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  • dhambu iceFALL

    pg 338/softcover ed.: {the 2 seconds at the end of the holloway tape, the debate over the existence of a creature} "....a be[] or jus[] a[]other reconfig[]ration of that absurd space; like the Khumbu Icefall; product of []ome peculiar physics?"

    i couldn't find anything on this site about the icefall, so:

    according to the discovery channel it is a base icefall at mount everest that reaches up to "...a building 6 stories high." it is the "deadliest in the world" due to its highly unstable composition; combined with the continuous potential energy being exerted on it (an icefall is basically a river flowing over a cliff), meltwater "lubes" the ice making it susceptible to structural morphing. the route up the icefall has to be remapped every spring to avoid the crevasses that extend "...100's of meters into the bluey darkness." edmund hillary called it the "...most unnerving part of his journey to the top of everest."

    i find it hard to take it as some arcane allusion. obviously(this website) literary detail is not to be taken lightly. it seems to be somewhat in collusion with references to mt. st. helens (where the underground staircase went unnoticed till its burial by helens[app.C, typed fragment]) as an example of the force that nature has, or the anxieties it produces in humans, expecially late-capitalistic humans. this brings up an interesting point to me; the idea of nature/Nature in the context as an outside force.

    the phenomena in hol seems to generally have a psychological foundation to it, i view the whole situation of the book itself as a theatrical critique, or exposition of the mind in its paradoxical relationship to its perceptions. the role of encasing/menacing structures has long been aesthetically used as a stage of reference in the playing out of human anxieties (i.e. the great hall, the itself, the stairwell, the "beast/creature/minotaur"[animal character])

    why i think any of this is relavent is that large structures of nature (caves, mountains,...) are posited as such because of the long evolving dualistic notion of human's as distinct from nature, the ecological world (plants, animals, minerals...), that can be seen in the hierarchical idea of human's living "on planet earth". even the way i use the referent "nature" in this post alludes to a presupposed division between human and everything not human.

    so in hol i see the descriptions of the body (psych. states, social structures, histories; all revolving around humans) and the meta-body (phenomenological structures, nature [via references, chad's refuge, the situation of delial*]. these are temporary catagories for the sake of argument though. my point is the evolutionary fusion into a cohesive worldview those two catagories. and what are the characters in the book but products of a cartesian modernism. existing with an awareness of an unknowable alien world that is enchroaching on them in mythic proportions. structures that behave as having consciousness.

    the most poingent manifestation of nature is the minotaur. trapped in a labrynthine otherness, the away team is haunted by the foundation of their own confusion___the minotaur, the last mythological characterization of the attempted bifurcation of human's with their own environment (their own selves, Nature). the labrynth/hallway/staircase/maze is in fact not a foreign other, it is their the manifestation of their own selves, their own histories. not in a purely psychoanalytical manner, but as an actual, verifiable (recordable) situation. the dead bodies are tangible. the anxiety is the play.

    analogically, if one does not recognize oneself in the tree outside, the moniter in front of their self, what they are taught is history, then the discrepency that navy and holloway experience can directly be related to. this oneness isn't an ethereal child of vendanta or similar mysticism--

    {although can be pursued in this direction, as has been done already on this site under various topics. themes such as pythagorean symmetry, the poetics of space, "peculiar physics", gnosticism, alchemics, all these could buttress my argument, but i find there to be a more accruable solution}

    --but the actual biospheric relation of everything. it is fundamental that humans and insects are composed of the same material, engage in the same inter-dependent system,....etc. nature is Nature, humans are Nature, minotaur is Nature, the paradox of illogical mathematical relationships is Nature.

    if this is the case, how could any type of phenomena that the navidson's witness be anythiing but Natural. it is their struggle against it that provides the screenplay, and my belabored theory might add a little more understanding to the stage.

    this is not an explanation, nor an all-encompassing statement. it is relavent merely as one of infinitley possible thematic frameworks. boom.


    peash.

  • #2
    That has to be the fucking best first post EVER. Boom.

    Comment


    • #3
      Agreed.

      Welcome aboard, bromois.

      Comment


      • #4
        Okay, wow.

        Very many interesting things to ponder. Hooray for the man against nature theme.

        A few of your points don't quite connect for me, so could I ask you to clarify a bit?

        Originally posted by bromois
        so in hol i see the descriptions of the body (psych. states, social structures, histories; all revolving around humans) and the meta-body (phenomenological structures, nature [via references, chad's refuge, the situation of delial*]. these are temporary catagories for the sake of argument though. my point is the evolutionary fusion into a cohesive worldview those two catagories. and what are the characters in the book but products of a cartesian modernism. existing with an awareness of an unknowable alien world that is enchroaching on them in mythic proportions. structures that behave as having consciousness.
        I think I might be missing something here, but I don't quite follow the configuration of the body to the meta-body in relation to the natural world. Is it the fusion itself that creates the natural opposition (opposed to unfusedness) or is fusion a reaction to the natural world's otheredness?

