wedding speech for my best friend

Introduction

Based on a case study of two young adults engaging in an ambiguous relationship with uncertain outcome, this study investigates how computer-mediated communication (CMC), and more specifically the exchange of private messages on Facebook, could encourage greater intimacy between two potential romantic partners. Conducted by request of one of the two subjects studied who has been suffering from a chronic lack of affection, this study seeks to help her to better infer the meaning of the verbal cues sent by the male subject.

First, I will carry out a close reading of private messages exchanged by the two informants during moments of heightened communication on Facebook (identified by the female subject). The concept of online self-disclosure, i.e. the disclosing of personal information, thoughts and feelings that are not easily shared in an offline context, will provide the main theoretical framework for my analysis. In interpreting these messages, I will take into account the offline events occurring on the same days, events that might be referred to in the text. Second, the textual analysis will be completed by interviews with the female subject on the perceived intimacy between her and the male subject, as well as her memoirs of their offline interactions.

The purpose of this study is not to predict relationship outcome based on the degree of self-disclosure, hence intimacy, but to assist the female subject in her own evaluation. Ultimately, it could perform a therapeutic function by offering the female subject a momentary distraction from her agony through an engaging, insightful and completely rubbish reading.

– Work in progress –

the signified

“there falls the rain, there comes the storm, darkens the sky
I wish to be with you on days like this and hold you tight.”

It’s a stormy morning, and these words return to my mind as I look at the gloomy sky. Despite the repeated creak coming from the stairs that are violently shaken by the wind, and the cascading sound of heavy shower, it’s brutally quiet. As if the rain has muted all human sounds. That’s my favorite part about rainy weather. The rain defeats us. It reduces us to vulnerable and fragile creatures. It extinguishes our arrogance.

I wrote the two above lines on a rainy summer afternoon 4 years ago, when I was in Vietnam. They were inspired by another person, but of course they are all about you now. Even the senses and the mood about that day are gone, no longer associated with these words. The signifier “you” remains the same, but the signified has changed. The old signified faded away, disappeared, and was rendered non-existent. You are the unique signified now, the same way you wholly inhabit my mind.

You gave me a book and said that it had a story, but I didn’t mind. In fact, not only your book, my words, or your dog (that you unconditionally share with me), and I guess everything else that makes up our own individual worlds, but both of us also have our stories. However, that should not matter. We are not owned by them forever.

I often think that essence is taken for granted. We actively attach meanings to things in our life. The structuralists have separated the signifier from the signified because their association is arbitrary. Meanings are not intrinsic or incorrigible. If we can’t control what happen to us, then at least we can decide what it means.

neverland

This is the kind of song that you listen to on a summer night when you feel lonely and the road is yours. You see some stranger’s silhouette that you mistake for somebody you knew. The warm yellow light from the street lamps and the windows is in a perfect contrast with the twilight sky. The moon is a faint spot of light brushed away by a thin veil of cloud. The sun lingers on top of the canopy whose thick and dark shape forms a rampart surrounding the sunflower field, above which the sky opens up like a canvas painted in an oneiric blue, the shade of blue that you’ve only seen in Magritte’s world. You chase the night. You keep going until it absorbs you and you can’t find the way back. Time stands still as the bicycle’s wheels turn around, and time is infinite. For a second, you wish that you were truly alone in this world. That there was no one to miss, that you were one and whole in the uniqueness of your existence, like a prime number.

This is happiness. I could very live like this until the rest of my life, but I’d probably die out of boredom and frustration. Which makes it a happiness. It’s not meant to last. I only love this place because it’s not mine forever, and so it’s mine, in this present moment. Once I realize that, I feel liberated from the burden of anticipated nostalgia. Everything that I’m experiencing right now is precious. That dead trunk on the roadside. Those insects that hit my forehead, my glasses and my mouth (giving me violent kisses). The summer air that smells of smoke, animal’s excrements and fresh leaves. This timeless town untouched by the outside world. It will cease to exist as soon as I step on the train that will take me away from it forever. It will hibernate in a corner of my memory.

I’ve found where I belong in this world. I’ve always known the answer, but never quite understood it. Now I do. In my dreams, there’s only one place that I belong to, but it doesn’t have a name, nor a shape. It takes on different shapes in real life, and so I have to constantly move between places. Because dreams can be eternal in their own territory, but will vanish when hit by reality. I only belong to somewhere as long as it remains my dreamland. As long as it doesn’t last. As long as I don’t belong to it.

I listened to that song on a summer night back many years ago, back in my hometown. I listen to it now, and it instantly brings me back to that night. Or rather, it brings that night here. The past and the present fuse together. I time travel. I am one. I am whole. I am here. I am alive. I am infinitely mine.

