Passage #466: 15 August 2018

Echoes and Accidents

When one is doing one's best not to repeat oneself (as in, say, planning a route for a bicycle ride that is quite self-consciously averse to repetition), it can be difficult to escape a nagging feeling of sameness: we have done this before; we have done all of this before. In some sense, sameness is a result of an attempt at difference. But then on the other hand, if one is attempting to exactly copy an earlier work (as we have also done a few times now), the effort would likewise be in vain: a perfect copy would be betrayed by its context, a doppelganger from another time.

Of course, this thing-that-is-a-bike-ride is more than just a form, more than just a series of actions that carry us from place to place. To achieve the necessary (which is not to say perfect) form, one must let the repetitions emerge naturally, as in an echo, and let the differences emerge as if by happy accident.

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