The Infinite Turbulence

Tired of storing all my non PhD thoughts on poorly sorted index cards or leaving them to languish in long-lost chat logs, this site is an experiment to see if having a public facing writing portal will encourage me to write on a wider range of topics while challenging me to think more rigorously. There’s nothing like an anonymous audience of people smarter than myself to sharpen my wits and broaden my horizons. I also felt like I needed a place for conceptual play and hypothesis, something less formal than the academic context in which I work, but more demanding than the random flow of tweets or images.

So here I am with “Infinite Turbulence – life in the folds of catastrophe”. The title and subtitle are an amalgam of two sources: the poet Henri Michaux, and the mathematician and philosopher René Thom. The title is lifted from an essay length prose poem by Michaux on his experiences with mescaline. It wasn’t chosen because I have anything particular to say about psychedelics (not yet, anyway), but rather because the notion of an unending disruption of flows and trajectories seemed to best describe the contemporary conditions and phenomena that I hope to address here. Michaux, too, was uncannily skilled in describing the difficulty of navigating the non-linear strata of modern life, and its unending catalogue of traps and snares for the individual and the collective.

Catastrophe planes are surfaces used to model the sudden phase change or disequilibrium of states and behaviours, the rapid shifts in modality, tendency and direction that interrupt expectations and experiences. I hope that this site can live up to the ideal of some kind of hybrid of Michaux’s poetic sensibility and Thom’s analytical ingenuity.

A drawing by Henri Michaux

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