Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Joy of Aphasia

Aphasia, such a pretty name for a little girl...

For writers, of course, it can mean the end of the world, or at least the collapse of that precious inner world, the universe within where they recline and take notice of the outside. No longer the ability to frame the outer in encapsulating, tiny, perfectly turned pearls of verbal glass, semantic cages, spider webs of control, influence, forces of withholding and placing, tying and locating. It's nothing less than a revolution in the organism, which makes one wonder: which part of the brain is revolting against the other? Which is in control? Which part wants to be? And is this an eruption of the irrational, a sort of call for the organism to forget language and its limitations and derive meaning from a much more basic act/reaction of encountering the world in the terms of the body itself, in the realm of objects?

At the level of the skin, contact, pain, sensation serrated and separated?

I admit it can be very frightening, this aphasia...as if it was an eruption/irruption of a force that one had not been able to see before, almost as if it was a sort of Possession [I am obsessed with the thought of supernatural possession], or another personality rising to dominate the one that one takes for granted: the every day personality, the self, the I which one has so grown so familiar with over years and years. The immediate idea this irruption opens up for one is the fragile nature of the ego, the self, the consciousness that "controls" or at least perceives while one is awake, and it makes one call to mind all the obscure myths of multiple personalities, schizoid breaks in the consciousness, the inflowing and sudden flood of unreality that marks madness, or a fundamental change in perception. Horror, terror, the unexplained? Yes, because of a loss of control. And yet one wonders - how much control has really been lost?

Is the irruption of the irrational something to fear after all? Are the changes in mind/thought structures that accompany these experiences, these events, sometimes manifesting as aphasia, or a certain "confusion" with reality, are these to be feared as the domination of the Other? I wonder about this [labeling and categorizing process] because I believe that no matter what force, structure, or "alternate" consciousness comes to dominate mind processes, it can not come from the "outside". It can never be the Other, all "selves" are enfolded and born inside the One, the Inner, the Self, and are just segments of the same "personality". If my consciousness, my self, my will, the I that I can reflect upon, that I know as myself, if it feels displaced by the irruption of these other faculties, these new thoughts, interpretations, emotions, this new confusion and misdirection, this sort of "missed connection" between it and Reality, a fundamental short circuit or disconnection between action and interpretation, between event and reaction, then is it...something to be posited as descending from without, from an external, from some other method and source of control?

Of course not. It is something I am doing to myself.

Can it really be said to be a malfunction of some sort, a failure, a breakdown, an error? Or is it just a change, a natural reaction in the body and mind, perhaps a consequence of the organism aging? I don't know. What is "natural", what is documented as being truly "unnatural"? Within the realm of my own experience and the relation between my psychological history and my personal history, there are entire worlds to be explored, vast systems of recondite [archaic or not] mechanisms, Heavens and Hells of chemical machinery, every second of my life stored in chambers of nerve and bone, of pulsing meat and fluid. Who can say what is "unnatural" in this miniature world? It sets its own standards. It determines its own reality.

I know that there was a time when I sought experiences beyond the power of language, events and actions that would not be able to be surface-described or [shallowly] communicated. I sought profundity in aphasia. I sought to place myself beyond language, beyond the power of the word to force, bind, locate, encapsulate, describe. I sought freedom in reality by escaping the boundaries of the ways in which humans isolate, label, and interpret their own reality: language. And I found those experiences, quite early, and perhaps was frustrated in not being able to completely "understand" them, meaning not being able to bring them back into my personal reality by trapping them within fields of definitions, direct, straight, clear realms of language. What should I have expected? I was not able to communicate their action, their flow, their meaning, the way in which they filtered into my consciousness and changed dreams, interpretations of reality, what I had learned from my own memories, what I wanted from my own life in the future. I was not able to transfer them, sometimes, even between different functions and structures of my own mind. Didn't I succeed?

