Saturday, November 5, 2011

Insomnia! An automatic essay


an automatic essay...

wideness, emptiness, silence---how relativity is so relative that relating it to "my thinking" only arouses horror that its just me thinking it--the strange feeling of responsibility that I shouldn't wake up anyone to tell them because it does really seem abnormal, not a place you want to take someone, at least not on the first date---78+ hours was my longest stretch---how often it happens the first night i am sleeping with a woman no matter how nice it was and precisely despite the fact i am exhausted physically, there it is, the moon descends and sits on my shoulders, a lidless eye for a thoughtless head, a cyclops that sees and does not know why, the relativity of it so irrelevant because I sense how illusory time is itself---that all the vast arrays and observatories and particle accelerators seeking to measure time back to something forever "behind" even this "blind-thinking" eye I seem to be is really all too late---that the begining of anything is now but the future of it is hard to see without falling asleep again, that the future is hard to see without falling asleep again, that the future is really on the other side of the break from insomnia and that sleep is the problem, yes, sleep itself, it is so, so stupid, sleeping...and how yet i would like to sleep...i lay down, lights seem to flash across my closed eye-lids the images rise, faces, forms, visions, the voice of someone "inside" me---

then a memory of another insomniac bout, lasting merely 38 hours---these bouts are never the result of all-night parties or work-sessions, mind you---one wherein i discovered i had tinnittus: i was thoroughly convinced i heard a throbbing bass line from some reggae dub-upstart basement club in berlin where i was "living" and as i went from window to window several times (there were only two windows), it took me an hour to discover the source of the sound lay somehwere locked in a self-perpetuating, resonant loop of neural cilia, between the two inter-lacing fringes of these nerves which fire and vibrate in response to one another's messages---one fringe transmitting the air pressure pulsations fom the tympanum and the other receiving it, transmitting ito the cortex for deciphering of the brain, "data integration"---and how, in the case of tinnittus, the cause is an a random firing of a series of internally consistent messages that were, in this instance, extremely convincing, that had comepletely convinced me that " i was correct" in assuming there was an outward source for this sound... when in fact, to my horror, it was a bundle of errors, a sickness, a bundle of errors that was me, my body, this perceptual apparatus, this empty-chambered gun in a russian roulette of consciousness, seeking desperately to ground its charge in a some external objects...

to be at least as accurate about this "ear business" as i can possibly be: the inner ear recieves vibrations, transmits them further into the cortex: the cortex administers a re-send, a message back across the same path, a message indicating the length of the vibration, to verify the vibration or to measure it, let's say, against what is still being transmited from the tympanum into the inner ear. the result is that both of these nerve fringes vibrate together, resonate, the oscillation frequency being thusly coded (mnemotechnics), so that those of us who have learned the divisions of the code, can distinguish different levels of pitch and other sound qualities. in the case of tinnittus, the message comes only from the inside, and the outter fringe of nerves is stimulated and vibrates, this vibration is recieved in the tympanum: the illusion is that there is a "sound".

add here citations from zarathustra...

insomnia, classically: how often it happens when i am in love or think i am in love or thinking i wish i were in love or that i wasn' often it happens sleeping next to someone i think i no longer love because if i were awake and in love and could stir the slumbering beloved insomia would be slain and slaked by it "dawns" on me occasionally that i have been awake too long and that i live in fear of the insomnia begining again, this endless road stretching out in front of me without drama, without any causation that does not seem prone to delusional thought, that threatens me with infinity even while i convince myself it will surely come to an end, sooner or later, this highway filled with transport vehicles 24/24...pick your own prefered symbol of monotony...

insomnia before the internet was an entiely different love affair...because the net is always, seemingly, awake, robotically at the ready, there is almost always, seemingly, someone else awake and how a chat-session, with a known or unknown other, restores discursive and rational normalcy, creates an exchange, a breathing that becomes unconscious again, a heart that does its job without being monitored...for when i am truly alone, unsleeping, i am become hyper-aware of my own body's functions and begin to travel inside the layers or interfaces of my being.

cage's experience in the anechoic chamber also seemed to be divided almost mystically into extreme frequencies, one the "high" brain funtioning and the "low" blood pulsation while anyone who was not a composer might register such an experience in a very different way, as I did once, noting how my visual field was simulataneously distorted by the small size of the anechoic room: tunnel-vision, the claustral feeling. insomnia does occur, like a very small chamber, a false vaccuum, and jar of artefice in which my consciousness appears but also paradoxically disappears into the other horizon, that of the wideness, the horizon itself appearing on the edge of a cup, on the window-sill, on the row of tenement, on the empty dark or cloudy starless city sky or murky moon or milky wherein i am waiting not-knowing i am waiting and if i am alone and i cannot read---and here, i enter the most frightening dimension of my own insomnia: the inability for consciousness to hold onto aything at all for any amount of time, whether because the pervasive lack of neuro-chemical presences destroys the short term memory and language cannot be made to cohere in my mind or because the insomnia is a hard, lonely diamond-like and jealous god who will not permit any distraction that will lead to drowsiness---for whatever reason, the words hang on the page like laundry on a line blowing in the breeze, each word a rag on a wire and how and why did they became strung together i cannot decipher. and there is no way to be entertained it seems. everything seems like flotsam and jetsam and even my own thoughts ride on the flow of...what?
it does not even just hangs, a cosmic limbo...

