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Vortex

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I return to a fundamental mystery..... "The Image is not an idea. It is a radiant node or cluster; it is what I can, and must perforce, call a VORTEX, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing." Ezra Pound
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  VORTEX   John Woodcock   2019   Page of 16   The Image is not an idea. It is a radiant node or cluster; it   is what I can, and must perforce, call a  VORTEX, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing. Ezra Pound Page of 26 THE MUD BATH   BY DAVID BOMBURG (1914)  Sometimes I must wait for decades before more further meaning emerges from a dream or vision that  was so impactful, so uncomprehended, at the time. A friend recently pointed me to a book which tackles the mystery of word and thing, or the vexed question of language and reality. This question 1 imposed itself on me during a period of my life (80Õs and 90Õs) when fixed or stable reality bent and twisted, becoming more fluid. I wrote my dissertation during this time and my stumbling intent was to find language that could bring this new reality into manifestation, even if for a moment. And so I 2 began to discover the necessity of poetry or better,  poesis  . My thesis was composed in four movements (along with an overture and finale), over a ten-day furore or out-pouring of language that outstripped my understanding at the time. Available categories of experience were not adequate to understanding because they are born out of what had already become a stable, fixed world of thingsÑthe metaphysical world! I was taken under as this world collapsed for me: living in the world of the Cartesian paradigm i know that matter is on the outside spirit is in the inside and they have an abyss between these realities are axiomatic, testable and absolute that is until they break down. until I break down until the world breaks up  when what is so solid crumbles and dissolves  when what is so ethereal gains flesh and sinewÉ 3  An irresistible flood had arisen in me and my task had shifted dramatically from that of a conscious subject authoring a project to that of a drowning receiver of imagery having a source, momentum, and direction that I knew nothing about. This madness continued to inform the gesture of my books and essays for the next twenty years or so, as I struggled to align my life to this new reality  . As well as articulating this new way of being, I tried to locate my experiences with respect to available pools of knowledgeÑto avoid the ever-lurking madness that threatened. This work has continued to this day 4 and I am increasingly finding how close I was, and remain, to the pulse of our times in my early reality-bending experiences.  And so, when I opened my most recent purchase, I discovered a book focusing on the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and W. B. Yeats. Most intriguingly, the author employed a hermeneutics rooted in HeideggerÕs Òsearch for BeingÓ. In other words the author is asking what is the relationship between poetic language and Òultimate realityÓ or Being, as Heidegger says. This effort has gripped the minds of philosophers and artists since what is termed the linguistic turn of the early 20th C. Wit Pietrzak: Myth, Language & Tradition  (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011) 1  https://independent.academia.edu/WoodcockJohn/Doctoral-Thesis 2  From my Creative Synthesis, 1998. 3  See my book, Mouthpiece : Ch.Ó Community of SoulsÓ for a full description of my e " orts to connect with others. 4 Page of 36  Our language had became so abstract, so divorced from the world of things that many discerned a split between the two, leaving us high and dry, so to speak, unable to hear the worldÕs ÒspeechÓ. Heidegger called this desperate situation, Òoblivion of BeingÓ. We had forgotten our existential roots, becoming dangerously unanchored, lacking any metaphysical centre as W. B. Yeats reveals in his poem,  The Second Coming, and as Derrida shows with finality in his famous 1966 essay. At the same time we 5  were now able to focus on language as such and its relation to the world, and so modern linguistics was born as a discipline. Since my generative raw experiences of the 80Õs and 90Õs I too had been gripped by this question of language/reality and felt mainly confused by its mystery. This book did not diminish my confusion much as long as I tried to seek a definitive answer to the question. But it did show that others were also gripped by it, likewise with no certainty to cling to. Instead they sought a language that could best articulate the elusive mystery of Being, even if for a momentÑi.e., the language of inceptive poetry.  And so I dived into the book! The author is well-versed in HeideggerÕs terminology as well as in poetics. I was quickly bogged down with dense terminology, and the slow labour of unraveling it began. I persisted and on p. 163 received an illuminating jolt in the form of a quote from Ezra PoundÕs essay on Vorticism, a brief, early 20th C. artistic movement: t he Image is not an idea. It is a radiant node or cluster; it   is what I can, and must perforce, call a VORTEX, from  which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing.   6 My long-forgotten vision of 1990 came rushing back and finally brought some coherence to long years of struggling prosaically and poetically to say my individual experience of the language/reality mystery. I returned to my dream diary and found this passage from 1990: My heat and pain reached a crescendo of fiery agony on Xmas day. In desperation I tried to make images in clayÉ My clay work was an attempt to make something out of the fireÉ I began with a piece of clay held between my hands in a gesture of extreme tension. Then, to my astonishment, my hands, and the clay, began to turn. I finally made a piece that I later called ÒBeyond!