The mind receives a myriad impressions - trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms... life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.Intending to subvert the intricate subtleties of the narrative form, Mr. Smith takes a box full of newspapers, magazines, cereal packaging, leaflets, letters, books and more, and begins a lonely ceremony.
~ Virginia Woolf - Modern Fiction [UK/US]
Sentences are peeled from their stronghold within the context of the page. Words, once dislocated in narrative space, catch on a wind of chance, whip-whirled by the infinitesimal blades of Mr. Smith's scissors. A jumble of language emerges - paragraphs torn from within an article; sentences made nounless; verbs, adjectives - mere graphemes - lie decontextualised, their didactic interplay amongst the whirligig of narrative destroyed - for Mr. Smith's pleasure.
Yet, once the fragments are spaced so upon his apartment floor, Mr. Smith notices a structure implored - new meanings well up from within him. This chaotic lattice of reference negated denies itself as pure nonsense.
However hard Mr. Smith tries, not once does he find an arrangement of paper remnants, a semblance of order, which does not suggest some narrative. The meaning, the very stories he envisaged himself to be deconstructing, found not their power from the page, but from inside Mr. Smith...
The human form itself is pure narrative and nothing more:
Human consciousness... can be best understood as the operation of a... virtual machine implemented in the parallel architecture of a brain that was not designed for any such activities. The powers of this virtual machine vastly enhance the underlying powers of the organic hardware on which is runs.
~ Daniel Dennet - Consciousness Explained [UK/US]
All meaning is narrative. The awesome arcs of religious myth, the interplay of ideas emerging from conspiracy theories; from urban legends; from the life story of a single human within the context of a chaotic world. Each form is dependant on an evolutionary anomaly, inbred over time into the substructures of the human brain. The tale, the novel, the poem and the play expose little in their meanderings, but the architecture of consciousness. That within a 3 pound lump of matter, encased in a cavern of bone and flesh, all manner of universes are woven an existence.
Mr. Smith lays down his glue, his scissors and ponders for a moment all that is narration in his own crumb of reality. An infinity of worlds expand to bloom inside him; each bubble, when popped, gives birth a trillion more. Stories, endless stories, and nothing, nothing more...
No text offers values or meanings that exist as essential features of itself. Shakespeare's plays are not essentially this or essentially that, or essentially anything. They are, to take up Wittgenstein's metaphor, far more like natural phenomena, mountain ranges, pieces of scenery out of which we make truth, value, greatness, this or that, in accordance with our various purposes.
~ Terence Hawkes - Meaning by Shakespeare [UK/US]
• The Literary Animal ~ Ed. by J. Gottschall & David Sloan Wilson
• Consciousness and the Novel ~ by David Lodge
• The Policeman's Beard is Half-Constructed ~ by 'Racter' - (click for image source)