What is it to think when thought is freed from all ends, practical, fanciful, or otherwise? Where would thought go, if it were liberated from the demands of meaning? What would it do? What would it feel like? To whom or what would it be responsible? Clearly thinking of this sort would be accountable to no one in particular. And it most certainly would have no truck with what is called “truth.” Such thinking would likely approach the condition of a pure event, an absolute instance of thought coming to pass. For someone like Baudrillard this indeterminate condition is nothing less than the achievement of radical thought. But for Deleuze there is no genuine occasion of thought without a break with “truth,” an affirmation of indeterminacy, and the feeling of an extra-normal way of being, or rather, the expression of sheer enthusiasm.
Thought, in other words, is always already radical, indefinite, and intense. Or more exactly, thought is not so much intrinsically radical as it is fundamentally a matter of style—a way of continuously putting expressive connections in productive variation. But if this is the case, then what does thought’s style look like? What does it sound like? How does its play of arrant variation feel? Or better yet, what does it do? In my presentation I try to raise thought’s matter of style and level of content by taking the form of an essay-cum- monologue as an occasion to make its being written and read—its “thinking”—felt as variably as it can be. More specifically, and perhaps more stylishly, over the course of three loose refrains combing text and video I put thought’s enthusiasm in play by imagining how the hemming-and-hawing narrator of David Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress might think about how Susanne Langer might think about Elizabeth Costello’s take on the adventures (or non-adventures) of earworms, cockroaches, mimes, and logic as so many ways in which the extra-normal being of thinking comes to drift, divagate, and maybe even dawdle.
about the author(s)
Eldritch Priest writes on sonic culture, experimental aesthetics, and the philosophy of experience from a ’pataphysical perspective. His essays have appeared in various journals and he is the author of Boring Formless Nonsense: Experimental Music and the Aesthetics of Failure (Bloomsbury, 2013) as well as a co-author of Ludic Dreaming: How to Listen Away from Contemporary Technoculture (Bloomsbury, 2017). Presently, he is working on a new book about earworms, daydreams, and other lived abstractions. Eldritch is also active as a composer and improviser.
info & contact
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, CA
epriest [AT] sfu.ca