one would almost prefer a war be raging in the streets than this and this nihilistic thought haunts me only for a split-second because i know in this state how utterly impotent i am to bring about such a war and even if i knew mechanically how to bring it about would not be able to carry through the step-by-step instructions to assemble such a machine.

if i were to situate my senses in a quincunx, debatable as these divisions are from the point of view of science---knowing as "we" do, how closely interwoven the visual and auditory nerves are, for example, so that in effect one sense is always refering to data gathered by the other sense or, knowing how tasting and smelling are difficult to isolate from their mutual complementarity---if i were to put them nevertheless into four points and draw them into a central point, it is in the case of insomnia that the acute awareness of the inexistence of the point of so-called integration becomes painfully evident and hopelessly open. and it is from this repeated experience i claim now that i can make no conclusion? i beg the reader to take me seriously and yet i must indicate that i am somehow yet unable to lend myself any credibility. i am trying to be as honest as i can possibly be, writing as quickly as i can, not searching endlessly for mot juste, because i do not believe there is one word that is right, no one modulus for the experience of the static and undying disturbance of the shells of existence.

insomnia and substances. like smoking or drinking or pills, if you have such luxuries. they never work in the case of a real insomniac episode. i can drink unto stumbling and fall dizzy into bed and of course i am then too sick to be able to sleep for the convulsions of nausea. any barbituate solution puts you at risk of over-dosing and although i have thought in these insomniac states all the permutations of suicidal possibilities that "gets one through many a night", i am not confident in death as being different enough than this, than this insomnia experience itself, to count as a real alternative. i have smoked a pack of cigarrettes and it only increased my heart rate to the point of utter panic and the need to just stop, take a rest, just lay down and....nothing of the in veiled robes of fleece does not come and wrap my mind in downy visions or enigmatic morphean plasmas...

on one insomniac night in particular, while smoking, i was seized by the determination to do something useful and hauled out the vaccum cleaner and, with the cigarrete clamped in my mouth, running the nozzle over the floors, enjoying at least the power of this machine made for sucking and inadvertanly bumped the door in such a way as caused the ejection of the light, the cinder or pharos, the burning bit, from the cigarrette itself and i watched in a suspended moment as it or I fell through the air, like a pilot ejected from a nose-diving plane, and the cinder fell on the floor near the snout of the vacuum cleaner and poof. it was gone. it is funny: i saw myself in the mirror and the look on my face made me laugh. i shut off the machine immediately and sat down looking at it. what, now, will happen to this red silent domestic robot that, in belgium at least, one calls a "hoover". of course there is not enough oxygen for a fire to burn in there. and indeed, it stated to emit fumes and my imagination was captrured inside this enclosed infernal microcosm. and the fire inside its belly turned to the plastic and rubber detritus and started to stink and i hurriedly dragged it by the neck to kitchen sink and while reasonable enough to not want to pour water on a plugged-in electrical appliance and yet unreasonable enough to open the burning machine and pull out the bag, which burst immediately, flames and smoke blossoming and yet fortunately falling from my unscathed hand directly into the sink, i was able to slap the faucet up. and in seconds all but the rotten fumes had passed. could i call this the poetry of insomnia in action? i cannot tell.

there is of course the widespread and creeping thought virus that insists insomnia can be cured my some kind of meditation. but i am convinced that they are mostly other forms of insomnia themselves and that it is only the style of dress that changes as we pass from land to land. and while i do find certain mantras to be pleasurable to practice and still recall with wonder the tibetans compressing their deep overtones into golden pills, i have been so often accused of spiritualist pretensions that i cannot stand before the scientific community and deliver any kind of report that does not seem like a long and complicated dream: that is, a kind of narrative salve and balm to work into the muscles of the over-active mind and bring the opiate of sleep to englobe us, especailly since all while it does occur to me that capitalism itself thrives on our insomniac innovations like a vampire, sucking the ideas for more functional systems out of the combinatorium the mind becomes during such pointless demonic wrestlessness. if this in fact were to prove to be the beneficent side of insomnia, then it will have maybe redeemed itself in the "spirit of progress". but i remain largely untouched by such luck and my sleeplessness rests apparently in no detectable marketability.

April 1, 2009

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