…the rare occasions…once or twice a year…always winter some strange reason…stare at her uncomprehending… (Not I)
This made me think of a family member that my father mentioned to me on several occasions. I think it was one of his uncles, who would whenever there was a full moon, change into someone else. He would especially tease the dogs, and it seemed that he enjoyed being nasty. He was normally a well-behaved man (or so the story goes), but whenever there was a full moon, people would leave him alone. They knew what would happen. They called it “moon sickness”. Whatever it was, it was very real. Some people react more than others to seasons, light, darkness, moon cycles, etc. This shows that our bodies are deeply connected to nature, and that we cannot detach ourselves from it. In a way, this reminds me of a book launch I attended where the researcher Arild Utaker stated (quoting from another philosopher) that all digital devices can be perceived as an extended part of our biology. A device such as a mobile phone is designed to replicate and take over many of the actions and skills that a human being would normally manage alone. The devices disconnect many of our skills from us, and places them outside of our body. Thus we also forget how things were originally done or meant to be. In fact, mobile phones can be perceived as biological if we follow this logic.
So what does it tell us?
Perhaps that we need reboot these skills in some way. Or that we are indeed more than our bodies, as the devices are created by us they also become us. An android is a robot or other artificial being designed to resemble a human, and often made from a flesh-like material. We create resemblances.
Through our bio-devices we have moved past language. We use emojis to express ourselves. We can convey humour through them. We can also move past words just using a picture, or a short video. Or so we think. What happens to us when we have drained our digital language as well, and there is nothing more to retrieve? I think we will come to that point.
Then I turn back to Beckett, trying to understand the “unword”. Will we ever understand it?
This is what I will work on in the upcoming sessions, and whilst doing so also work on becoming words – integrating them in my body. I feel that in this process, I will have to move away from all my devices, however, as a contradiction to this, I will also use my phone to document my process. I’m not so sure we can escape the reality we have created for ourselves. Somehow we’re trapped in our technological extensions. However, in order to create a counterweight, I need to go back to the analogue. I insist on reading paper books, and I let my kindle die. Bold statement: Real stories exist outside of our screens.
When I was younger I loved a story when I thought it was a “real story”. I kept on saying this to my father when there was something that really triggered me. I keep on thinking whether Beckett has created real stories, and I’m discovering more and more that he has. That’s why you can’t shake them off.
Sophie Bordo Barth, March 2019