the mouth the anomalous 1

Here it is, the first issue of :: the mouth :: the anomalous :: tales from the other world. Issue 1 was published in February 2010. Having amassed quite a few science fiction poems over the previous years, particularly from 2008 to 2010, I decided to start releasing short mini-zines as a way of dealing with the back-log. Almost 2 years on I have only put out 3 of the :: the mouth :: the anomalous :: mini-zines in total, and the back-log grows. Of course other activities have intervened: writing a PhD, studying French, trying to make sense of this damnable capitalist world in order to revolutionise it, etc.

This issue contains one of my favourite poems, Agent X, aka As a poem which it is and a story the point of which is unclear because it is. It also has a poem inspired by reading Hegel: Hegel’s Inverted World. I wrote this soon after I began reading Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (the A.V. Miller translation), while participating in a reading group on the book at the ANU. Early on I was struck by the section on the Inverted World, and so the poem. However it would be hazardous to take this poem as an insightful commentary on this section. The section on the Inverted World is in the chapter on Force and Understanding, which is itself a particularly difficult part of a difficult book. Briefly the ‘Inverted World’ is a critique of the Kantian phenomenal and noumenal division, which Hegel argues separates essence and appearance. In Kant’s schema the understanding posits a super-sensible world over and above the world of everyday experience which is both the condition of experience and inaccessible to experience. Thus the sensible world is the appearance of a super-sensible world forever unreachable or ‘ungraspable’ in everyday apparent reality. Robert Stern has written,

The lesson of the “inverted world” […] is that consciousness […] comes to feel that the nature of reality is ungraspable, and an apparently insuperable separation occurs between the subject and the object. Faced with this breakdown, consciousness naturally recoils from the theoretical attitude, and moves over to its opposite, the practical attitude. Here the engagement of the subject with the object is much more direct, as the subject once again becomes a being in the world, not just a disinterested spectator of it, so the world regains its “colour” once more. Thus, the transition here is what one might expect from the Phenomenology […]: having found that the scientific theorist’s position has ended in incoherence by attempting to view the world in abstraction from how it appears to us as subjects within it, consciousness now sees the world as something that the subject can engage with directly through its practical relation to it, as nothing but a vehicle for its self-expression.

(Robert Stern, Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit, p. 69)

Needless to say I am an enemy of the Kantian transcendental, or any ‘transcendental necessity’ posited by modern day idealists. One of the lessons of science fiction, at least in its most radical iterations, is that we are capable of determining our own conditions of being through a better understanding of reality.

:: the mouth :: the anomalous :: tales from the other world no. 1 february 2010

now available here.

Unfortunately the cool picture of the 1930s style rocketship (appropriately altered by me) does not reproduce well in the pdf. So here it is, gloriously, in jpeg format:

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