with the non-living.
One long, dark night.
Turns the living into the non-living.
You will certainly die along with your embodied identity!
Our existence is fickle due to the oscillating states of wakefulness and sleep. Whatever is limited by time is transient and thus isn’t real.
Endless change which lives within us and through us by making us aware of the inhuman, might seem unsensitive, irrational, incomprehensible, but can help us face the depths of responsibility.
On strange intimacy.
Every level of contact touches everything else along with it. All touch means endless change, so that by touching another, we touch all others, including ourselves.
And when I touch myself, I touch all those strangers within me.
Every individual always encapsulates all possible intra-actions with herself by means of other – virtual – interactions, including those which are not concurrent in and with themselves.
Even the smallest specks of matter are unfathomably large.
That which is being put in question here is the very essence of the I, and not only from the perspective of being, but also from that of time. The I is dissipated – dissipated through being and through time.
Individuals are infinitely indebted to all others. Indebtedness is not about debt which follows a transaction, but rather a debt which is the very condition of forbearance/acceptance.
When electrons meet somewhere at the half-way point, when they mutually influence each other, when they touch, what or whom do they touch?
Touch is a question of answering.
Touch is never clean or innocent.
The endless touch of nothingness is interwoven with all being/becoming, a palpable indefinable desire which leads to the core of matter itself.
By taking action we lose empathy. Maybe before we will be capable of living together with passion, suffering, emotion, touch, we must first face the inhuman within us. How would we feel if this in fact happened via the inhuman?
The strength of imagination brings us in contact with our capabilities to perceive the insensitive, the indeterminate, that which travels and moves on the periphery of being – this is however not the same as opening up our being towards another.
That which you consider the individual can be something wholly different!
To be in contact with the overabundance of emptiness, with the endless nothingness which is threaded through, within and around everything and opens the capacity to hear the nagging, the murmurs, the muffled noises, screams and the verbose silence.
Responsibility is concurrent with our sensitivity, and in our sensitivity we are exposed to the outside world…
– Alphonso Lingis
The feeling of being exposed to another is just as seminal as the binding responsibility of our vulnerability.
The various entanglements present the commitments of relationships – being bound to another. Indebted to an other which is irreversibly and materially bound to itself.
Ethics carries with it disharmony, but that is not the main point, as ethics are inconsequential. They are just an integral component in the diffuse patterns of the world.
The very essence of matter means being exposed to another.
Responsibility is not a bid on the future. It is a relationship which constitutes an integral part of the unfolding and non-active world.
Interactive opening – the enablement of reaction.
Endless change which lives within us and through us by making us aware of the inhuman, might seem insensitive, irrational, incomprehensible, but can help us face the depths of responsibility.
The cacophony of silent, whispering exclamations, gasping for breath, an endless number of uncertain beings dissipated in various zones of time-space.
Nothingness is always contained within us; nothingness permeates us and lives through us. We cannot close it in or control it. We cannot block irrationality, perversity, madness which we are afraid of, in a bid for a more ordered world. That, however, does not relinquish us of responsibility. It is rather what in fact enables it.
Indeterminacy is not a fault, a loss, but rather a confirmation and celebration of nothingness.
That inhuman which we most often consider the inhumanity of people and their lack of compassion, can itself be the very condition of feeling the suffering of another, to be in contact with the other in the most concrete sense.
The existence of the inhuman which shimmers through us, allowing us to approach the nonsensical otherness which we otherwise would never touch.
To touch, to be touched by a stranger, gives us the ability to react.
The inhuman is that which is infinitely intimate, which touches the very essence of contact; that which keeps space open to itself and to all its vivacity.
Deep Adaptation (Phase II: Ecology Of Our Juridical System) is a further continuation of the performative and collaborative project The Earth Trembles. This part of the project was created in intense dialogue with a group of students from the University of New Delhi.
Participants: Bhupendra, Gaurav Pandey, Priyanshi Gupta, Shweta Kapoor, Sumanshu Rao, Veronika Resslová, Manish Gupta, Aleš Čermák, Prashant Pandey, Vishal Sen, Parmod Kumar, Priya Saini, Gagan
Special thanks: Veronika Resslová
Translate: Vít Bohal