        Also, what do you mean by "cartesian modernism"? Isn't this the opposite of the late-capitalistic (in the Jamesonian usage) ?

        I guess I'm just wondering if you see the book as creating or collapsing the duality that the characters respond to.

        Anyway, really interesting stuff. I hope you don't see this as a challenge in any way. Let's see where we can go with this.

        Comment


        • #5
          bifurcation/integration

          disclaimer>>i re-read my earlier post and my first reaction was.....pompous-ass. i rarely read fiction, but in hol i find many areas that can serve as foundations for authentic discourse. playful de/re-contextualization that is somewhat relevent to human experience. hence the bloated posts.

          molecularr>> my idea of body/meta-body is very loose and would probably crumble under serious scrutiny. so i stress their nature as temporary catagories. what is important is that i think they are semiotically valid; an argument can rest on them.

          strictly in semiotics, though. i know my post implies otherwise, but these perceived catagorizations (nature/man, body/meta-body.......histories, societies.......etc.) are particular conceptual artifacts of human consciousness. any fission or fusion i find as merely percieved...the human mind morphing stimuli into convenient informational packets. one could argue that the effects are real as seen in "man against nature" (a clearcut, a war), but this stems from a human viewpoint where nature is a posited entity(cartesianism). it is similar to the naturalistic fallacy. expressing "man against nature", or division or otherdness, implies something that is un-natural which is an impossibility. for in Nature, how could something exist if it was un-Natural.

          humans stating themselves as distinct from nature(the modern humans catagory for Nature) is akin to my index finger stating its independence from my the rest of my hand. so my point was that the , the navidson's(representing humans) are like two parallel lines that exist in the same plane(they make up the plane, it is their Nature) that happen two cross paths, with a shitload of misunderstanding ensuing. {the length of uncrossed respective lines could be seen as the human conception of history...the wall samples dated to a period of time during the earths formation, even pre-cosmos}.

          man-against-nature is too simple an explanation i think. that is definitely a cartesian/modernist concept. (yes, 'cartesian modernism' can be thought of as opposing the term 'late-capitalistic'....let me explain).

          the navidson's are products of the cartesian/modern paradigm. they are socio-economic animals. they engage in the highest forms of human structure (fetishism of the physical [karen was a model], and the remote/observational eye of artistic record [will as photojournalist]. what they become after the encounter with the reality of the (how could it be disproved, it was recorded with scientifically sanctified instruments) is familiar to me as the bifurcation in late-capitalism...postmodernism. cartesian grammer does not compensate for the .


          i do see the book as addressing the dualism that the characters are >embedded< in (the dualism of human perception that is), and with this ecological encounter (similar to late capitalisms encounter with deep ecology, chaos, systems theory, M-theory...) they are bifurcated from their modernist notions of reality that their grammer cannot diffuse. postmodernism is a segue into......? the postmodern human is typical of will, unresolved. the late-capitalistic human awaits integration.....will returns to the .



          what?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: bifurcation/integration

            Originally posted by bromois
            i rarely read fiction, but in hol i find many areas that can serve as foundations for authentic discourse. playful de/re-contextualization that is somewhat relevent to human experience. hence the bloated posts.
            Out of curiosity, what do you read? I'm "into" the philosophy and lit theory you seem to be referencing, but I think novels are a lot more fun to read. It's a bonus when they get at the same kind of interestingness as what you call "authentic discourse." (btw - I was tempted to react to that as though you had stated that all "fiction" discourse is non-authentic. Whether or not you meant that, it's obviously not your point, so I'll continue).

            Originally posted by bromois
            . . . what is important is that i think they are semiotically valid; an argument can rest on them. . .
            which is precisely important (and valuable) in the context of discussing a novel which is clearly poised on questioning/toying with semiotics.

            I'm still interested in the body/meta-body duality because it seems that you're saying that the man/nature is an artificial, Cartesian duality that relies on a hubristic conception of man's relationship to the world. Perhaps it is replacing that duality with body/meta-body allows Will and Karen to leave the whereas Holloway could not abandon the man/nature duality and so was defeated by it.

            The seems to defy consistency with "nature" (in its pre-cosmological age, "spatial rape," etc.) so it removes itself from man/nature already. But it becomes meta-body in its apparent responsiveness to its inhabitants.

            I have more thoughts--I really want to unpack the meta-body idea--but I gotta go. More later . . .

            Comment


            • #7
              bromois did you take debate in school?