Ó. It is a vortex, born of the tension between my hands moving in opposite directions. Out of this vortex are born the phenomenal forms of the universe. I have found the ÒplaceÓ from which new forms are made. I had no idea how to take this discovery any further but I never forgot it. The symbol kept working on my soul and began to appear in my essays and books, although understanding was still far behind. But 7 now, Ezra PoundÕs aphorism helped! He addresses the phenomenon in terms of language, particularly poetry and art (see above picture). I finally understood my own experiences with inceptive or living language. as Nietzsche puts it. What I had called the ÒBeyondÓ in 1990, is HeideggerÕs Being or No-thing, elusive, absconded, furtive, evasive, withdrawn, concealed, silent, yet present and source of poetic speech: Òat the heart of the whirlpool is a great silent place where all energy is concentrated.Ó 8  Wallace Stevens was working towards a poetic form that allows Being or that ultimate reality lying ÒbeyondÓ language to show forth in its absence through the poetic form which emulates its vortex character, as we may see in BomburgÕs painting above. Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences 5  Found at: https://fortnightlyreview.co.uk/vorticism/  6  See my book: Inception and the Vortex (2018), especially the Preface: https://www.academia.edu/36511424/  7 INCEPTION_and_THE_VORTEX_two_short_stories W. Lewis. Quoted in Pietrzac, 164. 8 Page of 46  Ezra PoundÕs vision of the vortex as a centre from which ideas are constantly rushing reminds me of one essay I wrote a few years ago. I was researching Celts and their use of spirals. I was rather 9 shocked that scholarship had so far remained unsettled as to their meaning. Then I had a momentary inner event during which I ÒsawÓ a cave. Spirals were emanating from the mouths of figures inscribed on its walls. This vision led me to New GrangeÉ ******* NEW GRANGE: Original Mouthpiece Scholarship does not know definitively what the spirals at New Grange meant to the Celts.  They remain a mystery. Scholars research the outside of this mystery, studying the empirical facts. Is there a way into this 5000 year-old mystery, into an experience of this mystery? How can we have any experience of the past, i.e. of the consciousness of the past? There is a wayÑthe way of living language. Modern words carry history within themselves and we call the study of this linguistic history etymology. If we begin an etymological inquiry into words, allowing disciplined imagination to lead the  way, then we can reach a place of inspiration where something other   may penetrate our modern consciousness. This other   is the consciousness or interiority of the past and a seed of the unknown future! Inspiration! Its very sound has a compelling pull on me. I hear my breath expel softly as the word is spoken. Its sound conveys breathingÑmostly breath, with no hard consonant ÒstopsÓ. So much like ÒwhisperÓ. I look up its meaning although I already know that ÒspireÓ means to breathe. ÒSpireÓ also has two other meanings: a single turn of a spiral and a tapering, rising to a point, like a church spire. All three meanings: breath, spiral, and tapering, now function independently of one another in our daily usage. But their historical meanings interpenetrate and echo one another in the sound of the word, ÒspiralÓ.  An echo of the past? This preliminary Òword workÓ already triggers a memory ... Spirals and vortices have frequently appeared in my dreams over the years. Part of my subsequent research took me to the Celtic world where spirals of course play a prominent role. I learned that Celtic scholarship could not discover any definitive meaning for the many spirallic forms found on Celtic artefacts. Now another memory surfaces, of an ancient rock carving depicting human figures with spirals emanating from their mouths! I saw it, I swear, yet to this day I cannot find any reference in the empirical world. I am left with the intriguing hint from memory that spirals and speech belong together, somehow. But the archeological world of buried facts is not the only ÒportalÓ to our spiritual heritageÑour dead past. It is also buried deep within our language, yes, as the past, but that past still living within our language, or as languageÕs very within-ness. I return to my word work. In our modern language, as standardised by the dictionary, ÒspireÓ has three separate meanings, each seemingly unrelated to the othersÑall hidden within the word ÒinspirationÓ. Breathing seems so unrelated to spiralling and tapering. I decide to dig more deeply into the living history of meanings residing in our everyday use of words. See Speech of the Unknown Future: https://www.academia.edu/23182324/Speech_of_the_Unknown_Future 9 Page of 56
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