Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025548, Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:10:11 -0300

Curious links to life's "forks" in ADA
Here are two quotes, related to evolutionary theory and philosophical
enquiries concerning bifurcations and "forks," that might be of interest to
some Nablers. In Ada we find various indirect or open instances of "forking"
and "forks," besides Van Veen's theories, inspired by Henri Bergson and
leading to his definition of "the texture of time."

Until I encountered these words in their specific context I had simply
related "Ada's" scenic metamorphoses (from horse to motorcycle, from
carriage to potent car, aso) to Gogol's (amply described by VN in his
lecture and biographical study).

"In fact, in some complex systems, there can be bifurcations of
bifurcations. As Deleuze writes, each of the forkings 'constantly split up
any state of equilibrium and each time impose a new "meander", a new break
in causality, which itself forks from the previous one, in a collection of
non-linear relations' (Deleuze 1989: 49/47/69). Prigogine and Stengers
explain that the 'historical' path along which the system evolves as the
control parameter grows is characterized by a succession of stable regions,
where deterministic laws dominate, and of instable ones, near the
bifurcation points, where the system can 'choose' between or among more than
one possible future.(Prigogine and Stengers 1984: 169-70)
"In the Still of the Moment: Deleuze's Phenomena of Motionless Time" by
Corry Shores. Deleuze Studies 8.2 (2014):199-229.

"Bergson focuses on how self-regulating biological systems generate, through
a series of interactions between virtual capacities and the external forces
to which the system is open, "forks" ushering new forms of life into being[
] Such emergent forms structure surprise, creation, and the new into the
evolutionary process. They do so in ways that make evolution irreducible to
a mechanistic,creationist, or teleological model [ ] Neuropolitics:
Thinking, Culture, Speed by William E. Connolly

Vladimir Nabokov in ADA (possible references):

1."They embraced one last time, and without looking back he fled.

Stumbling on melons, fiercely beheading the tall arrogant fennels with his
riding crop, Van returned to the Forest Fork. Morio, his favorite black
horse, stood waiting for him, held by young Moore. He thanked the groom with
a handful of stellas and galloped off, his gloves wet with tears. I,25".

2. ".standing before a closet mirror, he put the automatic to his head, at
the point of the pterion, and pressed the comfortably concaved trigger.
Nothing happened - or perhaps everything happened, and his destiny simply
forked at that instant, as it probably does sometimes at night, especially
in a strange bed, at stages of great happiness or great desolation, when we
happen to die in our sleep, but continue our normal existence, with no
perceptible break in the faked serialization, on the following, neatly
prepared morning, with a spurious past discreetly but firmly attached
behind*. Anyway, what he held in his right hand was no longer a pistol but a
pocket comb which he passed through his hair at the temples. It was to gray
by the time that Ada, then in her thirties, said, when they spoke of their
voluntary separation [ ] There are other possible forkings and
continuations that occur to the dream-mind, but these will do." (2,11)

3. ".Andrey lived only a few months longer, po pal'tzam (finger counting)
one, two, three, four - say, five. Andrey was doing fine by the spring of
nineteen six or seven, with a comfortably collapsed lung and a straw-colored
beard (nothing like facial vegetation to keep a patient busy). Life forked
and reforked. Yes, she told him. He insulted Van on the mauve-painted porch
of a Douglas hotel where Van was awaiting his Ada in a final version of Les
Enfants Maudits." (III,8)


*- "when we happen to die in our sleep, but continue our normal
existence"... Are the initial lines of John Shade's poem an intimation of
this line of reasoning? ( "I was the ashen fluff.and I lived on." and the
swift passage from day to night, summer to winter in Canto I). I was
surprised to find "forks" in evolutionary theories besides sci-fi and
hard-sci "time forks"..

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