Saturday, 27 February 2016
Leaves fall in Spring (2)
Brood/think: An early instance of psychological triggering, in its developed form, occurs in Poe. The triggering mechanism completes itself by bridging psychic energy between a past traumatic event and the precognition of an imminent threat. Poe's narrator, attending a party, standing amidst a group of revellers, catches sight of his own reflection, meeting his own gaze, at the very moment he abandons himself to laughter. He is startled and appalled at the grotesque contortion of his face in the mirror, beneath which he makes out the impersonal functionality of a skull. He realises immediately that this is not 'his' skull. Quite the reverse, his face, his interactions, his self, his presence all belong to it. It precedes him, he emerges from it. As the reflected image presages the rictus of the death mask, he is immediately precipitated into a rumination upon the imminence of his own mortality. But more than this, his horror is located in the realisation that the object of his insight is not his 'own mortality.' The skull is not a sign of 'his' death, it indicates the absolute and impersonal rule of disassembly, which as Bataille has observed, is the finally decisive mechanism in the production of form.