              Comment


              • #8
                no i did not take debate in school. but i did drop out of college. yeah, thats how i do it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  molecularr:

                  what i refer to as authentic discourse is not a bias i use to dilineate 'high' and 'low' texts. i don't want to give off that impression. i find all expressive artifacts equally relevant to aesthetic inquiry. but certain texts accomplish this in a more engaging mode than others. take a $2 romance novel from wal-mart and compare it to hol. it is not that the romance novel is kitschy or unengaging(some type of human obviously finds it interesting. and think about an illiterate person coming upon it, they would treat it as a christian with their bible), but i think it is underdeveloped. its aesthetic realm is very singular and limited. this won't rock with a pomo paradigm, but hol is more engaging, because in literary/aesthetic/thematic terms it is more developed.

                  more develpment in those levels just leads to different activites (dedicated websites, theoretical insanity, etc..).


                  that the man/nature is an artificial, Cartesian duality that relies on a hubristic conception of man's relationship to the world.
                  i agree with this. although i am unsure of wether it can be considered "artifical". this is the thrust of my post. what is artificail? could the cartesian dualism of modern capitalistic human society be artificial? could it be any other way. like religion and myth, scientism (empiricism, monological paradigms,....) seems to have had an evolutionary advantage over a previous worldview. look at the balooning population. although the division of man/nature is obviously destructive, look who is at the top of the food chain bitches.

                  but....i think human's can come to terms with the ecology we are embedded in by evolving through the body/meta body paradigm. body/meta-body is a bifurcation from gross dualism(your point). the navidsons are experiencing this bifurcation, and i think identifying holloway as a metaphor for missed integration is interesting.

                  the navidson's experience this unquantifiable dimension as any human would. but them returning points to their slow immersion in what it could possibly, acutally be. their consciousness of it moves fluidly in and out of integration.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bromois is probably long gone; still I offer this as a tentative *bump*: an interesting debated was brought up but never quite went off...

                    half-cocked?


                    Originally posted by bromois
                    i think identifying holloway as a metaphor for missed integration is interesting.
                    ?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I remember coming across this as well, and reading through his post.

                      My first reaction to its labarynthine analytical bent, with the idea of man is/is not Nature/nature being the fount from which the analysis springs, was similar to that of Mark Twain's assessment of Wagner's music: that it must be better than it sounds.

                      There are some points I find quite personal and irrelevant, and some that are, after looking again, provocative enough.

                      Originally posted by bromois
                      it seems to be somewhat in collusion with references to mt. st. helens (where the underground staircase went unnoticed till its burial by helens[app.C, typed fragment]) as an example of the force that nature has, or the anxieties it produces in humans, expecially late-capitalistic humans. this brings up an interesting point to me; the idea of nature/Nature in the context as an outside force.
                      Why late-capatilistic humans would have more anxiety about natural phenomena than earlier humans is not apparent to me. I would tend to believe quite the opposite - that early humans, so dependent on the whims of nature for their survival (no cultivation, no animal husbandry, no weather forecasts, no storm cellars, no food storage, no distribution networks, no food preservation methods, no science, etc. etc. etc.) would have more day-to-day anxiety about natural phenomena.

                      This is right on:

                      Originally posted by bromois
                      i view the whole situation of the book itself as a theatrical critique, or exposition of the mind in its paradoxical relationship to its perceptions.
                      "All the is a stage, and all the men and women..."

                      but...

                      Originally posted by bromois
                      the long evolving dualistic notion of human's as distinct from nature, the ecological world (plants, animals, minerals...), that can be seen in the hierarchical idea of human's living "on planet earth". even the way i use the referent "nature" in this post alludes to a presupposed division between human and everything not human...my point is the evolutionary fusion into a cohesive worldview those two catagories. and what are the characters in the book but products of a cartesian modernism. existing with an awareness of an unknowable alien world that is enchroaching on them in mythic proportions. structures that behave as having consciousness.
                      The third sentence seems to be a non-sequitor. We're all familiar with Gaia theory--Earth as organism--so that's nothing new. But what does the characters' "cartesian modernism" and this "alien world" have to do with it? If the postulate is that there is only "Nature"--and everything is part of it (the truism argued later)--than what is "alien"? Consciousness? Can't be--it, like everything, is part of Nature. Unless his point is that the characters only see it that way because they are "blinded" by their cartesian modernism. They are suffering a pathology. As bromois puts it:


                      Originally posted by bromois
                      trapped in a labrynthine otherness, the away team is haunted by the foundation of their own confusion___the Minotaur, the last mythological characterization of the attempted bifurcation of human's with their own environment (their own selves, Nature). the labrynth/hallway/staircase/maze is in fact not a foreign other, it is their the manifestation of their own selves, their own histories. not in a purely psychoanalytical manner, but as an actual, verifiable (recordable) situation. the dead bodies are tangible. the anxiety is the play.
                      But this (Nature is Everything) runs the risk of the logical circularity problem of any "all-encompassing" definition: to wit, our psychological bifurcation of Man and Nature is itself a manifestation of nature (since we are Nature) and therefore meant to be. Consider Man and the Environment: either there's Us and the Environment, and we're "damaging" it, or we "are" the environment, so therefore anything we do "in" it is part "of" it--hence, we can do no wrong, or put another way, Nature is wrong to be us. As part of "Gaia", we are part of the organism fulfilling our role, even if we don't know what it is (just as an antibody--or a parasite--does not).

