… [Entropy] can be most easily described as a tendency for order to dissolve into disorder. It refers to the breakdown of something that leaves its site of generation as a coherent thought, a coherent object, a coherent image — and gradually disintegrates, becomes fragmentary; so that when it reaches its site of reception, what arrives are shards and fragments.
[ … ]
… In the lecture here, a note:
WAIT FOR THE FOG IN YOUR HEAD TO LIFT
This won’t happen; we will have to continue.
[ … ]
… At the end of the last lecture, we left off with Rilke’s poem “The Panther,” and in particular the lines describing the panther’s walk around his cage as “a dance of strength around a centre where a mighty will was put to sleep.” There is no avoiding it. … Trying to stop the stupid, limited words that keep on arriving, endlessly, the same phrases, the same words. On the one hand hoping the walk itself will produce new words, on the other hand the walk itself lulling the words into a familiar and over-familiar pattern.
The circle is also the zoetrope, the action that continuously returns to where it began, and repeats itself. Again, pushing an expectation never realized, that the image will escape the zoetrope and take us to some new land.
… But to get to the center itself. To approach from a different angle. How or why does one become an artist? Again here we go back to Rilke’s panther, and to the radical insufficiency, the radical gap in the center. There has to be some gap, some lack, which provokes people to spend 20 years, 30 years, making drawings, leaving tracings of themselves.
[ … ]
… A new sheet of paper. All the energy waiting in the arm, gathering for its decision. While the shards are in the air, there is the possibility of … of … of …
That this time, THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT.
All that we wish could be. And there is the torschlusspanik, the fear that with decision, each final arrival of the image, all the other images are cut out, the door to other possibilities closes behind us, and we turn in panic to the sound of that closing door.
[ … ]
… We return to the beginning, ready to enter the cave, this time carrying the rusted bicycle frame, the box of broken pottery, the bones of the last rhinoceros. Ready to take our place in the procession, to throw our shadows onto the wall of the cave. We come to the dark center of the panther’s circle.
… Entropy forbids all elements from entering the black chasm. As an object approaches a black hole, its wavelength lengthens, slowing down, becomes redder and redder; the information and attributes separate from the object and remain as strings — vibrating strings, twists, knots, cat’s cradles of information, vibrating and circling the edge of the event horizon. The bank at the edge of the River Styx, where Charon deposits those headed for the black darkness of Hades. He keeps in his boat the attributes they have shed. A suitcase of teeth, a pile of shoes, a sheaf of words, an old stone discus. Held in trust on account, waiting to be decoded, for the shards to be rearranged, to be made new.