CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
On the Principles of the New Logic
The hinges of logic are malleable; man-made. Only simple tools are necessary to pry them apart.
The mere fact of logic’s vulnerability proves the arbitrariness of its nature.
Conclusively establishing a “sequence of events” is now suspected to be a cryptic form of oppression.
Relinquishing the ability to determine a “sequence of events” is seen to be a sign of greater sophistication of intellect.
Who is establishing the precepts of the New Logic and exactly what they intend.
The Facts, previously accustomed to their modest identities, merely hoped to serve, like willing, reliable relatives.
It is now known that The Facts are suspiciously unreliable: Their loyalties can never be entirely counted upon.
To their astonishment, The Facts have found themselves on the no-fly list.
The Facts, alarmed by their sudden notoriety, don’t understand why they are sighted in hostile crosshairs.
After reflection, The Facts have taken shelter in a survivalist bunker.
The Facts must never be allowed to get the upper hand.
Those who are availed of The Facts—like The Facts themselves—are by association suspect.
To develop an Argument is to take matters into one’s own hands.
Upon leaving its house, the Argument finds itself hustled into a black van, duct tape plastered to its mouth.
Without the Facts, the Argument risks becoming an extremist, trafficking in recycled words gleaned from handbills blowing down the empty street.
Discernment is the most dangerous enemy of the New Logic.
Remember to approach The Facts discreetly in an old overcoat: lest your presence be detected and noted.
In order to widen its scope, the New Logic has struck up a deal with Surveillance.
Thankfully, the sophisticated tools of Surveillance will never be used for dishonorable purposes.
Why the hand trembles producing its documents, why the miracle of the eye’s whorl is asked to denounce itself.
In the engine room of Surveillance, the world’s being turns to frothing matter, churned like paper pulp below a dam.
Does anyone still observe Surveillance from Afar?
Human movement still rustles unpredictably across the electronic grid.
Please be advised: You are no longer encouraged to grasp the greater operation.
Don’t be surprised if, above your head, the white drone of aircraft blots out the words.
On the infrared grid: the inert, the stilled, the no longer recognized by the living.
No Lord, we stood before the dead and dying and felt nothing.
Remain at home beside the bedside lamp and cultivate a private relationship with The Facts.
Essential theorem to be learned by heart: “From this time forth our mutual annihilation is entirely without significance.”
Ellen Hinsey is the author of six books of poetry, dialogues, and literary translation, including Update on the Descent, The White Fire of Time, and Cities of Memory, which was awarded the Yale University Series Prize. She is also the coauthor of Magnetic North: Conversations with Tomas Venclova (forthcoming in 2015 from Suhrkamp Verlag). Her work has appeared previously in the Conjunctions online magazine, as well as in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Irish Times, The Paris Review, and Poetry; excerpts have appeared in French, German, Italian, Danish, and Serbian translation. A former Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, she is the international correspondent for The New England Review and teaches at Skidmore College’s Program in Paris.