“Well,” our teacher responds, / you have to understand the difference – / this isn’t a matter of two-handed peace signs.” So, at the restaurant where I’d ordered a waffle resting on a bed of cheese curds and berry honey, I inquire about the white jellyfish (like a tasseled silk pouf) floating in the aisle. What’s its name? I ask. May I take its picture? The women proprietors generously give me a an old milk carton, filled with Ai Wei Wei’s porcelain sunflower seeds, stolen from the Tate Modern, to feed the jellyfish. The jellyfish need calcium. Another jellyfish appears as soon as I scatter the seeds, and one of the jellyfish I've fed evolves into a silver, tabby-striped duckling who hops up on the table and yawns. But where was this soot coming from? Saturn’s atmosphere is mostly hydrogen, but there’s about a half percent of methane. During a thunderstorm, lightning can fry that methane to a crisp, releasing the hydrogen and reducing the carbon to little black bits. The researchers think those bits of soot are blown up into the ammonia clouds during the thunderstorms. “So we have this reservoir of carbon dust and so the natural question is, what happens to the carbon dust eventually?” “Eventually it’s going to drift on down.” The researchers think that as the soot particles fall slowly through Saturn, they start to find one another and glom together. These bits of pure carbon may also act as seeds that pull the carbons out of the methane molecules they meet, growing over time. By the time they’ve floated several hundred miles into the planet, the growing heat and pressure crush the carbon into graphite. Then about 3,700 miles down into the atmosphere, roughly the distance from Earth’s surface to its core, the pressure rises to 100,000 times that of Earth at sea level. It’s so powerful it crushes the graphite into diamonds, which grow into large pebbles as they bob around in the planet’s fluid layers. The diamonds precipitate down through Saturn’s layers for another 22,400 miles or so. But at that point, the temperature is so high that even the diamonds can’t take it anymore, and they melt. This entire process probably takes a long time, perhaps on the order of a thousand years ... o and if you don’t get what is after-bath runnning mascara, you need to upgrade. / your navigator of course. / your navigator might Math Sup, for example. / or metamaths soup. / or your navigator might have no other option than to work on the too often neglected -ing form! / so let’s metamathsouping joyfully. / after-bath runnnning mascara is essential to a bastardisaddic worker but i believe postmetamathsouping is even better. / let’s keep postmetamathsouping for tomorrow ... / and what about some -ang style, now? / what about a little more -ang style. / yes. Two years pass in an hour. The wrong war ends. I look up. The ceiling fan is shaking a bit. How to begin with aerial roots? What would be required to constitute a joyful science of radical permutation: an oneirogenetics, or a chronopolitics? What is the becoming-imageless of the model or the law or thinking? How is it possible to arrive without returning — as though finally — at the future, the atmosphere? How might one become otherwise, through this ellipsis, in the non-image of the outside? How might these depths, aglow with inexhaustible heat, be at long last enveloped? What does it take to soar beyond this impossible amplitude, above an eternity of magnitude; to, for once, become susceptible to an infinite resonance? What after all do signals and images have to do with noise and glare? How is it possible to activate an immunology of future light, an aerology of immanence, a generic ecology of the horizon — an exology of the sky? What finally would this mean: solidarity with air, with so many absent or phantomatic skies? To be solidary with a multiplicity of missing and denied skies; to learn to exist with a non-present sky, to live within its deferral or exteriority; to inhabit the invading disappearance of the sky. That is, I have experienced the full horror of an encounter with that which exists beyond the wall of language and beyond the limits of our comprehension, and it happened in the departure lounge of London Stansted airport, in a seating area between the Wetherspoons pub and a branch of Pret A Manger. Badiou was trying to tell me about the universality of the truth-event, but I’d had three hours’ sleep the previous night and it was pretty hard to listen. I felt a faint shadow fall over me in the diffuse airport light, and looked up. Standing in front of me, meeting my gaze with his, was the Slovenian philosopher, critic, author of over seventy books, and ‘intellectual rock star,’ Slavoj Žižek. He was pale and haggard, his nose pulsing, his legs trembling. I might have imagined this, but he appeared to be wearing an illustrated Žižek alphabet t-shirt: A is for the Absolute, B is for the Big Other, C is for cocaine, and so on, and so on. And he was looking at me with pure, undisguised terror. He was just looking for somewhere to sit before his flight, but then he saw me. He saw what I was reading. I would know who he was. I would want to talk to him, or take a photo, or have him sign something; it would be unendurable. He had to leave before I noticed him. Too late. I looked at him and he looked at me. O the daffodil seeds in history. Yes I am inverting my bricks. Oh let me. O marinated herring of these twelve blue eyes of the Lacanian Gaze! Let’s tra-la it. It is true or my name isn’t ick. Well, ick then. Ick. And I looked — O poor crybaby, it is the Mediterranean — our hugs sent back!
[Note: Sources: George Quasha, in collaboration with Chie (buun) Hasegawa, “Twins at Hand”, in Ainu Dreams; JBR; Lee Ann Roripaugh, FB post, 13 Oct 013; Amina Khan, “Do Jupiter and Saturn have diamond ‘rain’?”, at LA Times, 10 Oct 013, via Sandra Simonds, FB post, 13 Oct 013; Rachel Defay-Liautard, FB post, 13 Oct 013; Andrew Weatherhead, “New Pants”, “Hell Has Gradations (after Max Jacob)”, at Everyday Genius, 9 Oct 013; Joseph Weissman, “Clouds”, at Fractal Ontology, 12 Oct 013; JBR; Sam Kriss, “On the encounter, or how I missed a flight because of Slavoj Žižek”, at Idiot Joy Showland, 9 Oct 013; JBR; Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch, “The Mirror Naturally Stripped”, quoted in John Latta, “Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch in Semi-Colon”, at Isola di Rifiuti, 8 Oct 013; see Kriss, above]