Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Entropy as catalyst

David Antin is writing about the difference between story (a series of events that result in a transformation, or an emphasis on plot) and narrative (the confrontation of someone's desire for something with the threat or promise of transformation, or the psychological struggle to prevent or enable change). What he's discussing is the balance between the steady state we perceive ourselves to be in and the destabilization that time brings with it. This is change: the shifting between steady state and destabilization.

Then he talks about 'noise' relative to communications theory (don't ask me), and how they "extended the meaning of 'noise' to entropy the growing disorder that affects all ordered systems over time the frictional forces that reduce all directed energies to forms of disorder sooner or later as we go from omre orderly universes to more disorderly universes given enough time". Entropy is like static.

What I like about all of this, whether or not this is what Antin is trying to say, is that there can be in art or poetry a balance between steady state (or structure/form) and entropy (or noise or sound or disorder). What I like about what I am writing now is the play between, the balances and shifts between the form the lines take on the page, the combustible disordered diction, and the harmonic sounds that provide some sort of sense. That is, the work struggles between order and disorder, taking energy from the natural entropy that time, or the length of time to read the work, generates. That, to me, is life--the balance between order or the attempt to create order, and a natural tendency to disorder, both the progressive degeneration of things and the chaos that random, unexpected events will create.

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