The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Association

tags: cyclestand published on:

The bridge between experience and narrative is formed by associations. Associations seem to be a collective noun, but they are not. Associations are linkages. Neither experience by default is complete. It has to be made complete by establishing associations. These associations are not formed randomly. There is a method and a rationale. One reason can be understood to be the urgency of experience. Things happen very fast and force you to make an association and assimilate them so that you can deal with more. In this urgency something of a bazaar operates. It is not always the most efficient or the most strategic, but clearly the most economical in terms of effort. The other few reasons can be said to be operating on subtle sensory impulses gleaned from the world. These impulses do not in themselves amount to anything but then they accumulate and assimilate with the culture of data that is formed and become active. For example, it does not mean anything to smile. But smiling when there is absolutely no need to creates a narrative tension. And this narrative tension forms because of the association between smiling and the necessary condition that are required to smile. Where do these associations come from? From tradition, cultural history, habit - all point in the same direction.

This direction is specified by the fact that patterns of behaviour strengthen themselves. Although patterns are sometimes not very distinct, and seem indistinct and a part of the noise itself, they still very much exist and cannot be denied. When a subtle pattern gets reinforced and becomes the overbearing driver of narrative cannot be predicted. But how are the seeds of pattern sown? How do tendencies emerge?

Tendencies cannot be dismissively described just as being outputs of the friction between the being and collective experience. Although, the model of friction would serve well to explain most of the properties of the phenomenon, it is not enough. Although, difference and variance in perspective explains the variation in the tendencies that develop, there is something more that is needed. The friction model is similar to the genetic model of the evolution of culture and the species itself. And evolution is a flawed story because the parts of the story that stand unexplained are the ones that hold all the answers. No story that rests on evidence for its validation can ever be considered to be complete. The moment new data emerges, the story falls flat. And experience is one data set that is constantly emerging, there is no stop. In fact, when there is a stop, there will be no resumption.

So we are searching for the roots of the tendencies that emerge and then bloom into full-blown patterns, which in turn govern the unfurling of behaviour through associations and even persona-formation.

In this search we do not want to get obsessed with an analytical perspective. Because, analysis only unravels a poetic explanation for expressed behaviour. The view of analysis dictates that the interior is a deep and dark place that holds all the answers.

But we hold that depth is impossible and inexplicable. The content on the surface and in some invisible interior area cannot be dissimilar, it has to be one. If it is different, then two surfaces need to be modeled. And all duality is impossible. If the hold on the essential unity has to be maintained then the content on the surface is the only content.

And so analysis has to be remodeled. It has to replace the idea of the deep inside with the secrets with techniques for a study of what is on the surface.

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