And I could not help but wonder if this process of experience isolated me more and more, by placing me in a position where most of my current thoughts, what I had learned from these experiences and my new interpretations of their "nature", were just completely beyond my ability to describe them to others, communicate them, summarize and locate them in language. By experiencing more and more, and reflecting on those experiences, becoming, in my mind, even more isolated and solipsistic, was I removing myself beyond any ability to communicate with others? How could I take these experiences, many of which were completely internal [or at least internalized, changed when they crossed the inner/outer threshold], and then frame them in an adequate language so that others would understand? And without this feeling...without this notion and deep emotion of being understood [just another illusion? what does that even mean?], of feeling a connection [?] with others, was I going to be placed farther and farther away in a realm of my own making, a land where I could no longer reach anyone? Where no one would be able to understand me because I was so frustrated with the inability of language to adequately communicate my experiences and thoughts - so frustrated indeed that this internal anger and disturbance of being constantly blocked and misunderstood [even by my own ability to communicate] ended in a sort of internal corrosion of my powers of speech? A split, internally, that was out of my conscious control? A segment of my mind reacting against its own consciousness?

Is the result of more and more experience, of more and more understanding, of more and more reflection, just a quiet and quiescence of the organism? A growing silence? A further and farther isolation? A death of language? A loss of the ability to communicate? Is this something everyone has to encounter? Does experience, as one ages, lead to deeper isolation as the reserve of personal reflection [the inner world] begins to overwhelm the ability to share it with others? And by share I mean...extract it, rid one's self of its importance, its meaning, by subjecting it to the cruel process of misinterpretation [and confusion] as it loses everything in the translation from the Inner to the Outer.

You can see how "sharing" and communicating is an expression of nihilism, almost a "suicidal" act. It is subjecting one's internal meaning, the only meaning that matters - that which makes life "meaningful", personal reflection and experience - to the filtering process of language where one leaves one half of the meaning behind and destroys the other half. In order to communicate one must not have much respect for one's self or one's experiences. The ones who talk the most are the most eager to destroy their own lives.

I see, I see what you mean to me...absolutely nothing...

Language is a creation and function of the community. It was not invented by a single man, alone, to explain his reflection of the world to himself. It can not exist without at least two: a speaker and a listener, or interpreter. It is created in order to make abstract signs and symbols of objects for people to communicate their desires. From that it develops, of course, its own functions reflecting and being used to mirror its own internal mechanisms, growing further and further by distinction, subtlety, nuance, and all the minutiae of experience. Language is also the method by which we frame our thoughts in concrete forms which we can then manipulate by conscious processes, and gives us a very basic set of tools [as well as a methodology] for examining, altering, combining and creating thoughts at a certain low level. There are also "thoughts", of course, processes of the mind, which do not ever rise [or sink] to the level of language. They exist in the mind as analogues and remnants/reflections of the senses. One can "think" in any of these forms. One can "think" in scents, sounds, images, memories, desires, and other forms of sensory relationships, or in combinations of these analogues. In the mind, one can easily speed through these sensations and thoughts without becoming confused, as they all make a certain internal "sense", or rather: they are never asked to make "sense" [or adhere to a rational, linear form of context and interpretation] so one is never confused by their presence, form, or succession. "Sense" [not related to the senses, of course] is just the artificially transposed grammar of context which transfixes meaning in language. It is only when these forms are asked to be transferred to the completely [supposedly] conscious state of literal translation/transliteration, to permeate and travel across a semantic membrane, to leave the "irrational" and unmeasurably rich world of sensation and its immediate reflection in the consciousness [what is consciousness but a reflection? a self looking in a mirror?] behind that a sort of gray pall of misunderstanding descends upon the internal life, the internal reality. In other words: language kills the inner reality, it kills the internal world, it bleeds the internal understanding by its paltry reflections, its inability to summarize personal experience, its reliance on abstract constructions that are creations of the Other, the Group, the Abstractions of the Community.

What is the Community to the Inner, the Internal, the One?

