22 January 2015

Cold, books, thoughts, networks, etc.

I'll write too many words after I share this photograph of shiny paper:

It is cold where I live, but not as cold as Alaska or Canada. This fact almost makes the weather here seem worse to me, because I can’t complain about it being the coldest place in the world.

I wish I could say that when I tried to walk outside today, I instantly died because my eyeballs turned to ice. But all I can claim is that it felt really cold, so, after only ten minutes, I came back in and watched a movie.

The movie that I watched had a scene where three girls were conversing. Actually, it wasn’t really a conversation: one of the girls was doing most of the speaking, and the other two girls were using their phones to send text messages to each other. These messages were all cruel reactions to the speaker’s words, and the speaker was apparently unaware that she was being secretly ridiculed.

I wonder if books are really going to die. I mean, I assume that books will always be around; but some people (however wrongly) call ancient Greek or Latin “dead languages”: I wonder if books will become dead in this way. I wonder if, in the future, only a small group of scholars will be able to read more than a few brief, simple phrases of text.

But now I realize how slow I must appear: The state that I was imagining as coming soon is probably already here. Next, just to enjoy the full measure of my naivety, I might as well begin cautiously hypothesizing about the possibility that someday corruption might exist in high places.

Books can be good or bad, though; I mean, they can be well or poorly written; so I think it’s silly to speak of them as unconditionally beneficial. I’d rather watch a brilliant television program than read a lousy book.

And we can fill the social networks with gems or with garbage. All of these media are like blank pages where you can create what you like. I hear people often speak of certain online places as if those places are inherently rotten; but I think that they’re fresh if the humans who use them are fresh.

It surprises me, however, that so few people enjoy swimming against the current. I recognize that social networking is like the telephone: an indispensable thing that everyone hates. The programmers want us to use their product a certain way; but we can always do the opposite.

I look forward to the inevitable end of it all. Now, to pick my spirits up, here’s a quote from a letter written by William Blake in 1799:

The wisest of the Ancients considerd what is not too Explicit as the fittest for Instruction because it rouzes the faculties to act. I name Moses Solomon Esop Homer Plato.

And here’s Tristan Tzara, from his Dada Manifesto 1918:

What we need are strong, straightforward, precise works which will be forever misunderstood.

And one more quote, from “Haldernablou” by Alfred Jarry:

Love exists outside of sex; I would like someone who was neither man nor woman nor yet a monster, a devoted slave and one who could speak without breaking the harmony of my sublime thoughts, one for whom a kiss were a demonic depravity.

CONCLUSION

I’m out of touch with our world’s reality for exactly two reasons: (1) I rarely leave my kennel; and (2) when I do leave my kennel, I never stay outside for more than ten minutes at a stretch; during which time I keep my eyes fixed on the ground — the only sights I’ve ever seen are concrete and ice-covered weeds.

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