So I walk home from work, and stop off at Goldsmiths library to do some reading. Joan Robinson, ‘Economic Philosophy’. Something makes me think of Derrida, because almost everything does, so I dig out his great essay ‘Economimesis’. I might copy down some quotes from it and post them up here – nothing better summarises what I’m trying to do in this blog; trying to take my bearings from this essay, and issues related to it. Then I think – hold on, I haven’t read Kant’s Third Critique. How can I read ‘Economimesis’ in any sort of informed way without even having read the Third Critique?! So I dig out the Third Critique. And there I am, sitting down to start to read the Third Critique (Joan Robinson forgotten on the table beside me), when I think – wait a second. Why on earth would I read the Third Critique before I’ve even read the Second?! Fine, the First Critique is done and dusted; I spent a lot of time on it at university. But really, if you want to try to understand what Kant’s doing, it makes a lot of sense to read his work in order. So I go and get the Second Critique. And there I am sitting down to read the Second Critique, and right away he’s making all sorts of claims that remind me just how long ago it was that I read the First Critique. For instance – Kant’s saying, plain as day, that the self is noumenal. Is that really what Kant thinks? If someone had asked me to summarise Kant, I wouldn’t have tried to put it like that. Obviously I don’t have a proper handle even on Kant’s theory of the subject? Should I revisit the First Critique? Probably I should; but I’ve got it at home; I can do that when I get back. So I’ve read maybe thirty pages of Joan Robinson, and a page of each of the First and Second Critiques. And already my mind is in chaos. It seems one has to have read everything before one can begin to read anything. And now I can’t even concentrate on the Second Critique, I’ve got too much stuff going on in my head.
So I’m holding my head in my hands in Goldsmiths’ library, and wondering how on earth I’m going to carry on with whatever it is I’m doing here. I’ve just seemed to require of myself a digression so enormous it’ll take at least several weeks of studying (that’s insanely optimistic, because I read about as fast as a reptile.) What to do?!
I originally started this blog because of problems like this. I just can’t concentrate unless I can my thoughts out of my skull. But the blog doesn’t seem to be fulfilling this function, at present.
Solution: a change in blogging practice. I’m writing this on the fly, in an internet cafe; whereas normally I try to at least proofread what I’m typing. No longer. The blog will from now on, I think, be basically a stream of consciousness. This will, more than likely, make it totally unreadable; it won’t even be funny; I might as well type random characters as a form of therapy. But maybe maybe maybe this’ll help me make some progress in whatever insane project I’ve decided to attempt. You never know.
Apologies to any readers who are expecting (or even, though it hardly seems likely, have come to expect) lucidity. I’ll now be tapping away, Kerouac-style, at a single infinite piece of paper, scarcely even pausing to punctuate. It goes without saying, I’ll be writing about stuff I don’t understand, and that I scarcely even know anything about. That’s why I’m writing it. Oh lord – what cultural factors made this a paradigm of writing that can seem, from a certain perspective, in the right light, praiseworthy? Don’t blame me! Blame the times!
And so on. Hope everyone’s keeping well.