Thursday, 11 June 2009

We have been up all night, my friends, kept awake by the rains of Berlin and by the sounds of the Turkish Quarter. If mosque lamps were once as bright as our souls, then what chance they are now dim like eternal pitch corridors, all light extinguished by false hope?

The chess games have subsided, conversations over long meals fell away, videos streamed onto the computer have long since ended their buffering. I should like to say, as if this were a manifesto of the future, that we have been discussing right up to the limits of our petty logic, but these times are times when writing cannot be scrawled, when fact is given over for opinion and search has replaced enquiry.

Brief forays into the grids of Google Squared and the encyclopaedic cleanliness of Cuil have left both demotivated drunkards, beating their wings against the walls. So, what of Wolfram Alpha, the ten trillion strong bastion of computational knowledge? Like a lighthouse against an enemy of stars, it is an outpost of reason. It does not search, it calculates! It is built from verified data, from the arches and crossbeams of peer review. The celestial bivouac quivers in its wake. If beauty only exists in struggle, then what ugliness pervades the simplicity and instancy of such pure knowledge? Perhaps those mosque lamps will light once more, powered by our electric hearts, powered by the kinetics of a billion fingers on keyboards.

Reading takes me to crossroads, at a point twenty years on from Mauerfall, where stock is collected and counted. The gutters of the factories run dry, the watchdogs rest doleful on the steps of houses, runways lie pliant and quiet, the guillotine knives are set down.

Graeme and I have walked the districts many times in the last few days, taking in my neighbourhood. The old West lies in the East, we exclaim. What of our country? we ask. Is it that politics is in its last throws? Is the apparent impotence of a people to affect their own governance (why should they want such a thing? the polyphonic surf of revolution surely holds a nicer tune?) the result of a symbiosis? Perhaps the steady progression of European society as a struggle between philosophical tropes is at an end? Did the fall of the Berlin Wall issue forth an exclamation for liberal democracy and nothing else? So, then, what place Karachi and Pyongyang in this schema?

The thinkers - Argento, Badiou, Fukayama, Virilio, Naisbitt, Popper - what of them? When will I find time to take in their words? There is too much to read and too little time.

I fall asleep at the minute echoing the words of others, I wake stealing their thought. Each evening I return to my small bedroom and begin to write anew, muttering paragraph openings under my breath. Today, then, in the global sense is one of interregnums, of insisting research of forward-stretching plans and investigations of medians. Have we reached a passive catalyst, a moment regarded retrospectively as significantly, invisibly causal? Outside, the last faint prayer of the old canal and the crumbling of palaces, moribund with their parapets covered in algae and rust. The rain continues.

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