The Poetics of Thought


(The following text is cloned from a posting titled ‘Preface’ posted on August 23rd 2009.)

This blog accompanies the youtube channel ‘Poetics of Thought’ and is a space for the development of some ideas concerning consciousness, experience, thought, and related themes. It emerges out of another youtube channel I have developed called ‘The Conference Report’ which takes the form of fairly undirected ramblings through a much broader field of ideas that I am presenting here. Links to both these channels can be found in the sidebar. The other point of origin for some of the content of this site is another blog, also called ‘The Conference Report’, which again can be visited via the accompanying link.

By way of entering the writing on this blog, the Poetics of Thought, I would like to say a few things about it; how it came about, how it gets written, what gets left out, and how it works (if it works).

Most morning I take my dogs, Phoebe and Guy, for a walk along the canal. We cut up and go along the Salt Line, which is the old disused railway line where the trains used to take the salt from Northwich and Middlewich to the Potteries. Then we cross a field that has an old white horse in it. The horse was owned by a young girl who died tragically, and the girl’s mother couldn’t bear to part with it. Sometimes the horse stands facing the wall, its head inches away. There is an oak tree in the field that I take a picture of whenever I pass; I take it from the same spot each time.

On these walks I usually talk to myself, usually silently but sometimes out loud. Occasionally I find myself gesturing while I am thinking aloud, and sometimes passers-by look at me in a funny way. I keep doing it though because the gesturing makes it easier for me to put the thoughts together in satisfying ways.

For a while I took notebooks with me and would stop occasionally to write down what I was thinking, but I kept losing the notebooks, and anyway, the dogs didn’t like it when I stopped. They liked the steady, three miles per hour rambling that accompanied their sniffing, and digging, and barking.

When I got home I would sit by the laptop with a cup of coffee and write down whatever I had been thinking about, but detached from the walk, and the horse, and the canal, and the oak tree, it didn’t make much sense, so I started thinking about horses, and water, and trees, and writing about those things.

Then I started to worry that if my laptop crashed I would lose everything, like I lost my notebooks, so I started a blog where everything would be safe. The internet is everywhere so anything you put on the internet is everywhere. Everything I thought about I put on the blog, and that seemed to be mostly about trees, and space, and walking, and occasionally about dogs.   And all this time I was taking my dogs for walks, talking to myself and gesturing at no-one.  

 I got a new phone around this time, and I wanted to try out its camera, so I filmed myself walking the dogs and talking, and the talking to one kind of no-one became talking to that other no-one; the public nobody that is made up of everybody.  The full-face Youtube everybodies that face the screens, all of us looking at one another from behind glass and all of us behind glass ourselves.    So here I am, five hundred videos and a thousand miles later.  I still walk the dogs along the canal, and will still use that time to think and probably make videos of those ramblings.  I also feel like I want to stop and take a breath, let the air come in and go out, and see what shape the breath has made in its passing.    If anyone is reading this – is anyone reading this? – this is the coils of breath moving in atoms and molecules and sounds and words and pixels and zeros and ones.


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