by Lawrence Vanchelnik
On the idea of capitalist possession as a form of defensive aesthetics prohibiting second order meaning…prepared for the league of women voters, the naacp and the jewish defense force…
The dollar doesn’t go very far, it never has, Americans rarely travel. I have met negros who have never left the city let alone the county…We are really living in Dostoevsky’s world. If we had read him more carefully, or at all, maybe we would not be reliving it. Dostoevsky’s epileptic fits were meant to wake us from our logic, or point to our fits. Dostoevsky was a theorist, he was a revolutionary to be exact, meaning very conservative in his logic and aesthetics, which has nothing to do with fascism as they will state, or satanism, as they will gorge on.
Dostoevsky is important, and they no longer write like Dostoevsky, because in all of two paragraphs he has transported you back in time, to 19th century Russia, before the idea of the Renaissance as something lived, you are part of the landscape, you see it and feel it. You become the peasant who has not left the feudal state, you feel what a burden or evolutionary satire it was for even the aristocracy to travel by troika to the next town, only 60 miles away, which is the same thing as a car, the troika, really, as an idea of meaning which an urban cowboy could only understand as crotch rot or the ever increasing price of gas. I have been in cars with these possessed polo bedouins and they just can’t come to terms with open spaces…Where are the dots….He was I think writing for us, for the future, before the camera and film, which is meaningless as an artform because it says everything and nothing, is purely symbolic, even the documentary. It never reaches words.
So I was pulling-out of work the other day, a Dostoevskian or Gogolesque civil servant, with that mindset in a way, because I have read them, I see how nothing has really changed because most people do not see the metaphor in things, they are working in first order logic or not working at all, their imaginations, because we have all become soviet.
And it struck me that this very average woman shot me a cruel glance as she pulled into her townhouse, a gentrified piece of architecture on the river meant to dislocate both the peasant and the metaphor of understanding leading to the second order of things. And there are an infinite amount of higher orders being occluded from most of us.
And this divorcee, this middle aged woman, with a midling profile and average car cum troika was speeding into her underground garage to ascend the first order of her logic with a river view, which she would do anything to protect, including divorce, it was apparent not only in the velocity of her travel, but in certain wrinkles near the jaw line like abortions, or being cruel to equals or subordinates and definitely to superiors behind their back…Because the dollar was never meant to go very far to begin with as a talisman of the first order erasing metaphorical thinking, because even spirituality and intellectualism come in degrees. And they can talk about cryogenics and hermeticism but the automobile, bought with deflationary economics has already achieved this in an order higher than that in which it presents itself.
And the architecture of this apartment building is almost unnameable. Just as is all of the new buildings built since the Bauhaus that has kind of cloned itself through gentrification which was meant to be an abortion, new peasants out, building crushed, new building built, new peasants in, new architectural firms. But the same structures in Volgograd are crumbling by nature, because Dostoevsky was a Russian writer and it took 70 years of communism, one generation really, to apprecaite this by forgetting it, meaning not even the Russians have gotten over Dostoevsky, or serfdom or the aesthetics as an idea of logic. Because when you can no longer afford to demolish things the logic takes something back.
And evil is really laughter with no meaning. It is drug induced. And these orders laugh at themselves as an idea of automatism, because the logic is also possessed by internalizing it, which a middle aged woman may not think she represents in the immediate energy of her concerns or even orgasm, the idea of evil and transgression really an idea also of the first order and laughable in degrees, because people can not possibly see themselves or the dollar or the apartment building as a metaphor, as a physical metaphor of space and time where everything becomes acausal and meaningful. And of course what we know of spirituality, which was maybe Dostoevsky’s point, and these women are so hyper, is also just an order, which was maybe the point of placing Alexei in an original commune, the original Bauhaus as monastery. The sign system is not objectivity, it is just a safe house…
And the whole frustration with satirizing oneself through the first order is because it is much easier to ascend the first order from an underground garage, or from the locker room at a country club, or boarding a seat to business class, or taking an elevator, or being on top during coitus, in any way ascending from this perspective, than to think to have to ascend endlessly without repose, through all orders, to actually read history as meaning.
And she shot me this terrible glance. And it is true, Socrates and Dostoevsky were probably terribly ugly but so too is the mayor of New York. Because thinking a certain way forms physiognomy. And the scalpel is cold. And I can’t complete a thought because I have to bathe 5 year olds as two people work to support what is actually free, namely food, by the sun, encompassed on the hook of middle aged fish by the river who would be better off making clothes without the literalism of their sweat shop aesthetics. Which all makes sense if you have not seen but lived by the rivers in Russia, where they hang dried fish as an idea of America.
Lawrence A. Vanchelnik is an author and retired imaging scientist. He splits his time between Rochester and a small homestead outside New York’s South Valley State Forest.