Logo of the Museum of Vestigial Desire
The Museum of Vestigial Desire


Certain ideas need to be allowed to persist, even if there is no evidence of their having any value. The reasons for doing this might not be immediately apparent but they need not be known for this allowance to be given. Ideas need to be allowed to continue on the basis of what they need. If they do not ask for attention, do not ask for money, do not ask for practitioners and do not ask for validation, what is the harm in letting them do what they need to do? Sanctuaries are structures that give such inert desires that do not require much a nestling space. A nestling space only means that a space to develop from a spark to a fire is available. Resources for adding fuel to the fire exist.

But what are the criteria of such an offer of nestling space? The criteria is purely instinctive. When we feel that a desire has yet not become enveloped in a puddle of cynicism, we include it in the sanctuary. Cynicism does not allow a desire to achieve its ends. The desire gets stuck in limbo, not being able to reset and not being able to go ahead and pursue its ends either. This sanctuary does not have only a personal implication for us. It has a wider implication even if you do not care about us or the Museum. We are not saying that culture is infectious so we indirectly and invariably have some influence on the way things will shape up. But we are stating that till the total annihilation of all the sanctuaries that offer nestling spaces is completed, there is no victory for either side. Sanctuaries are detested and their role in fermenting opposition is not easily tolerated.

But this depends on what the nestling space offered is able to trigger. Provided the nestling space is actually able to seed a drastic set of alternatives, it will really end up meaning something. The truth is that there are far fewer resources available for causes that are taking a bet on the future that might never be realised. There is a simple one-to-one correlation between investable futures and liveable realities. If an idea does not have the desperate desire to become investable, then it is an empty symbolic gesture and cannot be taken seriously. Not being take seriously means that there we retain no power and remain a benign entity on the landscape.

Humour tags: velvet shop

Laughter is just symptomatically related to humour. There is no direct relation. Humour is a very sophisticated channel of communication.

There are modes of perception.

There are patterns of organising content.

Each such pattern comes with its own reading apparatus and a prescribed set of conditions under which the pattern is evident.

When the pattern is evident, the body of content makes sense.

Humour is one such pattern that allows the body of content which is it represents to make sense. When you look at a snippet or a body of content humorously, it seems to make sense.

In discourse, humour is an essential part of the toolset.

Humour is associated with feeling good only because of the physical act of laughing. When we laugh, we take in a lot more oxygen at a time and body feels refreshed. Every time we laugh, we pull ourselves back from the brink of disaster.

But the frame of humour that laughter is placed in, is not used enough. Only temporary, inconsequential messages are passed and transmitted in humorous situations. Humour is thought to be an assistive factor for lightening the grinding load of our humourless life. But humour is a lot more than this.

The pattern of narrative that humour holds within itself is outside the bounds of rationality and not very far from the set of coordinates where mania itself resides.

Humour is a remnant of a time when we were as mad as we were.

Now the cloaks of culture, the assigning of humour (and so the assigning of mania itself) to a parlour, boutique, theatrical space.

What have we been able to achieve in the absence of humour? What do we gain by being serious?

Seriousness is not just the mirror of humour, it is a symptom of a submissiveness and a buying into a hierarchy that is predatory in nature.

Stand up comics are able to model stories at the margins of feasibility sometimes but then quickly hide away behind the trappings of performance.

Incomplete jokes are so difficult to hold in our memory because of the compulsive chase that we need to enact for all constructions that we encounter. Without the punch-line the pattern cannot be computed and that leaves us restless.

Within humour the blurriness of our masked social critique falls away and we get the licence the spell things out the way they are. We are not taken to be rabble-rousers because we dull the pain and discomfort of what we say within airiness. Humour is fragile. A sneeze can de-rail the flow of a run of laughter and then make it impossible to find a reason to laugh again. In this fragile experience, rests a worldview that gets facilitated only within the state of experience.

Seeing something as funny is a different perspective of it.

Most of our prescriptive interventions are based on sudden mid-conversation flips of humour. We rely on humour to be understood but then we feign sincerity and argue against any modes of dismissal. We can always be seen as jesters but simultaneously we can always be seen as entities curiously out-of-sync with the articulate bluff of the world.

We hope to hold onto humour in our sanctuary as a snippet of the world that is still valuable. But this is to be done responsibly, humour is to be used to build on arguments and penetrate defences and not just letting the steam off and entering modes of dismissal.

Being tags: destruction

Being is simple but not easy. To be you do not really have to do anything at all, that is the simplicity of it. But being is a process that is multi-variate and somehow becomes complex. This happens because in the flux of each moment we experience the noise of our mind, and this both distracts and confuses us. Even though we know that we can just slip into the default mode, our cultural programming demands us to listen to the noise in our minds and weed out a voice that we should most give priority to.