                      Here's bromois:

                      Originally posted by bromois
                      --but the actual biospheric relation of everything. it is fundamental that humans and insects are composed of the same material, engage in the same inter-dependent system,....etc. nature is Nature, humans are Nature, Minotaur is Nature, the paradox of illogical mathematical relationships is Nature.

                      if this is the case, how could any type of phenomena that the navidson's witness be anythiing but Natural. it is their struggle against it that provides the screenplay, and my belabored theory might add a little more understanding to the stage.
                      It does, but from my perspective it adds a problem of logical circularity as well. In a nutshell: we are of Nature, but we have, according to some philosophies, "graduated" beyond the other products of Nature to a state of stewardship: we are indeed "removed" from nature, because we have the capacity to modify it, to destroy it (in terms of our interdependent system--not the universe, not yet) if we wish. We have indeed created this bifurcation, but only lately in our evolution, and only through the necessity of realization that we are no longer wards of Nature--it, unfortunately, is ward to us.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by modiFIed
                        My first reaction to its labarynthine analytical bent, with the idea of man is/is not Nature/nature being the fount from which the analysis springs, was similar to that of Mark Twain's assessment of Wagner's music: that it must be better than it sounds.
                        I must admit, my reaction was similar, though my reference point was slightly less cultured than yours: I was wondering "Is there more to this than meets the eye?", and I kept hearing Jerry Seinfeld's voice going "No, there's less!"

                        However, that probably does this thread a grave injustice, so I'll suspend judgement.

                        Originally posted by modiFIed
                        Why late-capatilistic humans would have more anxiety about natural phenomena than earlier humans is not apparent to me. I would tend to believe quite the opposite - that early humans, so dependent on the whims of nature for their survival (no cultivation, no animal husbandry, no weather forecasts, no storm cellars, no food storage, no distribution networks, no food preservation methods, no science, etc. etc. etc.) would have more day-to-day anxiety about natural phenomena.
                        On the contrary, I think that bromois's point is well taken. A point of comparison would be the fact that phobias of snakes and spiders are much more common in urban communities in the developed world than they are in rural or jungle communities in Southern hemisphere countries, where snakes and spiders present a very real threat. The reason for this seeming anomaly is, of course, that when a threat is part of everyday life, behavioral patterns shape themselves around that threat, and seek to neutralize it as far as possible; but when the threat never presents itself in daily life, that natural (adaptive, atavistic) propensity towards fear of dangerous animals is more likely to become pathological. I think your objection would have worked if bromois had used the word 'fear' instead of 'anxiety'. But anxiety is very different from fear: anxiety is a modern (late-capitalist, post-Freudian, blah-di-blah) pathology.

                        As for the rest, I'm with you.

                        I think more needs to be said about conceptions of the super-, supra-, & preter-natural (which are as old as the hills). What does it mean for something to be 'beyond' nature, or 'above' nature, or 'more than' nature? Are anomalies and prodigies and chimeric creatures 'part of' nature (I mean, are they conceived as being part of nature in the popular imagination)? How do they fit into this scheme?


                        EDIT: It's worth noting that there is another mention of the Khumbu Icefall earlier in the book; I think I'm right in saying this hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread. p. 68:
                        • Similar to the Khumbu Icefall at the base of Mount Everest where blue seracs and chasms change unexpectedly throughout the day and night, Navidson is the first one to discover how that place also seems to constantly change.
                        Nasty dangling modifier in that sentence. Naughty Zampano!
                        • Unlike the Icefall, however, not even a single hairline fracture appears in those walls.
                        There's another one! Shocking grammar.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I must say, this is another one of those topics that I very much enjoy reading, but don't actually have much to add to.

                          While reading through this one, I also remembered a thought I had during my hiatus:

                          We're all closeted psychologists, on one level or another.

                          EDIT: And I'm the idiot of the group. I meant philosophers.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            One thing I don't really get about this thread is its title.
                            How come it's called 'dhambu iceFALL' when it's about the Khumbu Icefall? Should this be obvious? Am I missing something?

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