Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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April 16, 2008
walk round fall down go boom walk more   y   y   y?

falling as curiosity
Heidegger, from Being and Time, "The Temporality of Falling":
Our prepatory analysis of falling began with an Interpretation of idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity. But we shall restrict our investigation to a consideration of curiosity, for here the specific temporality of falling is most easily seen. . . .

[T]he making-present which 'leaps away' in curiosity is so little devoted to the 'thing' it is curious about, that when it obtains sight of anything it already looks away to what is coming next. . . .

In the 'leaping away' of the Present, one also forgets increasingly. The fact that curiosity always holds by what is coming next, and has forgotten what has gone before, is not a result that ensues only
from curiosity, but is the ontological condition for curiosity itself.

curiosity as walking
Alfred Kazin, from A Walker in the City, "Summer: The Way to Highland Park":
There was a new public library I liked to walk out to right after supper, when the streets were still full of light. . . .

Everything about that library was good, for it was usually empty and cool behind its awnings, and the shelves were packed with books that not many people ever seemed to take away.

But even better was the long walk out to Brownsville to reach it. . . .

I had made a discovery; I has stumbled on a connection between myself and the shape and color of time in the streets of New York. . . . There was one brownstone on Macdougal Street I would stop and brood over for long periods every evening I went to the library for fresh books . . . .

I had made a discovery: walking could take me back into the America of the nineteenth century. . . .

For each new book I took away, there seemed to be ten more of which I was depriving myself.

walking as dance
Edwin Denby:
Sometimes a crowd is thick and sometimes it's thin, and it keeps changing. And as it changes, you can feel it as a . . . how shall I say? . . . dance.

It isn't even an arranged dance of course. It's an improvised dance. They don't even know their relations to one another.

dance as falling
on Martha Graham:

Martha's style was infused with strong, precise movement and energy charged abdominal contractions as well as controlled falling and rising.

Merce Cunningham:
"Winterbranch" for example . . . was comprised physically of falls, of people falling on the ground, getting up and then walking off and then other people coming in and doing falls.

The falls are very physically complicated and have to be taught, it isn't just you drop to the ground, because as in dancing it involves how long it takes you.

walking as falling
Brian Massumi:
I like the notion of 'walking as controlled falling'.

It's something of a proverb, and Laurie Anderson
[i.e., "Walking and Falling," on Big Science], among others, has used it. It conveys the sense that freedom, or the ability to move forward and to transit through life, isn't necessarily about escaping from constraints.

There are always constraints. When we walk, we're dealing with the constraint of gravity. There's also the constraint of balance, and a need for equilibrium. But, at the same time, to walk you need to throw off the equilibrium, you have to let yourself go into a fall, then you cut it off and regain the balance.

You move forward by playing with the constraints, not avoiding them. There’s an openness of movement, even though there’s no escaping constraint.

The last quote above picks up on research that we abandoned, according to our notes, almost exactly 3.5 years ago but back then commenced after we nearly fell down a spiral staircase.