Now, all these voices are equally fraudulent. There is no truth that can be ascribed to either of these. If you want to go on a ride, then you can go on a ride, but if you are want to identify with either of them then there is no real option. All the voices that you hear in the noise of your mind are false.

Being is about avoidance and automatism.

You have to avoid the voices you hear and you need to be able to break into automatic modes of being. Being automatically is being without knowing what to be.

This is both dangerous and difficult. This is dangerous because for someone who is not ready, who has not had time to let the superfluous voices in their heads to dissolve into ambiguity, there is too much at stake. At any moment, a voice floating around in the head, frustrated at being relegated to the margins, can intervene. The voice can intervene very fatally. At the crux of a moment, when some significant event is unravelling in life, the voice can create doubt and uncertainty in the actor's mind. The actor can feel hopelessly confused and mixed up and no episode of being will be witnessed. For being is continuous, the question is only of witnessing it. Each actor needs a specific amount of time to be able to drop their guard and differentiate their mind's production of experience from the experience produced by the universe. Time to develop the confidence to stop listening to the voices, to leap into the unknown mystery of each moment and witness the outcome.

Each voice possesses the capacity to disrupt the automatic urge to be. And there is no way to work against this except by cracking the pattern of each voice and then guard against it. For voices can masquerade. Voices can sound like what they are not. The voices are infected with the urge to trick you and you have to learn to trick them back.

Being is still possible because being is always possible. It is the becoming that is a synthetic state of being. It is becoming that has to be snapped out of.

This being/becoming balance is fragile. Our sanctuary incubates this balance and gives it a chance to reach an equilibrium. This equilibrium even if slippery is necessary once in a while else the world will perish.

And we do not desire that. We just value the precarious nature of the balance and use it to enact teasing moments, every now and then.

Presence tags: fig-leaves

We still have hope from presence. When you take the trouble to withdraw yourself from everywhere and be here now, some intensity is definitely produced.

You have tried to mimic presence many times and each time you have achieved marginal success. Some parameters of presence do successfully get mimicked. In the long run, you have hope to achieve presence through an entirely synthetic means, by either illusion or some extrapolated simulation project. But this hope will be quashed like an ant crawling wantonly on your arm. This will never happen. Presence unfortunately will remain forever trapped in actually being present. In being. There will never be any other way.

Because of this dependency of presence on actual co-location of beings, imagining transmitted presence will remain difficult. We can model thought experiments and we can choose to keep saying that the difficulty has been crossed but what we can hope for is just the fragments of possible solutions and not a real fool-proof method.

Presence depends of co-location because we depend on immersion on a multi-sensory feed of sensed experience.

Culturally we have very few interfaces which rely on singular feeds of sensory data and therefore have to struggle with our unshakeable faith in the rationality of co-location.

When we read, we are confounded with the task of keeping track of reading as an act of literacy and making meaning as an act of cognition. We consume data of the reading experience via a very isolated stream of information and that is its reality. Reading is a feasible way of transmitting presence.

But we still need to hold on to presence. We cannot replace presence with text as yet, and need to allow more time to this process. When text becomes liquid, when stanzas become bodies, then it will be time.

Although a certain kind of poetry exclusively deals with the silence mediated by togetherness, the comfort of slipping into a silence and escaping the distraction of the neurotic urge to speak cannot often be done justice in words. One way or the other, a conscious thought is amplified whereas the thing to be amplified is the lack of it. There is no conscious thought involved in the act of slipping into a silence. A moment arrives and it feels comfortable enough to disengage in the production of content and the self-conscious eye is blackened and silence arrives. Even descriptions of silent moments spent in togetherness end up adding the sounds of a murmur to it. Silence only manages to remain silent when it manages to remain absent from thought and narrative.

So presence needs to be understood more, we need to engage in many more ways than the inevitable rise of passion. Passion needs to be consummated and is inherently a short-term game. What if we extend one heated wave of passion into a span of time so vast that it gets dissipated into the noise of presence itself?

Such games need to be played and such thoughts need to be modelled for an expanded understanding of presence. Can the textual be laid on the body, along the contours of a three-dimensional reading surface? Can the optical nature of three-dimensioned space counter the relative security of a two-dimensional reading surface?

Presence still needs ways of being talked about that describe its particulate nature. There are some parameters of presence that we just do not know how to talk about yet. Text just cannot handle it. Transmission of presence is an active area of study for us. We are stringing together experiment to experiment to make meaning of the unresolved experience at our hands.