I learned very early and painfully that you have to decide at the outset whether you want to make money or to make sense, as they are mutually exclusive.
— R. Buckminster Fuller
“Days I feel like a human being, while other days I feel more like a sound. I touch the world not as myself but as an echo of who I was.”
∆ Ocean Vuong, from On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin, 2019)
Sun Ra says elsewhere that words are seeds you plant in the ground. In this sense, there is a peculiar kind of split semiosis, a seed that grows into many plants, espoused in this poem where we see the word so in a place where conventional grammar and context tells us we should see sow. Here is the multi-self of words, the phonetic-dimension of words in action: an impossible grammar, an impossible or immeasurable equation between grapheme and phoneme. The mark on the page doesn’t equal what we hear, and the practice of the impossible occurs in the interstices of that discrepancy.
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life! Before succumbing to the intoxicating warmth of that promise, it’s critical to ask, “Who, exactly, benefits from making work feel like non-work?” “Why should workers feel as if they aren’t working when they are?” Historian Mario Liverani reminds us that “ideology has the function of presenting exploitation in a favorable light to the exploited, as advantageous to the disadvantaged.”