Language, a means for communicating and sharing meaning [but not really] between two or more people, a group, a way of transferring desire and thought across a threshold between Selves, ends up by misinterpreting and missing the essence of each entity's personal experience, each entity's internal reality. Language, reducing the true, internal, actual experience, memory, and thought of the Self, the undivided individual, to a colorless, pale, intangible, cold concept agreed upon by a mutual decision, an external relation, an external history, encloses and enfolds precious little of the communicator's ideal, his or her internal idea, tinted and given form/meaning by subjective/solipsistic or personal memory, reflection, understanding, or desire, and becomes a sort of concession, a weak, anemic, accepted compromise between absolute silence [freedom] and the internal one-confronting-the-one, the internal reflecting upon one's self, the actual, ideal world of experience and thought. Enclosing only a weak reflection of the speaker's Ideal, it is then only partly understood by the listener, and so loses even more meaning in the transaction. The True Idea, the Ideal, the speaker's conception and the memories, reflections, subtle personal thoughts, and personal experiences surrounding the idea are not communicated and could not be truly interpreted or understood by the listener anyway, who is another individual looking out at the Speaker from a solipsistic reality, and can only interpret things he/she experiences [including language] from the point of view of his/her personal inner world.

All of this is obvious and redundant.

Exactly what, then, is communicated in language anyway? What is happening? What "meaning" is being transferred?

Is aphasia only the state of the mind maturing, and consciously admitting the actual nature of external reality?

Is aphasia the illusion of external communication being wiped away, replaced by internal [and thus true] reality? The replacement of objective meaninglessness and the frustration of language by the subjective realm of sensation instead of World Logic imposed by the Other, the External? The logic of that unreality, that oppressive lack of meaning - and what's more - the galling and true despair of the eternal search for understanding [what?] through methods that tragically guarantee its absence? A connection to the Other that is impossible?

Is aphasia a fundamental, healthy adjustment to the true nature of internal and external reality? Is aphasia...harmony?

Inner peace?

First the world created conflict and split man in two, in order to sell him panaceas of peace, snake oil to soothe and purify, salves, ointments of the inner soul, holy water to match the sounds of the streams within, and yet...the cure I need can not come from the external reality that gave birth to me, that separated me in the first place. I feel that now, so deeply, and if my instinct wasn't now - has it ever been anything else? - to sink further and further into "irrationality" [a completely relative term] in order to confound and destroy the Other [the passion to destroy is like a hunger that is only whetted by each day's emptiness] then I would create that instinct at this time out of experience. I would act unnaturally to create something that should be my true nature.

However, I would be lying if I said that my aphasia [and it is growing] did not disturb me. Even in the throes of the wildest freedom, in the passion of that time, in the realization and life - the living of, that enjoyment - of freedom, the God self-created and made Holy by reveling in his self-creation, I grow afraid of inevitability. I suppose it is just the finality of that form, it sounds and smells like wretched Fate. I have a great deal of trouble imagining that even the most profound emotional fascist among us, the one who seeks self-realization in control by the Other, in external reality, in a sort of web of influences that deny and remove his accountability, still whimpers when faced with a Fate that is implacable and assured. We have our politics and then we have our dreams, the ways in which we wake up and face our own lives, outside of the masks we put on to control others. Outside of the masks we wear when we look in the mirror to catch a glimpse of our "true selves".

Even for the solipsist there comes the realization, one day, that all one's nightmares and dreams have come true and are, in their final estimate, completely similar. Freedom is as exhilarating as it is frightening, is it not? At the last rank and limit of freedom, one turns to realize that one has been alone the entire time, one looks across the horizon to find human landmarks, objects or subjects by which to define one's escape from objective determinacy, and all one sees are other humans [so fragile, so weak], headed away in the opposite direction...one cries out, if only in self-determination, in order to define, in order to think, limited and controlled by language to the last, and the words that come out of one's mouth are sterile, ill-formed, abortions, monstrous, meaningless...useless cries. The speech of the completely isolated, the mirror reflecting itself.

U. Amtey
27 September 2003
18:12 PM EST