“De nulle part à nulle part”: Enquête du printemps

Cette synthèse de rapports a été produite à la suite d’une enquête menée sur une période de 3 mois du mars au mai 2017. Étant donné la spontanéité avec laquelle l’enquêtrice a procédé à sa mission, les dates de début et de fin restent indéterminées. Cette enquête a été conduite dans des lieux divers qui peuvent être tous définis comme “nulle part”. Le projet de l’enquête s’intitule ainsi “De nulle part à nulle part”, dans le plein respect de l’esprit de la flânerie – à la fois une discipline scientifique et une méthodologie émergente.

Mars 2017: Rapport Premier

L’enquêtrice constate que le nombre d’indices repérées empiriquement demeure insuffisant pour confirmer l’arrivée définitive du printemps. Compte tenu de la nature capricieuse du sujet, une perspective “émique”, c’est-à-dire s’appuyant sur la subjectivité de l’observatrice qui devient elle-même le sujet informateur, sera indispensable. Cette approche permettra de recueillir des preuves intangibles telles que le sentiment d’être revitalisé à la vue des boutons floraux, ou l’agitation de l’âme au souffle du vent.

L’enquête se poursuit.

Avril 2017 : Rapport final

L’enquêtrice, atteinte d’une dépendance à la mélancolie hivernale, est incapable de poursuive l’enquête dont la finalité risque de lui causer une violence sentimentale.

L’enquête se termine.

Mai 2017 : Rapport de suivi

Malgré l’annulation du projet, l’enquêtrice, ayant développé un sentiment d’attachement au sujet d’étude, s’obstine dans son observation ce celui-ci, un exercice qu’elle pratique quotidiennement de manière instinctive. D’après les dernières preuves empiriques, le sujet entre actuellement dans la phase d’extinction. Il serait donc souhaitable de reprendre l’enquête dans des conditions nouvelles, en ciblant un autre sujet d’investigation. L’enquêtrice propose, pour l’instant, de définir ce sujet naissant comme “été”.

l’heure bleu

Lorsque je me lève les yeux du livre, la lumière est en train de s’écouler par la fenêtre comme un ruisseau bleu infini. Même l’air est teinté en bleu, tel que de l’encre. J’aspire cet air liquide comme si je l’injecte dans mes veines. J’ignore s’il s’agit de ma tristesse qui s’extériorise et s’empare de l’espace, ou si le monde physique, subissant d’une réaction affective quelconque, s’est métamorphosé en une substance intangible que j’assimile, et qui me consomme.

expectation

What does it mean when we say that something is “beyond expectation” or “more than we expected”?

To expect: mid 16th cent. (in the sense ‘defer action, wait’): from Latin exspectare ‘look out for’, from ex- ‘out’ + spectare ‘to look’ (frequentative of specere ‘see’).

Expectation is centered on the future. The future is unknown and uncertain. Expectation reflects a psychological (existential?) need to make this future more manageable, i.e. the need to control.

“Beyond expectation”, in everyday language, indicate the quality of being great, excellent, exceptional, unique; more than what we thought would be the case. It is usually a positive evaluation. It is almost never applied to oneself, but always to somebody else’s performance or behavior. Because it is the Other that represents the unknown.

A surprise is something not expected, i.e. something outside the horizon of possibilities that one has envisioned. It is antonymous to normalcy, the norm. So when expectation is directed toward a person, it acts as a norm, an evaluation, a script to perform according to, thus linked to the idea of social norms, of accordance with a set of rules. What is expected means what is normal, i.e. conforming to a standard, typical, usual. It is also predictable: something known beforehand.

When we do not have sufficient clues about an other, we cannot put her in any existing category that structures our own interpersonal framework. Therefore, we cannot assign that person to any behavior or performance script. In other words, we do not have expectation about that person. “We do not know what we do not know”. However, as mentioned before, expectation characterizes a more general psychological pattern. It is fundamental to help human beings orient themselves in life. It is an inevitable attitude towards the future. Therefore, by conventions of language, we still say that someone is beyond expectation even though we do not have any expectation about that specific person. It should be simply interpreted as a compliment on that individual’s exceptionality.

There is a slightly different nuance of meaning in French: “beyond expectation” is translated as “dépasser les attentes (de quelqu’un)”. Expectation is waiting for something that might or is likely to come, but whose existence is not confirmed until its actual occurrence. Waiting has a taste of yearning in it, which is more sentimental. However, the idea remains the same: it implies a movement forward in time. In the end, it boils down to how human beings relate to everything that constitutes the Other, i.e. what is outside the present self, the unknown, be it the future or an immediate other reality.