A Commonplace

What is a commonplace?




I was reading a book by Eileen Miles - it was a dog memoir I think. But it's got a poetic approach so it talks about all kinds of things. I'm going to adopt non-gendered pro-nouns here because, apparently that's what Eileen does. But also it's relevant to the subject at hand.

Eileen writes about giving a talk on "foam." The idea that there is water, there is air. There is also this phenomenon of the two of them mixed together. What I want to write here is "especially in the presence of impurities."

Eileen is writing about gender. And I think they have a good point.

But it got me to thinking about mixtures. When we talk about our lives, when we talk about our goals, when we talk about how we want things to be, we tend to talk in terms of absolutes. When we look at out lives we want them to be legible. We don't want them to be opaque.

That's another interesting thing about foams. They're opaque.

What if you're not living in a clear solution? What if you're living in foam? A froth? A lather? How does that change how you behave? What you think about what's happening? What's happened. What's going to happen.

I find this particularly interesting from the point of view of the stuff I was writing about last year. The business of asymmetric and symmetric thinking. Symmetrical thinking; all thinking; absolutist thinking would appear impossible to contain. But we know it can be contained. Religion is symmetrical thinking but for lots of people it can cooexist with lots of partial compromises.